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Now, Cricket set to introduce red cards!

Last updated on: December 07, 2016 17:42 IST

Cricket has finally decided to get serious about on-field disciplinary breaches with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) World Committee recommending introduction of red cards and sending off cricketers from a match similar to a football game.

The MCC, the custodians of the laws of the game headed by former England captain Mike Brearley, announced in Mumbai on Wednesday that they have recommended that ‘umpires be given the power to eject cricketers from a game for serious disciplinary breaches.’

Subject to approval from 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 threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator, or any other act of violence on the field of play.

Brearely claimed that the red card suggestion is more aimed at lower level of cricket, like the league cricket in England, where abusing umpires during a game have become rampant.

“There was a survey done of the umpires and 40 percent said they are considering giving up the game or giving up umpiring because of verbal abuse. Anecdotal evidence from people who are familiar with leagues in parts of England, say that the behaviour has gone worse. The umpires have to be respected and given the best possible chance and I think cricket is the only game in which there isn’t this possibility of an in-match punishment or deterrent,”

Brearley said after the two-day meeting of the MCC World Cricket Committee in Mumbai.

MCC reasoned that introduction of sending-off rule becomes necessary as ‘Cricket is one of the only sport in which there is no in-match punishment for poor behaviour.’

The MCC World Committee members John Stephenson, Ricky Ponting, Mike Brearley and Ramiz Raja at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday

IMAGE: The MCC World Committee members John Stephenson, Ricky Ponting, Mike Brearley and Ramiz Raja at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Photograph: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

MCC’s head of cricket, John Stephenson said the red card proposal was accepted by the committee after a lot of trials in league cricket in England.

“There is difference between the behaviour at the higher level and further down the food chain you get. There has been a lot of evidence to suggest there has been a lot of violence on the pitch in lower grade cricket. We had an extensive player behaviour trial over the last year or so, three leagues adopted these different codes of conduct, the red and yellow cards. We felt that we would go for the red card option. It is very difficult with that in between option to officiate so we are going in with the red card option and see how it works,” he said.

Former Pakistan batsman Ramiz Raja hopes the sending-off will act as a deterrent against such unruly behaviour.

“It is the second tier or the third tier which is causing a lot of stress, the club matches and the lower tier games and so it was felt that something had to be done at that level particularly and the top level as well. It is just a deterrent more than anything else and just giving more power to (against) unruly behaviour.”

As per the recommendation, the guilty player will be asked to leave the field of play and the team involved would not get a replacement and will be asked to continue with 10 players for the rest of the game.

If approved by the International Cricket Council, the ability to send a player off would therefore come into effect at all levels of the game from October 1, 2017.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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