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February 09 (365-377)

THE MONTH’S HEADLINES

23 EDITIONS 

(Story numbers 1943-2014)




365 – 3 February [1943-1946]

• Hair criticises Haddin, points to umpire's role  (365-1943).

• No action taken on 'longest appeal ever"  (365-1944).

• ICC again changes 'ball tampering' Test result  (365-1945).

• Another slow over-rate fine for Australia  (365-1946).


366 – 4 February [1947-1950]

• Hair attacks ICC over Test result change  (366-1947).

• Legionnaires' disease claims 'The Breaded Wonder'  (366-1948).

• Bowler again reported for 'suspect action' (366-1949).

• Rain, showers forecast for Hobart weekend (366-1950).


367 – 5 February [1951-1955]

• Tassy first class 'drought' enters fourth year  (367-1951).

• TCUSA member for Imparja Cup  (367-1952).

• NSW umpire to visit for Second XI game  (367-1953).

• Bucknor reported for South African series say reports  (367-1954).

• Probe ordered into match fixing concerns  (367-1955).


368 – 6 February [1956-1962]

• Tucker, Jerling to kick off  Aus-SA exchange program  (368-1956).

• Hair reiterates his views on Muralitharan   (368-1957).

• Final 'home-and-away' Shield appointments announced  (368-1958).

• Hill replaces de Silva in the Windies, 'visa problems' cited  (368-1959).

• Initial analysis shows Razzak's action 'suspect' (368-1960).

• Association warns captains on player behaviour, scoresheets  (368-1961).

• 'Rain easing' Saturday, 'fine' Sunday for TCA matches  (368-1962).


369 – 9 February [1963-1969]

• National officials scholarships for John, Reiffel  (369-1963).

• Australia disallowed runs for pitch transgression  (369-1964).

• Referral system for referrals needed?  (369-1965).

• John Ward tops domestic one-day appointments  (369-1966).

• Naming of women's world cup officials awaited (369-1967).

• 'Short jaunt' for Hill to stand in Test  (369-1968).

• Umpires named for women’s Twenty20 international  (369-1969).


370 – 12 February [1970-1975]

• Fund raiser for bush fire victims set for Sunday  (370-1970).

• ECB Chief pushes 'Stanford' referral system  (370-1971).

• ICL looking to recruit English umpires, says report (370-1972).

• Riazuddin removed from ICC panel (370-1973).

• Nel's appeal against one-match ban dismissed  (370-1974).

• Slow over-rate fine for Sri Lanka  (370-1975).


371 – 13 February [1976-1983]

• Dates of winter Laws, Scorers' schools set  (371-1976).

• Team management to blame for 'Oval Test fiasco', says Butt  (371-1977).

• ICL postpones next series, umpire's 'nest egg' in doubt?  (371-1978).

• Harmison queries third umpire's UDRS role  (371-1979).

• Leabeater 'sceptical' about ICC's UDRS aims  (371-1980).

• de Silva makes it for second Windies-England Test  (371-1981).

• Windies loose two former international umpires  (371-1982).

• Hobart weather 'fine and beaut' for coming weekend  (371-1983).




372 – 14 February [1984-1985]

• Test abandoned, rapid ground switch planned  (372-1984).

• PCB to 'investigate' Oval Test controversy  (372-1985).


373 – 16 February [1986-1989]

• Harper sets new Australian Test record (373-1986).

• ICC shuffles umpires for 'second' Antigua Test (373-1987).

• 'International umpire' for PCB Oval Test investigation? (373-1988).

• Team's success attributed to deal with umpires  (373-1989).


374 – 18 February [1990-1997]

• Pitch deemed 'unsafe', adjacent strip used for 'new' game  (374-1990).

• NZC appeal leads to doubling of player suspension  (374-1991).

• Coach reported 'disappointed' at bowler referral  (374-1992).

• UDRS likely in all forms of the game, says ICC CEO  (374-1993).

• ECB umpire on Windies exchange  (374-1994).

• TV 'personalities' to umpire bushfire appeal match  (374-1995).

• Kenyan umpires boycott domestic T20 series over pay  (374-1996).

• Weather outlook 'fine' for the coming weekend  (374-1997).


375 – 19 February [1996-2003]

• One-day domestic final officials named  (375-1998).

• Australians paired for Pakistan Test series  (375-1999).

• Koertzen, Madugalle continue to set new ODI records (375-2000).

• Quartet named for fourth UDRS trial  (375-2001).

• Senior international umpires support UDRS concept  (375-2002).

• 2009 East Asia Pacific umpiring panels named (375-2003).


376 – 23 February [2004-2009]

• Bucknor to retire from international cricket  (376-2004).

• Five-year ban for 'gun threat' to umpire  (376-2005).

• Sports Minister seeks 'high-level' probe into Oval 'fiasco' (376-2006).

• Officials named for Women's World Cup (376-2007).

• Helicopter stops play  (376-2008).

• Money has 'ruined' cricket, claims Bird  (376-2009).


377 – 25 February [2010-2014]

• CA umpiring scrutiny misses key focus, claims journalist (377-2010).

• Bird suspended after action found 'illegal'  (377-2011).

• Project to develop 'bowling action' sensor launched (377-2012).

• Heaps of light for our Don (377-2013).

• Captain's role unlikely to change says MCC chief  (377-2014).

E-NEWS NUMBER 365

TUESDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2009



HAIR CRITICISES HADDIN, 

POINTS TO UMPIRE'S ROLE  

[EN365-1943]


A report in yesterday's 'Canberra Times' (CT) says that former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair believes New Zealand batsman Neil Broom should have been given 'not out' during the first One Day International against Australia in Perth on Sunday and that it was "unfortunate" wicketkeeper Brad Haddin hadn't admitted his infringement.  Broom was given out 'bowled', however, reports say that television replays showed that Haddin's gloves had actually knocked off the bails.


According to the story by CT journalist Andrew Stevenson, Hair said that "it's quite clear-cut [that Haddin's] gloves were in front of the stumps and the ball hadn't passed the line of stumps, so he's in breach of the Law and it should have just been an automatic no-ball".  Stevenson writes that Hair said that "you can't be bowled off a no-ball [and that] it's obvious that the ball missed the stump as well."


Hair, now executive officer of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, is quoted as saying that "of all the people on the ground, [Haddin] would have been the one who was best positioned to know [and] I think he should have owned up to it".  Hair apparently went on to say that he "saw that [Ricky] Ponting has gone into bat for him after the Kiwis called [Haddin] a cheat, but I can understand why the Kiwis would be livid about it".  


Stevenson quotes Hair as saying that "people think the square leg umpire is out there for a rest, but the most important thing the square leg umpire is out there to look for are the things that happen the least and that's hit wicket and the wicketkeeper encroaching".  Hair apparently did not mention any names, but match reports indicate that Bruce Oxenford from Quensland, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was at square leg for the ball that saw Broom return to the pavilion.   


Haddin has been quoted in a number of press reports as indicating that he was unaware at the time that his hands were ahead of the wickets. "After looking at the replay, my hands were in front of the stumps", he said, but "I'm one hundred per cent positive [the ball] hit the bails first and then came up into my gloves".


Oxenford's colleague on the ground last Sunday was West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor (E-News 364-1940, 30 January 2009), while Paul Reiffel from Victoria, another Australian IUP member, was in the third umpire's suite.


NO ACTION TAKEN ON 

'LONGEST APPEAL EVER'  

[EN365-1944]


Sri Lankan Gamini Silva, one of his nation's three umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has come under criticism from the media both at home and in India after he gave Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh out LBW during the second One Day International between the two sides in Colombo last Saturday.  For his part Yuvraj was found not guilty by match referee Chris Broad from England of showing dissent at Silva's decision.   


Press reports from the match say that there was a "long delay" before Silva answered the appeal against Yuvraj from Nuwan Kulasekera, and that during that time the bowler "kept appealing" in what was described as "the longest appeal ever", until the umpire raised his finger.  


Replays are said to have showed that the Yuvraj "got a thick edge to the ball" before it hit his pad, and he was later reported by Silva, his on-field colleague Brian Jerling of South Africa and third official Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, for dissent.


Broad said in an ICC statement that "after reviewing video evidence of the incident, [he was of] the opinion that there was no conclusive evidence that Yuvraj showed dissent at the decision".  “He did stay at the crease but the delay in departing was not excessive and I felt he showed a level of disappointment rather than dissent", added the match referee. 


Silva's home town newspaper the 'Daily Mirror' suggested that Silva be removed from umpiring in international matches, saying that such a "low standard of umpiring" has brought the game in disrepute.  It claimed that Silva "succumbed to the long appeal from Kulasekera" and that such actions by players "has become a trend".  Silva "was under pressure and just gave it for the appeal", claimed the 'Mirror' story.


There has been no indication in press reports that Kulasekera's long appeal was commented on by match officials. 


ICC AGAIN CHANGES 'BALL TAMPERING’ 

TEST RESULT

[EN365-1945]


England has once again been awarded the controversial 'ball tampering' Test against Pakistan that was played at the Oval in August 2006.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced at the end of a Board meeting held in Perth last weekend that it had reversed the decision it made last July to change the result from an England win to a "match abandoned" draw (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008). 


Umpires Billy Doctrove of the West Indies and Darrell Hair of Australia originally ruled that Pakistan had forfeited the match because it refused to take the field after tea on day four following accusations of ball tampering.  Pressure from the Pakistan Cricket Board saw the result of the Test match changed by the ICC.  The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) made it clear that the ICC's move contravened the laws of cricket and that in its view the move set a "very dangerous" precedent.


ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat said in Perth on Sunday that the world body's latest decision reflected the necessity of upholding the laws of cricket.  He said that "there was considered discussion this time", a phrase that suggests there wasn't last July, that "there was input from the MCC" and that "legal opinion" was also considered.  'There was a realisation", said Lorgat, that "the laws and the integrity of the game", meant that "the original result [as decided by Doctrove and Hair] must stand".  


Lorgat said that he was fully expecting the ICC to come in for criticism for the backflip.


ANOTHER SLOW OVER-RATE 

FINE FOR AUSTRALIA  

[EN365-1946]


The Australia team was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first One Day International of the series against New Zealand in Perth on Sunday.  International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka imposed the fines after Ricky Ponting’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.  ICC Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties mean that Ponting was fined twenty per cent of his match fee and his team mates ten per cent.



E-NEWS NUMBER 366

WEDNESDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2009



HAIR ATTACKS ICC OVER 

TEST RESULT CHANGE  

[EN366-1947]


Former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair has accused senior cricket officials of trying to destroy his life in the wake of the ball tampering Test at the Oval two years ago, according in newspaper articles that were circulated widely in Australia and on the sub continent yesterday.  Hair was responding to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision last Sunday to change the result from a "match abandoned" draw, back to an England win as originally awarded by Hair and his West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove in August 2006 (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009). 


Many of the reports say that the ICC's back-flip is being seen as vindication of the decision of both umpires after the Pakistan side refused to play after tea on the fourth day when their bowlers were accused of ball tampering.  Shortly after the Test the ICC stood Hair down from umpiring at the highest levels of the game, however, Doctrove continue to officiate in Tests.   


The Australian, who is now retired from international umpiring and works as the Chief Executive of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, returned to Test level last year after a legal battle that saw him allege he was the victim of racial discrimination by the ICC, however, he resigned from his ICC umpiring position shortly after (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008).


Hair was quoted by Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph' as saying that after his ban by the world body "several ICC officials set out to make a real meal of it and make life very tough for me".  "People like myself pay for standing up for what is right [and the] people who were sitting on the ICC board when they initially changed the decision [last July to call the match a draw] should [now] stand down or be sacked", says the quote attributed to him.


The 'Telegraph' goes on to report that Hair said that "there was a lot of support for me from around the world but unfortunately none of the people who worked at the ICC [at the time] were among them".  "The first to go should be David Richardson [the ICC's General Manager-Cricket as well as its umpire's manager] Doug Cowie", continues the quote.  


Hair also apparently believes that then Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Creagh O'Connor could have supported him more. "He sat there [in the ICC board meeting last year] and admitted there was not much he could do, [but] that to me makes him weak [as in Hair's view] "you stand up for your principles even if you are going to get beaten at the ballot box".  "I was right in my decision and was on the top of the world but the ICC destroyed my career", said Hair.


Meanwhile former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, a central figure in the 2006 Oval Test debacle, has also criticised the ICC as well as the Pakistan Cricket Board for once again changing the result of the Test.  Inzamam, who was personally cleared of ball tampering, criticised both organisations for what he called their "weakness" in twice changing the result, say press reports from Pakistan.


LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE CLAIMS 

'THE BEARDED WONDER'  

[EN366-1948 ]


Well-known BBC scorer and statistican Bill Frindall, who supported the broadcaster's ball-by-ball coverage of international cricket in a total of 377 Test matches over a forty-three year career, died late last week of Legionnaires' disease contracted during a cricket-related visit to Dubai.  Frindall, nicknamed 'The Bearded Wonder' by long-serving commentator Brian Johnston, had a remarkable knowledge of the game's minutiae.


Frindall, who was aged sixty-nine when he died, built on the methods devised by the Australian Bill Ferguson to devise a system that provided a much fuller picture of play, say reports from the UK.  As the Frindall system required a dozen annotations at the fall of a wicket, the adage that a player dismissed without scoring did "not troubled the scorers", did not apply.  While the commentators and analysts who made up the rest of the broadcast team operated in fixed slots of twenty minutes, Frindall was on call throughout the day, responding to requests for information arising from events in play.


From 1986-99 the Englishman was responsible for Wisden's records section and had edited the Playfair Cricket Annual, a pocket-sized statistical guide to the English season, since 1986.  One of his most important pieces of work was pulling together the annotated scorecards of every five-day test in the Wisden Books of Test Cricket, a valuable resource for journalists and researchers, even though such information is now available online.


Frindall, who played one match for Hampshire's second XI in 1972, was a combative participant in controversies over cricket statistics, refusing to accept that the 'Super Test' between Australia and the Rest of the World was a legitimate Test match and describing the reassessment of notable career records following closer examination of the status of some matches as "rewriting history".


