The International Cricket Council (ICC) will crack down on excessive sledging between players at the World Cup, saying first offenders can expect heavier fines while repeat offenders face suspension from matches.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson added that players with already poor records of on-field behaviour could face immediate match bans if found guilty of a single breach of the ICC's code of conduct during the tournament.

A repeat offence, not only in this tournament but some players already sitting with offences behind their name, will be punished with a suspension

David Richardson, ICC CEO

"That issue has been addressed at all the pre-event team briefings," Richardson said. "I suppose it started a few months back already that the behaviour in some matches by some players was deemed to be unacceptable and not a good example to young fans watching the game.

"So the crackdown had already started. For a first offence, you'll likely end up with a fine which no players likes, handing back most of his match fee. But certainly a repeat offence, not only in this tournament but some players already sitting with offences behind their name, will be punished with a suspension."

The crackdown may give Australia opening batsman David Warner some pause before charging into a verbal altercation given he has been found guilty of breaching the code of conduct twice in two months.

India batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were also fined for conduct breaches in December during the occasionally ill-tempered Test series with Australia.

Pundits have suggested a football-style yellow and red card system to better stamp out poor on-field behaviour but Richardson said cricket would continue to rely on post-match reviews with on-field umpires and off-field referees to analyse incidents and lay charges where necessary.

Source: Reuters