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September 09 (483-498)

THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
16 EDITIONS
(EN-2504 TO EN-2573)

483 – 3 September  [2504-2509]
• Eight nominated for 2009 World 'Umpire of the Year' award (483-2504).
• Lankan fined half match fee for 'Spirit' breach  (483-2505).
• Bowl from one end in T20I games if needed, says jurno  (483-2506).
• Langer reprimanded for dissent  (483-2507).
• Match referee's son a player in same international (483-2508).
• 'Punch-up' penalty to end side's championship hopes?  (483-2509).

484 –  4 September [2510-2514]
• UDRS to reduce umpiring skills, argues Willey (484-2510).
• ECB to enquire into T20I abandonment (484-2511).
• Pre-match meetings positive for on-field relationships, says umpire chief (484-2512).
• Umpire completes fifty years 'in the middle' (484-2513).
• No plans for four-day Tests, says ICC CEO (484-2514).

485 – 7 September [2515-2520]
• Better umpires needed, not more technology, says 'Chappeli' (485-2515).
• Replace fifty over game with 'Test-Twenty20' format, says Jones  (485-2516).
• Tendulkar suggests two-innings split for fifty-over matches  (485-2517).
• Ministry to receive Lankan IUP selections report today  (485-2518).
• ECB awaits reports on abandoned T20I's pitch, ground reports  (485-2519).
• Delayed umpire match payments to be made 'shortly'  (485-2520).

486 – 8 September [2521-2525]
• Joshua named for first class debut (486-2521).
• Help umpires to get better, says Taufel (486-2522).
• Pradhan, Prasad stand in WCL final (486-2523).
• Lloyd defends Old Trafford T20I abandonment (486-2524).
• County batsman reprimanded for dissent (486-2525).

487 – 10 September [2526-2529]
• Very slow recovery for lightning victim (487-2526).
• Pitches one key to future of Tests, says MCC Chief  (487-2527).
• Indian match referees for playing conditions briefing (487-2528).
• Umpire involved in eventful first over (487-2529).

488 – 12 September [2530-2535]
• Life membership of NSWCA for Hair (488-2530).
• BCB gives 'in principle' agreement to day-night Test (488-2531).
• Procedural errors result in fresh disciplinary hearing. (488-2532).
• Eight umps for East Asian Pacific tournament (488-2533).
• Canadian, Hong Kong U19 skippers reprimanded (488-2534).
• New members for TCUSA Management Committee (488-2535).

489 – 13 September [2536-2539]
• ICC willing to look at two-innings, one-day format (489-2536).
• Fifty-over cricket 'in remarkably good health', writes Roebuck (489-2537).
• T20I inquiry recommendations to be passed to the ICC (489-2538).
• ICL had match-fixing concerns, claim reports (489-2539).

490 – 14 September [2540-2542]
• Eight 'World Ump' nominees for Champions Trophy (490-2540).
• Home state umpires for U23 competition openers (490-2541).
• MCC Honorary Life Memberships for Hampshire, Willey (490-2542).

491 – 14 September [2543-2546]
• ICC short-lists four for 'Umpire of the Year' award  (491-2543).
• NZ name ten-man domestic 'Elite' panel  (491-2544).
• Lankan umpires 'interviewed' by 'IPL agent', says report  (491-2545).
• PCA criticises ECB for dropping fifty-over cricket  (491-2546).

492 – 18 September [2547-2551]
• Terrorist victim 'eyeing' return to internationals  (492-2547).
• Six players banned for dissent, ball tampering  (492-2548).
• ACO prepares for inaugural conference, AGM  (492-2549).
• Batsman-fielder fracas leads to disciplinary hearing  (492-2550).
• Bendigo Association looking for umpires  (492-2551).

493 – 22 September [2552-2556]
• Annual Test Championship 'knock-out' concept floated (493-2552).
• WICB ignoring player discipline issues, says Cozier (493-2553).
• Lightning victim 'talking', but yet to walk (493-2554).
• Batsman recalled after LBW decision (493-2555).
• Retiring Saggers aiming at umpiring career (493-2556).

494 – 23 September [2557-2559]
• Long-serving, former Tasmanian first class umpire, dies (494-2557).
• Aussie, South African umpires for World Indoor tournament (494-2558).
• Harper to stand in first Champions League series (494-2559).

495 – 24 September [2560-2563]
• England, India, 'blocking' Test Championship proposal, says Lorgat (495-2560).
• Tassy umpires named for U23 match (495-2561).
• Dharmasena  for Champions League series (495-2562).
• County player reprimanded for dissent (495-2563).

496 – 26 September [2564]
• NTCA looses umpiring stalwart (496-2564).

497 – 26 September [2565-2568]
• Senior NUP member, CA 'Educator', for TCUSA seminar (497-2565).
• Kiwi fined for 'equipment abuse' (497-2566).
• England, Lankans censured for slow over-rate (497-2567).
• Queensland umps to see Champions League side 'up close' (497-2568).

498 – 29 September [2569-2573]
• Batsman's 'cramp' no reason for runner, says ICC (498-2569).
• 'Run out' Lankan batsman recalled after accidental impediment (498-2570).
• Bring back light metres in county games, says Illingworth (498-2571).
• Doctrove re-elected as Windwards umpire President (498-2572).
• Adelaide's Chandrakumar aiming for international cricket (498-2573).

E-NEWS NUMBER 483
THURSDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2009

EIGHT NOMINATED FOR 2009 WORLD 
'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' AWARD

[EN483-2504]

Eight umpires, all of whom are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), were yesterday nominated by the world body as candidates for its 2009 ICC 'Umpire of the Year' award.  Australian Simon Taufel, the winner of the accolade on the five occasions it has been presented to date (E-News 310-1619, 1 September 2008), is again in the mix, the seven other nominees coming from four nations.  

In addition to Taufel, those nominated yesterday were Ian Gould of England, 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill of New Zealand, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, and Daryl Harper and Steve Davis of Australia.  Davis and Dar were finalists in 2008 and Harper in 2007 (E-News 90-488, 30 August 2007), while Gould and Hill were only promoted to the EUP six months ago (E-News 395-2093, 24 March 2009).  

The ICC has indicated that the list "will be reduced", perhaps to no more than four individuals, sometime prior to the ceremony in Johannesburg on 1 October after votes on the "performance statistics" of the eight nominees have been tallied.  Those votes will be cast  by the captains of the nine Test playing nations and the ICC's seven match referees and cover international matches played over the twelve months up until the twenty-fourth of last month.

Of the eight nominated yesterday, Harper with twenty-six matches in all three forms of the game, was on the field in the most number of internationals in the period under consideration, twelve Tests, ten One Day Internationals and four Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) (12-10-4).  Then comes Davis with twenty-four (6-13-5), Dar twenty-one (7-8-6), Bowden nineteen (8-5-6), Taufel eighteen (6-7-5), Gould seventeen (6-7-4), Raud fifteen (7-5-3) and Hill eleven (4-3-4).  Both Harper and Taufel officiated in the final of this year's World T20I at Lord's.

EUP members who missed out on nominations were Mark Benson (England), Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), the latter becoming the first person to pass both the 100 Test and 200 ODI marks this year (E-News 482-2305, 31 August 2009).  Benson made the 'final cut' in 2007 and both he and Koertzen in 2008 (E-News 308-1612, 9 September 2008).

The nominations suggest the eight will be in South Africa for this month's Champions Trophy tournament as the award is to be presented in the lead up to the final phase of that competition, but who else will be standing in that event has yet to be announced. 

The ICC's 2009 'Spirit of Cricket' Award will also be presented at the Johannesburg ceremony.  It will be decided from the votes of international captains as well as members of the ICC's EUP and match referee panels.

LANKAN FINED HALF MATCH 

FEE FOR 'SPIRIT' BREACH

[EN483-2505]

Sri Lanka opener Tharanga Paranavitana has been fined fifty per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of breaching a section of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (CoC) during the second Test against New Zealand which concluded in Colombo last Sunday.  Paranavitana pleaded guilty to a charge that he failed to play the match within the spirit of the game, a Level 2 offence.

The incident that led to the charge being laid took place in the fifty-first over of New Zealand’s second innings when Paranavitana claimed a catch at silly mid-off when the ball was hit to him by late-order batsman Iain O’Brien. Paranavitana immediately started celebrating the 'catch' by throwing the ball in the air and as the umpires moved towards each other to confer, then he crossed the pitch in jubilation and continued to appeal several times in an excited manner.

 

After conducting a hearing, match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe decided to downgraded the charge to Level 1, something he is entitled to do under the terms of the world body's CoC.  Commenting on his findings Pycroft said in an ICC statement that Paranavitana's "previous excellent conduct, his apology at the hearing and his excitement at Sri Lanka being on the verge of winning the series are some of the factors that I took into account before downgrading the charge".

 

Pycroft, who used video evidence during the hearing. continued by saying that replays showed that "the ball hit the ground before it reached [Paranavitana], [but] I am satisfied that he did not know this at the time and was not attempting to deceive the umpires in that regard".  

”Despite that “the fact of the matter is you can’t celebrate by throwing the ball in the air and cross the pitch while continuing to appeal as the umpires are conferring with each other".  “It is not the sort of example that players should be setting at any time, especially given the message his action sends out to the millions of people watching at the ground and on television, therefore his behaviour merited some form of action", said the Zimbabwean.

Under the CoC, ICC Level 1 penalties range from an official reprimand and/or a fine of up to fifty per cent of the player’s match fee. Had the original Level 2 charge stood, Paranavitana could have faced a fine of between fifty and one hundred per cent of his match fee, and/or a maximum ban of one Test match or two One Day Internationals. 

 

Pycroft's hearing was attended by the player, as well as Sri Lanka team manager Brendon Kuruppu, on-field umpires Daryl Harper (Australia) and Nigel Llong (England), and third umpire Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka).

BOWL FROM ONE END IN T20I GAMES 

IF NEEDED, SAYS JURNO 

[EN483-2506]

The abandonment of Tuesday's second England-Australia Twenty20 International (T20I) because of a patch of wet grass directly on the bowler’s run-up at one of Old Trafford could have been solved if the game could have been played entirely from the other end, says journalist Nick Hoult of the London 'Daily Telegraph'.  Hoult says in his article today that while the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is unlikely to agreed to a change in the Laws of Cricket to allow such a move in future, it would not stand in the way of the International Cricket Council (ICC) looking into the matter.

Cricket's Law 22 says that overs must be bowled from alternate ends of the pitch, although it is not unknown that when ground conditions are such in junior and other lower-level competitions for a match to be played from one end of the square in order to give participants a game, but such an irregularity is not acceptable in senior, let along international, games. 

Keith Bradshaw, the MCC's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, was quoted by Hoult as saying that “we have to be realistic in this situation [for] people have paid money to watch a game of cricket and [the issue] is worthy of debate at least".  Bradshaw said that he "wouldn’t say that I see us changing the Laws but we have to be aware of using common sense", but if T20I "playing conditions [were amended] so that play could be held at one end and 20,000 people were able to see a match, then I don’t think we would have any problem with that".  

Hoult says that pitch could cope with forty overs bowled from one end but that the ICC would have to balance the integrity of international cricket with the need to entertain the crowd.  The ICC's playing regulations are developed in agreement with its member boards and could in theory be changed to allow umpires the discretion to use one end if it would allow a match to go ahead. The 'Telegraph' story says though that it is unlikely the ICC will change playing regulations because of one incident, but there is "an awareness" that Twenty20 was designed to introduce new fans to the game and "its format does allow room for manoeuvre".  

However, Andy Flower, the England team director, backs the view that last Tuesday's match could not have been held under any circumstances.  “The terms and conditions for the match were for an international cricket match which is played at high pace and high intensity", he said. “The umpires didn’t think conditions were there for that intensity [and] if people had wanted an exhibition it would have to be different terms agreed by the two boards [for] under the [current] terms of engagement it wasn’t able to go ahead".

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) pitch inspector, Chris Wood, is said to have visited Old Trafford and is to provide a report for the ECB.

LANGER REPRIMANDED 

FOR DISSENT 

[EN483-2507]

Somerset captain Justin Langer has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after showing dissent in last week's County Championship match against Hampshire at Southampton.  Former Australian opener Langer was reported by umpires Mark Benson and Nick Cook after reacting to an lbw decision given against him, presumably when his side was in the field as score sheets indicate that he was dismissed 'caught' in both his innings.  

