Sun, Aug 26, 2007 - Page 22 News List

S Africa's Boucher fined for Twenty20 Cup, Kallis criticism

AFP, JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher will lose 60 percent of his match fees at the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup after criticizing the move to drop star batsman Jacques Kallis, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on Friday.

A disciplinary panel found Boucher guilty of three breaches of the CSA's code of conduct after an interview with the Business Day newspaper this month in which he also played down the importance of the inaugural tournament which is being staged in South Africa next month.

"The comments were prejudicial [detrimental] to the selection of the team and hence to the Twenty20 itself for if South Africa was not fielding its best team that, in turn, was detrimental to the prestige of the World Cup," the commission said in its ruling. "His comments are dismissive of Twenty20 and cannot but help to tarnish the brand in the public perception and are media comments which are detrimental to the prestige of the Twenty20 World Cup tournament."

The CSA had initially wanted to ban Boucher from the tournament but the panel decided that it was more appropriate to fine him 60 percent of his fee "not for a single match but over the course of the tournament."

During his interview, 30-year-old Boucher suggested the decision to leave Kallis out of the 15-man squad had been taken for non-sporting reasons.

"It is either those who have an issue with him, and have a chip on their shoulders, or those who have ulterior motives," he said.

He did not elaborate.

Boucher said of Kallis, who resigned as South African vice-captain after being left out: "He's the best all-rounder we've ever had and he's saved more [limited overs] games than anyone realizes -- and he is a far better one-day player than he is given credit for."

Boucher was also less than effusive about the tournament.

"First prize for those of us who love cricket is to be Test world champions. Second prize is to be 50-over world champions. Twenty20 only comes after those, really," he said.

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