April 09 (401-413)



(Story numbers 2127-2186)


401 – 1 April [2127-2129]

• Australian pair for final NZ-India Test  (401-2127).

• Koertzen edges towards 200th ODI (401-2128).

• Additional funds for Lahore driver's family (401-2129).

402 – 4 April [2130-2135]

• Nogajksi named Grade 'Umpire of the Year' (402-2130).

• Selection, video work earns Loh TCUSA service award  (402-2131).

• Life memberships conferred on long-serving members (402-2132).

• Advisor's award to Mark Wickham  (402-2133).

• Best first-year, most improved, scorers win awards  (402-2134).

• Trio recognised for their umpiring contributions  (402-2135).

403 – 7 April [2136-2141]

• John chosen as 'State Umpire of the Year'  (403-2136).

• TCUSA members for today's U19 international (403-2137).

• Erasmus to stand in IPL-2 (403-2138).

• 'Fast-tracked' umpire appointed to NZ first class final (403-2139).

• Omani spinner's bowling action questioned (403-2140).

• TCUSA Annual General Meeting date set  (402-2141).

404 – 9 April [2142-2146]

• Fix over-rates via stomachs, says 'Wisden' editor (404-2142).

• One-match ban for 'trip' of batsman  (404-2143).

• Test ball goes missing, says report (404-2144).

• Raza home but recovery slow (404-2145).

• Sri Lankan umpire 'round about' still revolving (404-2146).

405 – 13 April [2147]

• Taufel to stand in IPL-2, says report  (405-2147).

406 – 15 April [2148-2153]

• Trial of new balls of concern to some  (406-2148).

• ICC 'emerging' trio vying for WC Qualifier final  (406-2149).

• Father's illness behind Dar's ODI series exit  (406-2150).

• Benefit year awarded to County scorer  (406-2151).

• Umpires, pink balls, set for 'highest-ever' match (406-2152).

• Pakistani ICL umpire still banned by PCB  (406-2153).

407 – 16 April [2154-2158]

• Broad to brief ICC Board on Lahore attack  (407-2154).

• Coach facing ban for umpire assault (407-2155).

• Botha's action again under scrutiny  (407-2156).

• Dar, Rauf to miss IPL-2?  (407-2157).

• Plenty of runs scored with 'trial' ball  (407-2158).

408 –18 April [2159-2162]

• Doctrove, Hariharan to 'kick-off' IPL-2 (408-2159).

• IPL Twenty20 matches to include mid-innings breaks (408-2160).

• Kiwi pair for Pakistan-Australia ODI series  (408-2161).

• UAE bowler reported for 'suspect' action (408-2162).

409 –19 April [2163-2168]

• Erasmus, Tucker named for main WC Qualifier final (409-2163).

• ECB targets player discipline, but rejects 'card' system. (409-2164).

• Dharmasena set for IPL, says report (409-2165).

• Racism still a problem in top UK cricket, claims sociologist (409-2165).

• Coach in alleged umpire assault asked to 'explain' (409-2167).

• Suspensions handed down for 'dissent' during NZ Grade final  (409-2168).

410 – 20 April [2169-2172]

• Taufel for IPL debut  (410-2169).

• Coach in umpire assault case suspended pending enquiry (410-2170).

• Reprimand handed out for 'stump kick' (410-2171).

• Dog stops play (410-2172).

411 – 22 April [2173-2177]

• MCC-CF program promotes 'Spirit' concepts  (411-2173).

• Pietersen opens IPL-2 disciplinary 'book'  (411-2174).

• Harper signs up for second IPL season  (411-2175).

• Wilson stands in both Perth Under 19 internationals  (411-2176).

• CSA match referee appointed to IPL games  (411-2177).

412 – 24 April [2178-2181]

• IPL head 'not pleased' with Pietersen action  (412-2178)

• Bangladesh assessing future of CA umpire training (412-2179).

• Botha looks forward to bowling action tests  (412-2180).

• Prospective EUP umpires together in IPL match (412-2181).

413 – 28 April [2182-2186]

• Heavy suspensions lead to public 'war of words'  (413-2182).

• Pakistan fined for slow over-rate in ODI (413-2183).

• Spinner's action to be evaluated  (413-2184).

• Eight umpires for U19 WC qualifier series (413-2185).

• Players, officials warned off proposed US League  (413-2186).






Illness has forced West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove to withdraw from the Third and final Test between New Zealand and India at the Basin Reserve later this week and he has been replaced by Australian Daryl Harper.  Harper will stand with countryman Simon Taufel who officiated the First Test last month with newly promoted Elite Umpires Panel member  Ian Gould.

Doctrove had to pull out of the Second test in Napier last Saturday when he was diagnosed with a chest infection and was replaced by New Zealand's Evan Watkin for the final three days of the match (E-News 399-2120, 30 March 2009).  The game is Taufel's fifty-seventh Test and Harper's eighty-first, the most ever by an Australian (E-News 373-1986, 16 February 2009).

Australian Alan Hurst continues in his role as the match referee for the three-Test series.




South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen will move closer to becoming the first person to stand in 200 One Day International (ODI) matches during the five-match series between his home country and Australia over the next two weeks.  Cricket South Africa (CSA) have named Koertzen and his countryman Brian Jerling as the on-field colleagues of Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva, the International Cricket Council's 'neutral' appointment (E-News 390-2074, 18 March 2009), the home pair also sharing television umpire duties during the five games.

Koertzen, who turned sixty last Thursday, will be on the field with de Silva in games one, three and five in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg with Jerling in the third umpire's suite, the two South Africans reversing roles in matches two and four at Centurion and Port Elizabeth.  By the time the series ends, Koertzen will have chalked up a total of 198 ODIs on the field and another forty as the third umpire, while Jerling's record will be seventy-seven and thirty-six respectively.

The fourth umpire for games one and two will be Zama Ndamane, his second and third in that position in an ODI. Ndamane, forty-four, who is a member of Cricket South Africa's first class panel, become the first black African to join that group in 2006.  Since his higher-level debut in October 2004 he has stood in twenty-three first class and twenty-five List A games.

Murray Brown, forty-two, another first class panel member, has previously worked at the fourth official in five ODIs and will provide support in the last three ODIs either side of mid-April.  Brown has fifty-four first class matches to his credit to date and fifty List A games. 




The family of Mohammad Zafar, the driver of the match official's minivan who was killed during the terrorist attack in Lahore early last month (E-News 380-2021, 4 March 2009), are to receive an additional 500,000 Rupees ($A9,000) in compensation from the Punjab government.  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a similar grant to the family last week (E-News 398-2119, 30 March 2009), the Punjab allocation taking the money provided to them to 1,000,000 Rupees ($A18,000).

Meanwhile, English match referee Chris Broad will return to cricket for the first time today since being caught in the Lahore attack.  Broad, fifty-one, is to referee three matches on the opening day of the World Cup Qualifier in South Africa.  Other officials in the minivan who have since returned to matches are Australian umpires Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, Davis standing in the Women's World Cup (E-News 393-2085, 21 March 2009), and Taufel in the Test series between New Zealand and India (E-News 401-2127 above).

There has still been no confirmation as to whether Ashan Raza, the Pakistani umpire who was critically injured in the attack, has left hospital in Lahore.






TCUSA member Sam Nogajski topped off an excellent season when he was presented with the 'Grade Umpire of the Year' trophy for 2008-09 by Derek Fails the Managing Director of the Association's sponsor 'Eyelines' at the Annual Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday night.  Nogajski had a busy seven days, being chosen as one of the umpires in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Grade 'Team of the Year the previous week and standing in the TCA's First Grade Grand Final last weekend (E-News 396-2102, 26 March 2009). 

Wednesday's award also tops off a crowded seven months for school teacher Nogajski that has seen him twice travel interstate for umpiring duties, once in a pre-season competition in Queensland involving state playing squads, and the other to Newcastle to officiate in Cricket Australia's (CA) national men's Under 19 championship, the latter a key tournament on CA's umpiring development pathway.  At home he made his debut in the Cricket Australia Cup series for state Second XIs. 

At Grade level Nogajski's major contribution to TCA cricket was in First Grade where he stood in ten of matches as well as games in the 'Jamie Cox Plate', the Kookaburra Cup (including that series' final), the Statewide Twenty20 Cup, the Southern Tasmania Cricket League and other competitions.  Chosen by First Grade captains as the best umpire at that level for the season, his twenty matches with the TCUSA meant that he passed the 100 match mark with the Association, an achievement that was also marked during Wednesday's dinner (E-News 2132 below).  

In announcing the winner of the award Richard Widows, Tasmania's State Director of Umpiring, told those present at the dinner that after detailed consideration he and his selection panel colleagues, Roy Loh and Steve Maxwell, were "unanimous" in their selection of Nogajski as this year's winner.  

In his responce Sam said that the season just past was "the longest [he] has ever [been involved in]" and that it was a priviledge to have taken part in it.  He thanked his employer Hutchins School for their support of his umpiring activities, the appointments committee for the faith they had shown in him, 'Eyelines' for their sponsorship of the TCUSA, and "above all" his family, especially wife Monique, who has looked after their young family so often when he was away umpiring.  




Long-serving TCUSA member Roy Loh was awarded the Alan Powell Memorial Trophy for services to the Association at the annual dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  This is the second time Loh, a former TCUSA President who retired from umpiring two years ago, has been formally recognised by a vote of members for his work supporting Association activities, the first occasion being in 2005. 

One of three members on the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) umpires' selection panel, Loh's weekends over the last six month's have involved travelling to many grounds to observe TCUSA umpiring members managing matches at TCA Grade level and in other competitions.  Richard Widows, Tasmania's State Director of Umpiring, told E-News that Loh's work on the selection committee, in developing video analysis systems, and in capturing and editing footage of umpiring activities, was a major contribution to the Association and its members.    

Loh has spent considerable time over the past two years developing the video system (E-News 327-1707, 8 October 2008).  He conducted trials using a digital movie camera during the 2007-08 season and has had to work through numerous technical challenges, particularly in the software for the editing package, to bring it to its current level of maturity, although he says he is keen to do make further improvements to the way the system works.  

