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August 09 (466-482)

THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
17 EDITIONS
(EN-2419 TO EN-2503)

466 –  1 August  [2419-2422]
• NUP possibles list narrows with EPT finals selections (467-2419).
• Persistent rain leads to indoor 'bowl out' (467-2420).
• Twins' mid-match swap lead to ban (467-2421).
• Zimbabwe umpires to train in South Africa (467-2422).

467 –  3 August  [2423-2426]
• MCC 'delighted' by Strauss 'Spirit' gesture (467-2423).
• Australia should 'bring back the sledge', says Warne (467-2424).
• Busy month ahead for international officials (467-2425).
• ICC Anti-Corruption Unit for Champions League, IPL (467-2426).

468 –  5 August  [2427-2432]
• Trio to return as TCA umpire selectors (468-2427).
• Two Tassy umps for interstate pre-season games (468-2428).
• Indian pair for Zim-Bangladesh ODI series (468-2429).
• Windies ump for Canadian matches(468-2430).
• Gujarat's Hazare promoted to IUP, claims report (468-2431).
• Parker in running for QCA Board position? (468-2432).

469 –  6 August  [2433-2434]
• TCA rosters for 2009-10 season released (469-2433).
• TCUSA meeting dates finalised (469-2434).

470 –  7 August  [2435-2440]
• Decision time lag 'biggest drawback' in UDRS, says Taufel (470-2435).
• Llong, Harper for Lanka-NZ Tests (469-2436).
• Referee Broad scheduled for 'snow job', says report (469-2437).
• Rumblings continue in Lankan umpiring ranks (469-2438).
• ICC-MCC to discuss 'World Test Championship' concept (469-2439).
• Team cleared of media racism accusations (469-2440).

471 –  10 August  [2441-2445]
• Abood, Joshua selected for NUP (471-2441).
• Taufel should stand in Ashes Tests, says Ponting (471-2442).
• Umpire collapses, dies, during match in Cheshire (471-2443).
• 'Clamp down' on 'unacceptable behaviour', says Scots chief (471-2444).
• Three players in Yorkshire banned for umpire abuse (471-2445).

472 –  12 August  [2446-2452]
• Match officials warn England about substitute use (472-2446).
• 'Immense concentration', 'self belief', the key, says Taufel (472-2447).
• Tiffin Zimbabwe's 'Umpire of the Year' (472-2448).
• 'No substance' in bookmaker allegations, says ICC (472-2449).
• IPL revises 'advertising break' arrangements (472-2450).
• Match abandoned after club umpire engages in fist fight (472-2451).
• ACO newsletter again goes missing (472-2452).

473 –  13 August  [2453-2456]
• Lightning strike victim remains in intensive care (473-2453).
• Slow over-rate fine for England at Headingley  (473-2454).
• Taufel positive about Indian umpiring seminar  (473-2455).
• Sledging improves my confidence, says Aussie Johnson (473-2456).

474 –  14 August  [2457-2459]
• McGrath no fan of ICC's 'neutral' umpire policy  (474-2457).
• Ajmal fined for Sangakkara 'send off'  (474-2458).
• BCCI shuffles IUP nominees  (474-2459).

475 – 17 August  [2460-2465]
• TCUSA members for Women's T20 Internationals? (475-2460)
• WT20 bookmaker approaches worry ICC, claims report (475-2461).
• WICB hopes to 'broaden' umpire exchange program (475-2462).
• ICC responds to WICB 'concerns' about IUP appointments (475-2463).
• Recommended establishment of a Caribbean EUP awaited (475-2464).
• Dad gets closer first class view after umpire injury (475-2465).

476 – 18 August  [2466-2468]
• Umpiring standards at twenty-year low, claims Warne (476-2466).
• Pay rise for BCCI umps quantified (476-2467).
• Taufel named as Bradman club's new Patron (476-2478).

477 – 19 August  [2466-2468]
• Early starter promoted to South African IUP group (477-2479).
• Alleged illegal bookmaker approach under investigation (477-2480).
• Bermudans managing IC match, no phones in sight (477-2481).
• Sea gull 'nicks' bail, umps caught out (477-2482).
• 'Quick-fire' runs for Rauf (477-2483).
• Level 2 course underway in Qatar (477-2484).

478 – 21 August  [2485-2487]
• Former Test official rejects Warne's umpiring comments (478-2485).
• Hill. Rauf neutrals for 'Ashes' ODI series (478-2486).
• Long-serving South African umpire dies (478-2487).

479 – 23 August  [2488-2491]
• Lankan Sports Minister asks for report on IUP selections (479-2488).
• Mahanama match referee for 'Ashes' ODI series, not Madugalle  (479-2489).
• Bowden's 'shtick' queried (479-2490).
• Match forfeited in protest at tournament 'inconsistencies' (479-2491).

480 – 25 August  [2492-2494]
• Aussie's 'beamer' leads to mid-pitch punch-up (480-2492).
• Hadlee concerned about Test cricket's future (480-2493).
• Match forfeit to be investigated (480-2494).

481 – 28 August  [2495-2499]
• Victorians named for Darwin Youth Internationals (481-2495).
• 'Call' suspect actions during play, says BCCI (481-2496).
• Bird joins call for scrapping of 'neutral' umpire policy (481-2497).
• Geelong Association 'vows' to 'crack down' on umpire abuse (481-2498).
• County players reprimanded for offences (481-2499).

482 – 31 August  [2500-2503]
• Umps fail to spot 'incorrect' ball use (482-2500).
• Taufel mentoring on-field in WCL Division 6 series (482-2501).
• 2009 'Umpire', 'Spirit', award nominees to be announced (481-2502).
• Koertzen's unique double again acknowledged (482-2503).

E-NEWS NUMBER 466
SATURDAY, 1 AUGUST 2009

 

NUP POSSIBLES LIST NARROWS WITH 

EPT FINALS SELECTIONS

[EN466-2419]

Geoff Joshua of Victoria and Paul Wilson from Western Australia have been appointed to stand in the main final of the Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) between India and South Africa in Brisbane today.  Naming of the pair for the prime finals match is a direct reflection on how the selectors assessed their performances over the two-week series, and suggests that at least one of them may be in contention to join Cricket Australia's (CA) 2009-10 National Umpires Panel (NUP) next week (E-News 463-2408, 28 July 2009).  

CA yesterday also named Ash Barrow (Victoria) and Norm NcNamara (Queensland) to stand in the secondary third versus fourth EPT finals match between the Australian Institute of Sport and New Zealand.  The other members of the EPT umpiring panel, Steven John (Tasmania) and Andrew Willoughby (South Australia), were named as the reserve officials for the main and secondary finals respectively.  

Prior to the naming of the officials for the finals, CA Umpires Manager Andrew Scotford told E-News that the appointments that were made would be a clear reflection of how the national selectors assessed the performance of each of the six umpires over the last two weeks.  On that basis therefore, Joshua and Wilson were rated either first or second overall, Barrow and McNamara third or fourth, and John and Willoughby fifth or sixth, however, the exact order in which they were listed by selectors has not been made public.  

Today's main final will be Joshua's second in a row for he stood in the same match last year, his colleague in that game being Gerard Abood of New South Wales who appears likely to be named a member of the NUP next week.  Wilson, who is under contract as a member of CA's 'fast-track' Project Panel for former first class players, was named for the secondary final in 2008, a game that was unfortunately washed out, and he has therefore gone one better this year.  Wilson is the only umpire in contention for the NUP who has played first class cricket, his record including a single Test match.   

McNamara too has moved up a rung this year for he, together with John, missed out on both finals in 2008, while Barrow has been given a final in his first EPT.  John stood in the secondary final in 2007 in what was the first of his now three emerging tournaments, but he has now missed the cut twice, even although he was awarded, with CA's support, an Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship Program earlier this year (E-News 369-1963, 9 February 2009).  For  Joshua, Wilson and Willoughby it's their second EPT and McNamara's fourth (E-News 440-2295, 18 June 2009).   

The sixteen lead-up matches to today's two finals have seen each of the umpires standing in either five or six matches.  McNamara was on the field of play in six matches, five fifty-over and one Twenty20 games, for a total of 472 overs (6-5-1-472),  John 6-5-1-471, Joshua 5-5-0-467, Barrow 5-3-2-345, Willoughby 5-3-2-344, and Wilson 5-3-2-329. 

Selections of the finals were made by CA's umpires selection panel, which consists of Scotford and the five members of the national body's Umpire High Performance Panel (E-News 454-2364, 13 July 2009), all of whom are believed to have been present in Brisbane for the EPT.

PERSISTENT RAIN LEADS TO 

INDOOR 'BOWL OUT'

[EN466-2420]

A quarter final match in the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 2009 Twenty20 competition was decided by a 'bowl out' in the indoor nets at Old Trafford yesterday.  Two-and-half-days of rain left the ground saturated and umpires Peter Hartley and Tim Robinson are said to have had no choice other than to order the match between Lancashire and Somerset indoors.

The format for the bowl out was simple for each side had to nominate five bowlers who would each have two deliveries each, the team hitting the stumps the most 'winning a place in the semi-finals.  Lancashire's nominated bowlers hit the stumps once in eight deliveries while Somerset struck them five times out of eight, leaving the west country side victorious.

Somerset's captain Justin Langer called the events "bizarre", saying that he's "played cricket a long time, and never been involved in anything like that".  A report in 'The Guardian' newspaper says that "if so much money hadn't been at stake, [the situation] might have been funny".  The winner of the ECB competition will qualify for the Champions League in India in October which itself brings a minimum return of close to $A600,000.

TWINS' MID-MATCH SWAP 

LEADS TO BAN

[EN466-2421]

Near-identical twin brothers have been thrown out of a club in Liverpool and banned for life from playing for the league’s representative side after they switched identities during a match earlier this month.  Nazim Mohammed was selected for the Liverpool competition's representative side in a match against the Nottinghamshire Premier League and bowled in the first innings of the match, however, his brother Zahid, who was not named in the side, went out to bat in Liverpool's innings after the pair swapped at tea.   

Suspicions were said to have been aroused by the fact that Nazim is right-handed while his brother is a left-hander and the matter was reported to the league’s management committee.  After the league revealed their findings to the twin's club, they made it clear that it didn’t want the pair playing for them again.  Rather than banning them, however, the club released their membership so they can join a club in a different league.

Club skipper Tim Watkins said that he's "never known anything like this before and I’m appalled by it [for] they were cheating themselves, their team-mates and the sport in general".  “It’s completely unacceptable and a dark moment in the history of Liverpool Competition representative cricket", he said.

ZIMBABWE UMPIRES TO TRAIN 

IN SOUTH AFRICA

[EN466-2422]

 

Zimbabwean umpires are to travel to South Africa for training as part of an agreement between their national board and Cricket South Africa (CSA) that was announced yesterday.  The new partnership, which also includes junior players going south for training, was signed in Harare this week during a visit there by a South African delegation.

E-NEWS NUMBER 467

MONDAY, 3 AUGUST 2009

 

MCC 'DELIGHTED' BY 

STRAUSS 'SPIRIT' GESTURE  

[EN467-2423]

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) says that they are "delighted" by England captain Andrew Strauss’s agreement to Australia replacing wicketkeeper Brad Haddin when he was injured after the toss in the Third Ashes Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.  MCC's Assistant Secretary John Stephenson said a statement that "in the heat of the Ashes battle where any advantage is crucial, Andrew Strauss abided by the 'Spirit of Cricket' so [that] both teams started on a level playing field".

Haddin had been named on the team sheet, however, between the toss and the start of play he broke a finger whilst practising.  Law 1.2 of the game says that once a team has submitted its line-up, in writing, to the umpires, before the toss, the composition of the side can only be changed with the consent of the opposing captain.  Strauss agreed to opposite number Ricky Ponting's request and Graham Manou officially replaced Haddin in the Australian team as a direct exchange and not as a substitute.

England would have enjoyed a significant advantage had Haddin played as anyone who acted as a substitute for him in the match could not, under Law 2.3, have acted as the wicket-keeper, that position having to be taken up by one of the other ten in the named side, none of whom are specialist wicket-keepers.

Manou described the England captain's "eleventh-hour decision" that enabled him to make his Test debut as "a fantastic sporting gesture".  Australian journalist Malcolm Conn, one of the nation's more vitriolic writers, said in a story that was echoed by a number of his colleagues, that Strauss "would have been quite within his rights to say no to Australia's wicketkeeping request".  However, what he did "could not have done more to uphold the Spirit of Cricket", especially after "his ham-fisted delaying tactics in the first Test (E-News 456-2359, 15 July 2009), and disputed slips-catch off Phil Hughes in the second" (E-News 460-2391, 23 July 2009).

The MCC's Stephenson said that given Strauss's gesture he hopes "we see the rest of the series played hard but fair" (E-News 467-2424 below), while England off-spinner Graeme Swann said that he thinks "it's only fair we let Manou play because we'd hope in a similar situation we'd have the same courtesy shown to us".

AUSTRALIA SHOULD 'BRING 

BACK THE SLEDGE', SAYS WARNE   

[EN467-2424]

Former Australian spinner Shane Warne has urged Australian cricketers to bring back the sledge and rediscover their nasty streak before England emerge as a stronger opponent in the current Ashes series, according to reports published in numerous newspapers yesterday.  Warne is said to have suggested that fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle should “get really nasty” during the remainder of the third Test at Edgbaston.

The spinner claimed that Australian fast bowlers had lost their aggressive edge, Fox Sports quoting him as saying they "are lacking a bit of aggression, a bit of in your face, a snarl, some nasty stuff [and] I just want to see them get a bit more aggressive, it’s all a bit too friendly".  "They don’t seem to want to be saying anything to the batsmen, getting in their face or pumping their chests out" for in his view “Australian teams play at their best when they are in the face of their opposition".

Warne questioned whether Australia’s "mild-mannered" Ashes behaviour was "in response to Cricket Australia’s (CA) pre-tour warning to players they should not spit, swear or claim dropped catches".  “I did read some reports from CA saying that we don’t want any sledging, we want to play in the right spirit, all those sorts of things", Warne said, and "maybe [the players] are worried about the repercussions?"

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson suggested last week that his side's competitive edge in the Ashes series to date might have been blunted because they have been warned to control their sledging by CA (E-News 461-2395, 24 July 2009).  Prior to the First Test a spokesman for the touring side denied that its players had been cautioned about their behaviour and that CA's advice "constituted an official ban" (E-News 445-2313, 1 July 2009).   

Meanwhile London's 'Sunday Mail' yesterday quoted Warne as saying that South African umpire Rudi Koertzen is "having a nightmare" Ashes series that has helped undermine Australia's efforts to date, a view that appears to be shared by numerous other Australian commentators.  Warne was described as "enraged" by Koertzen not giving a clear-cut LBW's decision against Ian Bell in England's first innings at Edgbaston, especially given the leg before he gave against Mitchell in Australia's first innings even though "the ball was shown to be too high and going over the wicket".  

"Bell was absolutely plum [and] you don't get any more out than that and the Aussie players feel they are not getting the rub of the green in this series", he continued, something former England captain Nasser Hussain agreed with.  "Rudi is a nice man and has been around a long time in the job but he isn't getting too many right", said Warne, and while "it's a tough job and you are not expected to get every decision right at the moment Rudi is struggling".

BUSY MONTH AHEAD FOR 

INTERNATIONAL OFFICIALS

[EN467-2425]

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) match referee and umpiring panels are in for a busy time this month with Test and other first class games, One Day Internationals (ODI) or Twenty20 (T20) Internationals to be played in Bermuda, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.  Tests are scheduled for England and Sri Lanka involving Australia and New Zealand respectively, first class ICC Intercontinental Cup (IC) matches for second-tier nations in five countries, and ODIs in all of them.

Over a period of just over two weeks starting next week, five IC four-day matches and eleven ODIs are to be played in Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe.  The schedule and location of the games are such that the ICC is likely to have to appoint as many as seven or eight pairs of umpires and the same number of match referees to cover the planned program.  

Canada is to host Kenya for a IC match and three ODIs, Uganda flies to Bermuda for a IC game, two ODIs and a T20 International, Afghanistan will travel first to Zimbabwe for a IC fixture then straight on to the Netherlands for another IC game and two ODIs, while Scotland and Ireland are also to play an IC fixture followed by two ODIs before Australia visits Edinburgh for a single ODI and England plays Ireland in that format in Belfast.

ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT FOR 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, IPL

[EN467-2426]

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to use the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to monitor the the Champions League this October and the third Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament next March.  The IPL’s commitment to fighting corruption in cricket was criticised after it kept the ACSU away from its 2009 season in South Africa this year, the BCCI believing that the $A1.2 million the ICC planned to charge for the unit’s services was too high (E-News 416-2198, 5 May 2009). 

During the IPL's inaugural season in India last year the League had its own anti-corruption unit in place, although it was guided by the ACSU.  Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the development and said the main reason the BCCI "joined hands" with the ACSU "could be the knowledge that dealing with corruption is a complex job and the ICC unit could not be ignored any more". 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Saturday that it had recently made a report to the ICC about bookmakers trying to approach its players during the current tour of Sri Lanka.  The move followed a report in Pakistan's leading Urdu daily the "Express" earlier this week alleging bookmakers were seen trying to make contact with Pakistani players in their Colombo hotel during the second Test last month.  

The PCB said in a statement that the ICC "took some urgent steps" to address the matter after its team management reported the matter to the ACSU.  Pakistan captain Younus Khan told Geo television that "no bookie has approached me [and[ if ever one does, I will catch him and hand him over to the ICC because these people have destroyed the game".

E-NEWS NUMBER 468

 WEDNESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2009

 

TRIO TO RETURN AS TCA 

UMPIRE SELECTORS

[EN468-2427]

Long-serving TCUSA members Richard Widows, Steve Maxwell and Roy Loh have again been named by the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) as members of its Umpires Appointment Panel for matches carried out under its auspices this season.  The trio, who between them have been with the TCUSA for a total of thirty seasons, have the challenging task of appointing umpires to between twenty-five and thirty matches that will be played each week over the five months that the season will run.  

Widows, who commenced his umpiring career in Sydney in 1989, first stood with the TCUSA in 1997, and became the Association's umpires advisor-coach in 1999, this season being his tenth in that position, a role he combines with duties as the State's Director of Umpiring.  

Maxwell has officiated in over 200 matches with the TCUSA over the last ten seasons, almost 100 of them in First Grade, and has twice been named as the Association's 'Umpire of the Year'.  Loh, who has been with the Association for eight years and stood in 120 matches over that time, was recognised for his special contribution to TCUSA activities when he was awarded the Alan Powell Memorial Trophy for services to the Association in 2005 and again earlier this year.   

In addition to selection duties Maxwell is also involved with the National Umpires Accreditation Scheme training program and Loh in the match video program.  

TWO TASSY UMPS FOR 

INTERSTATE PRE-SEASON GAMES 

[EN468-2428]

Two Tasmanian umpires are to travel interstate next month to officiate in pre-season competitions involving senior state squads.  State Umpire Panel members Steven John and Nick McGann are to stand in a series in northern New South Wales, before John moves on to a second set of games in Mooloolabar, Queensland. 

The pair are scheduled to travel to the NSW city of Lismore to take part in that city's 'Festival of Cricket' that is to run there from 22-29 September.  Senior squads from New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria are to play a total eight matches in Lismore made up of three one-day and five Twenty20 games, before the Tasmania side moves on to Mooloolabar for a second week of cricket, this time against both the Queensland and South Australian squads.

McGann will be in Lismore for the whole series before returning to Hobart in time for the TCUSA's Annual Seminar in early October, while John will travel from Lismore to Mooloolabar with the Tasmanian team.  Victoria is believed to be sending current National Umpire Panel member Tony Ward to Lismore, however, the names of other officials who are to be involved there or in Queensland are not known at this time. 

John recently returned from the two-week Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane, a series that saw him stand in six games (E-News 466-2419, 1 August 2009).

INDIAN PAIR FOR ZIM-BANGLADESH 

ODI SERIES 

[EN468-2429]

Indian umpire Amiesh Saheba,  a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and one of the world body's emerging umpires (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), was yesterday named as the 'neutral' umpire for the One Day International (ODI) series between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh which is to get underway in Bulawayo on Sunday.  

Saheba's countryman Javagal Srinath will be the match referee for the five games while Zimbabwean members of the IUP, Russell Tiffin and Kevan Barbour, are likely to share on-field and third umpire duties during the series.  For Saheba, who was the neutral official when the two sides played a similar series in Harare in 2007, this month's games will take his ODI record to thirty-four, while Srinath's ODI record as a match referee will reach sixty-three.  Tiffin's ODI tally currently stands at 108 and Barbour's is forty-four. 

In line with the ICC's stated aim of providing the four members of its emerging umpire group with international appointments, the five months since the quartet were identified have seen Saheba take part in the World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) tournament in South Africa in April and the World Twenty20 (WT20) Championship series in England in June (E-News 440-2294, 18 June 2009).  The Indian Premier League (IPL) also used him in this year's tournament in South Africa (E-News 429-2256, 25 May 2009).

Over the same time period the three others in the group, Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Nigel Llong (England) and Rod Tucker (Australia) also took part in the WT20 Championships.  In addition Erasmus stood in the WCQ series as well as the IPL, prior to that umpiring in India as part of an exchange program (E-News 361-1942, 30 January 2009).  

Apart from their WT20 duties, Llong has been busy on the county circuit, was the neutral official in the recent ODI series between the West Indies and India (E-News 441-2298, 21 June 2009) and the television umpire for the second Ashes Test at Lord's last week, while Tucker took part in the WCQ event and could well be in line for a neutral umpire position in an ODI series in the near future.

WINDIES UMP FOR

CANADIAN MATCHES

[EN468-2430]

Norman Malcolm of Jamaica, a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, is to stand in the four matches that Canada and Kenya are to play in Toronto over the last half of this month (E-News 467-2425, 3 August 2009).  Malcolm, fifty-four, will be joined on the field of play by Canadian umpire Karran Bayney for the single four-day International Cup (IC) game and the three One Day Internationals that will follow it, while David Jukes of England will oversee the entire series as the match referee.

Malcolm is no stranger to umpiring in Canada  for he stood in a similar IC fixture there two years ago when Bermuda were the visitors, this year's game being his forty-second first class fixture overall, while the ODIs will take his tally in that form of the game to eight.  For Bayney, fifty-two, who was born in Guyana, the IC game will be his second at first class level, while he will be making his debut in ODIs, although he worked as the third umpire in a single such match three years ago. 

Jukes, who was the match referee for the final of last year's IC, will be managing his seventeenth first class game, while the ODIs will see his record in that area double to six matches.

GUJARAT'S HAZARE PROMOTED 

TO IUP, CLAIMS REPORT

[EN468-2431]

Gujarat umpire Sanjay Hazare is to be nominated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) as a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), says a report published by the 'Times of India' (TOI) on Monday.  Journalist Tushar Tere says that Hazare, who he says is also to stand in the Champions League series in October, is only the second umpire from Gujarat after current IUP member Amiesh Saheba to reach international level.

Hazare, forty-eight, played forty-eight first-class matches for Baroda from 1981-97, taking 108 wickets as a leg-spinner.   He comes from a cricket-loving family, two cousins and two uncles also having played first class cricket, the late Vijay Hazare, one of the uncles, playing thirty Tests for India from 1946-53.

Baroda-born Hazare is believed to have started umpiring in 1992 and records indicate that he made his first class debut in that role in November 1995 some two years before he retired as a player at that level.  Since then he has stood in twenty-five first class games, twenty-one List A matches, and six Twenty20s, three of the latter in this year's Indian Premier League in South Africa (E-News 429-2256, 25 May 2009).

India's current IUP members are Amiesh Saheba, Suresh Shastri and Shavir Tarapore, the latter occupying the television official position.  Whether Hazare will bump Shastri or Tarapore from the panel or India will, like several other countries, have two third umpires on the IUP, is not known.  

Saheba is a member of the ICC's emerging umpires group so his positions looks safe, especially as he was named for the forthcoming ODI series between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh yesterday (E-News 468-2429 above), while Tarapore only joined the panel twelve months ago (E-News 320-1669, 28 September 2008).

PARKER IN RUNNING FOR QCA

BOARD POSITION?

[EN468-2432]

Former Australian international umpire Peter Parker, who retired abruptly just before the start of last season (E-News 331-1673, 1 October 2008), is to seek election to the Board of the Queensland Cricket Association (QCA), according to journalist Mark Oberhardt of Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' newspaper.  Parker stood in twenty-two consecutive seasons of first class cricket in Australia from 1986-2007.    

During his career the Queenslander, who turned fifty two weeks ago, officiated in 113 first class matches, ten of them Tests, while his 133 List A games included sixty-five One Day Internationals (ODI), including the Asia Cup of 2004 and the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.  He also stood in two Twenty20 internationals.  The Tests he was involved in were played in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, while the ODIs took place on both sides of the Tasman Sea plus India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Oberhardt also wrote that "a big shake up" is currently underway in grade cricket in Brisbane. The QCA says that its premier grade competition will undergo its most extensive revamp in the past two decades for the 2009-10 season, its Chief Executive Officer Graham Dixon saying that the changes will see its grade framework fall more in-sync with the various national player development pathways and competitions within Cricket Australia.

In addition to separate Premiers for the two-day competition, the results of both the one-day and Twenty20 series will be grouped to provide an ‘overall champion’ in First Grade.  According to Dixon “the variety of competitions will deliver greater opportunities to the clubs in regards to areas like player retention and recruitment, [while] providing the mixture of formats in the lower grades will also hopefully provide those players with more options to keep playing the game". 

The so-called 'spin summit' held earlier this month that featured a range of former Australian players, called for "greater attention" to be paid to grade cricket competitions around the country in order to counter the "drop in standards" it believes has occurred "over the past decade" (E-News 464-2411, 29 July 2009).

E-NEWS NUMBER 469

 THURSDAY, 6 AUGUST 2009

 

TCA ROSTERS FOR 2009-10 

SEASON RELEASED

[EN469-2433]

Rosters for the 280 home-and-away and finals matches that make up the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) 2009-10 season have been released and are now available on line.  The five-Grade schedule, which will see almost 450 players on the field each weekend, calls for First Grade to get underway on 17 October, and the Seconds, Thirds, Under 17s and Under 15s over the weekend of 24-25 October (E-News 447-2328, 3 July 2009). 

The TCA's First and Second Grade season is again made up of seven one-day and seven two-day games, with five of the former and three of the latter being played in the lead up to Christmas in order to allow for a free weekend on 15-16 January when the Australia-Pakistan Test is underway at Bellerive.  Three of the seven two-day games in both grades are to be played over single weekends, two before, and one after, Christmas. The final series for the top four Grades are listed for the last two weekends of March in an arrangement that is similar to past years.  

First Grade sides will also take part in the Kookaburra Cup competition with the results of the seven one-day matches on the roster, the last of which is scheduled for 23 January, deciding who the two semi-finalists from the south will be for the state-wide competition.  First Grade sides will also compete in a Twenty20 series that will consist of three preliminary rounds in the lead up to semi finals and the final, all games being played on Tuesday evenings between 17 November and 22 December,

In the Third and Under 17 Grades eight one-day and six two-day games are to be played on Sundays, with seven of the eight matches scheduled prior to Christmas being one-dayers, while the Under 15 competition involves five one-day and five two-day games with the finals being played as two-day matches in the first half of March.  

The rosters for those three grades also involves a break for the Test match in mid-January, while on Sunday, 21 February when a Twenty20 International is to be played at Bellerive between Australia and the West Indies Grade games that day will start one hour earlier, at 10 a.m. for Thirds and Under 17s and 12 noon for Under 15s.  That arrangement may give players in those games a chance to get to the eastern shore in time for the international's 6.35 p.m. start.

Full details of the TCA's playing schedule for the season ahead can be obtained by going to http://www.tascricket.com.au/default.aspx?s=tcanews and clicking on the fixtures button.  The roster for each of the grades is then accessed via a 'pull down' menu.

A similar service is available for both the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) and Cricket North West's (CNW) seasons on the TCA web site at http://www.tascricket.com.au/ via the 'club cricket' link at the top right of the page.  The NTCA season is to start with a two-day game over 11-18 October while the CNW's season starts on 18 October with a one-day round.

TCUSA MEETING DATES FINALISED

[EN469-2434]

Release of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's playing rosters for the 2009-10 season has enabled TCUSA meeting dates for the next nine months to be finalised.  Dates and times for the eighteen meetings planned between now and late May are provided in the schedule of activities list provided at the end of this newsletter. 

The next major gathering will be the traditional Annual Seminar over the weekend of 3-4 October, then follows a presentation of TCA Playing Conditions on the following Wednesday evening, before the first of the fourteen training-appointments meetings that are held on the Wednesday prior to each round of matches takes place on 21 October.  Dates for the TCUSA's Annual Dinner in late March and the Annual General Meeting in May have also been set.

Details of National Umpire Accreditation Scheme Level 2 training activities will be determined once the requirements of members have been collated.  This season's program will again managed by Brian Muir and Steve Maxwell and any queries about the scheme should be directed to either Steve on 0416-277-464 or Brian on 0427-282-278.  

E-NEWS NUMBER 470

 FRIDAY, 7 AUGUST 2009

 

DECISION TIME LAG 'BIGGEST DRAWBACK' 

IN UDRS, SAYS TAUFEL

[EN470-2435]

Simon Taufel, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, believes that the "biggest drawback" in the current Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is the time taken to process some decisions, according to media reports published in India yesterday (E-News 360-1920, 16 December 2008).  Taufel indicated that the UDRS will be discussed at the ICC's annual match referee and umpire's meeting in Dubai in early October, however, he apparently feels that there is scope to improve the system through better umpire training. 

The Australian, who is currently attending an umpire's seminar at the National Cricket Academy in Banglaore (E-News 461-2400, 24 July 2009), said that referrals have brought positives with the correct decision-making percentage increasing considerably.  The behaviour of players has also improved with less instances of code of conduct breaches being reported, he says, but he also pointed to the need to ensure that the technology involved is used in the most appropriate way.

Taufel said that "the right balance between the human element and technology [is needed in order] to arrive at correct decisions", for "I will never say that there should not be any technology and I will never say that umpires should be empowered to take all decisions".  "We are not against using technology but about the way its used", one drawback for example being "the limitations of cameras that can be used [because in] certain countries it is basically a military technology and some governments don’t allow the commercial use of it". 

The week-long seminar, while is being run by Cricket Australia as part of a contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, got underway yesterday and is being attended 110 umpires from all over India.  Other instructors on the course are CA's Global Development Manager Ross Turner and Dennis Burns its Umpire Educator, as well as National Umpire Panel member Ian Lock.

Taufel said that “this is my third annual visit here and in the first year it was all about laying a platform and working on the basics, [but] this year, we are looking at the aspects that are critical when you make that transition to International level".  “The focus will be on mental toughness, physical fitness, handling the media, coping with different game situations in terms of calculation of overs and revising targets which are critical when play is lost due to rain or bad light in a one-day match or a Twenty20 game".

 “Umpires have to be mentally tough at the International level, focus on the game, go beyond the hype and we will try for instance to teach the umpires here on the issue about bad light, we will have a practical demonstration of it under fading light and even issues like handling a difference of opinion with your umpiring-partner will be dealt with", he continued.  "I wish we could have [covered] the issues that affect third umpires in this seminar but unfortunately we don’t have the facilities for that", he said.

Asked about the issue of umpires’ retirement age, Taufel is reported to have said that provided an umpire's fitness, work ethic, judgment, consistency and knowledge of the game are satisfactory, age should not be a factor in umpiring.

LLONG, HARPER FOR 

LANKA-NZ TESTS

[EN470-2436]

England's Nigel Llong, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'emerging' umpires group, and Australian Daryl Harper, are to officiate in the two Test series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand later this month, while Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe will be the match referee, according to media reports from Colombo yesterday. Following those games West Indian Billy Doctrove will be the neutral umpire for the four-match One Day International series featuring the two Test combatants and India, while match referee Chris Broad of England will pass the 150 ODI mark in that role.

