Calcutta: After more than one high-voltage spat with Team India captain Sourav Ganguly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has become wiser.
Indeed, the ‘ambiguity’ over nailing a captain for his team’s slow over rate is going to disappear in just over a month.
According to The Telegraph’s sources in Dubai, where the ICC is now headquartered, the amended Code of Conduct ' which becomes operational from October 1 ' has a captain-specific provision.
The new clause (2.12, under Level 2 offences) reads: “Failure by a captain to ensure that his team meets the minimum over rate requirements as contained in section J to the extent as set out in paragraph 5C III thereof.”
Section J deals with minimum over rates, while para 5C III there talks of a Level 2 breach if the overs short exceeds five in Tests and two in ODIs.
Thus far, captains have been getting hauled up under the general “against the spirit of the game'” Code of Conduct clause.
A first-time breach gets treated as a Level 2 offence, inviting a fine and/or a maximum ban of one Test or two ODIs. A repeat, within 12 months, leads to a Level 3 upgrading.
The Level 3 (minimum ban of two Tests or four ODIs) and 4 (maximum of a life ban) offences attract the harshest penalties.
Sourav, it may be recalled, successfully challenged Clive Lloyd’s two-Test ban last November ' it was overturned by Appeals Commissioner Tim Castle.
Then, a month ago, arbiter Justice Albie Sachs reduced a six-ODI ban (imposed by Chris Broad in April) by one-third.
Both times, the Match Referee nailed Sourav for Team India being behind on the over rate.
If Sourav gets hauled up for a similar breach, after October 1, he won’t be able to question its tenability under the Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct ' incidentally, introduced in rather simple form way back in 1991-92 ' has been amended in other areas, too:
• The existing 2.4 (Level 2) offence ' “Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment on a match related incident or match official” ' has been incorporated under Level 1 (1.7).
• The existing 2.4 has been replaced by: “Serious public criticism of, or inappropriate comment on a match related incident or match official.”
• Those booked for a Level 2 breach can also appeal. Till September 30, though, only those held guilty under Level 3 and 4 have the option of seeking redress.
Expanding the provision for appeal is bound to be applauded without reservation.