London: Cricket is all set to go the football way with the introduction of yellow cards to prevent players from abusing umpires and excessive sledging.
The rule will be put on trial in minor county and club level tournaments in London first. If the trial is successful then the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will soon introduce it in first class matches as well.
ECB chairman Giles Clarke will discuss this innovation with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which controls and oversees the laws of the game.
"Jack Simmons and Mike Griffith, the chairmen of the ECB and MCC cricket committees, are very concerned and, if the trials work, would want this as part of the first-class game, although much cricket at that level is self-policed," Clarke was quoted as saying by The Times.
"A rugby player is sent off the field for ten minutes, one eighth of the game, and a cricketer could go off for 12 overs. Abuse of the umpire and sledging have to be stopped."
Clarke's views were also supported by former English cricketer Dennis Amiss, the most influential person on the ECB, and MCC chairman Charles Fry.
"I would not be against introducing yellow cards in first-class cricket," Amiss said. "When I was a player, I had confidence in English umpires as they were former professional cricketers, but the Australians were always inclined to sledge. I would listen to the players' view and it would have to be a bad misdemeanour but we have to move the game forward. Red cards? I hope not, but it would all add to the drama of a match."
Fry felt that some kind of punishment could even be incorporated in the laws.
"My personal view is that the behaviour in the international game is very good but in league cricket it is absolutely awful. We would always be keen on anything to improve. At the moment there are no penalties," he said.