BOWLER AGAIN REPORTED 

FOR 'SUSPECT ACTION'  

[EN366-1949]

 

New South Wales fast bowler Aaron Bird has again been reported by Cricket Australia (CA) for "displaying a doubtful bowling action".  Bird was reported for a suspect bowling action two summers ago before being cleared prior to the start of last season (E-News 101-553, 19 September 2007).

 

CA says that match umpires officiating in two domestic one-day games and the Twenty20 domestic final this season mentioned Bird in their match reports, apparently indicating that some of his deliveries were of concern.  Under CA procedures a bowler who is mentioned by three different umpires in the same season is automatically reported and must undergo an analysis of his bowling action at the Australian Institute of Sport's biomechanics laboratory in Canberra within three weeks of the last report.

 

Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert told reporters that he had no problems with the Bird's action.  "Aaron's action has always been quite whippy and unfortunately to the naked eye and to people who don't spend their time studying his action like we do, they could think the worst of it", continued Gilbert.  "He has been tested numerous times" and as cricket is his livelihood the "constant cloud over him would wear down the best of us", concluded Gilbert.

 

An assessment on Bird's action is expected to be sent to CA within two weeks of the tests in Canberra and the bowler remains eligible for selection for NSW until it is received.  Should his action be found to be 'illegal', he would be suspended from interstate competitions until he is able to complete a biomechanical analysis that demonstrate that his revised action is legal.


RAIN, SHOWERS FORECAST 

FOR HOBART WEEKEND

[EN366-1950]


Current Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for the coming weekend in Hobart suggest that rain will develop, and the wind will increase, late on Saturday afternoon as a cold front approaches from the west.  The front is currently expected to pass the city area in the early hours of Sunday morning and that day is expected to see a 'shower or two' in the south-westerly flow behind the front, although grounds on the western shore of the Derwent are likely to be affected more so than those to the east.  A maximum temperature of twenty-six degrees Centigrade is forecast for Saturday and twenty-one of Sunday. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 367

THURSDAY, 5 FEBRUARY 2009


TASSY FIRST CLASS 'DROUGHT' 

ENTERS FOURTH YEAR 

[EN367-1951]


Tasmania's domestic first-class umpiring 'drought' entered its fourth year yesterday and has reached the 100 match mark.  With appointments for just six home-and-away Sheffield Shield matches remaining to be made in the lead up to the season's final in mid-March, there are no signs that for the third consecutive austral summer no one from the island state will stand at first-class level.


Former TCUSA member Ken McGinniss was the last Tasmanian to have officiated in a first class level game. That four-day match which ended on 4 February 2006, was played at Bellerive and involved the home side and Western Australia, saw him standing with Simon Fry, a South Australian member of Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel (NUP).  


Cricket Australia's (CA) normal practice is to appoint debutants in first class games to matches that are played in their home state.  Two Sheffield Shield matches remain to be played at Bellerive this season, and two NUP umpires Ian Lock and Mick Martell, who are both from Western Australia, have already been appointed to the first, the home side's game against that state which starts on 16 February.  Martell, who was appointed to the NUP last year, will be standing in his third first-class match and first outside Perth (E-News 306-1602, 5 September 2008), while Lock will be on the ground in his fifty-second and fourth in Hobart.  


In an unusual move both have also been named to on-field positions for one-day game between the same sides that is to be played two days earlier, TCUSA member Steven John being in the third umpire's box.  The practice over many years has normally been for a Tasmanian umpire to accompany a NUP member in one-day matches played in the state.  John will for example stand in this Saturday's one-day match between Tasmania and Victoria at Bellerive with South Australian Fry, TCUSA member Brian Muir being the third official.


CA is yet to allocate officials for Bellerive's final Sheffield Shield match of the season against Victoria that is set to commence on 26 February, however, with the competition approaching its conclusion for the summer it would surprise many observers if a debutant was appointed to that game.


TCUSA MEMBER FOR IMPARJA CUP

[EN367-1952]


TCUSA member Steve Maxwell is to travel to Alice Springs on Sunday to umpire in the 2009 Imparja Cup series for indigenous teams from states and territories in Australia that starts on Monday. A total of twenty-eight teams spread over four divisions are expected to play matches during the week-long competition, the highest level being for the eight State and Territory representative sides, and the other three for Northern Territory 'Major Centres', 'Community' and 'Women'.  


Maxwell, who will be officiating in his third consecutive Imparja Cup series, will join seven other umpires from around the nation for the competition.   The Cup provides a platform that helps promote the game in Australia's indigenous community and gives players the opportunity to participate in a strong competition.


NSW UMPIRE TO VISIT FOR 

SECOND XI GAME 

[EN367-1953]


Michael Kumutat, a member of the New South Wales State Umpires Panel (E-News 318-1658, 24 September 2008), is to stand with TCUSA member Nick McGann in the four-day Cricket Australia Cup match between the Second XIs from Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory which is start at Lindisfarne next Monday.  Reports from NSW suggest that some observers place forty-year-old Kumutat third behind NSW colleagues Rod Tucker, a member of the National Umpires Panel, and panel aspirant Gerard Abood, in ability and apparently see him as having a "bright future".


Records available indicate that next week's match will be McGann's second CAC match and Kumutat's fourth.  The pair officiated in this season's men's Under 17 national championship held in Perth early last month. Kumutat took part in an Under 19 championship series in Perth three years ago, a tournament that is considered a key milestone on Cricket Australia's umpiring pathway.  Reports indicate that he was to have stood in that series in Newcastle in December, however, he could not make himself available for cricket at that time.


CAC matches in the southern states normally start at 10.30 a.m. and conclude at 5.30 p.m. with each session being two-hours long, but there are reports that times for the Lindisfarne match are being changed so that the match can end early on the fourth day.  Instead of six hours of play per day it is believed that days one through three will each be played over seven hours and day four over just three.  The reason for the timing change has not been made public.  


TCUSA member David Gainsford will be one of the scorers for next week's game, his colleague being either Graeme Hamley or Brendon Azzopardi.  David Levens, one of CA's Umpire High Performance Managers will also be at the match.  Levens observed the first three days of last month's CAC match at Bellerive that involved TCUSA umpiring members Jamie Mitchell and Sam Nogajski, before travelling to Launceston for the interstate Twenty20 game between Tasmania and South Australia where John was one of the umpires. 


BUCKNOR APPOINTED FOR SOUTH AFRICAN 

SERIES SAY REPORTS

[EN367-1954]


Reports from Melbourne indicate that West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor has been appointed to officiate in the three-match Test series between South Africa and Australia that is scheduled to get underway on 26 February.  With the games listed as the fourth and last trial of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) prior to an evaluation by the  International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee in April-May, three 'neutral' umpires are expected to be named to each of the matches, but the ICC is yet no announcement who will be involved.


By the time the Tests get underway in South Africa a total of seven international umpires will have been exposed to the UDRS system, Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members Mark Benson (England), Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka), Daryl Harper (Australia), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), and second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) members Amiesh Saheba (India) and Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe). Of those, only the EUP members have to date been allocated to third umpire positions, the IUP members being on the field of play. 


Given the ICC's 'neutral' umpire requirements Koertzen and Australians Harper, Steve Davis and Simon Taufel will not be elligable for selection, leaving EUP members who are possibilities for the series being, in addition to Bucknor, his West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove, Benson, de Silva, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Asad Rauf (Pakistan).   Dar will not be available as he will be officiating in the One Day International series between the West Indies and England (E-News 364-1939, 30 January 2009).


With Benson having stood in two UDRS trials and de Silva one, Bowden, Doctrove and Rauf may be in the mix if the ICC's aim is to give as many EUP members as possible experience of the system.  Appointments to date and neutrality requirements mean, however, that neither Davis, who spoke positively about the system last year (E-News 320-1666, 28 September 2008), or Taufel the world's best umpire for the last five years (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), will have been directly involved in the trials.  As a member of the ICC's Cricket Committee though, Taufel will be involved in that group's evaluation of the system.  


Should Bucknor, who holds the world record for Test matches of 126 games, work as a television umpire during the series in South Africa it will be somewhat of a novelty for him.  To date he has only worked in the position only once, in Tests, that being when the West Indies played India in June 2006.  The last time he worked as a television umpire was in April 2007 during the one-day World Cup.


PROBE ORDERED INTO 

'MATCH FIXING' CONCERNS 

[EN367-1955]


The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is investigating the result of a local league match played last weekend after reports suggested that the result could have been 'fixed', says a story posted on the the 'expressindia.com' web site yesterday.  The report suggests that the umpires "could have been involved in what is increasingly looking like a fixed match with a fudged score sheet".


The score sheet for the match under question, which involved teams from the Bhukailash Sporting Club and Ballygunge United and ended in a draw, apparently shows that the latter's bowlers delivered a large number of overs on day two of the match beyond a figure that is "practically impossible at any level of the game".


Asked to comment on the allegations that the scoresheet "was cooked up", CAB joint-secretary Arun Mitra is said to have stated that "playing [fixed] matches has been a way of life [in the region] for decades".  He apparently went on to indicate that when it comes to match fixing "the smarter you are, the less the chance [you have] of attracting people’s attention".  


The web site's story states that Mintra's comments mark the first time "a top CAB official" had publicly acknowledged "that match-fixing is part and parcel of the game in the [region] and that it’s almost an accepted norm and out of the administration’s control".  


CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya has ordered a probe into the drawn match, but emphasised that it’s too early to jump to conclusions regarding the allegations currently circulating.  He said that scoresheets for the match are to be examined and that the umpires and other people present over the weekend will be interviewed.


There was controversy England last year when a score sheet was altered in a local match in Cambridgeshire was altered to show that a bowler had taken all ten wickets in a village match (E-News 289-1536, 3 August 2008). 


E-NEWS NUMBER 368 

FRIDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2009


TUCKER, JERLING TO KICK OFF 

AUS-SA EXCHANGE PROGRAM

[EN368-1956]


Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday announced the establishment of an umpire exchange program with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the first two officials involved are to stand in first class matches in each other's country over the next six weeks.  CSA's Brian Jerling is to officiate in two Sheffield Shield games in Brisbane and Adelaide over a ten-day period commencing 26 February, while CA's Rod Tucker from New South Wales will be in South Africa from 12-29 March standing in two 'SuperSport' games in Johannesburg and Potchefstroom.


Establishment of the CA-CSA exchange program comes as a surprise as little was known about it until the announcement, but it follows on from CSA's long-term arrangement with New Zealand, as well as its recently established agreement with India (E-News 364-1492, 30 January 2009).  Both Jerling, who is fifty and has stood in 123 first class matches, including four Tests, and Tucker forty-four with twenty-four first class games to his credit at the present time, are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) in their respective nations.  


Analysis of ICC appointments over the last twelve months suggests that Jerling may well be on the short-list for elevation to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this year, other candidates for that group thought to be Ian Gould and Nigel Llong of England and possibly Amiesh Shaheba of India. 


With the departure of Australian Darrell Hair from the EUP late last year a vacany already exists on that panel, and there have been indications that Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and Jerling's countryman Rudi Koertzen may be in their last year with the group.  If that speculation is correct then up to three new umpires would be needed to bring EUP membership up to the ICC's preferred number of twelve.  Tucker is seen by some observers as a potential candidate for the EUP sometime in the next few years, together with South African Marais Erasmus whose career also appears to be on the rise. 


Tucker's time in South Africa coincides with the final of this summer's Sheffield Shield competition, a match that many observers expected him to be appointed to.  That game, which is scheduled for 13-17 March and currently looks like being played in Melbourne, would have been the New South Welshman's third final in a row.  


Tucker's Australian IUP colleagues Bruce Oxenford of Queensland and Paul Reiffel from Victoria are possible appointees, with Bob Parry of Victoria and Ian Lock of Western Australia also possibilities.  Parry already has four previous Shield finals to his credit, all of them being in the last five years, while Oxenford has been the third umpire for the last two finals. 


HAIR REITERATES HIS VIEWS 

ON MURALITHARAN

[EN368-1957]


Former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair has reiterated his well-known views about the bowling action of Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, the Pakistan-based cricket web site 'cricdb.com' running a story on Wednesday that quotes the Australian as saying that "Murali throws, I have no doubt about it".  Journalist Bipin Dani sought Hair's views after the bowler equalled the record for the highest number of dismissals in One Day Internationals this week.


Muralitharan's action has been tested three times, first in 1995 after Hair called him in a Test in Melbourne for an action he later called "diabolical", and again in 1999, and 2004, but the bowler has been "cleared" under ICC's flexibility rules.  Asked if he was continuing to follow the bowler's career, Hair is reported to have said "No! I have other things to look out for". 


FINAL 'HOME-AND-AWAY' SHIELD 

APPOINTMENTS ANNOUNCED

[EN368-1958]


Umpiring appointments for the final six home-and-away matches of this austral summer's Sheffield Shied first class competition announced by Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday saw, as anticipated, no Tasmanians in the mix.  Seven umpires, six from the National Umpires Panel (NUP) and another from South Africa (E-News 368-1956 above), were named for games that take to 105 the number of such matches since a Tasmanian umpire last stood at first class level (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009).


Of those named yesterday Bruce Oxenford (Queensland), Ian Lock (Western Australia), Bob Parry and Paul Reiffel (Victoria), and Brian Jerling (South Africa) each received two games, and Simon Fry (South Australia) and John Ward (Victoria) one each.  NUP members missing from the last two rounds of competition are Andrew Craig, Mick Martell and Jeff Brookes (Western Australia), Tony Ward (Victoria), and Rod Tucker (New South Wales), the latter being headed for an exchange program in South Africa.  


CA used a total of fourteen umpires in the Sheffield Shield this season, down two from last year, eleven being members of the NUP, one Gerard Abood of New South Wales from the emerging umpires area, while the others were Jerling and Australian Simon Taufel of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel.  Martell and Abood made their first class debuts during the season.


If the latest appointments announced by CA yesterday are fulfilled, Lock and Parry will, prior to appointments for the final next month, have topped the Shield match list for the season with seven games each, then comes Fry and John Ward with six, Oxenford and Reiffel with five, Brookes, Martell, Tucker and Tony Ward four each, Craig three, Abood and Jerling two, and Taufel one. Lock also topped of the list last season with a total of seven games (E-News 188-1018, 1 February 2008).


Abood was the only non-NUP Australian appointed to first class level this season, as opposed to three last year.  They were Tony Ward, who was later appointed to the NUP, Norm McNamara of Queensland and Darren Goodger of NSW, the latter being the only umpire to debut at first class level in 2007-08.


