February 10 (562-577)

(Story numbers 2854-2918)

562 –  1 February  [2854-2858]

• 'Ball bite' leads to two-match suspension  (562-2854).

• 'Kookaburra' cautious about day-night test ball development time-line  (562-2855).

• Harper 'withdrawals' from NZ-Bangladesh Test, say reports  (562-2856).

• Windies umpire for Bangladesh exchange  (562-2857).

• Bowler takes 'hat tricks' in successive overs  (562-2858).

563 –  2 February  [2859-2861]

• Tucker appointed to three Tests, claim reports  (563-2859).

• CA ball, night trials, to start in Futures League today  (563-2860).

• BCCI-CSA agree not to use UDRS for Tests  (563-2861).

564 –  3 February  [2862-2866]

• Sighting pink balls from square leg difficult, says day-night umpire (564-2862).

• Tassy coach raises umpiring concerns (564-2863).

• ICC confirms Tucker's Test debut  (564-2864).

• Afridi suspension too lenient, say former players (564-2865).

• Second Caribbean, day-night, pink ball game, completed (564-2866).

565 –  4 February  [2867-2870]

• Durability of pink balls a concern, say players  (565-2867).

• Praise for U19 World Cup 'Spirit'  (565-2868).

• Afridi a serial cheat, says Hair  (565-2869).

• Five run penalty missed in Afridi incident?  (565-2870).

566 – 5 February  [2871-2873]

• Benson announces international retirement, to join ECB list  (566-2871).

• 'Unusual quantity' of saliva leads to ball tampering charge  (566-2872).

• Umpires named for World T20 Qualifier  (566-2873).

567 – 8 February  [2874-2876]

• Initial pink ball verdict negative, say press reports  (567-2874).

• Umpires from around Australia for the Imparja Cup (567-2875).

• PCB committee to investigate Afridi ball tampering incident  (567-2876).

568 – 10 February  [2877-2882]

• UDRS changes in the wind?   (568-2877).

• CA to push international coordination of pink ball project  (568-2878).

• 'Mock' MCG match helps assess TV pink ball 'visibility'   (568-2879).

• Ball tampering an 'open secret', says Greig  (568-2880).

• Jamaican umpires query WICB approach to 'youth' policy  (568-2881).

• ICC 'technology workshop' scheduled for March, says report   (568-2882).

569 – 10 February  [2883-2886]

• BCCI looses Kolta pitch appeal  (569-2883).

• Suspended player to work as an umpire  (569-2884).

• Umpire's LBW height query led to dissent, claims report  (569-2885).

• A 'pleasant' Sunday for Indian club umpires!  (569-2886).

570 – 14 February  [2887-2891]

• ICC praises UDRS statistics, further system refinement planned  (570-2887).

• European, Asian umpires stand in T20 Qualifier final (570-2888).

• Umpires don't know what 'real' pressure is, says former player (570-2889).

• Batsman applies 'real' pressure with his bat  (570-2890).

• Eight weeks suspension a 'fair' outcome, says guilty player  (570-2891).

• Players misbehave despite league's 'spirit' push  (570-2892).

571 – 16 February  [2893-2894]

• Final 'home-and-away' Shield appointments announced  (571-2893).

• Dressing room 'smash-up' censure called 'inadequate' (571-2894).

572 – 19 February  [2895-2901]

• Reiffel becomes a Queenslander  (572-2895).

• ICC plans 'urgent product research' on day-night Tests  (572-2896).

• 'Handled the Ball', or 'Obstructing the Field'?  (572-2897).

• Taufel third umpire in NZ Test  (572-2898).

• Windies-Bangladesh umpire exchange program underway  (572-2899).

• Five 'neutrals' for Pakistan-England T20I matches  (572-2900).

• Behave or face ban, says BCCI  (572-2901).

573 – 20 February  [2902-2904]

• TCUSA members prepare for international duty  (573-2902).

• 'Wilful act' costs India runs, wrong 'penalty' awarded?  (573-2903).

• Pink balls for all MCC Gulf tour matches  (573-2904).

574 – 22 February  [2905-2907]

• ICC confirms Tucker's Bangladesh appointments  (574-2905).

• Madugalle set to pass 250 mark as an ODI match referee  (574-2906).

• Presentation marks umpire's 100th ODI  (574-2907).

575 – 24 February  [2908-2911]

• Caribbean umpires seek dialogue with WICB   (575-2908).

• Bundaberg umpires considered end-of-season match boycott   (575-2909).

• Heavy roller ban should improve county matches, says coach  (575-2910).

• League suspended after 'suspect' match, umpiring 'faux pas'  (575-2911).

576 – 25 February  [2912-2913]

• CA calls for ICC ruling on stance-change tactic, says report  (576-2912).

• Oxenford, Reiffel for domestic one-day final  (576-2913).

577 – 27 February  [2914-2918]

• ICC issues 'interim directive' on 'switch hit' tactics, says NZ report  (577-2914).

• Taufel to weigh security information before final IPL commitment  (577-2915).

• Match video clears up score sheet uncertainty  (577-2916).

• Reprimand for Singaporean batsman  (577-2917).

• ICC UDRS 'missing sound' investigation still to report  (577-2918).






Stand-in Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was last night suspended for two matches after being found guilty of “changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket”.  Afridi was observed to bite the ball on several occasions "without the permission of the on-field umpires" during Australia’s innings in the the final One Day International of the five-match series in Perth.

Match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka handed the player the maximum penalty under the provisions of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Code (CoC) regulations after he pleaded "guilty, apologised and [said that he] regretted his actions" at an early stage in proceedings.  Under the provisions of the new version of the CoC that plea meant that there was no need for a full hearing into the matter.

Afridi later told 'Geo TV', a Pakistan-based news channel, that the practice of tampering with the ball was common among all teams. "I shouldn't have done it, it just happened", he said, "I was trying to help my bowlers and win a match, one match" but "my methods were wrong".  Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said  Afridi's actions were "unacceptable," and that "it shouldn't have happened but it happened and I feel sorry for him [for as] a captain you should be above everything" like that.

Madugalle said in an ICC statement that he "reminded Shahid of his responsibilities as a national captain which is to ensure that the match is played according to the laws of the game and in the spirit in which it is intended to be played". 

The charge against the skipper was laid by on-field umpires Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka and Paul Reiffel of Australia together with the latter's countryman, third and fourth umpires Rod Tucker Mick Martell respectively.




The Australian company charged by Cricket Australia (CA) with delivering an acceptable ball for day-night Test cricket has warned it could be more than two years before a Test match is played under lights, says a report published in the 'Sunday Herald Sun' in Melbourne yesterday.  'Kookaburra' Managing Director Rob Elliot told journalist Peter Badel that the quest for the ideal day-night ball would remain a "very difficult problem" unless cricket authorities are prepared to compromise on how Test cricket is played.

Elliot said that the chief problem lies in trying to replicate the natural wear and performance of the traditional red ball with its pink and white alternatives, especially as CA is said to be determined to maintain the essence of Test cricket in any day-night format and that any ball that is developed for it needs to withstand eighty overs like their red counterparts.

Kookaburra's Managing Director is said to have conceded his organisation may need to return to the drawing board if forthcoming trials of pink and white balls in three-day Futures League matches, one of them a day-night game, do not meet expectations (E-News 558-2826, 25 January 2010).  Describing the trials as a bit "open-ended", he said, and "if we have to make some further changes, we'll have to go through the process again and so it will go on until we can give the administrators something that they can live with".

Elliot is said, however, to be dubious as to whether a modified coloured ball can last the preferred eighty overs and that "cricket bosses" may need to consider using a pink ball at each end in day-night Tests, with both to be used for forty overs.  "I don't believe any ball [other than red] has got eighty overs in it", he said, a clear reference to claims by rival company 'Duke' last week that their pink balls can last the eighty over distance (E-News 559-2841, 28 January 2010).  

According to the 'Kookaburra' boss, "it's up to administrators to decide what they constitute as being acceptable and what's not acceptable", however, "it's going to cost a lot of money and it has already cost a lot of money".  The issue is not "going to be solved overnight", said Elliot.  Badel's report states that 'Kookaburra' has already spent around $A1m on research and development work on coloured balls for Tests to date.

The article says that "Australian cricket's past experiment with alternative colours proved a fizzer", the yellow and orange balls used in the Sheffield Shield in the 1990s being "abandoned when players complained about a lack of clarity under lights".  Elliot said the orange ball was particularly problematic for television because on screen for "it developed a comet-like tail that flared and sometimes got lost in the background".




Persistent reports from a number of sources in Australia and other countries over the weekend are indicating that Australian umpire Daryl Harper will not now stand in the single Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh which is due to start in Hamilton two weeks from today. Harper's personal web site is currently indicating that his next appointments won't be with the International Cricket Council (ICC), but rather in the Indian Premier League's 2010 tournament in March-April, his third involvement with that series.

While the ICC had not formally announced it, reliable reports last week indicated that Harper was to have stood in that match with his countryman Rod Tucker who will be making his Test debut in Hamilton, however, the South Australian will now miss that game.  Reports circulating say that the Australian is concerned that his presence in Hamilton will, given allegations that have been made against him in regards to recent controversy in South Africa that the ICC is investigating (E-News 558-2836, 27 January 2010), add unnecessarily to the pressures that will be on Tucker.     

England's Mark Benson, who other reports suggest will be officiating in this week's One Day International series between the two sides (E-News 560-2847, 29 January 2010), had been listed for the third umpire's spot in the Test, for the Umpire Decision Review System will be in operation, the first time the Bangladesh side will have experienced it.  Whether Benson will accompany Tucker on to the field or the ICC will bring in another member of its Elite Umpire Panel for that role, is not known at this time.

Over the last few months the ICC has not publicised umpiring and match referee appointments to international matches via press releases as it did previously.  More recently the names have been are posted on the match officials appointments page of the world body's web site without fanfare and sometimes after the games they are involved have actually begun.




Trinidad and Tobago umpire Peter Nero is to travel to Bangladesh next month as part of a new umpire exchange agreement between the West Indian and Bangladesh Cricket Boards, a move the WICB hinted at broadly last month (E-News 543-2775, 8 January 2010).  Nero is to stand in three games in the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) 2009-10 National Cricket League (NCL) first class competition, however, just who will travel in the opposite direction before the Caribbean first class season ends late this month has not yet been announced. 

This season's NCL was originally scheduled to commence on 1 January but did not get underway until the fourteenth of the month after leading players threatened to pull out unless the BCB increased their match fees and reverted to the previous format of the four-day competition.  

The total number of games scheduled has been reduced from thirty to twenty-two this year, all six first class teams playing five matches each in a single 'Group' stage, only the top four going on to play six more in a 'Super Four' round-robin format.  Teams that finish one and two after that is over then play in a five-day final from 8-12 March.

Nero, forty-five, who made his first class debut just under two years ago and currently has six such matches to his credit, is yet to stand in a first class match in the Caribbean during the current season.  He umpired in four matches in England last May-June, two of them first class, (E-News 449-2342, 6 July 2009), and is to stand in three of the BCB 'Super Four' games that are to be played in the period from 17 February and 5 March.  The teams who will be involved in those games and where they will be played in Bangladesh will not be known until the Group stage concludes on Thursday of next week. 

The BCB has used twelve umpires in the nine 'Group' games played to date, that number including Sri Lankan umpires Pearl Liyanage and Maurici Zilva who have both stood in two matches over the last fortnight.  Locals appointed to two games were: Mahfuzur Rahman; Mahbubur Rahman; Masudur Rahman; Anisur Rahman; while those with one match were Tanvir Ahmed; Jahangir Alam; Morshed Ali Khan; Gazi Sohel; Manzur Rahman; and Mizanur Rahman.

Anisur Rahman and Manzur Rahman stood in two first class games in Sri Lanka in the last half of December, while the BCB's Enamul Haque, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was there for four games. Mahbubur Rahman and Enamul Haque umpired in Sri Lanka last season,  the first year of that exchange, their Sri Lankan counterparts Athula Sennanayake and Sagara Gallage standing in the NCL (E-News 350-1869, 20 November 2008).   

South Africa's Ian Howell, a former IUP member in his home country, stood in three first class matches in Sri Lanka in November-December.  Whether that is part of an agreement between Sri Lanka Cricket and Cricket South Africa is not known.




Linathi Jacob, a year twelve student at Queen’s College in East London, South Africa, took 'hat tricks' in successive overs in a game played in Queenstown a week ago, says a story published in the region's 'Daily Dispatch' newspaper on the weekend.  Jacob, seventeen, who ended up taking 7/15 off just fifteen balls, took 5/7 against the same opponents this time last year.

Brought into the attack when his opponents had reached fifty without loss, his first ball was a 'wide' but the next three saw his first hat-trick, the same pattern happening in his second when he repeated the feat.  He told the 'Dispatch'  that he "wasn’t meant to bowl, but all the other bowlers were battling and I was called on by the captain".

Muteuro Chimedu, the match umpire was quoted as saying that “I must admit I was a bit nervous when he took the first hat-trick, but it got easier for the second". The method of Jacob's dismissals was not mentioned in the newspaper's report.






Australian umpire Rod Tucker, who commenced his career as a match official with the TCUSA seven years ago, is to stand in three Tests over the next seven weeks if reports received by E-News are correct.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to confirm that his debut at Test level will be when New Zealand plays Bangladesh in Hamilton in a fortnight, something his known appointments timetable appears to fit (E-News 540-2765, 28 December 2009), or the latest suggestions that it will be followed by the two Bangladesh-England Tests in Chittagong and Mirpur in the latter half of March.

