ICC chief demands end to abusive sledging and ball-tampering

During a year when Test cricket was plunged into a ball-tampering scandal, the ICC's chief executive has called for standards to improve.

David Warner (L) and Steve Smith (R) while playing for Australia against South Africa.   -  Getty Images

International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson has called for better behaviour from players and coaches in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australia's tour of South Africa. 

Former Australia captain Steve Smith, ex-vice captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft were all banned for their role in a plot to use sandpaper to change the condition of the ball during the third Test against the Proteas in Cape Town in March.

The incident that stunned the sporting world was the culmination of a fractious series between two fierce opponents, while other national teams have not been immune to unseemly behaviour on the field in recent years.

And Richardson, delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club's annual Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's on Monday, demanded an improvement in standards for the sake of the sport's reputation. 

He said: "Personal abuse, fielders giving send-offs to batsmen who have been dismissed, unnecessary physical contact, players threatening not to play in protest against an umpire's decision and ball tampering; this isn't the version of our sport that we want to project to the world.

"Too many coaches or team managers of recent times are too quick to side with their players, blame the umpires for being biased against their team, storming off to the match referee's room to complain.

"Winning must obviously be the aim of any game but not at all costs, not when it means compromising the integrity of the game."

Addressing ball tampering specifically, he added: "The laws are simple and straightforward – do not change the condition of the ball using an artificial substance… if you are caught, don't complain. Saying others do it is not a defence. You are cheating."

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Richardson also discussed the affordability of attending live matches for children and the game's appeal to women and girls.

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