England prospect Jack Carson has admitted “crossing the line” after ill-discipline earned Sussex a 12-point deduction that appears to have wrecked their prospects of promotion from LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two.
Carson, the highly rated England Lions spinner who could come into contention for next year’s Test tour of India, was issued with a level-two fixed penalty breach by the match referee after last week’s victory over Leicestershire.
Footage from the match suggests a potential attempt to trip opposition batter Ben Cox at the bowler’s end could be the reason while team-mate Tom Haines was also slapped with a more minor level-one offence.
That takes Sussex to four in a season, triggering the points deduction that leaves them 30 behind second-placed Worcestershire with two games to play.
Carson and Haines have both been banned from playing against Derbyshire this week by Sussex, who have also withdrawn bowler Ari Karvelas “until an investigation into an incident in the Leicestershire game has been concluded”.
Star Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara, meanwhile, pays the price for his role as captain during the breaches and has also been given an automatic one-game suspension by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Carson said: “In the heat of the battle during the previous match against Leicestershire, my desperation to compete and ultimately win the game resulted in me crossing the line in what is deemed acceptable within the spirit of cricket.
“I would like to apologise to my team-mates and to all our Sussex supporters for my actions during the game.
“I plan to learn from the experience and conduct myself in the correct manner without losing my fierce determination to compete in all fixtures while representing the club.”
Haines said: “I’d like to apologise to all Sussex supporters for overstepping the mark with regards to discipline on the field. It came out of pure passion to compete and help the team win the game. This is something I will learn from and channel better in future games for Sussex.”
Head coach Paul Farbrace, the former England assistant, offered a stern assessment of recent events.
He said: “Following the umpires and match referee’s decision to charge both players with on-field level-one and level-two offences, we needed to take a stance and show them we will not condone such behaviours.
“It is a great shame that these incidents have tarnished what was a fantastic game against Leicestershire and all the hard work that has gone into the season.”