Michael Atherton, the former England captain, has called for Sreesanth to be banned from The Oval Test for bowling a beamer at Kevin Pietersen in the second Test at Trent Bridge.
In his column for the Sunday Telegraph, Atherton wrote that a bowler must always be punished severely for bowling a beamer: "If bowled deliberately there cannot be a more cowardly action on a cricket field; if bowled accidentally it is still potentially lethal. Either way it should incur an immediate one-match ban."
Analysing the incident in the second Test, Atherton suggested that there were reasons to believe the beamer might not have been an accident. "The ball wasn't new and the lacquer had worn off, making it less likely to slip out of his hand; it wasn't wet; he had directional problems but hardly of the 'yips' variety.
"We do know that, since the ball landed at the wicketkeeper's feet, he missed his length by a good 30 yards, an extraordinary failing for an international bowler. If it did slip, it slipped with remarkable accuracy, honing in on Pietersen's skull. Shortly afterwards he overstepped the front mark by two feet to bowl a rapid bouncer at Collingwood. Sreesanth was hardly in control of his emotions during that particular spell."
Though Sreesanth immediately apologised after bowling the delivery, Atherton wrote that it hardly took away from the offence. "The royal wave was all that was needed for him to be portrayed as an innocent in the matter and to be forgiven.
"An apology doesn't necessarily mean it is sincere. With match referees on the prowl, any bowler with an ounce of survival instinct is bound to apologise, deliberately bowled or not. And the batsman/batting side has no option but to accept it, for if it is not accepted then the moral high ground shifts in favour of the bowler, whose integrity is suddenly in question."
Atherton also hit out at the ICC for its "misguided sense of priorities". Sreesanth was fined 50% of his match fee for a shoulder nudge at Michael Vaughan, but Atherton felt the beamer was a far more serious offence. "By fining Sreesanth 50% of his match fee for a shoulder nudge that could have inflicted no physical damage and ignoring the beamer which could have maimed a less alert batsman, the International Cricket Council once again showed a liking for the irrelevancies over the issues that matter."
With Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee, taking no action, Atherton felt the onus was now on Rahul Dravid to ensure that he doesn't play at The Oval.
"Since the match referee remained silent on the issue, it is Dravid who should take the appropriate disciplinary action ahead of The Oval Test match. Even if he doesn't want to take disciplinary action, he should ask himself: does he really want a bowler who so obviously cannot control his emotions to play in such a crunch encounter?"http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/engvi...ry/305606.html