Describing the unpleasant events at the close of Bangladesh’s successful chase at the Under-19 World Cup final on Sunday as “unedifying”, the ICC has heavily sanctioned three Bangladesh and two India players for breaching the governing body’s Code of Conduct. India legspinner Ravi Bishnoi, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, was found guilty on two counts, while fast bowler Akash Singh and the Bangladesh trio of Towhid Hridoy, Shamim Hossain and Rakibul Hasan were charged with violating one article of the code.
While all five players were held guilty of breaching Article 2.21 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct, which deals with bringing the game into disrepute, Bishnoi was also found guilty of violating Article 2.5, which pertains to the use of “language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his/her dismissal.”
All five players were slapped with varying suspension points, with Hridoy bearing the stiffest penalty of 10 suspension points, which equates to six demerit points. Both Hossain and Singh were handed eight suspension points (six demerit) while Hasan was given four suspension points (five demerit). Bishnoi was handed a total of seven demerit points: five for breaching Article 2.21 and another two for the manner in which he celebrated the dismissal of Avishek Das in the 23rd over of the Bangladesh innings, which breached Article 2.5.
All the above points will remain on the players’ records for two years and apply to upcoming international matches – at the Under-19 or senior level – they are likely to participate in. One suspension point equals to a player being ineligible for one ODI or T20I, Under-19 or A team international match.
Match officials, including on-field umpires Sam Nogajski and Adrian Holdstock, third umpire Ravindra Wimalasiri and fourth umpire Patrick Bongni Jele, levelled the charges against the players, with the final penalty proposed by the match referee, Graeme Labrooy.
There was a lot of aggression on both sides through the final, a low-scoring thriller in which Bangladesh chased down a revised target of 170 with only three wickets left. Players engaged in several short exchanges since the second over of the match that culminated in some players from both sides being involved in pushing and shoving and, in the process, causing damage to a Bangladesh flag.
Both captains condemned the behaviour on their players’ part. Priyam Garg, the India captain, said the opposition’s reaction was “dirty” while his opposite number, Akbar Ali, was “sorry” on behalf of his team, admitting that emotions needed to be kept in check without spoiling the fabric of the “gentleman’s game”.
Geoff Allardice, the ICC general manager cricket, said it was “disappointing” to see a final that was “hard fought” and ended with players being sanctioned.
“The match was hard fought, as you would expect in an ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup Final, but the elation and disappointment experienced by some players after the game spilled over into unedifying scenes that have no place in our sport,” he said in an ICC release issued on Monday. “Respect is at the very heart of the spirit of cricket, and players are expected to show self-discipline, congratulate the opposition on their successes and enjoy the success of their own team.
“It is disappointing that Code of Conduct charges needed to be laid after such a closely contested match, but it is important to reinforce the standard of behavior that will be expected of these young players should they transition to senior international cricket.”