Appointments for Sheffield Shield final are not expected to be made until early next month (E-News 368-1956 above). 


HILL REPLACES DE SILVA IN THE WINDIES, 

'VISA PROBLEMS' CITED

[EN368-1959]


Tony Hill, a New Zealand member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, is standing in the First Test between the West Indies and England in place of original appointee Asoka de Silva from Sri Lanka.  Press reports from the Caribbean yesterday cited "problems in obtaining a visa" as the reason for the absence of the Elite Umpires Panel member from Sri Lanka.  


The ICC announced de Silva's appointment to the first two Tests of the series in a press release on 26 January and presumably he was made aware of his assignments in Jamaica and Antigua some time before that, so just what the visa-related issues were for him are not known. However, they must have been insurmountable in the short-term as it would have taken Hill several days to travel from New Zealand to Jamaica in time for the start of the match.


This is not the first time Hill has had to travel at relatively short notice to stand in a Test, but the last time it was just a short jaunt across the Tasman Sea to Brisbane.  On that occasion he and his on-field colleague in the current Test, South African Rudi Koertzen, had to together replace both Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies in the first match of the series between Australia and Sri Lanka in November 2007.  "Visa problems" were given as the reason for Dar and Bucknor's inability to take part in the match (E-News 130-706, 8 November 2007).   


Hill is on the field for what is his eighth Test match with Australian Daryl Harper maintaining his position in the third umpire's suite in support of what is the latest trial of the Umpire Decision Review System (E-News 364-1939, 30 January 2009). 


England players wore black armbands of the opening day of the match in memory of scorer and statistican Bill Frindall who died last week (E-News 366-1948, 4 February 2009).


ANALYSIS SHOWS RAZZAK'S 

ACTION 'SUSPECT'

[EN368-1960]


Bangladeshi bowler Abdur Razzak's bowling action will be reviewed independently in Australia prior to the International Cricket Council undertaking its assessment of his delivery style.  Razzak was suspended from international cricket in December for a suspect action after umpires Daryl Harper (Australia) and Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) reported him in the Test series against New Zealand. 


The 'cricinfo' web site was yesterday indicating that an "independent analysis" has already been conducted in Australia using video footage provided by the Bangladesh Cricket Board and that it "confirmed his action was suspect".  It apparently shows that Razzak's "elbow extension ranged between twenty-two to twenty-eight degrees and averages twenty-five degrees", well past the maximum of fifteen degrees being allowed under current playing arrangements.


According to reports Razzak, who has been "working with local [Bangladesh] experts" on the problem, recently played in a domestic Twenty20 tournament.


ASSOCIATION WARNS CAPTAINS ON 

PLAYER BEHAVIOUR, SCORESHEETS 

[EN368-1961]


James Camwell, the treasurer of the Monaro District Cricket Association (MDCA) in south eastern New South Wales, has asked club captains there to set an example on the field after regular complaints about team behaviour in the Association during the current season, says an article by journalist John Bannon printed in yesterday's edition of the 'Cooma-Monaro Express' newspaper.  Camwell has also called for teams to field a twelfth man or scorer who can prevent any potential scoring conflicts by regularly checking scoresheets during the course of play.


Bannon says that "many teams" have been warned about player misconduct in recent months and the MDCA is calling for all players to act in the 'spirit of the game'.  Camwell told the 'Express' that it is important that his Association support its umpires "because the Umpires Association is new to the Monaro and it would be a shame to lose this vital resource".  "It's about time the Association put its weight behind umpires, we need to set a precedent so players don't behave like this in the future [and] we need to enforce proper penalties if we are going to be fair dinkum", runs the quote.


As for keeping score during the matches, Camwell said it was up to both sides to monitor the situation.  "Not only do we need both teams checking the scoring during the match, but we need to ensure scorecards are completed in full and handed into me by Sunday afternoon at the latest", he said.  "We have been telling teams about [the requirement to forward scoresheets] until we have been blue in the face [and] maybe we need to dock points off teams who fail to comply with the paperwork requirements", said Camwell.


'RAIN EASING' SATURDAY, 'FINE' SUNDAY 

FOR TCA MATCHES

[EN368-1962]


Current Bureau of Metoeorology forecasts for the Hobart area this weekend are suggesting the those involved in Tasmanian Cricket Association First and Second Grade matches on Saturday may have to contend with rain during the first part of the day, while those who out on the park on Sunday should experience 'fine' conditions.


TCUSA umpires and scorers taking part in games this weekend should keep a close eye on the weather forecast for the weekend this evening and again on the mornings of their match.  Tthe most important up-to-date information available from the Bureay is readily via the 'yellow box' at the top right of the Association's web site



E-NEWS NUMBER 369 

MONDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2009


NATIONAL OFFICIALS SCHOLARSHIPS 

FOR JOHN, REIFFEL

[EN369-1963]


Tasmanian State Umpiring Squad member Steven John and Victoria-based Paul Reiffel of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) are amongst twenty officials from nine sports from around the nation who have been awarded $A20,000 grants under the Australian Sports Commission's (ASC) National Officiating Scholarship Program (NOSP) for 2009.  E-News understands that John was recommended to the ASC by Cricket Australia (CA) as an emerging umpire on the national scene and Reiffel, who made his debut in an One Day International last Friday, as a newcomer internationally.  


The aim of the ASC's program, which is now in its seventh year, is to assist officials to fast track their professional development by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport in national and international competitions.  Mick Martell of Western Australia, who became the first cricket recipient of a NOSP award a year ago (E-News 200-1098, 22 February 2008), went on to be named a NUP member by CA a few months later (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008), and then made his debut at first class level in October (E-News 306-1602, 5 September 2008). 


John, who topped the list of CA's emerging umpire appointments for this season's domestic one-day competition in Australia (E-News 369-1966 below), is regarded by most observers in Tasmania as the most likely prospect for elevation to first class level after a long appointments drought for the state (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009).  Reiffel, who played Test and One Day International cricket for Australia joined the NUP in 2005 via CA's umpiring Project Panel for former first class players, and was elevated to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel last October after a rapid rise. 


Besides John and Reiffel, the other recipients of this year's NOSP scholarships included seven officials from Australian Rules Football, five from Netball, and one each from Basketball, Football, Rugby Union, Swimming, Tennis and Volleyball.  To kick off their scholarship year all twenty and their nominated mentors are scheduled to attend a three-day ASC professional development workshop on the Gold Coast in Queensland from 20-22 February, and will then go on to take part in individually tailored programs as well as a range of other ASC organised meetings over the next twelve months. 


AUSTRALIA DISALLOWED RUNS 

FOR PITCH TRANSGRESSION

[EN369-1964]


Australia was disallowed two runs during the last over of its innings in the One Day International against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground last night after a batsman from the team inappropriately ran on the pitch for the second time in the innings.  West Indies umpire Steve Bucknor, who had earlier cautioned batsman Callum Ferguson for a pitch transgression, called 'dead ball' after Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken had completed two quick runs during which Johnson failed to get off the pitch. 


Bucknor was acting under the provisions of Law 42.14, which covers what is required of umpires when "either batsman causes avoidable damage to the pitch".  Once the West Indian cautioned Ferguson, he and his Australian colleague Simon Taufel were required under the Law to "inform each incoming batsman" that the 'caution' part of the Law had been invoked.


After the caution, the Law required that Bucknor, when the ball was dead after Johnson's runs made were completed, to disallow them and return the batsmen "to their original ends", although with two runs made the latter was not physically needed.  He would then have issued a final warning to them and if it had applied, to any subsequent batsmen who went to the crease.  


Under the Law the third and any subsequent occurrence requires that the same procedure be adopted, including disallowance of any completed runs, but on those occassions instead of a caution or warning, five penalty runs would have been awarded to the fielding side and a report made to the "governing body" for the match.


The latest edition of Tom Smith's 'Cricket Umpiring and Scoring' says on page 280 that "umpires should make every effort to deter the batting side from [any inappropriate trampling on the pitch and that] a reminder to [batsmen] at the appropriate moment often solves the problem".  To that end some umpires tend to to give batsmen 'friendly' warnings before starting the formal process, however, whether that occurred last night is not known.


REFERRAL SYSTEM FOR 

REFERRALS NEEDED?

[EN369-1965]


Press reports written by both West Indian and English journalists who attended the First Test between the home side and England in Jamaica over the last few days, have queried the third umpire's role in the trial of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  While acknowledging that the system rectified several obviously wrong decisions during the match, a number of reports focused on what one called "the misuse of technology", while another queried whether a "referral system for the referrals" was needed. 


Writing in the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK before England's fifty-one run second innings, journalist Steven James queried the overturning of the initial favourable LBW decision given to bowler Steve Harmison against Ramnaresh Sarwan and asked whether third umpire Daryl Harper of Australia had appropriately followed International Cricket Council (ICC) guidelines for his role.  


According to James, Harmison's ball to Sarwan "might just have passed over the stumps [but] equally it might not" and that "at full speed it looked plumb".  The journalist then went on to point out that the directive from the ICC says that "the on-field umpire will reverse his decision if the nature of the supplementary information received from the TV umpire leads him to conclude with a high degree of confidence that his original decision was incorrect".  


James believes that the information available on television replays was inconclusive and that as such Harper should not have moved to change the on-field decision.  Assuming Harper, who has been umpiring internationally for over fifteen years, saw the same video evidence as James, he did may simply have applied the 'benefit of the doubt' to the batsman, but if so claimed the journalist that did not constitute the "high degree of confidence" required. 


An article in yesterday's 'Jamaice Observer' pointed to a similar problem when a West Indian batsman was dismissed in their sole innings, but this time any doubt that may have existed does not appear to have gone the batsman's way.  


Tailender Daren Powell was given out caught behind off England's Steve Harmison but the 'Observer' states that "the first images on screen convinced all and sundry that decision [to give him out] would be reversed [for] there was a clear gap between bat and ball and the possibility of contact being made to bat was remote".  Despite that "the unthinkable happened" says the 'Observer' as third umpire "Harper apparently supported the initial decision" made out on the ground and Powell left the crease.  


Despite the 'Observer' stating that the on-ground umpire concerned, New Zealander Tony Hill, who stood in the match at short notice (E-News 369-1968 below), had "not been at his best" in the match, "having lost, on [referral], some glaring decisions", it and most other concern in the press about Powell's dismissal centred around Harper.  


Former England captain Mike Atherton said on television that "on the evidence shown to the third umpire, I don't see how you can give that out", while another captain from that country, Nasser Hussain, stated that "the system is only as good as the people that use it".  Former West Indian bowler Michael Holding was, however, more caustic saying that "if the people using the system are not competent, you will get wrong decisions [for] if you put garbage in, you get garbage out".  


England players came in for media criticism for what is being claimed as their lack of understanding of the system or thought as to just how it could be best utilised, a similar criticism to that directed at their Indian counterparts during the initial UDRS trial in Sri Lanka last year.   Despite the problems though, Steven's 'Telegraph' story claimed that "that there had not been a hint of dissent" during the game and that the spotlight [the UDRS] shines might eventually help players to "decide [that] honesty is the best policy".   


JOHN WARD TOPS DOMESTIC 

ONE-DAY APPOINTMENTS

[EN369-1966]


John Ward, one of four Victorian members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP), will top the appointments list for home-and-away matches in this season's domestic one-day competition, if Cricket Australia's (CA) nominations last week for the remaining games in the series are fulfilled over the next fortnight.  CA has given a total of twenty-two umpires from six states roles both on the field of play and in the television suite over the last five months, a figure that is made up of all eleven members of the NUP, ten from the second-level 'emerging' pool, as well as Australian international umpire Simon Taufel. 


Of the NUP members John Ward was on the field for seven games and in the television suite once (7-1), then comes Bruce Oxenford of Queensland 6-1, Simon Fry from South Australia and Ian Lock Western Australia both 5-1, Bob Parry of Victoria 5-0, Mick Martell of WA 4-1, Rod Tucker NSW 4-0, Andrew Craig WA 2-2, Jeff Brookes WA and Tony Ward and Paul Reiffel of Victoria all 2-0.  Taufel was on the field for a single match.  Oxenford, Tucker and Reiffel were not available for a number of matches due to international commitments as Australian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).    


Tasmanian Steven John, who recently received an Australian Sports Commission scholarship (E-News 369-1963 above), led the 'emerging' pool with three matches on the field and two in the television suite (3-2), then comes Gerard Abood NSW and Geoff Joshua of Victoria both 3-1, Andrew Collins from South Australia 1-3, Queensland's Norm McNamara and Tasmania's Brian Muir 1-2 each, Tim Laycock of Queensland and Paul Wilson of WA 1-1, Terry Keel NSW 1-0 and Peter Tate NSW, who did not make it on to the field on play this season, 0-1.  The latter was today named to stand in next weekend's Women's Twenty20 international at the Sydney Cricket Ground (E-News 369-1969 below).    


CA said last week that umpires for the final of the one-day competition scheduled for 13 March will be announced "once the participating teams and venue have been confirmed".


While the process of determining match appointments is often complex and involves consideration of travel-related issues, this season's appointments by CA in the domestic first class (E-News 368-1958, 6 February 2009), one-day and Twenty20 arenas and on the international scene is a guide as to how the selectors broadly rate NUP members, something that is not disclosed in practice but which is believed to control the level of remuneration they receive.  


The first three on the list would have to be Oxenford, Tucker, and Reiffel for CA nominated that trio to the IUP.  Below them data suggests John Ward, Lock, Parry, and Fry form a fairly close central block with Martell, who appears to have had a good first season on the NUP, not far behind.  The last three in terms of basic appointments were Tony Ward, Brookes and Craig.       


NAMING OF WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 

OFFICIALS AWAITED

[EN369-1967]


With just under a month to go before the start of the 2009 women's World Cup (WWC) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory seven of the eight national associations involved have announced their playing squads, but as yet no details are available as to who will work as match referees, umpires or scorers in the two-week long tournament.  Previous WWC series have used officials from the host nation, however, this year's event comes under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the first time and it seems likely that match referees and umpires from many nations will be involved, although scorers are likely to be sourced from the New South Wales area.  


