Adelaide, Feb 7: The ICC has made it loud and clear that players crossing the line as regards to their on-field behaviour in the upcoming cricket World Cup could expect a "harsher sanctions".
What separates legitimate aggression from verbal abuse has been a subject of intense debate in recent times, especially since the India-Australia Test series. (List of WC broadcasters)
"The main message is the umpires over the last four months or so have been quite strong in the way they've been reporting players who step over the line with the way that they conduct themselves either towards their opponent or towards the umpire or the game," ICC's cricket operations manager Geoff Allardice was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
He added: "And for the tournament itself, the umpires probably aren't going to do things a lot different in terms of reporting players, but I think it's with the World Cup coming along, the penalties might be just a touch higher than they'd otherwise be."
According to Allardice, an A level offence may carry a stricter punishment than just imposition of fines. "A level one offence you only have the option of fines, and the majority of incidents that occur in matches are at that level. So it might be stiffer fines. If players are conducting level two charges, suspension is an option. We don't take the suspending of players lightly or there is not going to be an overreaction in that regard.
"But I think if a player does step across the line to such an extent that he warrants a suspension, I think the referees will consider that. "Each incident is case by case. But I think the general view is the starting point wouldn't be at the minimum point of the range, it might be more in the middle."