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Not so sweet for Dravid

By Our Special Correspondent

BRISBANE, JAN. 20. The sweet jelly players often eat on the field led to Rahul Dravid being docked 50 per cent of his match fees for breaching law 42. 3 (The match ball: changing its condition) during the India-Zimbabwe VB Series match at the Gabba here on Tuesday.

The jelly accidentally dropped on the ball and the third umpire, Peter Parker, caught Dravid trying to remove it. According to law 42.3 (b) it is unfair for any fielder to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball.''

A fielder is allowed to polish the ball provided no artificial substance is used and that such polishing wastes no time, remove mud from the ball under the supervision of the umpire and dry a wet ball on a towel.

The Match Referee Clive Lloyd regarded the breach as a Level 2 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct for players.

Two years ago Sachin Tendulkar was punished for violating the law in the course of the India-South Africa Test at Port Elizabeth.

Peter Parker brought the violation to the notice of Lloyd, who in turn called the team management for a hearing. Skipper Sourav Ganguly, Dravid, manager Shivlal Yadav and coach John Wright attended the hearing. The match umpires Rudi Koertzen and Steve Davis did not report any such incident to the match referee.

Injury-prone Vermeulen

Mark Vermeulen's forehead has not been in one piece for a long time. Once while trying to catch in front of his face in a club match, the ball hit him on the centre of his forehead. Then during the World Cup in South Africa, he took a blow over his left eye while trying to avoid a beamer at the nets. On both occasions he was operated upon.

On Tuesday, the ball from Irfan Pathan he tried to pull, ended up with a smack on the right side of his forehead. "There's a nasty crack. He will be administered tranquillisers for two days before the damaged part is operated upon. He will have to remain in the hospital for at least two weeks,'' said Zimbabwe team physio Brad Robinson.

Vermeulen did not bat after being rushed to the hospital. "No team should lose players due to injury, least of all Zimbabwe. Mark is a quality player and that's why we asked him to open the innings. Probably the result would have been different if he had not been injured. We have batted well in this tournament after the half way stage. What we needed was someone like Rahul Dravid to shore up the top order,'' said captain Heath Streak.

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