KOLKATA: In the wake of the ball-tampering scandal involving the Australian team, the International Cricket Council today promised stricter and heavier punishments, which, the apex body hoped, will act as proper deterrent.
ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said fines are not proving to be the answer and the cricket committee, headed by Anil Kumble, will review the current penalties and come forward with recommendations for it to be ratified at the ICC annual conference in Dublin from June 27-July 3.
Steve Smith and David Warner, the deposed captain and vice-captain of Australia, have been banned for one year each by Cricket Australia, while Cameron Bancroft has been hit with a nine-month suspension for his part in the ball-tampering scandal that marred the team's recent tour of South Africa.
"There were clear direction received that we want to move towards stricter and heavier sanctions for ball-tampering and all other offences that are indicative of lack of respect for your opponent, for the game, the umpires, fans, media etc," Richardson said after the conclusion of the five-day ICC meeting here.
Richardson said they had good discussions in both the forums of ICC chief executive committee and board meetings which also agreed to include offences like sledging, send-offs, and showing dissent within umpire's control.
"We want penalties in place which act as a proper deterrent. Fines are not proving to be the answer. We will ask the cricket committee to do is to review." The ICC's cricket committee is chaired by Kumble with the assistance of Allan Border, Shaun Pollock and Courtney Walsh as it will be bolstered by the addition of Richie Richardson.
"They will help us make some recommendations that would prove a much more effective deterrent against poor players' behaviour." The ball-tampering episode last month generated huge public outcry which Richardson described as an "eye-opener".
"We also want to encourage behaviour that epitomises the spirit of cricket. The biggest eye-opener for people in cricket was the reaction to the recent incidents in the series between South Africa and Australia." Upholding the MCC's Spirit of Cricket will be the main aim, he said.
"There had been too many instances of sledging, ugly abusive languages being used, dissent etc. What we need to try and do is we have got the Spirit of Cricket in the Lord's but what does that mean? "We need to define what it means in this modern day and age and both the CEC and the Board were very supportive in trying to develop a culture of respect across the game both on and off the field."
Describing India-Pakistan cricket issue as complicated and political, the former South African wicketkeeper batsman said: "Certainly it's a common desire that it would be great to play more regularly and bilaterally as opposed to ICC events. "It's an issue that's beyond an area of influence quite frankly. Even the BCCI can't also simply decide, likewise with Pakistan. It's more complicated. Unfortunately, we will not let upon on our efforts. It's going to take a lot more than just two boards to just agree."
Richardson said they're pragmatic in their approach to India-Pakistan as the latter has claimed USD 70 million compensation for violating a contract to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.
"We have been a little bit pragmatic in the case of India and Pakistan. In the first alliteration of the league they are not playing each other in Test matches." As for women's cricket, Richardson said there would be less Test cricket as the focus would be on T20.
"In all likelihood there will be very few Tests played. I know England, Australia want to keep Test cricket going but not other countries have the same desire." There are still options of members to play Tests if they want. They will be on a bilateral basis.
"Our research shows, T20 cricket is probably most favourable format certainly in women's game. The focus will be on using T20 cricket to get more competitive teams," he concluded.