The reprimand will remain on Langer's record for two years and another such incident over that period will result in him being docked three disciplinary points.  Nine such points accumulated over a two-year period would result in an automatic one-match ban.

MATCH REFEREE'S SON A PLAYER 

IN SAME INTERNATIONAL

[EN483-2508]

The match referee appointed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to oversee the second unofficial Test between the 'A' sides from Sri Lanka and Pakistan in mid-August was the father of one of the home team's players, says a report in the Colombo newspaper the 'Daily Mirror' on Tuesday.  Score sheets available on line show that two Warnapuras were involved in the match concerned, and journalist Channaka de Silva, who writes most stories about Sri Lankan umpiring issues that appear in the 'Mirror', states that "if they knew about it", the matter would "certainly stun International Cricket Council (ICC) officials".

De Silva says in his story that the match referee concerned was Upali Warnapura while his son Malinda was the Sri Lanka side's opening batsman.  Records available indicate that Warnapura, fifty-seven, has worked as a match referee in thirty-two first class, nineteen List A, and seven Twenty20 games in Sri Lanka since his debut in that role five years ago.  To date his son, thirty, has played fourteen Tests for his country and 129 other first class games, as well as 101 List A games, three of them One Day Internationals, and twelve domestic Twenty20 matches.  

An un-named "source" is said by the 'Mirror' to have asked "what if the father had to hold an inquiry against the son?”  When approached by the newspaper, SLC Chairman D.S. de Silva was said by the 'Mirror' to be unaware of the issue until it approached him, but that he "would certainly take steps to avoid [such] embarrassment in the future".  According to the 'Mirror', SLC has a total of "nearly forty" match referees on its books.  

Journalist de Silva wrote in his story that "sources said that the appointment of match referees [is currently] the responsibility of the SLC’s notorious Umpires Committee which is already under an investigation on their activities", the latter presumably a reference to its selection in July of Kumara Dharmasena, Tyrone Wijewardene and Ranmore Martinesz for the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  The Sri Lankan Sports Minister asked for a report on that issue nearly two weeks ago (E-News 479-2488, 23 August 2009), however, the current status of that request is not known.

SLC is yet to comment publicly on the issue raised by the 'Mirror'. 

'PUNCH-UP' PENALTY TO END SIDE'S 

CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES?

[EN483-2509]

Two teams whose players were involved in a mid-pitch punch-up late last month have been docked premiership points as a result, one so heavily that it may have cost it the chance of winning its Home Counties League (HCL) title for 2009 if its appeal is rejected.  Title aspirants Ashton Rowant, who currently top the league by only a hand full of points, were given a twenty-five point penalty by the HCL's disciplinary committee on Tuesday, while their opponents Basingstoke lost five because of the fight between Rowant’s Tim Miles and Basingstoke’s Dean Nurse nearly two weeks ago (E-News 480-2482, 25 August 2009).

Chairman of the three-man disciplinary committee John Turberville told local media that in reaching its decision his panel had used images of the incident taken by a freelance photographer and the report of the umpires as evidence.  “The umpires are truly independent and their report is sacrosanct", said Turberville, plus he "spoke to one of them [prior to the hearing] and asked him if, now he’s had a few days, was there anything he wanted to change and he said the report [provided] was accurate".  ”Some people probably think we’ve gone over the top, others will think we’ve done the right thing", he said.  

Miles bowled what previous reports say was an accidental 'beamer' at Nurse, but the batsman thought it was deliberate and is said to have thrown his bat down and run up the pitch towards Miles who then tackled him and the fight began.  No information is available as to why the points penalties handed down were weighted so heavily against Miles' Rowant side.

Responding to criticism that representatives of neither club were invited to the disciplinary hearing, Turberville said that he and his colleagues believed that they had sufficient information with which to make their decision.  “There is bound to be a difference of opinion, but we’ve made the decision and now it goes into the appeals procedure", he said, "which both clubs have a right to be part of".  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 484

FRIDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

UDRS TO REDUCE UMPIRING 

SKILLS, ARGUES WILLEY

[EN484-2510]

English first class umpire Peter Willey believes that top umpires will lose the ability to make decisions because of the reliance on technology that will follow the introduction of the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) into Test cricket next month.   Willey also raises the possibility of ‘neutral’ television technicians so as to allow "total confidence in the new system", and limiting officials to one game in a Test series in order to reduce the pressure on them.

 

Writing in the October issue of 'The Wisden Cricketer' magazine which was released today, the former international player and umpire, who is still standing at first class level in England, states that umpires who have officiated in Tests for five or six years have told him that "they have lost the art of [judging] run-outs and stumpings [and that] they [therefore] just refer everything" to the third umpire.  

Willey makes the claim that the UDRS will mean that "in a couple of years" officials "are going to lose the art of giving out caught-behinds, lbws and everything else because the third umpire is doing everything for you".  Umpires "will end up hardly having to make a decision [and when they] stop doing Tests and go back into [other] first-class cricket [they will have] to start learning again [and] it could be dangerous for an umpire’s career", he argues.

 

Another area mentioned in the article is the possibility that television technicians responsible for providing the pictures for referred decisions might have to be selected from countries independent of the competing teams.  “If you do use technology, do you have neutral people working the cameras and the systems?", he asks.  "If a country’s top batsman has a decision pending and there is a ‘technical problem’ (“Sorry we’ve lost the pictures...”) you will have to have neutral technicians" and that while "people [may] think this is rubbish at one stage nobody believed in match-fixing in cricket" either, but "how far do you go?”, he asks.

 

Willey also puts forward in his article the idea of umpires standing in a single Test of a series so as to help reduce the pressure on each official.  "If an umpire has a poor first Test he is under pressure in the next game [and] I don’t care how strong you are you’ll be thinking about having a bad Test", he says, and a move to single Tests would ensure officials are "fresh with no baggage from Test to Test".  Willey writes that when he "umpired in Tests I’d do one Test abroad, might make a few bad decisions, come home and it is forgotten, you have five or six weeks off then you go somewhere else".

ECB TO ENQUIRE INTO 

T20I ABANDONMENT

[EN484-2511]

The England and Wales Cricket Board is to hold an inquiry into the abandonment of the second England-Australia Twenty20 International  (T20I) at Old Trafford on Tuesday.  A row broke out after the match was called off without a ball being delivered because part of the bowlers' approach at one end of the pitch was deemed unsafe, promoting one journalist to suggest that playing conditions should be amended to allow such games to be played from one end where necessary (E-News 483-2506, 3 September 2009). 

Australian captain Michael Clarke and England counterpart Paul Collingwood agreed with umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong that the field was unfit for international cricket.  However, Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes believed conditions were safe enough to give the sell-out crowd of 19,500 who turned up for the match a game, saying that different standards should be applied to Twenty20 than to first-class cricket.

Cumbes, a former Lancashire fast bowler, acknowledged that "umpires have tough decisions to make and [he's] perfectly aware of the safety of players, but there are times when you've got to think about the people who've paid fifty quid to come into this game [but] sometimes I think we'd rather play in front of empty stadiums".

Clarke said he and his team did not make a distinction between formats.  "Every game I've played for Australia, whether it be Twenty20 or a Test match or one-day cricket, I've treated it the same, I've wanted to do the best I could for my team and you're still representing your country".  Just one over is long enough for a player to injure himself and the area in question was about three meters from the stumps, where the fast bowlers would have been hitting full stride, he said.

PRE-MATCH MEETINGS POSITIVE FOR ON-FIELD 

RELATIONSHIPS, SAYS UMPIRE CHIEF

[EN484-2512]

Chris Kelly, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) first class Umpires Manager, has illustrated the need for umpires to establish "positive and effective" relationships with players by talking about his observations of a first class match played in Australia last December involving umpires called "Ian" and "Tony".  Kelly's comments were contained in an article published in the latest edition of the newsletter of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials which appeared last week after a five-month absence (E-News 472-2452, 12 August 2009). 

The ECB umpires chief's main theme in the article is the importance of adhering to the ECB's directive of April this year that requires that its umpires always supervise the toss of games played under its auspices, something that is normal TCUSA practice in Tasmanian Cricket Association games.  

Kelly says that such technique enables umpires "to remind Captains of their responsibility under the [ECB's] Code of Conduct [and] 'Spirit of Cricket' issues, and that the feedback he has received to date from those "who have started doing it for the first time this season has been very positive".  It has, he continued, "proved to be useful to establish the authority of the umpires while at the same time allow[ing] both captains the opportunity to be reminded of their own responsibilities".

Kelly indicates that during the match he observed in Australia there was what he writes was "a break-down of communication between [the official named 'Tony'] and both teams, which he links to the lack of a pre-match meeting.  "Tony was always marginalised and passed-by [by both] captains on matters of over rates, match timings or ground, weather and light", writes Kelly, and the skippers "found it very easy to find fault with areas of his performance, and his credibility as a decision maker was questioned on several occasions", despite the fact that he "is a very experienced official in more than one professional sport".   

On the other hand says Kelly, the captains were always happy to deal with umpire 'Ian', who was from the same state as one of the teams and was therefore known to one of the captains, and he blames the lack of a pre-match meeting between both umpires and the captains and teams, as the key factor involved in Tony's plight, and encourages ECB officials to take note of this experience.  

It doesn't take much analysis to conclude that the match about which Kelly was talking was the Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and Western Australia played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in mid-December which was looked after National Umpiring Panel members Ian Lock of Western Australia and Tony Ward of Victoria.  

That game was Lock's fifty-first at first class level, while for Ward, who had joined the NUP just six months before, it was his seventh.  Given that Ward was like Lock also from the same state as one of the teams involved, the issue appears to be more one of targeting a less-experienced, and perhaps less assured, official than the lack of a pre-match meeting.

What is labelled the ACO's August 2009 newsletter is the sixth published for the Association's 5,000 plus members since the organisation was established in January 2008.  

In addition to Kelly's piece, it also features an article by Steve Bennett, the international football referee who was appointed as an independent member of the ACO Board two months ago (E-News 448-2333, 4 July 2009), discusses training programs and structures, talks about the use of face-protectors by under-age players, plans for classification and grading of members, mentions insurance and police check systems, apologies for the delay in distributing clothing orders, and gives initial advice on its planned one-day national conference at Lord's on 17 October.

UMPIRE COMPLETES FIFTY 

YEARS 'IN THE MIDDLE'

[EN484-2513]

Charlie Turner, an umpire in the Norfolk Alliance League in England, has just completed his fiftieth season as a match official, says a report published in the 'Norwich Evening News' on Wednesday.  Turner commenced his umpiring career one Saturday afternoon in 1959 when as a fifteen-year-old he was asked to help out in a match, and he enjoyed the experience so much that he has been standing in games in every English summer since.

NO PLANS FOR FOUR-DAY 

TESTS, SAYS ICC CEO

[EN484-2514]

Laroon Lorgat, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says that there is no move to reduce Tests from five to four days.  ICC president David Morgan told a number of media outlets in July that the world body was moving to review Test cricket because of the continuing increase in popularity of the Twenty20 format and dwindling attendances for Tests in some countries (E-News 447-2331, 3 July 2009), but Lorgat now says simply that "Morgan must have been putting a thought on the table".

Numerous reports circulating at the time Morgan made his comments, including one attributed to Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland, said that the reduction in Test playing time had been raised in strategy discussions during ICC meetings in London. Sutherland said the concept indicated the willingness of cricket's leaders to modernise the game but that it was "just one of a number of initiatives and innovations that were raised in strategy discussion".

Speaking in Mumbai Wednesday, Lorgat said that the fifty-over game would continue at the international level even though the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decided last week that its domestic one-day games will played as forty-over matches from next year.  The "ECB has done [that because] it suits their domestic schedule", says Lorgat, "but at the international level the fifty-over format will continue".  

Lorgat pointed out that the format for the fifty-over based Champions Trophy in South Africa later this month  had been "revamped" to make it more exciting and that the ICC is "open to changes if [ideas put forward] work for the betterment of the game". 

Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, said in Mumbai the same day that he preferred to play Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) more than Twenty20 (T20) matches. "Personally I would like to play more Tests and ODIs than T20 games which I know have become extremely popular", Sehwag said that he "would like to play at least eight to ten Tests in a year".  He would prefer to see the ICC introduce a World Championship of Tests as "every cricketer would like to play Tests against every other country and perform well [and it is] Test cricket [that] is the true test [of a cricketer's calibre]".

