Gotta stick to the rules, even if they don't really work!

25 March 2018 - 00:00 By TELFORD VICE

Damn suits. What do the fools know about the cut and thrust of cricketers' battles? How much do they understand about the intensity of being out there when everything is on the line and the world is watching?
Why don't they stick to shuffling paper on desks and let people who know what they're doing come up with important things like the code of conduct? People like the players.
Where've you heard that before? Everywhere, and more loudly and frequently since the Australians arrived.
Here's something you might not have heard - the International Cricket Council's (ICC) code of conduct is written, in large part, by players.
At least, by those who sit on the ICC's cricket committee. Currently among them are Anil Kumble, Andrew Strauss, Mahela Jayawardene, Rahul Dravid, Tim May, Darren Lehmann and Shaun Pollock, the newest member.
It's all running smoothly
"There are some really good discussions," Pollock said. "There are people of different ages from different eras who have played the game. It's a good thinkpot.
"Everyone there, I would say, has the best interests of cricket at heart and want things to run smoothly.
"You want to protect the game, don't you. And there are things you want to control. You don't want any ugly incidents happening on the field. You want to put steps in place to try to prevent that.
"So there's a lot of discussion that goes on about what should and shouldn't be allowed, how they can prevent what shouldn't be allowed, and who needs to have the authority."
Things, of course, don't run smoothly. They haven't during Australia's tour - nor in a T20 between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo last Friday, when players almost came to blows, Shakib Al Hasan ordered his batsmen off the field in protest at an umpire's decision, and a dressing-room door was smashed.
And for all that two players were each docked 25% of their match fees and slapped, lightly, with a demerit point.
Considering Kagiso Rabada was banned, then unbanned, and that he and David Warner are a point away from a suspension in the wake of their conduct in the South Africa-Australia series, the match officials' reaction to what happened in Colombo looks like system failure.
Seeming inconsistencies in application aside, Pollock had faith in the demerit approach: "It works in other walks of life. In some countries you can get demerit points for [poor] driving.
"What it tries to show is that if there's consistent and accumulated bad behaviour you're going to gather points and eventually you suffer the consequences.
"I suppose the issue that will be discussed again is that minor misdemeanours add up to a major issue and you maybe miss two games.
"They might discuss the point that it has to be something serious enough for you to miss a game, or maybe the financial implications will be bigger for minor infractions and that it must be a serious case of misconduct for you to miss a game."
The demerit system has been in force since September 2016, and was devised, an ICC spokesman said, because "there had been feedback from some countries that the existing system of fines and reprimands was proving ineffective, as the fines were having little impact on player attitudes or behaviour and there wasn't an adequate deterrent for players who repeatedly breached the code of conduct.
"The cricket committee agreed, and recommended the system of demerit points to the chief executives' committee."
As long as the suits keep listening to the players and accepting their recommendations, we should be all right...

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