Tucker, forty-five, who was one of a quartet identified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) ten months ago as an 'emerging' umpire on the world scene (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), will be the last of those four to stand at Test level.  Nigel Llong of England stood in the first of his now eight Tests two years ago (E-News 154-853, 13 December 2007), Amish Shaheba of India the first of his three the year after that (E-News 359-1917, 10 December 2008), and South Africa's Marais Erasmus did so in two Bangladesh-India Tests last month (E-News 550-2804, 17 January 2010), 

Sydney-based Tucker has made a remarkably rapid rise in umpiring circles since his first match at Under 17 level in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) in Hobart in October 2002 following a playing career with New South Wales and Tasmania (E-News 500-2585, 2 October 2009).  He was quickly promoted through TCA Grades, half his games in his first season being at First Grade level, and after moving back to NSW in 2003 his rapid rise continued and he made his debut at first class level at the Sydney Cricket Ground in December 2004, just twenty-six months after that first TCA youth match.

Soon after, Tucker was named as a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) Project Panel, a group the national body set up to 'fast-track' former first class players into umpiring, and was appointed to the National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the 2005-06 season after just two first class games.  In March 2007, he stood in his first Sheffield Shield final, a game that was only his fifteenth at first class level (E-News 14-81, 13 March 2007), then worked in his second a year later in his twenty-first, the same season in which he also officiated in the final of the national domestic one-day competition for the first time (E-News 199-1095, 21 February 2008).  

Tucker's move to the next level came soon after for in June 2008 he was elevated on to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) as a third umpire (E-News 251-1375, 3 June 2008), then into an on-field position just four months later following the sudden resignation of Australian international umpire Peter Parker (E-News 336-1770, 25 October 2008).  

The former TCUSA member made his debut in international cricket as a third umpire in September 2008 and on the field in January last year, the ICC then appointing him to a World Cup Qualifying tournament in South Africa, where he also worked during a umpire exchange program organised by CA and Cricket South Africa (E-News 368-1956, 6 February 2009), and to the World Twenty20 Championship in England last June.  By the time he makes his reported Test debut he will have worked in twenty-nine first class games, two as the third umpire in Tests, eighteen ODIs, seven as the third umpire, and seven Twenty20 Internationals, two of those being in the television suite.

With the Sheffield Shield final to be played from 19-23 March, a time Tucker will if reports are correct be in Bangladesh for the Tests and his Australian IUP colleague Paul Reiffel in South Africa on an umpiring exchange (E-News 554-2821, 21 January 2010), it could mean that Australia's third IUP member, Bruce Oxenford, could be in line for the final, with the main competition for the second on-field and third umpire spots possibly being between senior NUP members Ian Lock (Western Australia) and Simon Fry (South Australia).  Fry was appointed, together with Reiffel, to the national Twenty20 final last month while Lock was in the television suite (E-News 553-2818, 20 January 2010).

Who Tucker's match management colleagues in the single Test in New Zealand this month might be is not clear at this stage (E-News 562-2856, 1 February 2010).  Australia's newest Test umpire is expected to be in Hobart next Monday for the Sheffield Shield match at Bellerive between Tasmania and Queensland, but whether he will be able to attend the Association's next meeting on the Wednesday evening is not known at this stage.  TCUSA member Steven John will be Tucker's his on-field partner in that game, his second match in the Sheffield Shield and third first class match overall (E-News 540-2765, 28 December 2009).  




Cricket Australia's (CA) trial of a pink ball in a day-night match gets underway today when round five of the Futures League competition for state second XI sides get underway in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.  The match at Adelaide Oval between the South and Western Australia sides will be a day-night affair with a pink ball, while the other two games, which are both daylight only matches, will see a pink ball use in Brisbane and a white one in Melbourne.

Play in Adelaide today will start at 2.30 p.m. local time and end at 9.30 p.m. in order "to ensure the final session will finish under lights" says CA, actual sunset there coming at close to 8.20 p.m. during the match.  Whether Victorian and Tasmanian players will wear coloured clothing in the white ball game at the St Kilda Cricket Ground in Melbourne is not known.     




Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) "have mutually agreed" to not use the Umpire Decision Reviewl System (UDRS) during their two Test match series this month, according to a '' report from Mumbai yesterday.  Journalist Bipin Dani quotes BCCI "sources" as saying that David Richardson, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) General Manager Cricket, "was prepared to [travel] to India to explain the implementation of the system to the players but the [BCCI] and CSA agreed, not to use the system".

Indications that the referral system would not be used came last week when the ICC named only two neutral umpires for the Tests, Australia's Steve Davis and England's Ian Gould (E-News 559-2843).  The move means that India will have played seven Tests without the UDRS in action, five at home and two in Bangladesh, in the time since the ICC made the system "permanent" in Tests from 1 October last year.  The only occasion the referral system was used in a series involving India was when they toured Sri Lanka in July-August 2008 when it was trialled for the first time (E-News 285-1511, 25 July 2008).  

The first Test is due to start in Nagpur on Saturday, the tourists opening their tour with a two-day match against a BCCI President's XI that starts in that city today. 






Player opinion appears to be reasonably positive but umpires have complained about losing sight of the 'Kookaburra' company's pink ball from square leg on the first day of the day-night trial being conducted at the Adelaide Oval in a Futures League state second XI yesterday, according to press reports published this morning (E-News 563-2860, 2 February 2010).  A pink ball is also being used in Futures daylight fixtures in Brisbane, while another match in Melbourne has a white ball.

South Australian umpire Andy Collins, who is standing in the game between his home state and Western Australia in Adelaide, was quoted as saying that when he was at the bowler's end "there's no issues" for he "found it nearly glows at some stages".  However, in his initial assessment "square leg is a different issue" for "there are times you lose it altogether" in trying to pick the height at which balls pass the batsman. Yesterday "was overcast so we'd like to see what happens on a bright sunshine day, but at this stage it is a little bit difficult from square leg", he said.

Cullen Bailey, South Australia's captain, said the players had few major troubles picking up the ball, though he reasoned a black sight-screen might have been better for balls that are not quite as dark as had been expected by Cricket Australia, say reports.  Separate pink balls were used from each end and as a result it was not a true test of the durability of the ball, but Bailey says that "seemed to last really well, it swung a bit early and it reversed a bit later on", although "some of the guys found it a bit hard to catch, but it wasn't too bad".

The first day of the match illustrated the difficulties of playing a day-night fixture to its conclusion for a rain delay either side of the tea break extended the day, players eventually leaving the field at 11 p.m. local time, ninety minutes later than the scheduled finish.  During the day South Australia made 266 while their opponents were 4/110 at stumps.




Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle is said to have been critical of the umpiring in the Sheffield Shield match between his side and Victoria that was played at Bellerive over the weekend, according to a report distributed by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) yesterday.  The news agency's story says that Coyle is concerned that ten of the thirty-five dismissals during the match were LBWs, six of which went against Tasmania, and he was quoted as saying that "there were some decisions for both teams that were quite questionable".

Coyle, who was speaking after his side had "two or three chances" to win the match but didn't, is said to be concerned that "teams receive no feedback on their umpiring concerns", a comment that is not entirely understandable given that both captains, umpires Ian Lock of Western Australia and Steven John of Tasmania, and match referee Bob Stratford, would have, as a matter of routine, met together post match to discuss any issues of concern.  Such meetings often involve very frank exchanges of views.

The AAP story then goes on to mention the single cameras that are routinely in place at both ends of the ground in all Sheffield Shield matches as part of Cricket Australia's (CA) umpiring development and training program, and suggests that Coyle is of the view that they could "in some cases be used as part of a referral system".  "Whether you can make a definitive decision with that footage" Coyle wasn't sure, but "it certainly gives you plenty of information", runs the quote attributed to him.    

In comments distributed around the country by AAP, a clearly exasperated Coyle went on to touch briefly on the way he perceives the development of umpires is handled by CA.  "The game needs a system that develops the decision-makers", he said, and "we've got to have a situation where the umpires are accountable just like the players", he said, for "if the players have two or three bad games they are not selected", a clear indication that in his view the same should apply to match officials.




The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday confirmed that former TCUSA member Rod Tucker is to make his debut at Test level in the match between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Hamilton which is to get underway on Sunday week (E-News 563-2859, 2 February 2010).  Tucker is stand in the match with South African umpire Rudi Koertzen who was in New Zealand in December for the series against Pakistan and will be standing in his 106th Test, a record second only to now retired West Indian Steve Bucknor.     

Koertzen replaces Australian Daryl Harper who is believed to have been the ICC's original selection for the Test (E-News 562-2856, 1 February 2010), however, the ICC has not named a third umpire as it normally does if the Umpire Decision Review System is to be in operation.  There were unconfirmed reports that English umpire Mark Benson would be the third official in the Test, a task he was to have undertaken after standing as the neutral umpire in the three One Day Internationals (ODI) between New Zealand and Bangladesh, the first of which is to be played this Friday in Napier (E-News 560-2847, 29 January 2010). 

Instead, the ICC has named another Englishman, Richard Kettleborough, who has to date been on the field only once in an ODI, as the neutral umpire for the three-match series, but there is no indication that he will work as the third umpire in the Test.  Thirty-six-year-old Kettleborough, who is a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (E-News 525-2696, 19 November 2009), made his  one-field debut in an ODI during the England-Australia series last September.  

The former Yorkshire batsman and occasional seamer who participated in thirty-three first class games for his county from 1994-99, as well as twenty-one domestic one-day games, stood in last month's Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand and was appointed to the main final of that tournament which was played last Saturday (E-News 561-2852, 30 January 2010), therefore he was already in the country around the time of Harper's reported withdrawal.

The first of the Englishman's now seventy-three first class games as an umpire came in April 2002, his List A tally currently standing at sixty-five games. Kettleborough has also worked as the third umpire in three Tests and  five ODIs to the present time.  An indication of how the England and Wales Cricket Board sees his abilities came when he was sent to the West Indies as part of an umpiring exchange program last February (E-News 374-1994, 18 February 2009).

Alan Hurst of Australia will have overall responsibility for both the Test and ODIs as the match referee, the games taking his tally in Tests in that role to thirty-seven and in the shorter version to eighty-four games.

Tonight's Twenty20 International between the two sides in Hamilton will see Chris Gaffaney make his debut in that form of the game, his on-field partner being Gary Baxter and Evan Watkin the third umpire, while Hurst is the match referee.  The three Kiwis are members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (E-News 510-2626, 23 October 2009).




Former Australian captain Allan Border has criticised Pakistani Shahid Afridi's two-match ban for ball tampering, claiming the International Cricket Council (ICC) should have punished the Pakistan all-rounder more severely.  On Sunday, Afridi was suspended for two Twenty20 internationals after being found guilty of “changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket” in the One Day International (ODI) against Australia in Perth (E-News 562-2854, 1 February 2010).

Border said on Fox Sports 'Inside Cricket' program on Monday that the punishment handed down to Afridi "wasn't enough given that he's been a bit of a serial offender in front of ICC disciplinary committees".  "You've got to send a strong message out that you just don't want this sort of stuff happening on field" and thereby ensure that players known that they are "not going to get away with it".  On the same program another Fox Sports commentator, former Australian bowler Brendon Julian, said that authorities were too quick to bring in stringent rules on ball-tampering in the first place and relaxing the laws would even up the contest between bat and ball.  

Former Australian player Mark Waugh and retired Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul-Haq whose team was accused of ball-tampering in the 2006 Oval Test against England, both told media outlets yesterday that Afridi's punishment did not, in the words of one, "fit the crime".  Another former Australian player Adam Gilchrist, said it was up to the players to stamp out ball-tampering, and he believes any players who are caught should face lengthy bans.  "I think what we saw on Sunday night in Perth and also in the England and South Africa series [last month] (E-News 543-2776, 8 January 2010), is that this is an issue that must be dealt with sooner rather than later", he said, as "there is simply too much weight of evidence that it's occurring".

Border's "serial" comments refer to Afridi's suspension in November 2005 for one Test and two ODIs after being found guilty of scuffing the pitch during a Test match against England, and fifteen months after that he was banned for four ODIs after an incident in which he waved his bat in a threatening manner towards a spectator who abused him in South Africa.

Last September the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) banned six players "indefinitely from playing in future Ramadan festival Twenty20 tournaments in Karachi after they were reported by umpires for "verbal abuse, suspected ball tampering and defying decisions" (E-News 492-2548, 18 September 2009), while in England in July a player in a county second XI match was fined and suspended for three games for tampering with the ball three times in a single over (E-News 452-2352, 10 July 2009).

Meanwhile, Victorian paceman Dirk Nannes, who has played county cricket in England, in the Indian Premier League and with the Dutch national side, yesterday rejected Afridi's claim that every side in the world illegally tampered with the ball.  "It's no secret that everyone wants to change the condition of the ball but that's through shining the ball and things like that", he said, and "I don't know anyone in Australia or England who had done anything [illegal] to alter the condition of a ball".




The second of four first class day-night matches using pink balls that are to be played in the Caribbean during the season currently underway, ended yesterday Australian time just a few hours before Cricket Australia commenced a similar trial at the Adelaide Oval (EPNews 564-2862 above and E-News 563-2860, 2 February 2010).  The match between Barbados and the Windward Islands at Bridgetown was umpired by Guyanan umpires Clyde Duncan and Dhieranidranauth Somwaru, and is to be followed by a third such game in mid-month and a fourth that is due to end on 1 March (E-News 549-2799, 16 January 2010).






