Yellow and red cards for cricket?

Scott Styris and Mitchell Johnson faced off during an ODI in 2010. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Scott Styris and Mitchell Johnson faced off during an ODI in 2010. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Cricketers could be sent off or banished to a sin-bin for 10 overs this summer as lawmakers try to address increasing levels of bad behaviour.

The MCC is to launch a trial that will, in effect, bring red or yellow cards to club, university and schools cricket to stamp out excessive sledging and curb the increase of violent behaviour.

Five matches in England were abandoned last year due to violence and, after consulting umpire associations around the world, the MCC has decided action needs to be ­taken to support officials by introducing a code of conduct with four levels of offences.

Proposals include sending off a player for the rest of the match for the most serious level-four offences, such as threatening an umpire, assaulting a player, official or spectator, and racist abuse. If it is a batsman, he will be "retired out".

For a level-three offence, such as threatening and intimidating behaviour, or bowling a deliberate beamer, suggested sanctions include 10 overs in the sin-bin.

Lesser offences, including time-wasting, dissent or deliberate physical contact, such as shoulder-barging, would bring an immediate five-run penalty.

"We know anecdotally that player behaviour seems to be on the wane in cricket, certainly in this country," Fraser Stewart, the MCC's head of laws, told Telegraph Sport.

"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 MCC, the guardian of the laws of the game, will be trialling these sanctions in its own matches this summer, which will include university cricket, although not games against county sides.

The MCC is hoping leagues will join in the trial with a view to the sanctions being introduced when it publishes redrafted laws of the game in 2017.

The decision to introduce the scheme to professional cricket would be made by the relevant ­national boards and the International Cricket Council, but they could follow suit if the MCC trial is deemed a success.

"Following a global consultation in 2015, the majority of umpires felt they would be better able to control player behaviour if they had more power to deal with the problem during the game, rather than through a reporting procedure afterwards," Stewart said. "The benefit of this is that the offence has a consequence in that particular game, rather than in the following weeks, or the following season.

"The hope is the added deterrents will make players realise they can't behave in a poor way."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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