For last February's Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia for example, the ICC appointed top-level ICC match referees Chris Broad (England), Mike Proctor (South Africa) and Javagal Srinath (India), ten umpires from its second-tier International Umpires Panel, and six from the third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel.  Nationalities represented on the official's panel for the series were Australia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, England, Germany, India, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe (E-News 185-999, 29 January 2008)..


Teams from Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies will take part in the WWC from 7-22 March, a tournament that involves a total of twenty-four One Day Internationals.  In addition nine warm up matches are scheduled over the three days from 2-4 March, but whether they will be managed by locals from Australia or by those named by the ICC is not clear at this stage.  Seven of the two dozen tournament matches, including the final, will be televised live to many countries around the world.


'SHORT JAUNT' FOR HILL 

TO STAND IN TEST

[EN369-1968]


New Zealand international umpire Tony Hill only had a 'short jaunt' to reach Jamaica in time for the First Test between the West Indies and England in place of Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva as fortunately he was in Argentina for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 tournament and not at home when the call came (E-News 368-1959, 6 February 2009).  


Hill was one of seven umpires drawn from a large geographic area who officiated in the ICC's week-long Division 3 tournament that was played in Buenos Aries and ended on 30 January, four days before the Test began in Jamaica (E-News 369-1965 above).


The Kiwi and England's Peter Harley, who are both members in their respective countries of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, stood in five matches in Argentina, while Karren Bayney and Ashook Brijcoomer (Canada), Hubert Smythe and Courtney Young (Cayman Islands) and Steven Douglas (Bermuda) were each on the field for four games and were named as a reserve umpire once.  Argentinian umpires David and Malcolm Gibson worked as the reserve umpires for five games but did not get on to the field of play, while David Jukes of England was the tournament match referee.


Six teams took part in the Division 3 series, the matches being played at three grounds in the Buenos Aires area. Nations represented were:  Afghanistan, Argentina, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, the first and last sides named finishing first and second respectively.  As such they thus earned a place in the ICC's qualifying tournament for second-tier nations who will participate in the 2011 World Cup.  That series is to be held in South Africa from 1-19 April and an international range of umpires are expected to be involved.


UMPIRES NAMED FOR WOMEN'S 

TWENTY20 INTERNATIONAL

[EN369-1969]


Two members of the New South Wales State Umpires Panel (SUP), Peter Tate and Michael Kumutat, have been named by Cricket Australia (CA) for the Women's Twenty20 international 'curtain raiser' between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground next Sunday.  Kumutat is in Hobart this week officiating in the Cricket Australia Cup Second XI match between Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (E-News 367-1953, 5 February 2009).


That game will be followed by the match between the men's sides from both nations, Australian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires panel Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel being on the field and their colleague Rod Tucker in the third umpire's chair.  NSW SUP member Gerard Abood is the fourth official. 



E-NEWS NUMBER 370 

THURSDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2009


FUND RAISER FOR BUSH FIRE 

VICTIMS SET FOR SUNDAY

[EN370-1970]


The Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) is to conduct a fund raiser for the victims of the Victorian bushfires this Sunday at the NTCA Ground in Launceston.  Those attending will be able to watch the Statewide Twenty20 semi final match between Launceston and Ulverstone at 2 p.m., as well as a Twenty20 curtain raiser between sides representing 'City' and 'Country' that is to get underway at 11 a.m.


Entry to the ground will be via a donation, there will be a "major" raffle and the bar and a barbeque will operate all day, all proceeds going to the Red Cross' bushfire appeal.  Queries about the games or anyone wishing to make a donation should contact Paul Clark at the NTCA on 03-6331-4593 or via e-mail at PClark@tascricket.com.au


ECB CHIEF PUSHES 'STANFORD' 

REFERRAL SYSTEM

[EN370-1971]


England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Giles Clarke wants the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) currently being trialled by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be scrapped, according to news reports.  Clarke is said to be concerned that the current trial where players appeal against the umpire's decision "undermines the authority of on-field officials", and believes that the system used in last year's Stanford Twenty20 series in which the third umpire intervened on his own initiative in case of doubt, should be trialled at international level.


The ECB Chairman, who was described as 'anxious' that the current UDRS approach not be used for the Ashes series later this year, was yesterday quoted by a number of media outlets as saying that he "saw nothing in the First Test [between England and West Indies] to indicate we should not trial the Stanford system".  "It is too late to change the trial system during [the current Caribbean] series but we would like to see the Stanford system tried" before the ICC makes a final decision on the permanent introduction of the UDRS.


According to reports Giles, who was re-elected for a second successive term as ECB Chairman this week, stated that he had mentioned the benefits of the Stanford approach to the ICC and that the ECB plans to formally propose at an ICC meeting next month that it be examined in trials sometime in the future.  He reportedly said that "the players would rather have the umpires deliberate among themselves than challenge them" as at present.


Around the same time that Giles was making his comments, former West Indian bowler Courtney Walsh, a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee, came out in support of the current system saying that "it's good because it gives the spectators an insight, it keeps the officials on their toes and there is a chance to correct a mistake before it’s too late".  "If the umpires are happy with it, the players are happy with it and the spectators seem to be happy with it", it should continue to be used in its current format, said Walsh.  Reports earlier this week indicate that there are, however, still concerns in some quarters about how the system is being used (E-News 369-1965, 9 February 2009). 


The fourth and final trial of the current system is scheduled for the three Test series between South Africa and Australian which begins two weeks from today.  Umpires for those matches are yet to be named by the ICC (E-News 367-1954, 5 February 2009).


ICL LOOKING TO RECRUIT ENGLISH 

UMPIRES, SAYS REPORT

[EN370-1972]


Reports from the sub-continent yesterday suggest that the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL) is in the process of "bringing in two more English umpires" for its next series later this year.  Prior to the abandonment of the ICL's last series in November because of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there were indications that two Englishmen, an Australian and a Sri Lankan were to be offered long-term contracts with the 'rebel' league, however, the latest report suggests that several others who were hired last year are to be overlooked. 


Himanshu Mody, the ICL's head of business, says that his organisation "are still looking at England as a recruiting ground for umpires", however, access to members of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) first class list has now been cut off after the Board signed up its senior officials to year-round contracts; a move made specifically to counter ICL recruitment.


According to Allan Jones, who retired early from the ECB list last year and joined the ICL for its last series and is now said to have a ICL contract until 2010, the ECB's "current policy and attitude towards the ICL is wrong".  "The ECB don't want the ICL because it clashes with the ICC-sanctioned Indian Premier League [and because they are also] worried about security and betting", said Jones.  He says that "we had a small incident but the security is actually very good, the cricket and crowds are fantastic, the TV referrals system works brilliantly [and that its] the most fun I've had standing up".


While details have not been spelt out publicity, reports hint that along with Jones and his countryman David Brandon, David Orchard from Australia and Ranmore Martinescz from Sri Lanka may have also received contracts to 2010 from the ICL.  There arrears to be no room, however, for Keith Smith from Ireland or Shakeel Khan of Pakistan who both stood with the ICL last year, nor the Indian umpires who also took part.


RIAZUDDIN REMOVED 

FROM ICC PANEL

[EN370-1973]


Pakistan umpire Riazuddin has been replaced as his nation's third official on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) by former first class player Ashan Raza who is sixteen years his junior.  During his tenure on the international scene Riazuddin stood in twelve Tests and twelve One Day Internationals (ODI), although the last time he was on the field in either of those forms of the game was in 2002.


Riazuddin, who at fifty has 217 first class matches to his credit, the latest finishing only yesterday, ran foul of the Pakistan Cricket Board eighteen months ago for making what was said to be "unsavoury comments" about Board officials during the nation's unofficial Test between the 'A' sides from Pakistan and Australia in Faisalabad in September 2007 and was suspended for a short period (E-News 133-729, 14 November 2007).  


Raza, thirty-four, played twenty-one first class games in Pakistan over a seven-year period that ended in 2000.  His name first appears as an umpire in representative games in 2004 and he made his debut at first class level in November 2006, since going on to stand in thirty-four matches at that level.  Last month he was the third umpire in two of the three ODIs played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, his first at international level.


Zameer Haider and Nadeem Ghauri remain as Pakistan's on-field umpires on the IUP.  Ghauri stood in the first ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka with England's Nigel Llong last month, before the latter was joined on the field by Pakistani ICC Elite Umpires Panel member Asad Rauf for games two and three.  Ghauri was in the television suite for the third ODI.


The match referee and umpires for the two Tests between the sides scheduled Karachi and Lahore over the next month, the first of which is due to start on Saturday week, have yet to be named by the ICC.


NEL'S APPEAL AGAINST 

THREE-MATCH BAN DISMISSED

[EN370-1974]


A South African court has dismissed the appeal by fast bowler Andre Nel against a three-match ban handed to him by Cricket South Africa (CSA) late last month.  Judge Mervyn King ruled that the sentence was “a reasonable one” and therefore Nel will remain ineligible for selection for the next three matches that are to be played by his side the Highveld Lions.


Nel had been reported by umpires umpires Marais Erasmus and Johan Cloete during a four-day match in Paarl early last month and was found guilty of breaching CSA’s rules of conduct that state that players “shall not use crude or abusive language nor make offensive gestures to any other participant, official or spectator”.  


Nel appeared before CSA’s disciplinary commissioner, Advocate Michael Kuper, SC, in Johannesburg, late last month and he handed down the original three-match sentence. 


SLOW OVER-RATE FINE 

FOR SRI LANKA

[EN370-1975]


The Sri Lankan team was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the Twenty20 International it played against India in Colombo on Tuesday.  Match referee Chris Broad from England imposed the fines after Tillakaratne Dilshan’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. 


In accordance with the International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  As such, Dilshan was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while his players received ten-per-cent fines. 



E-NEWS NUMBER 371

FRIDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2009


DATES OF WINTER LAWS, 

SCORERS' SCHOOLS SET

[EN371-1976]


Dates have been set for the TCUSA’s 2009 Winter Laws and Scorers Schools, the program following an almost identical pattern to that of the last two years, the 'Premiership' and adjacent rooms at Bellerive Oval being the venue for all the meetings involved.  


Each of the Laws will be discussed over a total of six meetings that will be held each Wednesday evening commencing 24 June, after which the Laws of Cricket exam is to be held on 5 August.  The Scorers' School, which will run for five evenings, will start on 1 July, one week later than the Laws discussions, and conclude on 29 July.  


A full list of meeting dates and times for the schools and the Annual Seminar, which is set for the weekend of 3-4 October, are provided in the ‘Schedule of Activities’ section of this newsletter below and on the Association's web site. 

TEAM MANAGEMENT TO BLAME FOR 

'OVAL TEST FIASCO', SAYS BUTT 

[EN371-1977]


Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ejaz Butt is said to have stated yesterday that his nation's then team management had "not handled the [2006] Oval Test fiasco properly" and it was that that led to the match being forfeited in favour of England, says a report from Karachi published in today's 'Hindustan Times'.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) changed the result of the Test this month after declaring it a draw last year (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009.


Umpires Darrel Hair from Australia and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies declared the Test forfeited after Pakistan refused to take field after tea on the fourth day of the match, protesting against a five-run penalty on charges of ball tampering.  It was only after much persuasion by the then PCB chief Shaharyar Khan that Pakistan players returned to playing arena out, but by that time the umpires had already made up their mind.


Butt is said to be of the view that the then PCB's team management group had acted in haste in deciding not to come out to play and that team manager Zaheer Abbas should have lodged a formal protest with match referee Mike Proctor from South Africa, who according to Butt "was authorised to take a final decision on the incident under the laws".  However, while it is the case now that such a decision lies with the match referee at international level, at the time the decision formally lay with the umpires, the ICC not changing its requirements until six months later (E-News 12-062, 7 March 2007.


"We were in a winning position and could have won if we had not acted hastily no matter what the circumstances were at that time [and we therefore] should have followed the rules", said Butt.


Following the ICC's backflip earlier this month umpire Hair, who is now retired from international cricket, accused senior officials at the world body of trying to destroy his life in the wake of the Oval Test at the Oval.  As the same time Pakistan's captain in the match Inzamam-ul Haq, criticised the ICC and the PCB for what he called their "weakness" in once again changing the result of the Test (E-News 366-1947, 4 February 2009).  


ICL POSTPONES NEXT SERIES, 

UMPIRE'S 'NEST EGG' IN DOUBT?

[EN371-1978]


The survival of the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL) has been thrown into doubt by the postponement of its next tournament scheduled for March. News of the cancellation comes the day after ICL organisers said they had identified English County cricket as their chief recruiting ground for umpires and suggested that they had lined up two more senior officials to join a series that now may not take place (E-News 370-1972, 12 February 2009).


Yesterday's 'Guardian' newspaper in the UK says that former Australian batsman Dean Jones, who is an ICL board member, revealed that the tournament was off saying that "the financial crisis played a part", however, he "is very confident" that it will be played later in the year.  


The 'Guardian' says that "mounting uncertainty about the ICL's future will be met with delight by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which has had to fight off approaches for both its players and its umpires" and has responded by introducing twelve-month umpiring contracts and increasing annual salaries to between $A70,000 and $A100,000 a year.


According to the 'Guardian' story, "collapse of the ICL would privately disappoint England's umpiring fraternity, which [regards] it not just as a potential retirement nest egg, but for its ability to draw a financial settlement from the ECB that is unparalleled in County history".  Journalist David Hopps says that "if you wanted to know the best cheap digs in town, it was always advisable [in the past] to ask an umpire".

Hopps quotes one "senior umpire", who he does not name, as saying that "it's more than my job is worth to say this openly, but dissent in County cricket has hit an all-time low [and that] it's worse than in Test cricket". 


"When the TV cameras are there, no player likes to be caught cheating, but we often umpire without cameras and have to deal with players chasing money they are not used to", runs the quote.  "It wouldn't be surprising if an umpire or two gambled on the fact that the ICL would be around for a few years yet and decided to opt for an easy life", concluded the unnamed official.


HARMISON QUERIES THIRD 

UMPIRE'S UDRS ROLE

[EN371-1979]


England fast bowler Steve Harmison wrote in his column in the 'Mail on Sunday' in the UK last weekend that in his view the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) still lacks consistency and clarity and fears it will only make a "mockery" of the on-field umpires. Harmison's remarks were centred on a review that overturned an LBW decision given to him by the on-field umpire during the First Test against West Indies in Jamaica late last week (E-News 369-1965, 9 February 2009).