During the season just ended Loh presented his material to members at a number of meetings, those present being able to observe how various umpires reacted to a number of on-field situations.  Widows considers the ability members now have to see themselves and others in action during matches to be a valuable and very positive contribution to the Association's key aim of further improving umpiring standards in the TCA.   




Long-serving TCUSA umpiring members Mike Lee and Mark Gillard, who have both stood in over 300 matches with the Association, were awarded Life Memberships at last Wednesday night's annual dinner at Bellerive.  TCUSA members agreed at last year's Annual General Meeting that the 300-game milestone is a very significant achievement and that those reaching that mark should received automatic Life Membership of the Association.

TCUSA President-Administrator and Life Member Graeme Hamley presented Gillard with his Life Membership badge and certificate, which comes in his twentieth season with the Association, saying that he was a person who will "go anywhere at any time" to support cricket matches. Over the last two decades he has stood in a total of six Grand Finals in the Oatlands District Cricket Associaition, and receive the 'Most Dedicated Umpire' trophy in 1993, and the Advisor's Merit award twice, the first in 1995 and second in 2005.  His umpiring record at the end of the just completed season stands at 386 matches.   

Lee, whose Life Member award was presented by Brian Pollard, another Life Member, described Lee as a "friend of cricket" and talked about his twenty years as a player with Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) club South Hobart, and the subsequent nineteen years he has spent as a TCUSA umpiring member who has so far chalked up 308 matches.  In that time Lee has been presented with the Advisor's Merit award in 1998 and the 'Most Dedicated Umpire' trophy in 2000, and was this year chosen by captains in the TCA's Third Grade competition as the best umpire at that level.

In reply Lee thanked the Association for the honour bestowed on him and said how much he has enjoyed his time as an umpire, mentioning two particular incidents that he particularly remembers.  The first was in his  umpiring debut in TCA First Grade at University, where the first day's play saw the home side put "400 plus" on the score board for the loss of "not many wickets", former Tasmanian batsman and now national selector Jamie Cox being 'not out' 200.  The second was when a Tiger snake 'stopped play' at the Pontville Oval when it chose to make its way across the ground by way of the pitch, sending both players and umpires "scattering". 

Other match milestones were reached by eleven other TCUSA members this season and they were recognised with certificates of achievement at last Wednesday's dinner.  Pollard, and another Life Member Don Heapy, both reached the 450 match umpiring mark, Heapy ending the season on 463 games, 240 of them in First Grade, and Pollard on 472 matches, 236 being First Grade games.  Steve Gibson, Steve Maxwell and Ian Quaggin all passed the 200 game mark, Mark Wickham (150), Brian Muir, Sam Nogajski and Alistair Scott (100), and Sonny Azzopardi and Mike Graham-Smith (50).



Tasmanian Director of Umpiring and TCUSA Umpires' Advisor Richard Widows presented this year Umpires' Advisor's Award to Mark Wickham at the Association's Annual Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  Widows said that there were "so many people who always attend meetings and otherwise engage in [TCUSA] activities and that the choice he has to make each year is difficult, but that Wickham had "very generously" given his time to the Association in a number of important areas over the past year.

In the last twelve months University management lecturer Wickham has worked on such issues as collating and coordinating umpire and scorer input into Tasmanian Cricket Association reviews of its By Laws, developed new captains' and umpire self-assessment forms, prepared Laws exam questions, given presentations to the Association's Annual Seminar, and undertaken work as a member of the TCUSA's management committee. 

Over the eight seasons he has stood with the TCUSA, Wickham has to date chalked up a total of 165 matches, nineteen of those in First Grade, and received his 150 match achievement certificate during Wednesday's dinner (E-News 2132 above).  In 2008-09 he was appointed to a total of thirty-six matches, six of those in First Grade. 




David Whitbread, the Second Grade scorer with the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Glenorchy Club was awarded the Association's 'Best First Year Scorer' for 2008-09, and dual TCUSA umpire-scorer member David Gainsford the 'Most Improved Scorer' trophy at the TCUSA Annual Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.

TCUSA President-Administrator Graeme Hamley said in announcing the award to Whitbread that he had attended the pre-season scorer's seminar, passing it and a subsequent Duckworth-Lewis seminar with "flying colours", and that the score sheets he had provided over the course of the season had been of a high standard.  

Gainsford, who managed to umpire thirty TCA and other matches, eleven of them in Second Grade, during the season, also found time to support three state Second XI matches from the scorer's box, and will be in action in that position at Bellerive next week for some of matches scheduled between the Australian and Indian Under 19 sides (E-News 382-2024, 6 March 2009).  

In addition to the scorer's award he was also chosen by captains in TCA Second Grade as the best umpire they saw in action at that level in 2008-09.




TCUSA umpiring members Jordan Broughton, Mark Ferris and Brian Muir all received trophies at the Association's Annual Dinner and awards night at Bellerive on Wednesday evening as the 'Best First Year', 'Most Improved' and 'Most Dedicated' umpires respectively for 2008-09.  

Broughton's award, which came just over six months after he joined the Association (E-News 334-1762, 22 October 2008), resulted from very steady performances over a total of nineteen matches, including six in Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Third Grade games, and five each in both the TCA Under 17 and Southern Tasmanian Cricket League (STCL) competitions.  Captain's rated him as the best umpire at Under 17 level during the season.

Ferris, another younger umpiring member of the Association, was selected for the 'Dennis Rogers Best First Year Umpire' award after what has been just his second season, a period that saw him stand in TCA Second Grade games for the first time, as well as seven Third Grade, three Under 17s and three STCL matches.  Among his appointments was a semi final in the Under 17s, a significant achievement for an umpire in only his second season.     

For Muir the Bob Reid Memorial 'Most Dedicated' award went his way for the second year running in what was his eighth season with the TCUSA.  In addition to his involvement in interstate one-day matches at Bellerive, he also stood in a total of thirty-three TCA matches during the 2008-09 season, twelve of them in First Grade, and the rest in a range of other competitions around the Hobart area.  He received his 100 match achievement certificate during Wednesday's dinner (E-News 2132 above).

A member of the TCUSA Management Committee, Muir was also on the training sub-committee, work that included National Umpire Accreditation Scheme Level 2 presentations and mentoring, developed quizes on playing conditions, made presentations at the Association's Annual Seminar, and spent eight hours on a treadmill raising $A2,340 for cancer research. 





TCUSA umpire member Steven John was named as the Tasmanian 'State Umpire of the Year' for the second time in a row at the annual Ricky Ponting Medal dinner last Friday evening (E-News 222-1232, 3 April 2008).  John's award marks the end of a long and successful season at representative level that also saw him win a prestigious national scholarship for his umpiring.

John's season commenced back in July when he was appointed by Cricket Australia (CA) to the Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane involving teams from the Australian Institute of Sport, New Zealand, India and South Africa (E-News 285-1512, 25 July 2008), a series that was followed for him a month later by a pre-season tournament on the Sunshine Coast in which senior squads from New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria competed (E-News 315-1644, 19 September 2008).  

In the season proper he topped the list of appointments of CA emerging umpires to one-day domestic series with three games on the field and two as the third umpire (E-News 369-1966, 9 February 2009), and officiated in two Twenty20 interstate fixtures.  

John also worked as the fourth umpire in the One Day International between Australia and South Africa at Bellerive, stood in a CA Cup match in Sydney between the Second XIs from New South Wales and South Australia (E-News 329-1784, 14 October 2008) and in a game between the latter and Tasmania's Second XI in Hobart, as well as the final of the Women's CA Cup between NSW and Victoria, again in Hobart.  He is also standing in the three-match series between the Australian and Indian Under 19 sides this week (E-News 403-2137 below). 

Off the field, and at CA's recommendation, John was one of only two cricket umpires to be awarded a $A20,000 grant for 2009 under the Australian Sports Commission's National Officiating Scholarship Program, a sum that will be used to further develop his umpire-related skills E-News 369-1963, 9 February 2009).




Four TCUSA members will be supporting today's One Day International (ODI) between the Australian and Indian Under 19 sides at Bellerive.  Umpires Nick McGann and Steven John will be out on the centre for the first time in an international match while Graeme Hamley and David Gainsford will be in the score box.

John and another TCUSA member Sam Nogajski will officiate in both the second ODI on Thursday as well as the three-day game that is scheduled to start on Saturday, with Hamley and this time Janet Gainsford in the score box on both occasions (E-News 382-2024, 6 March 2009).

The Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Chief Executive David Johnston said in a press statement issued last week that "it is a privledge" for the TCA and Bellerive Oval to be chosen to host the three matches between the two sides and mentioned Tom Triffitt who is the sole Tasmanian member of the Australian squad, however, no mention was made of the umpires and scorers who will be supporting the matches.  

In a similar oversight, the on-line score sheet for last week's TCA First Grade Grand Final on Bellerive's web site continues to list the umpires for that match as "not known".



South African umpire Marais Erasmus has been invited to officiate in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 series (IPL-2), says a report in yesterday's 'Hindustan Times'.  Erasmus, who stood in two first class matches in India earlier this year as part of an umpire exchange program (E-News 364-1942, 30 January 2009), told the newspaper that he had been "invited to India for IPL but that now [that series will be played in South Africa], it will mean that my family will see more of me".

Erasmus, who is a South African member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel and is in line for possible promotion to the Elite Umpires Panel in the next few years (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), has not yet been given his umpiring schedule for the fifty-nine match IPL says the 'Hindustan Times'.  

The IPL is due to get underway on Saturday week, the day before the final of the World Cup Qualifier tournament which is also being played in South Africa, a series in which Erasmus is also officiating (E-News 400-2126, 31 March 2009 and E-News 403-2140 below).

The same 'Hindustan Times' article also states that Indian's team selection panel will be involved in a range of roles during IPL-2 as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wants them "to keep an eye on the Indian players ahead of the T20 World Cup in England in June", the final squad being scheduled to be announced well before the IPL series ends.

The story says that one of the Indian selectors, former Test player Yashpal Sharma, "may be a IPL match referee", although Sharma "didn’t confirm [to the 'Times'] whether his posting is final".  “I have not received any communication from the IPL yet" said Sharma, as "the BCCI and the IPL governing council have [yet] to decide if they require my services".  

Following his thirty-seven Test, forty-two One Day International career with India, Sharma stood in eight first class and twelve List A games as an umpire, and worked as a referee in a single first class match, all on the sub-continent.




Former New Zealand first class player Chris Gaffaney, who only made his debut as an umpire at that level in March last year, is currently standing in the final of this season's NZ first class competition between Auckland and Central Districts in Lincoln.  

Gaffaney, for who the game is only his seventh first class match as an umpire and who last week worked as the television umpire in a Test match after one of the on-field umpires fell ill (E-News 398-2120, 30 March 2009), is being partnered by international umpire 'Billy' Bowden in the five-day final which started yesterday .  




Omani spinner Syed Amir Ali faces tests after umpires Marius Erasmus of South Africa and Neils Bagh of Denmark reported him for bowling some balls with a "suspect action" in his side's match against Scotland in the World Cup Qualifying series in Johannesburg last Saturday.  Ali can continue to play in the tournament but his home Board must analyse the bowler's action and organise any remedial action required, says the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Following another Qualifying match on Saturday, United Arab Emirates all-rounder Arshad Ali was reprimanded for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct in the game against the Netherlands, umpires reporting that Ali pointed to his shoulder in an attempt to be declared 'not out' when the Dutch unsuccessfully appealed for a caught behind decision in Potchefstroom.

On-field umpires Enamul Hoque-Moni from Bangledesh and Ian Howell of South Africa, as well as third umpire Jeff Luck of Namibia, reported Ali to match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka.  

Announcing the reprimand Mahanama said that "it can be very tempting for a batsman, who feels he is not out, to try to influence the decision of the umpire".  "However", he continued, "the independence of the umpire is vitally important and any attempt to influence him is contrary to the spirit of the game". 

Mahanama said that that specific principle had been mentioned at the captains' briefing before the start of the tournament so the players should have been aware of it.




The TCUSA's 2009 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to be held at Bellerive on Wednesday, 20 May.  During the evening reports will be presented by officer bearers and members elected to the Management Committee for the 2009-10 season.  Papers for the AGM, which is to get underway in the Premiership Room at Bellerive at 7.30 p.m., will be distributed to members by early May.






'Wisden' editor Scyld Berry believes that one way to fix what he terms "the funereal pace of Test cricket" would be to keep the fielding side on the ground until thirty overs have been bowled in a session, thus depriving them of their next bout of food.   Berry writes in the latest and 146th edition of 'Wisden' that "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" and that fielding sides who drag out play would soon become "unpopular with umpires who would miss out on putting their feet up, commentators who want their lunch, and caterers who want to sell theirs".

'Sydney Morning Herald' journalist Andrew Stevenson says in an article published this morning that while players have repeatedly been fined for slow over rates and captains warned, Berry thinks the way to win a cricketer's compliance is not through his wallet but his stomach.  However, it's not just captains who are to blame says Berry, pointing out that play was "disrupted" in the England-India Test in Chennai last December so that "a banana could be brought out for New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden".

Berry points out that last year the average Test over-rate was down to 13.79 overs an hour, or around eight balls less in sixty minutes that the International Cricket Council's (ICC) reported target of fifteen overs.  "It's appalling that over rates around the world haven't reached even fourteen an hour for so long", says Berry.  

The 'Wisden' editor argues that during play the boundaries should be sealed with no one entering or leaving the field in anything other than exceptional circumstances, something that would stop the frequently appearance of twelfth men on the ground.  Berry points out that although, in many instances, time is made up at the end of the day, that only increases the demands on spectators and is frequently not possible in the tropics where daylight hours are limited.

"It needs to start with each [national] Board sitting their captain down and telling them, 'Your job is going to be in jeopardy if you don't maintain the over rate'," says Berry. "And the ICC needs to sit the umpires down and say that 'It's your job to maintain the tempo and this faffing around, talking between overs, has got to stop' ".

Despite Berry's views Stevenson's article says that former Australian player and now commentator Geoff Lawson thinks the argument doesn't stand up. "I've just been in South Africa and witnessed some pretty good cricket and I didn't hear anybody talk about over rates once", he said. "It [has become] less of an issue in the last six months [a time in which] Australia has played six Tests [for] six results and five of those were in the last day".




Afghanistan bowler Karim Sadiq has been banned for one match after attempting to trip up an opposing batsman during his side's World Cup qualifier game against the Netherlands in South Africa on Monday.  Another Afghani received a reprimand in the same game for showing dissent at an umpire's decision.  

The tripping offence took place after the batsman hit the ball back towards bowler Karim and in attempting to field it he dived into the non-striker.  The ball went loose and the batsmen then attempted a run, but while on the ground Karim tried to trip the non-striker with his hand.

After a disciplinary hearing International Cricket Council match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka said in a statement that "cricket is a non-contact sport [and] players must understand that intentional physical contact of this kind is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated".

Following a separate incident, Karim's team-mate Mohammad Shehzad received an official reprimand and was warned about his future behaviour after pleading guilty to showing dissent at an umpire's decision.  Shehzad gestured with his bat to indicate he had hit the ball as he turned to leave the crease. 

 “Players must always accept the umpire’s decision, even if they feel a mistake has been made", said Mahanama. “It is one of the fundamental pillars of the sport of cricket and must be upheld if the strong spirit of the game is to endure [for] the issue is not whether a mistake had been made but rather the player’s reaction to the decision". 

Umpires Jeff Luck (Namibia) and Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal) as well as third umpire Ian Ramage (Scotland) reported both players to Mahanama who viewed video footage of the 'trip' incident before handing down his decision to ban Karim for a match. 




The ball went missing on the last day of the Third and final Test between New Zealand and India in Wellington on Tuesday after being unwittingly souvenired by a spectator, says a story published in the 'Manawatu Standard' yesterday.  When the Indian fielders and New Zealand batsmen returned to the field after lunch the match ball was found to be missing and play was held up until it was found.

The 'Standard' article says that the ball was "not with either of the umpires as it should have been and no one could find it", and a call was put out on the public address system to try and recover it.  On hearing the call the spectator who had it "put it straight back on the field" for she had thought it was one of the balls the players had used in their warm ups before the start of the day's play.   

According to the newspaper's report the spectator was chatting to a security guard on the boundary fence during the lunch break, saw the ball and remarked that it must have been used in pre-play warm ups.  The guard "just threw it to me", said the spectator, who kept it as a souvenir of the day, although after returning it she was said to be "mystified, like everyone else, as to why the security guard had the ball and [Australian] umpires [Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel] didn't".




Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza who was critically injured during the terrorist attack in Lahore last month is now at home and continues to make a slow recovery, although not fast enough for him to fulfill his hopes of participating in the Pakistan-Australia One Day International series in Sharjah later this month, says the Kolkatta newspaper 'The Telepgraph' (E-News 394-2088, 23 March 2009).

Raza, who spent nearly a month in hospital following the attack, is expecting the final stiches brinding his wounds to be cut in the near future and the final course of antibiotics he is on to end. He told 'The Telegraph' that he is now walking for ten to fifteen minutes in the mornings and evenings and is "happy" with the Pakistan Cricket Board's commitment to reimburse all of his medical expenses and pay him compensation for his injuries (E-News 399-2119, 30 March 2009).

The umpire is said to have expressed "disappointment" that the Indian Premier League has been moved South Africa because adequate security couldn’t be provided to that series at the same time as general elections in India (E-News 394-2089, 23 March 2009).  “I understand that the attack near the Gaddafi has changed everything in cricket, but it’s disappointing that competitions have to be held on neutral ground", he said.




All five members of Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) umpires' committee who resigned late last month are likely to be re-appointed to their positions, says a report in today's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper in Colombo (E-News 398-2112, 28 March 2009).  

SLC's new interim management committee is set to add a sixth member, Mahinda Halangoda, to the group, whose reasons for leaving their posts two weeks ago are yet to be explained publicly.  The members on the former umpires committee were its Chairman Ken de Alwis plus Vernon de Mel, Sudharman de Silva, Srinath Silva and Percy Perera. 






Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who turned down the offer of officiating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India last year for family reasons (E-News 208-1159, 13 March 2008), will take part in the second edition of the Twenty20 series (IPL-2) in South Africa, says a report posted on the '' web site today.  The IPL is yet to announce just who its umpires and match referees will be for IPL-2, although recent press reports have indicated that South African Marais Erasmus (E-News 403-2148, 7 April 2009), and a number of Indian umpires have been approached to stand in the series.  

Taufel, the International Cricket Council's 'Umpire of the Year' for the last five years, is being quoted by the web site as saying that he does "plan to attend the IPL event in South Africa and [is] looking forward to working with all the other umpires and referees involved".  Whether Taufel will be in South Africa for the whole of the six-week series is not known, one of his key concerns last year being the length of time he would have been away from his family, although he did stand in the much shorter week-long Stanford Twenty20 series in the Caribbean in October-November (E-News 324-1819, 3 November 2008).

Other reports from the sub-continent say that a number of Indian first class umpires, some of whom are yet to stand in international matches, are to officiate in IPL-2.  According to the '' web site up to seven Indian umpires had, by late last week, "received [an initial] offer [from the IPL] but [at that stage they had] yet to sign the official contract".  IPL officials are said to have asked those approached "to prepare the necessary documents required for visa processing".  

Last year the IPL used six Indian umpires in on-field slots, and another sixteen in fourth umpire positions, but only one, Krishna Hariharan from Delhi, was used in the final stages of the competition (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).      

Those mentioned as being linked to IPL-2 this year were Shavir Tarapore from Karnataka and Amish Saheba from Ahmedabad, who are both Indian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, as well as Hariharan, Vadodara-based Sanjay Hazare, Tamil Nardu's S Ravi, Shashank Ranade from Pune and Sudhir Asnani from Indore.  

Saheba, who like Erasmus is one of the ICC's 'emerging' international umpires (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), is currently officiating in the World Cup Qualifier tournament in South Africa (E-News 399-2121, 30 March 2009 ).  Saheba, Hariharan, Asnani and Tarapore all have stood in One Day International level, and the first three named have also officiated in Tests.  Since their debuts at first class level, all of which occured in 1992, Hazare, Ravi and Ranade have officiated in twenty-five, twenty-three and thirty-seven first class games.

A press release issued by the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association late last week stated that Asnani is to officiate in seven IPL matches "between 24 April and 21 May", although it did not inducate just what role he will be working in in those matches. 

Meanwhile, recently retired West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor wants to officiate in the forthcoming IPL series says another report from the sub-continent. The 'IPL Cricket Live' web site, quoted Bucknor as saying late last week that "if invited, I shall certainly accept the invitation [for] I am keen to officiate in the IPL”, but that he has "not yet [been] informed about whether he will be called upon".

The web site states that Bucknor has no ill-feelings about being removed from the Third Test between Australia and India in Perth last January after several contentious decisions contributed to India’s defeat in the Second Test in Sydney in January last year, the implication being that that situation would not get in the way of an IPL appointment.  However, Bucknor recently attacked the Board of Control for Cricket over his removal from that Test saying that its financial might was behind him being "sacked" (E-News 389-2066, 17 March 2009).

Seventeen umpires were used for on-field positions during the IPL's inaugural six-week series in 2008, six being Indians, three South Africans, two each from Australia and Pakistan, and one each from England, New Zealand, the West Indies, and Zimbabwe.  That group and four other Indians, the latter having only one match each, worked as third umpires, and at least eighteen locals served as fourth umpires during the tournament.






Teams playing in the second-division of the County Championship in the UK this northern summer have been asked to experiment with a new ball and journalist Simon Briggs of London's 'Daily Telegraph' thinks that it may have a significant impact on that competition.  Writing in yesterday's 'Telegraph' he said that "if all the advance warnings are true, and the [new] 'Tiflex' ball swings and nips around for the first thirty overs, we could see plenty of low-scoring matches in second division". 

According to Briggs 'Tiflex' balls were given a preliminary trial at the end of last season's County Second XI Championship, but critics argue that their use was too brief to show that they are ready for first-class cricket. 

Leicestershire coach Tim Boon is quoted as saying that he thinks "the jury is out on whether they are going to be the right way to go [for] we had mixed reports from the guys who used them" last year.  In addition Boon's batsmen were said to be "alarmed" after they took a batch of 'Tiflex' balls to South Africa for a pre-season training camp, the spheres reportedly "darting around" significantly in "the thin [high altitude] air around Pretoria".

Back in England batsman Mark Ramprakash is said to have found that bowlers who normally took the new ball away from the batsmen were suddenly making it 'shape in' instead. Another problem according to him is that "these Tiflexes are absolute rocks [and] my bats keep breaking into splinters".  Other dissenters like the Essex coach Paul Grayson apparently feel slighted that second-division games are being used "as 'Tiflex' guinea pigs", saying that "we are beginning to see that there is a stigma attached to second-division cricket".

But not everyone is opposed to the idea. "We had to do something to put some pressure on Duke's [another UK ball manufacturer]", said Angus Fraser, Middlesex's new director of cricket. "[Duke] balls just kept going out of shape last season [but] whether it was due to a poor batch or the size and weight of modern bats I don't know, but it caused so many hold-ups".  "Whenever a team went a few overs without taking a wicket they started trying it on to get a different ball from the umpires", said Fraser.

Fraser made the point that he had to bowl with different balls all the time during his playing career, "whether they were 'Dukes', 'Kookaburras', or 'Readers' in the old days [and that] being adaptable is just part of being a professional cricketer".

The first of the 2009 season's County second division matches are due to get underway in England this evening Australian time.  Umpires Steve Garratt and Neil Mallender will be at the Oval, Michael Gough and Trevor Jesty at Leicester, and Vanburn Holder and George Sharp at Chelmsford. 




South Africa's Marais Erasmus, India's Amiesh Saheba and Australia's Rod Tucker are currently vying for the two on-field positions in the main final of the World Cup Qualifying tournament next Sunday.  All three, who are part of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'emerging umpires' group (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), were allocated four on-field games during the second or Super Eight stage of the tournament this week, matches that follow a similar allocation to them in the opening or Group stage last week (E-News 400-2126, 31 March 2009).

The ICC's Super Eight allocations saw the eighteen umpires involved divided into five distinct appointments categories with the top trio's colleagues on the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Ian Howell (South Africa) and Gary Baxter (New Zealand), each receiving three on-field slots and one game as a third umpire.  Those allocated two on-field and two third umpire positions were IUP members Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Enamul Hoque-Moni (Bangladesh), and Karl Hurter (South Africa), as well as ICC third-tier Associates and Affliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) members Paul Baldwin (Germany), Jeff Luck (Namibia), Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal) and Sarika Prasad (Singapore). 

Zimbabweans Kevan Barbour and Russell Tiffin, who are IUP members, were allocated two on-field positions in the twenty-match Super Eight stage, while AAIUP members Niels Bagh (Denmark), Karran Bayney (Canada), Subhash Modi (Kenya), and Ian Ramage (Scotland) received one on-field and one third umpire appointment each.

Match referees for Super Eight matches were Chris Broad (England) with six and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka with fourteen games.  Mahanama's countryman Ranjan Madugalle, who is the third match referee named for the tournament, did not work in that capacity in Super Eight matches.

Eight on-field, and four third umpire positions remain up for grabs in the four final games scheduled this Sunday that will determine which teams finish first and second, third and fourth, fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth in the series.  The names of the officials for those matches are expected to be released after the last of the Super Eight games are played on Friday South African time. 




Brian Hunt, Durham's scorer in the County Championship, has been granted a benefit year, the first for a scorer at County level since Mac Taylor of Lancashire was awarded one back in 1965, says an article in yesterday's 'Guardian' newspaper in the UK.  Hunt recorded Durham's last match as a Minor County back in 1991, their inaugural first-class match in the spring of 1992, and their first-ever County Championship clincher late last northern summer, in a scoring career with the County that goes back thirty-three years.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials says that "it is especially pleasing that one of our number, [from a position] so often seemingly seen as the cricketing poor relation, is being recognised so publicly" by his County.

'The Guardian' says that "a scorer is as essential as an umpire to any proper game of cricket", and points out that the earliest inked-in scoresheet still in existence is of a match played in 1744 between London and Kent at Finsbury Park.  That game was played two years after artist William Davies painted the portrait of a Sussex scorer, "quill-pen in one hand, bottle in the other, working at his sums during a game".




The Pakistan Cricket Board expressed its "deep sense of grief" on Monday "on the sad demise" of the father of International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel member Aleem Dar.  Dar returned home early from the Caribbean last month for "family reasons" and was replaced as the 'neutral' umpire for the last three games of the five-match One Day International series between the West Indies and England by Australian Steve Davis (E-News 395-2097, 24 March 2009).

It is not known whether Dar will be involved in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) second season which will start in South Africa this Saturday (E-News 405-2147, 13 April 2009), or if he is, what impact his family bereavement will have on his participation in that series.  The Pakistani stood in five matches in last year's inaugural IPL tournament and as the television umpire in another two games (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).




Four "umpires from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)" are part of a group from the UK who are planning to stage a Twenty20 match at an elevation of 5,165 m on the slopes of Mount Everest early next week, say press reports from Nepal.  The two teams involved, named after the first two men to reach Everest's summit, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, have organised what they say will be the highest match ever played to raise money for three humanitarian projects in the north of Nepal.

The match is said to be the brain child of Briton Richard Kirtley who visited Gorakh Shep, where the match is to be played, three years ago.  He apparently thinks that that area, which lies just 200 m below Everest base camp, "looks like the Oval cricket ground" in London and promptly began "to dream an impossible dream" after his first sojourn there.  "The British have a proud history of being eccentric", Kirtley told the media in Kathmandu earlier this week, and "I am keeping up with the tradition".

The names of the four "ECB umpires", who are probably members of its Association of Cricket Officials, have not been mentioned in press articles published to date.  The players though are said to be aged between twenty-two and thirty-six and include bankers, lawyers and former policemen who all have what one report says is "a zest for cricket and adventure". 

Next week's game is to be played on "a portable plastic pitch" that is to be carried to the site of the match, and "pink balls are to be used so that they can be easily detected" against the rocky, partly snow-covered ground.




Former Pakistani Test umpire Shakeel Khan, who stood in twenty "rebel" Indian Cricket League (ICL) matches over three of its series last year (E-News 350-1872, 20 November 2008), has not yet been appointed to domestic matches by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the time since even though players and some officials from Pakistan who took part in ICL competitions have been cleared to play in "official" home series games.  

Records suggest that former first class player Khan, who went on to umpire 220 matches at that level, six of which were Tests, has not worked in a PCB-managed match since November 2007. 

The PCB yesterday appointed Abdul Rauf, an ICL-aligned masseur, to work with their national team in the forthcoming One Day International series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates, a move that the Press Trust of India described in a report as "a surprise to many" given fifty-six-year-old Shakeel Khan's situation.






Match referee Chris Broad from England is to provide a report on last month's terrorist attack in Lahore to the Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) during its two-day meeting in Dubai on Friday and Saturday.  The driver of the mini van that Broad and other match officials were travelling in was killed in the incident, Pakistan umpire Ashan Raza critically injured and ICC liaison officer Abdul Sami Khan wounded in the left shoulder, during the attack (E-News 380-2021, 4 March 2009).  

The ICC says that Broad, who will be representing all the match officials involved, will "relate his experiences of the incident, make representations and be available to answer any questions [that] the Board may have".  The Board in turn "will consider the implications of the incident for [it] and its Members in both the immediate future and the longer term, including any potential impact on plans for the 2011 World Cup.




An umpire was punched by a coach during an Under 16 National Cricket Championship match in Bangladesh yesterday, says a report in this morning's edition of that nation's 'Daily Star' newspaper.  The article says that umpires from the game have already reported the incident to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and that if found guilty the coach could be banned "for a minimum of one year".  

The reported assault took place in a match between the 'Discovery' and 'Jubo Kishore' Cricket Academies, Discovery head coach Shahjahan Shaju reportedly going on to the ground to talk to umpire Alamgir Siddiqui about a dispute over the use of a twelfth man.  The 'Star' quotes a BCB "source" as saying that during an ensuing "argument", Shaju "suddenly threw his fist at the umpire who suffered a bleeding nose and fell to the ground".

The 'Daily Star' report says that this is not the first time that "such clashes" have occurred on the cricket field in Bagladesh this season.  First it was the Bangladesh Boys official Ziaur Rahman Topu who "abused the umpires" at the City Club ground back in February during a First Division game, an incident that led to him being fined 20,000 Takas ($A400) and suspended for three matches.  Then it was Kalabagan officials who "hurled abuse at the umpires and the match referee at the Dhaka University ground" last month.

Despite it being in the newspaper's words "a season of heated exchanges", it described yesterday's attack on the umpire as "the lowest point" for cricket to date.  Its article claims that Shaju,a "former footballer-turned-cricket coach", has a "reputation of flouting the law", once says the newspaper "using the same batsman twice in an Under 13 game", and two months ago "he was seen slapping a player from his Academy".




South Africa off-spinner Johan Botha has been reported by the umpires for a suspected illegal bowling action during the fourth One Day International between Australia and South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Monday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that the report cited concern over two types of delivery employed by Botha, his quicker ball and his ‘doosra’. 

Botha will now undergo a bio-mechanical assessment of his action, however, he is eligible to play international cricket at the discretion of Cricket South Africa (CSA) pending the result of those tests.

This is the second time Botha has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action, the previous occasion being in January 2006 following the Third Test against Australia in Sydney.  He was suspended from bowling the following month when testing confirmed the suspicions of Third Test umpires Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and 'Billy' Bowden(New Zealand).

Botha subsequently underwent remedial action, was re-tested, and his action at that time found to be legal and he was able to resume playing international cricket.

Commenting on the report, CSA Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola said that it was "disappointing as Johan was cleared after working very hard on his action following the ICC finding fault before".  Majola said that his organisation "will stand by the ICC rules and procedures" and expressed hope that the results decision will be made known before the Twenty20 World Cup in England next month. 

The latest report on Botha's action was made by the two on-field umpires, Brian Jerling (South Africa) and Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka), along with third umpire Rudi Koertzen (South Africa). 



Alem Dar and Asad Rauf, the two Pakistani members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, may have been banned from standing in the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL-2) as a result of a decision made by the Pakistan Government, suggests a so-far unconfirmed report on 'Geo Super TV' in Karachi yesterday.  

The published story indicates that Dar and Rauf have been caught up in the government's move "to ban [Pakistani] players from participating in the IPL after political relations with India deteriorated in the wake of November's terror attacks in Mumbai" last November.

The television report goes on to state that by the time the IPL was relocated to South Africa last month (E-News 394-2089, 23 March 2009), the contracts Pakistani players' had with the IPL had already been either terminated or suspended.  According to 'Geo Super TV' the IPL "refused to include Pakistan players even after the relocation, claiming new stars had been bought by franchises as replacements".

As a result of that situation, the report states that "Pakistan's two world class umpires, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, were left out in the cold", phraseology that could imply that neither will be in South Africa for the coming tournament.  Dar's participation, particularly in the early stages of the competition, was in doubt following the death of his father earlier this week (E-News 406-2150, 15 April 2009).




Concerns that a new 'Tiflex' ball would see "plenty of low-scoring matches" in the second division of the County Championship were not realised, at least during the first day's play in opening matches in that competition played yesterday, with a total of 924 runs being scored for the loss of twenty-one wickets (E-News 406-2148, 15 April 2009).  Northamptonshire scored 6/297 at Leicester, Derbyshire 7/306 at Chelsford and Gloucester 8/321 at the Oval in London.






West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove and India Krishna Hariharan, who both stood in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) inaugural season last year, will be the on-field umpires for the two opening games of this year's IPL series which get underway in back-to-back format in Cape Town this evening Australian time.  The pair will work under Indian match referee Gundappa Viswanath and be supported in the third umpire's box by Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin, another IPL-returnee.

Vismanath, who is the brother-in-law of former Indian player Sunil Gavaskar, played ninety-one Tests and twenty-five One Day Internationals for his country.  He is no stranger to match referee duties having worked in that capacity for the International Cricket Council (ICC) in fifteen Tests and seventy-eight One Day Internationals between 1999 and 2004, and was the match referee for one IPL game last year.

Doctrove, a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), will be standing in his ninth and tenth IPL games tonight and Hariharan, a former Indian representative on the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), his seventh and eighth.  Hariharan was the only Indian umpire to be appointed to an IPL finals match last year, both he and Doctrove being the television officials in the respective semi-final games of the competition (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).  

For Tiffin, a current IUP member who has come straight to the IPL from officiating in the World Cup Qualifying tournament in South Africa (E-News 406,2149, 15 April 2009), it will be the second and third time he has been on television duty in IPL matches, and he also has five such games on the ground to his credit.  Doctrove and Hariharan had five and four games respectively in the IPL television chair last year.  

The fourth official for both matches will be forty-one-year-old Earl Henriske who has stood in thirty first class matches in South Africa since his debut at that level in 2004, five of them in the domestic season there this austral summer.

The IPL is yet to announce who its match referee and umpiring panel will be this year, although recent press reports have indicated that Hariharan and six other Indians, Australian EUP member Simon Taufel (E-News 405-2147, 13 April 2009), and South African IUP member Marais Erasmus (E-News 403-2138, 7 April 2009), will be taking part.




The Indian Premier League (IPL) is introducing a seven-and-a-half minute break at the half-way point of each innings that will be played during its fifty-nine-match second season which is to get underway in South Africa this evening Australian time (E-News 408-2159 above).  Those watching IPL games will now need to set aside an extra fifteen minutes for each match, part of the additional time being used to increase the time available for advertisments to run on television.

A report published on the 'cricinfo' web site yesterday says that the IPL is planning to market the added time as an 'innovation' by calling it a tactical 'time out', but journalist Neil Manthorp writes that "the fact that each innings will now come to a halt for seven-and-a-half minutes after exactly ten overs makes it neither tactical nor, indeed, practical".

Manthorp quotes an unnamed "senior production official" as saying that the break is in fact "a move that is driven completely and totally by commercial objectives" that is "designed purely to make even more money by selling airtime". That official is said to have continued by saying that "nobody could argue that this adds any cricketing value to the tournament or that it can be in the viewers' interest, either in the stadium or watching at home".

'Cricinfo' says that the seven-and-a-half minute break will see the stadium crowd entertained by a live band while television audiences will watch three, separate two-and-a-half minute segments, two of which will be sold commercially at a reported $A1.4m a slot. The third will show the teams taking drinks and discussing 'tactics' to add some validity to the argument for the 'time out'.  One of the two 'commercial' sections will have "mainstream advertising", while the other will be set aside for 'special projects' some of which may deal with humanitarian issues.

Last month the IPL signed a new $A3 billion, ten-year broadcast-rights deal for with Multi Screen Media, which operates under the umbrella of Sony and the World Sports Group.




New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe and his umpiring countryman 'Billy' Bowden were yesterday named as the two 'neutral' officials for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) between Pakistan and Australia that are due to get underway in Dubai next Wednesday.  So-far unnamed Pakistan umpires will occupy the second on-field and third umpire positions during the series.

The series will take Bowden's ODI record to 132 games and Crowe's as a match referee to 107, although as a player he was also involved in seventy-five games between 1982-90.  Possible candidates who the Pakistan Cricket Board could name for the series include Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf from the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel, and Zameer Haider and Nadeem Ghauri from the second-level International Umpires Panel  (IUP).

Dar and Rauf may be available if they are not involved in the Indian Premier League in South Africa (E-News 407-2157, 16 April 2009), but Pakistan's third IUP member Ashan Raza, is unavailable as he is still recovering from injuries sustained in last month's terrorist attack in Lahore (E-News 404-2145, 9 April 2009).  

The first two of the five matches is to be played at the brand-new Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium, the 172nd venue and the third in the United Arab Emirates to stage an ODI. Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium will host the last three games of the series.




Fayyaz Ahmed, a left-arm orthodox bowler with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was reported for a suspicious bowling action after his side's World Cup Qualifier tournament match against Canada in South Africa on Wednesday.   Australian umpires Rod Tucker, his on-field colleague Gary Baxter of New Zealand and South African Karl Hurter the third umpire, said in their match report that "Ahmed bowls with a suspect action which is accentuated when bowling the doosra [and] we therefore request that the necessary action be instituted to deal with this matter".

A copy of the report has been sent to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) which will now instigate an assessment of the bowler’s action and arrange for him to undertake any remedial action that may be required.  Ahmed can still play international cricket pending that analysis but he runs the risk of being called should the umpires concerned deem his action to be in contravention of Law 24.3 ('Definition of a fair delivery – the arm').

Following the assessment any findings of those tests will be added to the International Cricket Council's bowling database and details will be made available to all match officials taking part in international matches. 


 SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2009




Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Australian Rod Tucker, who are both members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'emerging' umpires group (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), have been appointed to stand in the main final of the World Cup Qualifier tournament between Canada and Ireland at Centurion in South Africa later today Australian time (E-News 406-2149, 15 April 2009).  

Seven of the eight on-field positions available to umpires in the four fifty-over One Day International format finals matches scheduled for today have gone to members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Paul Baldwin of Germany being the only non-IUP member to be selected for an on-field spot.

Erasmus and Tucker's colleague in the 'emerging' group, India's Amish Saheba, has been appointed to the third and fourth-place game between the Netherlands and Kenya, his colleague being Ian Howell (South Africa) and the third umpire Sarika Prasad (Singapore).  Gary Baxter (New Zealand) and Enamul Hoque-Moni (Bangladesh) will manage the fifth-sixth place match between Afghanistan and Scotland with Karl Hurter (South Africa) as the third official, while Baldwin and Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) will be on the ground when the United Arab Emirates and Namibia fight out seventh and eighth place, with Nepal's Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal) the third umpire.

