Number one Test bowler and all-rounder has been suspended under ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel breaching article 2.2.8 on accumulating six demerit points in second Test against Sri Lanka and that raised the question over ICC’s demerit points system.
Last ball of the day three’s play, Jadeja to Pushpakumara, Jadeja throws towards Wriddhiman Saha which was so closed to Pushpakumara who had just defended that ball and was in no mood to take a run. That throw was in a “dangerous manner” which costs Jadeja a suspension for Pallekele Test. Wait it is not just a Test match suspension, he also costs Rs. 22.5 lakhs (50% of match fees from SSC Test and one full Test match fee). By this incident he crossed six demerit points (three for second Test incident and three for his previous incident in October against England where he received for running on pitch under ICC Code of Conduct article point number 2.2.11)
So before going in to depth, let’s understand first what are article 2.2.8 and article 2.2.11
- 2.2.8 – Throwing a ball (or any other item of cricket equipment such as a water bottle) at or near a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee or any other third person in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during an International Match
- 2.2.11 – Causing avoidable damage to the pitch during an International Match in breach of Law 42.13 or 42.14 (as applicable) of the Laws of Cricket, as modified by ICC Standard Test Match, ODI and Twenty20 International Match Playing Conditions clause 42.
According to ICC press release, this throw was in a “dangerous manner” and misses batsman narrowly. Such kind of throw is immature and against the spirit of game when batsman had no intention to take a run. Jadeja reached six demit points in second Test following his three demit points in October last year against England. If he reached the next threshold of eight points within a 24-month period, then they will be converted into four suspension points; meaning he could be suspended for two Test matches or four ODIs or four T20Is.
This was not the first instance in this series when such dangerous and unnecessary throws were seen by umpires. Virat Kohli India’s captain seen throwing such “dangerous” throw, each in both the Tests. Both throws came from midwicket towards Kusal Mendis and missed narrowly when he had no intention to take a run. On both the occasions, Mendis brought umpire’s attention against throw but umpires didn’t deem it in “a dangerous manner”. However Kohli didn’t get any warning or demerit points on the both occasions and this raised the questions over ICC’s objective of Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel.
Now flash back yourself in India’s previous long home season. Except New Zealand series, it was full of drama and action (in different manner). Watch the below video.
Here Joe Root throws a ball intensely toward KL Rahul where Rahul had no intention to run. Check it again. What if Rahul could not duck in fractions of second? Can’t imagine. But umpires didn’t see it as dangerous. Not even third umpire Bruce Oxenford. And if you watch Australia series earlier this year you will imagine what intensity had that series. Even there was “brain fade” by opposition captain which deemed to be sportsmanship spirit by match officials and not even warning given to either player. There were no bans; no fines and not even single demerit point. And in the recently concluded England-South Africa series, Kagiso Rabada was suspended for a Test for his WORDS which caught on mic.
Simply, the objective is not clear by ICC. You can take help from dressing room on DRS call, you can mouth off anybody off the mic, you can accuse your oppositions avoiding certain words.
The decision of allotting demerit points is decided by umpires. Yes, you have seen umpire errors causing big games at crucial time. Being a human being, in a short period of time, we can understand those errors. But what about these demerit points? They have enough time to report match referee where word used are inappropriate or throw is dangerous or not. So when the next time a bowler is punished for throwing the ball at a batsman will be debating point.