The ICC said last month that it plans to meet with the Marylebone Cricket Club to discuss the possibility of establishing a World Test Championship, however, just when that gathering will occur has not yet been announced (E-News 470-2439, 7 August 2009).

E-NEWS NUMBER 485

MONDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

BETTER UMPIRES NEEDED, NOT MORE 

TECHNOLOGY, SAYS 'CHAPPELI'

[EN485-2515]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to be wary of the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) and it should not be used to decide the fate of a batsman in Test cricket, says former Australian captain Ian Chappel in an article he wrote for the 'Cricinfo' web site last week.  Chappell believes that the game's increasing reliance on off-field help in an umpire's decision-making process is part of the problem and that ways to produce better umpires need to be found rather than introducing more "technology".

The Australian, in a reference to the recently concluded Ashes Test series, writes that "there are some real howlers being made" by top-level umpires, "not mistakes", he says, as "anybody can make those, but bad umpiring decisions".  Another former Australian player, Shane Warne, expressed the opinion last month that international umpiring standards are at a twenty-year low (E-News 476-2466, 18 August 2009), and there appears to have been only limited comment in the media around the world refuting his claim (E-News 478-2485, 21 August 2009).

Chappell writes that "borderline decisions are part of the game, and either way they are accepted by players, however, when a left-arm over the wicket bowler isn't swinging the ball back into a right-hand batsman and an umpire awards an lbw from a length delivery, that's a bad decision". "The fact that the umpire is even contemplating a decision in favour of the bowler means he has a tenuous understanding of the lbw law; that's a mistake", he believes.

The former national skipper says "there are some lbw appeals where you know immediately the umpire shouldn't be giving them out, but the ball is shown on television to be clipping the outside edge of the stumps", and he wonders if umpires are making such mistakes because they are being influenced by "some of the gimmicks used on television". 

"Hawk-Eye's predictive path has the ball hitting the stumps a high percentage of the time", he says, but "anybody who has watched a net session, where a bowler is operating with three stumps and no batsman [at the crease] and landing [the ball] on a good length, will tell you the ball rarely disturbs the furniture [and] this is particularly so on pitches where there's a bit of bounce".

The Australian believes that it's time to concentrate on ways to improve the standard of umpiring rather than harbour the "misguided belief" that the use of more "technology" is going to enhance the officiating.  The ICC has pointed to an improvement in the accuracy of decision making in trials of the UDRS system over the past year as a key reason behind its decision to use it permanently in Tests.

Former England international umpire Peter Willy writes in the current edition of 'The Wisden Cricketer' that he believes top umpires will lose the ability to make decisions because of the reliance on technology that will follow the introduction of the UDRS into Test cricket next month (E-News 484-2510, 4 September 2009). 

REPLACE FIFTY-OVER GAME WITH 

'TEST-TWENTY20' FORMAT, SAYS JONES

[EN485-2516]

Former Australian player Dean Jones has called for fifty-over cricket to be axed and a two-innings, forty-overs-a-side game, which he labels 'Test-Twenty20' cricket, installed in its place.  “One Day Internationals (ODI) need to get sexy again [as] the fans are bored with them, particularly between overs fifteen to forty", wrote Jones in his column in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne yesterday, comments that coincide with similar views expressed by Indian player Sachin Tendulkar on the weekend (E-News 485-2516 below).   

In Jones' view, Twenty20 is flawed as it "tosses up too many random results", and that his forty-over two-innings format should "replace the tired fifty-over game".  “A good game of Twenty20 relies heavily on the team batting first to make a good score [and] if they don't, then the game can be a bore", he said, plus "Twenty20 allows more opportunities for the cricketing 'minnows' to beat the Test-playing countries, and I don't think [that] is good for the game".

His “Test-Twenty20" format, would be "a better game than the original Twenty20 format as both teams would have a second chance if they played poorly in their first innings".  Jones said that under his suggestion more fans would come through the gates, "a particular concern for cricket authorities in one-sided contests".  

“In day-night ODIs, Cricket Australia loses a lot of revenue when fans don't turn up after work if Australia bats first [for] people prefer to watch the batsmen than the bowlers", said the former batsman.  “In this Test-Twenty20 format they can turn up after work and watch both teams bat and bowl in the second innings", he says, and "the game would take the same amount of time to play as the original ODIs".

As part of the format, Jones suggests adding an extra on-field umpire to rule exclusively on no-balls, outlawing overthrows when a ball strikes the stumps or a batsman, and changing the value of a six to eight runs.  “Anyone can hit a four, anyone", Jones writes, "but to hit a ball in the air and carry a seventy-metre boundary takes technique, timing and strength".  

"Don Bradman realised the risk was not worth it to go for a six, that’s why he hit the ball along the ground and only hit six sixes in his Test career", says Jones, for "to risk your wicket for an extra two runs was simply not worth it, so make it worth it [and] I think an eight [run reward] is fair and reasonable".  Last year the now defunct Indian Cricket League, which Jones was involved with, talked of introducing a "niner" for balls hit over a distance of eighty metres of more.

Laroon Lorgat, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said last week that the fifty-over game would continue at the international level but that the format for the fifty-over based Champions Trophy in South Africa later this month had been "revamped" to make it more exciting (E-News 484-2415, 4 September 2009).  There have been press reports of late that suggest that  international fifty-over cricket is under threat, with the ICC planning to review its future after the 2011 World Cup.   

Both England and South Africa recently axed fifty-over games at domestic level, while former Australian player Shane Warne has called for that format of game to be dropped from international cricket altogether in favour of Tests and Twenty20s (E-News 476-2466, 18 August 2009).   

TENDULKAR SUGGESTS TWO-INNINGS 

SPLIT FOR FIFTY-OVER MATCHES 

[EN485-2517]

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has suggested that fifty-over One Day Internationals (ODI) be split into two innings of twenty-five overs each in order to revive interest in the format, comments similar to those expressed by former Australian player Dean Jones around the same time (E-News 485-2516 above).  Tendulkar told the BBC on the weekend that Twenty20 cricket is threatening to overshadow the longer form of the one-day game, and that "today, we can tell the result of close to seventy-five per cent of [ODI] matches after the toss", but that by splitting the game up into four innings the outcome is "less dependent on the toss".

Tendulkar, who is the highest run-scorer in ODIs with 16,684 runs at the present time, said he thought of the idea in 2002 when India and Sri Lanka had to share the Champions Trophy in Colombo following a rain-hit final.  "First, they [batted for] fifty overs and we [did the same for] two before the rain interruption", he said, then "the next day [which was a reserve day], Sri Lanka [again batted for] fifty overs and we [faced] eight and [yet after all a total of 11o overs] we were declared joint winners".

The Indian says that he "thought, 110 overs and still no result and that's when I thought [about] twenty-five over [innings] for each side, something "for example, in a day-night match", would see "both the teams [batting] under lights.  Under Tendulkar's proposal a team could use their ten wickets in each of the two innings "anyway they want".  If the conditions on the day "change very dramatically" a four innings format would ensure that everyone faces the same conditions, he says.

MINISTRY TO RECEIVE LANKAN IUP 

SELECTIONS REPORT TODAY

[EN485-2518]

An report into the selection of this year's three Sri Lankan nominees to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) is to be provided to that nation's Ministry of Sports today, says a report in Colombo's 'Sunday Times' newspaper yesterday.  The report was requested in mid-August after some of Sri Lanka's "top umpires" wrote a letter to the island nation's political head, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, complaining about the approach taken by SLC's Umpire's Committee in selecting the nominees (E-News 470-2438, 7 August 2009).

Journalist S.R. Pathiravithana quotes SLC interim secretary Nishantha Ranatunga as saying that his Board "probed into this matter only last week and there we decided to go ahead with the inquiry" and that it has "already verbally informed the relevant people about the [outcomes of the investigation], but the official intimation will go out on Monday once the minutes of the [Board] meeting are out”.  Original indications were that the three-man group looking into the matter was aiming to finalise its report several weeks ago and as a result there was said to be "concern" by some that the matter had "lagged for so long". 

The Umpires Committee "interviewed" eleven local umpires in late July as part of its IUP selection process (E-News 462-2405, 27 July 2009), but there were claims prior to that that "three leading local umpires" cheated during their annual exam on the Laws of Cricket (E-News 444-2309, 30 June 2009).  Pathiravithana claims in his article that the Umpires Committee "messed up the promotions by allocating wrong marks" following the "tests", with "the person who was placed fourth obtaining more marks than the person who [came in] third".   

On realising their mistake, claims the 'Times' article, the Umpires Committee "decided to promote all four candidates in an attempt to cover-up their folly, thus creating a major stir in the umpiring circles which ended up in a delegation of umpires making representations to the Minister of Sports".  Sri Lankan media reports seen by E-News over the last six weeks have consistently indicated that three umpires were recommended to the ICC, not four as stated by the 'Times' yesterday.

Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper reported in early July that ICC Elite Umpires Panel member Asoka de Silva finished first in the exams, Kumara Dharmasena second, Ranmore Martinecz third, Deepal Gunawardena fourth, Tyrone Wijewardene fifth and Gamini Silva, who was on the IUP last year, in eleventh place.  

Dharmasena and Wijewardene were later recommended to the ICC as Sri Lanka's two on-field members on the IUP, and Martinecz as the television official (E-News 465-2418, 30 July 2009).  However, despite his demotion Silva was appointed to three matches in the current limited-over series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand and Wijewardene just one (E-News 470-2436, 7 August 2009). 

ECB AWAITS PITCH, GROUND, REPORTS 

ON ABANDONED T20I  

[EN485-2519]

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has backed the umpires and players for the controversial decision to call off the second Twenty20 International (T20I) between England and Australia at Old Trafford last Tuesday without a ball being bowled, although it is yet to receive a detailed report on the situation (E-News 484-2415, 4 September 2009).  

ECB pitch inspector Chris Wood spent the lunch interval on the first day of the Lancashire-Sussex county match on Thursday with Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes and head groundsman Matt Merchant checking out the area on the bowler's run-up at the Brian Statham End which caused the abandonment of the T20I (E-News 484-2511, 4 September 2009).  

Reports indicate that Wood will now file a confidential report to the ECB's Major Match Group, who are responsible for checking international grounds, and that they will also seek the views of the match referee, umpires, venue manager and Lancashire in a bid to find out "what went wrong".

Lancashire received a grant in excess of $A1m from the ECB to install a state-of-the-art drainage system at Old Trafford over the last northern winter.  But the problem patch is in an area which, because the club plans to reorientate the square at the end of the 2010 season, is not covered by the new drainage.

Cumbes remains adamant the game should have gone ahead, and believes the fact the county game, which is being played on the same wicket two days after the T20I, is proof the umpires' made a mistake, says a report distributed by The Press Association on Friday.  "The umpires made an inspection for the Lancashire game and said conditions were fine, on the same wicket and with the same run-ups", said Cumbes, and "that spot hasn't dried overnight, it has just had covers on it and once again it had sweated when we took them off".  

But Colin Gibson, head of corporate communications at the ECB, has defended the approach that was taken, saying that while “it's a huge disappointment, it is clearly ridiculous to say the players didn't want to play".  Gibson says the important thing now is to get to the bottom of why the ground wasn't safe enough to play on.  “There were close to 20,000 people there, the players wanted to play, but the ground was deemed to be unfit [and] we need to find out why it was unfit and what contributed to it", he said, especially given that “the ECB have invested a large amount of money" in the ground of late.

Although Lancashire haven't suffered financially from the washout, their chances of hosting future internationals could be hit claim some reports.  “Whether it damages Lancashire or not I don't know", said Cumbes, "but I'm sick of playing politics and making excuses and working around the truth, when in my mind the truth is we could have had a game of cricket on Tuesday night".

The umpires for the match, Peter Hartley and Nigel Long, have considerable experience playing and officiating at the higher levels of the game.  They played county cricket for a combined total of twenty-nine years during which the pair's match tally was exactly 300 first class and 406 one-day games, and they have since gone on to stand in 181 first class and 210 List 'A' matches, a total well in excess of 1,000 games on turf pitches.