Concern has been expressed about the durability of pink balls being trialled in the Futures League day-time match being played in Brisbane between the second XIs from Queensland and New South Wales, according to an article in the 'Courier-Mail' newspaper yesterday.  That report comes after umpires indicated that they had difficulty seeing the pink ball from square leg on the first day of the day-night pink ball Futures match in Adelaide on Tuesday (E-News 564-2862, 3 February 2010).

Queensland fast bowler Alister McDermott was quoted by the 'Courier-Mail' as saying that "when the pink ball hits the wicket the paint comes off it".  He said that "the pink is not dyed into the ball like it is with the red balls, so the paint just wears off in time [and] that makes it hard to shine, so when it gets roughed up you can't shine the ball like you can shine a red one".  "The big thing about the red ball is that after eighty overs it may have faded but it is still red, but after forty overs or so the pink ball is starting to go a bit white", he said.

New South Wales batsman Ahilen Beadle echoed McDermott's sentiments saying that the pink ball "is easier to see than the red ball but it gets scuffed up easier and that is the problem".  "You can see the grey parts where it has hit the concrete wall" around the ground and "they need to do more work on the lacquer so it can get through eighty overs rather than fifty overs".  Beadle also said that the ball "tends to get soft" and that he "faced the 'Duke' balls a couple of weeks ago and between overs forty to sixty and it was very hard to score".

As in the Adelaide game separate pink balls are being used from each end, meaning that the balls became discoloured despite being subjected to only forty overs of wear and tear, say reports.




David Morgan, the President of the International Cricket Council, has praised players for upholding the Spirit of Cricket during the Under 19 World Cup that concluded in New Zealand last Saturday.  Morgan said that "the most impressive aspect of the event has been the spirit in which the tournament has been played [for] the behavior of the players on the field was exemplary".





Former Australian umpire Darrell Hair has branded Pakistani player Shahid Afridi a serial cheat who is likely to re-offend, says a report by Robert Craddock published in News Limited newspapers around the country this morning.  "Cheat is the only word for him", Hair said of Afridi, the player being suspended for two Twenty20 Internationals after biting the ball in a One Day International played in Perth on Sunday (E-News 562-2854, 1 February 2010).

Hair said that Afridi "has cheated before, he has cheated in this instance, he pleaded guilty", and "I'm sure he will again [for] he is no angel", a similar comment to that made by former Australian captain Alan Border this week who described the Pakistani as a "serial cheat" (E-News 564-2865, 3 February 2010).

Afridi was banned for a Test and two one-day internationals for damaging the pitch a Test against England in Faisalabad in 2005 and Hair said that he remembers "when he deliberately scratched the pitch when he thought everyone was looking the other way".  "He thought he would get away with it", said Hair, "but he was caught then as well". 

Hair said that he doesn't see what happened this week as vindication of what we did at The Oval" in 2006.  In that game the Pakistan side refused to return to the field after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test against England and forfeited the match after Hair and his umpiring colleague Billy Doctrove of the West Indies accused them of tampering with the ball.  

The International Cricket Council flew its chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle  to England to conduct an enquiry into what happened to the ball but his report found nothing wrong.  Hair told Craddock that "I do think it's interesting that the same man [Madugalle] who flew from a few thousand miles away well after the [2006] event to find the Pakistanis not guilty at The Oval has found Afridi guilty in Perth when he is on the spot".  The Australian said "it is all a bit of a laugh really".

Unlike The Oval incident, which triggered a wave of patriotic support in Pakistan, reports published in the English language press there about this week's ball tampering event have been muted and there appears to be no sympathy in Afridi's homeland for his indiscretion.




The two on-field umpires in last Sunday's One Day International (ODI) in Perth appear to have missed awarding Australia five penalty runs after they changed the ball following the ball tampering incident involving Pakistani player Shahid Afridi.  Under the Laws of Cricket, on changing the ball in such a situation five penalty runs should also be awarded to the batting side, and while the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'normal' ODI playing conditions currently available on its web site slightly modify that Law, there is no indication in them that the runs penalty does not apply in such games.

Former Australian umpire Darrell Hair said in an interview published today (E-News 565-2869 above), that on-field umpires Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka and Paul Reiffel of Australia also erred by not consulting match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka before changing the "tampered" ball.  

"A ball change cannot be done without first getting the approval of the ICC match referee", said Hair, although how he knows that was not done was not mentioned.  Reports from the match indicating that details of Afridi's indiscretion were relayed by radio to de Silva and Reiffel by third umpire Rod Tucker, who would have presumably also advised Madugalle of the situation that prevailed.






English umpire Mark Benson announced his retirement from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) today and is to take up a contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to stand in county cricket.  Fifty-one-year-old Benson withdrew from last December's Test match between Australia and the West Indies at the Adelaide Oval after its opening day citing health issues and rejecting suggestions his departure was because of concerns he had about the Umpire Decision Review System (E-News 531-2717, 9 December 2009).

ICC Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager Vince van der Bijl said in a statement that Benson's decision to depart "was brought on by a desire to spend more time in England with his family and some concerns about health issues".  There were strong indications that the fifty-one-year-old had been selected for next week's three-match One Day International (ODI) series between New Zealand and Bangladesh, and his initial appointment to that series by the ICC may have forced him to finally decide on his future (E-News 560-2847, 29 January 2010).     

Although Benson’s contract with the world body was not due to expire until the end of June, the ICC says that it granted his request to be released from it three months early so that he can join ECB ranks.  In December the ECB announced that twenty-three members would make up its Full List for 2010, two less than the twenty-five of recent years (E-News 538-2757, 23 December 2009), therefore there is space for the former England and Kent batsman to return to the county circuit. 

Benson said via an ICC statement that he has "immensely" enjoyed his time on the EUP.  “The opportunity to be part of the global game has given me memories that I will always treasure", he said, "but travel and being away from home takes its toll on the family and some warning bells have started to ring regarding my health".  As a result "having thought about it carefully, I feel now is the right time for me to step down and move to a more settled and familiar environment in England", said Benson.  

The now former EUP member continued by saying that "umpiring at the top level has been a very rewarding experience for me and it is not an easy decision to walk away from it but I believe it is the right one as far as my health and family are concerned".  In the three years leading up to the Adelaide Test, Benson had taken ill in a Test in South Africa and missed an entire ODI series in India because of what reports have suggested were heart-related issues (E-News 516-2654, 2 November 2009).  

The ICC's van der Bijl said that "Mark’s immense love for and enjoyment of cricket shines through his umpiring [and] his on-field calm demeanour will be missed, as will his friendly and easygoing disposition".  “We fully understand and support his decision [and know he] will add richly to county cricket as he is a talented and hugely experienced umpire and we wish him great success".


Benson, a  member of the EUP since 2006, first stood at international level in an ODI in June 2004 at Trent Bridge and in a Test four months later in Dhaka, and went on to stand in a total of twenty-eight Tests, seventy-two ODIs and nineteen Twenty20 Internationals.  During that time the stood in the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 final in Johannesburg and was shortlisted for the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' award in 2007 and 2008 (E-News 308-1612, 9 September 2008).




A club bowler in the Kolkata, India, has been charged with tampering with the ball during his side's two-day first division league match played there earlier this week.  The city's newspaper 'The Telegraph' reported yesterday that Arun Lal Yadav has been charged by umpires Sabyasachi Sarkar and Raju Soni with "trying to alter the condition of the ball by applying an unusual quantity of saliva on it".  

The incident, which came two days after Pakistani player Shahid Afridi was suspended for a ball tampering offence in a One Day International in Perth (E-News 562-2854, 1 February 2010), resulted in Sarkar and Soni reporting the matter in writing to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), terming it "a gross violation of the CAB's code of conduct".




Six umpires have been chosen by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the seventeen match, eight-team Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier series which is due to get underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next Tuesday.  The ICC's current 'Umpire of the Year', Aleem Dar of Pakistan, will be working in a mentor's role during the tournament in support of five members of the world body's third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires' Panel (AAIUP).     

AAIUP members taking part are: Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); Jeff Luck (Namibia); Paul Baldwin (Germany); and Subhash Modi (Kenya).  Englishman David Jukes and Ishtiaq Ahmed of Pakistan will be the referees for the five-day event that will see teams from Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, the Netherlands, the UAE and the United States competing for two spots in this year's T20 World Cup in the West Indies in May. 






Pink balls produced by Australian manufacturer 'Kookaburra' trialled in Adelaide this week in a day-night Futures League state second XI game "appear certain" to fall short of the standard Cricket Australia requires for day-night Test matches, according to a report published in 'The Weekend Australian' (TWA) on Saturday.  A separate report that appeared the same day in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' stated that pink balls produced by English company 'Dukes' also did not fare well in a daylight-only Futures match in Brisbane.   

'TWA' journalist Andrew Faulkner quotes "one source" as saying that the trial had been worthwhile but that more development work was needed before a suitable ball was found for use in day-night Tests.  Those involved in the Adelaide Oval match are said to have indicated that the 'Kookaburra' balls used were hard to see at times, especially from square of the wicket; the latter being reported as a problem by umpires earlier this week (E-News 564-2862, 3 February 2010).  Although they retained their colour well, Faulker says they "lost condition too quickly" to last the eighty overs demanded by Test cricket.

Bowler Elliott Opie, who played in Adelaide, was quoted as saying that the seam of the pink balls deteriorated faster than the traditional red variety.  "Everyone seemed to feel [that] it behaved more like a white ball rather than a red ball", Opie said, "it was quite hard [and] came off the bat quite hard and seemed to bounce more when it came off the deck".  "It didn't seam or swing as much as a red ball" he continued, and "where it became abrasive it went a sort of a mauve or a purple colour".

'Kookaburra' Managing Director Rob Elliot said a week ago that the quest for the ideal day-night ball would remain a "very difficult problem" unless cricket authorities are prepared to compromise on how Test cricket is played (E-News 562-2855, 1 February 2010).

Pink balls manufactured by English company 'Dukes', which is competing with 'Kookaburra' to develop a suitable day-night Test ball, were also not rated highly during the Futures League game played in Brisbane, according to quotes attributed to former Australian batsman Martin Love in an article written by 'Herald Sun' journalist Robert Craddock.

During that game "bits" of paint came off to reveal a white cover beneath (E-News 565-2867, 4 February 2010), some went out of shape and were impossible to shine", wrote Craddock, and "the consensus among many observers there] was that painted balls are not suitable and, until a dyed pink leather capable of lasting eighty overs can be developed, the experiment does not have a genuine chance of success".

Dukes managing director Dilip Jajodia told Craddock that he rated flourescent orange coloured balls as a superior option to the pink balls.  Jajodia, who was reported last week as indicating his company had made a "break through" in developing a pink ball capable of lasting in excess of eighty overs (E-News 559-2841, 28 January 2010), is quoted as saying that in his "view flourescent orange [balls are] the best chance for I have asked a lot of spectators and they go for orange every time". 

Love, who watched the pink ball being used in the Brisbane Futures game, remembers what he called the "lukewarm reception" orange balls used in day-night Sheffield Shield games the mid-1990s received, says Craddock.  "The orange balls [of that era] were not that bad to face when you batted, but difficult to field at night when they developed a comet-like trail", Love said, "particularly from side-on when you tried to follow it and it was a bit of a blur".  "It was difficult to bat at night against them with the dew [and] you had to score your runs during the day", he said.

There have been no reports published in the media in the Caribbean of the views of players and umpires involved in the two day-night, pink ball, first class matches that have been played there over the last three weeks (E-News 564-2866, 3 February 2010).  Two more such games are due to be played before the current Windies first class season ends on 1 March.




Ten umpires from the Australian states and territories will manage the main matches in the seventeenth Imparja Cup for Australian Indigenous cricketers which gets underway in Alice Springs today.  A record thirty-two teams will play in four separate competitions during the six-day tournament which is hosted by Northern Territory Cricket and Cricket Australia (CA), playing conditions in the various divisions ranging from Twenty20 to forty over and Super 8 formats.


James Sutherland, CA's Chief Executive Officer, said in a press release that the growth of the  Imparja Cup in recent years "is testament to the interest in cricket within the Indigenous community".  He said that CA is looking to "further grow participation in the sport among the Indigenous community and see Indigenous cricketers rise to national selection and role model status among young Indigenous children".

Umpires who will take part in matches this week are: Mark Dalgliesh (Queensland); Mark Donfield (Northern Territory); Reuben Garlett and Jamal Principe (Western Australia); Mark Hanton (Victoria); Arnand Santhanam (Australian Capital Territory);  Craig Thomas (South Australia); former TCUSA member Russell Turner (Victoria); Warwick Wheeldon (New South Wales); and Martin Betts (Tasmania).  The Executive Officer of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, Darrell Hair, will be in the Alice later this week to provide advice and feedback to the umpiring group.

For Principe its his fourth Imparja Cup, Wheeldon his third, and Dalgliesh and Donfield their second. 


The week's cricket was opened last night when an 'All-Stars' team featuring the likes of former Australian players Jason Gillespie, Matthew Elliott, Greg Matthews and Len Pascoe played a day-night Twenty20 against an Australian Indigenous XI captained by Tasmanian Bernie Lamont from the north-west coast that included former Cricket Australia Board Member and national opener Matthew Hayden.  Principe and Dalgliesh stood in that game.