Harmison and the on-field umpire concerned, Tony Hill from New Zealand, felt Sarwan was trapped in front of the stumps, however, the batsman challenged Hill's verdict and on review television umpire Daryl Harper from Australia, gave it 'not out' as he apparently felt that the ball could have missed the top of the stumps.  Sarwan, who at the time was on five, went on to score 107 in what was a key 202-run stand.


"When I trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan back in the crease, I was convinced he was out”, Harmison wrote, and "so was Hill which was why he stuck up his finger".  According to Harmison, "when Hill, after consulting Daryl Harper, then reversed his original decision and gave Sarwan not out, I asked him why".

The New Zealander is said to have replied "something like 'Daryl said he couldn't be sure but [the ball] may have been going over the top' ".  The bowler then says that he said to Hill that "that's not right. [for the third umpire has] got to have seen something that proved you were wrong", and Harmison writes that Hill is said to have replied  "Yeah, I thought so as well".


Harmison says that in his view that incident suggests that "there doesn't seem to be any consistency or clarity" in the decision-making process involved, and that as a result "umpires are in danger of being isolated on the field and terrified to make a decision".  As such he says that "such is my continuing confusion, that I fear the new system is in danger of making a mockery of the time-honoured authority of the officials on the field".


Meanwhile, Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh told 'The Hindu' newspaper yesterday that the UDRS is good for the game and that it should be used in One Day Internationals.


LEADBEATER 'SCEPTICAL' 

ABOUT ICC'S UDRS AIMS

[EN371-1980]


Barrie Leadbeater, who retired from the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) full umpires list last year after officiating in 459 first class matches (E-News 314-1640, 18 September 2008), says while he has "no particular problem [with the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS)] if it helps the umpires in the middle", he is "fearful that it will go a little bit too far and that if we use technology exclusively we’ll eventually do away with umpires".  Leadbeater was speaking to journalist Benj Morrehead in an interview he gave to 'The Wisden Cricketer' (TWC) earlier this week.


Leadbeater, who played 147 first-class matches for Yorkshire and was a first-class umpire for twenty-eight seasons, was the television umpire for the first match played in the ECB's 2007 County-level referral system trial, a program that he believes that "we were experimenting with for the benefit of International Cricket Council (ICC)". 

He says that the brief given to him and his ECB umpiring colleagues at that time was that decisions made on the field of play could only be overruled if a "clear and obvious error" was involved.  The Press "were a little unkind" at the time he says because they didn't quite "understand how it was being used", and were saying that the "third umpire was sticking up for his mates in the middle by not overruling their decisions, which was a little unfair" (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007).


Asked what the players thought of it at the time, Moorehead quotes Leadbeater as saying that they "weren’t entirely sure how it worked and they were also not happy with having to query the umpire’s decision".  According to him "they were so used to accepting the umpire’s decision without question and being happy that ninety-nine per cent of the time they would be right [that] they were very reluctant to query it".  "That was the general feeling from the first class boys", he says.


Leadbeater said that he is "sceptical as to exactly what [the ICC] want from the system" and that he hopes it is "not going to take away the benefit of the doubt" philosophy.  Concerns were expressed about that issue following the First Test between the West Indies and England this week in what is the ICC's third trial of its referral system (E-News 371-1979 above), and ECB Chairman Giles Clarke wants to limit the ability to refer decisions to the umpiring group during a match (E-News 370-1971, 12 February 2009).   


"Cricket is unique", says Leadbeater, for "it’s the only sport where you have to appeal [and] to take away the benefit of the doubt wouldn’t do the game any good at all [for] it’s been there since day one [and] is an integral part of the game".  "Generations have always accepted that, and there have been no problems with that whatsoever", runs the quote attributed to him.   


The now ECB umpire's coach said that he has "no particular problem [with the referral system] if it helps the umpires in the middle to get decisions right".  He stressed though that "it puts enormous pressure on the umpire having given it out and then [having a] decision then being overturned".   "But at the end of the day, the right decision has been given" and he, as well as some of his umpiring colleagues are "far happier to be proved wrong rather than go through the game knowing they’d cocked up".


Asked if he will miss umpiring Leadbeater says that it depends on the weather.  His first game of the 2008 season was a four-day match at Edgbaston and the wind chill factor was minus four degrees Centigrade, and he told TWC that he "won’t miss that at all".


DE SILVA MAKES IT FOR SECOND 

WINDIES-ENGLAND TEST

[EN371-1981]


Press reports from Antigua say that International Cricket Council Elite Umpires Panel member Asoka de Silva from Sri Lanka is in the West Indies and will stand with Australian Daryl Harper in the Second Test between the home side and England which is scheduled to get underway in the early hours of tomorrow morning Australian time.  

de Silva had to be replaced by New Zealander Tony Hill for the First Test in Jamaica last week due to what were said to be 'visa problems' (E-News 368-1959, 6 January 2009).  South African Rudi Koertzen will be in the television suite for the game while Alan Hurst of Australia is the match referee.


WINDIES LOOSE TWO FORMER 

INTERNATIONAL UMPIRES

[EN371-1982]


Guyanese umpire Compton Vyphuis, who stood in the first ever One Day International (ODI) played in the West Indies thirty-two years ago, died late last month aged seventy-five.  His death followed that of another West Indian international umpire, Stanton Parris, in Barbados a few weeks earlier.


Vyphuis stood in the first of his six Test matches in March 1974 when the West Indies played England at Bourda, and his last was in Trinidad in 1978 when Australia were the visitors.  A veteran cricket official, he stood in the inaugural ODI in the West Indies when the home team played Pakistan in Berbice in March 1977, and had a further match in that form of the game four years later.  Vyphuis, who stood in a total of thirty-eight first class matches from  1971-986, was a senior member of the Guyana Cricket Umpires Council’s (GCUC) training committee and President of the Georgetown Cricket Umpires Council.


Parris, who was seventy-eight, stood in a total of thirty-nine first class matches from 1972-90, five of them Tests involving the home side, Australia, England and India.  He stood in a single ODI in 1983.


HOBART WEATHER 'FINE AND BEAUT' 

FOR COMING WEEKEND

[EN371-1983 ]


Current Bureau of Metoeorology forecasts for the Hobart area this weekend are suggest that conditions will be ideal for the final day of the two-day matches that commenced last week.  The outlook for Saturday-Sunday issued by the Bureau this morning says that both days will see 'fine' weather with a maximum temperature of twenty-two degrees Celsius on Saturday and nineteen on Sunday.


TCUSA umpires and scorers taking part in games this weekend can keep a close eye on the weather forecast for the weekend this evening and again on the mornings of their matches by going to the 'yellow box' at the top right of the Association's web site.



E-NEWS NUMBER 372

SATURDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2009


TEST ABANDONED, RAPID GROUND 

SWITCH PLANNED  

[EN372-1984]


The Second Test between the West Indies and England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua was abandoned shortly after it got underway overnight Australian time when the sand-based outfield was deemed a safety risk to the bowlers.  What will now be the Third Test of the series will now played at the nearby Antigua Recreation Ground in St Johns and start on Sunday, a result that means the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) trial will not be used until what will now be the Fourth Test in Barbados.


On-field umpires Tony Hill of New Zealand, who despite earlier press reports has again replaced Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva (E-News 371-1981, 13 February 2009), and his colleague Daryl Harper of Australia, called match referee Alan Hurst of Australia into the middle of the ground in Antigua after just ten deliveries after the West Indies bowlers struggling to maintain their footing in their run-ups.  Reports indicate that the ground's heavily-sanded outfield "had caused plenty of controversy in the build-up to the match, but both captains had agreed to play".


Hurst is said to have dismissed suggestions that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should have done more to address the issue before the match got under way. The surface at the ground was re-laid last autumn and the grass has not grown back sufficiently since, which led to huge volumes of sand being spread on to the outfield. "It would have been jumping the gun to say it was unfit before the start of play" runs a quote attributed to him, "but we have to look at the health and safety of the players".


Sir Vivian Richards was quoted as saying that the situation "is not a shot in the foot for West Indies cricket, this is an arrow right through the heart".  "This is a huge pill to swallow", said Richards, for "I know there are a lot of folks around these parts who love their cricket".  Former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham said the situation is "shambolic", and "why the players agreed to play here is beyond me".  BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew said it was clear the day before the match started there were serious problems, and that "someone has been negligent".


In keeping with the precedent of the abandoned Test match at Sabina Park in Jamaica in 1998, Sunday’s match will become the Third Test of what will now be a five-Test series with the records for the abandoned Test, even though it was only ten balls long, remaining.


Given the short period of time between now and Sunday the ICC has decided that the UDRS trial will not operate during the Third Test.   That decision was said to have been taken because the host television broadcaster "has a great deal of work to do to de-rig its equipment at one venue and rig [its cameras and other equipment at the other], and that asking it to at the same time to ensure the system is ready to go would risk the integrity of the trial".


The ICC's 'Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process' will now be used to access the future of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.  The first stage of the process will involve Hurst submitting a report to the ICC concerning the quality of the playing surface.  After that the ICC will forward Hurst's report to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and ask for a written report of its own on the condition of the surface including any extenuating circumstances that may have existed.  


The WICB's report will then be submitted to David Richardson, the ICC’s General Manager Cricket, and its chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who will consider all the evidence, including studying video footage, before passing judgment.  The ICC has the power to impose a sanction ranging from a warning or a fine up to a suspension of international status for the venue.


PCB TO 'INVESTIGATE' OVAL 

TEST CONTROVERSY

[EN372-1985]


The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday appointed a committee to investigate "the controversy" behind the August 2006 'ball tampering' Test at the Oval against England, a game whose result has twice been changed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Announcement of the move came the day after PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt said that his nation's then team management had "not handled the [2006] Oval Test fiasco properly" and was to blame for the "fiasco" that resulted (E-News 371-1977, 13 February 2009)


The match was originally awarded to England when umpires Billy Doctrove of the West Indies and Darrell Hair of Australia ruled that Pakistan had forfeited the match after Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq refused to take the field following accusations of ball tampering.  Pressure from the PCB saw the ICC change the result of the match from an England win to a draw by "match abandoned" last July, however, earlier this month pressure from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) saw the original result reinstated (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009).


Salim Altaf, the PCB's chief operating officer, is being quoted by a range of media outlets overnight as saying that a three-man committee headed by former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail has been established to look into the matter, his colleagues being Wasim Bari and Sultan Rana.  Sohali is presently working as director of Pakistan's National Cricket Academy, Bari is the PCB's Human Resources director, and Rana its domestic cricket director.


Sohali told The Associated Press yesterday that "there's a hue and cry everywhere [about that Test] and we will look into this before submitting our findings to the PCB".  No announcement appears to have been made as to just when the committee's report is expected to be forwarded to the PCB for consideration.



E-NEWS NUMBER 373

MONDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2009


HARPER SETS NEW AUSTRALIAN 

TEST RECORD

[EN373-1986]


Australian umpire Daryl Harper took the mantle of the nation's most experienced Test official overnight when he walked on to the field for the Third Test between the West Indies and England at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St Johns (E-News 373-1987 below).  Harper, who drew level with the now-retired Darrell Hair with the ten-ball abandoned Test between the two sides last Friday (E-News 372-1984, 14 February 2009), is currently standing in his seventy-ninth Test with number eighty scheduled for early next month (E-News 364-1939, 30 January 2009).


Since his debut at Test level in November 1998, Harper has stood in seven Tests in Australia, the last being at the Sydney Cricket Ground seven years ago, twelve in South Africa, eleven in England, ten each in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, nine in the West Indies, six in both Bangladesh and India, five in Pakistan and three in Zimbabwe.  He has thus officiated in every country that has ever played Test cricket.  


The Tests he has been on the field for have been played on a total of forty-five grounds, with Centurion in South Africa, Galle and Kandy in Sri Lanka, and Lord's in London being his most visited with four matches at each.  In Australia he has stood at his home ground the Adelaide Oval, as well as in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, only once in a Test, while three matches have been at the Gabba in Brisbane.  From 1994 to 2002 one umpire in Tests was appointed by the home nation, the other coming from a non-participating one, however, since 2002 the International Cricket Council has appointed two 'neutral' umpires to Tests, hence Harper's Test ‘drought’ at home.


Harper, who is fifty-seven, made his debut at first class level during the 1987-88 season and was appointed to the National Umpires Panel in Australia in 1993, working for eleven years at four-day domestic level before being selected for his first Test.  The current Test in Antigua is Harper's 149th first class match on the field of play, and the Fifth Test of the series between the West Indies and England in Trinidad next month will be his 150th. 


South Australian born Harper also holds the Australian record for umpiring One Day Internationals, the game between Australia and South Africa at the Adelaide Oval last month being number 158 in a career in that form of the game that commenced in January 1994.


ICC SHUFFLES UMPIRES FOR 

'SECOND' ANTIGUA TEST

[EN373-1987]


The unavailability of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the hastily arranged Third Test between the West Indies and England (E-News 371-1984, 14 February 2008), has led the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reshuffle its umpiring appointments in Antigua.  Last Friday's abandoned Second Test saw Daryl Harper of Australia and Tony Hill of New Zealand on the field with South African Rudi Koertzen in the television suite, but Koertzen is now standing with Harper in the Third Test and Hill has headed for home.


The ICC says that with the UDRS not operational, a member of its top-level Elite Umpires Panel "is not required in the third umpire’s box" therefore Koetzen was moved to an on-field slot.  The third umpire's position in the current Test is being occupied by Norman Malcolm, a West Indies member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, who will "adjudicate on line decisions referred to him by the on-field umpires".  The game will be his fourth as the television official in a Test.   Australian Alan Hurst is match referee for the game, his twenty-fifth in that role, while the fourth official is another IUP member, Antiguan Clancy Mack.


Koetzen's appointment takes his on-field Test record to ninety-nine games, a South African record. 

'INTERNATIONAL UMPIRE' FOR 

PCB OVAL TEST INVESTIGATION?

[EN373-1988]


Tauqir Zia, a former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has been appointed as a 'special advisor' to the three-man panel that is examining "the controversy" behind the August 2006 'ball tampering' Test at the Oval (E-News 372-1985, 14 February 2009), and the group may "be [further] expanded to include an "international umpire as well", say press reports from Lahore over the weekend.