DELAYED UMPIRE MATCH PAYMENTS 

TO BE MADE 'SHORTLY' 

[EN485-2520]

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is yet to pay umpires their match fees "for international assignments" and games in the island nation's Under 23 Premier Division played in July-August, according to Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper on Friday.  SLC Interim Committee secretary Nishantha Ranatunga is said to have acknowledged that there is a "slight delay" in payments being made but that he did not know the cause.

Journalist Channaka de Silva quotes an SLC "source" as saying that there is also a delay in the second installment of contract fees being paid to Sri Lanka national team players.  "There is no financial crisis or a fault in the SLC finance department [as] payments like that are fast-tracked on a priority basis [in] the finance section", rather the delay has been caused by "administration sections which don’t function smoothly” and that "the payments would be made very shortly". 

E-NEWS NUMBER 486

TUESDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

JOSHUA NAMED FOR FIRST 

CLASS DEBUT

[EN486-2521]

All twelve members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) will be standing in at least one game in the season's opening three Sheffield Shield and five one-day interstate matches that are to be played in October, with panel newcomer Geoff Joshua of Victoria being named by Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday to make his first class debut.  International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Steve Davis, Queenslander Norm McNamara and Paul Wilson of Western Australia join NUP members in the group selected to manage the eight CA matches scheduled for Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth next month.

Western Australian NUP members Jeff Brookes and Mick Martell will start the season on 11 October at the WACA ground in Perth, with Wilson being the third official, in the one-day match between the home side and Queensland.  Two days later Martell will be joined by Ian Lock, another national panel member from Perth, when the same two sides start their Sheffield Shield campaigns for the 2009-10 season. 

Across the Nullabor on the same day Martell and Lock walk out in Perth, Simon Fry of South Australia and Gerard Abood of New South Wales, who like Joshua is in his first season on the NUP, will start the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and Tasmania at the Adelaide Oval.  Those two sides will play a one-day match there two days after their Shield game ends, with Abood and ICC member Davis on the field and Fry as the third official.

The action then moves to Brisbane where three one-day matches involving Queensland and visitors Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania respectively are to be played over ten days starting on the twenty-first of the month.  Bob Parry of Victoria will be on the field for the first two matches, his state colleague John Ward and Queenslander Bruce Oxenford each having one on-field and one third umpire slot in those games.  Victorians Paul Reiffel and Tony Ward plus McNamara in the television suite, will oversee the last one-dayer between the home side and Tasmania on the second-last day of the month.

Over in Adelaide that day Joshua will make his first class debut in the Shield game between South Australia and Victoria, his colleague being Rod Tucker of New South Wales.  Joshua, thirty-nine, like the other Australian umpires involved has had to work hard over many years to reach the top level of domestic cricket, first in Grade games in Victoria, and since 2003 in a range of representative matches and tournaments around the country (E-News 471-2441, 10 August 2009).  Tucker goes into the Adelaide match after being involved in a number of significant international tournaments overseas during the 2009 austral winter, including the World Twenty20 Championship in England.

The first interstate game of the season at Bellerive is not scheduled to late November when the home side take on South Australia in a Sheffield Shield match.  Whether Tasmania will break its now nearly four-year "drought" in umpiring appointments in first class games may be known next week after the national selectors convene to decide match allocations, possibly up until the end of November (E-News 5 February 2009).  Cricket Australia's (CA) normal practice in the past has been to appoint debutants in first class games to matches that are played in their home state, Joshua's game in Adelaide next month being the exception to date.

HELP UMPIRES GET BETTER, 

SAYS TAUFEL

[EN486-2522]

Australian umpire Simon Taufel would like to see "more effort put into helping umpires develop greater skills and better performances before giving all the decision-making to technology", a view similar to that expressed by former Test skipper Ian Chappell last week (E-News 485-2515, 7 September 2009).  "There is no easy answer when it comes to technology", says Taufel in an interview with the Cricinfo web site, and while it "can be used to assist the umpire get the decision right, it must be "used to enhance the game, not dominate" it or replace the official out on the ground. 

Five-time world 'Umpire of the Year' Taufel does not expand in the interview with journalist Jason Dasey on just what he thinks is involved in giving umpires "greater skills", but in terms of technology he belives that the fundamentals for him are "firstly, having the right balance; having consistently accurate technology; but most of all, having the umpire make the right decision in the first place".  "The game has changed and we need to change with it, that's being professional", he says.

Asked about his chances of winning a sixth-straight world 'Umpire of the Year' award next month (E-News 483-2504, 3 September 2009), Taufel said that he doesn't umpire for awards, rather "to become better and give the game the best I can give".  "If the captains and referees rate my performances a certain way, that is great, but it doesn't change the work ethic or professionalism that is involved in my work".  Apart from that he said that "umpiring is a team sport and we have to perform and succeed as a team [and] no one cares how many awards I've won or not won if I get something wrong!"

Responding to a question about press criticism and how he deals with it, he said that "you do your best and if you make a judgment error, then you learn from it and become better".  "If you make the same type of mistake, that's when people should be critical, but don't forget, we're up against around twenty-five cameras and all the tools of super slow motion, 'Snicko', 'Hot Spot' and 'Hawk-Eye', and we still get ninety-five per cent of our decisions correct and that's pretty good in my book!" "The challenge for me is to get as close to one hundred per cent as possible, realising that I cannot be perfect but I can be excellent", he said.

Referring to his near-death experience in the terrorist attack in Lahore in March (E-News 380-2021, 4 March 2009), Taufel said that he and his colleagues who were involved "are very fortunate to still be with our families and we are determined to not be ever put in that position again".  "There are lessons to be learned" from the event, he said, but he believes cricket authorities "all understand their role in providing a duty of care over all who participate in [a] game [and] not just players".  The experience has made him "a stronger person and I have a greater perspective on life and on what is really important [so] everyone please give your loved ones a huge hug while you still can".

At thirty-eight he says that he'll continue to officiate in international cricket while he's "finding it challenging, rewarding, and I'm wanted", although he emphasised that the interests of his family remain "pretty high up on the ladder of importance" when he regularly assesses on-going umpiring and travel commitments.  "That's exactly why I never commit to a time-frame" on how long he will remain at the highest-level of the game, he said.

Asked about a "funny story from a day in the middle in international cricket", the Australian said that "sorry, but what happens in the middle, stays in the middle" and if people want to find out "then take up umpiring and have the best seat in the house, then you can find out what really goes on". 

PRADHAN, PRASAD STAND IN 

WCL TOURNAMENT FINAL

[EN486-2523]

Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal and Singaporean Sarika Prasad, both members of the members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel, were chosen to stand in the main final of the World Cricket League's (WCL) Division 6 tournament played at the Kallang ground in Singapore last Saturday.  Vinay Kumar Jha and Sanjay Gurung of Nepal stood in the third-place final while Riaz Chaudhary of Kuwait and Grant Johnston of Vanuatu managed the match to decide fifth place in the event.

During the week-long series, which involved national sides from Bahrain, Botswana, Guernsey, Malaysia, Norway and Singapore, ICC Elite Umpires Panel member Simon Taufel of Australia stood in games with Chaudhary, Gurung, Jha, Johnston and Pradahan, Hong Kong umpire Kevin Bishop being the only umpire to miss out on the on-field mentoring experience with him (E-News 482-2501, 31 August 2009).

Asked in this week's interview with Cricinfo about "what's it been like to umpire away from the cricketing mainstream" (E-News 486-2522 above), Taufel said that the WCL competition was the cricket mainstream as "the umpires were giving their best, just like the players, and looking to improve [while] for me it's a great opportunity to prepare for the Champions Trophy tournament" which starts in in South Africa two weeks from today.  The Australian said that if he's been able "to pass on some tips and advice along the way and help [his WCL colleagues] to become better umpires, then that's a bonus".

LLOYD DEFENDS OLD TRAFFORD 

T20I ABANDONMENT

[EN486-2524]

Former England player, first class umpire. coach and now commentator David Lloyd has defended the decision to abandon last Tuesday's England-AustraliaTwenty20 International (T20I) at Old Trafford.  Writing in his column in 'The Manchester Evening News' on Friday, Lloyd says that match officials can't do anything if a critical part of a ground is unfit for play.

According to Lancashire-born Lloyd, "there is nothing that could have been done about the rain, that happens, and it is a myth that Old Trafford receives buckets more of the stuff than most, because it doesn't".  The ground "is far from bottom of the league table where rainfall is concerned" he says, however, he believes that "there are not enough ground staff" employed to look after the facility.

The abandonment was caused by a patch of wet grass directly on the bowler’s run-up at one end of the ground and Lloyd says that "you could tell it was bad because when they put the sawdust down it just sunk in".  "Both umpires and the match referee said it wasn't playable, and they make the final decision", wrote Lloyd.   

The former umpire says that he is "all for playing in unfavourable conditions and [that] things like bad light should be scrapped, but for me there is no such thing as bad light, just get on with it, [however], when a ground is unfit then that is a different matter".  He makes no comment on a suggestion last week that allowance should be made in such circumstances to play the top-level games from one end of the ground (E-News 483-2506, 3 September 2009).  

The England and Wales Cricket Board is currently holding an inquiry into the abandonment of the match which Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes believes should have been played (E-News 484-2511, 4 September 2009). (E-News 484-2511, 4 September 2009).

COUNTY BATSMAN REPRIMANDED 

FOR DISSENT

[EN486-2525]

Surrey batsman Michael Brown was reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during the County Championship match between Gloucestershire and Surrey in Bristol late last week.  Brown was reported by umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Cowley for a Level One breach of the ECB's Code of Conduct.  Any further Level One breach by Brown over the next two years will result in the automatic imposition of three disciplinary points by the ECB.

E-NEWS NUMBER 487

THURSDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

VERY SLOW RECOVERY 

FOR LIGHTNING VICTIM

[EN487-2526]

A player who was struck by lightning during a match being played in New York in late July is making a very slow recovery in hospital, according to the latest reports from the United States (E-News 464-2410, 29 July 2009).  Over the last six weeks the condition of Patrick Gibson, forty-one, has stablised, however, he remains heavily sedated with burns to some parts of his body and his long-term prospects will not be known until neurological tests are conducted once he regains full conciousness.

Gibson was hit across the left side of his face by the lightning while running from the ground to shelter when the thunderstorm struck, the bolt exiting through his feet and the charge causing 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.  Currently those internal organs are said to all be "functioning very well, although some muscle tissue damage to other parts of his body is suspected".

John Aaron, the Executive Secretary of the USA Cricket Association (USACA), visited the injured player in hospital last month.  The USACA said in a statement that it "urged all cricketers to be alert to weather conditions such as thunderstorms when playing outdoors, and to take all necessary precautions to avoid a reoccurrence of such an unfortunate incident, believed to be the first in the USA involving a cricketer during a match".

Meanwhile an amateur soccer player was killed by lightning in the eastern Mexican city of Veracruz last weekend.  Efrain Peña, twenty-four, was playing in a local league match in bad weather when three consecutive lightning strikes occurred, one of which "knocked down all the players on the field", killed Peña and injured three others.  The bolt that electrocuted him is said to have entered his mouth and exited through his right leg in a similar fashion to Gibson in New York.

Media reports state that the match referee warned players about the danger of the storm, but a local police official said that “they wanted to play and didn’t care about the bad weather".

PITCHES ONE KEY TO FUTURE 

OF TESTS, SAYS MCC CHIEF

[EN487-2527]

Keith Bradshaw, the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), says that one of the major concerns about the current state of Test cricket around the world is that the pitches being prepared by curators are not conducive to getting a result in a match.  Bradshaw says in his monthly column for 'All Out Cricket' magazine that If pitches do not offer something for pace and spin bowlers throughout the five days as well as rewarding good batting, "people will vote with their feet" and not turn up.

The Hobart-born MCC chief writes that "when 1,553 runs can be scored for the loss of just eighteen wickets [at] eight-six runs per dismissal as they were when Sri Lanka played Pakistan earlier this year [in Karachi], it’s clear something has to change".  He says that the curator's role "may not be glamorous and may require a fair bit of work on hands and knees, but, if the hand that rocks the cradle rules the earth then the man who sits on the roller is the one who makes the Test".

The importance of good pitches is illustrated by the current research into them, says Bradshaw.  At Dubai’s Cricket Academy they are creating pitches from different soils from around the world to imitate the conditions in different countries while elsewhere drop-in pitches are also being improved and help to ensure groundsmen aren’t hampered by adverse weather conditions during preparation.

INDIAN MATCH REFEREES FOR 

PLAYING CONDITIONS SEMINAR

[EN487-2528]

Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who is now a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) match referees panel, is to conduct a two-day seminar for domestic match referees in Mumbai today and tomorrow.  Fifty-seven match referees on the Board of Control for Cricket in India's roster are to take part, half today and the other half on Friday, and they will be briefed on changes that have been made to playing conditions during the forthcoming domestic season on the sub-continent.

UMPIRE INVOLVED IN 

EVENTFUL FIRST OVER

[EN487-2529]

The need for umpires to be focussed from the very first ball of a match was brought home again last weekend in an eventful first over in the Chesire Cricket League match between Toft and Didsbury.  Reports indicate that during that over deliveries one, two and three the unnamed official first caution Toft's two metre tall opening bowler Rupert Kitzinger for running into the protected area, then gave him a final warning when he repeated the episode, but the bowler then responded in the last three balls of the over by taking a hat trick, one caught, one LBW and the other bowled.  

E-NEWS NUMBER 488

SATURDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

LIFE MEMBERSHIP OF 

NSWCA FOR HAIR

[EN488-2530]

Former Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who retired from international cricket last year, has been made a Life Member of the New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA).  Dave Gilbert, the Association's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said that Hair, who is now the Executive Officer of the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, deserved to be honoured for his long service to the game.

Gilbert said that "while people will immediately recall the name Darrell Hair in a controversial light, I think that is really doing him an injustice in terms of what he achieved in the game" for he "called it as he saw it [and] if people have problems with that then that is really their problem".  He congratulated NSW-born Hair for being "a man of high principles [who] has umpired the game according to the rules and for various reasons has incurred the wrath of officialdom and the like because of his strength of character".

Hair's seventy-eight Test matches as an umpire is the second-most of any Australian behind Daryl Harper from South Australia.  After working his way up through the ranks of Sydney Grade cricket, a competition in which he eventually stood in 231 matches, Hair went on to officiate in a total of 146 first class games, thirty-two at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) involving NSW, and 139 One Day Internationals.  Eight of those first class games were Sheffield Shield finals, two of which were played at the SCG.  

The Australian, who is well-known for his forensic knowledge of the Laws of Cricket, has also been a leading-light in the training and education of umpires around the world over many years.  

BCB GIVES 'IN PRINCIPLE' 

AGREEMENT TO DAY-NIGHT TEST

[EN488-2531]

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has given 'in principle' agreement to playing England in what would be the first day-night Test match next northern summer, says a story distributed by the BBC overnight.  The International Cricket Council is yet to give approval for day-night Tests, primarily due to what reports say are concerns about the lack of progress being made in developing a ball of a suitable ball for such a game, and much uncertainty still appears to surround the proposal.

A white ball is used during day-night One Day Internationals but its use is not feasible when players are wearing white as they would, if historical precedent prevails, for a day-night Test.  Pink and orange balls have been trialled but "are considered unfit" for such a game which is to be played at Lord's, says the BBC.  

Keith Bradshaw, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Tasmanian-born Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement yesterday that "there has been much talk of a potential day-night Test match being held at Lord’s next season".  Two months ago he was quoted as saying that it is "unlikely" such a game would be played in 2010 because it is proving to be a "struggle to find the right ball" (E-News 442-2301, 28 June 2009).

Yesterday though, despite his earlier view and the BBC's comment, Bradshaw said that the "MCC has made significant strides in the development of a pink ball and we remain hopeful that further match trials will be conducted here in England in the next few weeks and also overseas throughout the [coming northern] winter".  He stressed, however, that "we would not want to jeopardise the integrity of Test match cricket by using untested or unproven coloured balls".

The England-Bangladesh match is one of three Tests scheduled for Lord's next northern summer, the last and only time such a situation has occurred being in 1912 when Australia, England, and South Africa contested a triangular tournament.  England is to play Bangladesh in the potential day-night Test there in May, then Pakistan later in the season, while Pakistan will also take on Australia at the home of cricket due to the security situation in their own country.

PROCEDURAL ERRORS RESULT IN 

FRESH DISCIPLINARY HEARING

[EN488-2532]

The twenty-five champion point penalty handed down to a side in England two weeks ago because one of its players was involved in a mid-pitch brawl is on hold after the Home Counties League (HCL) agreed on Friday to conduct a new disciplinary hearing.  The move came after the Aston Rowant club lodged a protest claiming that correct procedures had not been adhered to in the initial hearing, and next week's second investigation is critical to their side's title aspirations for 2009 as they would have otherwise topped the table.

The original hearing was held after Rowant’s Australian opening bowler Tim Miles and Basingstoke batsman Dean Nurse were involved in a fight during a game three weeks ago (E-News 480-2492, 25 August 2009).  The subsequent point penalty put an end to Rowant's championship hopes and led to Reading winning the league (E-News 483-2509, 3 September 2009).  The latest report in the 'Oxford Mail' this morning also indicates that at the original hearing Miles was banned from playing in the HCL for five years and Nurse for one.

The HCL's web site currently has Reading winning the league with 297 points while Rowant are third with 286 points, the latter figure including the twenty-five point penalty, therefore without that censure Rowant would have won the title by fourteen points. 

Neither Rowant nor Basingtoke were invited to attend the original hearing which the 'Mail' says is a contravention of  HCL 'Guidelines on the Conduct of Hearings and Appeals' document.  It states in part that "The reported person should be given adequate notice of the allegations against him so that he [is] in a position to make representations on his own behalf to appear at the hearing to prepare his own case and answer the case against him".  It also says that "The time and location of the hearing must also be properly notified to the reported person".

HCL chairman Ray Wood told the 'Mail' that "the clubs we’re not informed [because] we reckoned we had sufficient information to deal with the matter, without the need for the clubs to be there".  “We had the umpires’ report, and had seen photographs in the paper, while the clubs had already taken action against their own players, indicating that they were guilty".

“Maybe [our approach] wasn’t quite right and there were questions raised about the process so we thought it best to re-hear it rather than have a dispute".  Wood is reported to have told another newspaper, 'The Bucks Free Press', that it "is common practice to set penalties without official hearings as it is sometimes difficult to arrange a suitable time for all parties".  “In the past we’ve made decisions without a hearing [and] it happens all the time", he said.

Rowant chairman Gary Condon said that his club "just wanted to be given a fair hearing and be able to state our case".  “We’ve taken legal advice and sought clarification from the English Cricket Board, who came down on our side [and] “we’ve pointed this out to the league”, he said.

 

Wood said that "we just want to be fair to Rowant, so there will be a new meeting, with a different panel and a new chairman". 

EIGHT UMPS FOR EAST ASIA 

PACIFIC TOURNAMENT

[EN488-2533]

Eight umpires from five countries will be involved in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East Asia Pacific (EAP) 2009 men's Cricket Trophy tournament in Apia, Samoa from 17-25 September.  The series features teams from eight nations competing in both Twenty20 and fifty-over formats in two competitions.

The umpiring group, who will work under tournament referee Brian Aldridge of New Zealand, are Mohammed Ali Maqbool and Walesi Soqoiwasa (Fiji), Neil Harrison (Japan), Clive Elly (Papua New Guinea), Geoff Clelland, Grant Johnston Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu), and David Quested (New Zealand). 

Aldridge is a former international umpire, Clelland, Elly, Harrison, Johnston and Morrison are all members of the EAP's Elite Umpires Panel and Maqbool and Soqoiwasa its Supplementary Umpires Panel, while Quested was a member of the New Zealand's domestic Elite Umpires Panel last year.   

The fifty-over competition will be run in two components with the teams from Fiji, Japan and Papua New Guinea, who are members of the ICC's World Cricket League (WCL), playing each other in a round-robin competition designed to provide them with the opportunity to play more cricket and hone their skills for upcoming WCL competitions.

Non-WCL teams from the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will play each other to earn the right to be the highest-ranked EAP team and thereby strengthen their case to be elevated to the WCL's Division 8.

CANADIAN, HONG KONG U19 SKIPPERS 

REPRIMANDED

[EN488-2534]

Two captains playing in the Under 19 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Toronto, Canada, have been found guilty of Code of Conduct breaches, one of them on three occasions.  James Atkinston of Hong Kong and Canadian Rustam Bhatti were charged with "failing to control their respective teams" in a match on 5 September, Atkinson also transgressing twice the day before when he showed dissent at an umpiring decision and "abused cricket equipment" when his side also lost, this time to Afghanistan.

International Cricket Council tournament referee David Jukes said in a statement that Atkinston and Bhatti's failure to control their teams and "their collective poor behaviour brought the game into disrepute".  He went on to say that "while Mr Atkinson has apologised for his earlier breach [in the Afghanistan match] and shown a degree of remorse for his actions, there is no place for this sort of behaviour on any cricket field, let alone on the international stage".

"On a more positive point", continued Jukes, "I am sure that everyone will have learned from today's experience" and that the captains "will have received a timely reminder of their specific responsibilities".

NEW MEMBERS FOR TCUSA 

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

[EN488-2535]

TCUSA umpiring members Ross Carlson and Caroline McGregor have joined the Association's Management Committee as the Honorary Treasurer and Secretary respectively, positions that were not filled at this year's Annual General Meeting last May.  The pair join President-Administrator Graeme Hamley, Vice President Don Heapy and committee members Brian Muir, Ian Quaggin  and Mark Wickham on the management group.

E-NEWS NUMBER 489

SUNDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2009  

ICC WILLING TO LOOK AT TWO-INNINGS 

ONE-DAY FORMAT

[EN488-2536]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has agreed to look at any experiment to split one-day matches into two innings of twenty-five overs for each team, says a BBC report yesterday.  Indian player Sachin Tendulkar recently suggested such an approach (E-News 485-2517, 7 September 2009), around the same time former Australian batsman Dean Jones floated a similar idea (E-News 485-2516, 7 September 2009).

Tendulkar, the highest Test and One Day International (ODI) run scorer in history, said fifty-over cricket as it is currently played is too predictable, while Jones said spectators are bored with it, particularly between overs fifteen and forty.  They both feel that the two-innings proposal could breathe new life into the limited overs format, which has been increasingly threatened by the meteoric rise in popularity of Twenty20 cricket, although some others disagree (E-News 488-2537 below).  

The England and Wales Cricket Board recently agreed to scrap its only fifty-over domestic cricket tournament next year in favour of an expanded Twenty20 competition and a forty-over format series.

ICC cricket manager Dave Richardson is reported to have told the BBC that the two-innings concept "might work in day-night cricket where one team has to bat in day [light] and the other at night, [and it also] provides something different and reduces the effects on the team who loses the toss and has [for example] to bat first on a damp wicket".  He is said to have "revealed" that the concept had been proposed a number of times and resurfaced once again at the ICC's cricket committee annual meeting at Lord's last May.  

The ICC said in a statement after that meeting that discussions on the current format of ODIs concluded that, given there had been a major alteration to the playing conditions last October with the batting side allowed to nominate one of the Powerplays (E-News 320-1676, 1 October 2008), it would be sensible to allow more time to see if that was effective before deciding upon any further changes (E-News 422-2227, 13 May 2009).

While Richardson is said to be eager to prevent results becoming predictable, he is concerned that splitting the innings could take away scoring opportunities for the batsmen.  He doesn't "necessarily like the idea of playing two matches of twenty-five overs each with the openers batting again [as the] charm of one-day cricket is seeing someone batting at four and scoring a good hundred".   "If you bat in the middle order of a Twenty20 or a new twenty-five over innings, you're not going to get much of an opportunity to hit three figures, one downside of the Twenty20 game", he said.

The BBC says that Cricket South Africa (CSA) looks set to trial the changes during one of the rounds of its domestic one-day season in 2009-10, although its spokesman said the matter was still in discussion and no firm dates have been set.  Richardson said that "the bottom line is if we can come up with a product that is better than the existing one, then everyone would like to look at it", but "first it has to be trialled successfully at domestic level".

"The ICC has been proactive with ideas and innovations, like the Powerplays [although] the idea of the 'super-sub' [which was scrapped in March 2006] wasn't as successful and we got rid of quite quickly", said the ICC manager.  "One of the criticisms [then] was that we trialled things at international as opposed to domestic level [and] our tactics going forward are for member countries to trial changes first domestically and if they are successful, then we can take them on board at the international level".

The ICC's cricket committee is said to be set to discuss the results of any experiment conducted by CSA this austral summer at its annual meeting next May.

