Cricketers at club, university and schools level in England are facing the prospect of being sent-off under proposals being considered by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in response to a raise in violent behaviour in the sport.
The MCC, the main law-makers within cricket, are set to launch a trial which could include players being ordered off the field for the rest of the match for offences.
These cold include threatening an umpire, assaulting a player, official or spectator.
If the offender is a batsman, they could be “retired out” and will be unable to carry on with their innings.
For less serious offences, such as threatening or intimidating behaviour, the player in question would be forced to spend a 10-over period in the sin-bin.
Dissent, wasting time and initiating deliberate contact would be punished with a five-run penalty.
The trials are poised to be held over the summer during MCC-sanctioned matches, including those at university standard but not those between counties.
The move comes in an attempt to curb violent behaviour on the cricket pitch following concerns about the rise of misconduct at the lower levels of the game in Britain.
Five club matches in England had to be abandoned during 2015 as a result of violent incidents.
In July, a match in the Pembrokeshire Division Two between Saundersfoot and Killgetty was called off after intense sledging, where often insulting words are used to try and put off the opposing team but which is not outlawed under the rules of the game, sparked a furious brawl where a 16-year-old was punched in the face by a more senior player.
“We know anecdotally that player behaviour seems to be on the wane in cricket, certainly in this country,” the MCC’s head of rules Peter Stewart told English newspaper the Daily Telegraph.
“Statistics from leagues show there are increased numbers of players being reported.
“Last summer, five games had to be abandoned due to varying degrees of violence.
“That is an increase, for sure.
“It was felt that now was a good time to review this whole area and perhaps try and find leagues, competitions and schools willing to trial means that act as a deterrent.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board, who govern the sport in the two countries, operate a four-tier punishment system, ranging from levels one to four.
On the global stage, players can be fined part of their match fee and can be given suspensions by the International Cricket Council.
- By Liam Morgan, republished with permission insidethegames.biz