• Spirit of cricket under threat – Richardson

    The ICC’s current CEO, Dave Richardson, expressed his concern for the ‘spirit’ of the game on Thursday following recent scandals – ranging from racist comments to corruption – that have tarnished its global reputation.

    Richardson addressed the issue just days after Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was banned for four games, and the former Proteas wicketkeeper insisted that tough action will be taken against misconduct and match fixing.

    Sarfaraz was banned on Sunday for making a racial slur against South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo in Durban, and has since returned home from the tour.

    READ MORE: Sarfaraz banned for Phehlukwayo chirp

    The sport is also still recovering from the Newlands ball-tampering controversy that involved Australian players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft during a Test match against South Africa – for which they were banned by the ICC and Cricket Australia.

    READ MORE: All fast bowlers ‘ball tamper’ – Marsh 

    ‘Regarding player conduct, in recent times we have had some incidents around the world and we have taken necessary steps to ensure that everybody understands the spirit of cricket,’ Richardson told reporters in India.

    ‘The spirit of cricket is something unique to the game and something that we need to protect,’ he added.

    Sri Lanka is at the centre of a major corruption investigation, and Richardson reiterated the ICC’s efforts to disrupt crime gangs believed to be behind match-fixing attempts.

    The ICC has urged Sri Lankan players and coaches to give evidence on corruption before the amnesty agreement expires this month.

    READ MORE: Alleged match-fixers arrested in Sri Lanka

    ‘In recent years we have taken a much more pro-active approach to disrupt these unscrupulous individuals that wander around the earth trying to fix cricket,’ said Richardson.

    ‘The players have been very good at reporting any approach they get. Now you read more about anti-corruption in the media but that’s not because it’s getting worse, but it’s because we are trying do much more to disrupt these criminal elements,’ he added.

    Richardson is set to stand down as ICC boss after this year’s Cricket World Cup, with India’s Manu Sawhney in line to take over.

    READ MORE: ICC names new CEO

    Richardson said his achievements to increase the use of technology in the sport, and his efforts to boost the standing of Test cricket with the presentation of a world championship were his primary objectives during his tenure.

    ‘Finally, we convinced members that having a Test league is required. Probably that stands out as one of the things that I will be proud of.’

    Photo: Tom Shaw/Getty Images

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