MCC has announced plans to trial sendings off and sin bins to curb the increasing levels of player indiscipline in recreational cricket, including excessive sledging and a rise in violent behaviour.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the proposals range from a five-run penalty for minor infringements such as time-wasting or dissent, through to ten-over "sin-binnings" for level three offences such as the bowling of a deliberate beamer. The most serious level four offences - threats to the umpire, physical assaults and racist abuse - would warrant sending off for the remainder of the match, or being "retired out" if batting.
"We know anecdotally that player behaviour seems to be on the wane in cricket, certainly in this country," Fraser Stewart, the MCC's head of laws, told the paper.
"Statistics from leagues show there are increased numbers of players being reported. Last summer, five games had to be abandoned due to varying degrees of violence. That is an increase, for sure. It was felt that now was a good time to review this whole area and perhaps try and find leagues, competitions and schools willing to trial means that act as a deterrent."
The MCC, who are the guardians of the Laws of the game, plan to trial the proposals in their own matches this summer, including in their MCCU university matches, although not at this stage in matches involving first-class counties.
They then hope that the trial will be rolled out in recreational leagues with a view to the sanctions being codified in the next redraft of the Laws in 2017.
The proposals echo a similar call from Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, who called for the introduction of red and yellow cards in a column for ESPNcricinfo last year, following a series of on-field incidents involving Australia's abrasive opening batsman, David Warner.
"Fining these serial offenders is not going to work," Crowe wrote. "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."
An ECB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo that the board was keeping an eye on the trial. "It is a very interesting idea but it is in its earliest stages, and would need to be properly road-tested before being rolled out more widely," he said.
Oxford Marylebone Cricket Club University
Marylebone Cricket Club
Loughborough Marylebone Cricket Club University (England)
Durham Marylebone Cricket Club University
Cambridge Marylebone Cricket Club University