Scorers from the Northern Territory Umpires and Scorers Association, Kathryn White, Brenna Toner and Barry Dale will be amongst those looking after match records with computers that use either the 'Total Cricket Program' package from England or the Australian-produced 'PitchPad' system.




A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee that is to investigate its national side's performance during the recently completed tour of Australia is to also look into the ball-tampering offence of stand-in captain Shahid Afridi in last week's One Day International in Perth, according to press reports from the sub-continent (E-News 562-2854, 1 February 2010).

Wasim Bari, the PCB's chief operating officer, who is to head the six-man committee involved, said that Afridi's actions were "unacceptable and we will look into the matter and make our recommendations", however, he did not elaborate whether the all-rounder would face further punishment than the two-Twenty20 match ban imposed by the International Cricket Council.

Apart from Bari, the other committee members are PCB governing board member Wazir Ali Khoja, former team manager Yawar Saeed, PCB director Zakir Khan, PCB legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi and director of the national cricket academy Haroon Rasheed.  

The group is expected to start work in the coming week, and Bari said it would summon team coach Intikhab Alam, manager Abdul Raqeeb, captain Yousuf and others for questioning before submitting a report to PCB chairman Ijaz Butt by the end of this month. 





"Fundamental changes" are set to be made to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) during an International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting in Dubai today and tomorrow, according to a story published in 'The Times' in London on Monday.  Matters involved are said to be having the third umpire check where the bowler's foot lands on every ball, less time being available to teams for review requests, and a reduction in the number of incorrect challenges available in a Test from eight per match to just four, but just when the changes would be introduced is not clear.

Despite 'The Times' report by journalist Simon Wilde, the ICC says simply in its press release that summarised the Board's agenda over the next two days, that it will include consideration of "updates on such issues as the [UDRS]", and there is no hint as to wha may actually transpire this week.  Normal ICC practice would suggest that the Board will look at some of the basic principles of any proposed changes that may be put before it and pass its views on to its Cricket Committee to finalise at its meeting in May.

While not entirely clear, it is probable that Wilde obtained the information for his story from someone at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), an organisation that has for sometime expressed concern about basic UDRS policy aspects and voted against its introduction at an ICC Board meeting last June (E-News 527-2702, 23 November 2009).  

Wilde says that the changes the ICC "are to make", are part of "wide review" of the UDRS being conducted by the world body, and that that work is separate from its formal enquiry into  the controversies surrounding a referral involving South African captain Graeme Smith in last month's fourth Test between South Africa and England in Johannesburg (E-News 549-2748, 16 January 2010).  The latter evaluation is said to be "underway" at this time (E-News 558-2836, 27 January 2010), however, whether the ICC would make UDRS changes now before it is completed remains to be seen.   

According to Wilde's article, the ECB recently "threatened to boycott" using the UDRS in Tests involving England if the way the third umpire receives his information is not improved, an issue that is central to the 'Smith' investigation.  'The Times' journalist claims that the work being conducted by the ICC has already made it clear "that most of England's demands will be met". 

Wilde says that requiring the third umpire to check replays for no-balls "is a simple measure that must come in, and certainly will, so too the shortening of the time available to teams to call for a review".  An overstepping that was missed by the on-field umpire in a Test in New Zealand in December cost the Pakistan side one of its UDRS reviews in that game (E-News 531-2721, 9 December 2009). 

"England believes", writes Wilde, "teams are abusing the thirty seconds they are granted to check with colleagues on dressing-room balconies who have access to television replays for guidance", says the journalist, a comment that is linked to several issues that arose in the recent Tests in South Africa (E-News 536-2746, 20 December 2009).  

"More debatable", he says, is "how many incorrect reviews teams should be permitted [with an undefined] many feeling that two per team per innings, in the course of a full Test match, is far too many".  "Giving teams an allocation for a whole match would prevent them frittering away unused challenges in speculative requests towards the end of an innings, at least until the final innings of the game", says Wilde, and "the number looks sure to be cut".




Cricket Australia (CA) wants an internationally coordinated approach to developing a pink ball that is suitable for day-night Tests, according to an article published in 'The Australian' yesterday.  Journalist Macolm Conn says that while preliminary trials of such balls have taken place in Australia, England and the West Indies, CA's general manager of cricket operations Michael Brown has "set up talks" in Dubai this week with his International Cricket Council (ICC) counterpart Dave Richardson and the Marylebone Cricket Club about the ball development issue.

Brown told 'The Australian' yesterday that it is his "strong view that as an international sport, the only way we're going to get this right is to make sure the peak body [the ICC] is controlling the scientific and practical management of the program, otherwise you're going to have different countries doing different things".  "There's been good support for it so far, but we're all just really putting our foot in the water", he said.

The CA executive said that day-night Test cricket "was not just a [CA] project", and he asked "are we serious about it now, [and] If we are, let's go and do it because it's costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars and a lot of goodwill from people who are eventually going to say, `I'm sorry, you've got to start paying for this'."

In a statement of the obvious (E-News 545-2786, 11 January 2010), Brown said "we've been mucking around with it for a while and we got serious because we think there's a real opportunity for more people to see Test cricket later in the day".  "Tennis has done it, the football codes have done it, we've done it with one-day and Twenty20 cricket [and it] makes sense for Test cricket [to be] in the right market place [and] we should be thinking about it".

After literally fumbling with the ball about the matter over the last few years, CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland that month ordered that trails of a pink ball be held in a day-night Futures League match.  That game was held a few weeks after Sutherland's directive was issued but with miixed results as far at the ball was concerned (E-News 567-2874, 8 February 2010), and a "mock match" was also held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Sunday so that the way television cameras "see" the pink ball could be evaluated (E-News 568-2879 below).




Australia's Channel Nine television network conducted an experiment with a pink ball at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday evening immediately after the first Australia-West Indies One Day International of the summer came to an end, says a report published in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne on Monday.  

Chloe Saltau says that Grade-level cricketers from Melbourne Cricket Club "played a mock game" so that Channel Nine could test the visibility of coloured ball of various match ages under lights in possible future broadcasts of day-night Tests. Cricket Australia's (CA) operations manager Michael Brown, who want an internationally coordinated approach to the pink ball issue (E-News 568-2878 above}, indicated last July that the national body was aiming to conduct a "mock match" under lights at either the Sydney or Melbourne Cricket Grounds during the current summer (E-News 457-2375, 16 July 2010).  

Saltau does not give any indication in her report as to how the cameras saw the pink ball in the "mock match", a test that follows last week's trial by CA of a pink ball in both a day-night and day-only Futures League state second XI matches.  Reports published to date indicate that some problems were experienced with the balls that were used in those games (E-News 567-2874, 8 February 2010). 




Former England captain and now commentator Tony Greig believes Pakistani Shahid Afridi's ball tampering in Perth last week has once again brought to light cricket's "most open secret", says a report distributed by the Associated Press on Monday.  Afridi was suspended for two Twenty20 Internationals by the International Cricket Council for his now infamous 'ball bite' during the One Day International (ODI) against Australia (E-News  562-2854, 1 February 2010).

Greig told Cricinfo's 'Time Out' show that "some may choose to deny it but most bowlers have technically indulged in ball-tampering" and its "one of cricket's most open secrets for at least fifty years".  Afridi said after the Perth ODI that it was common among all teams, a sentiment echoed by Greig who said that it is "common knowledge that bottle tops and sand paper in particular have been used in the past to change the surface of the ball in an effort to create reverse swing".

"New Zealand's Adam Parore openly admits that New Zealand, in retribution for what they thought Pakistan had been doing, went to work on the ball with a bottle top in a Test in 1990 in Faisalabad", continued Greig, who pointed out that in that Parore was the "major beneficiary" of that action in that he took eleven wickets in the match.

Greig said that "saliva and sweat are permitted as shining agents but what about the mints and gum those alter the make up of saliva? "What about sunscreens and lip balm which mixes with sweat and so it goes on", said the now long-time television commentator.




Jamaican umpires plan to petition the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to include one of their young members in this year's exchange program with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), according to a Radio Jamaica report yesterday.  The WICB required its 'domestic' associations to name at least one umpire under thirty-five for its 2010 first class competition (E-News 503-2603, 8 October 2009), but the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association's (JCUA) Verdyne Smith, thirty-five, was not given an on-field position, says the report.

Norman Malcolm, the JCUA president, was quoted as saying that when "you start at an early age then the possibility of you getting to the [WICB's] elite [umpiring] panel is greater and that is the premise of their policy".  "However", he says "it is ironic that in our case in Jamaica, we put forward a thirty-five-year old person and that person was not considered" for an on-field spot in a first class game in the Caribbean this season.

The WICB is yet to name who its plans to send to England as part of its exchange agreement with the ECB this northern summer, while the latter's Rob Bailey, a former England Test player, has already completed his three-match first class stint in the West Indies (E-News 543-2775, 8 January 2010).  Bailey stood in one match on the island of St Kitts and two in Barbados in the last half of January. 




The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to hold a "technology workshop" in early March at which broadcasters will work to help standardise the technology used to support the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), according to a report in the 'The Times' in London earlier this week.  In January, the world body flagged the need to undertake work in that area, however, India has so-far refused to use the system at all and a country like Bangladesh cannot afford it, their  Tests against India in January and England next month being played without the UDRS in place.

'The Times' says in its report that the future of the 'Hot Spot' technology, which its says the England and Wales Cricket Board would like to see introduced as a standard feature, "remains in doubt" because of the high costs involved.  Warren Brennan, the head of BBG Sports, the company that provides that' technology, estimated last month that it costs around $A50,000 to deploy four of the infra-red cameras for a Test match, or around a quarter-of-a-million dollars for a five-Test series (E-News 551-2808, 18 January 2010).

'Hot Spot' is considered "essential" says 'The Times' to resolving the type of caught behind referral that involved South African captain Graeme Smith in his side's fourth Test against England in Johannesburg last month (E-News 549-2748, 16 January 2010).  The ICC currently has an investigation underway into just what happened with the technology on that occasion (E-News 558-2836, 27 January 2010), however, 'The Times' claims that "the feeling is growing", amongst whom it is not clear, that 'Hot Spot' "must be used if the UDRS is to be credible".  





An appeal by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against the decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to declare the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi as 'dangerous and unfit' and to impose a suspension on international matches being played there until the end of this year, was dismissed yesterday by an independent appeals commissioner (E-News 553-2830, 26 January 2010).  Michael Beloff QC, the head of the ICC's Code of Conduct Commission, conducted the hearing via teleconference on Tuesday and issued his written judgment late last night Australian time, says the ICC.

The BCCI's appeal came after the ICC's Kolta suspension decision after it investigated the abandonment of the One Day International played there between India and Sri Lanka in late December.  That match ended after the ball started taking off from a good length and injured several Lankan batsman (E-News 540-2766, 28 December 2009).  

According to a statement issued by the ICC overnight, Beloff indicated in his judgment that after "due consideration of all the evidence and submissions" from both the ICC and BCCI, the decision taken by the world body's cricket operations manager David Richardson and its chief match referee Rajan Madugalle to declare the pitch to be dangerous and, therefore, unfit for play, as correct.  Beloff added that the imposed suspension until the end of 2010 was proportionate in the circumstances that prevailed.


Following the decision, ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat said that "we must now focus on making sure the New Delhi venue is ready in time for the World Cup [next year].  “The ICC’s pitch consultant will travel shortly to Feroz Shah Kotla, a ground with a long and proud history, to begin the process of remedial work that will ensure the pitch is restored to its former glory", said Lorgat.

A media report published on the sub-continent three weeks ago suggested that the BCCI was confident it could escape a ban for international matches because of its assessment of the fine legal argument it was said to believe were involved (E-News 552-2814, 19 January 2010).  The controversy will not impact on the seven Indian Premier League 2010 tournament matches scheduled for Kolta in March-April, or domestic matches the BCCI has listed for the ground, for none of them fall under the auspices of the ICC.




A player in south-west Victoria who was suspended this week for verbal abuse towards an umpire is to serve his two-match penalty by filling in as an umpire over the next fortnight.  Last Saturday, Ecklin player Ricky Bailey verbally abused the umpire as he left the field in a South West Cricket (SWC) match after being given out LBW, "saying things that shouldn't be printed", says a report in the Warrnambool newspaper 'The Standard' today.

Bailey, twenty-nine, acknowledged his misdemeanour, telling 'The Standard' that as he walked off the field he "said the wrong thing every step of the way".  "At that particular time I didn't care but once I settled down, I got thinking", he said, and after receiving a two-week suspension from SWC, which he said "was fair enough", he approached administrators with the suggestion that he umpire during his time off as a player. 

"We have to have umpires and I realise that they shouldn't be abused", said Bailey, who is said to have "helped out with umpiring before".  "There are rules and everyone, including me needs to stick to them and [players should] keep their mouths shut", he said.  

Bailey is to take charge of a match at Noorat this weekend and is expected to be assigned another game a week later.  "I don't think I'm going to be intimidated this weekend because I know the players and I've been around long enough", he said, but "it will be interesting to see the pressure umpires are under and what they have to deal with".

SWC secretary Grant Myers told 'The Standard' that he could not recall a similar situation occurring in the past, "not in my time anyway, and I've been secretary for five years",  he said.  "It was good for [Bailey] to come forward and offer, just so he can get a bit of a feel what it's like from an umpire's perspective", said Myers, "he has volunteered, he won't get paid [and] we hope it will set an example for other players". 