The Tests in Galle and Colombo will be Llong's fifth and sixth since his debut in January last year, while Harper, who stood in two Tests there just last month (E-News 456-2372, 15 July 2009), will take his Test tally to eighty-five games.  Llong, an England member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has had a busy few months on the international scene, having officiated in the World Twenty20 (WT20) Championships, a One Day International series in the West Indies, the Lord's Ashes Test as the third umpire, as well as in county cricket (E-News 468-2429, 5 August 2009).

For Harper, whose personal web site has remained unchanged since the eve of his standing in the WT20 final at Lord's nearly seven weeks ago, it will be his seventh visit to Sri Lanka for a Test match, the coming games being his twelfth and thirteen Tests on the island since he first went there nine years ago.

Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva one of Harper's colleagues on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel will be the television umpire for the first Test, while Kumara Dharmasena a local member of the IUP will work in that role in the second.   

The two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) following the Tests will see de Silva and Dharmasena standing in the first, while for the second Sri Lankan IUP member Tyrone Wijewardene will, in somewhat of a surprise, be accompanied Gamini Silva who was recently removed from the IUP by Sri Lanka Cricket (E-News 470-2438 below).  Silva and Dharmasena will be the third umpires in match one and two respectively while Pycroft will reportedly stay on as the match referee.

After the T20Is, the three-nation ODI series will run from 8-14 September with the final on the latter day being Doctrove's eighty-ninth in that form of the game since his first in April 1998.  It will be the Dominican's third visit to the island for he stood in five ODIs there during the Asia Cup of 2004 and another five two years ago when India were the visitors.  Broad's ODI match referee tally will be 153 at the end of the series.

De Silva will be the second on-field umpire for the first and fourth ODIs, Dharmasena for the second, while Silva will accompany Doctrove in the third.  Silva will be the television umpire for games one and two and Dharmasena for three and four.  

REFEREE BROAD SCHEDULED

 FOR 'SNOW JOB', SAYS REPORT

[EN469-2437]

Former India skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and keeper Farokh Engineer will be the umpires when "all-star" teams from England and India play a five-over match in the snow on Jungraujoch in the Alps next January.  Billed as a game at the ‘Top of Europe’, the match will be played on a matting pitch mounted on a wooden platform on a compacted snow surface, the playing area will be limited by a thirty-metre circle and the ball a tennis-like sphere that is red-coloured and twice its normal weight. 

Jean-Philippe Benoit, Swiss International Airways general manager, told local media that he was talking to former Indian player Sunil Gavaskar at a Swiss food festival in March and the "conversation turned to cricket in the snow".  Benoit said that "every type of sport has been played in Switzerland [but] cricket was the missing link, especially on ice".

The Indian side is to feature retired players such as Kapil Dev, Sandeep Patil and Roger Binny, while England's team will have former West Indies skipper Alvin Kallicharran and ex-England players John Emburey and Chris Broad, the latter currently being an international match referee (E-News 470-2436 above), in its side.

RUMBLINGS CONTINUE IN LANKAN 

UMPIRING RANKS

[EN470-2438]

The rumblings of discontent in Sri Lankan umpiring circles appear to be continuing with what are described as "top umpires" there said to be "disgusted" by the way Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) selected three officials for nomination to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last month.  Those with grievances have prepared a letter outlining their concerns to Mahinda Rajapakse, the island nation's President, something they threatened to do over a related matter six weeks ago (E-News 447-2327, 3 July 2009).

Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper said yesterday that what it called "the volcano [of miscontent] exploded" after it became known that Kumara Dharmasena, Tyrone Wijewardene and Ranmore Martinesz were to be nominated to the IUP (E-News 465-2418, 30 July 2009).  After the three names were formally submitted to SLC by its Umpires Committee, the latter was asked to clarify the basis on which the trio had been recommended (E-News 464-2413, 29 July 2009). 

The "lengthy letter" to the President is said to claim that Dharmasena, Wijewardene and Martinesz were "picked ahead of more senior and qualified umpires [who had] higher local ratings", that "some of [the three were] caught copying at the umpires exam and had been penalised by the SLC" (E-News exams (E-News 444-2309, 30 June 2009), and that "a top official in charge of handling umpires" changed match reports prepared by team captains so that "his favourites" were given better marks.  

The 'Mirror' reported last month that ICC Elite Umpires Panel member Asoka de Silva topped SLC's 'A' Panel "ratings" for 2009-10 with Dharmasena, Wijewardene and then IUP member Gamini Silva, who Martinecz replaced on that panel, in second, fifth and eleventh spots respectively.   

Other complaints are said to include a claim that a "top official" who sat the annual umpire’s exam "only scored eight marks out of a possible 100", a result the malcontents say indicates he is "not fit to be in charge of umpires".  Additionally, SLC’s "arbitrary appointment of umpires for international matches without a proper [system] being involved", plus what are said to be "the anomalies in promoting and demoting umpires in domestic competitions" on the island, were also mentioned.  

The 'Mirror' says that that fact that Wijewardene has only received a single appointment in the eight international matches that are to be played on the island over the next month is an illustration of the "anomalies" being talked about.  There is also said to be "confusion" that Silva was named to two Twenty20 Internationals and three One Day Internationals in the same period (E-News 470-2436 above), despite being droppd from the IUP.

ICC-MCC TO DISCUSS 'WORLD TEST 

CHAMPIONSHIP' CONCEPT

[EN470-2439]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to meet with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to discuss the possibility of establishing a World Test Championship, according to a report in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday. The story says that the meeting will be held in Dubai in November and involve the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) who spoke positively about the concept at its annual meeting last month (E-News 457-2376, 16 July 2009).

The 'Telegraph' quoted WCC Chairman Tony Lewis as saying that Test cricket was not in the pink of its health and the administrators should do everything to restore it as the pinnacle of the game. "Test match cricket must fight back to ensure it survives around the world [for] all of the player surveys conducted in recent years say [it] is under threat, which is something we simply can't ignore", he said. 

The WCC Chairman pointed out that England's home series against the West Indies in May "went almost unnoticed" and that the "overwhelming turnout [for] the ongoing Ashes Tests should not be a reason to get complacent". 

Lewis continued by saying that "we are looking at two potential formats [for a world championship] at the moment but we can't just put them into the public domain because people will shoot them down and say they cannot work, which is why we have to commit to proper research".  Despite that comment he told the BBC World Service overnight that one of the possibilities was a knock-out series involving the top eight Test teams. 

TEAM CLEARED OF MEDIA 

RACISM ACCUSATIONS

[EN470-2440]

Players in Dunfermline in Scotland have been cleared of media allegations of racism and anti-white verbal abuse following an ill-tempered match against Arbroath late last month.  Stories in UK newspapers accused the Dunfermline side of launching vitriolic verbal attacks on players in the visiting team that reportedly left two of them in tears.

When the Scottish National Cricket League (SNCL) investigated incidents during the match at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday there were no claims of racism in the written submissions received from both clubs and the umpires, say the latest reports.  SNCL adminstrator Stewart Oliver said claims of racism resulted from "poor [media] reporting" and that "no further action will be taken".

Somewhat lurid press reports arose from comments made by Arbroath coach Neil Burnett who was reported as saying that "if we'd spoken to their players the way they spoke to ours, we'd be hauled up in court on all sorts of racism charges",  However, the Dunfermline players believe his post-match "rant" was a case of sour grapes after Arbroath lost in a close finish, club spokesman Tom Gibson saying that "the claims of racism were absolute rubbish".

Despite being cleared on that matter Dunfermline were, however, docked a championship point for a slow over-rate, although they maintain that this was simply because the ball had to be constantly dried because there had been a downpour, and they intend to appeal the verdict.

 

 

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 471

 MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2009

 

ABOOD, JOSHUA SELECTED FOR NUP 

[EN471-2441]

Gerard Abood of New South Wales and Geoff Joshua from Victoria were named as members of Cricket Australia's (CA) twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the 2009-10 season on Friday.  The pair join the group in place of former international umpire Peter Parker who retired ten months ago (E-News 321-1673, 1 October 2008), and Andrew Craig of Western Australia who was omitted after just one season on the national panel. 

During the season ahead Abood, thirty-seven, and Joshua, thirty-nine, will work with returning NUP members Bruce Oxenford (Queensland), Simon Fry (South Australia), Bob Parry, Paul Reiffel, John and Tony Ward (Victoria), Jeff Brookes, Ian Lock and Mick Martell (WA), and Rod Tucker (NSW).  Oxenford and Tucker remain as Australia's on-field umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, and Reiffel as that group's third umpire member.

CA's Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said in a statement that "the elevation of Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua to the national panel highlights the strength of CA’s umpiring pathway", a system that includes selection for, and assessment at, national youth championships, Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) games for state Second XIs, and the Emerging Players Tournament (EPT), the latter being the final 'hurdle' at which candidates must prove their abilities prior to consideration for the NUP.  Sutherland said that "both men have progressed through the ranks to earn their places on [the NUP]".   

Abood's elevation comes as little surprise (E-News 346-1834, 10 November 2008), for he clearly topped the rankings in the 2008 EPT as within six months of that he had officiated in the first of his now three matches at first class level.  His interstate representative debut was in the 2002 national Under 17 championship series, and over the following three years he was selected for two national Under 19 tournaments, Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) and CAC matches, and finally in January 2006 his first senior domestic one-day and Twenty20 games.  After that it was on to the EPTs of 2007 and 2008 followed by games in the Women's World Cup (WWC) last March (E-News 387-2058, 13 March 2009). 

Joshua, who like Martell last year is yet to officiate at first class level, appears to have been rated second to Abood at last year's EPT, but obviously went one better this year after making the final of the 2009 competition with Western Australian Paul Wilson just over a week ago (E-News 466-2419, 1 August 2009).  Joshua started at interstate level in an Under 17 national championship series the year after Abood did, then in WNCL games late in 2005 and a men's Under 19 series one year after that, before moving on to CAC matches in early 2007, and finally senior interstate one-day games eighteen months ago and a Twenty20 match this January.  

No reasons for Craig's departure were mentioned in CA's statement.  During the 2008-09 season the Western Australian, who was appointed to the panel last year after appearing to peak at first class level five years ago, worked in fourteen games.  That figure was made up of three first class, four domestic one-day (two as the television official), and single domestic Twenty20, CAC and international tour matches, plus a fourth official position in a One Day International.  He finished the season with three games on the field and another as a reserve official in the WWC. 

Having not yet turned forty, both Abood and Joshua make up the younger generation on the new NUP.  For Parry, fifty-six, it will be his ninth season on the panel and thirteenth at first class level (9/13), both Lock (7/9) and Tony Ward (2/4) are fifty, Oxenford is forty-nine (7/9), John Ward forty-seven (5/7), Jeff Brookes forty-six (5/6), and Tucker forty-four (4/6), while Fry (5/9), Martell (2/2) and Reiffel (5/6) are all currently forty-three.  

Sutherland also said, four-and-a-half months after it occurred (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), that “Rod Tucker’s identification by the ICC to overseas appointments just a year after making his international debut is further evidence of Australia’s reputation for producing high-quality umpires".  

Australia currently has three umpires on the ICC's top level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Simon Taufel (NSW) and Steve Davis and Daryl Harper (South Australia), and Tucker together with Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Amiesh Saheba (India) and Nigel Llong (England) appear to be in the running for possible elevation to the EUP over the next few years (E-News  470-2436, 7 August and 468-2429, 5 August 2009).

TAUFEL SHOULD STAND IN ASHES 

TESTS, SAYS PONTING 

[EN470-2442]

Australia captain Ricky Ponting says he understands the "disappointment" leading international umpire Simon Taufel must be feeling at being denied a chance to stand in the on-going Ashes series.  Since 2002 the International Cricket Council (ICC) has had a policy of only selecting on-field officials for Tests from country's that are not involved in a match, the so-called 'neutral' umpire policy, although the world body is currently surveying the opinions of both players and umpires about the issue (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).

Thirty-eight-year-old Taufel, who has been chosen as the world's best umpire for the last five years (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), has missed out on standing in an Ashes series, and because of the Australian side's dominance of fifty-over World Cup series over the last decade the last three finals of that competition, although he has stood in the first two finals of the World Twenty20 Championships after Australia failed to make both trophy-deciding matches (E-News 441-2296, 21 June 2009).

Ponting, speaking at Headingley before the fourth Test got underway last Thursday, said that he knows Taufel's "been disappointed over the years that he hasn't been able to umpire us because we've had a lot of success as a team and we've had World Cup finals and he hasn't been able to umpire those either".  "The guy that's been recognised as the best umpire in the world isn't actually able to umpire the big events which for him as an umpire would, I'm sure, be disappointing".

The Australian skipper said that he'd "like to think that any guy on that [ICC's top level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP)] will be good enough to do a great job in a Test match or a Test series".  "You want all the guys on the [EUP] to be at the same standard so there aren't too many standouts if you like", said Ponting, although Taufel's domination of the world award over the last five years indicates he operates at a level above most of the others on the panel.  

Taufel 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), although Cricket Australia supported the current ICC policy two years ago (E-News 45-248, 24 May 2007), as have Taufel's countryman and EUP colleague Daryl Harper (E-News 34-190, 30 April 2007), and the former Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee, Sunil Gavaskar (E-News 41-228, 17 May 2007).

Umpires and match referees from New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are officiating in this year's Ashes series (E-News 443-2307, 29 June 2009).

UMPIRE COLLAPSES, DIES, 

DURING MATCH IN CHESHIRE

[EN471-2443]

An umpire standing in a Cheshire County Cricket League Twenty20 Cup match in Stockport last Tuesday collapsed on the ground during play and could not be resuscitated.  Terry Hill, seventy, who has been standing in league matches for two decades, was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital despite the efforts of players from both sides who tried to revive him as they waited for an ambulance.  As a mark of respect to  Hill a minute's silence was observed before all Cheshire League games last Saturday.

'CLAMP DOWN' ON 'UNACCEPTABLE 

BEHAVIOUR', SAYS SCOTS CHIEF  

[EN471-2444]

Scottish National Cricket League (SNCL) chief Stewart Oliver believes that "some" umpires have failed to do their jobs properly by "turning a blind eye or deaf ear to unruly players", says a report in 'Daily Record' yesterday.  Oliver moved to remind officials of their responsibilities in the wake of a controversial game between SNCL First Division leaders Dunfermline and Arbroath earlier this month.

The Dunfermline side were "severely reprimanded" by the SNCL's disciplinary committee last week and Arbroath given a "warning" over incidents in the match, although the former were reported to have been cleared of charges made in the media that they had made 'racist' comments during the game (E-News 469-2440, 7 August 2009).  

Oliver is said to have told the 'Record' that the "weakness of certain umpires had sparked discipline problems among rival players in the past" and the league wants officials "to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour when they are required to do so".  "In the case of [the umpires who stood in the] Dunfermline and Arbroath [match] it is fair to say they have been severely rapped over the knuckles", runs the quote attributed to Oliver.

THREE PLAYERS IN YORKSHIRE 

BANNED FOR UMPIRE ABUSE

[EN471-2445]

 

Three players in the Huddersfield Cricket League in Yorkshire have been suspended after being found guilty of abusing umpires, says a report in the 'Huddersfield Examiner' last week.  Two Skelmanthorpe players, Adam Dollive the captain and Max Joice received three and two week bans respectively, their team mate Craig Glover escaped with a caution, while the Scholes side's Andy Alsop was given a two matches off as a result of comments he is said to have made to umpires during a match in mid-July.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 472

 WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2009

 

MATCH OFFICIALS WARN ENGLAND 

ABOUT SUBSTITUTE USE

[EN472-2446]

England has been warned that it could be forced to field with only ten men in the fifth Ashes Test next week if it persists in using substitute fieldsmen in an inappropriate way.  During the fourth Test at Headingley, the home side frequently took its fast bowlers off for breaks of several overs at a time, Stuart Broad being the main offender, says a story in the Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper yesterday.

Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who together with Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden stood in the recently completed Test and will do so again in the fifth at The Oval, is said to have warned England captain Andrew Strauss about the substitute issue during the game last week.  Rauf is said to have given Broad "a stern dressing-down" when he returned to the field after a break on the second day, after which the umpire also spoke to Strauss about the issue.

The 'Herald Sun' story states that Match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka confirmed that England were warned and that in future it will have to do without a fieldsman if a player is off the ground for more than two overs without a legitimate injury concern. 

In July last year the International Cricket Council (ICC) asked umpires to "clamp down heavily" on the use of rolling substitutions during Tests and One Day Internationals with substitutes only allowed "in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons", a definition that does not included so-called "comfort breaks" (E-News 270-1449, 5 July 2008).  That directive is contained in current ICC Test match playing conditions, although there are allowances if the absence was due to a player receiving an 'external blow'.  

Australian journalist Ben Dorries wrote in the article that "Australia also occasionally takes its players off, but tends to use the twelfth man in the traditional fashion".

'IMMENSE CONCENTRATION', 'SELF BELIEF', 

THE KEY, SAYS  TAUFEL

[EN472-2447]

Australian umpire Simon Taufel, selected as the world's best umpire over the last five years (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), attributes his success primarily to what the 'cricketnext.com' web site reported late last week is "immense concentration and self belief" during his time on the field.  "Umpiring [at international level] has become a tough job with packed schedules, constant travelling, modern technology and even security factors", says the Australian, "but we look at these as a real challenge and try our best to overcome them". 

Taufel, who was speaking in Bangalore where he was taking part in an umpiring seminar at India's National Cricket Academy (E-News 470-2435, 7 August 2009), said that "nobody goes out in the middle with the intention of making mistakes [and] to minimise these one has to concentrate hard and never be distracted during [their] time in the middle, and never get influenced by [what] the media" is saying.  

The Australian told journalist V Veera Kumar that 'iconic' series like the Ashes and the India-Pakistan Test series are the toughest to officiate as they are keenly followed throughout the world and even a single unintentional mistake puts a lot of pressure on the umpires concerned.

Taufel is said to have "found officiating on the sub-continent as the toughest challenge I have faced so far as there are a lot of spinners operating on turning tracks".  Such bowlers need "to be watched keenly all the time, and the hot and humid conditions, apart from the noisy crowds in the back ground, doesn't make things easier", he said.  Despite the pressures though, he believes that an umpire gets the best seat at a match and that he was "truly honoured" to see some of the best batsmen and bowlers in the world at such close quarters.  

Australia captain Ricky Ponting indicated last week that he understands what he termed the "disappointment" Taufel must be feeling at being denied a chance to stand in the on-going Ashes series (E-News 470-2442, 10 August 2009).

TIFFIN ZIMBABWE'S 'UMPIRE 

OF THE YEAR'

[EN472-2448]

Russell Tiffin was named as Zimbabwea's 'Umpire of the Year' at a national awards ceremony held in Bulawyo last week.  Bulawayo-based scorer Donald Nyoni, who has worked at first class level over the last five years, was selected as his country's "Scorer of the Year', a national award that very few countries hand out.  

During the past twelve months Tiffin, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), officiated in internationals in India, Kenya, the West Indies and at home in Zimbabwe, however, records available suggest that he was not involved in any domestic representative games during that period.

Tiffin, who turned fifty in June, worked in two Tests and two other first class games, twelve One Day Internationals (ODI), two tour matches and seven of the Indian Premier League's Twenty20 games in South Africa.  His colleague on the IUP, Kevan Barbour, took part in five ODIs, two of them as the television umpire, six World Cup Qualifier games in South Africa, and an Intercontinental Cup match played in Namibia, the latter being his only first class game of the awards year.  

Both Barbour and Tiffin were not used domestically, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) assigning six umpires to this year's Logan Cup first class competition, Owen Chirombe, Victor Mhlanga, Jerry Matibiri, Langton Rusere, Nick Singo and Justice Tapfumaneyi; all except Mhlanga also standing in the country's one-day trophy series.  Another four officials, Admire Marodoza, Lucky Ngwenga, and Christopher and Trevor Phiri looked after the national Twenty20 series, while Emmanuel Dube and former Zimbabwe IUP member Ian Robinson, who is now the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Manager for Africa, were used in a couple of tour matches.

The ICC web site does not indicate who Zimbabwe's third umpire on the IUP currently is, although unofficial reports from the country suggest that Chirombe, who is thirty-six and made his debut as the third umpire in an ODI last November (E-News 350-1575, 22 November 2008), now occupies that position. 

What the local media is describing as "a panel of judges made of various stakeholders" met in Harare last month to determine this year's award winners.  Last week's ceremony was the first such event ZC has held since 2006.  

Meanwhile, the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) 'Umpire of the Year' trophy, which was awarded to Pakistan's Aleem Dar just over twelve months ago (E-News 272-1455, 8 July 2008), appears to have gone missing this year.  Last year's presentation to Dar was made during the ACC's "inaugural annual awards dinner" in early July 2008, an event that was held to  commemorate the ACC's silver jubilee year (E-News 268-1436, 2 July 2008).

'NO SUBSTANCE' IN BOOKMAKER 

ALLEGATIONS, SAYS ICC

[EN472-2449]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has found that there is "no substance" to claims that Pakistan players came into contact with bookmakers during the recent Test series in Sri Lanka.  Pakistan players had complained to team manager Yawar Saeed that "suspicious people" attempted to make contact with them in the team hotel in Colombo (E-News 467-2426, 3 August 2009).

Following a report from its team management, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) passed the matter to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), but the world body says that after an investigation it is satisfied that "no evidence of any such contacts exists" and that "no suspicious activities had taken place".  

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) agreed last week to use the ACSU to monitor the the Champions League this October and the third Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament next March-April (E-News 472-2450 below).   

IPL REVISES 'ADVERTISING BREAK' 

ARRANGEMENTS

[EN472-2450]

The Indian Premier League (IPL) plans to change arrangements for its 'tactical time out' break during innings in its third tournament next year, an event that is to consist of sixty games and run from 12 March to 25 April.  The key change, which will be mandatory for both sides, will see the total 'time out' of five minutes required per innings, the bowling team having to take a two-and-a-half minute break sometime between overs six and ten, and the batting side the same period between overs eleven and sixteen.

Introduction of the break in this year's competition in South Africa brought criticism that its function was purely to allow additional advertising to be run while the interval was underway (E-News 408-2160, 18 April 2009).  The round-robin part of that tournament had a compulsory seven-and-a-half mid-innings break, although that was reduced to five minutes for both the semi finals and final (E-News 418-2210, 7 May 2009). 

MATCH ABANDONED AFTER CLUB UMPIRE 

ENGAGES IN FIST FIGHT

[EN472-2451]

A batsman's request for the sight screen to be moved ended with a forty-over one-day match in Somerset being abandoned after two players got into a fist fight with a club umpire earlier this month, says a report in the 'Bristol Evening Post'.

After six overs chasing 315 to win, an Old England and Bristol Sikhs (OEBS) batsman asked fielding side PAZ if they could move the sight screen behind the bowler's arm.  The 'Post' story says that the fielders claim that the umpire, who was an OEBS player as is the norm in the North Somerset Sunday League (NSSL), had put the batsmen up to the request in retaliation for PAZ making "as many as thirty requests to move sight screens in their innings".

A "confrontation" is said to have quickly developed after PAZ, who draw on players from Bristol's Pakistani community, allege their players were on the receiving end of some swearing and insults, in Urdu, by the umpire concerned.  Two of the fielding side are said to have come to blows with the umpire and both teams tried to restrain their players as the game descended into a "violent farce".  Police were called and arrested the two PAZ players on suspicion of assault, but the umpire, who also plays for Bristol Pakistanis with the two fielders concerned on a Saturday, later accepted their apologies and withdrew his allegations, says the 'Post'.

Andy Christie, captain of the OEBS side, a multi-racial team that includes Sikhs, players of white origin as well as Pakistani decent, told the newspaper that the incident is "the worst thing I've ever seen on a cricket pitch [and] could have been settled with the two captains coming together and discussing it".  Christie, thirty-eight, said that he's "been playing cricket on and off since I was a boy and [the incident] has disheartened me".

NSSL Conference administrator Malcolm Buck is waiting for a written report of what happened from both sides.  "It is extremely regrettable", he said, "but until I know the facts I cannot comment on the matter".  

ACO NEWSLETTER 

AGAIN GOES MISSING

[EN472-2452]

The newsletter of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has again gone missing after several lengthy gaps in its first year of production in 2008 (E-News 267-1438, 2 July 2008).  What was labelled as the "first edition" of the newsletter for 2009 was distributed in late March but nothing has been forthcoming since then, a situation that means that only two editions have been now been published in the twelve months since August last year.

The ACO lists as one of the "benefits of membership" of the organisation as the availability of news via "regular newsletters with up-to-date and important information from the officiating world".  An item in the April 2008 newsletter indicated that six editions were planned each year (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008), however, in its so-far nineteen months of operation the ACO's now 5,000 plus members have only received five editions.  There were two gaps of three months each last calendar year and a similar hiatus before this year's so far only edition, prior to the current five month gap.    

The Association maintains a 'News and Blogs' section on the web site but its use has been limited in the period since the last newsletter in March to eleven, mostly brief, items of news.  The lack of information flowing from the ACO to its members was criticised in the early months of the organisation's operation last year (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008).

  

E-NEWS NUMBER 473

 THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2009

LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIM REMAINS 

IN INTENSIVE CARE

[EN473-2453 ]

A player who was struck by lightning in New York nearly three weeks ago (E-News 464-2410, 29 July 2009), remains in intensive care in hospital, however, doctors apparently believe that he will eventually recover from his injuries.  Despite the optimistic outlook he still can't talk and is on a fluid diet, but there is said to now be "a little movement" in his eyes when he is spoken to.

Patrick Gibson, forty-one, who moved to New York from St Vincent in the Caribbean four years ago, was hit across the left side of his face by the lightning while running for shelter when the thunderstorm struck on 26 July.  The bolt exited through his feet and the charge caused bleeding from the brain and injuries to his lung, kidneys and liver, as well as giving him burns to both the inside and outside of his body.  

Patrice Redhead, a spectator who ran to Gibson's aid, told the 'DreamCricket' web site yesterday that the struck man had no heart beat and his eyes were rolled back, therefore she began CPR, something that was, with the assistance of others at the game, kept it going until an ambulance arrived fifteen minutes later.  Asked if she had any experience with resuscitation procedures, Redhead said "only that which came from watching cop shows on television". 

Since the incident Redhead and her husband have hosted a barbecue at their home to raise money for Gibson, who is an unemployed electrician, and the Brooklyn Cricket League is said to be working on plans to raise funds to assist him.

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR 

ENGLAND AT HEADINGLEY

[EN473-2454]

England has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its innings defeat to Australia in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley which finished on Sunday.  The side received a similar fine in the second Test at Lord's late last month (E-News 460-2393, 23 July 2009).

A statement released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday says that match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka imposed the fines after Andrew Strauss's side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration. 

Score sheets for the match show that during Australia's single innings England delivered an average of 13.3 overs per hour during play, or 104 overs in 463 minutes.  On the same basis Australia's rate was 12.3 overs an hour in England's first innings (thirty-four overs in 163 minutes), and 13.3 overs in their second (sixty-two in 275 minutes).

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

The ICC decided in June to double the fines for slow over-rates, however, as yet it is not known just when the new arrangements will come into force (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).   Since then Pakistan in a Test, the West Indies twice in the shorter forms of the game, and now England twice in a Test, have been given fines for slow over-rates (E-News 465-2417, 30 July 2009).

TAUFEL POSITIVE ABOUT INDIAN 

UMPIRE'S SEMINAR

[EN473-2455]

Australian umpire Simon Taufel spoke positively yesterday about the progress that has been made in the umpiring seminars that Cricket Australia (CA) has conducted for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the last two years.  This year's week-long event, CA's third in the current series, concluded at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore yesterday, and is part of a concerted effort being made by the BBCI to raise umpiring standards on the sub-continent (E-News 87-464, 23 August 2007).

Taufel is being quoted in today's edition of 'The Hindu' as saying that the seminar covered a broad spectrum of issues and that "the bunch of umpires [involved] were perhaps the best we have had in the seminar [to date and] they are enthusiastic and super-keen" and worked well together. 

Matters covered are said to have included mental toughness, physical fitness, wet weather conditions and the resultant calculations, bad light appraisal and its interpretation in varying conditions such as when a fast bowler is bowling or when a spinner is operating and self-analysis about decisions. There was also a "bad light simulation exercise" at the Chinnaswamy Stadium when attendees were shown how to use a light meter and interpret the data it provides in a way that is consistent.

The presence of Indian players Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid for one component of the course provided a player-perspective, Kumble chairing a session and also speaking about what he expects from the umpires as a captain, bowler and player.  His views were "informative", said Taufel.

The seminar also involved presenters from Australia, for in addition to Taufel, CA's Global Development Manager Ross Turner, its Umpire Educator Dennis Burns, and National Umpire Panel member Ian Lock from Western Australia, also took part (E-News 461-2400, 24 July 2009).

Taufel told 'The Hindu' that he will now head back to Australia, before going to Singapore at the end of the month to mentor the umpires involved in the World Cricket League Division 6 tournament (E-News 464-2415, 29 July 2009).  From there he is said to be "off to South Africa for the Champions Trophy", which starts on 22 September, apparently adding with what the 'Hindu' says was a touch of humour, that "wife isn’t happy".

The Australian has spoken several times in the past about the difficulties of balancing his umpiring career with family life (E-News 195-1066, 12 February 2008 and 208-1159, 13 March 2008), including the pressures that were involved when he was still a part-time official (E-News 333-1752, 21 October 2008).

SLEDGING IMPROVES MY 

CONFIDENCE, SAYS AUSSIE JOHNSON

[EN473-2456]

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson is said to feel more confident when he sledges England players and that such banter will continue in the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Oval next week, according to a story posted on the Cricket Archive web site yesterday.  Johnson was quoted by the 'Fox Sports' website as saying that he doesn't "normally say too much but maybe it was a bit of a surprise to those guys for me to say something" during the fourth Test last week.

The left-armer who took six wickets in that Test, said that "it felt good to [sledge] and I'll continue to do it [so I'll] just keep puffing my chest out and keep getting into the contest... a stare here and there", he said, for he thinks that such an approach "has definitely worked for me and I've definitely got a lot more confidence now and really enjoying it again".

Former Australian spinner Shane Warne last week urged Australian cricketers to bring back the sledge and rediscover their nasty streak before England emerge as a stronger opponent in the current Ashes series (E-News 467-2424, 3 August 2009).

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 474

 FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2009

 

McGRATH NO FAN OF ICC's 

'NEUTRAL' UMPIRE POLICY

[EN474-2457]

Former Australian player Glenn McGrath has described Test cricket's 'neutral' umpire system as "garbage" and questioned why the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is not being used in the current Ashes series.  Writing in his column in London's 'Evening Standard' yesterday, McGrath says that "the world's best umpires, Australian Simon Taufel and Englishman Mark Benson, should have been umpiring during the Ashes".

In McGrath's view the neutral umpire "system in place at present suggests a lack of trust in the umpires and this will only stop younger officials trying to get into Test umpiring".  "If the International Cricket Council (ICC) is worried about umpires favouring their own countries, the technology and television replays we have in place mean that any official doing that would be found out very quickly", he says. 

"If a budding Test umpire knows he will never be able to stand in matches in his own country, he might think twice about going into the international arena, because there is so much travel involved and so much time spent away from families", continued McGrath.  Others who feel the same way about the 'neutral' system have made similar comments (E-News 471-2442, 10 August 2009).

The Australian does not mention, and possibly does not know, that the ICC is currently surveying the opinions of both players and umpires about its neutral umpire policy (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).

The now-retired Australian bases his comments, which were written for an English readership, around what in his assessment has been the "terrible umpiring" in the Ashes to date, with "South African Rudi Koertzen [having] had a shocking series [in which he made] more mistakes than correct [ones]", a view that is not shared by some close observers of the game who have examined the situations involved from an umpiring point of view.  Koertzen himself has talked publicly about some of the dismissals (E-News 460-2391, 23 July 2009).    

McGrath also focuses on what he calls the "eccentric Kiwi" 'Billy' Bowden's decision not to give England captain Andrew Strauss out "plumb" LBW on the first ball of the fourth Test.  That and Koertzen's alleged performance show that "the best umpires should be umpiring the biggest tournaments and the biggest series, regardless of their nationality", he says, and as such Taufel and Benson should be standing at The Oval in next week's fifth Test.  

