Sanctions 'needed at amateur levels'
Reporter: Kevin Richardson
Date online: 29 December 2016
A FORMER international umpire says the introduction of red cards in cricket may help to curb poor behaviour.
JW Lees Brewery Pennine Cricket League president John Holder, who stood in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs, has thrown his support behind the football-style penalty.
The MCC, custodian of the laws, is set to receive a recommendation from its World Cricket committee to give umpires the power to send off a player in the most extreme cases of on-field breaches of discipline.
The move will apply to all forms of cricket, from the Test arena to local leagues, and is expected to come into effect as of next October.
Several lengthy bans, some for abuse towards officials, were dished out during the inaugural Pennine Cricket League season. It led to chairman Nigel Tench calling for players to clean up.
Holder, who also serves on the PCL disciplinary committee, said: "Umpires are leaving the game in their droves because of player behaviour.
"They are being challenged as to why they have given a certain decision.
"The umpires are the custodians of the game, they don't need that hassle, and all for £45.
"It's sad that we are talking about red cards, but I think they are a good idea as long as umpires are willing to use them if the need arises.
"We talk to the league representatives before the start of the season, we talk to the captains, explaining what is required from them and of their players, but we still get problems."
World Cricket committee chairman Mike Brearley and colleagues, including former fellow Test captain Ricky Ponting, emphasised that the introduction of the red-card system for "threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, official or spectator, or any other act of violence on the field of play" is specifically aimed at addressing the increasingly poor standards of behaviour in recreational cricket, rather than at professional level.
Cricket is currently just one of two team sports to have no measure of sending off a player.
Holder went on: "In my 27 years as a first-class umpire, there were only three incidents of abuse.
"Perhaps what is happening at local level is a reflection on society as a whole, I don't know.
"What the red card will do is have an immediate impact on the game. A team could lose its best bowler or number one batsman, and there may be further punishment down the line.
"I love cricket, people who are involved in cricket love the game, and want it to flourish. If this helps to cut out all the nonsense, then it can only by a good thing."
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