Australian scandal leads ICC Cricket Committee to recommend stronger sanctions for ball-tampering
Increasing sanctions associated with ball-tampering and creating a code of respect were among the recommendations made by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee at a two-day meeting held in the Indian city of Mumbai last week.
The ICC Cricket Committee, led by former Indian captain Anil Kumble, held a series of discussions on the code of conduct and the spirit of the game following the ball-tampering scandal which occurred during a Test match between Australia and South Africa in March.
The Committee was joined by ex-England captain Mike Gatting and David Boon, the former Australia batsman and now a member of the elite panel of match referees.
They backed stronger sanctions for players, staff and support staff found guilty of ball-tampering.
Former Australia captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all banned for their involvement in a plot to tamper with the ball during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Smith and Warner were each banned for a year, while Bancroft received a nine-month suspension.
The scandal, which rocked the sport and generated enormous comment and media attention, also raised concerns about the spirit teams were playing the game amid an increase in the level of on-field hostilities.
The Cricket Committee has urged the ICC to adopt a code of respect to address these concerns while granting match referees the power to downgrade or upgrade a level of offence or sanction.
Creating a new offence for offensive, personal, insulting, offensive or orchestrated abuse was also recommended as a way to combat the problem.
There were also discussions to scrap the pre-Test coin toss, which decides which team bats or bowls first.
However, the Cricket Committee decided against it after claiming the toss is "an integral part of Test cricket which forms part of the narrative of the game".
Commenting on the meeting’s outcomes, Kumble stated “we had an excellent discussion around the issue of player behaviour and I’d like to thank Mike Gatting and David Boon for joining us and making valuable contributions.
"The Committee echoed the sentiments of the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee and the ICC Board, and, as such, we have made a series of recommendations as part of the creation of a culture of respect we can all adhere to.
"The group felt that excessive personal abuse and ball tampering were serious offences in the game and that should be reflected in the way in which they are dealt with.
"There was also strong support for giving the match officials more authority and subsequently greater support around their decision making."
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