Baldwin, Luck, Pradhan and Prasad are from the ICC's third-tier Associated and Affiliates International Umpires Panel, the other eight named for today's games all being IUP members in their respective countries.

ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka) will keep an eye on the  first-second and seventh-eighth matches, the latter "remotely", his countryman Ranjan Madugalle the third-fourth match, while Chris Broad who travelled to Dubai to brief the ICC Board on the Lahore terrorist attack on Friday (E-News 407-2154, 16 April 2009), will be back in Soutrh Africa in time to oversee the fifth-six place game.




The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), have agreed to work together and with a range of "stake holders" to improve the overall standard of player behaviour in UK cricket.  Changes planned include improved education for coaches and players, the publication of 'fair play' league tables, and alterations to the way disciplinary hearings consider evidence.

ECB Chairman Giles Clarke emphasised a few days ago the need to "take a strong line in maintaining or restoring discipline through the education of coaches, umpires and captains, imposing sanctions where necessary and taking a consistent, firm stance to ensure that standards in cricket are high".  

Keith Bradshaw, the MCC's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said"cricket needs to be acknowledged as a fully inclusive sport which insists upon and instils the highest standards of behaviour in players" and that his organisation “firmly believes that the responsibility for upholding the 'Spirit of Cricket' must lie with the captains".  PCA CEO Sean Morris said that his group recognises that "we all have a responsibility to promote the game in the best possible way".

Reports say that the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission set up a working party last year to examine the disciplinary and appeals process in the recreational game.  Chaired by Gerard Elias QC, that group recommended that the standard of proof in all disciplinary hearings be changed so that it mirrors 'civil' rather than 'criminal' law.  That move means that tribunals who look after ECB competitions will now make their decisions "on the balance of probabilities" rather than using a "beyond reasonable doubt" approach, a move that is expected to allow disciplinary cases to be heard, and decisions made, more swiftly than was previously the case.

The working party evaluated whether a system whereby 'red' and 'yellow' cards would be issued to badly behaved players would be appropriate , however, it rejected the concept.  Both the ECB and the MCC take the view that cards would undermine the role of the captain and his responsibilities under 'Spirit of Cricket' tenants, and that in addition in lower-level matches where umpires come from amongst the batting team, a card system would be unworkable.

Roger Knight, Chairman of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials and a former MCC Secretary and CEO, pointed out that the MCC decided nine years ago that  a card system was not the answer to ill-discipline and did not introduce them into the latest editions of the Laws.  “Those Laws were agreed by the MCC Cricket Committee, MCC members and the International Cricket Council [and] it is hard to see what has changed in the last eight years to reverse that decision [and] any statement or decision which alters that position changes the whole relationship between captains, players and umpires", he said.

Former England captain and now ECB official Mike Gatting, said that it is critical to "ensure that the correct standards are instilled into the cricketers of the future" and that the ECB will be working to that end via a coaches education program that provides 'best practice' and advice to some 13,000 coaches in England and Wales.  “Furthermore, [we plan to] published 'fair play' league [tables] within Premier Leagues [in order to] highlight the importance of good behaviour, [while] disciplinary committees will be encouraged to continue to support officials who report abuse".




Former Sri Lankan player and now umpire Kumara Dharmasena, who was elevated to a position on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel last July after just six months as a first class umpire (E-News 283-1503, 23 July 2008), will be standing in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches over the next six weeks, according to a story in yesterday's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper in Colombo.    

Dharmasena made his on-field debut as an umpire in an international in January, 368 days after his initial first class match, and has so far stood in five matches in the current World Cup Qualifier tournament in South Africa, and has been named for one of the finals matches that are to be played later today Australian time (E-News 409-2162 above).  However, initial scorecards posted on-line this morning for tonight's third and fourth matches in the IPL series state that the Sri Lankan will be working on the field in one match and as the third umpire in the other, although clearly he cannot be in both places at once.

Mark Benson of England, a member of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel is to stand with Indian first class umpire Shashank Ranade in the first of the double-header matches in Cape Town tonight Australian time with Dharmasena as the third official, the latter two swapping for the second game later in the night.

Former Indian Test player Yashpal Sharma, who flagged his possible involvement in this year's IPL two weeks ago (E-News 403-2138, 7 April 2009), will be the match referee for games three and four, while Murray Brown, a member of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) first class panel will be the fourth umpire.  




Racism "remains ingrained in certain everyday interpersonal relations and locker-room banter within English professional [cricket]", according to a recent study undertaken by a leading UK academic.   Dr Daniel Burdsey, a senior lecturer at Brighton University, says that racism is still present despite the "large number" of British-Asian players who play at the 'elite level' there, but that a "blind eye' is being turned to it.

Burdsey's study, which was presented to the British Sociological Association last Thursday and was reported by 'The Guadian' newspaper the same day, involved interviews with "a significant number of the thirty-odd British-Asian cricketers" who play at first-class level in the UK as well as "six British-Asian coaches".

'The Guardian' story says that many of those interviewed "suggested that officials and captains conspire to keep the problem out of the public eye":  One player is said to have stated that he'd heard of "instances of players being racially abused [by another player]" and that "umpires and captains have got together and quashed a situation and given someone a slap on the wrist and a word in their ear".  

Another player reportedly said captains and officials are equally dismissive if the abuse is coming from the crowd.  "You can go and the tell the captain, 'I'm getting some stick over there, stick me somewhere else or tell the umpire", however, the reply from the skipper is often something like "don't worry about it, it's nothing'".

Burdsey concludes that racism continues to exist in the upper echalons of the game in the UK without widespread condemnation from the victims because they "identify the existence of racism but are resigned to the fact that they lack the power to eradicate it".  In his view "there is also the perturbing belief amongst some minority ethnic sports people that there is little point in reporting racism because it will not be taken seriously and perpetrators will likely go unpunished".

Burdsey told 'The Guardian' that, despite this evidence, cricket is in many ways more inclusive than other mainstream professional sports.  "Many players pointed to the availability of halal meat at lunchtime, something you are unlikely to see at a football ground, as evidence that most cricket grounds are progressive spaces", he said.

Gladstone Small, who oversees the Professional Cricketers' Association's anti-racism campaign, said that his body had not received any complaints of racial abuse from any of its members for it operates "a zero tolerance policy on racial abuse and [we] expect all our members to abide by that policy at all times".




Shahjahan Shaju, the coach in Bangladesh who was reported to have punched an umpire during an age-level game on Wednesday (E-News 407-2155, 16 April 2009), has been asked by the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) Game Development Committee (GDC) to explain his actions, says the 'Daily Star; newspaper.  

Alamgir Siddiqui, the umpire concerned, has already forwarded his report to the BCB, but "because no video evidence of the [incident]" is available, the Board wants to hear the coach's side of the story before it reaches "a final decision", a BCB "source" told the 'Star'.  Aminul Islam Moni, the chairman of the GDC was quoted by the newspaper as saying that once "we have [heard from the coach] we will sit to discuss how to take punitive action so that this type of incident never happens in future".

Early newspaper reports on the incident stated that coach Shaju went on to the ground to talk to umpire Siddiqui about a dispute "over the use of a twelfth man".  Other reports now available suggest that the incident occurred when one of Shaju's batsman went out to bat but the umpire stopped him as under the playing conditions for the game he could only do so "after one hour and ten minutes or if five wickets" had fallen.  Apparently the batsman had spent that amount of time off the ground during the innings of the opposing team.




Two players who openly dissented from umpiring decisions in the final of the Wellington Premier League competition in New Zealand late last month will miss a total of six days play at the start of next season for breaches of Cricket Wellington's Code of Conduct, says 'The Dominion Post' newspaper.   

Eastern Suburbs players Phil Parker and Ricky Joseph, who were reported by umpires Jeremy Busby and Rob Kinsey, were last week suspended for four and two days respectively, while another member of their side had the case against him dismissed.


 MONDAY, 20 APRIL 2009



Simon Taufel, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is to make his debut in the Indian Cricket League (IPL) in the fifth match of its 2009 series which is due to get underway in Port Elizabeth in the early hours of tomorrow morning Australian time (E-News 405-2147, 13 April 2009).  Taufel, who rejected offers to stand in the IPL's inaugural season a year ago (E-News 226-1254, 13 April 2008), is the fourth member of the EUP to make an appearance in its Twenty20 series this year.

The Australian will be accompanied on the field at St George's Park tonight by South African member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) Brian Jerling, who was named for seven IPL games last year, five of them in on-field positions (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).  This evening's third umpire will be Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin and the match referee Gundappa Viswanath, both men filling those respective roles in IPL-2's opening matches last Saturday, while the fourth official tonight will be Shaun George a South African first class umpire.

Kumara Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, who was originally named on the pre-match score cards for the IPL's third and fourth matches last night (E-News 409-2164, 19 April 2009), did not take part, instead standing in the seventh-eighth place game on the final day of the World Cup Qualifiying tournament which was also being played in South Africa (E-News 409-2162, 19 April 2009).

Mark Benson, a EUP member from England, was accompanied on the field at Cape Town in the first of the IPL's double-header matches last night by Indian first class umpire Shashank Ranade, with EUP member Tony Hill of New Zealand in the third umpire's chair.  Benson also stood in the second match, his partner being Doctrove, Ranade moving from the field to the the television suite, Indian Yashpal Sharma being the match referee for both games.

The IPL is yet to release a full list of match referees and umpires for its current tournament.  To date four EUP members have worked in matches, Benson, Doctrove, Hill and Taufel, two IUP members, Jerling and Tiffin, and two members of India's first class panel, Ranade and Hariharan, the latter being a former IUP member.  The three fourth officials used to date have come from Cricket South Africa's first class panel. 