A club President in the Northern Riverina Cricket Association (NRCA) in New South Wales is considering appealing a suspension handed to one of his players for dissent on Tuesday, claiming that an umpire used a somewhat unusual technique to decide on an LBW decision in a match played in Wagga Wagga last weekend, says a report in that city's 'Daily Advertiser' this morning.  As is the norm in media reports of complaints made about umpires, just how the on-field official saw the situation was not mentioned.

Col Peisley, the President of the South Wagga Cricket Club is said to be "upset" over a one-match ban imposed on what the 'Advertiser' describes as the club's "star" all-rounder Kurt Robinson.  Robinson, only the second player to face the NRCA disciplinary committee this season, was charged with dissent and suspended from taking part in the crucial two-day game against his club's key NRCA rival and ladder leader Wagga RSL over the next two Saturdays.

Peisley told the 'Advertiser' that during last Saturday's game "there was a shout of an LBW and the umpire referred the LBW to the square leg umpire for clarification on the height".  "We have never seen this happen in local cricket or even national or international games before, and we believe that a first grade umpire should be able to make the decision for themselves", said Peisley.  "To be fair", he continued, "most of the players in the competition would have reacted in the same way over that and questioned the umpire on his decision".

The South Wagga President said that his club is "awaiting written notification on the exact charges [against Robinson] and how to go about the NRCA appeal process.  He says that while he doesn't condone disrespectful behaviour towards umpires, he believed Robinson had been unjustifiably punished.

Peisley is said to be concerned that there is a lack of consistency through the NRCA with the way players are being cited. "We agree the association needs to crack down on unacceptable behaviour but there needs to be a fair reporting system", he said.  "There should be a card that is filled in after each game [that] gives players the chance to comment and rate the performance of the umpire, while giving the umpire the chance to write down any comments, problems or issues, too", said the South Wagga President.




A tournament committee in Kolkata has recommended that Eastern Railway captain Kanchan Maity be suspended after he threw a ball at umpire Rabi Shankar Chakraborty during their league match last Sunday.  Just what sparked that action was not mentioned in media reports of the incident  Meanwhile in Mangaldoi in the state of Assam, a two-day inter-district quarter final was abandoned on Sunday after the team from Lakhipur staged a walkout when umpire Tapan Dutta denied a 'run out' appeal.






The number of correct umpiring decisions in international cricket has increased by over six per cent since the "permanent" introduction of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), according to a report submitted to this week's International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting in Dubai.  The ICC said in a statement following the meeting that "in the thirteen Test matches [since the UDRS became 'permanent' last October] the percentage of correct decisions has risen from 91.3 to 97.44 per cent", a figure that is similar to the results obtained during the trial of the system prior to that (E-News 338-1666, 28 September 2008).       

The ICC confirmed earlier reports that it plans to meet with broadcasters next month to discuss "further technological improvements" to the system (E-News 568-2882, 10 February 2010), although details of where and when that gathering is to held, and just who is to attend, were not provided.  There was no mention of changes to the UDRS a UK media report last week claimed will be introduced, issues that were said to include having the third umpire check where the bowler's foot lands on every ball, less time being available to teams for review requests, and a reduction in the number of incorrect challenges available in a Test (E-News 568-2877, 10 February 2010).  

The UDRS made its official debut in the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin last November (E-News 529-2708, 25 November 2009), followed by series between Australia and West Indies, South Africa and England, and Australia and Pakistan.  However, India has refused to utilise it in the Test matches it has played since October (E-News 5634-2861, 2 February 2010), and Tests in Bangladesh have also not featured the system.  There have also been issues surrounding the variability of the technology available for use by the System in different countries.

The ICC gave no indication about progress being made with the investigation by Scottish barrister Brent Lockie and Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain and a now-retired ICC match referee, into UDRS procedural issues during a review involving South African captain Graeme Smith in the fourth Test between South Africa and England in Johannesburg last month.  The ICC has not announced when it expects that evaluation to be completed (E-News 558-2836, 27 January 2010).




Two members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires' Panel (AAIUP), one from Europe and the other Asia, stood in the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament played in Dubai overnight Australian time.  

Paul Baldwin, nominally a German member of the AAIUP who now lives across the Channel and is on the England and Wales Cricket Board's Reserve Panel (E-News 538-2757, 23 December 2009), and India-born Sarika Prasad  from Singapore, were chosen for the final from the six-man umpiring panel the ICC selected for the five-day, seventeen-match event (E-News 566-2873. 5 February 2010).  

AAIUP members who took part in the Qualifier in addition to Baldwin and Prasad were: Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal); Jeff Luck (Namibia); and Subhash Modi (Kenya); while the ICC's current 'Umpire of the Year', Aleem Dar of Pakistan, worked in a mentor's role during the tournament, standing in games with all five AAIUP members.  During the Qualifier, Baldwin and Pradan stood in seven games each and worked in two others as third umpires, the other four all having five on-field appointments and three as the third official. 

Englishman David Jukes and Ishtiaq Ahmed of Pakistan were the referees for the five-day event that involved teams from Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States competing for two spots in this year's T20 World Cup in the West Indies in May. Afghanistan and Ireland played in last night's final and will thus be in the mix in the Caribbean in three months time. 




Former England fast bowler Devon Malcolm, who has spoken of his desire to become an international umpire, told 'The Guardian' newspaper in mid-week that "a lot of umpires [currently managing games] have not come across real pressure".  Malcolm, who expressed his interest in umpiring five years ago but is said to be planning to only undertake exams this northern winter so that he can stand in matches later this year, is said to believe that his experiences in international cricket would prepare him "perfectly for the increasingly high-profile role" of umpiring. 

Journalist Josh Widdicombe, quotes Malcolm, who played forty Tests for England, as saying that "more players who have played at [international level]" should be encouraged to become international umpires" and that "in the past that has not happened".  According to Malcolm umpires who have not played international cricket find it difficult to handle what he called "real pressure because they have not played at the highest level", for "they are not used to the criticism from the big crowds and the press".




An umpire standing in a match in the Cricket Association of Bengal's (CAB) league competition in India earlier this week   was chased by a batsman intent on hitting him with his bat, according to a report in 'The Telegraph' newspaper in Kolkata on Wednesday.  Despite that umpire Subir Banerjee returned to the game after things calmed down only to be confronted by another player in a separate incident, however, after club officials and players jointly apologised for both incidents the match continued.    

Port Trust side's batsman Gaurab Majumdar was said to have "chased umpire [Banerjee] and attempted to hit him with his bat, all the while "using the choicest expletives", after being given out caught and bowled, says 'The Telegraph'.  Later, another Port player made his displeasure with Banerjee known after being run-out, and the umpire decided it was time to leave, however, he was persuaded to stay by a member of the Port side's management committee.   “I apologised [to Banerjee] on behalf of the players for [what was] unacceptable behaviour", said the official, "as did the players".

In another CAB match the Kalighat Club's fast bowler Ashok Dinda started arguing with umpire Rabi Shankar Chakraborty after a "loud and confident appeal" for LBW was turned down.  The altercation between Dinda and Chakraborty is said to have continued for some time and club officials had to go out on to the field of play to try and calm things down.

Kalighat skipper Manoj Tiwary told 'The Telegraph' after the first day of the match that “Dinda was a bit frustrated [and] it can happen when a bowler gives his all but doesn’t get the desired result, [therefore] one shouldn’t read too much into the matter".  Dinda, in an all too familiar ring, denied allegations of having said anything objectionable to the umpire, saying that he "just asked [Chakraborty] why the batsman wasn’t given out".  Chakraborty and his colleague Shakti Bhattacharya refused to make any comment when approached by 'The Telepgraph'.

The CAB's joint secretary Biswarup Dey and its assistant secretary Naresh Ojha are said to have been assigned to look into the both issues, however Ojha told 'The Telegraph' that  the CAB "will only react if [formal] reports are submitted".  Both incidents follow a charge of ball tampering laid against another player earlier this month (E-News 566-2872, 5 February 2010), and another difficult day for CAB umpires last Sunday (E-News 569-2886, 11 February 2010).

Meanwhile, 'The Telegraph' has also reported recently that the Barisha Sporting Club has filed a complaint with the CAB against umpires Biplab Basu and Kanishka Roy Chowdhury, accusing them of displaying what was described as a “poor umpiring standard” during one of the club's games.  In another game the CAB tournament committee has forwarded West Bengal Police captain Arindam Das’s name to the cricket committee "for punishment for poor conduct".  Just what the latter entailed is not known.




A player in the Toowoomba Cricket Association in Queensland was suspended for eight games last week after being found guilty of standing his ground after being given out in a match and then arguing with the umpire concerned during a later interval.  Northern Brothers Diggers captain Shaun Cartwright pleaded guilty to standing his ground and not guilty to abusing the official, but a disciplinary committee found against him on both offences.

While the penalty is one of the biggest seen in the Toowoomba Cricket competition says the local newspaper 'The Chronicle', Cartwright had no issues with the severity of the suspension, which is made up of six-weeks for standing his ground and two for the abuse.  

“Even though eight weeks is a long time, I think that I got a fair hearing and the suspension was probably right for the way I reacted", he said, for “I definitely let the team down and the club down, but I also let Toowoomba Cricket down because I’ve been a representative player".  He described the penalties "the minimum" he could have expected, as “it could have been a lot worse for me because I did over-step the mark and no-one is above the laws of the game".

Cartwright said the suspension, which will take up a fair chunk of next summer, would not be the end for him in Toowoomba Cricket.  “I’d like to keep playing,” he said, but “I need to get a bit of clarification [as to] whether one-day games and Twenty20 games are counted in the suspension and once I’ve got that I’ll have a better idea of where I stand".




The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria moved to clamp down on bad on-field behaviour late last year, particularly the use of foul language, however, several incidents in recent weeks have once again brought the issue to the fore, says a report in the Warnambool newspaper 'The Standard'.

Just before Christmas the WDCA posted a message on its website about the 'Spirit of Cricket', and indicated that “umpires have expressed some concern at the frequency and tone of language that has been creeping into the games across all grades".  “The use of profanities in not acceptable and will not be tolerated", it continued, "some official warnings have already been issued and second or subsequent warnings means a mandated penalty or a trip to the tribunal".

Earlier this month, some six weeks after that message was disseminated, West Warnambool captain-coach Andrew Robb was given a one-match ban for disputing an umpire's decision, however, it was suspended until the end of the current season.  In addition to being cited for that offence, he was also reported in his role as captain for "not taking responsibility for ensuring play is within the spirit and laws of the game", but that charge was dismissed by the tribunal, says 'The Standard'

Just prior to Robb's incident, Gavin Rogers the co-captain of the Nestles club, had to front the WDCA's match committee after he received two warnings for poor conduct.  Acting match committee chairman Bruce Membrey told the newspaper's Jared Lynch that Rogers “got off lightly” for as a team captain he should have been reported rather than just issued warnings.

WDCA president Robert Haberfield says that his association is determined to make play in its top division as high a quality as possible in order to ensure players and spectators enjoy the game.






South Australian member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) Simon Fry, is set to top the list of appointments to Sheffield Shield games this season following the announcement by Cricket Australia of the umpires who are to stand in the last six home-and-away matches of the competition in the first half of March.  Those games will decide which teams play in, and where the final of the 2009-10 series will be played, later in that month.

Seven of the twelve NUP members have been named for the six games, five of them, Fry plus Bob Parry, Paul Reiffel and John Ward, who are all from Victoria, and Bruce Oxenford of Queensland, all having been given two matches each, while Western Australians Ian Lock and Mick Martell are to stand in single games.  

The absence from that list of New South Wales NUP member Rod Tucker, who is this week standing in his first Test (E-News 564-2864, 3 February 2010),  suggests that reports that he will be in Bangladesh for Tests and One Day Internationals involving England for most of March could be correct (E-News 563-2859, 2 February 2010).  

With Reiffel also due to be overseas at the time of the Shield final, his trip being to South Africa as part of an exchange program (E-News 554-2821, 21 January 2010), and with Oxenford a likely starter in that match, the others, particularly Fry and Lock, will be vying for the second on-field and third umpire spots in the season decider.  Fry stood with Reiffel in the final of the domestic Twenty20 series last month, Lock being in the television suite for that game (E-News 553-2818, 20 January 2010).

What are the last regular season appointments to the 2009-10 Sheffield Shield season indicate that by the time the final arrives Fry will have stood in seven Shield matches, Lock, Martell and Parry six each, John Ward five, Joshua, Oxenford and Reiffel four each, Gerard Abood (NSW), Jeff Brookes (WA) and Tony Ward (Victoria) three each, and Tucker just two.  

The latter's low number if due to his absences for international matches in South Africa, New Zealand and now probably Bangladesh, while Oxenford has also been engaged in international duty overseas in the Gulf and New Zealand (E-News 541-2768, 3 January 2010), both they and Reiffel also working at that level at home (E-News  536-2767, 28 December 2009).   

CA used sixteen umpires in Shield matches this season, the same number as last year (E-News 368-1958, 6 February 2009).  In addition to the twelve NUP members, the four others were International Cricket Council Elite Umpires Panel member Steve Davis who stood in one game, South African exchange umpire Marais Erasmus, who made his Test debut last month, two (E-News 550-2804, 17 January 2010), and non-NUP members Steven John (Tasmania) and Paul Wilson (WA) in two each.  

