141 years after the first Test match the ICC have decided to convene a special meeting with current and former players to review the appropriateness of the current sanctions for offenses, and to decide on how to safeguard spirit of cricket. As things stand in the current regulations, ball tampering is a level-2 offense, but it might see a correction once the cricket committee conducts its review. Sledging, send-offs, and dissent against umpiring decisions might carry greater punishment.
In a letter to various boards, Dave Richardson, ICC CEO, has said that the cricket committee will define what is acceptable behavior for the benefit of players and match officials. He also called for the need to achieve consistency in decision making around the enforcement of the disciplinary code.
Over the past week, cricket world has seen an inconsistency in decisions from the ICC. Shakib Al Hasan was just fined for urging his players to abandon the game, Kagiso Rabada was initially suspended for a shoulder brush before it was overturned on appeal, and Steve Smith was suspended for a Test for his involvement in ball tampering issue. The ICC didn’t take any action on David Warner, and just fined Cameron Bancroft, who was caught by cameras tampering with the ball. That is now set to change.
“We need to define more clearly for the benefit of both the players and the match officials what is acceptable behavior and what is not and what are the appropriate sanctions that should be imposed when a player breaches the Code. We also need to consider how we can reach greater consistency in the decision making around the application and enforcement of the Code,” Richardson wrote.
Though the trigger for this meeting is the ball tampering issue that has snowballed into a big crisis, not just in Australian cricket but for the game in general, Richardson wrote that the committee will strive to address the player behaviour in general and sledgings and send-offs in particular.
“This issue, however, goes beyond ‘ball tampering’ and … over the last few months we have been witness to a number of examples of poor player behavior in various international series around the world including ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpire decisions and a walk-off. There is a need for cricket to take an urgent and hard look at itself,” Richardson wrote.
ICC is yet to decide on the players who will be part of the exercise but has called for a wide-ranging review. “We intend bringing together some well respected former and current players who together with the ICC Cricket Committee will consider the appropriateness of the current offenses and the sanctions in the Code as well as how to make the spirit of the game a more integral part of the Code.
The ICC will be conducting a wide ranging review into player behavior, the spirit in which the game is played and the Code of Conduct.”