Sussex have been handed a 12-point County Championship penalty, while their captain, Cheteshwar Pujara, has been given a one-match suspension after the club received their fourth fixed penalty of the season.

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The club received their third and fourth penalties of the season during their win over Leicestershire at Hove in the most recent round of the County Championship. Accumulating four penalties during the course of one season automatically triggers a 12-point deduction under regulation 4.29 of the Professional Conduct Regulations.

Regulation 3.0 states that a captain who led the side in all of the matches where the penalties were received shall also be suspended for one match when the four-penalty threshold is crossed.

The 12-point penalty means Sussex have dropped from third in the Division Two table to fifth. With Durham having already sealed their promotion to Division One at the end of the season, the deduction drastically reduces Sussex’s chances of claiming the second spot. Worcestershire are currently in the second promotion position on 154 points while Leicestershire are next on 133.

Sussex came into the game against Leicestershire with two fixed penalties against them. Pujara was reprimanded for “wilfully mistreating any part of the cricket ground, equipment or implements used in the match” against Durham in Sussex’s first match of the season, while Tom Haines was reprimanded during a fixture against Yorkshire in April.

Haines’ was reported by the umpires during the match against Leicestershire and charged with a Level One offence, while Jack Carson also received an individual fixed penalty for a Level Two offence (making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with another player). Both players have been dropped from Sussex’s squad for their next match against Derbyshire, as has Ari Karvelas, with an investigation in place regarding him.

“We have made Jack and Tom unavailable for selection for this game at Derbyshire,” head coach Paul Farbrace said. “Following the umpires and match referee’s decision to charge both players with on field level one and level two offences, we needed to take a stance, and show them we will not condone such behaviours.

“Ultimately it has cost us the availability of Cheteshwar and we have been deducted 12 points. We have also decided it is not appropriate for Ari Karvelas to be made available for selection until the investigation that is in place has been concluded. This provides other players in our squad with a great opportunity to show they can perform at this level, and more importantly contribute towards the team challenging to win matches in the County Championship.

“It is a great shame that these incidents have tarnished what was a fantastic game against Leicestershire, and all the hard work that has gone into the season. I am disappointed for our fantastic members and supporters and can assure them we will be working hard to make sure we are not in this position again.”

Haines and Carson have both apologised for their actions.

“In the heat of the battle during the previous match against Leicestershire my desperation to compete and ultimately win the game resulted in me crossing the line in what is deemed acceptable within the spirit of cricket,” Carson said. “I would like to apologise to my teammates and to all our Sussex supporters for my actions during the game. I plan to learn from the experience and conduct myself in the correct manner without losing my fierce determination to compete in all fixtures while representing the Club.”

“In light of the recent game against Leicestershire, I’d like to apologise to all Sussex supporters for overstepping the mark with regards to discipline on the field,” Haines said. “It came out of pure passion to compete and help the team win the game. This is something I will learn from and channel better in future games for Sussex.”

Pujara has scored three centuries for Sussex this season and averages 54.08. Tom Alsop will captain the side against Derbyshire before Pujara is once again available for selection in the final round of matches.

Sussex’s match against Derbyshire will begin tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19) ahead of their final match of the competition against Gloucestershire next week.