England’s Test captain Alastair Cook says the MCC should be careful to not make the game too strict as cricket starts to experiment with sin-bins for bad behaviour.
The Telegraph revealed the MCC, cricket’s lawmakers, are set to introduce a trial that will look at bringing in yellow and red cards into ‘club, university and schools cricket to stamp out excessive sledging and curb the increase of violent behaviour’.
According to the article, players could also be ‘sin-binned’ for 10 overs, while offences more serious could see a player removed from play for the remainder of the match. A batsman also faced the possibility of being ‘retired out’ if he stepped too far out of line. The least-serious offences would see a team penalised by five runs.
The MCC confirmed that they would be testing the system this season at a university level.
Cook warned that the MCC should not become ‘too PC’ and said he thought the professional game had become ‘a lot quieter’ in recent years because of stump mics and an increase in TV cameras.
‘We’ve got to be careful,’ Cook said at a charity event for Chance to Shine. ‘Cricket needs characters, like Ben Stokes getting fired up after an 11-over spell in the heat and [at] altitude with no wicket. Then [Temba] Bavuma inside-edged him past the stumps. He showed emotion. But I’d be worried if we take all that out of it, which is the danger. It’s important we don’t go OTT on that.
‘Some of the great stories come from sledging. Allan Donald, was he sledging? No, but he was really fired up, when [Mark] Boucher dropped that catch [off Michael Atherton]. He screamed at the top of his voice. I’m sure it wasn’t particularly pleasant what he screamed, but it added to the drama and the theatre of that iconic moment, which people now love, him saying a few words to Athers, and Athers staring straight back at him.
‘I was chatting to fans in South Africa and they enjoyed watching sides go at each other.’