Straight from ICC's book

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Thursday, July 20, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The new code of conduct for players, which has been drafted by a special three-member committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is being given the finishing touches before being presented to the working committee of the BCCI.

Born out of the evil fallout of the widespread betting and match-fixing scandal, the new code of conduct will form a part of the cricketers' playing contract. It will come into effect from India's next international assignment, which happens to be the Sahara Cup in Toronto in September.

The draft, on the face of it, appears to be a document straight out of the manual of a military school. If approved, it will make our cricketers, otherwise a highly pampered lot, behave like domesticated pets.

But wait! haven't we seen it (the draft) before?

Even as what has been made public, is all set to provoke a long debate on the stringency of the whole approach, may it be mentioned that what the BCCI's three-member panel has done is nothing but transplant the whole, elaborate document prepared by the International Cricket Council, through the efforts of the National Grid Panel of umpires and ICC match-referees.

Titled "Code of Conduct and Standard Playing Conditions and Other Regulations," the booklet brought out by the ICC was released in September 1999, as guidelines to member-countries to prepare their own code of conduct for players.

What the panel, comprising Shashank Manohar, Ashok Kumbhat and D V Subba Rao, has done is to merely lift entire portions of the ICC document and twist just a little bit of it to suit the Indian ambience.

The highly codified language too has remained the same. The entire, new draft of the Indian code of conduct is a reproduction of "ICC's Rules of Conduct (Clause C) for Players and Officials."

What has been added is, perhaps, one better on the severity of control over the players, who after they sign the new contract, will have to behave like domesticated pets.

The cricketers will no more have the company of their wives on tours. They will have no contacts with persons not known to the team management, or have not been cleared by them. This includes even mediapersons.

What has been proposed but not yet considered is the use of cell phones by players. It will be put forth that team-members not be allowed to carry cellular phones to the dressing rooms.

If they are using them elsewhere, as also those in their hotel rooms, they be made subject to scrutiny of all calls made or received, through the records.

There need not, of course, be tapping of their lines, the manner in which former cricket manager Ajit Wadekar had said he had once done. The players will, however, have to give their consent to the monitoring of the calls, as a part of the contract.

The future Indian team manager will thus not be a mere figure-head, as has been the case so far. He will have to function like a commandant, if not also as a private detective, keeping track of the movement of each player and the persons he meets or talks to.

The most important and severest aspect of the players' contract will be the clauses that pertain to withholding of any vital information by the players.

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