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'Sledging set to be banned by ICC'

In the backdrop of an acrimonious India-Australia series, the BCCI has been pressing for tougher laws to deal with sledging.

cricket Updated: Mar 21, 2008 21:04 IST

Sledging is set to be banned by cricket's governing body the ICC which has been prodded by the Indian Cricket Board to take tough action to curb unsporting behaviour on the field.

In the backdrop of an acrimonious India-Australia series, the BCCI has been pressing for tougher laws to deal with sledging. The matter is before the ICC.

The BCCI President Sharad Pawar told PTI in New Delhi that the Board raised the issue in ICC's Executive Board meeting in Dubai this weekend and would pursue the matter further when it meets for its Annual General Meeting in June.

"The process is on to get a ban on sledging and it would be discussed again in the June meeting," he said.

Since the war of words between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh in the acrimonious Sydney Test snowballed into a major crisis threatening to polarise the cricket world, India has been seeking a ban on sledging.

Making it clear that the Board would do everything to stamp out the menace, Pawar revealed that the Indian players, especially the bunch of volatile youngsters, have been asked to learn from the seniors and mind their on-field behaviour.

"We have told our players they have to behave properly. I can't name certain countries, for we need to keep good relation with them but often a group of players from those teams take a conscious decision to target a particular Indian player to demoralise him," he said.

"It's a strategy and sometimes our players become victim of it and react. But we ask them 'have you heard complaint about Sachin, Sourav, Dravid and Kumble?' They have set examples for world cricket how to behave on and off the field," Pawar said.

Asked what was the BCCI's recommendation to the ICC to stop sledging, Pawar said "we have to be very, very harsh and tough, irrespective of the player and that means even our players. Sportsman spirit has to be maintained and we have to take action."

"We have told them enough is enough. Erring once is understandable but you can't go on doing it."

Players like S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh have given ample evidence on the field that they would fight fire with fire and would not back out of any confrontation and both the players prominently figured in verbal duels with their Australian counterparts in recent past.

On empowering on-field umpires, Pawar said the process was on and the ICC was also contemplating introducing a fourth umpire to assist the on-field umpires.

"...That process is going on. Because of the electronic media, small mistakes by an umpire get magnified. That's why ICC is seriously thinking about a situation where the umpires will get immediate feedback about a particular decision and on the basis of that information and what he had seen, he can decide," he said. More

"There might be a fourth umpire also who will sit with the television and there will be continuous communication between him and all three other umpires," Pawar said.

On the notion that India was a big bully and usually gets its way with the ICC, Pawar said there were many instances when Indian players have been punished and the BCCI never made an issue.

"There are number of instances where action was taken against Indian players. Match fees were deducted from Sourav, Sehwag and Yuvraj but we did not say anything and accepted it. But here in this particular (Sydney racism) controversy, Harbhajan was not at fault, ultimately he only reacted, which was so typical of Harbhajan."

Pawar also disclosed that unlike the previous years the ICC's next annual general meeting would not be held at the Lord's.

"I think it would be on June 27 and 28. Generally this kind of meeting takes place at Lord's but since England is not giving visa to Zimbabwe, it's likely to be in Dubai," he said.