Banned Swart 'hung out to dry' by Warriors

John Townsend

Michael Swart is the unluckiest cricketer in the country. Maybe even the world.

In the space of 24 hours this week, Swart went from an invitation to play at the World Cup to having his Warriors career disintegrate before a harsh and unforgiving WACA tribunal.

And just as he was frustrated and confused at receiving a three-match ban for what he claimed was nothing more than self-defence, the clumsy handling of the Netherlands call-up and subsequent withdrawal of that invitation led to even more embarrassment.

The double blow came after WA coach Mickey Arthur sent Swart home from State training last week and told him he would not be considered for Warriors selection until the assault charge was finalised.

Swart's advocate Ryan Campbell, a former WA player, told the WACA tribunal that cricket manager Andrew Scotford had apologised for Swart's expulsion and said it was beyond Arthur's powers.

"The Warriors have hung Swart out to dry," Campbell said at the start of the hearing.

But things only got worse for Swart, who was found guilty of assaulting Bayswater-Morley opponent Billy Godleman.

At the start of the match, Swart had a simple goal.

He needed to bat well enough to make the State selectors think he could offer something to a Warriors top order in transition.

Four shield matches and two one-dayers remained in the season and given that Arthur was rebuilding the underperforming Warriors squad with promising youngsters, a 28-year-old mid-range player like Swart had few opportunities to indicate he should be part of the future.

Bayswater batted first and Godleman, a county player for Essex, was making his final appearance for the club.

Godleman, whose own report over the incident with Swart will be heard later, is not likely to be welcomed back to WACA ranks after a season in which he won few friends for his on-field confrontations with opponents.

He was involved in a physical clash against Perth that led to Paul Nicholas receiving a one-match ban while Fremantle and University players have reported their own dramas.

Umpire Nathan Johnstone also told the WACA tribunal that Joondalup players had made three separate complaints about Godleman making inappropriate physical contact even before the clash that led to the report.

Swart was fielding near the pitch at short mid-off when Godleman drove down the ground and set off for a run.

Umpires Johnstone and Wayne Barron both gave evidence that Godleman ran directly into Swart, who was watching the ball with his back to the batsman.

But the report was laid over what happened a few moments later.

Godleman completed his first run and was coming back for the second when he again ran into Swart who raised his left arm, he says to protect himself.

The umpires charged Godleman with the level two offence of making inappropriate physical contact. They claimed the Swart contact constituted an assault and laid the most serious level four charge.

"It was more careless than deliberate," Johnstone told the tribunal. "The contact was more of a glancing blow than a forceful push with intent to cause harm."

Swart was adamant that he had acted in self-defence.

"I don't know what else I could have done," Swart said.

"He ran into me … he lined me up … and if I had just stood there I would have copped another one."

But the tribunal suspended him for three matches - at least one more than Godleman faces if he is found guilty.

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