Taufel's standing on the international list is clear, having been selected as the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' for each of the last five years (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), but Benson's position in the firmament is not as easy to determine, although he did make the final five in last year's 'Umpire of the Year' award (E-News 308-1612, 9 September 2008).  

McGrath, who says he is a "big fan" of the UDRS, doesn't "understand why it wasn't used in this series [for] surely it would have been a good idea to bring it in for something as big as the Ashes".  What he does not say is that Australian and English cricket authorities agreed earlier this year not to use the system for the Ashes.  It will, however, be in place when England tours Australia in 2010-11 (E-News 422-2225, 13 May 2009).

AJMAL FINED FOR 

SANGAKKARA 'SEND OFF'

[EN474-2458]

Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal has been fined for giving Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara a 'send off' during a Twenty20 International, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.  The off-spinner pointed towards the pavilion and "spoke aggressively" to Sangakkara after bowling him in the match played in Colombo on Wednesday evening, a dismissal one report described as "a match-turning breakthrough".

Match referee Alan Hurst of Australia found Ajmal guilty of breaching the ICC's Code of Conduct (CoC) and fined him fifteen percent of his match fee following a post-match hearing.  Hurst said in an ICC statement issued yesterday that "in coming to my decision, I took into account the fact the player immediately recognised his error of judgment and apologised to both umpires [and] he also did so to Sangakkara after the game".

Hurst said that Ajmal "had no previous instances of this type of behaviour, but it was pointed out to him during the hearing that his actions were a clear breach of the [CoC] and something seen not only on the replay screen at the ground but also by many millions of people watching on television around the world".  "This type of action cannot be tolerated as it does not promote the playing of the game in the expected positive spirit", said Hurst.

The incident was reported by on-field umpires Asoka de Silva and Tyron Wijewardene, who spoke to the Pakistani immediately after the incident, as well as third umpire Gamini Silva and fourth official Gamini Dissanayake, all of whom are from Sri Lanka (E-News 470-2436, 7 August 2009).   Ajmal was charged under a section of the CoC which refers to "pointing or gesturing towards the pavilion in an aggressive manner by a bowler or other members of the fielding side upon the dismissal of a batsman".

Reports say that it is not clear what Ajmal's fees were for the match and therefore what the fine amounted to in monetary terms is not known.

BCCI SHUFFLES IUP NOMINEES

[EN474-2459]

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed last week's press reports that Gujarat umpire Sanjay Hazare has been nominated to join the International Cricket Council's *ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (E-News 468-2341, 5 August 2009).  Hazare is to occupy the third or television umpire position replacing Shavir Tarapore who has been moved to an on-field spot after just one year on the panel (E-News 320-1669, 28 September 2008).

Hazare and Tarapore will be on the IUP with countryman Amish Saheba who is a member of the ICC's four-man 'emerging' umpires group and is in the running to become a member of the world body's top-level Elite Umpires Panel.  Tarapore replaces Suresh Shastri in the on-field slot as he appears to have been dropped, although no mention of that has been made by the BCCI to date, but it is in line with recent Indian practice of changing at least one member of the panel each year.

Shastri, fifty-four, has been umpiring at first class level since 1990, taking up that role three-and-a-half years after ending a fourteen-year, fifty-three match stint at that level as a player with Rajasthan.  To date he has stood in sixty-four first class matches, two of them Tests in Sri Lanka in 2007 (E-News 60-327, 26 June 2007).  Over what has been his last year on the IUP, he worked in two Tests as the television umpire, stood in a single One Day International (ODI) and was the third umpire in an ODI three times, stood in eight domestic first class games, and three Indian Premier League Twenty20 matches in South Africa plus another four in the television suite,

The BCCI this week has also agreed to setting up specialised coaching centres for batting, fast bowling, spinners and wicketkeepers in Mumbai, Mohali and Chennai respectively. It also plans to establish an umpires' academy and also to increase the remuneration available to umpires, however, no details of either of those initiatives have been released.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 475

 MONDAY, 17 AUGUST 2009

TCUSA MEMBERS FOR WOMEN'S 

T20 INTERNATIONALS? 

[EN475-2460]

The Australian and New Zealand women's teams are to play three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in Hobart early next year, the first of the series being played as a curtain raiser to the same format game between the men from Australia and the West Indies on 21 February (E-News 469-2433, 6 August 2009), and the others on the two days straight after that.  If Cricket Australia's (CA) practice of appointing members of State Umpire Panels (SUP) from the T20I match's host state is followed, the three games would see TCUSA members both on the field and in the score box at Bellerive.

Queensland SUP members Andrew Curran, Jay Kangur, Norm McNamara, Darren Moloney and Damien Mealey stood in the three T20I matches played between the two women's sides in Brisbane two months ago, games that both teams used as part of their 'warm up' for this year's Women's T20 World Championship in England (E-News 428-2255, 21 May 2009). 

New South Wales SUP members Michael Kumutat and Peter Tate were appointed to the single T20I the same two teams played at the Sydney Cricket Ground last February (E-News 369-1969, 9 February 2009), that match being played as a curtain raiser to the game between their respective men's sides.  Earlier in that season Tate also stood, this time with fellow NSW SUP member Gerard Abood, in the single T20I between the Australian and Indian women at Sydney's Hurstville Oval (E-News 321-1675, 1 October 2008).   

Prior to next February's matches at Bellerive, the Australian and New Zealand women's sides are to play five One Day Internationals, two in Adelaide and three in Melbourne.  In recent years the umpires for such games have usually come from members of the National Umpires Panel from the state hosting the match as well as local SUP members.  

Umpiring appointments for next February's women's internationals at Bellerive Oval and on the mainland are not expected to be made by CA until sometime in the new year.

WT20 BOOKMAKER APPROACHES 

WORRY ICC, CLAIMS REPORT  

[EN475-2461]

A number of approaches were made by bookmakers to key players during the World Twenty20 (WT20) Championship in England two months ago, says a report published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday. The players concerned are said to have advised the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) about the approaches, and while no matches in the series were fixed in any way the threat for the future remains real, claims the article by journalist Scyld Berry.

Berry quotes an unnamed "source" as saying that the threat of match-fixing spread to England from the second Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament played in South Africa last April-May.  That event was not covered by the ASCU because the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was concerned about the costs of using the unit during that series (E-News 416-2198, 5 May 2009). 

"Disturbing rumours have emerged from the second IPL", says Berry's "senior source" and "those in charge in the ICC understand that Twenty20 cricket [is in] danger of going back to the bad old days".  The 'Telegraph' story says that at ICC Board meetings held in Dubai and Lord's in April and July respectively, the head of the ACSU warned that cricket was "under the gravest threat since Sharjah in the 1990s". 

"The second IPL should have been covered properly, and cricket has paid a price", said the source, however, what happened in England recently "was a wake-up call" and that is said to be why the BCCI accepted [late last month] that the ACSU should be present at future IPL tournaments (E-News 467-2426, 3 August 2009).

Last week ICC said that there was "no substance" in claims that Pakistan players came into contact with bookmakers during the three-Test series in Sri Lanka last month (E-News 472-2449, 12 August 2009).  

WICB HOPES TO 'BROADEN' UMPIRE 

EXCHANGE PROGRAM

[EN475-2462]

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) hopes to "broaden" its international umpire exchange program with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), says WICB President Dr Julian Hunte.  Both Boards agreed to the establishment of the program last year (E-News 346-1840, 10 November 2008), and it got underway in the first half of this year with single umpires being exchanged in each direction.

Hunte, who mentioned the issue in his report to the WICB's annual meeting in Antigua last week, did not provide any details about just what his organisation has in mind regarding the future of the program, or whether there have as yet been any discussions about the matter or the issues involved with its counterpart across the Atlantic.  

Richard Kettleborough of the ECB and Trinidadian Peter Nero took part in the initial exchange, events that in Hunte's words were "very positive" and enabled both to "gain valuable exposure and experience".  The Yorkshireman stood in three Caribbean 'domestic' first class games in February (E-News 374-1994, 18 February 2009), then Nero traveled to England in May-June where he officiated in two first class and two county Second XI matches (E-News 449-2342, 6 July 2009).

Kettleborough, thirty-six, is one of two third umpire members that England has on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The selection by the WICB of forty-five-year-old Nero for the exchange ahead of the current Windies' IUP quartet, all of whom are six to ten years older than him (E-News 475-2463 below), suggests that he may be seen as a possible Caribbean candidate for the IUP panel sometime in the future, although like many West Indian umpires he has had only a relatively limited number of higher-level ‘domestic’ appointments at this time.   

However, that is difficult to determine and there has been criticism over the last year about what some see as the lack of transparency or consistency in the way that the WICB makes its umpiring appointments (E-News 475-2464 below). 

ICC RESPONDS TO WICB 'CONCERNS' 

ABOUT IUP APPOINTMENTS 

[EN475-2463]

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) concerns that Caribbean members of the International Umpires Panel (IUP) have had few opportunities to stand in internationals outside the Caribbean in recent years are being addressed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), says WICB President Dr Julian Hunte.  The ICC is said to have responded positively an approach by the WICB about the matter and Hunte expects changes "within the next two months".    

According to Hunte's report to the WICB's annual general meeting last week, the Board's Cricket Operations department wrote to the ICC earlier this year about what it saw as "the lack of opportunity for our representatives on the [IUP]", and that as a result the Windies' two on-field IUP members, Clyde Duncan of Guyana and Norman Malcolm of Jamaica, "will see overseas appointments within the next two months".

Over the last two years at least one IUP member from eight of the ten nations who have officials on the panel have worked outside their home countries, Pakistan and the West Indies being the exceptions. However, two of the latter's members went to Sharjah for the Pakistan-Australia ODI series earlier this year as such matches could not be played in Pakistan because of security concerns (E-News 415-2195, 4 May 2009).

Malcolm, fifty-four, has not stood outside the West Indies in ICC matches in the last two years, until being named just over a week ago for a series of second-tier games in Canada involving the home side and Kenya that are currently underway (E-News 468-2430, 5 August 2009).  The Jamaican, who has been standing at first class level for over twenty-five years and currently has fifty-one such matches to his credit, stood in first class games in the United States in 2004, Canada in 2006 and Scotland in 2007.  

Duncan, fifty-five, who is the only West Indian currently on the IUP to have stood in a Test, the last of his two to date being over fifteen years ago, has only been selected for matches outside the Caribbean once in 

the twenty-one years since he first stood at senior international level, and in the twenty-three years since his first class debut.

That single overseas appointment was to the Under 19 World Championship in Malaysia in February last year where he stood in six matches, although he did not make the finals of that series (E-News 203-1119, 2 March 2008).  However, he has attended the last few annual meetings of the ICC's match referee and umpires' groups in Dubai, but Hunte's report comments last week suggest that he will stand in an overseas international again in the near future.

Besides Malcolm and Duncan, the West Indies also have two third umpire members on the IUP, Clancy Mack of Antigua, who is fifty-three, and Goaland Greaves, fifty-one, of St Vincent.  None of the four played cricket at first class level before taking up umpiring.  

Over the past twelve months at home in the Caribbean, Malcolm, Duncan and Mack each stood in two Twenty20 Internationals, Norman in two One Day Internationals (ODI) and Duncan two, and the latter pair also working as the third umpire in two and one Tests, as well as ODIs, respectively.  At home their opportunities to work at the highest level of West Indies 'domestic' cricket have been limited, in part it seems because of the way the umpiring system there is structured (E-News 475-2464 below).

With the retirement of Jamaican Steve Bucknor from the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel this year, Billy Doctrove of Dominica is the only person from the Caribbean currently standing at the highest levels of international cricket.

RECOMMENDED ESTABLISHMENT 

OF A CARIBBEAN 'EUP' AWAITED

[EN475-2464]

Progress is being made in addressing the recommendations of the 'Patterson Report' into West Indies cricket, says West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President Dr Julian Hunte, a Caribbean 'domestic' Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) being one of sixty-five suggestions made in the now two-year-old document.  Hunte's perspective was, however, challenged by a number of senior administrators in the West Indies who went public with their concerns last week about what they see as the lack of action on the overall report.

The lack of publicity about the EUP in recent months suggests that at best only limited progress has been made with its establishment, for the various regional or national Boards that make up the WICB are likely to each be quick to announce the appointment of their umpires to such a panel, or conversely complain publicly about their omission.

Suggestions made to E-News point to the recommended EUP being similar in scope and size to Cricket Australia's twelve-man National Umpires Panel (E-News 471-2442, 10 August 2009), although as yet it has not been possible to confirm whether that is an accurate representation of what is envisaged.  

Last season the WICB used a total of forty umpires from six separate regions for its forty-two 'domestic' first class matches, Barbados and the Leeward Islands each having eight people in that group, while Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands all had six (E-News 425-2239, 18 May 2009).  

The majority of umpires on the list only received one or two appointments at first class level that season, the four Caribbean members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) topping the list with just four such games each (E-News 475-2463 above).  Last austral summer Australia’s three IUP members stood in either six or seven first class games. 

Umpire development and selection processes used by the WICB in recent years have been questioned on a number of occasions, current West Indies member of the IUP Norman Malcolm of Jamaica for example speaking publicly last year about the need for a more structured, transparent, system (E-News 346-1840, 10 November 2008).

Hunte said in his report to the WICB's annual meeting in Antigua last week that the Chair of its umpire' sub-committee "will be submitting" a paper to the Board "which will seek to address some of the challenges which have been identified as contributing to the scarcity of opportunity for regional aspirants to umpiring as a career of choice".  

DAD GETS CLOSER FIRST CLASS 

VIEW AFTER UMPIRE INJURY

[EN475-2465]

English umpire Barry Dudleston had to hobble off the ground before tea on day three of the first class match between Hampshire and Yorkshire in Basingstoke on Thursday after being struck on a leg by a throw from fielder David Griffiths of the home side.  

A report in a local newspaper on Friday said that Dudleston's injury "further highlighted the vulnerability of officials following the recent death of an umpire who was hit on the head by a throw in a club match in Swansea" last month (E-News 450-2344, 7 July 2009).

Former Test umpire Dudleston, who turns sixty-five next July and may therefore retire at the end of this northern summer, was said to be off the field for most of the rest of the day.  Retired Hampshire bowler Tim Tremlett, who is now that county’s Director of Cricket, stood at square leg during that time, a position from which he could watch the bowling of his son Chris from close quarters.  

Dudleston's colleague, former West Indian Test and One Day International player Vanburn Holder, who has been on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) umpiring 'full list' since 1992, stood at both ends while his colleague was off the field.  

Last week's game was Dudleston's 704th in first class cricket, made up of 295 as a player and 409 as an umpire.  Holder, who turns sixty-five late next year and may therefore have only one more season on the ECB's top list, was working in his 565th first class fixture, 313 and 252 games being as a player and umpire respectively.

E-NEWS NUMBER 476

 TUESDAY, 18 AUGUST 2009

UMPIRING STANDARDS AT TWENTY-YEAR 

LOW, CLAIMS WARNE

[EN476-2466]

Former Australian Test leg-spinner Shane Warne has criticised some of cricket's leading international umpires and described the level of officiating in the game as being at its lowest point in two decades.  Writing in 'The Times' in London yesterday, Warne made pointed comments about South African umpire Rudi Koertzen, New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden and Australian Daryl Harper, and put forward the names of a number of former players who are now officiating that he thinks should be standing at the highest levels of the game.

Warne, who played 145 Tests from 1992-2007 and is still active with one of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) franchises, said in his column that umpiring "is a difficult job" and that "technology exposes mistakes", however, "some of the [umpiring] performances in the Ashes series so far have been pretty ordinary".  He says that while international "players will accept that the odd bad decision gets through now and again, at the moment just too many" errors are being made by on-field officials from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).

While acknowledging the impact the increased use of technology has had on international umpiring, in Warne's opinion technological "gimmicks and gadgets" should not be used until they are "100 per cent foolproof".  He "wouldn’t use them for anything except line decisions, unless the umpire has made such a howler that it becomes obvious on the first replay [and] in that case the third umpire should get on the walkie-talkie and tell his mate in the middle to change his decision". 

In Warne's personal assessment Pakistani umpire "Asad Rauf is pretty good and Simon Taufel [of Australia] isn’t bad", while South African "Rudi Koertzen has been a good umpire [but] unfortunately his time has passed".  'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand is said to be "inconsistent" for he "can be very good", however, sometimes "he gets a bit carried away" and "cannot [like some others on the EUP] admit [making] a mistake".  The attitude of umpires "is crucial", says Warne, for "having a friendly nature [with players] is imperative, rather than the “I’m the boss” schoolteacher approach of [Australian] Daryl Harper, who is [said to be] unpopular with players". 

The former spinner writes that "England generally have the best umpires because they are ex-players who [officiate in] a lot of games" (E-News 475-2465, 17 August 2009).  He goes on to name Neil Mallender, Peter Willey and Richard Kettleborough as county officials who should be promoted to the EUP, together with Australians Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, who like Kettleborough are members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel. As former players the five would "improve the standard [at EUP level], but they need encouragement because they don’t want to spend a long time on the road", according to Warne.

Tucker appears to be in the running for promotion to the EUP sometime early next decade and reports suggest that Kettleborough may not be far behind him.  On the other hand both Mallender and Willey, who each played Test cricket for England and have also umpired at that level, both rejected the opportunity to work on the EUP earlier this decade.  

Mallender, who has stood in 142 first class matches to date, was appointed to the EUP in 2003 but was a member for only a year, however he, as did Willey, declined the ICC's invitation work with the 'Elite' group because of the amount of time they would have to spend away from home each year.  Willey turns sixty next December while Mallender celebrated his forty-eighth birthday just last week.

Along with such personal changes at the top suggested by Warne, he believes that the ICC should increase the remuneration available to umpires at that level.  According to him "at the moment [EUP members] earn about $A120,000" a year, but in his view "the top blokes could get close to $400,000 in all".  The latter would be made up of a retainer and around $A13,000 for each Test and $A6,000 for a Twenty20 game.  

The ICC increased umpire's pay eighteen months ago, that move being one of the recommendations that flowed from its investigation into umpiring issues (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), however, many EUP members have had the opportunity to earn more under contracts with the IPL and the now-defunct Stanford series (E-News 342-1813, 3 November 2008).

Warne's comments on umpiring were made at the head of a column in which he set out his views on the future of the game. 

He went on to suggest that fifty over games should no longer be played in international cricket as that form of the game "has passed its sell-by date".  "From now on", he says, "we should be playing Tests and Twenty20 Internationals, with a Twenty20 World Cup every two years" plus a "two division" World Test Championship (E-News 469-2439, 7 August 2009), while a permanent widow should be created for the IPL each year.  Such moves would "free up" players "to spend more time at domestic level, grass-roots cricket and time at home with families", he says. 

Warne thinks that switch-hitting should be banned, or failing that "the leg-before ruling must be tweaked so that a batsman changing his stance has a second off stump".  Under that arrangement if the ball pitches outside what would normally be leg stump and goes on to hit the pad, that can still be leg-before as there "would be no leg stump", for "basically, the ball always pitches outside off stump" in such situations.

The former spinner also suggests that no rolling or sweeping of the pitch should be allowed once the game has started.  That approach is "designed to help bowlers, mainly spinners, as most pitches are flat now", says Warne.  Under that suggestion "the groundsman should still mow the pitch daily to make sure there is the same level of grass for both teams, otherwise, just let the surface deteriorate naturally and give the spinner a chance!".  

Last month Warne is said to have suggested to a so-called 'spin summit' held in Brisbane that first class games should be played over five days "so as to allow more time for pitches to deteriorate and for slow bowlers to ply their trade" (E-News 464-2411, 29 July 2009).  

PAY RISE FOR BCCI 

UMPS QUANTIFIED

[EN475-2467]

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to increase umpire's pay in top-level domestic matches from 5,000 to 7,500 Rupees per day, the equivalent of a rise from $A120 to $A150.  Sanjay Hazare, India's newest member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, was quoted by a number of media outlets on the weekend as saying that "it’s good to see that BCCI hasn’t neglected umpires" and the pay increase means we can "now expect more umpires to come to the fore". 

Mention was made of plans to raise BCCI umpire salaries last week at the same time that the Board agreed to establish a specialist academy for umpires, although where that is to be located and when it will open has not yet been announced (E-News 474-2459, 14 August 2009).  

It was also agreed that players who had participated in events run by the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a series that the International Cricket Council calls "unofficial", will now be able to put themselves forward for selection for the IIndian Premier League.  That and similar moves made by other national Boards suggest that the ICL, which "postponed" its last series due to the world financial crisis (E-News 371-1978, 13 February 2009), is unlikely to make a return.  

While now apparently defunct, the ICL had the direct result of improving the lot of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Full List of umpires.  All twenty-five are now employed by the ECB on a twelve-month basis, one report earlier this year claiming they now earn between $A70,000 and $A100,000 a year, a move made specifically in order to cut off the flow of umpires to the ICL (E-News 303-1590, 30 August 2008). 

TAUFEL NAMED AS BRADMAN 

CLUB'S NEW PATRON

[EN475-2468]

Australian umpire Simon Taufel is the new patron of the Bowral United Cricket Club (BUCC) in the south-eastern New South Wales, a club whose most well-known member was a youngster named Donald George Bradman, says a report in the 'Southern Highland News' last Friday.  

Taufel, who lives in the region, is said by journalist Anthony McDonald to be keen to share his "life time" of cricket and administrative experience and to have "hinted" about a growing relationship between the club and the Bradman Foundation which runs the Bradman Museum in Bowral, although no details of just what that may mean were mentioned in the report.

E-NEWS NUMBER 477

 WEDNESDAY, 19 AUGUST 2009

EARLY STARTER PROMOTED TO

SOUTH AFRICAN IUP GROUP

[EN476-2479]

South African umpire Johan Cloete, who made his debut in first class cricket at the age of twenty-one sixteen years ago, has been promoted by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to his nation's television slot on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Cloete, thirty-eight, who was nominated for CSA's 2009 'Umpire of the Year' award, replaces the long-serving Ian Howell on the panel and joins current IUP on-field members Marais Erasmus and Brian Jerling who have been retained.  

CSA said in a press released that Cloete, whose "rise up the ranks is a positive example of the umpire development structures in place" in South Africa, "was rewarded for his sterling performance in domestic cricket last season".  The umpire himself was quoted as saying that it "feels good to be acknowledged for the hard work I have put in and I’m looking forward to the challenge".

After making his first class debut in October 1993 he had to wait almost three years for another game at that level, and he has since gone on to officiate in seventy-one such matches, all of them in South Africa's domestic competition.  His tally in List A matches to date is seventy-nine and in Twenty20s thirteen, all those again being played in his home country.  

Earlier this year he worked, as did several other of his countryman, as a fourth umpire in Indian Premier League games, a role that he has also played in two Tests and four One Day Internationals over the last few years.  His on-field international experience to date was when at the age of twenty-six he stood in a youth One Day International between his country's Under 19 side and its England counterpart, and shortly after in the 1998 Under 19 World Championship in South Africa.   

Howell has been on the IUP as an on-field umpire since the group was first established by the ICC in April 2002, but was dropped to one of South Africa's two third umpire positions last year, Erasmus being elevated to his former place (E-News 290-1537, 6 August 2008). Karl Hurter, who the ICC has listed on its web site over the past year as South Africa's second third umpire on the IUP, was not mentioned in the CSA release.

In announcing Cloete's promotion, CSA also said that it has re-structured its match officials panels in order to "meet the demands of the increased volume of matches", a move it says will "see more umpires on rotation".  In addition to its domestic top-level 'National First Class Panel' (NFCP) and secondary 'Emerging Umpires Panel' (EUP), a third group called the 'Pilot Panel' (PP), has also been established.  CSA says that it has been introduced to give the less experienced umpires, especially "previously disadvantaged ones", "motivation and incentive", those chosen having shown potential in a variety of lower-level tournaments around the country over the last few years.

There are two new members on the NFCP, Adrian Holdstock and Brad White, who were promoted from the EUP to join Cloete, Erasmus, Howell, Jerling, Murray Brown, Shaun George, Earl Hendrikse, Karl Hurter, Rudi Koertzen, Zed Ndamane, Gerrie Pienaar and Dennis Smith.  

The EUP is made up of Rudi Birkenstock, Christo Conradie, Adri Crafford, Roderick Ellis, Lourens Engelbrecht, Babalo Gcuma, Bernard Harrison, Clifford Isaacs, Clive Joubert, Irvin van Kerwel, Wessie Westraadt, Laurence Willemse, while the PP consists of Jurgen Hanekom, Bongani Jele, Jack Morton, Allahudien Paleker.

CSA's match referees panel remains unchanged for the third season running, the six who will again be involved for the coming summer being Tiffie Barnes, Devdas Govindjee, Barry Lambson, Enver Mall, Cyril Mitchley and Shahid Wadvalla (E-News 295-1561, 15 August 2008).  

All except Lambson have played first-class cricket, while if Barnes, Govindjee and Mall have worked as umpires, they have not done so at any significant level.  Govindjee was the only non-Indian national to be used as a match referee by the Indian Premier League earlier this year (E-News 429-2256, 25 May 2009). 

ALLEGED ILLEGAL BOOKMAKER 

APPROACH UNDER INVESTIGATION 

[EN476-2480]

Australia have filed a report with the International Cricket Council (ICC) after a player was approached by a man suspected of links to illegal bookmaking, says a report posted on the Cricinfo website overnight.  The approach is said to have been made in the bar of the team's London hotel after the second Ashes Test at Lord's last month.

The player, who was not named, is said to have immediately alerted senior officials who reported the approach to the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) and the matter is currently under investigation.  The player is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The ACSU are believed to be investigating approaches that were made to players by illegal bookmakers during this year's World Twenty20 tournament in England.  Earlier this year the ACUSA warned the ICC Board that cricket was "under the gravest threat [from illegal bookmakers] since Sharjah in the 1990s" (E-News 475-2461, 17 August 2009). 

The ACSU was formed nine years ago in response to the match fixing scandals involving then international captains Hansie Cronje, Salim Malik and Mohammad Azharrudin.

BERMUDANS MANAGING 

IC MATCH, NO PHONES IN SIGHT

[EN477-2481]

Three Bermudans, Roger Dill, Steven Douglas and Lester Hartnett are managing the four-day, first class Intercontinental Cup (IC) match between Bermuda and Uganda which got underway at the National Stadium in Hamilton on Monday.  Hartnett is the match referee and Dill and Douglas the umpires for the game.  

The match is Dill's ninth first class match, all the others also being in second-tier IC fixtures, while for Douglas and Hartnett it is their debut at that level of the game.  Douglas came to particular prominence last month when he was reprimanded for answering his mobile phone on the ground a number of times during a Bermudan domestic match and making an obscene gesture to a spectator (E-News 453-2359, 11 July 2009) 

Meanwhile over in Africa, the ICC appointed Jeff Luck of Namibia to stand with local Justice Tapfumaneyi in the four-day game between a Zimbabwe XI and Afganistan which is being played in Mutare in the east of the country this week.  The match was Tapfumaneyi's thirty-sixth at first class level and Luck's eleventh, but it was Afghanistan's first and its side has so far seen two of its players score a Century.  

Further south in Bulawayo, the last of the five match One Day International (ODI) series between the home side and Bangladesh was played yesterday.  Zimbabwe's two on-field members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Russell Tiffin and Kevan Barbour, were on the field in two and three of the matches respectively, while Barbour was in the television suite for two of the matches and Owen Chirombe the other three. Tiffin took his ODI tally to 111 during the series and Barbour to forty-six, while Chirombe now has five ODIs as a third umpire under his belt.

Another IC match being played this week, this one between Scotland and Ireland in Aberdeen, is being managed by umpires Paul Baldwin from Germany and Ian Ramage of Scotland.  The game is Baldwin's tenth game at first class level and Ramage's second.

The third IC game of what is a very busy August (E-News 467-2425, 3 August 2009), which was between Canada and Kenya in Toronto, ended on Monday, it being looked after by West Indian Norman Malcolm from Jamaica and local Karren Bayney a Canadian who originally hails from Guyana.  For Bayney, fifty-two, it was his second first class game while for Malcolm, fifty-four, it was his third IC match and forty-second first class game overall (E-News 475-2462, 17 August 2009).

SEA GULL 'NICKS' BAIL, 

UMPS CAUGHT OUT

[EN477-2482]

A seagull interrupted play during the second day of the match between England Lions and the touring Australians in Canterbury on Sunday.  A 'Cricinfo' report says that after England batsman Liam Plunkett had been bowled by Australian Brett Lee, one of the bails lying on the ground was "pilfered by a souvenir-seeking seagull and flown to a nearby roof". 

Lee is said to have chased the bird after it picked up the bail but it escaped after doing a lap of the ground.  Australian fieldsman Nathan Hauritz said that he's "never seen anything like it" and that after the bird landed on the roof of a stand "we were [all] trying to see if it was going to eat [the bail]".  

Reports indicate that umpires Stephen Gale of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 'Reserve' list, and Steve Garrett of the 'Full' list, did not have spare bails with them on the field and had to call to the pavilion for a replacement so that the match could resume.

'QUICK-FIRE' RUNS FOR RAUF

[EN477-2483]

Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf scored a quick-fire seventy-one from only forty-eight balls in an opening stand of 130 for the Pakistan Veterans' side in a tour match played against London Veterans in Slough last Friday, says a report in 'The Nation' newspaper in Lahore.  

Rauf, a former first class player who averaged 28.76 with the bat in seventy-one matches from 1977-91, is in England to officiate in the Ashes series, standing in the fourth Test last week and again at The Oval in the fifth which is due to get underway tomorrow evening Australian time.  

LEVEL 2 COURSE UNDERWAY

IN QATAR

[EN477-2484]

Cricket Australia's Global Development Manager Ross Turner and former Test umpires Mahboob Shah of Pakistan and Kandiah Francis of Sri Lanka are conducting a Level 2 umpiring course for the Asian Cricket Council in Qatar this week.  Students in attendance come from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Francis, sixty-nine, stood in twenty-five Tests from 1982-99 at home in Sri Lanka as well as in England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe, plus another eighty-two first class matches, as well as fifty-six One Day Internationals (ODI).  His Pakistani colleague, who is seventy, was appointed to 159 first class games, including twenty-eight Tests played between 1975-97 in Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe.  He also stood in thirty-two ODIs.

E-NEWS NUMBER 478

 FRIDAY, 21 AUGUST 2009

FORMER TEST OFFICIAL REJECTS 

WARNE'S UMPIRING COMMENTS

[EN478-2485]

Former Pakistan Test umpire Syed Mahboob Shah has rejected ascertains made by former Australian player Shane Warne that the quality of umpiring in international cricket is at its lowest level for twenty years (E-News 476-2466, 18 August 2009).  Shah, who is currently in Qatar conducting a Level 2 umpiring course (E-News 477-2484, 19 August 2009), told the 'Gulf Times' on Tuesday that the "standards of batting, bowling, fielding, equipment and ground conditions have improved, and so has umpiring".

Shah, who stood in twenty-eight Tests and thirty-two One Day Internationals from 1975-97 and is now a leading light in umpire development programs in his home country, said that umpiring "errors are bound to happen but the rate at which they occur now have certainly reduced".  The “International Cricket Council (ICC) has devised all possible ways for umpires to minimise mistakes and now umpires have so many options to get things right".  

The Pakistani said that "what has been said by Shane about some umpires [Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) and Daryl Harper (Australia)] will be taken seriously by many" non-umpires who watch the game.  He believes that "a word of praise from a player of Warne’s stature can do a world of good for an umpire" and umpiring, but his negative comments this week will be accepted by some as being right and at some point of time that "will reduce the acceptability of these umpires to players".  

According to Shah it doesn't matter how "merited" an umpire is, for "if you are not acceptable to the players, administrators, organisers etc. then all your efforts are in vain".  He believes that "it’s the conduct of umpires that makes them popular or makes them look like a schoolmaster [as their] attitude is the key and a great balance needs to be maintained throughout" on how they approach and manage a game. "There are many umpires who are very good out there but nobody wants to have them anymore and they will eventually vanish from the scene", said Shah.

Unlike Warne, who said that technology should only be used for line decisions or glaring umpiring errors until the methods used were "100 fool proof", Shah believes the "idea is to arrive at a correct decision and if technology is helping us do that then why not use it?"  He doesn't think technology has added to the pressure on umpires but that it it has helped a lot in decision-making. 

Ross Turner, Cricket Australia’s Global Development Manager, who is also involved in the course in Qatar, said that that majority of ICC member countries have embraced the need to work on umpiring standards.  Turner said that “to the best of my knowledge, most affiliated countries, be it non-Test playing or Test playing, are keen to have good administration to measure the performance of umpires and provide them with adequate support" such as "training, constructing a competition pathway or tier of administration that supports the upcoming umpires". 

Turner was also said to be of the view that "a planned structure of wages for umpires can be a big boost to lure more people to take up umpiring", something Warne also talked about.  He believes that "upcoming umpires should be paid more than what they are currently receiving [with] the wages being coordinated with the respective boards and the ICC. India recently announced an increase in the remuneration it provides to its senior domestic umpires (E-News 476-2467, 18 August 2009).  

"Almost all non-Test playing nations are in a position where financial resources are scarce", he says, and the majority of people participating in courses such as the current one in Qatar do so in their own time.  Those who are good enough to have graduated to the highest levels of the game should "be paid substantially well", said Turner.  

Talking about Pakistan's umpire development system, Shah said that "we have a very old and tried system that has helped us produce quality umpires time and again", the success of which is highlighted by the fact that two of its officials, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, are members of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel.  

"We start our training in Pakistan at the grass root level, where local associations are required to nominate their upcoming umpires", said Shah.  "The outstanding ones [are then] called to a central training centre at the Pakistan Cricket Association’s headquarters in Lahore for a special induction course" after which "they are given ample opportunities to hone their skills in local tournaments".  Shah described it as a "well streamlined" system and he was confident "many more top class umpires will be emerging soon" from Pakistan. 

Warne's comments were published and talked about in a wide variety of media outlets around the cricketing world.  Shah appears to be the only person to have spoken publicly in rejecting Warne's views on current umpiring standards, close monitoring of world-wide news reports by E-News in recent days failing to turn up any other examples to date.

HILL, RAUF NEUTRALS FOR 

'ASHES' ODI SERIES

[EN478-2486]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Tony Hill of New Zealand and Asad Rauf of Pakistan as the 'neutral' umpires for the seven-match One Day International (ODI) 'Ashes' series next month, their first ODIs in England, while Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka will be the match referee.  Hill and Rauf will work on the field with Ian Gould, Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong, who have been nominated for the series by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Hill is to stand in the first three ODIs, Llong being his partner at The Oval, Gould at Lord's and Hartley at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on 4, 6 and 9 September respectively.  Rauf will have Llong and Gould as partners twice each in the last four games of the series which are to be played at Lord's, Trent Bridge twice and at the Riverside in Durham in the week starting on 12 September.  Madugalle will manage all seven games, while Gould, Llong and Richard Kettleborough will each have two matches in the television suite and Hartley one.

Hill, Gould and Rauf are members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel and Hartley, Kettleborough and Llong its second-tier International Umpires Panel, the latter also being part of the world body's 'emerging' group of officials (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009).

Gould and Kettleborough have also been named by the ECB to stand in the first of the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) scheduled for Manchester on 30 August, and Hartley and Llong in the second  on 1 September, Jeff Evans being the third official in the opening game and Kettleborough in the second.  The opening game will see Kettleborough's on-field debut in a T20I.

Next Thursday in the lead up to both the T20Is and ODI series, and only a few days after the fifth Ashes Test ends, England is to play Ireland in a ODI in Belfast, Rauf and Paul Baldwin of Germany being the umpires and Madugalle the match referee.  The Sri Lankan will travel to Edinburgh immediately after that match to oversee another ODI the following day, this one being Scotland against Australia in Edinburgh, a game that will see Hill and Ian Ramage of Scotland out in the middle.  The match is only the third ODI ever played between the two countries.  

Scotland and Ireland are to play a two-match ODI series in Aberdeen this weekend and Baldwin and Ramage may be standing in those matches but the ICC has made no public announcement about the matter.  The two are both members of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires’ Panel and stood in this week's four-day Intercontinental Cup match between the same two sides that ended on the fourth day yesterday with weather preventing play (E-News 477-2481, 19 August 2009).

Hill will take his ODI tally to seventy matches in the forthcoming games since his first in March 1998.  Rauf's ODI match record will move on to sixty-five games, Gould to thirty-five, Llong to thirty-one and Hartley to six.  

Madugalle will push his current world record total of 235 ODIs as a match referee to 244, and in T20Is to twenty-eight.  The second ODI at Lord's on 6 September will be the 300th he has actively participated in, for he played in sixty-three such games for Sri Lanka from 1979-88 prior to taking up his match referee role in Tests and ODIs in December 1993. 

LONG-SERVING SOUTH 

AFRICAN UMPIRE DIES

[EN478-2487]

One of South Africa's longest serving and experienced umpires, Wilf Diedricks, died in Durban on Tuesday after a long illness.  Diedricks, sixty-four, was one of South Africa’s leading umpires in the period immediately after cricket was unified in that country in the early 1990s, having stood at first class level for over a decade before that with the then South African Cricket Board (SACB), Cricket South Africa's (CSA) predecessor.  

While born in Cape Town he later moved east to Durban where in the 1970s he played in non-racial leagues before deciding to become an umpire.  Diedricks, who is said to have been instrumental in establishing first the Natal Umpires body, and later the SACB's Umpires Association, made his debut at first class level in 1978, going on over a period of twenty-three years to stand in a total of 101 such games.

One of those matches was his single Test, the 1992 Boxing Day fixture between the home side and India in Port Elizabeth, the Proteas’ first win in a Test after unity.  His colleagues in that game were countryman Rudi Koertzen and David Shepherd of England, the two locals rotating through on-field and third umpire positions during the match.  

From 1992-2001 Diedricks officiated in a total of fifty-two One Day Internationals, all of them in South Africa, thirty-one being on the field of play and the other twenty-one as the television umpire, his List A record of 118 matches on the field also including sixty-six games in domestic one-dayers,  

Following his retirement from the field he moved on to match refereeing and also as an assessor and mentor of aspiring first-class umpires in KwaZulu-Natal.  As a referee he notched up thirteen matches in South African domestic first class cricket and twelve in List A games from 2004-07, as well as three matches in the 2005 Women's World Cup.  

Gerald Majola, CSA's Chief Executive Officer, paid tribute to Diedricks in a press release, saying that he was dedicated to the game as a player, umpire and administrator.  "He reached the highest levels as an umpire, and his pleasant demeanour and knowledge of the game won him friends throughout the cricketing world", said Majola.

E-NEWS NUMBER 479

 SUNDAY, 23 AUGUST 2009

LANKAN SPORTS MINISTER ASKS FOR 

REPORT ON IUP SELECTIONS 

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Sri Lanka's Minister of Sport has asked cricket authorities on the island nation to conduct an inquiry into, and provide him with a report on, the selection of the three umpires who were last month nominated to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the year ahead (E-News 465-2418, 30 July 2009).  Reports earlier this month said that some of Sri Lanka's "top umpires" were aggrieved about the selection of Kumara Dharmasena, Tyrone Wijewardene and Ranmore Martinesz for the IUP, and that a letter was being prepared for submission to the island nation's political head, President Mahinda Rajapaksa (E-News 470-2438, 7 August 2009). 

Indications are that the letter has now been forwarded to the President and that that has led to the Sports Minister being asked to look into the matter.  Amongst the complaints contained in the letter, says journalist Channaka de Silva of Colombo’s ‘Daily Mirror', is the "alleged favouritism and dictatorial attitude of officials" and that both Pakistan's first and 'A' teams have "reportedly made complaints about local umpiring standards".

Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) interim committee secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told the ‘Mirror' in mid-week that a specially-convened committee has been established to inquire into the matter and prepare the report for Minister Gamini Lokuge.  Ranatunga is said to have indicated that Lokuge had formally requested the report ten days ago as he wants "to find out what the controversy is all about", and he anticipates it will be submitted to the Minister in the coming week.  

When the names of Dharmasena, Wijewardene and Martinesz were first submitted to the SLC by its Umpires Committee last month they were not immediately accepted as there were said to be "allegations of bias and [the] ignoring of the local ratings".  Senior SLC managers are reported to have asked that committee to provide details of the criteria they used in making their selections (E-News 464-2413, 29 July 2009), but after examining the matter the Board agreed to forward the three names to the ICC.

SLC "sources" are said to have indicated that the investigative committee who are carrying out work required to prepare the report to Minister Lokuge consists of lawyer Nuski Mohammed, R.J. de Silva and Peter Manuel.   

Manuel is the ICC's Regional Umpires' Performance Manager for Pakistan and Sri Lanka (E-News 262-1417, 26 June 2008), a role that the world body said last year was to "coach, mentor and assist [its international] umpires as they strive for on-field excellence". 

MAHANAMA REFEREE FOR 'ASHES' 

ODI SERIES, NOT MADUGALLE

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Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka will be the match referee for the seven-match One Day International (ODI) series between England and Australia next month, not his countryman Ranjan Madugalle.  The International Cricket Council indicated on Friday that Madugalle would be managing the series (E-News 478-2486, 21 August 2009), however, the original press release was apparently in error.

Madugalle will still look after next Thursday's ODI between Ireland and England in Belfast, but Mahanama will be in Edinburgh the next day for the match between Scotland and Australia.  Madugalle will then move on to the two Twenty20 Internationals between England and Australia in Manchester early next week, before Mahanama takes over at Lord's on Friday week for the first of the seven-match ODI series.  Those games will take Mahanama’s ODI tally as a match referee to 126. 

Meanwhile on-line score sheets indicate that New Zealander Tony Hill, who will stand in the single Scotland-Australia match and the first three England-Australia ODIs, will be on the field in the two Scotland-Ireland ODIs being played in Edinburgh this weekend.  His on field colleague in those matches is Ian Ramage of Scotland who will also stand with him in the Australia match on Thursday, while Mahanama is the match referee.

In Canada the three-match ODI series between the home side and Kenya is being looked after by match referee David Jukes of England and umpires Norman Malcolm of the West Indies and local Karren Bayney.  On Thursday the second game was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to weather, however, it was shifted to Saturday with the third due to be played today Canadian time.

BOWDEN'S 'SHTICK' QUERIED 

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New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden "epitomises the modern phenomenon of the official as part of the show", says journalist Martin Samuel, the chief sports writer for London's 'Daily Mail'.  "Bowden’s demeanour is that of the man who views himself as an important member of the passing parade, not a functionary in the adjudication process", wrote Samuel in his report yesterday on the first day's play of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval on Thursday. 

"Bowden has shtick" says Samuel, a word that the dictionary defines as meaning either "a comedian’s or entertainer’s act, routine, or gimmick" or "a humorous exaggerated complaint or extreme position".  "The crooked finger to signal a dismissal, which he admits is only in part an arthritic problem, the flamboyant sweep of his boundary four gesture, the stage-by-stage raising of his arms to acknowledge a six that puts observers in mind of an Olympic weightlifter, all are characteristic Bowden moves", continued Samuel's story.  

The newspaper's sports chief says that the day Bowden started using his version of the signals them "somebody in authority should have stepped in to remind him that cricket already had a perfectly comprehensible collection of hand signals and gestures to indicate scores and decisions, they had served for more than a century and would he mind awfully if he stuck to them?"  But that was not done, says Samuel for "not even the International Cricket Council, hardly the umpires’ friend in recent years, found Bowden’s antics self-centred [so] maybe they think he is an entertainer, too".

Samuel's comments about Bowden, who is currently standing in his fifty-six Test, were triggered by what the journalist said was the dismissal of England captain Andrew Strauss on a 'no ball'.   "When a man spends as much time as Bowden perfecting his shtick", wrote the journalist, "it is not too much to ask that he first attends to getting his decision right".

Former Australian player Shane Warne wrote last week that Bowden is "inconsistent" for he "can be very good" and then sometimes "he gets a bit carried away" (E-News 476-2466, 18 August 2009).

MATCH FORFEITED IN PROTEST AT 

TOURNAMENT 'INCONSISTENCIES'  

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A decision to forfeit a game at a tournament played in Minneapolis in the United States two weeks ago has led to the Central West Cricket Board (CWCB) to suspend both its representative captain and team manager from involvement with the side for one year each, and to reprimanded its vice captain.  

Rahul Kukreti, who has been captain of the CWCB regional side for the past two seasons and a regular player with the United States senior national team over the past six years, told the DreamCricket.Com' web site that he is "sorry for the action taken and sad that the incident happened [but] a stand had to be taken for the inconsistencies at the tournament and we hope these do not happen again". Problems experienced are said to have included "delayed start to matches, an uneven outfield, and umpiring inconsistencies including the docking of overs".

The Board of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) is scheduled to meet in the coming week and will discuss the controversy and whether it will take any further action on the matter.  Reports indicate that recommendations that are to be forwarded to it include the establishment of an organisational template for tournaments, inspection of competition facilities and arrangements by the USACA both well before and during competitions, that an Association official be appointed tournament director and match referee for all games, and that the "highest quality" umpires be appointed to matches.

E-NEWS NUMBER 480

 TUESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2009

 

AUSSIE'S 'BEAMER' LEADS TO 

MID-PITCH PUNCH-UP

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A batsman and bowler came to blows in a mid-pitch confrontation during a Home Counties League (HCL) Division 2 match in England last weekend after the batsman "took offence" at what he thought was a deliberately bowled 'beamer'.   Basingstoke batsman Dean Nurse and Aston Rowant's Australian all-rounder Tim Miles had to be separated by the umpires and players after the brawl erupted, and Miles later had his club membership revoked as a result of the incident.

Miles' captain at Rowant, Wesley Morrick, told the 'Oxford Times' that the incident was unexpected although "the two of them had been having a bit of banter and Nurse had been shouting from the sidelines" prior to going out to bat.  Miles, nineteen, who clean bowled all of his victims in a spell in which he took 6-25, "was bowling a lot of yorkers" said Morrick, but "he got one wrong and it went through as a full toss".  

“Nurse thought it was deliberate and threw his bat down and ran up to Tim [but the bowler] then tackled him", said the Rowant skipper.  “Tim has made a full apology to the League and to [Basingstoke], however, while he "is a very talented cricketer" his actions are "something we will never condone", although "I don't believe he bowled a beamer on purpose", said Morrick.  

We "have to look at Aston Rowant’s name and reputation [for] as far as I know [something like] this hasn’t happened in the [128-year] history of the club".  A meeting involving the club's chairman, skipper and other committee members held on the Monday after the game  "decided to revoke Tim’s membership full stop".  

With Ashton Rowant in line for the league title Morrick now fears his side could loose vital premiership points because of Miles' actions.  With two games to go Rowant top the table and are four points clear of their nearest rivals.  Clubs reported by umpires three times during a season normally loose five points in the HCL, and while prior to the incident Rowant had only been reported once, the situation that prevails "is far from typical", said Morrick, and the HCL "could in this case ignore its customary three-strikes rule".  Miles was also involved the last time Rowant was reported, that offence being "for verbals".

Basingstoke chairman Keith Harris told the 'Times' that the incident “is pretty upsetting [and] we will be banning our player for the minimum period until we find out more".  Home Counties League officials say that they planned to wait until it receives reports from both umpires and captains before deciding what action to take over the incident.

HADLEE CONCERNED ABOUT 
TEST CRICKET'S FUTURE

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Former New Zealand player Sir Richard Hadlee is worried for the future of Test cricket and asks whether the International Cricket Council (ICC) is "capable of putting self interest aside for the benefit of the game overall".  Congested match schedules, the growth of Twenty20 and the huge financial lures for players from the Indian Premier League (IPL) demand tight controls being put in place by the ICC, he says.

Hadlee, who somewhat ironically has recently been appointed to help promote the proposed Twenty20-based American Cricket League, said recently that if the IPL expands from fifty-six to more than ninety games and its playing window increases from six to eight weeks, it would be counter productive to the international game.  

