Cricket’s world body said Thursday it wants tough new sanctions against ball tampering in place within months as it struggles with the fallout from the cheating scandal involving top Australian players.
International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson said football-style red and yellow cards would be among the measures considered as it seeks to bring back a “culture of respect” to the game.
The leaders of top playing nations demanded harsher punishment and more powers for umpires to act against cheating and misconduct at ICC meetings in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata this week.
“There was clear direction received that we want to move toward stricter and heavier sanctions for ball tampering and all other offences that are indicative of a lack of respect,” he told a press conference.
Ex-Indian Test star Anil Kumble is to lead a player legends committee to recommend the sanctions.
The ICC chief said the new punishments would be decided in June and July. Richardson said the punishments would also cover “other offences that are indicative of a lack of respect for your opponent, for the game, the umpires”.
“We want penalties in place that are a proper deterrent. Fines are not proving to be the answer,” he said.
The ICC was criticised after it banned Australia skipper Steve Smith for only one Test over his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last month in which batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught trying to alter the ball.
After a wave of public anger, Cricket Australia later banned Smith and his deputy David Warner for 12 months. Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. “Quite honestly we were worried about poor player behaviour before that,” said Richardson.
“There have just been too many incidents of sledging, ugly abusive language and dissent.” He said letting umpires send off and book players will be part of the discussion.
“When it comes to time wasting and things like that we want the umpires to take more on-field actions.”
Richardson said he was not convinced that red and yellow cards “will be as easy to implement as in other sports”.
Umpires have since last year already been able to send off players for violence and other extreme behaviour but this has not yet been used.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), guardians of the game rules, have been among the influential groups calling for red cards.
The death-knell for the 50-over Champions Trophy is the latest stage of efforts to use 20 over cricket in a new campaign to get wider recognition and a potential Olympic place.
“The T20 format we always knew was the vehicle for growing the game and transforming the game from being a sport played by a few countries to a truly global sport,” ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said after the world body met in Kolkata.
The next Champions Trophy “will be turned into a world T20 and that fits in with our strategy to use T20 as a way of growing the game,” Richardson added.
David Richardson: "We are committed to growing the game and T20 is the vehicle through which we’ll do this and removing restrictions and having all Members ranked is a positive step forward." pic.twitter.com/VlV3xiJQji— ICC (@ICC) April 26, 2018
It means there will be a World T20 in Australia in 2020 and another the following year. But Richardson said after 2021 the World T20 would be held every two years “to provide more teams with more opportunities to play”.
The 50-over World Cup will remain a four yearly event. It is in England next year and India in 2023.
Richardson said cricket still holds out hope of getting an Olympic place by the time of the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
In a further boost to the T20 game, the ICC has also decided to give “international status” to all 20 over matches between the world body’s 100-plus member nations.
“New minimum standards will be introduced making it as easy as possible for members to play international cricket in a sustainable and affordable way,” said an ICC statement.
Global rankings will also be introduced from November for women’s teams and May 2019 for men.
The official and complete schedule for the 10-team competition to be held in England will be released on Thursday by the ICC.
All eyes will of course be on the India-Pakistan clash with the arch-rivals currently limited to playing each other only in multi-team tournaments due to ongoing political tensions between the two countries.
That match has been scheduled to take place on June 16 at Old Trafford in Manchester according to a senior BCCI official.
Interestingly, the India-Pakistan clash has usually been the opening fixture for both teams when it comes to ICC events but that will not be the case in the 2019 edition of the World Cup.
The ICC’s Chief Executives (CEC) meeting is currently ongoing in Kolkata and will come to a conclusion on Friday. India were earlier slated to open their World Cup campaign on June 2 but this has date has now been altered due to the Lodha Committee’s recommendations that a 15-day gap be maintained between the IPL and India’s international assignments.
“The 2019 IPL will be played between March 29 and May 19. But we need to maintain a 15-day gap and World Cup starts on May 30. Therefore as per a 15-day gap, we could have only played on June 5. Earlier, we were scheduled to start on June 2 but we couldn’t have played on that day,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by the PTI (Press Trust of India) on the condition of anonymity.
“South Africa are our first opponents. The CEC agreed and the matter has been referred to the ICC board,” the official went on to add.