Players convicted of ball-tampering could be suspended for up to six Test matches or 12 ODIs, under new guidelines adopted by the ICC.
Following the outcry after the blatant sandpapering of the ball by Australian fielder Cameron Bancroft in the third Test against South Africa in March, the ICC has raised ball-tampering from a Level 2 offence to Level 3.
The penalty for this level has been lifted from eight suspension points – leading to a maximum ban of four Tests or eight ODIs – and will now earn 12 suspension points. Level 4 offences, meanwhile, will earn a minimum of 12 suspension points.
Bancroft was fined 75% of his match fee fine and given three demerit points, while his captain – who had instigated the offence – was fined 100% of his match fee and handed a one-Test ban.
Cricket Australia subsequently banned Smith and co-conspirator David Warner for a year and Bancroft for nine months.
After that acrimonious tour, which included unacceptable levels of personal abuse, the ICC cricket committee – headed by former India captain Anil Kumble – recommended that the ICC takes stronger measures against code of conduct violations.
Four new offences have also been included in the code of conduct. These are: attempting to gain an unfair advantage (cheating, other than ball-tampering – level 2 or 3), personal abuse (level 2 or 3), audible obscenity (level 1), and disobeying an umpire’s instructions (level 1).
The match referee will now hear all Level 1, 2 and 3 charges as well as appeals, with a judicial commissioner only hearing Level 4 charges and appeals, which will reduce the scope for players to get sanctions overturned. Players will also have to lodge an appeal fee, which would be refunded only if successful.
The ICC board has also agreed to look into how member boards can be made accountable for their players’ behaviour.
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