January 18, 2015

Why cricket needs yellow and red cards

David Warner's repeated transgressions tell us that the game has a discipline problem that has got out of hand

There is a danger that David Warner might be in the centre of an ugly on-field fight during the upcoming World Cup © Getty Images

Watching from the luxury of my couch and after hearing numerous accounts from respected cricket people, 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.

As Ian Chappell has said often recently, soon enough someone will get king-hit on a cricket field. Warner may just be the one who gets pinned by someone in retaliation. And if it is him who gets hammered, it will be overdue - if wrong.

No one, let alone an umpire, who has enough on his plate in the international game, wants to have to reprimand or babysit a bunch of boorish, childish adults during play for these ugly spats that are becoming commonplace. But they need to. Before things escalate the ICC needs to arm the officials with everything possible to stop the idiots who are ruining our enjoyment of the game.

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.

What must the talk be in the opposition dressing rooms about how to combat this daily occurrence? Do you stand up for yourself when confronted with Warner's spit and expletives or do you turn a blind eye? I dread to think, and it shouldn't be a choice. The officials must step in now.

Warner can play, yet 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, then he must be removed

There are others who are borderline, but Warner is the worst culprit. So what is it to be, ICC? Shall we wait for a king hit in front of thousands of kids watching, and the many women who are enjoying supporting husbands and boyfriends who are devoted to the game? Do we wait for blood to be spilt on the pitch, lawsuits to follow? Do we sit by and watch this ever- increasing thuggery grow into a runaway train dragging cricket through another unnecessary controversy?

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.

For a start, James Sutherland has a duty to sit the man down and spell it out in no uncertain terms. Sitting next to Cricket Australia's CEO should be Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann, two hard men who played the game in the right spirit. Why can't they show the way?

This must not spread to a new generation. But believe me, they are watching and they are already imitating. In their young, impressionable minds, they think they are copying a hero. On the contrary, they are idolising a player who seems determined to bring down the gentleman's game.

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.

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Simon on January 25, 2015, 2:05 GMT

    Yellow cards, red cards, six month bans, possible on field king hits; yet more ridiculous over reactions for ex-playing commentators to drown out the enjoyment and ability to judge for yourself while WATCHING a contest! It takes two people for a confrontation and for one to be singled out for bans when the other swore directly in front of an ineffectual ICC official and goes unblemished is typical of the lunacy around the periphery of a contest now. The ICC onfield officials now garner so little respect because they make no real onfield decisions anymore. They call for replays on runouts that are out by 1.5m 'to be sure', they are second guessed by players with DRS referrals and they check no-balls on wickets, but let 20 more game changing ones go. No way in the past this 'incident' woulda gone any further than Bird, Shepherd, Taufel stepping in and telling BOTH players to grow up. Ended right there, by a cool head who understands some players go over the top.

  • Srivathsa on January 21, 2015, 9:11 GMT

    Agree entirely - with every word. Thank you.

  • Dummy on January 21, 2015, 7:29 GMT

    Great article, best I've read in a while. And I agree, match fee is not enough to deduct, they don't care. 6 month ban will make then think about rash things. In rugby, no one questions the ref. I think the ICC is too soft , they need to make bold decisions... well done mr crowe.

  • Dummy4 on January 20, 2015, 15:00 GMT

    KUDOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! MARTIN CROWE for speaking your mind ,when more recognized & famous person like sunil gavaskar is silent in the matter especially problem/ menace persisting since last 2 decade if not more with aussie cricketers ( just to remind slater against dravid ) .Whats important & laudable is crowes solution oriented comment on the issue.

  • zohair on January 20, 2015, 14:36 GMT

    This article is ridiculous, and a six month ban for sledging even more so. There is a competition on that pitch and yes often it spills over. We can't make the game so sterile that it become void of passion and competition. Although recently the sledging issue has been making the headlines quite often. A better solution to the problem would be turn up the mics for the umps to hear only and have a recording of them. I do like Martin's idea of yellow and red cards. I don't think a six month ban is justifiable but instead they should be penalized on runs, which are real consequences and will make teams as a whole take notice. A yellow card should be a warning. If a fielding player receives a red card the batting team should get 15 runs added to the score as extras. If a batsman gets a red card there should be deduction of 15 runs.

  • Dummy on January 20, 2015, 14:33 GMT

    Excellent article! However, I don't think ICC would take any action because it involves two of the BIG three. Had it been between "two smalls", ICC would have issued red cards to them or suspended the culprits long long ago. What a pity!

  • James on January 20, 2015, 13:10 GMT

    It depends on the selectors. Cricket is a public spectacle. I am often embarrassed to find myself watching people who are suddenly revealed to be behaving is if they were infants. Is this the level of a lot of our voters?

  • Dummy on January 20, 2015, 9:43 GMT

    It's a wonderfully written article. Martin has rightly suggested ways to save the gentleman's game from such a disgrace. If warner had a problem, he could talk to the umpires. Passion and aggression is appreciated but this is getting way out of the line. I no longer get the feeling it's a competition between bat and ball. Alas!

  • Dummy4 on January 20, 2015, 7:19 GMT

    Turn the microphones on and let the public decide if they like hearing how millionaires talk to each other. It worked for Ian Chappell in commentary, haven't heard him say a nasty word on-air for years.

  • Dummy4 on January 20, 2015, 7:12 GMT

    Ridiculous article and I am a huge fan of Crowe. Warner simply did what anyone would, demand the person abusing him do so in a language he could understand. He isn't a thug. He's just standing up for himself. This isn't a tickling competition. It's pro sport. If the players can't take a bit of sledging then they are weak. Warner is a pioneer and a hero in my books. That is coming from a kiwi.

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