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Cricketers could see yellow/red cards for misbehaviour

Four levels of offenses will be penalized by sending a player off for a specific period, or awarding runs to the opponents.

The MCC will bring the concept into trial in England

Cricket could have a few rule changes which will allow the umpires to send players off. According to English daily The Telegraph, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is considering the addition of what is akin to a penalty box in Ice Hockey, in order to curb unruly behaviour.

Under the new laws, players could be sent off for 10 overs for serious offenses. This action has in part been prompted by the increasing number of aggressive fights in cricket matches in England. In 2015, five matches were abandoned in England because of violence. 

"We know anecdotally that player behaviour seems to be on the wane in cricket, certainly in this country," said Fraser Stewart, the MCC's head of laws, referring to England.

"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." he added.

The MCC has arrived at this decision after discussions with various umpire associations. They felt that umpires need to be empowered to enforce a new code of conduct which will cover four levels of offense.

The lower level of offenses cover acts such as time-wasting, dissent or deliberate physical contact, such as shoulder-barging among others. These offenses will result in a five-run penalty to be imposed immediately.

The level-three tier of offenses including threatening and intimidating behaviour, or bowling a deliberate beamer. These would carry a ten over hiatus in the penalty box, referred to as the sin-bin.

Proposals have been addressed regarding sending a player off in the case of level-four offenses. These include threatening an umpire, assaulting a player, official or spectator, and racist abuse. If the offense is committed by a batsman, he will be declared 'retired out'.

"Following a global consultation in 2015, the majority of umpires felt they would be better able to control player behaviour if they had more power to deal with the problem during the game, rather than through a reporting procedure afterwards," Stewart said. "The benefit of this is that the offence has a consequence in that particular game, rather than in the following weeks, or the following season," he added.

The MCC will be bringing this concept in trials in club, school and university level cricket. They hope to curtail the needless sledging and control the rising violent behaviour in the sport. However, it won't be tried in matches involving county level sides.

The MCC is optimistic that leagues will join this trial. They will be publishing redrafted laws of the game in 2017. Various national boards and the International Cricket Council will be keeping a close eye on these trials. If they proceed with success, these laws could be implemented throughout the world.

Stewart is hopeful that these new laws will serve to improve the sport. "The hope is the added deterrents will make players realise they can't behave in a poor way." he said

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