ICC asks panel to suggest harsher punishment for ball-tampering

KOLKATA, India, (Reuters) – The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked an internal panel to suggest harsher punishment for ball-tampering and other misbehaviour by players in its bid to establish a “culture of respect”, chief executive Dave Richardson said yesterday.

The game’s image was sullied in Cape Town last month when Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera tampering with the ball during the third test of the ill-tempered series against South Africa.

Bancroft, then captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner, were promptly sent home and handed hefty bans by Cricket Australia.

Addressing a news conference after an ICC board meeting, Richardson said the punishments under its code of conduct for such misbehaviour were inadequate.

“We want to move towards stricter and heavier sanction for ball-tampering and all other offences that are indicative of a lack of respect for your opponent, for the game, for the umpire, for fans, for the media etc,” he told reporters.

“We want penalties in place which act as proper deterrent. Fines are not proving to be the answer.”

ICC’s Cricket Committee, chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble, will review the current ICC code of conduct and recommend suitable punishments for rogue behaviour.

“We’ve got the spirit of cricket in the laws but we need to define it in the modern day and age,” Richardson, a former South Africa player, said.

“Both the CEC (Chief Executives’s Committee) and the board were very supportive of trying to develop a culture of respect across the game, both on the field and off the field.”

“Hopefully through these actions of reviewing the code of conduct and developing a culture of respect… we will achieve that goal.”

Borrowing soccer’s red and yellow cards and handing out instant punishment would be considered, though Richardson was sceptical about the idea of using cards.

“Whether we introduce red or yellow cards, we’d leave it to the committee. I’m not convinced that it would as easy to implement as it is in other sports.”

The quarterly ICC meeting acknowledged Twenty20 cricket as the vehicle to globalise the English game, deciding to grant international status to all 20-overs matches between its members.

Richardson said it could prove a major step towards cricket’s Olympic inclusion at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

“Assuming that we get all of cricket united in the desire to be part of the Olympics, we will have a very good chance of persuading the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that cricket can add value to Olympics.

“Already we’ve missed the boat for applying to the IOC through the front door, we can’t go to Paris. We’ll continue to talk with LA in due course, and hopefully by 2028 we will have cricket in the Olympics.”

The governing body approved a new Future Tours Programme for the 2019-23 cycle, which replaces the 2021 Champions Trophy with a World Twenty20, less than a year after Australia hosts the 2020 edition of the event.

Richardson said was not ideal but that there was no other window in the crammed calendar.

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