Somerset have never won the County Championship.© AFP
Somerset’s 12-point deduction for preparing a substandard pitch against Essex in the 2019 English County Championship decider, has been cut to eight ahead of this season’s remodelled first-class competition. In November 2019, a Cricket Discipline Commission disciplinary panel rated the surface at southwest county Somerset’s headquarters as “poor” due to excessive unevenness of bounce. The CDC imposed a 24-point penalty, half of which was suspended for two years. But with a shortened first-class season staged in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to defer the punishment until this year.
When the initial penalty was imposed, it was in the context of an expected 14-match season in a two-division County Championship.
But because of the impact of Covid-19, counties will initially be split into three seeded conferences of six sides, playing each team within their group home and away.
As a result, Somerset and the England and Wales Cricket Board asked the CDC to revise its ruling.
Now Somerset, who have never won the County Championship and finished runners-up in last season’s replacement Bob Willis Trophy, will instead start the season on minus eight points, with the potential for extra punishment if there are further infringements.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the ECB added: “All parties understand that the (currently) suspended element relating to the 2022 season will need to be revisited” once the format of next year’s County Championship is known.
Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “Obviously we are pleased that the ECB have taken the decision to amend the sanction proportionately in light of the new structure of the domestic season in 2021.”
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