Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has escaped a more severe ball-tampering charge because the ICC is yet to approve newly-modified sanctions for the offence. Under the revised rules, recommended by its influential cricket committee, that the ICC is likely to pass at its annual conference later this month, ball tampering will be upgraded from a Level 2 offence to Level 3.
As it stands Chandimal, if found guilty, will only attract a Level 2 offence. In addition to any monetary penalty, the maximum sanction under a Level 2 charge is two suspension points which correspond to four demerit points and ban of one Test or two ODIs. Under a Level 3 charge, a player is slapped with four to eight suspension points, the upper limit amounting to six demerit points and a ban of four Tests or eight ODIs.
During their two-day meeting in May, the ICC cricket committee, which is headed by former India captain Anil Kumble, recommended that it was time to consider severe sanctions against offences like ball tampering.
The committee was concerned by the recent spate of events during Australia's tour of South Africa in March when several players from both teams attracted disciplinary charges. Consequently, Cricket Australia had banned Steven Smith and David Warner for 12 months and Cameron Bancroft for nine months from playing international cricket for their roles in the ball-tampering controversy in the Cape Town Test.
The ICC's cricket committee, comprising other former international captains, deliberated on raising the penalty for ball tampering to a Level 3 offence from the existing Level 2. ICC chief executive David Richardson, who sits on the cricket committee, told ESPNcricinfo that Kumble's panel "came hard" at personal abuse and ball tampering specifically.
According to Richardson, the cricket committee "viewed" ball tampering as "cheating" which went against the spirit of cricket. "Therefore, they (committee) were very strong that we need to increase the sanctions available for that type of conduct," Richardson said. "So we are talking moving both ball tampering and personal abuse, foul language upto Level 3."
The cricket committee's recommendations will now be discussed by the ICC's chief executives committee during the annual conference in Dublin later this month before receiving a final ratification from the ICC Board. Richardson pointed out that, if the ICC Board finalises moving the sanctions to Level 3, in future ball tampering could attract a suspension of "minimum of four Tests".
"We are considering bumping it up to Level 3 and even considering the range of penalty slightly higher as well," Richardson said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo