June 09 (431-444)

(Story numbers 2264-2312)

431 –  1 June  [2264-2267]

• Bucknor nominated for Presidency of Windies' umpire association (431-2264).

• Umpire recruitment poster to be circulated to players (431-2265).

• Fine imposed for 'dissent', match ban recommended (431-2266).

• Wicket falls on over's seventh ball (431-2267).


432 –  3 June  [2268-2269]

• Police investigating alleged umpire assault  (432-2268).

• Setting sun ends match, sparks controversy (432-2269).


433 –  6 June  [2270-2275]

• Bucknor elected as new WICUA President  (433-2270).

• Accused team denies umpire assault, hearing outcome awaited (433-2271).

• 'Accidental' 'beamer leads to loss of disciplinary points  (433-2272).

• No floodlights so Duckworth-Lewis decides result  (433-2273).

• Player faces 'lengthy ban' after 'altercation with an umpire (433-2274).

• Two Nepalise bowlers 'no balled' for delivery actions (433-2275).


434 –  8 June  [2276-2279]

• ECB umpiring standards could change IUP membership policy, claims story (434-2276).

• Life, multi-year bans, handed down for match fracas  (434-2277).

• Windies Board congratulates Bucknor on his new role (434-2278).

• Dissent leads to three-game ban, omission from national side (434-2279).


435 –  10 June  [2280-2283]

• Two weeks to TCUSA Laws school, revised format planned (435-2280).

• Slow over-rate fine for Australia (435-2281).

• Umpire abuse leads to ban from competition (435-2282).

• International umpire eyeing football role (435-2283).


436 –  11 June  [2284-2286]

• NSW scorer for Lord's Ashes Test  (436-2284).

• Officials named for World T20 'Super Eight' stage  (436-2285).

• Windies fined for slow over-rate in World T20 match (436-2286).


437 –  12 June  [2287-2288]

• MCC confirms six-saving fielding effort was legal  (437-2287).

• Bowler's actions during run-up queried  (437-2288).


438 –  14 June  [2289-2292]

• Announcement awaited on national umpire selections for 2009-10 (438-2289).

• Broad told to cease attempts to distract batsmen  (438-2290).

• Strong action taken on players' alleged 'Face Book' remarks  (438-2291).

• Umpire signals in phone company promotion  (438-2292).


439 –  15 June  [2293]

• Official rejects ball tampering query, say reports (439-2293).


440 –  18 June  [2294-2295]

• ICC names World T20 semi umpires  (440-2294).

• Six umpires selected for Emerging Players Tournament  (440-2295).


441 –  21 June  [2296-2299]

• Aussie trio for men's World T20 final  (441-2296).

• CA calls for 'Expressions on Interest' in UHPP membership  (441-2297).

• Llong named for Windies-India ODI series  (441-2298).

• Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate in T20 semi (441-2299).


442 –  28 June  [2200-2305]

• Referral system roll-out 'ticked', 'neutral' umpire policy for review  (442-2300).

• Day-night Tests 'unlikely' in 2010 says MCC, suitable balls still sought  (442-2301).

• Windies cop slow over-rate fine at 'old' rates  (442-2302).

• Praise for official's 'positive' contribution to World T20 event  (442-2303).

• 'Facebook' bans reduced by Appeal hearing  (442-2304).

• Appointments slip leads to rearranged semi  (442-2305).


443 –  29 June  [2306-2308]

• Koertzen named for 100th Test, 200th ODI nears  (443-2306).

• Five umpires appointed for Ashes series  (443-2307).

• Australian trio named for Lanka-Pakistan Tests  (443-2308).


444 –  30 June  [2209-2312]

• 'Prominent' umpire cheated in Laws exam, claims report (444-2309).

• Year's ban handed down for umpire assault (444-2310).

• Controversy over pitch state, World T20 final blamed (444-2311).

• UDRS against game's 'spirit', says former player (444-2312).











West Indian Steve Bucknor, who retired from top-flight international cricket in April (E-News 392-2081, 20 March 2009), could become President of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) during its 24th Bienniel Convention this week. The meeting, which is to commence tonight Australian time and run for four days, is being held on the island of Bermuda for the first time since 1993.  


A weekend report by Bermuda's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper says that Bucknor, who will be attending the Convention as a member of the Jamaican delegation, has been nominated as the next WICUA President by his island colleagues. 


Selection of the WICUA President for the next two years is expected to occur during the General Council Meeting section of the convention sometime on days one and two of the meeting.  The 'Gazette' story does not indicate whether anyone else from the Caribbean will be contesting for the Association's top position against Bucknor.   


Last month Bucknor worked as a mentor to top European umpires during the World Cricket League's Division 7 tournament in the Channel Islands (E-News 425-2243, 18 May 2009).

This week’s gathering on Bermuda is expected to bring together umpires from across the West Indies, plus Canada and the United States.  






The Tasmanian Cricket Association has produced a poster which outlines the opportunities and challenges of umpiring as part of efforts to attract recruits into umpiring ranks ahead of the 2009-10 season.  Recruitment of on-field officials was seen as the key challenge facing the TCUSA in reports tabled at its Annual General Meeting last month (E-News 428-2253, 21 May 2009).


Tasmanian State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows says that the TCA plans to e-mail a copy of the new document to every player currently on its registration list.  TCUSA members and others who would like to obtain copies of the poster for circulation to others, or so that they can put them up on club and other notice boards, should contact Widows directly.


Issue of the poster comes just over three weeks before the first night of this year's Winter Laws School gets underway at Bellerive, and one month before scorers gather for the first time in the lead up to next season (E-News 371-1976, 13 February 2009).






Match referee Abdul Sami Khan has recommended that the Lahore side's opening batsman Imran Nazir be fined ten thousand rupees ($A150) and banned for at least three matches after he disputed an LBW decision given against him in the final of Pakistan's Twenty20 Championship series last Friday.  


On being given out by Zamir Haider, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Nazir is reported to have gestured towards and hit the bat with his gloves, after which he continued to make "verbal and physical signs of dissent" as he walked from the field.  


The batsman pleaded guilty to a breach of local Code of Conduct regulations at a hearing held straight after the game and Khan has since reported the incident to the Pakistan Cricket Board which upheld the fine, but as yet there is no word about the recommended playing ban.


The same match saw Lahore fined 30,000 rupees ($A460) and their opponents Sialkot 40,000 rupees ($A620) for allowing persons who were not directly involved with either side's match day activities, access to their respective 'dug outs' while the match was underway.






A batsman dismissed in a club match in Wiltshire last weekend lost his wicket off what was the seventh ball of the over.  Tom Edwards, the Winsley side's opener, reportedly had no problems with the decision to give him 'out', and did no learn of what the local newspaper says was an "umpiring error" until he had returned to the pavilion and had taken off his pads.  


Writing in the local newspaper, journalist Iain Liddle says that according to the scorers at the game, they received no indication from their colleagues on the ground that a 'no ball' had been bowled in the over, and it was later confirmed that the official at the bowler's end had mistakenly allowed a seventh delivery.  Despite what Liddle calls "the aberration", Edward's side reached the target score quite "comfortably".








Police are investigating reports that an umpire was assaulted by "unhappy" players during a Sunday league cricket match played in Rotherham, Yorkshire, last weekend.  A range of media stories state that the incident occurred when the fielding side disputed a decision given against them by the umpire, however, South Yorkshire Police are still investigating just what occurred.


The alleged attack occurred towards the end of the game between the Sheffield Alliance and Bradford Shimla clubs.  The latter side appealed for a catch but the umpire turned their request down, and one witness quoted by the 'South Yorkshire Post' (SYP) is reported to have indicated that the fielders then "surrounded" the umpire and that he was "punched, kicked and hit with stumps".


The SYP article goes on to report, however, that the umpire "escaped serious injury after members of the [Sheffield] team used themselves as human shields", and that as a result the umpire's only injury was "some reddening to his left cheek".  Police are said to have indicated that three members of the Shimla team were speaking to them about the incident and that "no arrests had as yet been made". 


Both the Shimla Cricket Club and the management committee of the Sunday League were said to be unavailable for comment, but the league's web site lists the result of the game as "referred to executives".   A spokesman for the Sheffield Alliance club said that the "incident is being investigated by our league and we have been asked to provide information [today, Wednesday] to the league [and as a result] we cannot comment further".


Stuart Granger, chairman of South Yorkshire Cricket League Umpire’s Association and secretary of the South Yorkshire Branch of the English and Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials, was quoted by 'The Times' today as saying that the Shimia "club must be banned from all cricket and the players must appear before a disciplinary committee [and that] we shall be seeking to have them expelled".  


Former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird also condemned the incident and said that he hoped that strong disciplinary action would be taken against any players found to have taken part in the alleged assault.






A match in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League (NSSCL) was abandoned on the weekend when the the sun started to set just above one of the sight screens late on what was a near midsummer evening in England.  The situation that prevailed is to be investigated by the league committee amid claims that there was a "confrontation" between rival players and officials, say local media reports.


Umpires Barry Brereton and Peter Bucknall are said to have declared the match between Checkley and Ashcombe Park as a draw at 8.45 p.m. because the low sun was causing serious visibility problems.  With six overs remaining Checkley, who had two wickets left, needed a further five runs to win the match.

Checkley captain Andy Carr, who was batting at the time, drew the umpires' attention to the low sun, which was setting just above one of the sightscreens.  Ashcombe Park wicketkeeper Steve Proffitt had also complained about not being able to see the ball, while umpire Brereton, an umpire with twenty-one year's experience, was said to be unwilling to stand at the end facing the sun because of fears for his safety if the ball was hit quickly back towards him.


The decision to halt the game reportedly caused angry scenes on the sidelines and the umpires are said to have been verbally abused by spectators.


NSSCL manager Keith Tunnicliffe is reported to have stated that "the match will be investigated", that "the umpires have spoken to [him] briefly, but [that the league] will wait for their match report to be filed".  "We will look at all aspects of what happened and request the views of both clubs before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken", said Tunnicliffe.


It was Ashcombe's decision to reintroduce pace bowler Ahmed Hayat Gondal to their attack which prompted Carr to ask the umpires whether they could go off until the sun had gone down but he was apparently told "no".  According to him "it is disappointing, but I sympathise with the umpires because they have to keep players' safety in mind".  


Ashcombe skipper Dave Goodwin admitted his side were close to defeat, and understood Checkley's frustration.  But Goodwin insisted he and Carr had to shoulder some of the blame for allowing the match to drift on so late as NSSCL rules say games should be over by 8 p.m.  


"Me and Andy Carr were responsible for the slow over rate [and] as captains, we should have hurried things along", he said.  Goodwin described the reaction at the end of the game as "furious" the "like of which I've not seen in thirty years".


Brereton is said to have insisted that player safety had to be paramount.  "The umpires are in sole control of the game once it has started, and it was our decision to come off because we were responsible for the safety of players and officials", he said.


"One captain wanted to carry on and the other didn't, so we were never going to please everyone, but if someone had been injured then the blame would have been with myself and Peter Bucknall".  Brereton is said, however, to have stated that the match would have been allowed to finish if neither side had raised concerns.








West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, who retired from top-level international cricket in April (E-News 431-2264, 1 June 2009), has been elected as the new president of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA).  Jamaican Bucknor defeated incumbent Hartley Reid of Barbados by fourteen votes to eleven at the WICUA's 24th biennial convention in Bermuda earlier this week, according to a report published in yesterday's 'Jamaican Gleaner' newspaper.


Bucknor is the only change to the WICUA's top management group for the next two years for the elections saw Executive vice-president Anthony Lalacksingh of Trinidad and Tobago (TT), Secretary Vivian Johnson (Jamaica), and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Norman Malcolm (Jamaica) all returned.  In addition, Cecil Fletcher (Jamaica), Clancy Mack (Antigua), Billy Doctrove (Dominica) and Harry Mahabal (Trinidad and Tobago), were all returned unopposed as VPs for the WICUA's Areas one, two, three and four respectively.


TT’s Clyde Cumberbatch was reelected as Chairman of the WICUA's Training and Examinations Committee.






The organiser of a team in Bradford, England, whose side was playing in a game where an umpire was allegedly attacked last Sunday, has “spoken out” against claims made against his players, according to a story published in the ‘Sheffield Telegraph’ on Wednesday.  Umpire Matthew Lowson was allegedly punched, kicked and hit with stumps, according to the accounts of some eyewitness reported earlier in the week (E-News 432-2268, 3 June 2009).


Waleed Ditta, owner of a restaurant in Bradford that supports the Shimla team, was quoted by the ‘Telegraph’ as saying that “the whole situation was a joke and has been blown out of all proportion”, and that his side “had seventeen umpiring decisions go against them”.

According to the newspaper’s report, Ditta and others associated with his side told the umpire that the decisions made by him were “embarrassing".  Ditta is said to have stated that one of the opposing side's batsmen “was clean bowled” but the umpire is alleged to have said that he couldn’t give “that out because [he] didn't see it”, although just how the umpire actually saw the situation was not reported.  


Ditta claimed, however, that the umpire's alleged remark led to the Shimla captain saying “look, we have had enough, we are walking off”, however, Ditta stated that the only contact between a player and the umpire “was when a bowler accidentally collided with him as he was running up to bowl”, and that no kicks or hits with stumps were involved.


The ‘Yorkshire Post’ reported in its Thursday edition that the Sunday league’s disciplinary committee was to have met to discuss the situation that evening, but as yet no details of the outcome of that meeting have been made public.






A report by the BBC yesterday says that Gloucestershire fast bowler Steve Kirby has been docked three penalty points under the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) discipline code for bowling a second “accidental high, full-pitched delivery" in a Twenty20 match against Glamorgan in Cardiff last week.  


Kirby, who is thirty-one, was reported by umpires Rob Bailey and Vanburn Holder following the game.  Under the ECB code, the three points will stay on Kirby's record for two years, and he will receive an automatic suspension should he tally up nine points or more over a two-year period.






The Duckworth-Lewis system decided the result of a Twenty20 match between Kent and Sussex on Thursday night after Kent's second innings run chase was curtailed after only eleven overs because of the failure of floodlights during the day-night game.  Chasing 132, Kent were 0/61 in what 'The Times' said yesterday was "mostly gloomy" conditions because the floodlights were not available due to a generator fault.


Umpires Rob Bailey and Vanburn Holder consulted each other about the light at one stage but decided to play on, however, when Sussex reintroduced its opening bowler to the attack, they are said to have "reconsidered the situation" and brought the game to an end.  The resulting calculations saw Sussex win the match by two runs.






United Arab Emirates international player Saqib Ali faces "a lengthy ban" from the game after what ‘The National’ newspaper there describes as “an altercation and an attempted assault of an umpire” during a semi final of a Twenty20 competition in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.  Saqib was banned from playing in the final of the tournament the next day and he now faces further disciplinary action by the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC)


The newspaper’s article says that Saqib had a “heated argument” with square leg umpire Mohammed Asif after “an appeal against a batsman for a catch behind was turned down by the umpire at the bowler’s end".
 Saqib is said to have “grabbed a bail [from the wicket]and thrown it at Asif” but it missed and hit one of his team mates instead, after which the player was “hauled away” by his colleagues.


Wajahat Husain the ADCC’s new president was quoted by ‘The National” as saying that his organisation does “not tolerate such on-field behaviour from any player and [that] Saqib will face severe charges if found guilty”.  Saqib’s disciplinary hearing has not yet been scheduled, but Wajahat said that “we will take all the necessary disciplinary action against him after hearing from all those concerned in that incident”.






Two bowlers taking part in a national Twenty20 tournament in Nepal this week "were ‘no balled’ for throwing", says the local ‘Republica Sports’ publication.  The report says that while Nepali players have been “suspected of chucking” from time to time in international matches, it is the first time those taking part in domestic competitions have been called.


Buddhi Bahadur Pradhan, a member of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associate and Affiliates Umpiring Panel, twice ‘no balled’ off spinner Subhendu Pande because of his bowling action.  Pande is said to have “denied any wrong doing, and wondered how his bowling could be termed as chucking”, but Pradhan told the press that he believes an “illegal arm action” was involved.


At the other end Pradhan’s on-field colleague Binaya Kumar Jha, called bowler Naresh Budhayer’s first delivery of the game.  Budhayer completed the over but he was not used by his captain after that in the match.








The "rapid progress" being made by a number of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) "relatively young" first class umpires "could soon force" the International Cricket Council (ICC) to "build in more flexibility" into the number of umpires each of the world body's full member countries have on its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), claims a story posted on the ECB web site last week.  


Six of the ICC's ten top nations had two on-field and a single third umpire on the IUP until recently, the ICC's web site currently indicating that of the four others, England, South Africa and the West Indies have two of each kind, while Zimbabwe has no third official.


The story, which was originally printed in the program booklet for the England, West Indies One Day International (ODI) series last month, states somewhat surprisingly that "England’s two ICC [top-tier] Elite [Umpire] Panel [EUP] positions are filled by Mark Benson and Ian Gould".  Over the years the world body appears to have selected EUP members on the basis of their abilities rather than to a nationality-based numbers prescription as suggested by writer Mark Baldwin.  


Gould's elevation from the IUP to the EUP three months ago has left England with just one on-field IUP official, Nigel Llong, and Baldwin's story says that a "second English umpire will be appointed to join [him] for 2010".  Just why the ECB plans to wait until then to make a nomination for the second spot to the ICC is yet to be spelt out, although it may be in order to allow close scrutiny to be made of possible candidates during the current northern summer.


Peter Hartley and Richard Kettleborough currently occupy the two third umpire spots England has on the IUP, but Baldwin says the solid standards being displayed by the "likes of [Rob] Bailey, [Richard] Illingworth, Kettleborough and Hartley and Tim Robinson" plus "many other umpires on the ECB first-class list, may cause [the] ICC to review their [IUP selection] policy, especially as they want to appoint the best officials at international level".  


There has been no indication, publicly at least, that the ICC plans to change the number of umpires its full-member nations can nominate to the IUP, and any move to reduce the slots available so that another nation can increase theirs appears unlikely to be welcomed by the countries involved.


Interviewed for the story which was titled 'Loving the Umpire's Life', former first class player Bailey who played four Tests and four ODIs for England over a twenty-year career before being appointed to the ECB's first class list in 2006, told Baldwin that he loves umpiring, "most of all [because] you stay in the game, see top cricket and also see good young players coming through".  “Your lifestyle certainly is different in that, as a player, you play half your matches at home [but] as an umpire, you are on the road a lot more", said the forty-five year-old.


Chris Kelly, the ECB's umpires manager, is said to have told Baldwin that he "is delighted that recently-retired players are increasingly seeing umpiring not just as a natural next step but as a highly-rewarding profession in itself", a statement that if correct seems to ignore the fact that for many years the top umpiring panel in England was populated virtually exclusively by former county players (E-News 143-777, 27 November 2007).  


Umpires manager Kelly, who praised the opening up of umpiring opportunities for non-county players in the most recent edition of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) newsletter three months ago (E-News 398-2111, 28 March 2009), told Baldwin that he urged anyone who wants to get involved in umpiring, at whatever level initially, to contact their local County Board and ask to speak with their ACO representative.  


Opportunities for non-players who are good enough to officiate at first class level was one of the key 'selling points' used by the ECB when it was encouraging former members of the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers to vote for the ACO's formation almost two years ago (E-News 131-710, 9 November 2007).  


Kelly described umpiring at the highest levels of the game as "a very tough and demanding profession" for "it is a job which demands great awareness, focus, and astute man-management skills".  “Umpiring these days is becoming more of a science, and I find that the younger generation are very adaptable in taking new things on board", said Kelly.






Four players from the same side have been banned from cricket, one for life, two for five years and another for three years, as a result of an incident involving an umpire in a Sunday league competition in England a week ago, says a report published in Bradford's 'Telegraph and Argus' newspaper today.  The article by journalist James Rush says that the quartet's club may also have its league membership terminated at a special meeting that the league has scheduled for tomorrow evening in the UK.


Members of the Bradford Shimla side were last week alleged to have "surrounded" umpire Matthew Lowson after he turned down their appeal for a catch, and that the official, who was nineteen, was "punched, kicked and hit with stumps" (E-News 432-2268, 3 June 2009), although one of the side's organisers later denied such actions had in fact occurred (E-News 433-2271, 6 June 2009).  In addition to the multi-year bans, the league also suspended a fifth player from the Shimla side "from all cricket" for four weeks in relation to "a separate incident", although just what that was has yet to be made public.  


League chairman Basharat Hussain was quoted by the newspaper as saying that “we feel [the bans handed down are] appropriate because at the end of the day I think the cricketing community in general has been tarnished because of the actions of a few".  “What we want to do is send out a clear message that we are here to support officials and, at the end of the day, I’m hoping the cricketing community will see that [our decision] is within reason", he said.  As far as it is known no details of the umpire's report detailing his view of the situation that transpired have been made public.


Rush says in his story that the league's executive committee also "unanimously agreed" to forward a proposal to its member clubs to terminate the membership of the Shimla club for eight separate reasons, none of which were detailed, "with immediate effect".  Tuesday's special meeting will see league clubs vote via a secret ballot as to whether the club should remain in the league or not.


The 'Telegraph and Argus' says that the players bans will come into effect from next Saturday, unless an appeal is lodged in the meantime, in which case the suspensions will be deferred until the outcome of the appeal.  Hussain declined to name the four players who were banned until the result of any potential appeals is known.

South Yorkshire Police, who were called after the alleged assault on the umpire, said last week that they were making enquiries into the incident, but as yet there have been no reports of any charges being laid.






The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has extended its "congratulations and best wishes" to retired Test umpire, Steve Bucknor, on his election to the Presidency of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) .  Sixty-two-year-old Bucknor defeated incumbent Hartley Reid of Barbados in a vote at the organisation’s 24the Biennial Convention in Bermuda last week (E-News 433-2270, 6 June 2009).


WICB President Julian Hunte said in a press release that Bucknor’s "meteoric rise in the international cricket arena" and his two decades umpiring at the highest levels of international cricket was due to his "decision-making ability, honesty, humility and warmth".  “Bucknor was an inspiration and role model to many young umpires and the Board is naturally delighted that he has been provided an opportunity to pass on his invaluable knowledge and experience to this great game, while continuing to play a mentoring role", continued Hunte.


Bucknor worked as a mentor with top European umpires during the World Cricket League's Division 7 tournament in the Channel Islands late last month  (E-News 425-2243, 18 May 2009).  He has indicated to the press on numerous occasions that he wanted to work in that capacity in the West Indies, but as yet there has been no publicity on what the WICB may have planned in that regard.






Pakistani batsman Imran Nazir has been handed a three-match ban from domestic matches after he reacted poorly when he was dismissed in the final of Pakistan's national Twenty20 competition late last month (E-News 431-2266, 1 June 2009).  Imran, who was fined ten thousand rupees ($A150) for his misdemeanor, also lost out in another way because according to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt the "indiscipline" he displayed in the final led to him not being selected for that nation's side in this month's Twenty20 World Championship in England.


Imran was adjudged leg-before-wicket by Pakistan international umpire Nadeem Ghauri in the final and reports say that he "reacted angrily", "repeatedly hitting his bat on the ground", gesturing towards and hitting the bat with his gloves, and making "verbal and physical signs of dissent" as he walked from the field.  Reports over the weekend also state that as he walked past Ghauri on the way to the pavilion, the batsman suggested that "the umpire was blind".  Stories published soon after the incident stated that Ghauri's international colleague Zamir Haider was the umpire involved. 


Imran, who played eight Tests, seventy-four One Day Internationals and ten Twenty20 internationals prior to joining the "rebel" Indian Cricket League (ICL), had been cleared by the PCB to return to the Pakistan side following his resignation from the ICL.  While his former ICL colleagues Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq did make the national squad, Imran did not, Butt telling local media outlets that "the fine is not enough [for the national] team does not need such indiscipline from players who believe that they will find a place [there] after having paid the fine" and his inclusion "is not possible", concluded Ijaz.








The TCUSA's annual winter Laws School, which will be run over seven nights, is due to get underway at Bellerive Oval two weeks from tonight and plans call for a change in the way the event is to be presented this year.  The shortage of personnel was again identified as one of the key challenges facing the Association as it prepares for the 2009-10 summer at this year's Annual general meeting last month (E-News 428-2253, 21 May 2009), and members are again reminded of the need to recruit new members.


The format of the 2009 program will be a departure from previous years that saw a theory based presentation of the Laws followed by an examination.  The approach this year is to create more of a workshop environment where discussion is encouraged to pursue an understanding of why the Laws exist in their current format and what skills and techniques are necessary to confidently perform the role of the umpire. 


Instead of the course culminating with an examination to assess the participants' detailed retention of the Laws, each session will focus on a group of related Laws, their relevance to the game and how best to apply them.  Tasmanian State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows told E-News today, for example, that the program will start with a look at Law 3, 'The umpire', and investigate each of its fifteen parts to ascertain both the responsibility and the accountability of the role. 


After each weekly session participants will take home questions that cover the Laws that were discussed that night and be asked to research the answers in their own time.  They will then return their findings at the following week's session and an assessment will later be made of their submissions.  


Widows says that the approach planned is aimed at providing a more comprehensive understanding of the Laws of Cricket through considering their practical application and importantly, the consequence of failing to do so.  The presence of experienced umpires at each session is expected to "greatly enhance" the learning experience that is available to attendees.  


General information about the Laws School is available on the TCUSA web site under the button marked 'Laws School', and the home page of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's web site currently features a story about the course.  Copies of the umpire recruitment 'flyer' prepared by the TCA is also down loadable from that site (E-News 431-2265, 1 June 2009).  Queries about the school should be directed to Widows on 03-6267-1985 or via e-mail to


The TCUSA's Scorers’ Course will commence in three weeks time on Wednesday, 1 July starting at 6.30 p.m. and run over the following four Wednesday evenings.  Information about that course can be obtained from TCUSA President-Administrator Graeme Hamley on 03-6228-2582 or via e-mail at






The Australian team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its World Twenty20 Championship match against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge on Monday. Match referee Chris Broad from England imposed the fines after ruling that, when time allowances were taken into consideration, Ricky Ponting’s side was one over short of its target at the end of the Sri Lankan innings 


International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties require that players be fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, while the captain is fined double that amount.  As such Ponting was fined ten per cent of his match fee while his players received five-per-cent fines.


Last December the ICC’s Chief Executives Committee (CEC) said after its end-of-year meeting that it intended to take a “tough stance” on slow over-rates, its members calling for “stronger action against teams bowling their overs too slowly in Tests and One Day Internationals" (E-News 359-1916, 10 December 2008). 


That move followed similar strong comments made by Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland (E-News 354-1888, 25 November 2008) after Australia was fined for a slow over-rate during a Test against New Zealand (E-News 353-1884, 24 November 2008).


A month ago the ICC's World Cricket Committee recommended stricter enforcement of Laws 42.9 and 42.10 dealing with time-wasting plus a doubling of fines to ensure required over-rates are maintained in international matches (E-News 422-2227, 13 May 2009). In addition it suggested that if a captain receives three over-rate fines in the same format of the game in any twelve-month period, then the person concerned should automatically face a suspension 


In a tongue-in-cheek piece in April that referred to one-day games, the editor of ‘Wisden’ wrote that over-date issues could be quickly remedied if fielding sides had to stay on the field until the number of prescribed overs for a session had been bowled (E-News 404-2142, 9 April 2009). 






A team in New Delhi has been banned from competing in a local tournament next year after its captain abused an umpire in this season's competition, says India's Express News Service (ENS).  A local official was quoted by ENS as saying that trouble started in the game when umpire Anil Mathur gave a batsmen out caught after he consulted with the square-leg umpire as he was said to be "unsure at first" about the decision.  


Mathur is said to have refused to comment on just what happened but Vidya Jain Cricket Academy (VJCA) captain Naresh Jain, whose side was fielding, admitted to ENS that he did abuse the umpire "in the heat of the moment" and that "biased umpiring" was involved.  According to the Academy skipper the umpire "clearly denied" his side on three occasions before adjudging the particular batsman out and that even then "we were surprised to see him raise the finger as even the leg umpire wasn’t sure".


After the game Mathur reported Jain to competition organisers who after deliberation decided that the VJCA side would not be invited to the next tournament. Jain did not appear worried about the decision saying that it is "not going to affect me much for at forty-three I just play it for fun, but the boys will certainly miss [taking part]". 






Ian Gould, a member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpire Panel, is heading a consortium that aims to take over Burnham football club in the Southern League in England, according to a recent report in the 'Maidenhead Advertiser'.  


Gould and his colleagues are said to have yet to do "anything official" about the move and will not do so until he has finished his umpiring duties in the World Twenty20 Championship. In addition to having a career as a wicketkeeper in county cricket, a period in which he played eighteen One Day Internationals for England, and a decade as a county coach, Gould also played for Arsenal as a goalkeeper.







Merilyn Fowler, a long-serving scorer with the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), will be working in the score box at Lord's next month during the Second Test of the Ashes series. Fowler, who the 'Hawkesbury Gazette'  said yesterday had announced her retirement at the end of last season after over twenty years scoring at all levels and formats of the game, has been chosen for the Lord's Test on the recommendation of David Kendrix, a scorer with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).


Kendrix visited Australia in 2005 for the so-called 'Super Series' between the home nation and a World XI, scoring in the three One Day Internationals (ODI) and single Test match played during that tour, his colleague in the score box for the Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) being Fowler.  The 'Gazette' story quotes Fowler as saying that "when the MCC was looking for someone to do the Lords Test this year [Kendrix] put my name forward and convinced them I was competent for the job".


Journalist Brendan Rhodes says that such an overseas appointment is now "virtually impossible to attain" as scorers stopped travelling with international teams ten years ago and Australian scorers very rarely even leave their home State, let alone the country.  Fowler, who has scored in ten Tests at the SCG as well as "countless" ODIs, Sheffield Shield, one-day domestic, Twenty20 games and for the Hawkesbury Cricket Club's first grade side over the past twenty-three years, described her selection as "an absolute lucky break really" that is "still surreal" and "very scary actually".


The hardest part of scoring, said Fowler, was ensuring everything was spot on with all the figures that need to be supplied to the media on the fall of each wicket. "I'd be a liar if I said I hadn't made mistakes but it's finding and fixing them without panicking that makes a difference", she said.  


"Binoculars are wonderful and it's good when its televised because we can use the screen, and as much as I'm a traditionalist it was nice last season when [Sheffield] Shield players started wearing numbers".  In  her assessment the worst format of the game to score for is Twenty20 which she described as "a nightmare" and that she doesn't "know a single scorer that enjoys them".


Fowler is married to retired first class umpire Nick Fowler, who stood in ten such games, eleven List A matches and other games including a women's Test in the first half of this decade.  She resigned from Board of the NSWCUSA on her retirement earlier this year but has taken on a new part-time role as a scorer mentor, observer and selector, joining her husband, now an umpire trainer, in producing new officials.


She told the 'Gazette' that she has "never been overseas at all [and] only got [her] passport last week".  "People say it must be a dream come true [to officiate at Lord's] but it wasn't ever a box I thought I could tick because it's not readily available", she said.  "It is certainly unprecedented for me and there's no better way for to finish [your career] than [in] a Test at Lords", she concluded






Twelve of the sixteen international umpires that are in England for the men's and women's World Twenty20 Championships have been named for the second or 'Super Eight' stage of the men's tournament over the next five days.  Nine of the twelve are members of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), while the other three from the four-man 'emerging' group within its second-tier International Umpires Panel (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009).


South African EUP member Rudi Koertzen will be on the field for four Super Eight games, and his colleagues Mark Benson (England), Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Steve Davis (Australia) three matches each, Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Tony Hill (New Zealand) two each, and 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Ian Gould (England) and Simon Taufel (Australia) single games.


That group will be joined in the Super Eight stage by Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Nigel Llong (England) and Rod Tucker (Australia) of the 'emerging' group. Tucker will be involved in six matches in all, two on the field at The Oval on Saturday and Monday with Benson and Koertzen respectively, three as the television official and another as the fourth umpire.  Erasmus has also been given two on-field slots and single third and fourth umpire positions, while Llong will work as the third and fourth umpire in two matches.


The men's Super Eight stage will be played over the same five days as the women compete in the opening or Group stage of their competition, and in addition to their appointments to men's matches, Bowden, de Silva, Erasmus, Gould, Hill, Llong and Taufel will also be travelling to the west country to stand in women's games at Taunton (E-News 431-260, 29 May 2009).  


There they will join three other EUP members, Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Darrell Harper (Australia), Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and the fourth 'emerging' umpire Amish Saheba of India.


The match referees for the two tournaments, Chris Broad (England), Alan Hurst (Australia) and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka), will also be busy over the next five days, each managing a total of eight games, four of them men's and four women's matches.






The West Indies has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its World Twenty20 Championship match against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge yesterday, the second such censure in the tournament in two days after Australia was fined for the same offence on Tuesday (E-News 435-281, 10 June 2009). 


Match referee Chris Broad from England imposed the fines after Denesh Ramdin’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target at the end of the Sri Lanka innings.  Under International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  


As a result Ramdin was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while his players received ten-per-cent fines.








Sri Lankan fieldsmen Angelo Mathews' spectacular six-saving athleticism in a World Twenty20 Championship match against the West Indies at Trent Bridge on Wednesday has been deemed legal by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardian of cricket's laws.


Mathews was on the wide long-on boundary when Windies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan lofted a Ajantha Mendis delivery towards him. The ball's trajectory was taking it directly over the boundary line, but Mathews caught it momentarily inside the rope, then realising his momentum would take him over the boundary line and thus result in six runs being scored, he flung the ball in the air. 


While the ball was in the air Mathew's fell over the boundary and, seeing the ball was about to land over the rope and thus go for a six, he leaped up and hit back the still airborne ball into play where it landed just inside the boundary line.  The fielder then returned the ball to the wicketkeeper, the batsmen having completed three runs.


After watching several replays, third umpire Ian Gould from England informed on-field officials 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) and Simon Taufel (Australia) that three runs only had been scored.


MCC assistant secretary John Stephenson said yesterday that its Laws sub-committee had recently discussed fielding in such a the situation as prevailed on Wednesday and felt that "such brilliant and quick-thinking acts should not be outlawed".  The "MCC is happy with the Law as it is written and occurrences such as [Mathew's], while extremely rare, are good for the game of cricket as a whole", said Stephenson. 


Mathews's move was deemed to have prevented a six as Law 19.3 states that a boundary will be scored when "the ball touches the boundary, or is grounded beyond the boundary or a fielder, with some part of his person in contact with the ball, touches the boundary or has some part of his person grounded beyond the boundary".


The incident can be viewed on 'YouTube' by gong to:






South Africa captain Graeme Smith wants the International Cricket Council to clarify whether England bowler Stuart Broad's actions when running up to deliver a ball are within the spirit of the game, says a story distributed by Reuters India today.  The report says that on several occasions when "halfway into his bowling run-up", Broad has looked away and pointed, an action that can break the batsman's concentration.


Talking after yesterday's World Twenty20 Championship match between the two sides yesterday, Smith told reporters that he and his team mates Broad's actions "from the dugout and obviously discussed it", that he didn't "know what the rules stipulate" but that the "match referee and umpires need to discuss [what Broad has been doing]".


"Whether it is in the spirit of the game is a tough one", said Smith. "Bowlers are trying to find different angles in terms of getting an edge but it's probably best we leave Stuart to answer [whether its fair or not], bit it needs clarifying".  England captain Paul Collingwood is said to have indicated that it was OK with him and another way to gain an advantage in a batsman-dominated game.








Cricket Australia (CA) is yet to announce just who will make up its National Umpiring Panel (NUP) for the 2009-10 austral summer and the process appears to be running several weeks later than in the last two years.  Details are also awaited on appointments for this year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland next month, and whether any changes are planned in the make-up or structure of the national body's Umpire High Performance Managers (UHPM) group.


CA released NUP membership details for the 2007-08 season on 30 May 2007 (E-News 50-276, 1 June 2007), and last year on 2 June (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008), and while decisions may well have been made and contract negotiations be underway, just where the process is at this time has not been made public and those that might know are either not talking or have not returned E-News' calls.


The panel for 2008-09, which consisted of eleven men instead of the nominal twelve following the abrupt resignation of Queenslander Peter Parker just before that season began (E-News 320-1673, 1 October 2008), was made up of: Jeff Brookes, Andrew Craig, Ian Lock and Mick Martell (Western Australia); Bruce Oxenford (Queensland); Simon Fry (South Australia); Bob Parry, Paul Reiffel, Tony Ward and John Ward (Victoria); and Rod Tucker (NSW).


There were what to many were two surprise appointments to the NUP last year, with Martell one of the new members named having yet to stand in a first-class match at that stage, while Craig's career previously appeared on the wane as he has not stood at that level for well over two years.  In the two years before that CA made no changes to the make-up of the panel.


Oxenford, Reiffel and Tucker, were Australia's representatives on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last season, the latter two being promoted to or within its ranks following Parker's departure (E-News 251-1375, 3 June 2008 and 336-1770, 26 October 2008).  


Tucker's star has continued to rise since then and he is clearly seen by the ICC as a potential candidate for its top-level Elite Umpires Panel (E-News 436, 2284, 11 June 2009), and Reiffel has been awarded a national umpiring scholarship by the National Sports Commission (NSC) (E-News 369-1963, 9 February 2009).


That trio, together with Fry and Lock, whose appointments history of late suggests they are rated highly by CA, appear certainties for the panel for 2009-10 and most of the others are likely to remain as the number of potential candidates for promotion appear limited to perhaps two or three people, some of whom have either limited or, like Martell at the time, no experience at first class level.


With the EPT regarded by CA as a key stepping stone on its umpires development pathway, the selections made for it over the last two years should, if that system is adhered to in practice, provide an indication of the way the selectors are thinking in terms of NUP promotions.


In early June last year CA named six umpires from around the nation, including Tasmanian Steven John, to stand in the two-week EPT series, the others being Gerard Abood (NSW), Geoff Joshua (Victoria), Tim Laycock and Norm McNamara (Queensland), and Paul Wilson (Western Australia) (E-News 251-1376, 3 June 2008).  Laycock, a former NUP member, was replaced by Andrew Collins of South Australia before the series began (E-News 273-1465, 11 July 2008).


Abood went on to make his first class debut four months after that event, eventually standing in a total of three such games last season (E-News 346-1843, 10 November 2008).  Both he and John also took part in the 2007 tournament (E-News 66-360, 13 July 2007) and two of their colleagues on that occasion, Mick Martell and Tony Ward, were made members of the NUP less than twelve months after that series of matches ended.


Like Reiffel, John was also awarded, with CA's approval, a NSC umpiring scholarship earlier this year, but as has been the case for Tasmanian umpires over the last three-and-a-half years, he is yet to stand at first class level (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009), although he has worked both on the field and in the television suite in interstate one-day and Twenty20 games.


McNamara has stood in three EPT series in the last half of this decade and has also worked at first class level in the past, and he is another that could be in the mix for higher selection again this year.  Joshua stood in last year's EPT final with Abood (E-News 285-1512, 25 July 2008) which suggests the selectors were positive about his performance in that tournament, the New South Welshman also having the same role in 2007, his partner on that occasion being Martell (E-News 74-407, 30 July 2007).


Given the strong push CA has given to members of its 'Project Panel' (PP), a group that is designed to fast-track former players into umpiring ranks (E-News 65-355, 12 July 2007), it would not surprise if former Test player Wilson, who has been a PP member since April 2006, is again appointed to this year's EPT.  His promotion to the NUP in 2009 though would be a surprise to some observers, however, current NUP-IUP members Reiffel and Tucker were former members of the PP.


Jason Arnberger, was another former first-class cricketer who expressed an interest in becoming an umpire several years ago (E-News 60-328, 26 June 2007), but whether he continues to be a candidate for the Project Panel is not known.


CA moved to tightened its umpire management arrangements after a six-month review two years ago (E-News 9-50, 25 February 2007), however, within twelve months significant changes were again made and the UHPM-based structure was introduced (E-News 248-1367, 28 May 2008).  


The national body designed that group to play a key role in umpire development and selection but whether any further modifications are planned in personnel, the resources or available to, or role of that group, this year is not clear at this stage.


The four inaugural UHPM members named last July were former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair from New South Wales, Western Australian Ric Evans, and Victorians David Levens and Bob Stratford (E-News 274-1464, 11 July 2008), the latter also being the ICC's Regional Umpire Manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (E-News 261-1414, 24 June 2008), one of five such positions around the world.  


Hair later resigned pre-season and was replaced by former Test umpire Tony Crafter, a member of CA's previous selection group (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008).


UHPM members tasks last season included logging match data, mentoring and assessing performances, and together with CA Umpires Manager Andrew Scotford, selecting umpires for CA controlled matches and programs.






England bowler Stuart Broad has been told by the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to repeat his attempt to distract the batsman during his run up.   Broad was accused by South African captain Graeme Smith of looking away and pointing while running in to bowl in an attempt to break the batsman's concentration during the two side's World Twenty20 Championship match on Thursday (E-News 437-2288, 12 June 2009).


Smith is said to have approached the ICC for clarification and a meeting held on Friday between match referee, Alan Hurst (Australia), and the umpires Steve Davis (Australia) and Tony Hill (New Zealand) saw them agree that Broad's antics were "not an appropriate action".


The official's decision follows an attempt by England captain Paul Collingwood to play down the controversy by saying that the move by Broad was the way Twenty20cricket is evolving, while coach Andy Flower claimed the former South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock had begun the practice”.


Flower said that he remembers "Shaun Pollock doing that a few years ago", although "he didn't point to the left as Stuart did but he looked to the left as he was running in".  "He was probably the first guy I saw do it", continued Flower, "which is interesting [for] I don't think it's a huge issue, to be honest".


Neither Davis or Hill took action during the game although Law 42.4 of the Laws of Cricket states: "It is unfair for any member of the fielding side deliberately to attempt to distract the striker while he is preparing to receive or receiving a delivery".  Under the Law a first occurrence would bring a warning from the umpires and the second a five run penalty being awarded to the batting side.


Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) assistant secretary John Stephenson pointed reporters to Law 42.4 saying that the striker could pull away if he is unhappy and that the umpire can also intervene and warn Broad.  Stephenson said that he saw Broad "do it in a warm-up game and wondered when people were going to start talking about it". 


In Stephenson's view the 'Spirit of Cricket' (SOC) is "a bit subjective on this", and he was quoted as saying that "there’s nothing in the [SOC] preamble that precludes [Broad] doing it unless you consider it sharp practice [but] it is a bit of a grey area and I wouldn’t like to say the MCC are up in arms about it".  Players try things to gain an advantage [and] in the ideal world I’d say to Stuart Broad that I think it’s a bit unnecessary", said Stephenson.






The captain of a side in Wales has been banned for life and five other players from his club have been reprimanded for allegedly making remarks about other teams and league officials on the club's 'Facebook' account, according the Wrexham-based 'Daily Post' newspaper yesterday.  


The North Wales Cricket League (NWCL) management committee was told on Wednesday that there had been "severe breaches of its rules prohibiting derogatory" comments, however, just what those involved from the Llandudno Cricket Club wrote has not been made public.


Haynes Formstone, one of the NWCL's founders in the early 1970s, told the 'Post' that “sadly over the last few years I have witnessed a deterioration of behaviour both on and off the field and in many games I have seen undue pressure put on umpires, [something that is] seen all too often on television".  


Formstone applauded "the swift action taken by the NWCL to investigate this recent affair and I hope that they will stand firm when the full facts are known".  There is also a clear duty by club committees and captains to ensure that cricket throughout North Wales is not tarnished by bad behaviour,” he said.


The 'Daily Post' says that Llandudno captain Steve Smith was given the life ban, Ajay Dhawan, Jack Rimmington and Elgan Rees Williams are out for the rest of the season, while Jonny Gallagher and Mark Hughes were severely reprimanded.  All six players have the right of appeal.






A mobile phone company in Sri Lanka are using umpiring signals to promote the use of its service by locals during the current World Twenty20 Championship, a tournament that is generating intense interest in the island nation. 


Part of the promotion calls for the company's 'team members' to roam the streets of Colombo dressed as umpires making signals such as ‘out’, ‘four’, ‘six’, ‘wide’, ‘no ball’ or a ‘free hit’. The company says the aim is "to communicate product messages" such as the 'Widest [mobile] Coverage' through the 'wide' signal, which it says "is understood by most Sri Lankans".  

Just what the other signals being used relate to in terms of the company's products was not spelt out.









Pakistan player Umar Gul's devastating spell of swing bowling in the World Twenty20 Championship match against New Zealand last Saturday earned him a lot of kudos, but it also resulted in a fresh controversy regarding ball tampering.  The match referee has, however, rejected reported suggestions that any inappropriate behaviour was involved.   


New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori apparently raised the issue of Gul's bowling at a post-match press conference at The Oval, saying he had never seen the white cricket ball 'reverse-swing' after just twelve overs.  Press reports claim that Vettori later lodged a complaint with match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and asked that he look into the matter.


Madugalle, who is the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee and has 110 Test, 235 One Day Internationals, and twenty-four Twentry20 internationals in the role behind him, is said to have turned down Vettori's request, saying there was no evidence of ball tampering.  


Whether Madugalle discussed the issue with the on-field umpires for the match, Mark Benson (England) and Rod Tucker (Australia) as well as third umpire Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), before rejecting Vettori's request is not known.  The ICC has not issued a formal statement on the matter.


Gul took five wickets for six in what the media are describing as a "fiery spell".  Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam has described the reported ball tampering suggestions as "disappointing", saying that "Umar is a fantastic bowler [and] not everyone can bowl a reverse ball [for] you've got to have a special ability to do that".  


Pakistan captain Younis Khan played down the entire controversy saying that "Gul has a perfect action for reverse swing" and the bowler himself is reported to not be perturbed about the issue.


One media report said the matter "was an unpleasant reminder of events" at the same venue three years ago when Pakistan forfeited a Test against England after refusing to retake the field in protest over a five-run penalty meted out by Australian umpire Darrell Hair and his colleague Billy Doctrove of the West Indies (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009).  


Hair retired from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) last year, his career eventually cut short by the events of that day (E-News 341-1806, 31 October 2008).  Doctrove continues as an EUP member and is currently standing in the World Twenty20 series. 








The International Cricket Council (ICC) last night named eight umpires from its Elite panel to stand in the four semi finals of the women's and men's World Twenty20 Championships that are to be played in England over the next two days.  The world body is not expected to name the officials for the finals of both competitions on Sunday at Lord's until Saturday Australian time once the semis have been completed and the match pairings for the respective finals are known. 


Mark Benson (England) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan) will be on the field at Trent Bridge in Nottingham tonight for the first of the women's semi finals between India and New Zealand, Ian Gould (England) being the third official and Nigel Llong, another Englishman, and a member of the ICC's 'emerging' umpiring group, the fourth umpire.  


Llong's three colleagues in the emerging group, Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Amish Saheba (India) and Rod Tucker (Australia) have also been allocated fourth umpire positions in the four semi finals.


That game will be followed immediately after by the first men's semi between South Africa and Pakistan, Steve Davis (Australia) and 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) being on the field, with Australian Simon Taufel as the third umpire and Tucker the fourth. The match referee for both of the men's and women's games tonight will be Chris Broad of England.


Overnight Friday-Saturday Australian time will see another set of semis, this time at The Oval in London, the women's match being between Australia and England and the men's Sri Lanka and the West Indies.  


Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Tony Hill (New Zealand) will look after the women's game with Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva as the third official and Erasmus the fourth.  The on-field umpires for the men's game will be Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Rudi Koertzen (Australia) with Australian Daryl Harper in the television suite and Saheba the fourth umpire.  The match referee for both games at The Oval will be Australian Alan Hurst.


Match officials for the two finals at Lord's on Sunday have yet to be named, however, all the indications are that Australian Simon Taufel will be standing in the men's final.  The ICC's neutral umpire policy means that his colleague for that game will very much depend on just which teams make the final.  


If South Africa is there for the men's decider Koertzen would be ruled out, Pakistan's presence would mean that Dar and Rauf would be ineligible, the same applying to Doctrove should the West Indies make it to the championship decider.  If Australia, England, India or New Zealand reach the women's final that would rule out umpires from those countries for that match.


With pundits tipping a men's final between South Africa and Sri Lanka, such a pairing would most likely see Taufel and Dar on the field.  






Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named six umpires from five states to stand in this year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland late next month .  The EPT is seen by the national body as a key part of its emerging umpires program, those selected being regarded as potential candidates for selection to the National Umpires Panel, possibly as early as this year (E-News 438-2289, 14 June 2009).


Those selected this year are Ashley Barrow and Geoff Joshua (Victoria), Steven John (Tasmania), Norm McNamara (Queensland), Andrew Willoughby (South Australia) and Paul Wilson (Western Australia).  Barrow is the only one of those selected who will be taking part in the series for the first time, its being McNamara's fourth, John's third and Joshua and Wilson's second .


During the tournament the six will, in addition to their on-field duties, attend a series of professional development workshops.  CA says that that program will be overseen by Denis Burns its Umpire Educator since January this year (E-News 357-1901, 5 December 2008), and will also be attended by members of the Umpire High Performance Panel.








Three Australians have been named to umpire the World Twenty20 Championship final between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Lord's today.  Simon Taufel and Daryl Harper of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel will be on the field for the game while Steve Davis will be in the television chair, Kiwi 'Billy Bowden the fourth official and Chris Broad of England will be the match referee.


Taufel will be standing in his second World T20 tournament final, the first being the inaugural Championship in September 2007, Mark Benson of England being his on-field partner for that game while Harper was the third umpire (E-News 103-566, 24 September 2007).


The inaugural women's final between England and New Zealand, which will be played immediately prior to the men's match, will be looked after by Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Aleem Dar (Pakistan), the latter's countryman Asad Rauf being the third umpire and Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) the fourth, with another Australian official, Alan Hurst, the match referee.


Harper indicates on his web site that he has been appointed to stand in the First Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Galle early next month.  The ICC is yet to make an official announcement on who the match officials for the three-Test series between the two teams will be. 






Cricket Australia (CA) called for expressions of interest for membership of its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) late last week, submissions from those interested being due in eight days time.  CA established the panel twelve months ago with four men making up the group for the 2008-09 season (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008).


The national body indicated last week that UHPP members will be present at the 2009 Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland in four weeks time (E-News 440-2295, 18 June 2009).  Despite a similarly tight timetable last year it managed to establish the inaugural panel in time for them to be present at the EPT (E-News 274-1464, 11 July 2008). 






Nigel Llong of England, one of the four 'emerging' umpires named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this year, has been appointed to stand in the four-match One Day International (ODI) series between the West Indies and India in the Caribbean.  Chris Broad from England will be the match referee..... 


The series will take Llong's ODI record to twenty-eight matches, but will be his first in the West Indies, previous games being in England, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.  Llong will be partnered in the four games by West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  The West Indies Cricket Board is yet to name those officials for the series.






The Sri Lanka team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its World Twenty20 Championship semi final match against the West Indies at The Oval on Friday.  Match referee Alan Hurst imposed the fines after Kumar Sangakkara's side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the West Indies innings .


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


The fine is the third such censure in the T20 Championship after both Australia (E-News 435-2281, 10 June 2009) and the West Indies (E-News 436-2286, 11 June 2009).








The International Cricket Council (ICC) formally agreed to roll out the Umpire Decision Referral System in Tests on Wednesday, thus adopting a recommendation made by its Cricket Committee last month that the system should be phased in from October this year (E-News 422-2225, 13 May 2009).  Decisions were also taken to examine the world body's 'neutral' umpire policy, look at trial day-night Tests, double player fines for slow over-rates, introduce stricter penalties for "poor quality" pitches, and give umpires responsibility for stopping play when bad light prevails. 


In somewhat of a surprise given its steady policy of recent years, the ICC plans to "survey" the opinions of both players and umpires as to whether two 'neutral' umpires should continue to be appointed to Tests and one for One Day Internationals (ODI).  The current policy is to remain in place for now, however, the world body's Cricket Committee is to consider the feedback received from the survey at its 2010 annual meeting in May.


Opinions appear to be divided on the 'neutral' policy.  Australian Simon Taufel, the ICC's top umpire for the last five years, told a television interviewer in his home country in 2007 that in his view the best umpires available should be appointed to "important matches" and the neutral umpires policy rescinded (E-News 42-233, 20 May 2007).  Former Australian players Keith Stackpole and Steve Waugh are among others who have expressed similar views (E-News 168-900, 4 January 2008).  


Around the same time, however, Cricket Australia reaffirmed its support for the current policy (E-News 45-248, 24 May 2007), as did Taufel's countryman and ICC umpiring colleague Daryl Harper (E-News 34-190, 30 April 2007), and the then Chairman of its Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar (E-News 41-228, 17 May 2007).  


The ICC Board also agreed last week to explore the possibility of day-night Test cricket but said factors such as finding an appropriate ball, research on whether or not it was what stakeholders want, and successful trials at first-class level, should be met before any decision is taken to proceed with the concept. 


"Providing these factors [can] be satisfactorily addressed over the coming months then the [ICC's] Cricket Committee agreed the concept could be explored further", said the ICC in a statement. "This could involve [that] committee receiving an update at the start of 2010 and, if appropriate, a day-night Test could be trialed later that year" provided it was then approved at Board level, it said.  


Despite the latter comment, however, both the Marylebone Cricket Club and Cricket Australia have recently given indications that they feel it is unlikely that a day-night Test will be played next year (E-News 422-2301 below). 


On the issue of slow over-rates the ICC says that related fines imposed under its Code of Conduct will be doubled and that a captain of a side involved in three such fines in the same format of the game in a rolling twelve-month period "should be", not must be, automatically banned for his side's next match in that form of the game (E-News 422-2227, 13 May 2009). 


Two days after the meeting at Lord's the West Indies side were fined for maintaining a slow over-rate in a ODI it played against India in Jamaica, however, the penalty imposed was at the "old" rate (E-News 422-2302 below).  


In making its comments on slow play issues, the ICC Board also said that its member nations should be far more diligent in ensuring delays within their control, such as sightscreen issues, are minimised.  In addition team over-rates, including permitted allowances, are required to be displayed on scoreboards to ensure everyone is aware of the situation at all times.  


Match officials will also be expected to enforce the Laws and playing conditions so that delays are reduced to a minimum, especially matters that centre around unscheduled drinks breaks.


Among other decisions, the ICC ruled that stricter penalties should be imposed on Boards and venues found guilty of producing pitches considered "poor" or "unfit" for international matches, the term "poor" also including batsmen-friendly "featherbed" surfaces which, it was felt, were a serious threat to the game. 


The committee also decided that play should only be suspended for bad light in internationals when umpires considered conditions unreasonable or dangerous, rather than as is currently the case, unsuitable, and that the umpires would make that decision rather than offer the batsmen the option to choose.






A day-night Test is "unlikely" to be played next year because it is proving to be a "struggle to find the right ball" says Keith Bradshaw, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer.  Bradshaw comments were run in an article in 'The Age' in Melbourne last week before the International Cricket Council's latest announcement on the issue (E-News 422-2300 above), the same story also reporting that Cricket Australia (CA) is planning to trial a variety of coloured balls during a "mock match" under lights next austral summer.


Finding a suitable ball that is easily visible under lights and behaves like a traditional red ball has been the major stumbling block in plans for day-night Tests.  In March, a meeting of "experts" from around the world was held at Lord's as part of on-going attempts to find such a ball (E-News 386-2056, 12 March 2009), however, while details of the outcomes of that gathering were not made public, it was clear that the quest was not going as quickly as was originally hoped (E-News 395-2099, 24 March 2009). 


The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the MCC had been hoping that next May's England-Bangladesh Test at Lord's would be played as a day-night game (E-News 399-2118, 30 March 2009), however, Bradshaw was quoted in last week's 'Age' article as saying that "the reality is we won't have had time to finish the research on the ball and we won't have had time to do the trial with a county match this [northern summer]".  


CA's proposed "mock match" trial of a variety of coloured balls is expected to be played at either the Melbourne or Sydney Cricket Grounds, says 'The Age'.  Yellow, lime green, white and pink balls are said to be among the colours that could be used, both CA and the MCC having conducted trials with the latter colour over the last eighteen months but the results obtained have apparently varied too much (E-News 266-1434, 30 June 2008). 


'The Age' quotes Brown as saying that "ideally, we would like to get some players along, get the cameras [from Australia's Channel Nine] along, turn on the lights and see if we can have a game of cricket for an hour".  Despite the plan Brown emphasised that "we're still a fair way away [from a day-night Test] but we're moving forward", a far cry from remarks made by senior officials from both CA and the International Cricket Council late last year that a day-night Test was a possibility in 2009 (E-News 343-1817, 5 November 2008).


Meanwhile, former Australian player Adam Gilchrist spoke out against the potential advent of day-night Tests during his Cowdrey Lecture presentation to an MCC audience at Lord's last Wednesday, saying that "many of cricket’s innovations should be applied only in the shorter forms of the game".


 “My personal experience nearly fifteen years ago with night Sheffield Shield cricket was that it struggled because of the very different playing conditions between day and night", said Gilchrist.  “Often it made for an unfair contest, especially when batting, which always seemed much more difficult late in the evening than earlier in the afternoon", he said.


Gilchrist went on to indicate that while Test cricket could be “fine tuned" a little, "fundamental changes" should not be made.  "You don’t see the London Philharmonic doing a rappers’ remix of Beethoven’s Fifth, so why should cricket do the same with its masterpiece?”, he concluded. 


In flagging the potential delay to day-night Tests Bradshaw apparently said that he thinks such games are "only something you would do now and again, and England-Bangladesh to be honest was an attractive Test because the fact is we won't have huge numbers coming to that match".  


That appears to fly in the face of commercial reality, for should such a concept eventually be successfully proved, a push is likely from some adminstrators to take full advantage of any financial potential that might be result.






The West Indies has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first One Day International against India at Kingston, Jamaica on Friday.  Match referee Chris Broad of England imposed the fines after Chris Gayle’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target at the end of India's innings when time allowances were taken into consideration.


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


Friday's fine was the second that the West Indies side has received in the last two weeks, the first being during the Twenty20 World Championship in England (E-News 436-2286, 11 June 2009).  Australia (E-News 435-2281, 10 June 2009), and Sri Lanka (E-News 421-2299, 21 June 2009), were also censured for slow over-rates during that tournament.


Two days before the Windies-India match last Friday the ICC Board agreed to adopt a recommendation made by its Cricket Committee last month that stricter penalties be introduced for slow over-rates (E-News 422-2300 above).  


Had that new arrangement been in place for the game in Jamaica, Gayle would have been fined forty per cent of his match fee and his players twenty per cent each.  As captain Gayle would also have faced a one-match ban should his side be charged twice more for the same offence in the same form of the game in the following twelve months.


There is no indication as yet as to when the ICC's tightening of slow over-rate penalties will come into affect. 






The International Cricket Council (ICC) has praised the behaviour of the players and the positive influence of match officials during the World Twenty20 Championship played in England this month.  ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Haroon Lorgat said in a statement last week that throughout both the men's and women's tournaments there were no "formal" Code of Conduct incidents reported against any of the players in the twenty teams involved. 


Lorgat said that while "we talk a lot about the 'Spirit of Cricket' and what it means to our sport, ultimately it is down to the players to conduct themselves in the best manner and I have been very impressed with their contributions in that regard".  "The spirit of this tournament has been one of [its greatest] aspects", said Lorgat. 


"Sometimes when the heat is on and a tense battle is unfolding, there is a tendency for players to lose their cool but that just didn't happen this time".  "It is great for the image of the game and how it is perceived by the wider public that this unique spirit is maintained", he added. 


Lorgat also paid tribute to the role of the match officials in helping to foster this atmosphere of friendly rivalry.  "I thought our umpires and match referees collectively had a great tournament [and] they can be very proud" of their efforts, he said.  Sixteen umpires and three match referees from eight countries managed games during the seventeen-days involved, four of the umpires being from the ICC's 'emerging' group (E-News 430-2260, 29 May 2009). 


"The quality of decision-making was very high but also there are plenty of aspects of an umpire's or referee's job that are not so visible".  "How they interact with players on and off the field can affect how the game is played and I think our match officials generally have a good rapport with players", said the CEO. 


"There is a genuine sense of mutual respect and, perhaps more importantly, a universal respect for the game, so I want to thank the players and the officials for their part in making the event such a great success", concluded Lorgat.






Five players in Wales who were disciplined by the North Wales Cricket League (NWCL) earlier this month for their part in a scandal on the 'Facebook' internet site have had their bans significantly reduced at an appeals hearing, says a report in the 'Daily Post' newspaper last week (E-News 438-2291, 14 June 2009).  


The captain of Llandudno Cricket Club’s first team, Steve Smith, was originally banned for life, while three other players were stood down for the rest of this season after “unacceptable remarks” about other teams and league officials were found on the club’s page on the social networking site.  Two other players were severely reprimanded and the club forfeited a match as a result of the controversy.


The club and the players appealed over the decision and at a hearing held last Monday the charges were heard again, this time by an independent panel from the Cheshire Cricket League (CCL).  A statement issued by the NWCL said in part that "the original sentences passed out by [its] Management Committee [early this month] were set aside and the charges were heard in full" by CCL officials.


During the hearing six players were said to have "admitted the charges brought [against them] of bringing the game into disrepute".  Smith's life ban was reduced to one of eight weeks, the three who originally copped bans for the rest of the current season now have four weeks of watching games from the boundary, while two others were given reprimands.  The “Llandudno Cricket Club were also found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and fined [the equivalent of $A100]", says the 'Daily Post'.


The 'Post' says that confidential notes "leaked" from a NWCL management committee meeting earlier this month indicate that the comments made on Facebook included derogatory and sometimes threatening remarks about the NWCL's Chairman, players from other clubs, the league's umpires and even a member of the Llandudno players'  own club.






Teams from Reading and Basingstoke in England were ready to take the field in a regional semi-final of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) National Cricket Championship two Sundays ago when a club official realised that no umpires had arrived to manage the match.  


Umpire appointments for the game were the responsibility of the ECB but it seems that someone there overlooked the need for officials for the semi final. After making a number of phone calls, Reading skipper Dave Barr discovered that no match officials had been assigned to the game and that no blame could be attached to the club.  


As a result the tie had to be called off and re-arranged for last Sunday, however, winning side Reading have another full weekend of cricket this weekend as a result for the regional final is due to be played late this evening Australian time.








The Second Ashes Test of 2009 at Lord's in two weeks time will see South African umpire Rudi Koetzen standing in his one hundredth match at the highest level of the game, only the second time that has occurred in cricket history, now retired West Indian Steve Bucknor being the first Test Centurion in 2005.  Koertzen, who was appointed to two Ashes Tests by the International Cricket Council (ICC) today, also has 198 One Day Internationals (ODI) to his credit, and should therefore become the first umpire to pass the 200 mark in that form of the game before the year is out.


The South African, who turned sixty late last month, played league cricket while working as a clerk on the South African railways, then moved on to umpiring, making his first class debut in November 1981 at the age of thirty-two.  Eleven years and forty-three first class matches later he was appointed to his first Test, that match being between South Africa and India at his 'home' ground St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, a game that was part of a series in which television replays were used for the first time to help judge run-outs. 


Despite that appointment, Koertzen had to wait over four years for a chance to again officiate in a Test, but that year, 1997, with only three Tests on his curriculum vitae, Koertzen went full-time official with the ICC, and five years, twenty-eight Tests and seventy-eight ODIs later, he was named as one of the original members of the world body's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) when it was established in 2002.  He and Australian Daryl Harper are now the only two of that initial group still officiating at Test and ODI level.


Since that Test debut in Port Elizabeth sixteen-and-a-half years ago, the South African has gone on the stand in ninety-nine Tests, games that have been played at forty-four separate grounds across every country that has ever played at Test level with the exception of Bangladesh; although he has umpired matches in which the side from that nation was involved.  


Twenty of the Tests Koertzen has been involved with to date were played in Australia, two of them being Boxing Day matches and two others at Bellerive, thirteen each in England and South Africa, twelve in the West Indies, eleven in both India and Sri Lanka, seven each in New Zealand and Pakistan, and five in Zimbabwe.  


The ground at which the South African has accumulated the most Tests is Lord's, his record there at the moment being seven games, with an eighth due in two weeks time (E-News 443-2307 below).  After Lord's his next highest is six in Port Elizabeth, then comes the Gabba in Brisbane with five.  


This year's Ashes series will be the fifth Koertzen has officiated in and third in England, next month's two Tests taking his tally in games between the 'old enemies' to fourteen. Thirty-seven of his ninety-nine Tests to date have seen Australia as one of the teams, twenty-nine England, twenty-eight India, twenty-four the West Indies, twenty New Zealand, nineteen Sri Lanka, sixteen Pakistan, thirteen South Africa, seven Bangladesh, five Zimbabwe, and one a World XI. 


Koertzen's two Tests at Bellerive were in November 2005 and the second exactly two years later, the West Indies and Sri Lanka being the respective visiting sides.  


Aleem Dar of Pakistan was his on-field colleague in 2005, Australian Steve Davis the television official, TCUSA member Brian Muir the fourth umpire and Hazell Bradshaw and Graeme Hamley the scorers. Quite a number of TCUSA met informally with the South African at a function organised one evening during that Test.  


Dar was also on the field in 2007 with former Australian umpire Peter Parker the third official, and TCUSA members Steven John, Janet Gainsford and Hamley the fourth umpire and scorers respectively.  Dar was ill for a short while during that game and Parker took the field with John in the television suite during that time (E-News 137-743, 19 November 2007).


Koertzen, who was nominated for the ICC's Umpire of the Year award in both 2005 and 2006 but finished third on both occasions, has said publicly on a number of occasions in recent years that his aim before retiring was to stand in 100 Tests and 200 ODIs.  With both of those marks due to be reached this year well before the ICC considers the membership of the EUP for 2010-11 next March, whether he will stand in international cricket for another year after that remains a question.  






The International Cricket Council (ICC) today named five umpires and two match referees from five countries to manage the five Test Ashes series between Australia and England which gets underway in Cardiff next week, that group to date having a total of 377 Tests as match officials under their belt.  During the series Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, who will be taking part in his fifth-straight Ashes series, will become only the second umpire to stand in 100 Tests (E-News 433-2306 above).


The first three Tests of the series will be overseen by New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe, his umpiring colleagues being Koertzen, Billy Doctrove of the West Indies and Aleem Dar of Pakistan.  Doctrove will stand with  Dar in Cardiff and Koertzen in the second at Lord's, the latter and Dar coming together for the third game in Birmingham.  Doctrove will be making his debut in a Test at Lord's, although he has stood there in single ODI and Twenty20 Internationals, the latter earlier this month.  


Tests four and five at Leeds and The Oval in London will see a fresh set of officials led by Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Asad Rauf of Pakistan umpiring in both matches.


The England and Wales Cricket Board has named ICC Elite Umpires Panel member Ian Gould as the television official for the First and Fourth Tests, ICC International Umpire Panel (IUP) member Nigel Llong for the Second and Fifth, and the latter's IUP colleague Richard Kettleborough for the Third.  Gould's participation in the First Test looks unlikely, however, as he was today named to stand in the First Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan which will be played almost concurrently (E-News 433-2308 below).


The series will take Madugalle's Test record as an official to 112 games, Koertzen's to 101, Dar's to fifty-seven, Bowden fifty-six, Crowe thirty-five, Rauf twenty-six and Doctrove twenty-five.  Both Crowe and Madugalle also have also taken part in thirty-nine and twenty-one Tests respectively as players.


While it will be Koertzen's fifth Ashes campaign and take his total Tests in that competition to fourteen, Madugalle's tally will reach twelve in what will be his fourth Australia-England series, while both Bowden and Dar will be in their third and take their record to seven such matches.  Doctrove and Rauf will be officiating in their first Ashes series.


Madugalle managed all five Tests in the 2005 Ashes series in England, and he and Crowe split the match referee's role in the same manner in Australia in 2006-07 as is planned this year.   Four umpires, Bowden, Dar and Koertzen plus the now-retired West Indian Steve Bucknor, were used in the 2005 Ashes series, the Kiwi and South African standing in three games and Dar and Bucknor two each.  






Australians Alan Hurst, Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel, together with Ian Gould of England, have been named to manage the three-Test series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan next month.  Hurst will have overall responsibility for the games as match referee, Gould, Harper and Taufel umpiring in two Tests each.


Harper and Gould will stand together in the First Test in Galle starting on Saturday, Taufel and Harper the Second in Colombo in mid-month, and Taufel and Gould in the Third a week after that.  The series will take Harper's Test tally to eighty-five games, Taufel's to fifty-nine, Hurst's to thirty-three (he also played in twelve Tests), and Gould's to six.  Gould was named earlier this year as the third umpire for the First Ashes Test next week, however, the Sri Lankan appointment looks like changing that (E-News 423-2307 above).


Sri Lanka's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper today reported that locals Kumara Dharmasena and Gamini Silva, both members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), as the television umpires for the Test series, the former for the first two games and the latter to the last.  In an interesting move Ranmore Martinesz, who stood in the "rebel" Indian Cricket League competition last year, was named by the 'Mirror' as the fourth official for this week's First Test (E-News 425-2238, 18 May 2009).


Another Australian, Steve Davis, will join Hurst for the five match One Day International (ODI) series between the two sides over the first two weeks of August, matches that will take his ODI tally to ninety-one.  The 'Daily Mirror' says that ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Asoka de Silva will  be on the field with Davis for ODIs one and three, Dharmasena for the second and Silva for the fourth and fifth.  Dharmasena will be the third umpire for four of the games and de Silva the other.


The single Twenty20 international between the two sides will be looked after by de Silva and Tyrone Wijewardena, the latter another Sri Lankan IUP member.   








Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is to conduct an independent inquiry over allegations that three "leading local umpires" cheated during their annual exam on the Laws of Cricket, says an article published in Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' over the weekend.  One of the officials is described as "a prominent international panel umpire" from the island nation, while the other two are said to be from Sri Lanka Police, but none of the individuals were named.


The 'Mirror' story, which was written by journalist Channaka de Silva, states that the head of the SLC Umpires Committee Ken de Alwis "had little choice about the international umpire as the issue is widely known in cricket circles".  Unnamed "sources" are quoted as saying that "de Alwis himself had spotted the three umpires cheating during the exam and had warned them not to do it but they had ignored his advice", however, he refused to comment on the issue when approached by the newspaper.


According to the published story, SLC's umpire selection group "has overlooked" the "prominent international panel umpire" from selection for the forthcoming Test and One Day International (ODI) series against Pakistan because of the cheating allegations.  SLC has selected ten of its umpires for third and fourth umpire duties in the Tests, and for on-field, third and fourth umpire positions in the five ODIs and single Twenty20 International scheduled over the next six weeks (E-News 443-2308, 29 June 2009).


Sri Lanka's only member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel, Asoka de Silva, and two of its three members on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Gamini Silva and Kumara Dharmasena, have been named to a number of positions during the Tests and ODIs, the third member of the latter group Tyron Wijewardena being given an on-field spot in the Twenty20 International.


De Alwis apparently told the 'Mirror' that although Wijewardene has not been picked for the Tests or ODIs as he "has been given a rest", he is "not completely out" [for] he has been assigned to officiate in the Twenty20 International of the series". 


Making a comeback to the list of those named is former Sri Lankan first class player Ranmore Martniecz, who has been given single fourth umpire slots in a single Test and ODI.  He had been banned from officiating on the island after he joined the rebel Indian Cricket League as an umpire, but has now severed his links with that group (E-News 425-2238, 18 May 2009).  


The 'Daily Mirror' says that the inclusion of Martinecz "is a further step in the direction of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) preference for ex-cricketers as umpires, a view that appears to be driven by what locally in some quarters has been the controversy surrounding the rapid promotion of former Test and ODI player Kumara Dharmasena to umpiring ranks over the last two years  


It seems to be a generally felt in Sri Lanka that the ICC prefers former players as umpires, however, the world body's umpire manager Doug Cowie said during a visit to the island last August that experience and knowledge of the Laws of cricket are the key factors considered when selecting international umpires, and not whether an official has played at that level of the game (E-News 289-1531, 3 August 2009). 






United Arab Emirates (UAE) player Saqib Ali is set to miss a number of international tournaments after he was banned from cricket for a year for attempting to assault an umpire during a semi final of a local Twenty20 tournament match in Abu Dahbi earlier this month.  Saqib was banned from playing in the final of the tournament the next day and his actions were subsequently reported to the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC).  


Reports indicate that during the match Pakistan-born Saqib had a “heated argument” with square leg umpire Mohammed Asif after “an appeal against a batsman for a catch behind was turned down by the umpire at the bowler’s end".
 Saqib is said to have “grabbed a bail [from the wicket] and thrown it at Asif” but it missed and hit one of his team mates instead, after which he was “hauled away” by his colleagues (E-News 433-2274, 6 June 2009).


Following an investigation, the ADCC's disciplinary committee met to look into the matter, eventually handing handed down the one-year ban.  ADCC general secretary Inam-ul-Haq was quoted by the Abu Dhahbi newspaper 'The National' as saying that "we have taken this decision after a thorough investigation, and after speaking to the umpires, some of the players, the scorers and an ADCC official, who were present during the match".


 “Saqib was apologetic and admitted his misconduct on the field" at the hearing, said Inam, stating that "he got ‘emotional’ but we can’t allow him to go unpunished for such a serious offence", said Inam.  The player has the right of appeal on the decision, but has yet to indicate whether he will do so or not.  


Emirates Cricket Board chief executive officer Dilawar Mani told 'The National' that if one of the Board's councils bans a player or takes disciplinary action then all other such groups will, as a matter of principle, stand by them"..  As a result Saqib cannot play anywhere in the UAE and he can't therefore be consider for international duty.


Saqib, who has captained the UAE in the past, will miss the two international Twenty20 tournaments that the UAE is to host in October and November if the ban is not lifted.  He has excelled with the bat and ball for the UAE in recent years and is said to be a key member of the side that took part in the International Cricket Council's World Cup Qualifier tournament in South Africa in April.


Pakistani batsman Imran Kan was not included in his nation's squad for this month's World Twenty20 Championship after he was given a three-match ban from domestic matches when he reacted poorly when dismissed in the final of Pakistan's national Twenty20 competition in late May (E-News 434-2297, 8 June 2009).  






A match in the Scottish Cup competition ten days ago was called off after one team objected to the state of the pitch, however, the home side is claiming that the visitors were more interested in watching the final of the World Twenty20 Championship that afternoon and have asked Cricket Scotland to award them the match.


Poloc and Clydesdale were set to meet in the first round of the Cup at the former's home ground, only for the visitors to object to the state of the pitch, says journalist Matthew Leslie writing in 'The Glaswegian' newspaper last week.  Clydesdale were said to have spotted what they felt to be "dangerous footholes in the bowler's run-up" and appealed to the umpires to have the match postponed.  


Leslie says that the umpires were split on the issue, one believing play could proceed and the other disagreeing with him, and that "without a unified agreement, the match was called off [much to] to Poloc's disgust".  The home side were said to be "suspicious" that Clydesdale's large Scots-Pakistani contingent wanted to watch Pakistan play in the World Twenty20 Championship final at Lord's on television.   


'The Glaswegian' story says that Leslie took a look at the pitch three hours after the match was called off and that he "could see no visible serious deficiency in the pitch", the only markings being marks "left by Poloc's team after they had staged a two-hour net session to demonstrate the pitch's working order".


Poloc skipper Brian Spence was said to be "livid" and called on Cricket Scotland to "throw the book at Clydesdale", saying that "there was nothing wrong with our pitch [for] we played a match on it last week and 500-odd runs were scored".  He went on to say that as reported by Leslie, his side had held "a lengthy nets-session on it [immediately after the call-off] just to show how ridiculous the situation was".  "All of our players took part and neither batsmen or bowler was injured", he said.


"For Clydesdale to just decide not to play because for whatever reason they don't fancy it is unacceptable and they should be thrown out of the Cup", continued Spence, and "if they are not then Poloc will seriously consider withdrawing in protest because this farce should not be allowed to happen".  "Why should I or the other guys give up their time just to be messed around like this?", he said, and that "it has actually crossed my mind to quit the game altogether".


Clydesdale for their part would only offer a short statement on the affair says 'The Glaswegian'.  Team coach Colin Mitchell said "the players felt the pitch conditions were not right, the game was called off and that's that".  


Stuart Oliver, a spokesman for Cricket Scotland said that "we are surprised that this game did not take place [and that] once we have received reports from both umpires, we will launch an official investigation".






The decision of the International Cricket Council to roll out the Umpires Decision Referral System (UDRS) from October in Tests (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009), whereby players can appeal against an umpire's decision, goes against the Spirit of the Game, according to former Indian captain Nari Contractor says a Press Trust of India (PTI) report.


Contractor says that rather than the UDRS a better approach would be to monitor the umpires' performance and find out who is performing up to the mark and who is not and then take remedial measures.  "It's easy to find out who is doing well and who is not [and that] those who are not performing well can be taken out of the system and asked to undergo a refresher course," he said.


Another former India player and manager Chandu Borde told the PTI that he has "mixed feelings" for in his view the umpires, "who are already overburdened", are going to make more mistakes because of the pressure they are under, something that will add "insult to injury".


Borde also expressed concern about work being undertaken to introduce day-night Test matches (E-News 442-2301, 28 June 2009).