According to a number of sub-continental media outlets, the decision to set up the panel "follows criticism of the present administration [at the PCB] over its ‘perceived’ failure to prevent the result [of the Oval Test] from being overturned again at a recent International Cricket Council meeting in Perth (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009).  PCB members are said to "privately acknowledge that the issue is now ‘dead and buried’ and another committee will not change that", however, criticism at home since the Perth decision "has led Pakistan's Sports ministry to suggest that [the PCB] take some kind of action or at least be seen to be taking some action". 


Committee head Aamir Sohail is said to be hoping to meet former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, former PCB chief Shaharyar Mohammad Khan and former team manager Zaheer Abbas as part of the investigation.  Whether Inzamam, who strongly disagrees with the latest change to the Oval Test result, will be willing to meet with the panel is not clear at this stage.


No timeframe has been set for the panel to table its findings with the PCB.


TEAM'S SUCCESS ATTRIBUTED 

TO ‘DEAL’ WITH UMPIRES

[EN373-1989]


Pakistan's 'Daily Times' newspaper claimed on Friday that the current success of the Sialkot region’s team in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the nation's first class competition, is attributal to a "mutual understanding with the umpires for letting the team’s bowlers throw and batsmen take many turns at the crease" during matches.  Quoting unnamed sources the 'Times' says that "such malpractice is severely damaging Pakistan’s domestic cricket yet the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is doing nothing to rectify the issue". 


According to an article by a 'Times' "staff reporter", sources "alleged that Sialkot Region president Naeem Gulzar was the person responsible for ‘the agreement’ with the umpires". “It is no wonder that with bowlers throwing and tampering with the ball, alongside batsmen scoring runs through multiple chances, the regional team is winning", claims the report. 


During the match played in Okara in late January, which Sialkot won outright by 239 runs, the Multan Region’s team is said to have "filed verbal and written complaints with the match referee [Khalid Niazi] against this very issue but to no avail".  Multan was bowled out for 100 in its second innings of that game chasing a target of 240, three batsmen being LBW, three bowled and four caught, a performance that wouldn't be the first to see the umpires involved blamed by players for such a result.   


The 'Times' article states that the problems it claims exist are "detrimental for [cricket in Pakistan] and is one of the reasons why there are hardly any upcoming players for [the country] to rely on".  Spectators have also "demanded [that] the PCB expose the discrepancies in Naeem Gulzar’s selection criterion for the region’s team and that the process should not be solely in one person’s control", concludes the article.


The PCB is yet to comment publicly on the newspaper's claims.



E-NEWS NUMBER 374

 WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2009


PITCH DEEMED 'UNSAFE', ADJACENT STRIP 

USED FOR 'NEW' GAME 

[EN374-1990]


Play in a fifty over domestic one-day match between Mumbai and Gujarat was halted after six overs on Monday after the pitch was declared "dangerous", however, the decision was later taken to restart the game from scratch on an adjacent batting strip at the same ground.  A 'Times of India' (TOI) report yesterday says that the shift "was a unanimous decision taken by the match referee, umpires, captains and chief curator" of the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot, the game being reduced to a forty-one over affair as over an hour of the day was lost before play could start for the second time.

Gujarat batted after the initial toss of the day and the TOI report says that "deliveries started flying all over the place", with balls bouncing "dangerously" from a good length, until after 6.5 overs Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel "took his concerns" to umpires Vinayak Kulkarni and Mukund Mandale.  After an inspection of the pitch by Kulkarni, Mandale and match referee Prakash Bhatt, a former first class player, and discussions with both captains, the decision was taken to start the game for the second time that day one pitch over. 


The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) West Zone curator Dhiraj Parsana said that during preparation of the original pitch there was "a loose patch of soil" on it, but "we could not make [it] out during rolling [prior to play] on the morning of the match".  The TOI story says that there are "indications that the Gujarat Cricket Association may take strong objection to the incident, an unnamed official being quoted as asking "what would have happened if a big player [had been] injured?" 


The official is said to have concluded that "the whole world is taking the Antigua incident [when the Test between the West Indies and England was abandoned because of ground conditions] so seriously (E-News 372-1984, 14 February 2009), but claimed that the BCCI "will do nothing" about the pitch problem in Rajkot.


The alternate strip appears to have played satisfactorily with 447 runs scored and fifteen wickets lost in a total of 81.2 overs.


NZC APPEAL LEADS TO DOUBLING 

OF PLAYER SUSPENSION 

[EN374-1991]


New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has stepped in and doubled the suspension given to a player in the Taranaki Cricket Association (TCA) for unruly behaviour during a match last month, says a story published in this morning's 'Taranaki Daily News'.  The TCA suspended Stephen Hughes of Hawera United for two day's play after finding him guilty of abusive language and pushing an opposition player during a senior-grade match last month, but NZC appealed the local association's findings.


Journalist Tony Bird writes that on learning of the match incident, NZC requested a copy of the TCA code of conduct and the findings determined by TCA district commissioner Roger Mori.  NZC chief district commissioner Nick Davidson, QC, upheld the NZC appeal and yesterday imposed a ban on Hughes playing until mid-March.  


Davidson also dismissed a charge against a player from opposition side Ratapiko, saying that the unnamed person had no case to answer. TCA Chairman Neil Sulzberger said that person had taken "some action against Hughes [but] was found to be acting in self-defence", but he would not name the person concerned, saying it was against TCA policy to discuss issues surrounding any person found not guilty”.


Hughes is said to have told the 'Daily News' yesterday that he regretted his on-field actions, saying that he had "lost the plot" and was frustrated after an appeal for leg before wicket was not given by a Ratapiko player-umpire.  "As soon as it happened I knew I had overstepped the mark", said Hughes, and "I'll take my punishment and just have to live with it”.


Hughes said he would continue to play cricket after serving his suspension and if his Hawera United team made the playoffs for the senior grade two-day competition he would be available to play in that match.


COACH REPORTED 'DISAPPOINTED' 

AT BOWLER REFERRAL

[EN374-1992]


New South Wales coach Matthew Mott is said to be "disappointed" that the umpires who cited his fast bowler Aaron Bird for "displaying a doubtful bowling action" this season did not seem to have been aware that he has been officially cleared of suspected bowling breaches in the past, says a report published in 'The Age' in Melbourne yesterday.  Bird was reported, but not called, for a suspect bowling action two summers ago before being cleared after tests prior to the start of last season (E-News 101-553, 19 September 2007).


After it received 'reports' from umpires in three separate games this season about Bird's action in "some of his deliveries", notably his quicker ball which is said to be up to twenty kilometres per hour faster, Cricket Australia (CA) again referred him to the Australian Institute of Sport's biomechanics laboratory in Canberra for tests (E-News 366-1949, 4 February 2009).  That evaluation is said to have been undertaken last week and 'The Age' indicated that the results are expected to be released by CA by the end of the month.


Mott said that "we know [Bird's] got an unusual action", but "we've gone through [the testing regime] four times before with Aaron and he's passed with flying colours every time".  "Hopefully after the results [again] come through positive", continued the NSW coach, "everyone [will be able to] see" that Bird's action meets the current requirements of the Laws of Cricket.  

UDRS LIKELY IN ALL FORMS OF 

THE GAME, SAYS ICC CEO 

[EN374-1993]


Haroon Lorgat, the International Cricket Council's Chief Executive Officer, is said to have told media representatives in Mumbai this week that there were what were described as strong indications that the Umpires Decision Referral System (UDRS) could be implemented in all three forms of the game on regular basis.  ``I am a big supporter of the referral system because if you have the technology, you must use it to get better results [and] it makes the job of the umpires easier", runs the quote attributed to Lorgat by news outlets in India yesterday.


Lorgat is also said to have expressed his concern over the abandonment of the Second Test between West Indies and England in Antigua last Friday (E-News 372-1984, 14 February 2009), and that the result came as a blow to the governing body`s aim of preserving Test cricket.  ``We certainly did not anticipate what happened at Antigua, however, we are happy that the authorities worked overtime to arrange another venue in a space of a couple of days, which was excellent", he added.


ECB UMPIRE ON WINDIES 

EXCHANGE 

[EN374-1994]


Former first class player Richard Kettleborough, who since 2006 has been a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) full umpires list, is currently standing in first class matches in the West Indies, as part of an exchange program between the ECB and Windies Boards that was announced late last year (E-News 344-1822, 6 November 2008).  


Kettleborough stood in a game between the Windward and Leeward Islands teams in Gros Islet earlier this month and this week in Jamaica when the home side took on Guyana, however, how long he will be in the Caribbean is not known. 


TV 'PERSONALITIES' TO UMPIRE 

BUSHFIRE APPEAL MATCH

[EN374-1995]


Two former television talk show hosts, one from Australia and the other from England, are to stand as umpires in next Sunday's Twenty20 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, an event that hopes to raise $A500,000 for the Victorian Bushfires Appeal.  


Local Andrew Denton and Yorkshireman Sir Michael Parkinson are to manage a game that is to feature past and present Australian men and women players, notables from both rugby league and Australian Rules football codes, a federal politician who was a former singer and a number of "entertainers". 


KENYAN UMPIRES BOYCOTT 

DOMESTIC T20 SERIES OVER PAY

[EN374-1996]


A dispute over payments has led umpiring members of the Kenya Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (KCUSA] to boycott that nation's premier club Twenty20 tournament.  The Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) Twenty league started last month, however, to date club officials have had to officiate in the matches, says a report posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday.


NPCA Chairman John Moyi acknowledged that "umpires are important", but his Association's "hands are tied" for they "only receive [the equivalent of $A3,130] in subscription fees from the thirty-two clubs [involved in the tournament] and yet umpires payments [for the series] total [$A7,800]".  Moyi told Cricinfo that "we failed to reach agreement and [the KCUSA] decided to boycott the matches.


KCUSA chairman Ibrahim Hussein is said to have stated that "a lack of contact [by the NPCA] regarding changes in the format of the competition" was also a matter of concern.


WEATHER OUTLOOK 'FINE' 

FOR WEEKEND AHEAD

[EN374-1997]


Current weather forecasts for Hobart are indicating that a morning shower can be expected in Hobart on Friday, but conditions for the start of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's second-last home-and-away matches of the season this weekend should be 'fine' with light winds and maximum temperatures in the low twenties Celsius.


TCUSA umpires and scorers taking part in games this weekend can keep a close eye on the weather forecast for the weekend over the next few days and again on the mornings of their matches by going to the 'yellow box' at the top right of the Association's web site.


E-NEWS NUMBER 375 

THURSDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2009


ONE-DAY DOMESTIC FINAL 

OFFICIALS NAMED

[EN375-1998]


Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named National Umpires Panel (NUP) members Ian Lock of Western Australia and Paul Reiffel of Victoria as the on-field umpires for the one-day domestic final between Victoria and Queensland which to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.  Bob Parry, another Victorian NUP member, will be the third umpire for the match and Mal Smith the match referee, while the CA Umpire High Performance Panel member will be Ric Evans.


Sunday's match will be the first one-day interstate final for both Lock and Reiffel, the game being the Western Australian's twenty-sixth in the competition since his first just over eight years ago and thirty-second List A game overall.  The final will be the Victorian's nineteenth one-dayer at interstate level since arriving on the scene five years ago, and twenty-second List A match, and comes soon after he was awarded a $A20,000 National Officiating Scholarship Program scholarship by the Australian Sports Commission (E-News 369-1963, 9 February 2009).


Parry, who like Reiffel has officiated at One Day International level (ODI), stood in the 2007 one-day final, one of his thirty-two games in that competition, and he has fifty-one List A games to his credit.  He has worked as the television umpire at domestic level only three times previously, none of them this season, but that is backed up the experience gained over a total of thirty-seven matches as the third umpire in ODIs. 


CA gave a total of twenty-two umpires from six states roles both on the field of play and in the television suite in this season's domestic one-day competition, a figure that is made up of all eleven members of the NUP, ten from the second-level 'emerging' pool, as well as Australian international umpire Simon Taufel.  Victorian NUP member John Ward topped the season's one-day appointments (E-News 369-1966, 9 February 2009).


AUSTRALIANS PAIRED FOR 

PAKISTAN TEST SERIES

[EN375-1999]


Two Australian members of the International Cricket Council's (IUP) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, have been named to stand in the two Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka which is scheduled to get underway in Karachi this Saturday and end in early March.  The pair, who are yet to stand together in a Test, will work with match referee Chris Broad of England, the third official for each game coming from Pakistan members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).


Taufel, who is understood to have flown to Pakistan late last week after standing for part of that period in the Imparja Cup series for indigenous teams in Alice Springs (E-News 367-1952, 5 February 2009), will be on the field for his fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth Tests, and eleventh and twelfth in Pakistan.  He is no stranger to the National Stadium in Karachi having officiated there in two previous Tests, while the Second Test at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will be his fourth at that ground.  The two matches will take Taufel's first class match record to eighty-six.


For Davis, who will take his Test tally to seventeen, it will be the first time he has stood in Pakistan, his previous fifteen Tests being played in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.  Two of them, including his debut at Test level in November 1997 were played at Bellerive, the second four years later seeing him replaced by TCUSA member John Smeaton following an accident after day two of the match.  The coming series will take Davis' first class match record to ninety-nine games.


Broad played twenty-five Tests for England, three of them in Pakistan, one each in Karachi and Lahore, but the series will be his first as a Test match referee in that country; his thirty-three to date being in Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. 


The television umpire for the two Tests are likely to come from Pakistan IUP members Zameer Haider, Nadeen Ghauri or Ashan Raza, that nation's two EUP members, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf being away in the West Indies (E-News 364-1939, 30 January 2009) and South Africa respectively (E-News 375-2001 below).


KOERTZEN, MADUGALLE CONTINUE 

TO SET NEW ODI RECORDS  

[EN375-2000]


International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka and South African umpire Rudi Koertzen will further push their respective world records for One Day Internationals (ODI) when they work in the five-game series that is to be played between New Zealand and India in Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland next month.  By the time the series ends Madugalle's ODI tally will reach 229 games, while Koertzen will take his on-field match record to 195.  


