Kerala batsman Sanju Samson has been named among 13 players who were handed sanctions by Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for dissent against captain Sachin Baby, ESPNcricinfo reported. As per the report, five players – Raiphi Gomez, Sandeep Warrier, Rohan Prem, KM Asif and Mohammed Azharuddeen – were suspended for three matches, while eight players – Samson, Abhishek Mohan, KC Akshay, Fabid Ahmed, MD Nideesh, Salman Nizar, Sijomon Joseph and VA Jagadeesh were handed fines equivalent to BCCI match fees for three one-day matches.
According to the cricket news website, the 13 players who have been punished had written a letter to the KCA during a recent visit by a Kerala side to Sri Lanka in June, in which they cited unhappiness with Baby’s leadership. But the KCA took objection to the fact that the players did not take up the issue with Baby or with the tour manager and directly approached the association.
As per a KCA inquiry cited by the report, “the players were involved in endangering the harmony, stability, and interest of the Association and also engaged in the signature campaign against the captain. There was a deliberate intention to defame the captain as well as KCA.” The association also questioned the timing of the protest, adding that no complaint was filed during the 2017 Ranji Trophy tournament.
The players, who have been fined, have been given the deadline of September 15, by which they submit the fine, along with the proof of doing so. The fees collected from the players will be directed to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The suspended players will miss Kerala’s first three 50-overs matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy series. Kerala, who are placed in Group B in the tournament, will face Chhattisgarh (September 19), Hyderabad (September 20) and Odisha (September 23).
KCA also issued a show-cause notice to Samson, Akshay, Nizar and Azharuddeen for “unauthorised absence” from the team hotel during the Capt K Thimmappiah Memorial tournament in July-August. A similar offence during the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy had led KCA reprimanding Samson two years ago.