Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

MCC's independent voice urges ICC to get tougher on corruption

By Charles Randall

13 December 2012

The MCC World Cricket Committee would like to see lifetime bans for corrupt captains, vice-captains and coaches, advocating tougher measures all round. This unpaid panel of eminent present and past players met on January 8-9 to discuss various issues.

The MCC World Cricket Committee, a proudly independent group led by Mike Brearley, has submitted recommendations on corruption, urging the ICC to build up trust with players and use role models for education.

Corruption was the main topic of the Committee's meeting in Cape Town, but other issues included Pakistan security, 50-overs, umpire review system, runners, abuse of Law on substitute fielder, Test pitches and the future of Test cricket. Here is the MCC summary of the meeting, released today:

The MCC World Cricket Committee very much appreciated its contact with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), and Tim May, chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations. It welcomes Sir Ronnie’s account of all the work being done by the ACSU and hopes that the meeting will help to promote links between the ACSU, players and players’ associations.

The committee found it helpful to hear from Sir Ronnie about the preventative work that ACSU does and believes it to be important that the ACSU’s activities are as widely known as possible in the cricket world. Led by MCC’s anti-corruption working party, chaired by Steve Waugh, the MCC World Cricket Committee has made the following 10 recommendations to the ACSU:

1 Lifetime bans for any captain, vice-captain or coach found guilty of corruption.

2 Consider the removal of minimum sentences in the ICC’s anti-corruption code.

3 Education materials and punishments at international level should be mirrored at domestic level. These materials should be enhanced, multi-lingual and available in more player-friendly formats.

4 The ACSU should work closely with players to establish trust and be transparent with its findings to show the cricketing world that its efforts to prevent corruption are working. The committee appreciates that transparency has to be balanced by the requirements of confidentiality.

5 Young but established players, both international and domestic, and their captains, should be promoted as ambassadors of the Spirit of Cricket and role models who pledge to educate and protect other young players.

6 Where not already in place, specific anti-corruption clauses should be included in players’, officials’, coaches’ and administrators’ contracts.

7 – The committee is keeping an open mind on the use of polygraphs, but for now does not recommend that their use be encouraged except as a possible route by which suspected players might attempt to exonerate themselves.

8 ‘Mystery shopper’ operations should be considered, preferably directed at somebody already suspected.

9 Relevant authorities to explore any unexplained wealth of suspected players and each governing body should hold a gift register for its players.

10 The ACSU to have an increased capacity and budget to be able to do its job thoroughly, including the analysis of all domestic and international televised matches.

The World Cricket Committee will further refine and work on its draft paper to present to the ICC for consideration.

Decision Review System

The Committee has urged the ICC to ensure uniformity on the implementation of the Decision Review System. It is wrong that there are such different playing conditions – that the DRS is not used when India play. It supports the ICC’s efforts to maintain and improve the DRS along the lines – reviews initiated by the players – that have been established so far.

The future of Test cricket

Whilst understanding the reasons for the delay in the possible staging of a World Test Championship in 2013 (because of existing contractual obligations with ICC’s TV partner), World Cricket Committee members were unanimously disappointed with the fact that no place has been found for a World Test Championship play-off until 2017.

The Committee is pleased that David Richardson has agreed to look again into all possibilities for instituting it earlier; and that at least it has been agreed for 2017. A World Test Championship would, crucially, provide additional context for Test cricket.

The Committee is and continues to be convinced that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, and that it needs to be encouraged and marketed in every way possible. MCC will continue to advocate and initiate trials with pink balls and day/night cricket wherever possible.

The Committee continues to support the idea of experimenting with day/night Test matches; it continues to support the idea of making more room in the calendar for Test matches, and it is disappointed that the ‘icon’ series between England and South Africa in 2012 will comprise only three Tests. Similarly, it is dissatisfactory that several series consist only of two Tests, such as the recent contest between South Africa and Australia.

Cricket in Pakistan

Majid Khan provided an update on the status of cricket in Pakistan and the current security situation in the country. The Committee notes with some optimism the security improvements over recent months.

In light of this presentation, the Committee recommends that, subject to Government advice and MCC approval, a small delegation from the MCC visits Pakistan to assess the situation, its suitability for tours and the possibility for the return of international cricket in the future.

The Committee will then review proceedings at its meeting at Lord’s in August.

Test pitches

The Committee would like to congratulate ICC and groundstaff worldwide on encouraging and producing pitches on which the balance between bat and ball is fair. There have been some excellent Test series recently, with much good cricket.

Support for 50-over cricket

The Committee considered the recent changes to ODI regulations and commended the ICC on the enhancements made and the continued popularity of that format of the game worldwide. Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, but 50-over cricket is the most widely played format of the game worldwide, both at professional and amateur levels. The fundamentals should not be altered and it must maintain a clear distinction from Twenty20 cricket.

Governance of the game

The Committee has called for the ICC to publish, in full, the ICC Governance Review, led by Lord Woolf, when it reports back in the coming weeks. The Committee supports the comments made by Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, when he called for the ICC Board to have some form of independent directorship so that "there’s at least a balance of debate or a voice spoken without self-interest".

Other considerations:

The Committee urges ICC to ensure that all future ICC Twenty20 World Cups comprise 16 teams, rather than the 12 that will compete in the 2012 tournament. A 16-team competition is aligned to ICC’s strategy to promote and globalise the game, so a decision to reduce the numbers in the Sri Lankan tournament runs contrary to this principle.

The Committee debated numerous issues surrounding the Laws and Spirit of Cricket prevalent in today’s game. This included substitutions and runners, bad light, switch-hits and the Ian Bell ‘run-out’ for England against India. The views of the committee will be fed back to MCC’s Laws sub-committee; the body that changes and amends the Laws of the game.

The Committee is uncomfortable with the recent ICC decision to ban runners, and uneasy about the abuse of the Law relating to substitute fielders. It feels umpires could be tougher on this issue. The Committee applauds ICC’s efforts to encourage umpires to allow play to continue when light is not perfect, especially when artificial lights have been switched on.

The Committee discussed several aspects of the Laws relating to switch-hits, and proposes a further review by MCC’s Laws sub-committee, who would then report their findings to ICC’s cricket committee.

The Committee noted concern over eligibility criteria for some ICC Associate tournaments and is pleased to note that a detailed review is being carried out by ICC.

The chairman Mike Brearley thanked outgoing members Tony Lewis, Tony Dodemaide, Andy Flower, Mike Gatting, Alec Stewart, Michael Tissera and Courtney Walsh for their outstanding contribution and service to the committee. New members of the committee, who will join as part of MCC’s rotation policy, will be announced in due course.

MCC World Cricket Committee

Mike Brearley (chairman)

Mike Atherton

Geoffrey Boycott

Steve Bucknor

Martin Crowe

Tony Dodemaide

Rahul Dravid

Andy Flower

Mike Gatting

Majid Khan

Anil Kumble

Shaun Pollock

Barry Richards

David Richardson

Kumar Sangakkara (new member)

Alec Stewart

Michael Tissera

Courtney Walsh

Steve Waugh

The upaid MCC World Cricket Committee was established in 2006 as an independent voice, free from considerations of politics, money and race. The panel's twice-yearly debates and recommendations are made solely in the interest of cricket and its players. It is empowered to conduct research, particularly into technological advances and bio-mechanical elements of the game. MCC funds this work as part of its commitment to develop cricket worldwide.