Four of the umpires, Erasmus, John, Joshua and Wilson, made their debuts in the Shield competition this season.  For Joshua and Wilson their games were also their first at first class level as umpires, while John reach that milestone in his career in a tour match last month prior to his first Shield game (E-News 536-2767, 28 December 2009).




A batsman was given a one-match ban and fined all of his playing fee by the match referee as a result of his actions on being dismissed in Bengal's Vijay Hazare Trophy away match against Jharkhand in Orissa last Thursday.  Manoj Tiwary, who was given out LBW, abused the umpire involved and once in the dressing room at the Barabati stadium went on a rampage, "damaging mirrors, dust bins and an electrical switch board", says the Kolkata newspaper 'The Telegraph'.  

Orissa Cricket Association secretary Asirbad Behera said that Tiwary's behaviour, especially "as a senior player, is disgraceful" and described the censure handed down to him as "inadequate", a point he has made in a letter to Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya.  "I have asked [Dalmiya] to take disciplinary action against [Tiwary]", for while his "manager offered us money for the dressing room damage amounting to about Rs 40,000 [$A970], that's not an issue [for it is Tiwary's] attitude that needs changing", added Behera.

While he condemned the incident, CAB joint-secretary Arun Mitra told 'The Telegraph' that when Tiwary, who has played for India, returns to Kolkata "we will look at the manager's report and see what can be done".





Former Australian seam bowler Paul Reiffel, who came up through playing and umpiring ranks as a Victorian, has moved to Noosa on the coast of Queensland, says Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' newspaper, and is no longer active in Grade cricket in Melbourne.  Reports available do not indicate whether the now member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) and the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) is standing in Grade matches in his adopted state, although his schedule of late may have meant that he hasn't yet had time to do so.

According to journalist Robert Craddock, Reiffel and his family were holidaying in the Noosa region last year when he is said to have made the comment that he wouldn't mind living there, and when no family member objected he thought "why not?"  Reiffel, who Craddock describes as "Australia's most laidback cricket identity", is said to be enjoying the more relaxed country lifestyle that he has found on the Queensland coast, especially given the amount of travel that is required by his NUP and IUP roles.

Craddock says that Reiffel, a veteran of thirty-five Tests and ninety-two One Day Internationals (ODI) as a player, admits that umpiring was far more challenging than he ever suspected in his playing days.  "I can't even remember who umpired games I played in", he said, and "maybe I would have behaved a bit differently as a captain [of Victoria] if I had umpired a few games" in those days.  

In his early days as a match official when he was being fast-tracked by Cricket Australia (CA), Reiffel "was going home with headaches and worrying about things I should not have been worrying about [for] there is no doubt [umpiring] is as mentally stressful as playing".  "I am really enjoying it now, but when I first started I found it really difficult, and I am sure there would be second-grade players I umpired who thought 'what is this bloke doing?' ", says the former bowler.  

Reiffel, forty-three, says that "it wasn't until I started umpiring at first class level [in December 2004 three years after retiring as a player] I felt like an umpire, [for] before that I felt like a player who was learning to umpire".  "Now I feel as if I have been an umpire forever, and my playing days feel so long ago I find it hard to associate myself with them" as he now sees "everything through the eyes of an umpire".

During the current season to date Reiffel has been involved in over twenty higher-level games, including two Tests as the reserve umpire, two ODIs on the field, one of them the Afridi 'ball bite' match (E-News 565-2870, 4 February 2010) and another six in the television suite, a single Twenty20 International (T20I), three first class matches, two of them Sheffield Shield games, four domestic one-day games and five domestic Twenty20 matches, one of the latter the final of the 2009-10 interstate competition (E-News 553-2818, 20 January 2010). 

Eleven of those games have been in Brisbane, five in Melbourne, three in Sydney, two each in Adelaide and Perth and a single game in Hobart, the latter being the tour match between Tasmania and the Pakistani tourists just before Christmas in which TCUSA member Steven John made his first class debut (E-News 532-2723, 15 December 2009).  

The Victorian-turned-Queenslander will be in Hobart again this Sunday for the T20I between Australia and the West Indies at Bellerive, his on-field colleague being another Queenslander, Bruce Oxenford, while Rodney Tucker from New South Wales, fresh from his Test debut this week, will be the third official (E-News 536-2767, 28 December 2009).  Next month Reiffel is off to South Africa for two first class matches as part of the umpiring exchange program organised by CA and Cricket South Africa (E-News 554-2820, 21 January 2010).




The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to consider day-night Test matches as part of "urgent product research and analysis" into the game at the top level.  The decision to undertake the work was taken as the world body's latest Board meeting held in Dubai last week, the study's key focus being "a competitive analysis of other sports and entertainment products as well as further consumer research into product development".  

Cricket Australia (CA) said prior to that meeting that it would be seeking an internationally coordinated approach to developing a pink ball that is suitable for day-night Tests (E-News 568-2878, 10 February 2010), a move that came after the trial of pink balls in two Futures League games recently, one of them a day-night match, gave mixed results according to press reports (E-News 567-2874, 8 February 2010).




Troy McLaren, a batsman with the Brothers side in the Grafton area in New South Wales, was given out handled the ball in the final of a night Twenty20 competition played there last Friday evening, an event that caused some controversy, according to that city's 'Daily Examiner' newspaper.  Some Brothers supporters claimed that in appealing against McLaren the Westlawn team acted in an "ungentlemanly" way, but the umpire who had to give the decision was in no doubt what his response to the question asked of him should have been, according to the 'Examiner' report.

With Brothers having lost five wickets for just fifty-nine runs McLaren, their last recognised batsmen, was on twenty when he "danced down the wicket to a delivery", blocking it someway down the pitch, then without seeking permission from his opponents, he picked up the ball and threw it back to Westlawn bowler Matt Lobsey who was at the end of his follow-through.  'The Daily Examiner' says that the Lobsey and his fielding colleagues "appealed immediately".

The umpire in the middle of all the controversy, Jeff Hackett, who is said to have captained several First Grade sides and the Clarence River Representative side before becoming an umpire,  told the 'Examiner' that he's been standing in top-level matches in the region for six years and never had to rule on a player handling the ball.  But on this occasion he said that "the ball was still moving when Troy picked [it] up and Lobsey thought he was a chance of a run-out" as McLaren was so far down the pitch.  The "message is clear" said Hackett, "don’t touch the ball" until you receive permission from the fielding side to do so.

Westlawn captain Brendan Purser disputed claims made by some that his side acted in an "ungentlemanly" manner.  “The bowler attempted to snatch the ball out of McLaren’s hand as the two met metres down the wicket,” he said, at which “point McLaren dropped the ball realising his mistake".  Purser believes McLaren would have been run-out if he had let Lobsey field the rolling ball for “in all my years of cricket I have never seen a batsman beat a ball over the same distance", he said.

Brothers captain Mick Summers said that "the umpires had no option but to give [McLaren] out but on saying that I have seen Troy do the same thing a hundred times before and other players in the competition do the same thing".   

Law 33.2 says in part that a batsman is not out 'Handled the Ball' if "he uses his hand or hands to return the ball to any member of the fielding side without the consent of that side", while Law 37.4 states that "Either batsman is out ['Obstructing the Field'] if, without the consent of the fielding side and while the ball is in play, he uses his bat or person to return the ball to any member of that side".



Australian umpire Simon Taufel, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is working as the third umpire in the single Test that is currently being played between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Hamilton.  While Taufel has stood in sixty-one Tests to date, this week's game is only his twelfth in the television suite in a Test and just his second in a match in which the Umpire Decision Review System has been operational.

The New South Welshman is working in conjunction with his state colleague Rodney Tucker who is making his Test debut, and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa for whom it is his 106th, while the third Australian in the match management group, match referee Alan Hurst, is in his thirty-seventh in that role.  

Tucker is the eighty-sixth Australian selected to stand in a Test and first since Taufel's own debut in the 2000 Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after four Tests in the television suite.  That match just over nine years ago was Taufel's seventeenth at first class level, while the Hamilton Test is Tucker's thirtieth.

The ICC announced that Hurst, Koertzen and Tucker would be standing in the current Test several weeks ago (E-News 564-2864, 3 February 2010), but Taufel's name only came to light when the game got underway earlier this week.  Taufel and Koertzen's EUP colleague, Tony Hill of New Zealand, is the fourth umpire for the Test according to electronic score sheets available on line, his third in that role and thirtieth Test overall, eleven being as the third umpire and fifteen on the field of play.




West Indian umpire Peter Nero from Trinidad and Tobago umpire, has stood in the first of what is expected to be three first class matches in Bangladesh as part of a new umpire exchange agreement between the West Indian and Bangladesh Cricket Boards (E-News 562-2857, 1 February 2010).  Nero stood with Nadir Shah, a Bangladeshi member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, in the Chittagong-Rajshahi match at the Chandu Stadium in Bogra that ended yesterday.

Meanwhile Bangladesh umpire Gazi Sohel, thirty, stood in the West Indian 'domestic' first class match between the Combined Campuses and Colleges and Jamaican sides that was played at Providence, Guyana, over last weekend.  That match was his fourth at first class level since his debut fourteen months ago, and he has also stood in three List A games at home plus four Youth One Day Internationals.  

Two more rounds, a total of six matches, are left in the Caribbean first class season, and it would appear likely that Sohel will be standing in two of those games.  Two more rounds involving four matches are left in Bangladesh's National League over the next two weeks in the lead up to the competition's final, a five-day match, which is to be played from 6-10 March. 




Sri Lankan member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, Asoka de Silva, has been named as an on-field umpire for the two Pakistan-England Twenty20 Internationals that are to be played in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today and tomorrow, his countryman Ranjan Madugalle being the match referee.  Another Sri Lankan, Khumar Dharmasena, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is to stand with de Silva in the first match, Bangladeshi IUP member Enamul Hoque-Moni being the television official, the two IUP members swapping their respective roles in the second game.

With the two matches being Pakistan 'home' games, the Pakistan Cricket Board would normally appoint their nationals as the second on-field and third umpire respectively, however, why all four senior match officials will be 'neutrals' on this occasion is not known.  The fourth umpire in both games will be Pakistan-born Mohammad Ali who records available suggest is a long-time resident in the UAE.



The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has told Bengal player Manoj Tiwary that he will be banned from playing domestic cricket if he does not behave well, according to the Kolkata newspaper 'The Telegraph'.  Tiwary was fined his full match fee and suspended for one game by the match referee after showing dissent at a decision given against him last week in Cuttack and then proceeded to smash-up the dressing room (E-News 571-2894, 16 February 2010).

Tiwary, twenty-five, who has played a single One Day International for his country to date, was quoted by the newspaper as saying about the Cuttack incident that he is “frustrated as this is not the first time I have got a bad decision". "These are national level matches and I’m frequently suffering due to umpiring errors, which have taken a toll on me", he continued, for "I am a human being and I couldn’t take it any more".  

Reports at the time said that once back in the rooms Tiwary smashed a window pane, mirror, an electrical switch board and dustbins, although Bengal team management are said to have "vehemently denied" the allegation that their player had smashed a window. 

The BCCI's warning was contained in a letter it sent to Tiwary and copied to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).  The Orissa Cricket Association, which was the host for the match in which Tiwary misbehaved, is reported to have filed an official complaint with the CAB, according to press reports.






Six TCUSA members, three scorers and three umpires, will be involved in four international matches that are to be played in Hobart over the next three days.  The Australian men's side is to take on the West Indies in a day-night Twenty20 International (T20I) at Bellerive on Sunday evening, a match that will be preceded by a T20I game between the Australian and New Zealand women's sides, the latter two teams playing each other in the same format again on both Monday and Tuesday.

The West Indies match will see TCUSA umpiring member Steven John working as the fourth umpire while Graeme Hamley and Janet Gainsford will be in the score box.  John will be on the field with Sam Nogajski for the women's curtain raiser that day, and as in a first for Channel 9 that game will be televised, Nick McGann will look after the television suite, Hamley and Gainsford also scoring in that match.  With all Bellerive tickets sold for Sunday, John and Nogajski are likely, in the latter stages of their game, to be working in front of a crowd of around 16,000 people.   

Monday will see McGann and Nogajski on the field for the second women's T20I with Hamley and David Gainsford the scorers, John and McGann looking after match three, a day-nighter on Tuesday evening, with Hamley and Janet Gainsford. Entry to the ground for both those matches is free.

John, who made his first class debut just before Christmas and has gone on to stand in two further games at that level, has previously worked as the fourth umpire in one Test and two One Day Internationals (ODI), and stood in a Youth Test and two Youth ODIs, however, the forthcoming games will be his first involvement with the Twenty20 format at international level.  Nogajski has previously umpired in a Youth Test and Youth ODI, and McGann in a Youth ODI, but neither in a women's T20I.   

TCUSA members are reminded that as a result of the Australia-Windies match on Sunday, all Tasmanian Cricket Association Grade matches that day will commence an hour earlier that normal so that players and officials can get to Bellerive for the main match of the evening.  Thirds and Under 17s are to get underway at 10 a.m. and nominally finish by 5 p.m., the Under 15s commencing at noon and finishing by 4.15 p.m.  The women's T20I that day is due to start at 2.05 p.m. and the men's at 6.35 p.m.




