The ICC's attempts to stamp out sledging ahead of the Cricket World Cup are under pressure after the alleged racial taunting of an Indian cricketer by Australia's David Warner.

Less than a week after reports that the ICC had issued a pre-tournament warning to teams to refrain from sledging, and backed match officials to come down hard on behaviour that breaches the game's code of conduct, Warner was captured on video telling India's Rohit Sharma to "speak English" during a one-day international in Melbourne.

The heated argument started when Warner confronted Sharma about an overthrow after the last ball of the 23rd over on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with India's score at 3-112.

Warner mouthed off at the Indian batsman over what he perceived to be poor sportsmanship for running off an overthrow that he believed came from a deflection.


However, he said he wouldn't seek out Sharma to apologise despite being fined 50 per cent of his match fee by an ICC match official. He told Sky Sports Radio this morning: "If people get on the wrong side of me, I'm not going to back down."

He said the Australian cricket team played "hard aggressive cricket but we know what comes with it, sometimes you are going to get fined. We've just got to keep trying not to cross that line, because we're all about playing cricket the right way''.

Warner also explained why he had said "speak English" to Rohit. "When I went over to say something to him, he sort of said something in their language and I said 'speak English' because, if you're going to say something, understand that theoretically I cannot speak Hindi. I did the polite thing and asked him to speak English, therefore he did and I can't repeat what he said."

The Times of London reported last week that the ICC had urged match officials to punish abusive players amid fears the broadcasting of ugly behaviour would be "terrible publicity for the game".

Former Black Caps captain Martin Crowe has demanded an example be made of Warner and called for the introduction of yellow and red cards in cricket.

Writing in his latest column for website ESPNcricinfo, Crowe accused Warner of displaying "thuggish behaviour" and being one of the most juvenile cricketers he had seen.

"There is a growing concern that David Warner's thuggish behaviour has gone too far. Soon, one day, it will lead to an incident that will sully the game for good.

"Fining these serial offenders is not going to work. You have to take them out of the game for extended periods. Two yellow cards should result in a red card, which should ban any player for six months. This is the only way it will be dealt with. My concern in the immediate future will be that Warner will be in the centre of an ugly on-field fight during the upcoming World Cup.


"Warner can play, but he is the most juvenile cricketer I have seen on a cricket field. I don't care how good he is: if he continues to show all those watching that he doesn't care, he must be removed, either by Cricket Australia or definitely by the world governing body.

"The more he gets away with it, the more others will follow his pitiful actions. Already we see one or two of his team-mates enjoying being close to his hideous energy."

Crowe, who averaged 45.36 during his 77-test career, questioned how opposition were expected to respond to verbal attacks from the likes of Warner.

"The ICC is doing good things pulling in chuckers and match-fixers. Now they have a new problem brewing and Warner is leading the charge. If chuckers and match-fixers are shown the door, then so too must verbal abusers be.

"Let's demand that if any cricketer gets two yellow cards during a six-month period then they are out for six months following. It's the only way to kill a hornet's nest and get this game back in a groove of respect."

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann said: "We'll speak to David and work from there. David's an aggressive character and we support that. It's just making sure he does the right things on the ground. We'll work with him with that."


- Additional reporting by Daily Mail