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ICC to target slow over rates, verbal abuse

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat on Wednesday identified slow over rates and verbal abuse as two key areas that must be kept in check for cricket to maintain its feel-good factor over the coming months.

Lorgat confirmed he had written to all Emirates ICC match referees and umpires asking them to be ”assertive and proactive” in dealing with the issues.

And he added that players, and especially captains, also bore a major responsibility to ensure the game was played in the right spirit and at the right pace.

”After the recent Test match in Chennai there is a real feel-good factor about the game, and rightly so,” said Lorgat.

”It’s great that the game is in the news for all the right reasons and I want that to carry on now we’ve moved into what is traditionally the busiest period in the cricketing calendar.

”That is why I have written to all of the Emirates ICC match referees and umpires urging them to be assertive and proactive in dealing with slow over-rates and verbal abuse.

”At the recent ICC chief executives’ committee meeting, representatives of all the ten ICC full members agreed these were two significant issues for the game moving forward.

”Verbal abuse and slow over rates have the potential to impact negatively on the way the game is perceived. We have seen that in the past and we must do all we can to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future.

”Both issues need to be strongly managed and the ICC is now looking at options to encourage better over-rates and strengthened sanctions against offending teams.

”Players, and especially captains, must also play their parts to make sure the game is played in a great spirit and at the right pace and I will look to them to fulfill those obligations over the coming weeks and months.

”Cricket’s profile is high and perhaps it has never been higher. And with 2009, the ICC’s centenary year, including the World Twenty20 for men and women, the ICC Champions Trophy, the ICC World Cup Qualifier, the ICC Women’s World Cup and a host of outstanding bilateral series, that situation is unlikely to change over the next 12 months.

”With that profile comes a responsibility on the part of everyone to ensure cricket remains the great sport that the players, match officials and spectators made it in Chennai this week.

”If everyone can meet that responsibility and ensure our great sport is played in a great spirit then cricket will continue to grow stronger,” added Lorgat. – Sapa

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