Indian fielder Virender Sehwag deliberately kicked a ball over the boundary during the last day’s play of the second Test against South Africa in Kolkata on Thursday in order to deny a batsman the strike, and as a result cost his side more runs than he may have bargained.  On-line score cards currently available for the match indicate that a five run penalty was awarded by the umpires following the incident, a censure that is not required under the Laws of Cricket, or it appears, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) current Test match playing conditions.

At the time of the Sehwag incident, South Africa were batting in the last session of the Test and were still some eighty runs behind India's large first innings total, the home side needing just one more wicket to claim the match outright.  Hashim Amla, who had been at the crease for over 120 overs, was batting with Morne Morkel in an attempt to save the game, the pair having been together for seventy-six minutes, and there were just twenty balls left to bowl when the incident occurred.  

The fifth ball of a Sachin Tendulkar over to Amla was short and hit hard towards the square leg boundary, however, it stopped just short of the line with the batsman having run one.  In order to deny Amla, who was then on 123, the opportunity to change ends and thus be in a position to face the third-last over, Sehwag intentionally kicked the ball over the boundary.

At that stage say reports, umpires Steve Davis (Australia) and Ian Gould (England) got on their radios and talked "for some time" with the third official Amish Saheba (India).  After confirming just what had occurred they awarded the run that Amla and Morkel had completed plus, according to some media reports a five run penalty for Sewag's action.  Other media reports suggest that in addition to the one run, four runs were awarded for the 'kicked' boundary, although score cards currently show a five run penalty was awarded against the home side.  

While awarding the one run was correct, the Laws of Cricket (19.6), require in such circumstances that the "allowance for the [four run] boundary" rather than a five run penalty should apply, and the ICC's 'Standard Test Match Playing Conditions', which amend some aspects of the Laws, do not appear to over ride Law 19.6. as it is currently written. 

Despite Sehwags's effort, Amla got to stay where he had run to and after Morkel survived Tendulkar's sixth ball Amla was able to face the third last over, which he got through with his wicket intact, only to see Morkel fall in the second last over which resulted in India winning the game.

Questions over the penalty that was applied in Kolkata follows the apparent miss of a five run penalty for changing the condition of the ball in a One Day International between Australia and Pakistan in Perth nearly three weeks ago (E-News 565-2870, 4 February 2010).




The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) side that is to tour the Gulf for two weeks next month, is to play seven matches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman, all of them using pink balls, in the lead up to the traditional English season opener between the MCC and last year's County Champion, Durham, which starts in Abu Dhabi on 29 March (E-News 534-2736, 17 December 2009).  The MCC has been working on the development of a suitable ball for day-night Tests over the last few years. 

Five of the seven matches will be fifty over games, two being played under floodlights, and the other two Twenty20s, the MCC describing the use of pink balls as a "step-up [in] their testing of the pink cricket ball".  Former England batsman Tim Robinson, who is currently on the England and Wales Cricket Board's Umpire's Full List, is part of the touring party and is expected to stand with locals in the matches that are scheduled.

The International Cricket Council decided last week to consider day-night Test matches as part of "urgent product research and analysis" into the game at the top level (E-News 572-2896, 19 February 2010).  






The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday confirmed that Australian umpire Rod Tucker is to stand in two Tests and three One Day Internationals (ODI) between Bangladesh and England over the next month (E-News 5623-2859, 2 February 2010).  Tucker, who worked as the third umpire in the Twenty20 International at Bellerive last night between Australia and the West Indies, made his debut at Test level in New Zealand last week (E-News 564-2864, 3 February 2010).

The first of the Bangladesh-England ODIs, which is set for Mirpur next Sunday, will be followed by the others in Chittagong on Tuesday and Friday and take Tucker's ODI record to fourteen games.  Florida-based Jeff Crowe, a New Zealander, will be the match referee for the ODIs, the series taking his match referee's record in that form of the game to 117.  Bangladeshi members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel will work as the second on-field and third umpires during the ODIs.   

Tucker will be accompanied on the field in the two Tests, the first in Chittagong and the second in Mirpur, by New Zealand member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, Tony Hill, who will be on the ground in his sixteenth and seventeenth Tests in what is his first visit to Bangladesh as a match official.  Crowe will be the match referee in both those games, his record in that role in Tests moving up to forty by the time the series ends late next month.




Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle is set to pass the 250 game mark as a match referee in next month's five-match One Day International (ODI) series between New Zealand and Australia, the first game of which is due to be played on Wednesday week.  Madugalle will manage all five games while Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Asad Rauf of Pakistan will split 'neutral' umpire duties and New Zealand members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel work as the second on-field and third umpires during the series.

Koertzen, who stood in last week's single Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh, is to work in the first two matches, games that will increase his umpiring ODI world record to 204, while Rauf will look after the last three, games that will take his ODI tally to seventy-three.  Madugalle's total at series end will be 251 which is also the highest on record for ODIs.


100TH ODI 


Asoka de Silva, currently Sri Lanka's only member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), who two weeks ago stood in his 100th One Day International (ODI), was presented a crystal plaque to commemorate his achievement before the start of the first Twenty20 International between Pakistan and England in Dubai last Friday.  The Sri Lankan became only the twelfth umpire to reach the milestone when he stood in the fifth Australia-Pakistan ODI in Perth on the last day of January (E-News 548-2796, 15 January 2010).

De Silva, who played ten Tests and twenty-eight ODIs for Sri Lanka from 1985-92, told journalists in Dubai that he was "humbled and honoured to have completed a century of ODIs as an umpire".  "When I look at the umpires who are on [the list of those who have reached to 100 mark], it makes me really proud as the group includes some of the most iconic names of this noble profession".  "It would have been nice to have played more and therefore been more successful at international cricket but umpiring is another way of experiencing our great game while my cricketing background has helped me immensely in my umpiring career", he said.

The Sri Lankan continued by saying that "it has been a fascinating journey so far as I have been privileged to be part of a very strong, committed and professional group of umpires, and to stand in matches that feature the best cricketers of this era, is something I love and thoroughly enjoy".

De Silva was originally appointed to the EUP by the ICC in 2002 but was dropped two years later, but returned in April 2008 at the same time Australian Steve Davis joined the group (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008).  Davis is just six matches away from becoming the fourth Australian and thirteenth person overall to reach a Century of ODIs as an umpire.

The twelve umpires who have passed the 100 mark at the current time are: Rudi Koertzen of South Africa (202), Steve Bucknor from the West Indies (181), David Shepherd of England (172), Daryl Harper of Australia (161), Simon Taufel of Australia (147), Billy Bowden from New Zealand (141), Darrell Hair of Australia (139), Aleem Dar from Pakistan (127), Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe (111), David Orchard formally of South Africa (107), New Zealander Steve Dunn and de Silva both 100.  Of the twelve only Koertzen, Harper, Taufel, Bowden, Dar, Tiffin and de Silva are still active at international level.






The West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) recently forwarded a long list of outstanding issues it says it has been trying to resolve with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over the last two years, says a report from Barbados published in yesterday's 'Jamaica Gleaner' newspaper.  The story says that WICUA President and former international umpire Steve Bucknor, has detailed his Association's grievances to Ernest Hilaire, the WICB's new chief executive officer.

The 'Gleaner' quotes a "WICUA source" as saying that their organisation "is hugely disappointed that a number of attempts just to hold a meeting with the WICB since 2008 have failed".  "It seems that every other area [of the game in the West Indies] is being given priority over the affairs of the umpires [who] are a paramount part of cricket and should be shown the same level of respect that the players and others have been given", he continued, and "umpires are beginning to wonder if the WICB takes them seriously".  

The WICUA's list of grievances is said to include: the appointment of an umpires' manager for the Caribbean; match fees for regional and international matches; operation of the WICB's umpires' exchange program which currently includes England and Bangladesh (E-News 572-2899, 19 February 2010); retirement benefits for regional umpires; the "unresolved impasse" between two umpiring bodies in Trinidad and Tobago; policy regarding "appointment, exposure, upgrading, regrading and promotion" of umpires and the direction behind the appointment of umpires under the age of thirty-five (E-News 503-2603, 8 October 2009); and what is said to be the "lack of involvement" of Windies regional umpires in the Twenty20 World Cup in three months time.

The 'Gleaner' says that a lack of communication between the WICUA and WICB led to a withdrawal of umpiring services a few years ago (E-News 211-1175, 17 March 2008).  "Things have not reached such a critical stage [again] yet, but this lack of urgency from the WICB cannot continue for too long", said the WICUA source.  Hilaire is said to have promised to meet WICUA officials in Kingston, Jamaica in the week prior to the WICB's 2010 Annual General Meeting (AGM), although just what the timetable for that gathering is is currently not available.

WICB President Dr Julian Hunte said in his report to the Board's 2009 AGM last August that the Chair of its umpire' sub-committee "will be submitting" a paper to the Board "which will seek to address some of the challenges which have been identified as contributing to the scarcity of opportunity for regional aspirants to umpiring as a career of choice".  Plans to establish a West Indian 'Elite Umpires Panel' was also mentioned at that time (E-News 475-2464, 17 August 2009), but as yet no progress appears to have been made with that initiative.  




Umpires standing in the Bundaberg Cricket Association (BCA) in Queensland have considered boycotting remaining games this season after "constant abuse from players" on and off the field has led to some members to leave and others discussing the same move, says an article in the city's 'News Mail' publication yesterday.  BCA umpire co-ordinator Mick Clarry told the 'Mail' that he and his colleagues had contemplated boycotting this weekend’s games at a BCA meeting last Friday, but decided against taking action so late in the season. 

Clarry said he was “sick to death” of the behaviour of players this year and simply wanted a "fair go".  The catalyst for Clarry’s anger was said to be a BCA Division 1 team’s reaction to their loss a fortnight ago.  Some players on the loosing side allegedly labelled the umpires involved as cheats and claimed spectators from the winning side had paid the umpires to fix the match.  “That sort of stuff is just nonsense, unacceptable really", for they "just blame the first person that comes along for that loss, and it happens to be the umpire".

“Copping abuse from players and guys on the side of the field, it’s just not on", continued Clarry, for "it’s just blatant disrespect from blokes who think they can rule the roost".  “We’re out there for the love of the game [and if] they are all so good at umpiring from the grandstand, why don’t they give it a go themselves?” he said.  That sought of behaviour has been a common theme in all levels of cricket this season, according to the umpire of twenty years. 


The 'News Mail' says that some critics claim that umpires were also to blame for involving themselves in the on-field chatter, Clarry agreeing, saying "that’s true, the umpires can’t let it get personal out there, it only makes it worse".

Umpire stocks are said to be much lower than when Clarry started standing in BCA matches fifteen years ago, and there has been no interest from players or ex-players to move into the role.  “I advertised for a month for an umpire training course last season and did not get one reply, no one wants the job", he said.




Essex coach Paul Grayson has welcomed the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to ban use of the heavy roller on pitches once a County Championship match has begun. Grayson believes that a lot of county pitches over the last few years have been very bland and that as a result the cricket played on them has overall been quite dull and negative. 

Grayson said that his club have "had the situation at Chelmsford where the best time to bowl there was early on in the match when the pitch was fresher and doing a bit".   "But it never really seems to deteriorate significantly over the four days and, in fact, it often gets better and better as the game progresses [and] you could probably play ten days cricket at Chelmsford sometimes without it doing anything!" 

The Essex coach said that he is "really pleased" with the ECB's move and "that the changes should mean that the pitches will progressively assist the bowlers during a match, something that's good for the game".  Prior to Christmas he attended a coaches' meeting at which the consensus was that the heavy roller ban was something "really worth trying". 

Grayson also believes that the award of sixteen points for a win in county cricket, an increase of two points from last season, will also encourage more positive cricket. "It makes it more of an incentive to win matches", he says, for "people who have a positive attitude in their outlook to the game tend to win more matches than they lose".   "Hopefully, with two more points available for a win and one fewer for a draw, plus the banning of the heavy roller, the attitude will change", he says. 




The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in India has suspended the next round of games in its first division league after a team chased down a target of 515 runs from 79.5 overs in a single day on Sunday for the loss of just three wickets in "suspicious" circumstances, and umpires in another game signed the two score sheets even though the result of that match on each was significantly different.  The CAB’s championship play-off matches had been due to start yesterday and relegation play-offs on Friday, however, they will now have to await the outcomes of two separate investigations.

Somewhat ironically the "suspicious" match involved the West Bengal Police side which had, until its run-chase win against the team from Aryan, languishing near the bottom of the league.  Prior to that the Police side had won only one match in their last seven outings and had not previously scored anywhere near five hundred, says the web site, which hinted that the match may have been "fixed".  The Police side will escape the relegation play-offs if the result is confirmed but have to take part in them if the result is overturned.  

Biswarup Dey, a CAB joint secretary, said that in the case of matches that were suspect, his organisation had the authority to initiate an investigation by itself without receiving a formal complaint.  Another joint secretary Arun Mitra said "there could have been something wrong in that match", but "it’s not easy to suddenly haul up two big teams and punish them [for] we have to be careful, we have to consider a lot of factors".  

CAB tournament chairman Prabir Chakraborty is seeking a report from umpires Ananda Das and Sandip Chakraborty as well as copies of each side's scorebooks as part of an investigation into the matter.  However, West Bengal Police coach Arun Sarkar and senior Aryan batsman Satyen Bhattacharya have both vehemently denied the accusations levelled against their respective sides.  

Meanwhile a match between the Kumartuli and Customs sides played on the same day ended in a dispute when Kumartuli, which was on 9/181 chasing Customs’ score of 189, had their number eleven batsman adjudged 'run-out' by square leg umpire Subhranil Pakrashi.  The result of that match is also important for the championship and relegation play-offs.    

