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|ICC asks players to respect umpires|
Friday, January 9 2004 01:28 Hrs (IST)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is particularly concerned with the practice of players celebrating a wicket before the umpire has given his decision.
It was an issue recently highlighted by match referee Mike Procter during last month's third Test between Australia and India in Melbourne.
Former South Africa all-rounder Procter warned players from both sides to stop raucously appealing and celebrating dismissals before the umpires had made their decisions.
Otherwise he said they risked being fined 50 percent of their match fee under clause 1.5 of the ICC's Code of Conduct.
However, Australia and India are not alone when it comes to excessive appealing and premature celebration which many reckon is designed to pressurize the umpire into giving a decision in the fielding side's favour.
Spectators from around the world have grown used to the sight of bowlers from nearly all Test and first-class teams charging down the pitch to celebrate a wicket with their equally excited fielders long before the umpire has raised his finger - the signal which confirms to a batsman his innings is over.
But the ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm Speed, unhappy that officials in the past have let some unsavoury on-field incidents go unpunished, is determined that umpires and referees do all in their power to clamp down on the practice.
In a letter to the ICC's elite panel of umpires and referees, the 16 men who between them control all Test matches, Speed wrote: "Umpires have the critical role of ensuring that each match is played in the right spirit and they must ensure that the actions of players are consistent with the standards expected of them as ambassadors of the game.
"For the avoidance of doubt the issue of celebrating a wicket without waiting for an umpires decision should be dealt with as excessive appealing which is Level 1.5 of the Code."
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