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

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