ICC plan for legends to devise tough cheating penalties

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NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council said Thursday a panel of the sport’s greats would help devise stricter punishments for players caught cheating as the game reels from the Australian ball-tampering scandal.

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said tougher penalties were needed to avoid a repeat of the behaviour in South Africa of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft that has thrown cricket into disrepute.

“Every team wants to win, but players can’t use dubious methods to gain victory. It is not in the spirit of the game,” Manohar told the Times of India broadsheet.

“The ICC has taken a serious note of the events in Cape Town and plans to put together a group of former players of impeccable reputation.

“The new panel will operate under the existing code of conduct, but will be free to suggest any action that it may deem fit. The penalty must be such that it deters all cricketers from indulging in such malpractices in future.”

The ICC on Sunday banned disgraced Australia captain Smith for one Test and docked his match fee for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.

Vice captain Warner escaped any sanction while opener Bancroft, who was caught on camera trying to alter the ball, was fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

The penalties triggered criticism with former players and fans accusing the ICC of being too lenient. Cricket Australia has since banned Smith and Warner for one year and Bancroft for nine months.

The Times of India said the new panel would likely be set up by the ICC board at a meeting in Kolkata next month.
The panel could include the likes of Australian great Allan Border and Indian spin legend Anil Kumble, the Indian daily said.

Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar weighed into the controversy saying the “right decision” had been taken to uphold the integrity of the game.

“Whatever has happened is unfortunate but the right decision has been taken to uphold the integrity of the game,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Winning is important but the way you win is more important.” —AFP