"Test cricket needs to be protected because it remains the ultimate game and I think a lot of players today would say they enjoy Test cricket more than anything else", Hadlee said, however, "they are also faced with the other forms of the game where for less effort the rewards are ten times greater".  

"We all know now that Asia, and more particularly India, have a more powerful say [at ICC level] because they generate that much more a higher percentage of revenue, which other countries benefit from", said Hadlee.  "So, who protects the game?", he asked, and the "decision makers on the ICC have to try and control it so that all [formats of the] game can co-exist and live together".  

The ICC has said consistently that it is determined to preserve Test cricket as the pre-eminent form of the game and together with the Marylebone Cricket Club is currently exploring a range of issues related to that aim, including the possibility of four-day Tests, a World Test Championship and day-night matches (E-News 457-2376, 16 July 2009), although the hectic international match schedule across the game's three formats continues unabated.

Meanwhile former-South Africa captain Shaun Pollock believes One Day International cricket is still the best limited-overs form of the game.  “The fast twenty-over game has caught the imagination of many but if you get off to a bad start then you can cost yourself the game", said Pollock, who was speaking in promotion of the Champions Trophy series next month.  “There is a lot of skill involved in the fifty-over game and it’s over a much longer period, so that allows teams to have a bit of a mishap and recover from it and you’ve got time to implement tactics", he said.

Former Australian player Shane Warne said last week that in his view the fifty-over format at international level has "passed its sell-by date", only Test and Twenty20 games should now be part of the international scene, and that "a permanent window" needs to be created for the IPL each year (E-News 476-2466, 18 August 2009).

MATCH FORFEIT TO 

BE INVESTIGATED

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A decision by a side to quit a Ribblesdale League (RL) game in Lancashire in mid-month is to be investigated, says a report published in 'The Burnley Citizen' newspaper last week.  The visiting Blackburn Northern side claimed conditions were unfit for further play and are said to have walked off the ground after home team Baxenden were just two overs into their innings of reply in the one-day match. 

Weather conditions on the day of the game, which reports say produced many wet outfields in matches in the area, saw Baxenden's time at the crease reduced to twenty-five overs and the target score for its opponents set at 135, but the newspaper's report suggests that the umpires were happy for the match to continue.

Baxenden's skipper Ian Austin told the 'Citizen' that his side “had just started the reply and the umpires suddenly called me out of the pavilion", he thinking at first that "there was a problem with the ball".  “I got to the middle and the umpires said that [fielding captain Rudra Singh] didn’t think it was fit to play" and "told me that [Northern] were prepared to concede the game".  

“I have never known anything like it [and] it is worrying because it could set a bad precedent", he said, especially as "they had set a decent target [and while] I think we would have probably got them but you never know".  “The daft thing about it is we would only have got ten [championship] points if we had won because we didn’t bowl them out, but because they walked off, we got all twelve".  Singh's view of the situation was not reported in the newspaper's account of the match.

With the home side having scored twenty-four without loss in the two overs it faced, 'Citizen' journalist Matt Donlan asked whether Blackburn Northern would have walked off "had they taken three or four wickets" in that time, but he is "sure" the high run-rate during that time "could well influence one’s willingness to stay on" the ground.

Baxenden, is currently at the top of the league and could wrap up the championship well before the season ends in England.  Given what he called "Northern's approach to the game", Austin asked whether if his side have won the league prior to the last game of the summer at Settle, they should go up there in "a minibus on the last day, have a bat and then say we’ll not bother bowling and go on a pub crawl all the way back to Baxenden instead?"  "We are not that bothered as players but it is wrong for the fans who pay to watch [and] I don’t understand why you would turn up for a game a cricket and then want to quit halfway through", he said.

The newspaper stated that the Lancashire Cricket Board "are likely" to get involved in the investigation into the events surrounding the game and RL officials planned talk to the captains of both sides as well as studying the umpire's match reports.  League chairman Brian Woodhead said that he "can’t say a lot at the moment until we have received the reports from the umpires and spoken to the captains".

E-NEWS NUMBER 481

 FRIDAY, 28 AUGUST 2009

 

VICTORIANS NAMED FOR DARWIN 

YOUTH INTERNATIONALS

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Two Victoria-based umpires, Geoff Joshua and Ashley Barrow, have been appointed to officiate in the five-match Under 19 One Day International series between Australia and Sri Lanka in Darwin in early October.  The five-match series, which will be played over the ten-day period from 2-11 October, will provide the selectors from both sides with another opportunity to look at their players ahead of the Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand in January.

Joshua was selected as a member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) earlier this month (E-News 471-2441, 10 August 2009), while Barrow's performance in last month's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) indicates that the selectors believe he is a candidate for that panel sometime in the future (E-News 466-2419, 1 August 2009).  Match referee for the five games will be David Levens, a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire High Performance Panel, who will also be monitoring each umpire's work on the field (E-News 454-2364, 13 July 2009).

Barrow, forty-seven, will be making his debut at international level in the series, the representative matches he has stood in to date other than this year's EPT being in two national Under 17 men's national championships and a Under 19 equivalent, plus eleven Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) games, and eight Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) matches for state second XI sides.

Joshua, thirty-nine, has previous international experience, standing in a single women's Twenty20 International (T20I), and serving as the fourth official in two senior men's One Day Internationals and a single men's T20I.  While he is yet to officiate at first class level, he has been on the field in four domestic interstate one-day, and two domestic Twenty20, matches, over the last two years.  His other credits include one Under 17 and two Under 19 men's national championship series, four CAC games, eighteen WNCL games, as well as the last two EPTs.

The Sri Lankan side will play a single one-day warm-up match in Darwin against a Northern Territory XI in the lead up to the five internationals, the umpires for that game on 30 September being locals Mark Donfeld and Stuart Rudd.  

In the last four years Rudd, twenty-seven, has officiated in one Under 17 and two Under 19 men's national championships, the 'Top End' series in 2006, and the CA's now-defunct Institute Challenge (IC) series of 2007 and 2008.  Donfeld, twenty-six, has previously played in a national men's Under 17 championship and stood as an umpire in its Under 19 equivalent, as well the IC of 2008 and matches involving visiting Bangladesh senior and Academy sides. 

'CALL' SUSPECT ACTIONS DURING 

PLAY, SAYS BCCI

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is making it mandatory for umpires in its domestic matches to 'call' bowlers they judge to have suspect actions on the field of play in the coming season on the sub-continent, says a report published in the 'Hindustan Times' on Wednesday.  In recent years the BCCI has followed the International Cricket Council (ICC) policy whereby umpires report bowlers to the match referee after the game rather than 'no ball' them during play.   

Last year some thirty first class bowlers in India, most of whom were said at the time to have been "borderline cases", were unexpectedly identified during an analysis of match videos of umpire performance, a system that had been introduced in all BCCI matches, including age-group ones, as part of a program to improve umpiring standards (E-News 193-1054, 8 February 2008).  As a result of the findings a four-day "analysis and rehabilitation" program for twenty of those bowlers was held in Bangalore in June last year (E-News 250-1372, 2 June 2008).

The BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told the 'Times' this week that now "the onus will be on the on-field umpires to call 'no ball' when someone bowls with a suspect action [and] if the cameras recording the match show a bowler to be chucking and he is not called then, the on-field umpires will be held responsible".  Shetty said that a "two-page action plan" has been forwarded to all state associations [and that each] has been told of the bowlers with suspect actions on its rolls who need to be watched". 

An un-named BCCI umpires' coach appears to have indicated to the 'Times' that an "umpire who misses bowlers with suspect actions in a match [will] not be [considered] again for higher-level appointments.  Associations that field such bowlers could also be penalised, he added.

Some 104 BCCI umpires across India were briefed on the issue during a series of seminars held in Bangalore recently, said Stanley Saldanha, the BCCI's game development manager. "They have been asked to call it as they see it", he said, but "it is not possible for the umpire to ascertain the [actual] degree to which the bowler's elbow is bending".  

Analysis of the videos of those bowlers who are called will be conducted post-match by a committee comprising Srinivasaraghavan Venktatraghavan, the BCCI's Director of Umpires, Arani Jayprakash another former Test match umpire, and Javagal Srinath" who is a current ICC match referee. 

BIRD JOINS CALL FOR SCRAPPING 

OF 'NEUTRAL' UMPIRE POLICY

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Former English international umpire Dickie Bird has joined the chorus of those who believe that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should change its rules to ensure "the best officials" are appointed to "the biggest series".  Under current ICC regulations, umpires are banned from standing in Tests or major one-day or Twenty20 International finals involving teams from their own countries, thus ensuring such matches are overseen by "neutral" umpires, however, the world body is currently reviewing the policy (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).

Critics have argued that the best umpires should be appointed to Tests regardless of their nationality and the teams involved, and the issue again received publicity during the recent Ashes series between England and Australia, current Australian captain Ricky Ponting (E-News 470-2442, 10 August 2009) and former player Glenn McGrath (E-News 474-2457, 14 August 2009), being amongst those who have talked publicly about the issue over the last month.

Ponting and McGrath had Australian umpire Simon Taufel in mind when they made their comments, pointing out that he has been officially recognised as the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' for the past five seasons but was prevented from officiating in the Ashes, which some observers regard was a series clouded by contentious decisions.  Bird told Sky Sports on Tuesday that he doesn't "know whether the ICC or the ruling body has got the best umpires, but you must get the best umpires, especially to do an Ashes series when there's so much at stake".

The Yorkshireman said that "it looked at times [during the Ashes] as if the pressure got at the two umpires out in the middle".  While he said that he sympathised with the umpires who did control the Ashes series because of the extra scrutiny they were under, he believes their jobs would be made easier if more video replays were allowed.  "It's not an easy job [umpiring, in fact] it's very difficult, but now there are electronic aids so they should be able to get most of the decisions right", said the now seventy-six-year-old Bird.

The ICC plans to phase-in the Umpire Decision Review System, which will allow a limited number referrals of decisions to the television umpire for video analysis, in all Tests played from October this year (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).

GEELONG ASSOCIATION 'VOWS' TO 

'CRACK DOWN' ON UMPIRE ABUSE

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Poor player behaviour and abuse of umpires will not be tolerated this cricket season, says the Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) in Victoria.  According to the 'Geelong Advertiser' yesterday GCA "chiefs have vowed to crackdown on umpire abuse, excessive sledging and excessive appealing in a bid to strengthen the game's reputation as a gentlemen's sport".

The 'Advertiser' says that the GCA tribunal was relatively quiet last season, hearing a limited number of cases, but GCA president Grant Dew says there is always room for improvement (E-News 357-1909, 5 December 2008).  Dew said the GCA would not interfere with tribunal hearings but would encourage members to apply harsh penalties to those found guilty of attacking or abusing opponents and umpires.

"We've put the clubs on notice that the players code of conduct will be enforced", he said, for "as well as upholding the spirit of cricket", it's also "about umpire recruitment and retention".  "We're taking a firm approach this season because we want to maintain cricket's reputation", said Dew, and "we've discussed it with the clubs and with the umpires to make sure everyone's on the same page".

COUNTY PLAYERS REPRIMANDED 

FOR OFFENCES

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Three county players received point penalties under the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) discipline code last week after being reported for Level One offences.  Nottinghamshire’s Scott Newman was reported by umpires Richard Illingworth and Peter Hartley for "abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings" in the County Championship match against Sussex in the first week of this month, Illingworth and Hartley also writing the name of Ed Joyce of Sussex in the book for "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action".  

A forty-over match between Lancashire and Leicestershire last Sunday saw umpires Peter Willey and Mark Benson report Lancashire’s Kyle Hogg under the "abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings" statute.  All three players have received reprimands from the ECB, and any further Level One breach during that period will result in an automatic imposition of three penalty points.

E-NEWS NUMBER 482

 MONDAY, 31 AUGUST 2009

 

UMPS FAIL TO SPOT 

'INCORRECT' BALL USE 

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Martin Nurse, one of the opening batsman in a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) match last Saturday, was so concerned about the "prodigious" swing of the first over bowled by the University of the West Indies (UWI) that he asked to see the ball, only to find that an unapproved brand was being used.  Nurse drew the matter to the attention of umpires Andrew Corbin and Calvin Herbert, the former having worked at first class level, and they replaced the ball after the first over with the correct brand with the score on one without loss. 

Barbados' 'Nation News's says that a section of the BCA's 'Special Conditions and Regulations of Play' for the 2009 season titled "Approval of Balls" states that "matches in all divisions shall be played with balls which are supplied by the BCA [and that] any team which does not have the appropiate ball shall forfeit the match".  

Roland Butcher, the UWI's Director of Sports declined comment on why the wrong ball had been used to start the match, as did umpire Corbin, fifty-nine, who has stood in three first class matches over the last eighteen months.

TAUFEL MENTORING ON-FIELD 

IN WCL DIVISION 6 SERIES 

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Australian umpire Simon Taufel, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), has stood in two of the first six matches in this week's twenty-match World Cricket League (WCL) Division 6 tournament in Singapore.  Taufel is playing a similar mentoring role to that performed by Steve Bucknor, his former EUP colleague from the West Indies, during the WCL Division 7 series in the Channel Islands in May (E-News 425-2243, 18 May 2009).

Six teams are taking part in the current tournament, those involved apart from hosts Singapore being Bahrain, Botswana, Guernsey, Malaysia and Norway.  The final, third and fourth, and fifth and sixth place playoffs are scheduled for Saturday, the top two sides moving up to WCL Division 5 and taking part in that level's tournament in Nepal in January.  

 

In addition to Taufel, seven other umpires from five nations are officiating in the current WCL tournament, they being three Nepalese, Buddhi Pradhan, Vinay Kumar Jha and Sanjay Gurung (E-News 449-2343, 6 July 2009), Singaporean Sarika Prasad, Riaz Chaudhary of Kuwait, Kevin Bishop from Hong Kong and Grant Johnston of Vanuatu.  Pradhan and Prasad are members of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel.

In games played on the opening day on Saturday, and again today, Taufel has stood with Gurung and Chaudhary.  All eight umpires on the tournament panel have so far officiated in at least one game, Bishop, Chaundry, and Gurung notching up two games each.  The tournament referee is former New Zealand international umpire Brian Aldridge.

2009 ICC 'UMPIRE', 'SPIRIT', AWARD

 NOMINEES TO BE ANNOUNCED

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The short-list of nominees for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2009 'Umpire of the Year' and 'Spirit of Cricket' awards are to be announced in Mumbai next Wednesday.  The winner of this year's awards will be presented with the respective trophies at the sixth ICC annual awards ceremony that is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg during the Champions Trophy series next month.

Australian umpire Simon Taufel has won all five of the annual awards since the first in 2004 (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), those nominated with him for last year's award being a second Australian, Steve Davis, Mark Benson (England), Aleem Dar (Pakistan), and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) (E-News 308-1612, 9 September 2008).

Sri Lanka has won the last two 'Spirit of Cricket' awards, New Zealand taking out the inaugural award in 2004 and England in 2005 and 2006, before Sri Lanka's back-to-back wins (E-News 310-1620, 11 September 2008).  Last year the island nation was said by the ICC to have "narrowly defeated Bangladesh, New Zealand and the West Indies" to win the 2008 award. 

KOERTZEN'S UNIQUE DOUBLE 

AGAIN ACKNOWLEDGED

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South African umpire Rudi Koertzen was presented with a "commemorative coin" to mark his achievment of standing in 100 Test and 200  One Day Internationals (ODI) during Cricket South Africa's (CSA) launch of the 2009-10 season last Friday.  CSA chief executive Gerald Majola, paid tribute Koertzen, who passed both milestones in July (E-News 454-2365, 13 July 2009), as the world's most experienced umpire 

Koertzen is reported by the 'cricket365.com' web site to have said that "it is a great honour to receive this award tonight and to be part of this prestigious sport".   "Cricket South Africa have played an invaluable role in my career and have given me the support to get to where I am today".  "I never thought I would get here but [after] seventeen years land 100 Tests and 200 ODI's later, here I stand. I am a truly proud South African", said the umpire.

The ICC presented Koertzen with a trophy to mark his 200th ODI in Dublin (E-News 454-2365, 13 July 2009), and another at the end of his Test Centenary match at Lord's (E-News 460-2391, 23 July 2009).

END OF AUGUST 2009 E-NEWS FILE