ICC calls for improved player behaviour
India's often ill-tempered tour of Australia, during which players from both sides were hauled up by match officials, has prompted the ICC to formally stress on the need to avoid "obscene, offensive or insulting language". A note, urging players to improve their behaviour, has been issued by the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, and its general manager, David Richardson, to the captains of international teams, Elite Panel umpires and Referees and CEOs of Full Members.
"Recent events and, in particular, the series between Australia and India have highlighted the issue of 'sledging'," the note said. "We seek your support in learning lessons from these issues and moving forward in a positive way."
It pointed to "several controversial incidents" on the field in international cricket which "originated from the use by players of language or gestures which are considered obscene, offensive or insulting."
The Indian board had proposed a ban on sledging when the ICC executive committee met in Kuala Lumpur in the third week of February.
The note also asked players to be more respectful towards fellow players, umpires and referees. "Players are asked to take their responsibility as role models seriously and to make an effort to improve their behaviour in this regard. Captains are requested to lead by example and to ensure that they keep tight control over the behaviour of their players. There is no question that international cricket must be played with intensity and with no quarter asked nor given but within the bounds of mutual respect and the spirit of the game."
The ICC also acknowledged that it was difficult to define what combination of words and gestures would be construed as offensive, and asked umpires to apply "a degree of individual interpretation and judgement" to determine whether a player's behaviour had fallen below acceptable standards.