According to reports the umpire at the bowler's end, Supriya Sarkar, had called 'dead ball' in regards to the run-out delivery, although just why he did that and when he made that call is not mentioned in media reports.  When the the two umpires  requested Customs to resume bowling its players were said to be "reluctant to do so" and it appears from information available that play did not in fact resume.  

If media reports are correct both Sarkar and Pakrashi then appear to have made a key mistake by signing both team's scoresheets, but in what 'The Telegraph' in Kolkata described as an "awkward development", the Customs' scoresheet included the 'run-out' and indicated that its team had won by eight runs, while Kumartuli's record stated that the match was "incomplete".

The two umpires met Chakraborty, Mitra and assistant secretary Naresh Ojha on Monday to explain their side of the story, but "as of now", says the CAB, "their explanation of Sunday’s events is not really satisfactory [and] its their fault that the result of the match is still undecided".  A senior official continued by saying that "it will take some time for the committee to probe into the matter and take a call" and "the umpires are likely to be called again".  "It will be surprising if the two umpires escape punishment going by the general mood of the members", concluded the CAB source.






Cricket Australia (CA) believes Australian batsman David Warner's change-of-stance 'switch-hit' tactic during the Twenty20 International (T20I) against the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Tuesday, was ''not against the rules of cricket and is not specifically referenced in International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions", says the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' this morning.  Media reports yesterday say that Warner was told by umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker during the SCG game that his approach, which he used for only one ball, was against the spirit of cricket and CA has called on the ICC to make a ruling on what some see as a controversial tactic. 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who rather than the ICC are the guardians of cricket's laws, ruled eighteen months ago that switch-hits are legal after a row erupted when English batsman Kevin Pietersen introduced the shot to international cricket (E-News 259-1409, 18 June 2008).  In that 2008 ruling the MCC said that switch-hitting is a risky move by the batsman so "it also offers bowlers a good chance of taking a wicket", therefore the "shot is fair to both batsman and bowlers". 

The normally left-handed Warner's approach is not significantly different to Pietersen as they both change their stance after the bowler has commenced his run up but just prior to him actually delivering the ball.  Warner's method is a variation of that used by the English player though, as he doesn't need to change his grip on the bat for he starts off as a left hander with his left hand above his right so that when he changes his stance his hands are in the correct position for a right handed shot.  Pieterson on the other hand adjusts his grip as he is changing his stance. 

Windies' bowler Narsingh Deonarine pulled out from delivering the first ball of the sixth over of Australia's innings after Warner took his new stance, however, the batsman tried it again on the fourth ball but missed the ball and was almost stumped.  It was then when Oxenford at square leg is said to have raised the issue with him and Warner says that Tucker too later indicated the tactic was not appropriate.

Warner indicated that Oxenford said to him that ''you can't do it because they have to chop and change the field all the time", and then added the spirit of cricket comment, the batsman apparently replying that "it's not hard [as] I'll tell them when I'm going to bat right-handed or left-handed so they can change the field".  Warner says he has "to wait for the bowler to change from over the wicket to around the wicket" and asked why he shouldn't be allowed to do the same.

Calling the issue the bowler's problem not his, Warner says that the theory behind the move is that ''you want the ball spinning in to you so if an off-spinner is bowling, why not [as a left hander] bat right-handed if you can [as] you want to hit with the spin".  "Next time, if I'm going to bat right-handed, I reckon I'll have to tell [the fielding side] at the beginning of the over", he continued.  "If you're talented enough to do it and it pays off, you're going to help your team, [however, if] you get out, you might look like a fool but at least you're trying something".

Australian T20I captain Michael Clarke was quoted by the media yesterday as saying that from the conversation he had with match officials after Tuesday's game "the switch-hit is fine, [but if Warner] turns around and stands right-handed, you have to give the opposition time to adjust [their field], [for] you obviously can't have three behind square for a right-hander". The official's "concern is time [for] how many times are you going to turn around [and] I think the switch-hit is probably better for Davie", although "he has the talent to bat with both hands", said Clarke.

Australian coach Tim Neilsen supported Warner's "progressive technique", saying that "it's something a bit different and something pretty special".  "We need to be a bit careful [for] we don't want to take those sorts of things out of the game [as] Twenty20 cricket is all about entertainment", he said.

Warner told journalists yesterday that he plans to continue his ambidextrous batting against New Zealand in the opening T20I in Wellington tomorrow night, and that he still could not understand why Oxenford and Tucker took the approach they did.  Prior to CA's comments Warner said that his side plans to ask for clarification of what he called a "new dimension" in the game.  




Two Australian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel, have been named as the umpires for the final of the interstate one-day domestic competition which is to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday between Victoria and Tasmania.  The pair's colleague on Australia's National Umpires Panel, Simon Fry of South Australia, will be the television umpire for the match.

Sunday's game will be the second year in a row that Reiffel, forty-three, has stood in the final of the competition for he worked on the field in last year's decider with Ian Lock of Western Australia, a match that was also played at the MCG.  The year prior to that he was the third umpire in the final played at Bellerive and at the MCG in the same game in 2007.  

This season's final will be the now Queensland-based umpire's (E-News 572-2895, 19 February 2010) fifth in senior interstate one-day cricket this season and twenty-fourth since his debut game in the competition six years ago.  He has also worked as the television umpire four times in interstate one-dayers, the last two years ago.

Oxenford, who turns fifty tomorrow week, has been officiating in the annual one-day series for just over nine years and the MCG match this weekend will be his thirty-fifth as an on-field umpire in the competition and third for 2009-10, and over the years he has also worked in seven games as the third umpire.  Both he and Reiffel have stood in One Day Internationals, Oxenford in twelve to date and R eiffel three. 

For Fry, forty-three, it will be his first involvement in the final of the interstate one-day competition and ninth in the television suite since he made his debut in that capacity ten years ago this month.  He has also stood in a total of twenty-nine such games since his first in January 2001.  

The South Australian's selection, together with his appointment to the final of the interstate Twenty20 series last month (E-News 572-2895, 19 February 2010), suggests he is in line for selection with Oxenford for the final of the Sheffield Shield competition next month, with Lock a probability for the television spot.  Oxenford's two Australian IUP colleagues Reiffel and Rod Tucker who would have been vying for a position in the final are both scheduled to be overseas at the time that final is to be played (E-News 571-2893, 16 February 2010).   






The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given batsmen "the green light" to switch their stance with a couple of provisos, claims a report published in the 'New Zealand Herald' newspaper today.  The 'Herald' says that following Australian batsman David Warner's self-styled "new dimension" tactic in Sydney earlier this week (E-News 576-2912, 25 February 2010), the ICC has issued an "interim directive" which is to run until May that allows the move but also gives the bowling side some room to manoeuvre.

Under the reported directive, a batsman cannot change sides until the bowler is in his delivery stride, a move that will give the striker only a moment to get their stance right, adjust their line of sight and play a shot.  The bowler will be allowed to stop in his delivery stride if he sees a batsman making such a move.

Should the bowler take that option the umpire at the crease will be required to issue what the 'Herald' calls "an informal warning" to the batsman on the grounds of time wasting, a second such incident resulting in a formal warning, and a third five penalty runs to the fielding side.  On the other hand the bowler may choose, on seeing the batsman change stance, to carry on and deliver the ball.

The ICC is yet to announced the issue of the "interim directive" via its media release system.  The reported May cut-off suggests, however, that the matter will be discussed, and an on-going approach to the matter finalised, at the world body's Cricket Committee meeting at the end of that month.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) decided at a meeting at Lord's in June 2008 that it would not legislate against 'switch hits'.  The club said at the time that it would look further into the shot as it relates to the Laws regarding both Wides and LBW, both of which can be affected by a batsman changing his stance, and will "continue to research and discuss these implications" (E-News 259-1409, 18 June 2008). 




Australian umpire Simon Taufel says he will consider "all information very closely" before making a final decision on  whether to work in this year's sixty-match Indian Premier League (IPL) competition which starts on Friday week and runs until the last week of April, according a story published the 'Southern Highland News' in New South Wales yesterday.  

The 'News' indicated that Taufel is to leave Australia this weekend for a three month umpiring stint, a period that appears likely to include the five-match West Indies One Day International (ODI) series against Zimbabwe which gets under way next Thursday in Guyana, as well as the IPL.  

Taufel, who survived last March's terrorist attack in Lahore (E-News 380-2021, 4 March 2009), is said to have told journalist Anthony MacDonald that he would get as much information as possible from the International Cricket Council (ICC), Cricket Australia and the Australian government to ensure he would return safely from the sub-continent to his wife and three children. 

“Given my history on the subject, I’m a lot more circumspect than other match officials perhaps", runs the quote attributed to the Australian, "so I make sure I get a copy of the impending security plan to ensure I’m comfortable".  Taufel emphasised, however, that travelling to India was no different to any other part of the world and any other umpiring assignment. 

“Given the [Lahore] attack I’m vigilant to ensure I don’t put the family through that experience again", said Taufel, although both he and his family remain realistic about the threat (E-News 381-2023, 5 March 2009).  “It is not realistic to say that there is never a threat, nor is it realistic for anyone to guarantee your safety", he added.

The ICC is yet to name the 'neutral' official for the Windies-Zimbabwe ODIs, the first two of which are to be played in Guyana, and the others on the island of St Vincent.  Umpires for the two Test series between New Zealand and Australia in the last two weeks of March have also not been named, three neutrals being needed for that series as the Umpire Decision Review System is expected to be operational.

The only other umpire as yet to indicate publicly that he will be taking part in the IPL is another Australian, Daryl Harper (E-News 562-2856, 1 February 2010).




It took over three hours of investigation after play ended in a Inter Provincial Twenty20 tournament match played in central Sri Lanka on Thursday to determine just which team had won the game, says a report in Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' yesterday.    Three score books, the two official ones and that of the scorer for the media, were consulted at some length, but it was not until a video of the game was viewed was it possible to finalise the second innings score and determine just who won the match.

Basnahira South played Kandurata in a game that went down to the final ball, however, the official result was withheld after a protest from Kandurata's team manager.  He claimed that the scores were incorrect and that four extra runs had been inserted in score sheets in favour of Basnahira South during the second innings of the match.

Following the protest the two field umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Ranmore Martinez, third umpire Sarath Kumar and the match referee Aubrey Kuruppu, together with captains Kumar Sangakkara (Kandurata) and Chamara Silva (Basnahira South), discussed the dispute for nearly three hours without reaching a conclusion, with both teams reportedly still claiming victory and the umpires refusing to sign off on the match.

The problem centred on the seventeenth over of Basnahira's chase when the score sheets showed that seven deliveries had been bowled and that the batsman at the crease had scored a four on one of them, however, what was called "all other material available", suggested he in fact did not.  The news report hinted that the score sheets been tampered with, although it did not explain how all three indicated had been modified in the same way.

At around 8.30 p.m. the official video of the match was made available and on viewing it it was discovered that the scorers had in fact made a mistake and a boundary had not been scored in the seventeenth over, thus putting an end to the dispute.  According to the 'Mirror' report match referee Kuruppu said that he plans to send a detailed report of the matter to Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters in Colombo "for further action".



Singapore's Mohamed Shoib Abdul Razak received an official reprimand after being found guilty of showing dissent at an umpire's decision in his country's match against the United States of America in a World Cricket League Division 5 tournament match played in Nepal on Wednesday.  

The charge against Razak was brought by the two on-field umpires Tyron Wijewardene (Sri Lanka) and Buddhi Pradham (Nepal), to which he pleaded guilty and accepted the penalty imposed by match referee David Jukes (England) without the need to convene a disciplinary hearing. "Heat of the moment or not, there is no place for this sort of behaviour in international cricket", said Jukes in an ICC statement, and while "Razak has apologised for his actions and I hope that we will not see a recurrence" of such behaviour.

Other umpires in Nepal for the fifty-over one-day series involving Bahrain, Fiji, Jersey, Nepal, Singapore and the US, are: Farid Malik (United Arab Emirates), Batumulai Ramani (Malaysia), Sarika Prasad (Singapore), Ashwani Rana (Thailand) and Neil Harrison (Japan).




One month after it announced an "independent and comprehensive investigation" into Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) procedural issues that applied during the fourth Test between South Africa and England in Johannesburg in mid-January, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has yet to announce the outcome of the two-man inquiry.  The world body said at the time that "the exact parameters and timeframe of the investigation" by Scottish barrister Brent Lockie and former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd "will be determined in due course" (E-News 558-2836, 27 January 2010).  

The ICC's investigation was set up in response to an official complaint it received from the England and Wales Cricket Board about a review involving South African captain Graeme Smith (E-News 549-2798, 16 January 2010).  England coach Andy Flower claimed publicly that third umpire Daryl Harper of Australia had the volume turned down on the feed from the stump microphone during his review, something that was denied by both match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka and Harper himself (E-News 550-2805, 17 January 2010).  Harper later reportedly withdrew from last week's Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh as a result of the issues involved (E-News 562-2856, 1 February 2010).   

The day before it announced the 'missing sound' investigation the ICC appointed English barrister Michael Beloff QC to oversee an appeal by the Board of Control for Cricket in India over the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi (E-News 557-2830, 26 January 2010).  Beloff's investigation took two weeks (E-News 569-2883, 10 February 2010), and why Lockie and Lloyd's is now into its second month is not known.