Dec 12, 2016

Cricket red cards : a novel concept of Sri Lanka Featured

Former Josephian and Sri Lanka under 19 skipper and Tamil Union cricketer Dushan Soza is laying claim that it was he who first introduced the novel concept of introducing red cards in cricket which the International Cricket Council (ICC) is planning to bring in for unruly player conduct in the lower-tier leagues from October next year.

Soza was a member of the technical committee appointed by interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny last year that comprised Wettimuny as well as former Sri Lanka captains Mahela Jayawardene and Michael Tissera.

“Given the escalation of behavioral issues in school games, Sidath asked me to provide a solution. I proposed a Code of Conduct for school cricket named the ‘Soza Paper’ and submitted it to Sri Lanka Cricket,” Soza told the Daily News.

“I gave the concept paper and at the subsequent meetings conceptualized and discussed the use of soccer and rugby style card system red, yellow, and other colours, and sin bin for those who breached the code. On the back of it was a fair play award to be given to the three leading schools that topped the spirit of cricket table.”

The Code of Conduct document was translated into Sinhala for school cricket administrators and handed over.

In the meantime Soza explained the then SLC Director Operations Carlton Bernadus wrote to the ICC in Dubai and requested clearance to implement this code in school cricket.

“The ICC gave clearance and Simon Taufel (the former ICC elite panel umpire) had even suggested some amendments to the Code of Conduct concept paper,” said Soza.

“Following the green light given by the ICC a workshop was to be carried out with all engaged to decide on the levels of offences (levels 1, 2, 3 etc) and what card should be used and the penalty thereof. It also covered parents, coaches, master-in-charge etc,” he said.

But unfortunately the workshop never took place as the SLC administration changed and the ‘Soza Paper’ has now been consigned aside.

Last week in Mumbai following a two-day meeting the world cricket committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardian of the game’s laws recommended that cricketers could be ‘red-carded’ by umpires and ejected from the ground for the duration of a match from next October and that on-field sanctions would be introduced to address declining standards of player behaviour.

Soza had an outstanding cricket career being captain of St Joseph’s College for two consecutive years being champions in both years (1974-75 and 1975-76) and also captained the Sri Lanka Under 19 team. Later he captained the University of Reading first eleven in the UK and played for Combined British Universities and MCC and, for NCC and Tamil Union. He is a reputed corporate CEO.