ICC pledges tougher penalties for players

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The Independent Online

Malcolm Speed ushered in his new role as chief executive of the International Cricket Council by promising a clampdown on players' behaviour with stringent new penalties to act as a deterrent.

Speed's greatest priority is to halt a deterioration in players' behaviour and he has promised far tougher sanctions for those who transgress the Code of Conduct.

He has drafted a letter to the captains of all the Test-playing nations as well as the umpires and match referees on the ICC panel urging their support for his plans. "I've no wish to dwell on past incidents and accuse no team or individual above another, but action does need to be taken and I'm confident that the will exists among players, captains and officials to achieve a rapid improvement," said Speed.

Perhaps most significantly in Speed's call for change is his request to umpires and match referees to enforce bans instead of fines or suspended sentences. Since the birth of cricket, only one player has ever been banned – the West Indies wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs in a one-day international – so Speed's suggestions will come as something of a culture shock to players used to being given a slap on the wrist at best.