FIFTY-OVER CRICKET 'IN REMARKABLY 

GOOD HEALTH' WRITES ROEBUCK

[EN488-2537]

For an "endangered species" fifty-over cricket appears to be in remarkably good health, says journalist Peter Roebuck in an article published on the Cricinfo web site on Friday.  In his view "the format continues to attract large crowds and to produce stimulating cricket" and he points to the current England-Australia One Day International (ODI) series as being "especially interesting, not least because the battle between bat and ball has been compelling".

"Everyone seems to be excited about Twenty20, whose bandwagon rolls along", writes Roebuck, "but this is lust, not love [as] Twenty20 provides wealth, fame, glory, gratification, and all of it in five minutes".  "It's a good night out and none the worse for that [and] small wonder youth likes it, but let's not pretend it leaves memories, makes an impact, [or] provides satisfaction", he says. 

Roebuck admits that fifty-over cricket has started to look its age and that in the opinion of some it has served its purpose and ought to be put out to grass, and he briefly mentions without comment suggestions that two-innings be introduced into the format (E-News 489-2536 above).  

In the former Somerset captain's view, the fifty-over game "has been more sinned against than sinning" and journalists "occasionally forget that though they might cover thirty-five ODIs a year, most spectators [only] get one chance [and the] weariness [therefore] exists mostly in [writers'] minds".  In his view the longer version has also been "unlucky" in that its most recent World Cup "was a botched job" while in contrast "the Twenty20 World Cup and the first two Indian Premier League campaigns were superbly presented". 

Roebuck believes that a key problem is that the fifty-over format has been overdone. that "familiarity breeds drudgery", and that as a result this month's Champions Trophy series in South Africa seems for example "hardly important".  "Greedy [national] Boards arrange all sorts of silly matches in far-off places and expect their players to turn up with a smile", while "drinks breaks, meandering batsmen, pottering bowlers and indecisive captains slow things to a crawl", he writes.  

Despite that Roebuck says that the format has improved and that the introduction of batting and bowling Powerplays to the fifty-over game "has been constructive".   He says that the format has "staying power, is good for the game, allows the leading cricketers to produce almost their best cricket and lets supporters watch twenty-two players and see a result in a single day".  "It's worked for close to forty years and the benefits have been huge and doubtless further improvements await, but fifty-over cricket belongs to the future, not the past", says Roebuck.

T20I INQUIRY RECOMMENDATIONS TO 

BE PASSED TO THE ICC

[EN488-2538]

An inquiry into the reasons behind the abandonment of the England-AustraliaTwenty20 International (T20I)  at Old Trafford earlier this month has concluded that as decided by match officials ground conditions were unsuitable for a game of international cricket.  The investigation also made a range of recommendations to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on match protocols for use in similar situations in the future, suggestions that are to now be passed on to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for consideration.

Despite blue skies prevailing on the afternoon of the game, umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong decided that it could not be played because a critical part of the bowlers' approach at one end of the pitch was very wet and considered unsafe (E-News 484-2511, 4 September 2009).  

ECB Chief Executive Officer David Collier said on Friday that "we are bitterly disappointed for the 17,000 spectators who had spent time and money attending the match and aim to do everything in our power to ensure play whenever possible" in the future, and that as a result his organisation will be passing some of the recommendations from the inquiry to the ICC.

The report of the investigation points out that there had been an unusual volume of rain in the days leading up to the game.  While the new drainage system installed at the ground during the last northern winter worked well, it was laid out in relation to how the square will look from 2011 onwards, for it presently runs east-west but will be turned to a north-south orientation in a year's time. As a result the new work did not cover parts of the current square and the problems that were experienced were a direct result.

The inquiry recommended that consideration be given to the possibility of "amending the playing regulations to facilitate play", a move that could theoretically mean bowling all the overs from one end, which would have allowed the Old Trafford match to have gone ahead, according to some (E-News 483-2506, 3 September 2009).  A related suggestion is for grounds to prepare two separate pitches at least five metres apart for matches, an idea that would have been a more orthodox solution to the problems experienced.

As the "safety of players must remain an overriding criteria if there is a substantive risk of serious injury" says the report, the ultimate decision on abandonment must rest with the umpires, however, the ground authority should in future be consulted before matches are abandoned, a move that is designed to allow such games to be rescheduled "if feasible within twenty-four to forty-eight hours".  

County umpire Neil Mallender, one of the umpires involved in the Lancashire-Sussex County Championship match that started the day after the T20I on the same pitch, is said to have indicated that he would not have declared the ground fit for an international fixture.  He and his colleague David Millns are said to have only allowed their county game to go ahead on the understanding that if the captain's felt that at any time if it was unsafe, play would be suspended.  

After the T20I and prior to the county match starting, ground staff worked to 'stiffen' the problem area by deep spiking and forcing sawdust into the subsequent holes.

ICL HAD 'MATCH-FIXING' CONCERNS, 

CLAIM REPORTS

[EN488-2539]

Organisers of the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) have withheld payments to all of its Pakistani players because of match-fixing concerns, according to a number of press reports published in Islamabad last week.  Urdu language daily 'Jang' quoted an unnamed ICL official as saying that a former Pakistani Test "cricketer fixed [ICL] matches with the help of local bookmakers", 'The Daily Express', another Urdu newspaper, publishing a similar report.

The respective articles claim that after the matter came to the notice of the ICL, the player in question was dropped from the remainder of the unnamed tournament involved.  'Jang' said that it was due to the Pakistan player's involvement with bookmakers that other Pakistani cricketers playing for the ICL have as yet been unable to have their payments cleared by the ICL, however, "those players are now been assured that their payments will be cleared in a month's time".

The ICL is reported to have suffered a heavy financial loss last year, a factor that is also said to have slowed the process of paying the international players involved.

An International Cricket Council official, who declined to be named, told The Associated Press that the sport's governing body has nothing to do with the issue as the ICL is an unsanctioned league.  ICL organisers were "not immediately available" to comment on the Islamabad reports when contacted by The Associated Press.

E-NEWS NUMBER 490

MONDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2009  

 

EIGHT 'WORLD UMP' NOMINEES 

FOR CHAMPIONS TROPHY

[EN490-2540]

Eight umpires, all members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), were yesterday named for matches in the opening or Group stage of the Champions Trophy tournament which is due to get underway in South Africa tomorrow week.  Those involved are the same eight that were nominated by the ICC earlier this month for consideration as the world body's 'Umpire of the Year' for 2009 (E-News 483-2504, 3 September 2009).

The twelve-match Group stage will see three Australians, Daryl Harper, Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, two New Zealanders 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill, two Pakistanis Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, and Ian Gould of England in action.  They will work in games under one of the three match referees who will be involved, Jeff Crowe from New Zealand, Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka and Javagal Srinath of India.

For Harper it will be his fifth Champions Trophy series, Bowden, Dar and Taufel their third and Crowe and Rauf their second, while for Gould, Hill, Mahanama and Srinath its their first as match officials.  In terms of overall experience in managing One Day Internationals (ODI) to date, Harper currently leads the way with 158 matches, then comes Taufel 139, Bowden 132, Mahanama 124, Dar 116, Crowe 107, Davis ninety-one, Hill seventy-one, Rauf sixty-five, Srinath sixty-three and Gould thirty-three.

Six warm-up matches, none of which will carry official ODI status, are to be played next Friday and Sunday, all but two of the umpires selected standing in two games each.  Davis will be on the field for one match and in the third umpire's slot for another, while Rauf will be in England until Sunday standing in the ODI series there between the home side and Australia.   South African umpires Brian Jerling and Marais Erasmus, who are both members of the ICCs second-tier International Umpires Panel, will be working as third umpires in two games each in the warm-up matches.  

The twelve-match Group stage, which is to be played between 22-30 September, will see all eight EUP members on the field for three matches each, Bowden, Dar, Harper and Hill also having two games in the television suite, and Davis, Gould, Rauf and Taufel one each.  The three match referees have each been allocated four Group stages matches.

The ICC says that the appointments for the two semi finals on 3-4 October and the final on 5 October "will be announced in due course", a key factor for selections for those games being the ICC's 'neutral' umpires policy.  Harper stood in the final of the 2000 series and Taufel in 2004, while Bowden in 2004 and Crowe, Dar and Taufel in 2006, have all worked in semi final games. 

HOME STATE UMPIRES FOR U23 

COMPETITION OPENERS

[EN490-2541]

Home-state umpires have been appointed to the first three matches of Cricket Australia's Under 23 three-day competition for the 2009-10 season that are to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth from 6-8 October.  The competition has been designed by CA to provide up-and-coming players who are either aged under 23 or are second-tier state players the opportunity to compete at interstate level and is a revamped version of the former four-day Cricket Australia Cup series for state second XIs.

Norm McNamara and Andrew Curren, who are both members of the Queensland State Umpires Panel (SUP) will be on the field when Queensland plays the Australian Capital Territory in Brisbane, one of the new members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), Steve Smasll, being the match referee.

In Adelaide, where South Australia will take on Victoria, South Australian SUP members Andrew Willoughby and Kumar Chandrakumar will be the umpires and another UHPP newcomer, Peter Marshall, the match referee.  Across in Perth UHPP member Ric Evans, will watch locals Paul Wilson and Nathan Johnstone managing the match between the home side and Tasmania.

MCC HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIPS 

FOR HAMPSHIRE, WILLEY

[EN490-2542]

Two former England batsmen, John Hampshire and Peter Willey, who went on to become international umpires, were made Honorary Life Members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Friday.  The pair, along with three other former England players Clare Connor, Darren Gough and Geoff Miller, were chosen for the award in recognition of the service that they have given to cricket over a very long period.

Hampshire stood in 349 first class matches in the period from 1985-2005, twenty-one of them Tests, as well as 364 List A games, twenty of which were One Day Internationals (ODI).  The Tests were played in Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, and the ODIs in England and Sharjah.  

Prior to taking up umpiring he played in 577 first class matches over the twenty-four years from 1961, a figure that includes eight Tests and nine games for Tasmania in the late 1970s.  His List A playing record of 280 matches includes three ODIs.

Willey, who is still active at first class level in England, has to date officiated in 246 first class games since the first in 1992, twenty-five of them Tests, as well as 262 List A matches, thirty-four of them ODIs.  The Tests were played in Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, one being the match at Bellerive Oval between Australia and Pakistan in November 1999, while the ODIs took place in Bangladesh, England, Kenya, the Netherlands and South Africa.

Like Hampshire he too played for England before turning to umpiring, chalking up 559 first class matches, twenty-six of them Tests between 1976-86, and 458 List A games, twenty-six of them ODIs in the period from 1966-91.

MCC President Derek Underwood said in announcing the awards that "John’s playing career was very good and his umpiring was exceptional for a long period while Peter also excelled in the middle as a player and continues to do so as an umpire".  Hampshire said that he is "delighted and honoured to be elected" while for Willey the honour "was totally unexpected but very much appreciated".

The MCC's newest Honorary Life Members join a select group of 300 from around the cricketing world that include Sir Ian Botham, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Sunil Gavaskar, Sir Garfield Sobers, Imran Khan and Andy Flower.  During this year's England-Australia Test at Lord’s, Sir Alec Bedser presented former Australian player Sam Loxton with an MCC tie to mark his acceptance of the award.

E-NEWS NUMBER 491

WEDNESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2009

ICC  SHORT-LISTS FOUR FOR 

'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' AWARD

[EN491-2543]

Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, Tony Hill of New Zealand, and Simon Taufel of Australia, have been short-listed for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Umpire of the Year' trophy for 2009.  The four were originally part of an initial eight-man group of international umpires were nominated for the award by the ICC two weeks ago (E-News 483-2504, 3 September 2009).

The 'Umpire of the Year' award, which Taufel has won in each of the five years since it was inaugurated (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2009), is voted on by international captains and the members of the ICC's match referees panel, who base their assessments on what the ICC describes as the umpires’ "performance statistics".

Of the four who made the final cut yesterday, Dar with twenty-one matches in all three forms of the international game in the voting period between 13 August 2008 and 24 August 2009, was on the field in the most number of matches, seven Tests, eight One Day Internationals and six Twenty20 Internationals (7-8-6).  Taufel was next with eighteen (6-7-5), then came Rauf on fifteen (7-5-3) and Hill eleven (4-3-4).  Hill made the final selection after only five months on the ICC's top level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (E-News 395-2093, 24 March 2009).  

