Australia's ball tampering in the third Test against South Africa has proved the final straw for the ICC, which has announced a review intended to deal with "standards expected of players and developing a culture of respect".
After handing Steve Smith a one-Test ban and Cameron Bancroft three demerit points for their role in the scandal at Newlands, ICC chief executive David Richardson said "the game needs to have a hard look at itself" amid what he perceived as rising indiscipline.
High-profile incidents in recent weeks have included South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada being suspended after making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Smith, David Warner being involved in an off-field altercation with Quinton de
Kock and Bangladesh threatening to walk off and remonstrating with the umpire in their Nidahas Trophy match against Sri Lanka, leading to clashes between the players.
Detailing the remit of the review, which will be led by Richardson, an ICC statement read: "The review … will consult widely with the sport in contemporising the standards expected of player behaviour and developing a culture of respect.
"It will focus on two things: firstly, the ICC code of conduct, reviewing the levels of offence based on seriousness, more clearly defining the conduct that will constitute each offence and reviewing the sanctions that should apply to the various offences.
"Secondly, the establishment of a 'spirit of cricket code' based on a culture of respect. This will define more clearly what it actually means to play the modern game and will draw opinions from respected former players, match officials, the MCC and current players."
While Smith was only banned for one Test by the ICC, the 28-year-old received a 12-month suspension from Cricket Australia (CA) – as did David Warner, who was deemed to have developed the plan – for his part in the tampering. Bancroft has been prohibited from playing international or domestic cricket for nine months after applying sandpaper to the ball.
Richardson commended CA for their response to the incident and hopes the review can put the ICC in position to deal with such issues in a more robust fashion.
He said: "The existing code has served the sport well for a number of years, but it is important that we are able to assess it in relation to the game today and that is the purpose of the review. We need to be clear on what acceptable behaviour is and what isn't and what the appropriate sanctions are when a player breaches the code. That may also mean strengthening sanctions to make them genuine deterrents.
"Respect is central to the spirit of cricket and rebuilding and maintaining that ethos of respect is fundamental to what this review is trying to achieve.
"We will also consider how we reach greater consistency in decision making with our match officials who do such a difficult job. How can we support them and dismiss the notion that some teams are favoured over others. Nothing is out of bounds with this review and we have a responsibility to shape how the spirit of cricket is brought to life in the game in the 21st century.
"We need to move on from the last few weeks but not in the hope that people will just forget about it, but by taking positive action and ensuring fans around the world can rely on cricket to do the right thing.
"I'd like to commend Cricket Australia on their response to what we have seen over the last week and I'd like to thank the ICC members for their full support of this review as we look to turn around recent issues and re-establish respect for the game."