Mohammad Shahzad won't play Afghanistan's matches against Hong Kong and Nepal, which will be played in Bulawayo on 8 and 10 March, respectively © Getty Images
Mohammad Shahzad won’t play Afghanistan’s matches against Hong Kong and Nepal, which will be played in Bulawayo on 8 and 10 March, respectively © Getty Images

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was suspended on Wednesday for Afghanistan’s next two matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier after his accumulated demerit points reached four within a 24-month period following his latest breach of the Code of Conduct.

For his latest offence, he received a 15 per cent fine and one demerit point.

During a thrilling match against Zimbabwe at the Bulawayo Athletic Club on Tuesday, Shahzad was found guilty of breaching Article 2.1.8, which relates to abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an international match .

As Shahzad had been fined 100 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points in a Twenty20 International against the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai International Stadium on December 12, 2016, the addition of this one demerit point took him to the threshold of four demerit points, which, pursuant to article 7.6 of the Code, have now been converted into two suspension points.

Consequently, Shahzad will now miss Afghanistan’s matches against Hong Kong and Nepal, which will be played in Bulawayo on 8 and 10 March, respectively.

Following this suspension, the four demerit points will remain on Shahzad s disciplinary record. If he reaches the next threshold of eight or more demerit points within a 24-month period, then they will be converted into four suspension points.

Tuesday’s incident happened when Shahzad, after being caught by Malcolm Waller off Tendai Chatara for 30 in the ninth over, hit his bat hard on the pitch adjacent to the match pitch, which left a significant divot on the turf.

Shahzad admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Jukes and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

Taylor, Mujeeb and Nizakat fined

Meanwhile, Brendan Taylor of Zimbabwe and Afghanistan’s 16-year-old Mujeeb Rahman have also been sanctioned for separate incidents during the match.

Taylor was found to have breached Article 2.1.5, which deals with showing dissent at an umpire s decision during an international match , while Mujeeb was found guilty of breaching Article 2.2.8, which relates to throwing a ball (or any other item of cricket equipment such as a water bottle) at or near a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee or any other third person in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during an international match .

Taylor was fined 15 per cent of his match fee and received one demerit point after pleading guilty to the charge, while Mujeeb was fined 50 per cent of his match fee and got three demerit points following a hearing that took place this morning after he had denied the offence and opted to contest the charge at a full hearing.

Nizakat Khan of Hong Kong too was fined 50 per cent of his match fee and received three demerit points for a deliberate physical contact with Scotland’s Alasdair Evans. The incident happened on the last ball of the 10th over when Nizakat, while taking a run, made an inappropriate and deliberate physical contact by using his shoulder against Scotland bowler Evans. Nizakat admitted the offence after the match and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Shaid Wadvalla and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

(Inputs from ICC and PTI)