The internationals Dar was involved in were played in Australia, England, India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the West Indies and Zimbabwe.  Taufel's internationals, which included the final of this year's World Twenty20 Championship, took place in Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland and Sri Lanka, Rauf's in England, India, Ireland Pakistan, South Africa and the UAE, while Hill officiated in England, New Zealand, Scotland and the West Indies.

In other awards, four national teams were nominated for the ICC's 'Spirit of Cricket' trophy for 2009, Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.  Australia has never won the award in the time since it was established in 2004, while New Zealand has won it once, and England and the current holders Sri Lanka both twice (E-News 310-1620, 11 September 2008).

The 'Spirit' award is decided by votes cast by all international captains and members of the ICC's EUP and match referees panel.

The winner of both the 'Umpire of the Year' and 'Spirit of Cricket' awards are to be announced at a ceremony in Johannesburg on 1 October.

NZ NAME TEN-MAN DOMESTIC 

'ELITE' PANEL 

[EN491-2544]

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has increased the size of its domestic Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the 2009-10 season as cover for the "likely extensive" international commitments of its two members on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) own EUP, 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill.  Two former first class players who have been part of an umpiring 'fast-track' program have been named to join what is now a ten-man domestic panel, while another member returns after two seasons on NZC's second-tier 'A' panel.

The coming summer across the Tasman summer will be very busy with three separate International visits by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia on top of a full domestic program, plus the Under 19 World Cup tournament in January. 

In addition to Bowden and Hill, the others on NZC's top panel this season are Gary Baxter, Barry Frost, Chris Gaffaney, Evan Gray, Phil Jones, Tim Parlane, Derek Walker and Evan Watkin.  Baxter is currently on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel as an on-field member and Watkin is in the third umpire's slot, an announcement of a replacement on it for Hill, who was promoted by the ICC in March (E-News 395-2093, 24 March 2009), still being awaited.

Gaffaney and Gray have both been part of a program over the last few years whose aim is to encourage former players to take up umpiring, while Parlane is back after being dropped to the 'A' panel two years ago. 

Gray played 162 first class matches, ten of them Tests, and sixty-nine List A games, ten of the latter being One Day Internationals (ODI), in the period from 1975-92.  Gaffaney, who stood in the final of the NZ domestic competition in April in what was only his seventh first class match as an umpire (E-News 403-2139, 7 April 2009), played in eighty-three  games at that level as well as 113 List A matches over a thirteen year period that ended in 2007.  Walker is the only other member of the panel to have played first class cricket, representing Otago in forty matches from 1980-88.   

At thirty-three, Gaffaney represents the new generation in top-level umpiring circles in New Zealand, Bowden being the second-youngest at forty-six, then comes Jones and Walker forty-nine, Frost and Parlane fifty-one, Gray fifty-four, Baxter fifty-seven, and Hill and Watkin fifty-eight.  In addition to Bowden and Hill, Baxter has umpired overseas with the ICC, and Frost and Jones in South Africa as part of an exchange program with Cricket South Africa in 2005 and 2008 respectively.  

Rodger McHarg, NZC's National Umpire Manager, who umpired in fifty-three first class matches from 1978-92, three of them Tests, told E-News that where their international committments allow, Bowden and Hill, have agreed "to make best use of their time and experience when they are available" in NZ.  

The plan is for them to work as "observers, mentors, coaches and promoters" in umpiring around the country.  McHarg hopes that "this investment will have far reaching benefits for our umpiring numbers and standards in the ever challenging umpiring world". 

NZC's 'A' panel for 2009-10 is also made up of ten members, they being Phil Agent, Jeremy Busby, Mark

Elliott, Wayne Knights, Peter Gasston, Mike George, Kevin Manley, Dave Paterson, David Quested and David Reid.  Agent, Elliott and Reid have been promoted from NZC's Regional-Emerging Panel (REP). 

Quested, sixty-three, who was on the domestic EUP last season, has accepted the key role of 'mentor-coach' among both the A and REP groups, and McHarg says that his "long and extensive experience at international first class levels" will be invaluable in that work.

During his higher-level career Quested stood in 111 first class games, five of them Tests, from 1990-2009, including two NZ domestic finals, and was also on the field in 129 List A games, thirty-one of them ODIs.  He is currently standing in the ICC's East-Asia Pacific series in Samoa (E-News 488-2533, 12 September 2009). 

LANKAN UMPIRES 'INTERVIEWED' 

BY 'IPL AGENT', SAYS REPORT

[EN491-2545]

Four senior Sri Lankan umpires were interviewed by an "agent" of the "cash-rich" Indian Premier League (IPL) recently, according to an article published in yesterday's 'Daily Mirror' in Colombo.  Journalist Channaka de Silva does not say just why the quartet were approached, although the clear implication in the story is that the IPL is looking for umpires for its competition next year.

The 'Mirror' names the umpires involved as Gamini Dissnayake, Sagara Gallage, Deepal Gunawardena and Sena Nandiweera, all whom of whom were amongst those believed to have been considered by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for nomination to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) this year. They were said to have been interviewed by "IPL’s agent Jude de Valliere" who is former head of sports at a Colombo television station but is now said to be based in India working for an advertising company.  

Just why the IPL would make an approach to Sri Lankan umpires is far from clear.  Over its first two series the league has used senior international umpires from many countries who are members of the ICC's top-level 'Elite' and IUP groups, including Sri Lankans Kumur Dharmasena and Tyrone Wijewardene, plus members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's first class panel for on-field and third umpire duties.  

Apart from that fourth umpire positions in IPL games were filled by Indian umpires in India in 2008 (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008), and South African officials in South Africa this year (E-News 429-2256, 25 May 2009).    .

Meanwhile, the 'Mirror' says that the special two-member committee appointed to inquire the conduct of SLC's Umpires Committee officials Ken de Alwis and Sudharman de Silva had wanted to complete its investigation in one hearing last Thursday, however, only eight of the fifteen umpires involved had been present at the hearing. The remaining seven officials are to present their evidence to the hearing next Saturday. 

That inquiry into the Umpires Committee, which is said to "ordered" by Sri Lanka's Sports Minister three months ago, appears to be separate to the investigation the Minister requested on SLC's nominees to the IUP this year which was to have been handed to his department ten days ago (E-News 485-2518, 7 September 2009). 

PCA CRITICISES ECB FOR DROPPING 

FIFTY-OVER CRICKET

[EN491-2546]

First class cricketers in England are "overwhelmingly unhappy" at the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to scrap its county-level fifty-over competition from next season, according to a poll conducted by the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA).  Their survey found that eight-three per cent of those questioned felt the fifty-over format should be retained domestically for as long as it remains the accepted format for One Day International cricket.

The PCA said in a statement that "of particular concern is the dismissal of player views, and the recommendations of the ECB Cricket Committee, that a fifty-over competition be retained".  The Association called for the formation of a 'Professional Game Board' (PGB) as an offshoot from the ECB to "restore confidence amongst all stakeholders" in the governance of the domestic game.  

PCA chairman Vikram Solanki said that too many decisions had been taken with commercial rather than sporting considerations foremost in mind.  Worcestershire batsman Solanki said that "it is obvious that the demands of trying to govern the whole gamut of our sport from the England team down to the grass roots operation is too much for the current structure and personnel".

Until the PGB is formed "the PCA encourages the ECB to consult more widely and in good time and with an open mind about the vital issues facing our game and to swing the balance back towards cricket, rather than taking a purely commercial approach to every decision".

E-NEWS NUMBER 492

FRIDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2009

TERRORIST VICTIM 'EYEING' 

RETURN TO INTERNATIONALS

[EN492-2547]

Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza, who was critically injured when terrorists attacked a match convoy in Lahore in March (E-News 3980-2021, 4 March 2009), is said to be "eyeing" a comeback to international cricket in the television suite in Pakistan's "home" One Day International and Twenty20 series against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates next month.  Raza's has endured a slow recovery from his injuries over the last six months (E-News 391-2077, 19 March 2009).

 

Speaking to the cricdb.com web site by telephone from his Lahore residence on Wednesday, Raza said that "nearly six months after my near brush with death, I have recuperated and my doctors have declared me fit to umpire in a match".  "The medical fitness certificate has been forwarded to the International Cricket Council (ICC) via the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)", said Raza.

Raza, who during his recuperation lost his younger sister to cancer, is said to be hoping to get "some of the compensation which the ICC announced for the Lahore Test victims in London few weeks ago".  Little publicity appears to have been given to that move by the ICC.  

Reports in March stated that Raza, thirty-five, was to have all his medical costs covered by the PCB and that in addition the Board had awarded him a lump sum of 100,000 Rupees ($A1,800) in compensation, plus 25,000 Rupees ($A450) each month over a twelve-month period (E-News 398-2119, 30 March 2009).  In addition, ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Aleem Dar paid 100,000 Rupees ($A1,400) to Raza's wife to assist the family during her husband's recuperation, says the cricdb.com report.  

The web site quotes Raza as saying that Dar has also been giving 5,000 Rupees ($A70) a month to the family of Mohammad Zafar, the driver of the match official's minibus, who lost his life in the March attack.  Raza said that Dar plans to continue to support Zafar's family in that manner "as long as he remains on [the EUP]".

SIX PLAYERS BANNED FOR DISSENT, 

BALL TAMPERING

[EN492-2548]

Six players have been banned "indefinitely" by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from playing in future tournaments at the Karachi Gymkhana ground after they were reported by umpires for "verbal abuse, suspected ball tampering and defying decisions" during a Ramadan festival Twenty20 tournament on Tuesday.  

Sohail Tanvir, Ahmed Shahzed, Sohail Khan and Javed Qadeer, who have all played for the Pakistani national side, plus Tanveer Ahmed and Nadeem Sheikh, are the six said to have been banned by PCB. 

Umpires Riazuddin, who has stood in twelve Tests and 218 first class games overall to date, and Junaid Ghafoor another first class official, are said to have indicated that they were forced to report the players to the tournament's organisers "after things got out of hand in the match".  

Riazuddin was quoted as saying that "the players were misbehaving a lot, using abusive language, and some of them were spotted trying to scuff the ball". 

ACO PREPARES FOR INAUGURAL 

CONFERENCE, AGM

[EN492-2549]

The England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has scheduled its inaugural conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Lord's on 17 October.  The gathering is the first of its kind since the ACO was established in January last year (E-News 177-952, 15 January 2008).

The AGM, which will be held at the start of the day, is to cover reports from Chairman Roger Knight, the ACO's Senior Executive and on financial matters, while the result of the membership ballot on the organisations Constitution will also be discussed.

The conference section of the day's agenda is four hours long, a period in which a number of workshops for both umpires and scorers are to be presented, although the ACO's web site says that all attending will take part together in a session titled "You versus Hawkeye".

Umpiring workshops include Jeff Evans and Ismail Dawood talking about the 'Journey to the First-Class Game', Steve O'Shaughnessy and Michael Gough about 'Selling your Decisions', and Neil Bainton and Martin Bodenham on "Match and Player Management".  Scorers will hear presentations on 'The Lord's Scorebox' by Andy Scarlett and 'The Bill Frindall Legacy' by Malcolm Ashton, while John Brown's subject is "Duckworth-Lewis Unwrapped".  

BATSMAN-FIELDER FRACAS 

LEADS TO DISCIPLINARY HEARING

[EN492-2550]

A batsman and the fielder he is said to have thrown punches at after he was dismissed in a Cherwell League match in Oxfordshire earlier this month have both been summoned to appear at a disciplinary hearing to answer charges.  The incident occurred just a few weeks after two players in another match in Oxfordshire engaged in a mid-pitch brawl that saw them both banned by the Home Counties League and their clubs docked league championship points (E-News 488-2532, 12 September 2009).

Kingston Bagpuize captain Dave Pearce told the 'Oxford Mail' in mid-week that Wolverton batsman Hakim Khan threw punches at fielder Robert Keates after "strong remarks" were exchanged when he was dismissed during a match on 5 September.  The skipper is quoted as saying that "there was some banter which turned nasty when Khan was out [and] he came in flailing at Keates, who put his hands up in self-defence".  

Pearce continued by saying that “our players had to restrain the batsman from punching Keates", but "he then went at Keates a second time".  "It was only when one of our players, who is a policeman, got hold of him that he calmed down, [and] he was then ushered off by his own side", play resuming "after about five minutes in a very subdued atmosphere".  