Bangladeshi coach Shahjahan Shaju, who reports last week said had punched an umpire during an under-age match (E-News 409-2166, 19 April 2009), was yesterday banned "from all coaching activities until further notice" by the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) Game Development Committee (GDC), says an article in today's 'Daily Star' newspaper in Dhaka.

The 'Star' article says that Shaju wrote to the GDC "expressing his innocence" of the assault charge, however, the BCB apparently decided to suspend him in the interim pending further enquiries by its disciplinary committee.  

As a result of that decision the coach has been barred "from all coaching activities until further notice", says a BCB "source" quoted by the 'Daily Star'.  That is said to mean that he cannot officially coach a team that participates in a BCB competition nor take part in any coaching course run by the Board until the investigation has been completed.




Ireland all-rounder John Mooney received an official reprimand on the weekend after kicking the bails off the stumps in frustration during an over he was bowling in his side's final round-robin match against Kenya in the World Cup Qualifier tournament in South Africa on Friday.

Moonie, who at the time of the incident had already been warned twice about his behaviour in the match by umpires Marais Erasmus (South Africa) and Rod Tucker (Australia), pleaded guilty to an offence under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct regulation that deals with "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings". 

After handing down the reprimand on Saturday match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka said in an ICC statement that "it is natural for players to feel frustrated or annoyed at various stages during a match but they must always behave within the spirit of the game".

"Clearly, John overstepped the boundaries of acceptable behaviour during this match and despite twice being warned, he did not heed those warnings and the umpires were left with no choice but to report him", continued Mahanama.  "Now that he has been officially warned [he] needs to be very careful he does not incur a similar breach of the Code over the coming year or the penalty could be more severe", said Mahanama.



Play was then held up for twelve minutes during the Indian Premier League's opening match for 2009 last Saturday when a dog made its way on to the field.  Efforts to remove it included trying to entice it with food, whistles, and attempted rugby tackles, all of which were unsuccessful, until eventually the animal apparently became bored with proceedings and wandered off, leaving the umpires and players to resume the game.  


 MONDAY, 20 APRIL 2009




Thousands of school children across England and Wales are to take part in a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)  'Spirit of Cricket' (SOC) coaching session this northern summer, the aim being to encourage the youngsters to appreciate the importance of 'fair play' in sport and life.  The drive to teach children 'fair play' comes as new research by the charity the Cricket Foundation (CF) and the MCC suggests that children’s enjoyment of sport, in the UK at least, is in danger of being spoiled by poor behaviour on their playing fields.

Wasim Khan, the CF's Director of Operations and Development, said in a press release that what is called the 'Chance to Shine' program "uses cricket to teach key life skills and values like how to win and lose honourably".  He says that its "new partnership with [the] MCC will reinforce in schools the message of playing sport in the right spirit [and] we hope it will help to develop the next generation of good sports".

John Stephenson, the MCC's Head of Cricket, said that the "MCC strongly believes that competition is good for children and that sport should be played to win, however, it’s equally important to have respect for all those involved in the game, be it the captain, the officials, the opposition or your own team.  

Stephenson told London's 'Daily Telegraph' that "technology had placed modern sportsmen under a microscope", for "on television you see every detail of what they doing on the pitch and as a kid you are very influenced by that".  The MCC hopes that its involvement in the program "will encourage children to try to win but to win fairly, and, successful or not, shake the opponent’s hand after the match". 

There are three core elements to the joint MCC-CF initiative: communicating the SOC message to children within schools; promoting intra-school competition; and organising three-day SOC ‘Super Camps’ in the summer school holidays across five England and Wales Cricket Board regions, the North, London and East, South West, Midlands and Wales.

Some 250,000 children, ranging in age from eight to fourteen who attend over 3,000 primary and secondary state schools, are expected to take part in the initial program this northern summer says the MCC-CF press release. They will receive "a minimum of two hours" coaching on 'spirit' issues, including viewing a specially-made 'MCC SOC' DVD, and each school will be provided with a 'MCC Spirit of Cricket Trophy' for intra-school competitions, an approach that is designed to allow children to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.

A recent MCC-CF commissioned survey found that just over half of the 1,000 children aged eight to sixteen polled said they "regularly see unfair play in [the] games" they play, issues mentioned including "sledging, elbowing, tripping, hair-pulling, feigning injury and arguing with the umpire".  More than a quarter admitted that they might even adopt such tricks if it helped them to win, while just over one in ten said that seeing their favourite sports star do something inappropriate would encourage them to try the same themselves (E-News 411-2174 below).

Launch of the new program, targeted as it is at 'grass roots' level, comes a week after the ECB, the MCC and the Professional Cricketers Association announced that they had agreed to work together and with a range of "stake holders" to improve the overall standard of player behaviour in UK cricket (E-News 409-2163, 19 April 2009).




England and now Indian Premier League (IPL) player and team captain Kevin Pietersen has received an official warning after objecting to his first-ball dismissal at the hands of spinner Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka in an IPL match played in Port Elizabeth early on Tuesday morning Australian time. Pietersen, captain of the Bangalore franchise, said after he was given out LBW by Australian umpire Simon Taufel that he believed that he had got a nick on the ball.

One media report says that Pietersen stared "meaningfully" at his bat after Taufel had raised his finger and the player was later cited for dissent by match referee Gundappa Viswanath from India (E-News 408-2159, 18 April 2009).  Pietersen escaped that charge and was instead found guilty of a level-one offence which resulted in the official warning.  Replays studied by match officials before the disciplinary hearing convened by Viswanath appeared to confirm Taufel's decision, say reports.

Pietersen, who was fined close to $A5,000 for dissent during the Second England-India Test in Mohali in March 2006, becomes the first player to be brought before an IPL disciplinary hearing this season.  All eight franchise captains, including Pietersen, signed an 'MCC Spirit of Cricket' declaration before last Saturday's opening ceremony at Newlands, pledging to uphold standards on the field (E-News 211-2173 above).

The IPL signed up to 'Spirit of Cricket' tenants last year (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008), however, there were a number of incidents during the series, the most prominent being the eleven-match ban handed down to Indian Harbhajan Singh after he was found guilty of slapping opponent Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008).




Australian umpire Daryl Harper last night became the fifth member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and second Australian, to work in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition, joining his countryman Simon Taufel, England's Mark Benson, Billy Doctrove of the West Indies, and New Zealand's Tony Hill (E-News 410-2167, 20 April 2009). 

Harper was named for two back-to-back IPL games in Durban overnight although the second had not got underway due to rain by the time E-News was published early this morning Australian time. Indian first class umpire Shashank Ranade was his on-field colleague in the rain-effected first match, his second IPL match in four days, while Sri Lankan Tyron Wijewardene of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was in the television chair.  Other IUP members to officiate in IPL-2 to date besides Wijewardene are Brian Jerling (South Africa) and Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe), plus former IUP member Krishna Hariharan of India.     

Former South African first class player and Cricket South Africa (CSA) match referee Devdas Govindjee worked in that capacity with Harper, Ranade and Wijewardene last night (E-News 411-2177 below), while another CSA official, first class umpire Earl Henriske was the fourth umpire (E-News 408-2159, 18 April 2009). 

Harper, who worked in twelve IPL matches last year, nine on the field (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008), says in an article posted on his personal web site on Monday that he does not anticipate it being as noisy in IPL matches in South Africa than was the case in the inaugural series on the sub-continent last year.  

Last year "we umpires were constantly struggling to hear any edges off the bat, let alone any messages via the walkie-talkies", for "the noise factor [then] was significant for us".  This year though he says, "the benefits may be offset by the marked increase in swing and seam movement of the ball, compared with conditions" in India.  

In an interview he gave to South Africa's '' web site on Monday, Harper said that the trials of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in Tests over the last nine months "have highlighted the fact that technology can increase the percentage of correct decisions in most games", however, "just how far that technology will encroach on the umpire's traditional role remains to be seen".  

Harper said that his concerns about the UDRS "are for the impact that reviewing decisions at international levels will have on the countless umpires who will never have the technological support available", and that he "would be disappointed if there was further erosion of the respect shown to the umpire, the opponent and the game".

The Australian said that the most exciting aspect of the IPL "remains the opportunity for young Indian cricketers to be exposed to world-wide scrutiny", but that "perhaps one innovation that could be introduced would be for every team to bid for two umpires at auction", although he quickly went on to say that "then again...maybe that's not such a good idea".




Former Australian player Paul Wilson who is now a member of Cricket Australia's umpiring 'Project Panel', stood in both matches between the Australian and Indian Under 19 sides over the last five days.  Wilson's umpiring colleague in the one-day, fifty over game last Friday was fellow Western Australian State Umpires Panel (SUP) member Todd Rann, and for the three-day match that ended yesterday Nathan Johnstone, another WA SUP member (E-News 327-1721, 10 October 2008).  

Wilson thirty-seven, who has a single Test as a player to his credit, made his debut as an umpire at interstate level in a one-day match last October (E-News 335-1766, 24 October 2008).  The first three games of the five-match series between the two Under 19 teams were played in Hobart earlier this month and saw TCUSA members involved in match management (E-News 403-2137, 7 April 2009).  




Port Elizabeth based match referee Devdas Govindjee, who media reports in South Africa say has been selected to oversee fourteen Indian Premier League (IPL) matches during the current series, made his debut in the League during the two games in Durban overnight Australian time (E-News 411-2175 above).  He is the third match referee to be used to date in the IPL's second season, the others being Indians Gundappa Viswanath and Yashpal Sharma (E-News 410-2167, 20 April 2009).

Govindjee, a former first class cricketer and more recently commentator, was appointed to Cricket South Africa's (CSA) match referee panel in 2006 and has, over the subsequent three seasons, worked in that capacity in twenty-one first class, nineteen List A, and twelve domestic Twenty20 games.  From 1971-83, the now sixty-one-year-old, played forty-five first class and a single one-day games for Eastern Province.   

Former history lecturer Govindjee, who believes that the standard of umpiring in his country is "of a very high standard", told South Africa's 'Weekend Post" that "words couldn‘t explain" how he feels about his IPL appointment and that he is "relishing the opportunity to work [and interact with] the top umpires, best sportsmen and coaches in the world”.  