News of the pair's appointment was released by the ICC yesterday, and the second field and television umpires for the five matches are expected to come from New Zealand members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Gary Baxter, Tony Hill and Evan Watkin; that country’s only ICC Elite Umpires Panel member 'Billy' Bowden' being in South Africa (E-News 375-2001 below).  The three IUP members are also likely to be appointed to the two Twenty20 NZ-India internationals next week in the lead up to the ODI series.


The ICC is yet to name the officials for the three Test matches between the two sides that are to be played in the last half of March and early April.  Should Koertzen stay on for that series he would pass the 100 Test mark (E-News 373-1987, 16 February 2009), and another five ODIs would then given him the 100/200 match combination press reports indicated two years ago was his aim before retirement (E-News 33-186, 27 April 2007).   


QUARTET NAMED FOR 

FOURTH UDRS TRIAL  

[EN375-2001]


Three members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, together with match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, are to manage the three Test series between South Australia and Australia over the next month.  The umpiring trio will each stand in two matches and rotate into the third umpire position once in what will be the ICC's fourth and last Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) trial before the world body's Cricket Committee conducts an evaluation of the system in April-May. 


Bucknor, whose participation in the series surfaced two weeks ago  (E-News 367-1954, 5 February 2009), and Bowden, will be on the field for the First Test in Johannesburg next week with Rauf in the television chair.  Rauf and Bowden will combine in the Second in Durban with Bucknor working at the third official, then in the Third Test in Cape Town it will be Rauf and Bucknor on the field and Bowden watching on from the stands. 


The West Indian is no stranger to Tests in South Africa, having visited there for Tests eight separate times for a total of seventeen games, Rauf has two Tests there under his belt, while Bowden, who has stood in Tests in all ten nations who have played that form of the game, has only stood in one previous Test in South Africa, it being four years ago.  None of the four have previously been involved in a series in which the UDRS was under trial.  


The series will extend Bucknor's Test world record to 128 games and his third umpire role in that form of the game to just two, Bowden's tally will move to fifty-four Tests, and another nine in the television box, and Rauf to twenty-four Tests, and eight as a third umpire.  Crowe will have worked as a match referee thirty-three times in Tests by the time the series ends next month, although the three games will be his first in that role in South Africa.  


Additionally, he did not play a single Test in South Africa in his thirty-nine Test career as a player and records available suggest he has not worked there as a match referee in either the One Day of Twenty20 International forms of the game. 


The ICC is yet to name its 'neutral' umpire for the five-game One Day International series between the two nations that will be played in April following the Test series. 


SENIOR INTERNATIONAL UMPIRES 

SUPPORT UDRS CONCEPT  

[EN375-2002]


A report in yesterday's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) says that Australia's most experienced Test umpire Daryl Harper and his South African colleague Rudi Koertzen, who are currently officiating in the Test series between the West Indies and England, have "embraced the move to allow players to challenge decisions".  Harper though reveals that problems with his television screen hampered his decision-making in the First Test last week, a game in which a number of queries were raised about his third umpire role (E-News 371-1979, 13 February 2009).


The SMH article by journalist Chloe Saltau quotes Koertzen as saying that "the objective of the [Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS)] is to eliminate the obvious errors".  "Inevitably there will still be decisions that people will argue are wrong but that is not really the point of the system [for] statistics from the trial so far show the system is getting rid of mistakes", said the South African.  


In his view "players are generally sympathetic and understanding about [umpires] getting the decisions correct [for] they know that is our primary goal, and if that means we have to go back and change our own decision with the help of replays occasionally, then I for one am prepared to do that".


Harper told the SMH that "the average time taken [for decisions] so far has been less than two minutes and [is] often a lot less than that", however, given that "this is a trial and that the umpires and technicians involved are still getting used to it", the average time will come down as experience grows.  The time needed "depends on the specific decision and on the amount of information that must be reviewed to get the full picture", said Harper.


Referring to the caught behind dismissal of West Indian Daren Powell in the recent Test in Jamaica, Harper says he had no option but to uphold the leg-side catch given by on-field umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand because he was not presented with pictures in which the ball was visible.  


Media reports at the time claimed that replays seen by journalists show "there was a clear gap between bat and ball and the possibility of contact being made to bat was remote" (E-News 369-1965, 9 February 2009).  However, the Australian says that he was hampered by problems with his television screen and that "no one knows how clear or relevant a piece of footage will be to the incident until the replay is shown".  


Despite that the SMH says that Harper remains in favour of the trial. "This system gives everyone a second chance to get appeals answered correctly when umpires may have erred [and it] is done with more time and with the help of a limited range of technology to review incidents", he said.


The current trial in the West Indies, which has been temporarily suspended because of the abandonment of what is now the Second Test and the need to move grounds but will resume in Test four (E-News 372-1984, 14 February 2009), is the third of four planned by the ICC, the next being in the fast-approaching series between South Africa and Australia which starts next week (E-News 375-2001 above).


England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke recently indicated that he does not want current UDRS arrangements used for this year's Ashes series, arguing that the system undermines the authority of the on-field adjudicators (E-News 370-1971, 12 February 2009), a claim that is supported by England player Steve Harmison (E-News 371-1979, 13 February 2009), as well as former Australian coach John Buchanan. 


In Buchanan's view "the umpires should remain in control of the technology and could refer among themselves if they have doubt [for] the game is already littered with too many stoppages [and] we need umpires to be skilled so that they can make the call immediately".


2009 EAST ASIA PACIFIC UMPIRING 

PANELS NAMED  

[EN375-2003]


Eight umpires from four nations in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East Asia Pacific (EAP) Region have been appointed to the EAP's Umpires Panel (UP) for 2009, those involved coming from Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu.  The EAP also named an eight-man Supplementary Umpires Panel (SUP), its members coming from a total of six countries.


Those named to the UP group are: Geoff Clelland, Grant Johnston and Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu); Clive Elly and Lakani Oala (PNG); Shahul Hameed (Indonesia); Neil Harrison and Anton McCloy (Japan).  Shahul Hameed is also currently a member of the ICC's third-tier, ten-member, Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).


SUP members for the year ahead are: Sachin Gopalakrishnan (Indonesia); Tunatu Kauvai (Cook Islands); Tavita Sasi and Peter Poulos (Samoa); Walesi Soqoiwasa and Mohammed Ali Maqbool (Fiji); Chris Thurgate (Japan); and Alu Kapa (PNG).


The ICC's EAP office says that a suite of training resources has been developed to assist members of both panels with the delivery of Introduction and Level 1 Umpiring Courses. It says that the two panels acknowledge the importance of umpiring in the cricket development process, recognise the performance of leading umpires in EAP countries, increase the standard of umpiring at EAP tournaments, and create a structured umpire pathway leading into the AAIUP.



E-NEWS NUMBER 376

MONDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2009


BUCKNOR TO RETIRE FROM 

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

[EN376-2004]


West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor is to retire from international cricket next month, says a report published in the Jamaican newspaper 'The Gleaner' yesterday.  Bucknor's final Test will the third match of the series between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town which is to be played from 19-23 March (E-News 375-2001, 19 February 2009), and his last One Day International (ODI) in Barbados a week later.  Jamaican-born Bucknor's retirement is not unexpected for he has indicated several times over the last twelve months that he anticipated such a move this year.


Bucknor, who became an international umpire in 1989 and turns sixty-three at the end of May, told 'The Gleaner' last Friday prior to flying to South Africa, that he feels “physically capable" of continuing a "little" longer at the highest level of the game.  "The body is feeling quite good and I know I could go on for another two or three years", said Bucknor, "however, something inside me is telling me that it is time to go".


The West Indian will end his Test career a month short of twenty years since he stood in his first at Sabina Park, Kingston in April 1989 in what was only his fifth first class match.  In the two decades since he has officiated in Tests in all of the countries that have played that form of the game to date, plus a series that took place in neutral Sharjah, and in March 2005 became the first man to reach the 100 Test mark.


Given that he started well before the introduction of first single, and then double 'neutral' umpires in Tests, the majority, or twenty-six of his Tests have been in the West Indies.  After that comes England with twenty, including eight at Lord's, there have been nineteen in Australia, sixteen to date in South Africa, fourteen in Sri Lanka, ten in Pakistan, eight in Bangladesh, seven in India, four in New Zealand, two in Sharjah and one in Zimbabwe.  When he retires next month his overall first class match tally will be 172 games, three-quarters of that number being Tests.


Bucknor made his ODI debut a month prior to his first Test, and the third and fourth games of the series between the West Indies and England in Barbados late next month will see him end his career on 181 matches, second only behind his South African colleague and ODI world record holder Rudi Koertzen, who is currently closing in on 200 games (E-News 375-2000, 19 February 2009).  


The West Indian's ODI record includes five consecutive World Cups in which he was selected for the final on each occasion, three Champions Trophy series and numerous other tournaments.  Those games were played on grounds in all ten nations who have played Test cricket, plus Canada, the Netherlands, Kenya, and Sharjah.


Widely respected for his high-quality decision-making over many years, and known for the nodding of his head before he raises his finger for dismissals, in recent times there have some controversies that suggest on the surface at least, his best days had passed.  


His role in misinterpreting the rules regarding bad light in the World Cup final in April 2007 led to his suspension from the inaugural Twenty20 World Championships in September that year  (E-News 59-324, 24 June 2007), and he is still to officiate in a Twenty20 international.  In January last year the ICC withdrew his nomination to stand in the Third Test between Australia and India in Perth after several contentious decisions contributed to India's defeat in the second Test in Sydney the previous week (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2009).


Bucknor, who is said to already be "penning his memoirs" which might give some insight into those events, hinted to 'The Gleaner' that he would like to continue umpiring at the local level, which he believes would be an ideal way to share the vast knowledge and experience he has gained over the years.  "I hope I will be accorded the opportunity by the West Indies Cricket Board to work with young umpires in the region because I still would like to continue making a contribution", he said.


Looking back at his near two-decade long career at the top flight of umpiring, Bucknor said it has been full of pleasant and cherished memories which he hopes to include in his memoirs.  "My fondest memory was standing in my first World Cup final [in 1992 after just four Tests and eleven ODIs] because it was really a dream coming true for me", he said.


In addition he also considers being the first black umpire to stand in a Test match in post-apartheid South Africa as another accomplishment.  "Going to umpire in South Africa was very special because it was something that was endorsed by Nelson Mandela, who is someone I hold in high regard", said Bucknor, while actually "meeting him was one of those special moments I will never forget".


Apart from cricket, 'The Gleaner' also says that there are indications football, a sport in which Bucknor "has distinguished himself as a player, coach and referee", might also benefit from his time in retirement for he is said to be "ready to get back into football administration [and that he] will be making [himself] available" for positions as they become available.


Bucknor's departure from the ICC means that there are now at least two vacancies on its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Australian Darrell Hair having resigned from that group late last year (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008).  The ICC normally announces its EUP members for the twelve months ahead in April each year.


FIVE-YEAR BAN FOR 'GUN THREAT' 

TO UMPIRE

[EN376-2005]


A player on the Queensland Gold Coast has been suspended for five years after threatening to 'get a gun' to sort out an issue with an umpire, says a report published on the 'goldcoast.com.au' web site on Saturday.  The incident occurred during a third-grade match between the player's side Loganholme Red and Queens on 7 February.


Loganholme opening batsman Mark Sanders fronted a Cricket Gold Coast (CGC) judiciary hearing last week to answer a charge of threatening violence towards an umpire.  The web site says that after umpire Ron Hynd gave Sanders out, the batsman allegedly told the official that he would get a gun from his car to sort the matter out.  Under CGC's player code of conduct rules he was then issued with a 'red card' and sent from the field (E-News 303-1589, 30 August 2008).


Queens captain Peter Goodchap said he did not hear what Sanders said to the umpire, but was soon made aware of it and that "other players [who] did provided statements" to the hearing.  Sanders, who is twenty-nine, is said to have told the judiciary that he deeply regretted what he had done.  


Loganholme president Rod Rice said that his club had accepted the five-year penalty and would not be appealing.  "Mark is extremely remorseful", said Rice, and "he has apologised to everybody at the club and has passed on his apologies to the umpire concerned through their association".  "From a club point of view we're disappointed at what happened and we certainly don't condone that sort of behaviour at all.


CGC Umpires Association president Paul Baker was not available for comment due to illness, but umpires head of reporting Chris Suitor indicated he was satisfied with the hearing saying that "the only thing I can say is that this matter has been dealt with and that hopefully nothing like this will ever happen again". 


Cricket Gold Coast co-ordinator John Fitzgerald said his association was extremely disappointed to have had to deal with such an offence.  "It's disappointing that this happened, that it all came to this and that we had to penalise a player as severely as we did," he said. 


MINISTER SEEKS 'HIGH-LEVEL' PROBE 

INTO OVAL 'FIASCO'

[EN376-2006]


Pakistan Sports Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jillani has called for a "high-level independent probe" into the 2006 Oval Test "fiasco", an event that he feels triggered the "current decline of Pakistan cricket", says a story distributed by the Press Trust of India on Friday.  Earlier this month the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appointed its own committee headed by former player Aamer Sohail to look into the incident (E-News 373-1988, 16 February 2009), but Jillani is pushing for a group independent of the Board to look into the matter 


Speaking at a book launch on Thursday, Jillani said he wanted to know "Who was responsible? Was it the captain, the team management or the board officials"?  "I don't agree with the view that what is done is done and let's move on [for] how can we move on [if] we don't know the truth and don't learn from our mistakes?", continued Jillani.  In the Minister's view "cricket has to be played according to the rules and we should not have challenged the umpires, [and] I think the International Cricket Council has done the right thing by reversing the result once again because rules are rules for every country", he said (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009).


Despite his comments Jillani pledged his full support to PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt, who set up Sohail's investigation, saying that the government had confidence in him and in his ability to steer Pakistan cricket out of trouble.  "We also need to be patient with the Board and give them some time to deliver, [for] we cannot expect overnight results", he said.


OFFICIALS NAMED FOR 

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP

[EN376-2007]


Thirteen umpires and two match referees from nine nations have been selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand in next month's sixteen-day Women's World Cup (WWC) in Australia (E-News 369-1967, 9 February 2009).  One of the umpires selected is Kathy Cross of New Zealand, who already has fourteen women's One Day Internationals (ODI) to her credit, and another up-and-coming Australian Gerard Abood who made his first class debut last December and appears to be a strong contender for elevation to the National Umpires Panel (NUP) later this year (E-News 326-1711, 9 October 2008).


