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'Crack down on slow over-rates, sledging'

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2008 10:39 IST

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The International Cricket Council has asked referees and umpires to be "assertive and proactive" in dealing with on-field sledging and slow over-rates to ensure that the "feel-good factor" from the India-England Chennai Test remains.

ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat, in a letter to the match officials, has asserted that "players must play their parts" as well.

"Lorgat identified slow over-rates and verbal abuse as two key areas that must be kept in check for cricket to maintain its feel-good factor over the coming months," the ICC said in a statement.

"He said players, and especially captains, also bore a major responsibility to ensure the game was played in the right spirit and at the right pace," the statement read.

Lorgat lauded the spirit in which India and England played the Chennai Test, which the former won after a see-saw battle.

"After the recent Test match in Chennai there is a real feel-good factor about the game, and rightly so, said Lorgat.

"It's great that the game is in the news for all the right reasons and I want that to carry on now we've moved into what is traditionally the busiest period in the cricketing calendar," he added.

"That is why I have written to all of the Emirates ICC match referees and umpires urging them to be assertive and proactive in dealing with slow over-rates and verbal abuse." Lorgat said all the member boards had identified slow over-rates and sledging as the problems most likely to affect the game's progress.

"At the recent ICC Chief Executives' Committee meeting, representatives of all the ten ICC Full Members agreed these were two significant issues for the game moving forward.

"Verbal abuse and slow over-rates have the potential to impact negatively on the way the game is perceived. We have seen that in the past and we must do all we can to ensure that doesn't happen in the future," he said.

"Both issues need to be strongly managed and the ICC is now looking at options to encourage better over-rates and strengthened sanctions against offending teams," he added.

Lorgat said as cricket widens its horizon and reaches out to previously unexplored audience, the game needs to ensure a squeaky clean image.

"Cricket's profile is high and perhaps it has never been higher. And with 2009, the ICC's Centenary year, including the ICC World Twenty20 for men and women, the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC World Cup Qualifier, the ICC Women's World Cup and a host of outstanding bilateral series, that situation is unlikely to change over the next 12 months," he said.

"With that profile comes a responsibility on the part of everyone to ensure cricket remains the great sport that the players, match officials and spectators made it in Chennai this week.

"If everyone can meet that responsibility and ensure our great sport is played in a great spirit then cricket will continue to grow stronger," he added.