In Govindjee's view "most people were not aware of the role played by a match referee during a game" and he sees his "role as one where synergy between coaches, captains, players and umpires was established".  “We monitor everything that involves the game", log all decisions made by the umpires, keep a close watch [on] and record over rates, ensure that the ethos of the match is maintained and "submit our findings to CSA".

Govindjee told the 'Post' that he is "very excited to be in the cricket world". “I am happy for the opportunity that South Africa was given to host [the IPL and that] people all over the world will be coming to this event and see for themselves what this country has to offer".


 FRIDAY, 24 APRIL 2009



Press reports from South Africa say that Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Lalit Modi is "not pleased" with the dissent shown by the captain of its Bangalore franchise, England's Kevin Pietersen, from an umpire's decision during an IPL match in Port Elizabeth on Monday (E-News 411-2174, 22 April 2009).  A disciplinary hearing held after the game let Pietersen off with a warning, and Modi has subsequently asked IPL players to behave like role models and uphold the 'Spirit of Cricket'.


Modi is being quoted as saying that his organisation has "a zero-tolerance policy on player indiscipline, and will take all necessary steps to ensure that the game is played in the true spirit of cricket".  "Every incident in [the] IPL is being closely monitored", he says, and "cricketers need to realise that they are huge role models for an entire generation of youth and it is crucial [that] youngsters [watching] learn this great game and the spirit in which it should be played".  

In its inaugural season the IPL ran a 'Fair Play Award', the winner being the side that, in the eyes of the umpires, had played fairest across the competition's regular league season (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008), but as yet there has been no announcement that a similar system will operate this year. 




The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is said to be "satisfied" with the training provided to it by Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program (GDP) over the last two years to improve the standard of both umpiring and player coaches there, says an article published in the 'Daily Star' newspaper in Dhaka yesterday. The two-year BSB-CA contract (E-News 28-156, 16 April 2007), which the 'Star' says was worth the equivalent of $A700,000, expired last month, and the BSB is now said to be reviewing where the program will head from here.

Ross Turner, the manager of CA's GDP arm and a frequent visitor to Bangladesh and other Asian countries to conduct training, was quoted by the 'Star' as saying that his group gave their "assessment [of training programs to] the [BCB] and [the Board] will take the decision about the next course of action", although in his view "there is no doubt that we needed this kind of initiative to improve the standard of coaching and umpiring in this country".

Aminul Haq Moni, chairman of the BCB's development committee, is said to have told 'The Star' that given the limited availability of cricket facilities and infrastructure in Bangladesh, caution is needed in assessing the effectiveness of the kinds of "high-profile" programs provided by CA.

"We have only completed umpire [training up to Level two]", said Moni, and while "the next course is Level three, we have to think about [the] sustainability of this kind of program" in our country given the cost involved.  Some in cricket in Bangladesh are said to be of the view that the true success of CA's two-year program can only be judged realistically when it is known how many participants in the courses continue in the game into the future.

The BSB's assistant manager of game development Ashfaqul Islam, told 'The Star' that changes had been made to the way course participants have been selected over the last two years.  "Initially we had to rely on district and divisional sports associations [to nominate] participants, but lately we have set out our own criteria for selection [and] interview [candidates] before the [they are chosen]".  

'The Star' says that a total of 345 individuals graduated from the umpire education program during the last two years, however, what the break down was between Level 1 or Level 2 qualifications was was not spelt out.




South African off-spinner Johan Botha has indicated that he is not playing in the Indian Premier League's second season because of concerns over his bowling action.  Reports say that Botha underwent tests at the South African Sports Science Institute (SSI) on Tuesday after umpires raised concerns about his bowling action during his side's One Day International series against Australia earlier this month (E-News 407-2156, 16 April 2009).  

The South African broadcaster 'Sports24' quoted Botha as saying “there were two or three [IPL] teams interested in my services, but they could not offer me a contract because of [bowling action concerns]. 

This week's SSI evaluation is apparently not an official International Cricket Council (ICC) test, but rather an internal one conducted by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to determine whether he is ready to be tested by the ICC, says 'Sports24'.

Indications are that the SSI will now send its test results to CSA, and that if they are satisfied a detailed examination will be arranged in Perth "as soon as possible", a time frame that Botha is quoted as saying that he hopes could be "as soon as next week".  

When his action was first cited in 2006, Botha failed tests during his first visit to Perth, and he then worked at the SSI as part of efforts to modify his action, then returned across the Indian Ocean for a second analysis which cleared him to rejoin the international playing circuit.

Botha hopes that there will be no further questions about his bowling action if he passes the Perth test for a second time.  "Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) and Harbhajan Singh (India) passed the test twice and their actions are no longer under suspicion [so] hopefully the same will happen with me", said Botha.




Two members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) four-man 'emerging' umpires group, India's Amish Saheba and South Africa's Marais Erasmus (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), stood together in the eighth match of this year's Indian Premier League series in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.  Mark Benson of England, who stood in two IPL games last Sunday, was the third umpire for the game, while the match referee was Indian Yashpal Sharma (E-News 410-2167, 20 April 2009). 

Meanwhile in the United Arab Emirates, three Pakistani umpires, Nadeen Ghauri, Asad Rauf and Zameer Haider, were involved in the first game of the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and Australia, which was also played on Wednesday evening.  Ghauri joined New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) on the field, while Rauf a colleague of Bowden's on the EUP was the television official, and Haider the fourth umpire, while Kiwi, Jeff Crowe, was the match referee (E-News 408-2161, 18 April 2009).

For tonight's second ODI match Rauf will join Bowden on the field, Haider will be the third umpire and Ghauri the fourth official.






A war of words is continuing in the press in south-east Queensland after three players from the Colleges Crossing side in the Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association (IWMCA) who were banned for a total of twenty-six matches for abusing umpires, made their concerns public via 'The Queensland Times' (TQT) newspaper last week.  Today officials from the IWMCA refuted the player's comments and indicated that they may face further sanctions because they went public on the matter.

The controversy started after Colleges Crossing captain Anthony Fowler was handed a sixteen-week suspension, and his players Michael and John Ridgewell received six and four weeks respectively, following incidents in a IWMCA semi final against Central Districts last month.

According to the journalist Jay Buchan, Fowler "remains in the dark as to what he did to intimidate the umpires", is quoted as saying that "the whole [disciplinary] hearing was a joke" and called his and his colleagues suspensions "pretty ordinary".  “I don't think the other two guys should have got anything", continued Fowler, for "whatever they got accused of they didn't do", and "some of the things [they were] charged with happen [in] every game".

Ridgewell told TQT that he was found guilty of using “seriously insulting language towards an official", however, he denied the charge, apparently claiming that his remarks weren't directed towards an umpire.   However, he is said to have described Mark Davidson, one of the umpires, to the newspaper as "third-grade at best", and that umpires have "had it in for [him] for a long time, maybe it's because I play my cricket hard".

In a second story written by Buchan that was published today, IWMCA judiciary chairman Les Kinnane and treasurer of the Ipswich Umpires Association Arthur Needham, said that they believe that the behaviour of Fowler was the worst they had seen in their long involvement with the sport.  

Needham said that the "three players went well beyond the line of accepted behaviour, especially Fowler".  “That the captain went completely off the rails was a disgrace”, Needham said, for "you expect a captain in the best and worst of times to hold his team together".

Both officials defended Davidson, Kinnane saying that "he is noted for his patience, tolerance and his rarity of reporting incidents".  Needham said that he was “one of our finest ever umpires” and pointed out that he is on the Queensland Country Cricket Association umpiring panel, and that you've "got to be good” to reach that level.  The pair fear Davidson could be lost to the umpiring fraternity as a result of Fowler and Ridgewell's comments and that other umpires may also be similarly discouraged.

Kinnane went on to tell TQT that the fact that Fowler and Ridgewell spoke publicly about the suspensions "may yet earn them fresh charges of bringing the game into disrepute and breaking their good behaviour bonds". 




Pakistan have been fined for a slow over rate during the second One Day International of its current series against Australia which was played in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand found that the side was four overs short and under ICC statutes its captain Younus Khan was fined fifty per cent of his match fee and his team mates twenty per cent.

Crowe said in an ICC statement that "Younus was warned on several occasions during the match that he was falling behind on the over-rates yet he still did not catch up".  "It is not acceptable for teams to bowl their overs too slowly and now Younus must be very careful it doesn't happen again in the next year or he will find himself suspended", concluded Crowe.



Pakistan's right-arm spin bowler Saeed Ajmal has been reported because of a suspected illegal action following the Second One Day International against Australia last Sunday.  The bowler was reported by the on-field umpires for that game, Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), as well as third umpire Zameer Haider and fourth official Nadeem Ghouri who are both Pakistanis.  

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement that in their report the umpires explained they had concerns over the player’s action and, having monitored it during the two matches in the series to that time, decided it was appropriate the action should be scrutinised further under the relevant ICC process.

Ajmal can continue to play international cricket, however, he is now required to submit to an independent analysis of his action by a member of the ICC panel of human movement specialists, appointed in consultation with the Pakistan Cricket Board.  If he is found to have bowled with an illegal action during the independent analysis then he will be banned from bowling until he undertakes remedial action and is reassessed




Eight umpires from three nations are officiating in the International Cricket Council's Under 19 World Cup Qualifying tournament for Africa which is being played in Zambia over the next week.  The eight teams in the tournament are representing Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and hosts Zambia.

Umpires for the matches are Kenyans Subhash Modi, Rockie D'Mello, David Odhiambo, Kutub Kulamabbas, Narendra Dave and Issac Oyieko, and the others Rafik Valimohammed of Malawi and Widon Lambe of Zambia.  Details of who the match referees for the tournament will be are not known.




Jay Mir, an entrepreneur from the United States, is planning to conduct a Twenty20 tournament in New York in October and a number of current and former players are said to have been approached to take part in the series, however, as yet there has been no word about where match officials for the series might come from.  However, anyone who might be considering joining the planned venture, which is to be called the American Premier League, have been warned against signing up for it by the International Cricket Council.