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Ball-tampering will now invite a ban for up to six Tests

CricketBall-tampering will now invite a ban for up to six Tests
Important to live the spirit of cricket in a way that is relevant in the 21st century - ICC Chief Executive David Richardson © Getty
Important to live the spirit of cricket in a way that is relevant in the 21st century – ICC Chief Executive David Richardson © Getty

Stringent sanctions to curb ball-tampering and personal abuse were agreed upon at the ICC’s annual conference that concluded in Dublin on Monday (July 2). The ICC board supported the recommendations of the Chief Executives’ Committee and Cricket Committee for changes to the code of conduct, including the introduction of new offences such as Personal Abuse and Audible Obscenity while increasing the level of punishment for “changing the condition of the ball” to Level 3 from Level 2.

The maximum sanction for a Level 3 offence was also increased from 8 suspension points to 12 – translating into a 6-Test or 12-ODI ban. The same change was applied to a Level 4 offence. It was also decided that match referees will henceforth hear any charges from Level 1 to 3 while a Judicial Commissioner will only hear Level 4 charges and appeals.

Attempting to gain unfair advantage (i.e. any form of cheating other than ball tampering) and Personal Abuse were the latest offences which carried Level 2-3 charges while Audible Obscenity and Disobeying An Umpire’s Instructions were the other new codes which were categorised as Level 1 offences.

The ICC also decided to change the guidelines for stump microphone, allowing for the audio to be broadcast at any time, including when the ball is dead. In addition to that, ICC also agreed to consider how the member boards could he held liable when the indiscretions by its players crosses a certain threshold. The changes will be incorporated into the Code of Conduct for adoption later this year, it was decided during the ICC meet.

“It has been a productive week of meetings here in Dublin and it has been good to have all ICC Members in attendance at our 75th Annual Conference. I and my fellow Board directors were unanimous in supporting the recommendations of the Cricket Committee and Chief Executives’ Committee to drive improved behaviour across our sport,” ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said.

“It is vital that there is a strong deterrent to both players and administrators to ensure we have high standards of conduct in our game. We have more than a billion fans and we must not give any of them any reason to doubt the high levels of integrity within our sport,” he added.

World Test Championship

The Chief Executives’ Committee approved the Playing Conditions for the World Test Championship, including the points system. The ICC stated that the full playing conditions will be drafted in the coming weeks and published in due course. The committee also confirmed that all World Championship matches will be five-day encounters while allowing the members to continue pursuing four-day cricket, which will not be part of the championship.

Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka cricket

The ICC board also agreed to help in the stabilisation of Zimbabwe Cricket with a package of measures, having been satisfied with the latter’s compliance with conditions set by the governing body. Confirming a rearrangement of funding to Zimbabwe Cricket to facilitate in the clearance of existing debts, the ICC stated that the remaining funds would be released only on a controlled basis. It was also decided that ICC’s management will work with Zimbabwe Cricket to chalk a plan for better management along with conducting regular reviews.

“I am satisfied we have mapped out a way forward to enable Zimbabwe Cricket to get back on track. It will require significant change to their financial, managerial and cricketing operations, along with support from the ICC, but we saw the latent potential of cricket at the recent ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe and this gives us the opportunity to build on that,” Manohar said.

Meanwhile, recognising the current situation in Sri Lanka Cricket – whose affairs are being overseen by the country’s Sports Ministry – the ICC allowed a representative of the Sri Lankan Sports Minister to now sit as an observer to the ICC Board and Full Council. However, the ICC gave Sri Lanka a polite six-month deadline to conduct elections failing which it would be forced to reconsider SLC’s membership status.

2018 Women’s Asia Cup

In the backdrop of ICC’s recent decision to grant international status to all Women’s T20 matches played between member nations after July 1 2018, it was decided to do the same for the recently-concluded Women’s Asia Cup.

ICC also confirmed that all the Men’s senior teams will be awarded T20I status on January 1, 2019, which is after the cut-off point for qualification to the ICC World T20 2020. It was also announced that the rankings for the Women and Men teams will be introduced in October 2018 and May 2019 respectively.

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