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Aussies face life ban for sledging
Greg Buckle | October 01, 2003 17:01 IST
Australian players face possible life bans for sledging if they breach a new code of behaviour, Cricket Australia said on Wednesday.
Steve Waugh's top-ranked team have been heavily criticised in recent years for their persistent on-field sledging and CA is determined that Australian players clean up their act.
Under the new policy, players could receive a ban of between five matches and life for assault and offences of a racial or religious vilification nature, the CA said on its website.
Players could also be fined or given suspended sentences for dissent towards an umpire or excessive appealing.
"We have given our players a clear definition of what is required," CA operations manager Michael Brown said.
"We are limited to Test and domestic players, but ultimately you would like to think that local teams will adopt our guidelines."
Bevan added that the tough penalties will be enforced during the 2003-04 season. Australia's two-Test series against Zimbabwe starts in Perth on October 9.
In May this year, the outgoing International Cricket Council president Malcolm Gray ordered a review into the behaviour of Australia's cricketers during their away test series with West Indies.
Gray was especially concerned with an on-field row between Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath and West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan during the fourth Test.
The episode, where the taller McGrath made finger-pointing gestures towards his opponent, led to CA chief James Sutherland telephoning captain Waugh to voice his displeasure over what he called an "ugly incident".
Australian Gray, who retired as ICC president in June, has urged the world body to lead the change towards better player behaviour, while adding that national cricket boards also had a responsibility to improve player behaviour.
"In terms of process it is an ICC matter, in other words the umpires, referees and so forth," he said.
"However, in terms of the longer-term problem, it really is up to the national bodies to develop within their teams a change in culture."
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has led criticism of Waugh's team for their on-field sledging, while emphasising sledging was not a widespread problem at Test level.
Waugh, however, sees things a little differently.
"Of course we do things wrong and I'm not going to say we're perfect," he said earlier this week.
"But I think we're moving in the right direction."