Australian Steve Davis of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) heads the umpires list, followed by Tony Hill of New Zealand and Brian Jerling of South Africa who are on the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and Shahul Hameed of Indonesia and Sarika Prasad from Singapore members of its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel.


In addition to Cross and Abood the others named yesterday are Lakani Oala of Papua New Guinea and Neil Harrison of Japan, who are both on the ICC's East Asia Pacific reqion Umpires Panel (E-News 375-2003, 19 February 2009), and Australian NUP members Jeff Brookes, Andrew Craig, and Mick Martell of Western Australia and Tony Ward of Victoria, who all have experience at first class level.


Match referees are former New Zealand international umpire Brian Aldridge, who has stood in a men's senior World Cup final, and David Jukes of England who to date has worked as a referee in nine women's One Day Internationals, ICC Intercontinental Cup matches, as well as World Cricket League tournaments in Tanzania and Argentina (E-News 369-1968, 9 February 2009).


Cross, who is a member of New Zealand’s Regional Panel, stood in ten ODIs in the WWC in 2000, another two in the quadrangular 'World Series of Women’s Cricket' tournament staged across the Tasman in 2003, and her thirteenth and fourteenth in the Rose Bowl series between New Zealand and Australia in 2004.


Vince van der Bijl, the ICC Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager said in a statement issued yesterday that the umpires "panel has been chosen predominantly from the Australia-New Zealand Pacific Region” and that it "consists of many up-and-coming umpires who are being given a wonderful opportunity to officiate and gain experience in a World Cup event alongside Steve Davis of the [EUP] and Tony Hill and Brian Jerling of the [IUP]".  In addition Kathy Cross' participation "is yet another huge boost to women’s cricket", continued van der Bijl.


The ICC says that its Umpires’ Manager Doug Cowie has appointed Bob Stratford, its Regional Umpire Performance Manager for the Pacific who is normally based in Melbourne, to the tournament, and that he, Davis, Hill and Jerling will "mentor and coach the exciting up and coming talent, during the tournament".


Next month's event will see the world’s top eight women's teams, holders Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, compete at six venues across New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.  Individual match appointments for the umpires will be made closer to the start of the tournament.


HELICOPTER STOPS PLAY

[EN376-2008]


The Ranji Trophy domestic one-day match between Indian sides Punjab and Services on Saturday was stopped for just on half-an-hour when a helicopter landed unannounced in the middle of the Indira Stadium in Una.  A report in yesterday's 'Hindustan Times', says that the pilot mistook a 'H' sign at the north end of the ground, which stands for the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), as a helipad, and that smoke from a fire adjacent to the ground added to the pilot's confusion as he interpreted it as a smoke signal to aid landing, says the newspaper's report by Rajesh Sharma.


Sharma says that such was the force of the down-wash from the helicopter's rotors that the sightscreen at the pavilion end of the ground "was shredded to pieces", while cameras being used at both ends of the ground as part of the Board of Control for Cricket's (BCCI) umpiring evaluation program "were destroyed".  


"Amidst the chaos" a man alighted from the aircraft "seemingly oblivious of the mayhem his pilot had caused" as he was there to look for the [local] district magistrate".   It was only when HPCA officials told the pilot he had landed at a cricket ground that "he realise his error in judgement", wrote Sharma.  The helicopter was said to have been on a trial flight to a nearby helipad as Himachal Pradesh's chief minister was scheduled to land there later today Australian time.


Match referee Brijender Singh said the matter would be reported to the BCCI and the damage to its equipment dealt with by them and the HPCA.  The umpires who had to scatter with the players on the helicopter's arrival were Anil Chowdhury and Sumit Bansal.


MONEY HAS 'RUINED' CRICKET, 

CLAIMS BIRD

[EN376-2009]


Former England international umpire Dickie Bird says in a 'comment' piece run in 'The Sun' newspaper in the UK yesterday that money has been the "ruination" of cricket and he called for a return to the "old traditions and principles" of the game.  Bird's comment followed the announcement late last week that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had terminated all contracts with businessman Allen Stanford, who is currently facing charges that centre on an alleged multi-billion dollar fraud.


The ECB has announced that it will not be taking part in any further Stanford Twenty20 matches in Antigua or the proposed Stanford-sponsored international quadrangular Twenty20 events in England, the first of the latter which was due to be played at Lord's this May.  Under a deal struck between the ECB and Stanford last year, England were due to play four further $A25M matches in Antigua, plus a quadrangular series annually from 2009 to 2011 that was reported as being worth around $A15M per year.


Bird writes that he felt "saddened" when he saw large sums of money being poured into cricket and believes that it "was right for the ECB to terminate all contractual links with Stanford".  In his view though "it is too late because the damage has already been done [and] it depresses me what has happened to the game I knew and was brought up on as a boy".  He said that cricket authorities should have questioned Stanford's interests in financing multi-million-dollar cricket tournaments, but instead "saw the dollar signs and dived in head-first, without thinking".


Bird continued: "There was nothing wrong with the game throughout my era as a player and an umpire", a period that ran for forty years from 1956-96, "but it has all changed" and he asks "why can't we leave things alone?"


E-NEWS NUMBER 377

 WEDNESDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2009


CA UMPIRING SCRUTINY MISSES KEY FOCUS, 

CLAIMS JOURNALIST

[EN377-2010]


Cricket Australia (CA) "is subjecting its State level [umpiring] officials to a degree of scrutiny that could dissuade the good ones from continuing in the game", claims journalist John Townsend in a column published in 'The West Australian' newspaper last weekend.  Townsend, who appears to have been talking to at least one senior umpire in the West, wrote that while "umpires are being scrutinised about their body language and positioning and finger twitch, the fundamentals of the game are being undermined with no attempt to stop deteriorating standards" on the field of play. 


Townsend says that if you "watch a match now you will see the twelfth man repeatedly run onto the ground to pass on coaching messages to batsmen or fieldsmen".  While "they carry a drink bottle or pair of gloves as part of the subterfuge", the journalist says that often "the item [carried] does not leave their hand as they deliver the words of advice before dashing off".


After asking what umpires do about it, he quotes an unnamed West Australian umpire as saying that "there’s nothing we can do".  According to Townsend's source umpires “have a duty of care to players on matters such as rehydration and we have to let the twelfth man come out".  Visits by a batting side's twelfth man to the square at the fall of every wicket, even if more that one occurs in the same over, are also now a regular part of the game at higher levels in Australia.


In Townsend's view such maneuvering "is a complete con and the umpires and players know it, yet, at a time that over rates have never been slower, nothing is done to prevent it".  He writes that "umpires are being emasculated on one hand by increased video reviews of their decisions while their authority is being undermined from within and without", and hints that such an approach could lead to the loss of interest in umpiring.


Townsend says that in "the Sheffield Shield match that Western Australia lost to Tasmania in Hobart" last week, a game that was umpired by two Perth-based members from the National Umpires Panel (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009), "details of sixty-eight separate appeals were logged over the three days of play".  Each of those appeals were "subjected to intense video analysis with the two umpires and the CA observer [present Bob Stratford examining them] in minute detail".  


Questions said to have been asked in that process included, claims the journalist who was clearly following advice from his source, "Did the umpire maintain his position, did his head move, did his finger twitch before he lifted it?", with details gleaned being "entered in a giant umpiring ledger". Townsend states that while the question "Was the decision right?" got "a mention, it is just one point among many", however, he considers that it "should be the primary factor" considered in accessing umpires, together "with a secondary one" that examines "whether the umpire can maintain a rapport with the players".  

In Townsend's view "everything else" other than those two questions "is just about irrelevant", yet the "umpires are being scrutinised" in great detail while at the same time nothing is being done "to stop the deteriorating standards" in the game.  He then goes on to refer to a "recent" CA survey that asked respondents to list the ten most important things an umpire needs to do to become good at his job, former Australian player and now Tasmanian official David Boon apparently replying ten times: "get it right".  That reply was "spot on" says Townsend.  


BIRD SUSPENDED AFTER ACTION 

FOUND 'ILLEGAL' 

[EN377-2011]


New South Wales bowler Aaron Bird has been found "to have displayed an illegal bowling action" under Cricket Australia's (CA) Doubtful Bowling Action Procedures and has been suspended from playing at interstate level.  Bird was reported for his action by three different umpires earlier this season, and yesterday's announcement by CA followed a detailed analysis of his action at the Australian Institute of Sport's (AIS) biomechanics laboratory in Canberra two weeks ago (E-News 374-1992, 18 February 2009). 


CA said yesterday that the report from the AIS found that not all of Bird's deliveries complied with the allowable elbow extension tolerance of fifteen degrees.  There were suggestions earlier this year that it was the bowler's quicker ball, which is said to be up to twenty kilometres per hour faster, that was a key problem.


Any player found to have displayed an illegal action is suspended from interstate competitions until he is able to complete a biomechanical analysis that demonstrates his action is legal, but no earlier than ninety days after the date a suspension commences. Bird has the right to challenge this week's findings by requesting a hearing by CA's Bowling Review Group, however, his involvement at Sheffield Shield level appears to be over for the season


PROJECT TO DEVELOP 'BOWLING ACTION' 

SENSOR LAUNCHED 

[EN377-2012]


The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) are to fund research in Australia to develop a "wearable, real-time electronic sensor" to record and monitor a bowler's action during delivery.  Under the concept envisaged the device would be strapped to a bowler's arm to "instantly" assess the legality of their delivery action by measuring the degree of elbow extension between the time the bowling arm reaches a horizontal level and the release of the ball.


The ICC says that the sports and electronics engineers at Griffith University's Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications will work with Cricket Australia’s (CA) Sport Science Medicine Unit and the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Biomechanics department in Canberra to perfect the tiny electronic device.  


CA and the AIS have been researching bowling actions for the last two decades, much of their recent work being used by the ICC to develop procedures to assess suspect bowling actions (E-News 377-2011 above). In 2007 the MCC's World Cricket Committee advocated the introduction of a policy of regular monitoring of bowling actions under match conditions (E-News 44-241, 23 May 2007).


Plans call for the new system to utilise "a combination of accelerometers, rate gyroscopes and other wireless inertial sensors [that will] "record minute position changes" using items such as "as magnetometers and Global Positioning System [devices] to ensure a high degree of accuracy".  


ICC’s General Manager Cricket David Richardson said in a statement that the planned research "was crucial in the battle to uphold the regulations around illegal bowling actions".  Current ICC regulations stipulate a fifteen-degree tolerance threshold for elbow extension in the bowling action, that figure being "accepted as the point at which any elbow extension begins to become noticeable to the human eye".


 “One of the difficulties of testing bowlers’ actions in laboratory conditions is that it cannot always replicate match conditions successfully", said Richardson.  “In other words, whether on purpose or unintentionally, the bowler might bowl differently in the lab than when he is out in the middle in the heat of a match when fatigue and greater effort come into the equation", he said, and "that is why a device that a bowler can wear during a match is something we are very excited to be developing.”


John Stephenson, assistant secretary of the MCC was quoted in the ICC statement as saying that the “MCC is pleased to be supporting this important project".  “The Laws of cricket are written on the basis of an even contest between bat and ball [and] we therefore hope that the development of these bowling-arm sensors will ultimately ensure that every delivery sent down is done so in a fair and legal manner.”


HEAPS OF LIGHT FOR OUR DON

[EN377-2013]


Long-serving TCUSA Life Member Don Heapy and Jason Nicholls a former 'Umpire of the Year' with the Association,  had the opportunity to experience umpiring under lights at Pontville earlier this month and are scheduled to stand in another match there tonight.  Heapy and Nicholls, who are both employees of the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart, officiated in an 'in house' Twenty20 game between the 'Gambling' and Non-Gambling' arms of the Hotel complex on 4 February, tonight's match being between West Point and Qantas.


Heapy, who has stood in close to 400 matches with the TCUSA over the last quarter-of-a-century, told E-News that a four-piece 'lime green' coloured ball was used in the match earlier this month, a game that may possibly be the first ever played under lights in the state.  


He says that the lights at Pontville, which were erected early last year for the Brighton Australian Rules Football club, were "excellent" for cricket and that the coloured ball was easy to follow except when it was hit high in the air.  On the latter occasions it was "lost" in the glare until reappearing at a lower level and the best technique was for the umpires to keep looking in the direction it was hit and wait for it to come down out of the "dark".


CAPTAIN'S ROLE UNLIKELY TO 

CHANGE SAYS MCC CHIEF

[EN377-2014]


The captain's role in cricket should not be taken on lightly at any level of the game and demands a player of great character and leadership qualities, says Keith Bradshaw the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Bradshaw has made the issue of captaincy, which "no other sport gives such a formalised and powerful role", the subject of his first monthly column for 'All Out Cricket' magazine in the UK.


Bradshaw writes that in cricket captains have "far more onerous decision-making duties than the majority of their counterparts in other sports".  In addition to tasks that range "from deciding what to do on winning the toss, to field placings to switching bowlers", they have the responsibility "in the heat of battle [to] step in and be accountable for the actions of [their] players".  "It seems that sometimes this unique but very important role of the captain in cricket is grossly understated", writes the MCC chief.


If the role of the captain "sounds serious it’s because cricket captaincy is a serious issue", continues the CEO, for the individuals involved have "to ensure that respect is maintained for the opposition, umpires and the manner in which the match is [being] played".  Bradshaw points to the fact that that requirement "was enshrined in the Laws when the MCC added the 'Spirit of Cricket' (SOC) Preamble in 2000".  That charter says in part that "the major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains" and the Laws demand that the "umpires liaise with the captains as a first port of call when dealing with a member of their side".


Interestingly, Bradshaw says at the draft stage the now SOC Preamble had the working title of ‘The Captain’s Charter’, until the name that is now used was decided upon.  


In his assessment "the traditions and history of the game suggest [the onus on cricket captains] is unlikely to change any time soon and, in fact, it is imperative to preserving our great game as we know it".  He believes that the "increased responsibility [involved] is totally right, given football’s example of the breakdown in discipline that easily occurs when no one player has direct responsibility for a team’s behaviour".


 END OF FEBRUARY 2009 E-NEWS FILE