Thomson brands ICC a

Published: Friday, December 23, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia's fearsome former fast bowler Jeff Thomson has branded the International Cricket Council (ICC) a "waste of space" following their attempts to gag players who criticise opponents in the lead-up to Test matches.

Thomson, renowned as one of Australia's most aggressive bowlers, slammed the sport's international governing body and said they were taking the fun out of the game.

"They ought to get their own house in order rather than worry about the players, the ICC do nothing," Thomson said Monday.

"They do nothing about blokes chucking, they do nothing about all this other stuff, they are more worried about words, that is all they are, full of words the ICC.

"They always look like they are doing something but they do nothing. They are the biggest bullshitters in the world the ICC. What a waste of space."

His comments follow warnings from the ICC to players earlier Monday to cut down their verbal sparring or risk disciplinary action.

The body singled out Australia and South Africa for their so-called "war of words" before the three-Test series starting in Perth on Friday.

Australian leg spinner Shane Warne on Sunday suggested the South Africans might need a psychologist after his team had finished with them.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said there had been a spate of code of conduct reports since the Ashes series which finished in September and pointed to a slight increase in the number of players charged this year over their sledging.

"There have been a series of comments by players and former players ahead of the Australia v South Africa series that I believe make it necessary to remind the players of the importance of playing within the spirit of the game ahead of this series," Speed said in a statement.

Thomson and fellow former Test bowler Terry Alderman felt the ICC comments showed they were trying to sanitise the sport and make players more robotic.

"You have got to have a bit of gamesmanship, that is what it is all about," Thomson said.

He believed the ICC's actions were taking the focus away from the actual game.

"They are bagging the game rather than promoting, it's highlighting things that aren't worth highlighting," he said.

Alderman said the ICC hierarchy were trying to justify their six-figure salaries following the recent move to Dubai.

"We need some characters in the game, we don't need assaults on players out in the middle, but the banter that does go on -- there is nothing wrong with that," he said.

"They are putting the cart before the horse, they are almost saying there is going to be problems because of what has been written and said by players. Well that is ridiculous."

"Let the game be for goodness sake."

The Australian team, renowned for verbal sledging in the past, have attempted to clean up their behaviour under captain Ricky Ponting.

James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, the sports governing body here, said he was comfortable with the current standards of the national team before Friday's Test at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground.

"The lead-up to the series against South Africa has seen some banter from both teams, but we expect the Australians will continue to lead by the example they have shown in recent times," he said.

Thomson's comments were the second major attack on the ICC this month after former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram claimed the body was biased against Asian countries.

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