Umpires will have the option to award five penalty runs this season in the JCT600 Bradford League.

However, although the stiffening of the disciplinary procedure didn’t go down well with a number of league captains at their pre-season meeting last week, the league’s disciplinary chairman Brian Pearson says: “Umpires can only apply it once per club per match.

“The penalty will only happen if there is misconduct which does not abide by the ECB’s (England and Wales Cricket Board's) Code of Conduct or Spirit of Cricket.

"If there are further incidents in the match from the same side, any offender can be put on report.”

Pearson added: “Some recent disciplinary cases have lasted several weeks but under this new system incidents will be dealt with more quickly.

“An umpire will report the incident to me by 10pm on the Sunday (for a Saturday match) and a club official will be informed that their player has been reported by 10pm on the Monday.

“I would expect them to hold a disciplinary hearing, but the league intend to hold their hearing within ten days which will be attended by the player, a club official (if necessary) and, regardless of involvement, the captain.

“The league will also have the umpires’ written report by then and, if a suspension is imposed, the intention is for it to start the following Saturday.”