David Warner celebrates the run-out of AB de Villiers in Durban.
David Warner celebrates the run-out of AB de Villiers in Durban.

Test great’s radical plan to rid sport of ugly sledging

AUSTRALIA'S ongoing series in South Africa has been one of the most spiteful on record, with players from both sides copping ICC code of conduct fines and bans for their poor behaviour.

Whether it be the nasty sledging from Durban combatants David Warner and Quinton de Kock which led to the ugly dressing room confrontation, or the in-your-face send-offs which nearly ended Kagiso Rabada's series - there have been avoidable moments in the series which reflected poorly on both teams.

Former Australian captains Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell have lamented the poor spirit in which this series has been played, with plenty of bad blood existing between Australia and South Africa.

But it could easily be avoided with the implementation of a rule change endorsed by the International Cricket Council last year according to West Indian fast-bowling great Michael Holding - who has a suggestion that would change the fabric of the sport.

In December 2016 it was announced that within 12 months umpires would have the power to issue red cards to send off players who committed acts such as threaten umpires and physically assaulting players or officials.

Holding wants to take that policy one step further by introducing radical measures that he is confident would quickly stamp out the ugly side of the game.


Umpires discuss the bad light situation at the Bullring.
Umpires discuss the bad light situation at the Bullring.

The veteran of 60 Tests wants over-the-top sledging to be included as a card-worthy offence.

"I'm not talking about banter where people pass sarcastic remarks - I have absolutely no problems with that," Holding told Supersport in South Africa.

"You may walk past a batsman and, to your teammate, say 'last year he was a good player but look at him scratching around now'. I have no problem with that.

"But when you've got to look at someone and tell them about their heritage and their parents and their wife and mother. That? Yellow card immediately. If you do that twice? Red card."

Holding's bold plan doesn't stop there.

Once a player errs twice and is shown a red card, there is no reprieve. The player cannot return to the field, nor can he be replaced - whether it be as a batsman, a bowler or even in the field.

"For the match - your team plays with ten. You can't replace them," he added.

"You don't get a substitute fielder either. You play with ten - and you'll see how quickly that rubbish stops."