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Ronnie Hira out for season for spectator abuse

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2013
Ronnie Hira
DANIEL TOBIN/Fairfax NZ
BANNED: Lancaster Park-Woolston and Canterbury cricketer Ronnie Hira is pictured bowling in the match last weekend from which the incident arose.

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Ronnie Hira has been banned from all cricket for the rest of the year for abusing a spectator during a club cricket match, but is fighting to be able to play for Canterbury on Friday.

The former New Zealand and current Canterbury contracted cricketer was this week found guilty of breaching Christchurch Metro Cricket's code of conduct when he reacted to on-going taunts from spectators during the club final on Sunday.

Hira is prevented from playing cricket until midnight on December 31 which includes a club game for Lancaster Park-Woolston today and a domestic T20 match for Canterbury against Wellington on Friday.

Metro Cricket boss Mike Harvey said the commissioners hearing the matter took into account mitigating factors such as the taunts Hira received from the sideline and the fact he had a clean record.

Metro Cricket's findings said: "Hira was alleged to have used crude, obscene or offensive language and unnecessarily or unreasonably abused a spectator at the ground, following his dismissal during LPW's turn at bat."

Hira told The Press he was sorry for reacting as he had and called the incident a "big mistake" on his part.

He said he was happy to be punished, but considered the punishment he received was too harsh.

The New Zealand Cricket Players' Association is currently dealing with Metro Cricket about the punishment that Hira called "disproportionately unfair".

"I did the crime so you do the time and it was a big mistake, but I don't think the punishment is fair," he said.

The crux of Hira's complaint is he is punished two-fold. He misses cricket and is effectively fined as well by missing a Canterbury match for which he would have received a payment.

As well as their association contracts, players receive payments for each match they play or are the 12th man for. The fee for T20 games is $470.

Hira is also hoping to make the New Zealand T20 side and the match he misses would have been another chance for him to push his case.

Hira is also confused how something that happened in an amateur club match could affect his professional occupation.

It would have been interesting had Hira been named in the New Zealand ODI team which play their first match against the West Indies on Boxing Day.

Hira has no right of appeal, according to Metro Cricket, but Harvey confirmed the original ban until New Year's Eve was being reassessed.

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