‘Assassination of his character’: Henriques sticks up for Curran over umpire stoush as Sixers sink Strikers in thriller


Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques believes the four-game BBL ban handed to Tom Curran for umpire intimidation amounts to character assassination.

The English import was charged with a level-three offence under clause 2.17 in the code of conduct, announced on Thursday.

The charge stemmed from an incident during the warm-up before the Sixers’ clash with the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on December 11.

In footage released late Thursday night, Curran was involved in an altercation with an umpire after completing a practice bowling run-up in which he ran onto the pitch.

He was instructed not to enter the pitch, then went to the other end to complete another practice run-up.

The Sixers are appealing the ban and hope to have Curran back to face the Melbourne Stars on Boxing Day, but they went into Friday’s clash against the Adelaide Strikers without him.

Speaking before play began on Friday, Henriques said the playing group had rallied behind the English allrounder in the days since the incident.

“It’s been a pretty tough time for TC (Curran) over the past 11 or 12 days sitting on this,” Henriques told Fox Cricket. “Knowing what he’s like, he’s taken this to heart and he’s really worried about the assassination of his character.

“(Umpire intimidation is) a big claim, so I’m wishing him the best.”

Henriques believed footage of the incident lacked context, and he was confused about the decision to impose such a long ban. “I’m very surprised,” he said. “We obviously don’t condone any untoward behaviour towards the umpire or any umpiring staff, but I still can’t quite understand the decision. 

“I just can’t help but think we haven’t quite understood the context of the altercation. (Curran) is a great man. He’s a real leader in the community, he’s a leader amongst our team. I’m still struggling to comprehend that penalty for what he’s done.”

18 needed off the final over – and Jamie Overton took it to the final ball!

Watch how it played out, thanks to @BKTtires #TheFinish #BBL13 pic.twitter.com/uzzi4HYCTd

— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 22, 2023

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley refused to comment on the specifics of the incident when pressed on Friday, but warned players they needed to respect match officials.

“My feeling is that players really need to respect the umpires and the match referees,” he said.

“I think that those processes are in place for good reason, and my overarching message to everybody, and this is not just at the elite level, but at the community level where many of the umpires and officials give their time as volunteers. 

“Respect is fundamental to the spirit of cricket and it’s fundamental to the laws of the game.

“Players are role models in society and it’s really important they show respect.”

Tom Curran. (Photo by Jason McCawley – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Jordan Silk said tight finishes are in the Sixers’ DNA after his half-century propelled the side to a nailbiting one-run BBL win over the Adelaide Strikers. 

The Sixers kept their unbeaten start to the summer alive on Friday before 18,368 fans at the SCG after they had won their first match of the BBL by eight runs and they clinched their second with four deliveries to spare.

“It’s probably become a bit of our DNA, really,” Silk said of his side’s tight wins. “We sort of like having these 150, 160 totals. We relish the opportunity to try and defend those.”

The Strikers appeared on their way to chasing down the Sixers’ modest 7-155 for victory on Friday night when superstar Chris Lynn (37 off 17 balls) got going.

But Henriques (2-11), enjoying a stellar summer with the ball, skittled the T20 superstar and was pick of a bowling attack that kept Adelaide from kicking clear.

The power surge in the 17th and 18th overs looked set to be game-defining as the Strikers required 42 runs from the final 24 balls with short boundaries in sight.

Veteran quick Jackson Bird (2-19) kept the visitors from hitting any boundaries in the first over before Jack Edwards took the big wicket of Matt Short (55), who had been Adelaide’s best.

Is that the game?

Massive wicket for the Sixers as Jack Edwards removes Matt Short! #BBL13 pic.twitter.com/ovIk9x6aQC

— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 22, 2023

“Jackson Bird deserves a special mention,” Silk said. “Without him, I don’t see us winning that game.”

Into the allrounders after Short was caught at mid-off by Henriques, the Strikers required 18 runs from the final Ben Dwarshuis over. They looked on track when towering English quick Jamie Overton (31no) blasted a four and six off the first and third deliveries.

Needing four runs from the final ball, Dwarshuis held his nerve, Overton slapping his full toss to the boundary rope where a fielder was waiting.  Sydney held on and Adelaide finished at 6-154.

Earlier, Sixers fan favourite Silk (66no) brought up his seventh BBL half-century to help his side recover from slumping to 3-40.

They had been 0-39 at the end of the powerplay, before Overton (3-23) dispatched ofopeners James Vince (10) and Josh Philippe (25) in the same over.

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