Bengaluru, Dec 7: Come October 1, 2017, we could see football-style sending offs for players from a cricket field for "serious disciplinary breaches".
During its two-day (December 6, 7) meeeting in Mumbai, the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) World Cricket Committee has recommended that the umpires be given powers to eject players from the field of play for indiscipline. MCC is the guardian of the Laws of the game.
"The MCC World Cricket committee recommends that umpires be given the power to eject cricketers from a game for serious disciplinary breaches," MCC said on Wednesday (December 7) after the meeting, which was attended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur, former India captain Sourav Ganguly and other members of the committee.
Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, one of the members of the committee, too was part of the meeting.
"Subject to approval by the main MCC Committee, the new code of the Laws of Cricket will include a stipulation that umpires can remove a player from the field for the following - threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator; any other act of violence on the field of play," it added.
It further stated, "The World Cricket committee believes that the game must now include a mechanism to deal with the worst disciplinary offences during the match, and not subsequent to it as is presently the case. If approved, the ability to send a player off would therefore come into effect at all levels of the game from 1st October 2017.
"The committee debated sanctions for lesser offences - including run penalties and sin bins - but did not believe anything should be introduced to the Laws, where it would be harder to achieve consistency of application around the world. However, MCC will look to devise such a system as an appendix to the Laws which governing bodies or leagues may wish to implement within their own playing regulations."
In football, a player is show yellow card for first offence and a second infringement means a red card which ends his stay on the field. Further, football players face suspensions from their next match after a red-card offence.
According to MCC World Cricket Committee, the main reasons reached this conclusion were as follows
# Cricket is one of the only sports in which there is no 'in-match' punishment for poor behaviour. A captain may ask his player to leave the field but the umpires have no such jurisdiction. Taking an extreme example, a batsman could wilfully hit a member of the fielding side with their bat, before carrying on to score a century to win the match for their team.
# The Spirit of Cricket states there is to be no violence on the field yet there is nothing in the Laws giving the umpires power to punish it during the match.
# Cricket therefore needs a punishment which will have an impact on the perpetrator and his or her team during that particular match.
# It is unrealistic to think that every captain will discipline his or her players and ensure that the Spirit of Cricket is followed. Almost all other sports have an umpire or referee who can take more drastic action.
# Even if the sanction is rarely used, its presence will act as a suitable deterrent, thereby leading to an improvement in behaviour.
# In MCC's global consultation of cricket officials and administrators in 2015, an overwhelming majority of respondents supported the introduction of a system that gave more 'in-match' power to the umpires to deal with poor behaviour.
# The decline in behaviour in the recreational game is having an adverse effect on the availability and willingness of people wanting to stand as umpires. The ECB Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) recognises this as a real problem and a recent survey by Portsmouth University showed that 40% of British umpires said that episodes of abuse made them question whether or not to continue umpiring.
The full list of MCC committee members
Mike Brearley (Chairman)
John Stephenson (MCC Head of Cricket)
Vince van der Bijl
Note: Edwards, McCullum and Sangakkara were "unable" to attend the meeting