The Kingston Bagpuize captain said that “it’s the worst incident I’ve seen on a cricket field in twenty-six or twenty-seven years of playing [and] if I had been able to, I would have called the game off there and then".  “It’s now our feeling that we don’t want [Khan] to appear at our ground when we play them next season", he said.

Wolverton captain Andy Gosling, said that while he doesn't "condone what our batsman did, it was all started by the verbal abuse he received from the Kingston players".  Despite that Wolverton plans to take "disciplinary action against [Khan], once we have all the reports in", although he went on to describe the report by umpires Alison Smith and Rhys Hedges, which he had seen, as “totally inaccurate” as "no punches were actually landed” on Keates.

BENDIGO ASSOCIATION LOOKING 

FOR UMPIRES

[EN492-2551]

The Bendigo District Cricket Umpires Association (BDCUA) in Victoria is in "desperate need" of more umpires for the forthcoming season, says a story in Wednesday's 'Bendigo Advertiser'.  BDCUA president Gary Piggott said the association needs to sign at least six new umpires before the season starts in two weeks time, but "unfortunately, umpires are an ageing race".  

Piggott said that the Association has "lost a few [of those who umpired last year] to retirement, so there is the possibility that some games won’t have umpires".  ”We’d love to see some retired players put something back into the game and join our ranks", said Piggott, or "younger people out there who love their cricket, but mightn’t have the ability to play, to join up".  ”It’s great way to be involved in cricket", he said.

E-NEWS NUMBER 493

TUESDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2009

ANNUAL TEST CHAMPIONSHIP 

'KNOCK-OUT' CONCEPT FLOATED

[EN493-2552]

Former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe has developed a 'knock-out' Test championship system that would be played by the top eight ranked sides each year with a 'grand final' at Lord's, says a story published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) yesterday.  Crowe, a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC), is to present the concept to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai in November, a meeting that has been planned for some time (E-News 470-2439, 7 August 2009). 

The WCC said after its annual meeting last July that "except for certain icon series, such as the Ashes, Test cricket throughout the world, and in particular the lower-ranked nations, is in very real danger of dying".  WCC Chairman, Tony Lewis, told the BBC World Service at the time that his committee was "looking at two potential formats [for a world championship]", one of which was a knock-out series involving the top eight Test teams (E-News 457-2376, 16 July 2009).  Details of the second format mentioned have not yet been released.   

Crowe echoed the WCC's concerns to the 'SMH' this week by saying that "if we don't do something [about Test cricket] soon then the bottom teams in particular will wilt away and the bottom will fall out of the pinnacle format of the game".  "Test cricket needs a meaning and a new motivation among all these other shorter version comps that are scheduled every year [therefore] it needs a Test champion, annually", he said. 

SMH journalist Jamie Pandaram said that "there are some obvious issues that will hamper the committee's proposal", including the ICC's Future Tours Program (FTP) which has a four-year outlook, however, in his assessment the most difficult matter will be to convince national Boards to share broadcast revenue during the finals.  

Pandaram makes the comment that "India and England oppose the Test championship idea because it would mean splitting the profits of their [respective] extremely lucrative television deals".  The MCC is said to believe that with crowds at Tests steadily declining all over the world the good of the game must be put ahead of national interests.

Cricket Australia's general manager for public affairs Peter Young told ABC Radio in July that the Test Championship concept is not workable in the short to medium-term as attempts by "a Chicago-based business consultancy" to try and develop a suitable model for it "proved too difficult".  He said that the work involved in scheduling international cricket "is a bit like playing three-dimensional chess". 

WCC chairman Tony Lewis, a former England player, was quoted by the 'SMH' as saying that ''we're quite happy for [Crowe's] proposal to get knocked down by a better idea", but "something needs to be done" and "as long as the ICC bring cricket sense to political bias, then things should be possible".

Pandaram also says the 'knock-out' Test series would "eventually involve day-night matches", as in his words "day-night Tests are close to fruition, with researchers developing a ball injected with pink dye".  According to him "tests of the balls have had positive results, ensuring the colour does not fade away quickly", although conflicting public utterances by various senior cricket officials over the past year make the accuracy of such a statement, and the near-term possibility of day-night Tests, difficult to assess (E-News 488-2531, 12 September 2009). 

WICB IGNORING PLAYER DISCIPLINE 

ISSUES, SAYS  COZIER 

[EN493-2553]

The failure of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to discipline players involved in match incidents over the last few years has contributed to the current dispute between it and its first-ranked 'national' team members, according to veteran Windies writer and commentator Tony Cozier.  In an article posted on the Cricinfo web site yesterday, Cozier gives three examples of poor on-field behaviour that he says the WICB is yet to take action on. 

Nothing was done he says when the approach of both sides in the 2007 first class final between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados "was so bad" that Deryck Murray, the Test wicketkeeper of an earlier generation and president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, called it "unacceptable", and pressed both the WICB and the West Indies Players Association to do something about it.  

In March this year Barbados were reported by umpires Basheer Ali and Vernon Weekes for deliberate time-wasting in their match against Trinidad, the side only bowling twelve overs in ninety-nine minutes as their opponents attempted to win the match outright (E-News 386-2053, 12 March 2009).  "The WICB promised action", writes Cozier, but as he predicted six months ago, "none has been forthcoming" (E-News 388-2062, 15 March 2009).

The third example given by Cozier was when Jamaica captain Chris Gayle, who normally fills that role in the West Indian side, criticised the umpires after his team's loss to Barbados in Bridgetown last April.  That says Cozier is violation of the WICB's code of conduct, but he faced no sanction, "even after complaints from the West Indies Cricket Umpires' Association". 

Cozier finishes with a quote made last decade by Clarvis Joseph, then president of the Leewards Islands Association, that "a lot of things have gone under the wash in West Indies cricket in relation to player behaviour and the players' responses to situations".  "A change", says Cozier, "is overdue".

LIGHTNING VICTIM 'TALKING', 

BUT YET TO WALK

[EN493-2554]

A player who was struck by lightning during a match being played in New York in late July is said to be slowly starting to talk although his speech is at times "more like mumbling", says a report posted on the 'Dream Cricket' web site on Sunday (E-News 464-2410, 29 July 2009).  Patrick Gibson, forty-one, is now off the critical list and out of intensive care but is currently waiting for a decision by medical experts on just when he can begin mental and physical therapy (E-News 487-2526, 10 September 2009).

Gibson's girlfriend Cleopatra Richards told the web site that he "is getting better and that is great" although "as yet he still can’t walk".  She said that teammates and friends had been visiting him in hospital in the two months since the strike occurred and that the Brooklyn Cricket League and others have organised fundraisers and set up an Appeal Fund in order to assist with what is a very large medical bill.  Gibson, an unemployed electrician who is from Saint Vincent in the Caribbean, is unable to personally cover the costs involved in his treatment. 

BATSMAN RECALLED AFTER 

LBW DECISION

[EN493-2555]

Middlesex opening batsman Dan Housego had a 'life' in the county championship match against Derbyshire at Uxbridge last Wednesday when long-serving international player and umpire Peter Willey recalled him after originally raising his finger to a shout for LBW.  

No details are available as to why Willey, who was standing in his 247th first class match, changed his mind and asked the batsman to return.  Housego didn't last much longer though, being given out LBW at the other end in the sixth over by Willey's colleague Tim Robinson, another former England player and now umpire, who was officiating at first class level for the fifty-seventh time.

RETIRING SAGGERS AIMING AT 

UMPIRING CAREEER

[EN493-2556]

Former Kent and England bowler Martin Saggers has decided to retire from first class cricket and hopes to pursue a career as an umpire, says a story published on the 'KentNews' web site yesterday.  A knee injury suffered last month caused the thirty-seven year-old to call 'time' on a 119 first class game playing career that spans thirteen years and includes three Tests.

Saggers, who is enjoying a benefit year at Kent this season, said that he will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Kent players Mark Benson and Nigel Llong who currently umpire internationally.  “I want to stay in the game and hopefully I will be good enough to umpire at the top", he said, and he has "taken the necessary qualifications and I’ve stood in a few games this year and I’m hopeful I will get a few more next season".  It would appear that Saggers was appointed to umpire at Kent League level during the current northern summer.  

The majority of umpires on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) county-level lists are former county players, although the ECB has this year promoted the development of a clear "umpire-pathway" from local to first class level.  ECB Umpires' Manager Chris Kelly wrote in the Association of Cricket Officials' March 2009 newsletter that all umpires will "enjoy the same conditions and opportunities" and that "for the first time" individuals will be able to "officiate at any level" provided they have the "ability and desire" (E-News 398-2111, 28 March 2009). 

E-NEWS NUMBER 494

WEDNESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2009

LONG-SERVING, FORMER TASMANIAN 

FIRST CLASS UMPIRE, DIES

[EN494-2557]

Lance Cox, a Tasmanian who umpired at first class level in the 1970s and was a long-serving member and President of the North West Tasmania Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NWTCUSA), died on Sunday and is to be buried in Wynyard tomorrow afternoon.  Cox, who was seventy-nine at the time of his death, was involved in umpiring for over sixty years, his first major experience being way back in January 1949 when aged just twenty he stood in the First Test of the series between the Australian and England women's sides at the Adelaide Oval.

Born in New South Wales, Cox moved to Hobart in the early 1970s with the Army and subsequently stood with the TCUSA in Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Grade competitions over a number of years, his games including both the 1973 and 1976 TCA First Grade Grand Finals.  

After leaving the Service he moved to the north-west coast and in 1974 was a co-founder of the NWTCUSA, going on in the thirty-five years since to serve it as its President, Secretary and umpires advisor and coach.  While the records are not readily available he stood in many senior Cricket North West (CNW) Grand Finals, and his overall umpiring record is believed to have been close to 600 matches, a target he said recently he was still aiming for before he eventually retired from on-field action.

   

Cox made his debut in first class cricket at the TCA Ground in December 1972 when Tasmania played the touring Pakistani side, and over the next seven years went on to stand in four other such games at that level.  Of those matches two were contests in the Sheffield Shield while the others involved two separate West Indian teams.  He was also appointed to a two-day match involving the New Zealand tourists in that time.  

Players he saw up close included West Indians Colin Croft, Lance Gibbs, Alvin Kallicharran, Clive Lloyd, Derek Murray, Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards and Andy Roberts, Pakistanis Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal and Mushtaq Mohammad, New Zealanders Richard Hadlee and Lance Cairns, and Tasmanians John Hampshire, Jack Simmons and Roger Wooley.  

During the 1970s Cox also stood in three interstate domestic one-day matches at the TCA Ground in Hobart involving Tasmania and visitors New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, sides that included the likes of Alan Border, Greg Chappell, Rodney Hogg, Len Pascoe, Steve Rixon and Doug Walters.  There were also three interstate 'colts' matches, one involving a youngster named Merv Hughes, plus a number of games played between representative sides from Tasmania's three cricketing regions.  

TCUSA umpiring member Brian Muir, who started his umpiring career under Cox in Devonport, yesterday described Cox as a hard task-master who expected high standards, but that he was personally "very proud" and supportive of the umpires he trained over the decade.  The NWTCUSA President had, he said, a reputation of standing up for and assisting his umpiring colleagues, even when it involved difficulties they were experiencing outside and un-related to cricket, in a fashion that related to his service role as a Regimental Sargent Major in the Army.  

Current CNW Umpires Advisor David Hudson told E-News yesterday that Cox's dedication to umpiring was "extraordinary" for he was "totally committed" to the art.  The NWTCUSA's late President was a winner of CNW's award of merit for his services to the game in the region, and such was his long-time contribution to cricket that CNW last year named its prestigious honour the 'Lance Cox Merit Award'.  Down south the TCA itself made him an Honorary Member for services to the game.

Hudson said that prior to his death Cox asked that an umpire be one his pall bearers and Neville Plapp is to represent the Association in that role on Thursday.  In addition Cox's wife Val has requested that umpires and scorers form a guard of honour as the cortege leaves the Wynyard Baptist Church.

AUSSIE, SOUTH AFRICAN UMPIRES FOR 

WORLD INDOOR TOURNAMENT

[EN494-2558]

Eight umpires, six from Australia and two from South Africa, have been named to stand in matches in the Indoor Cricket World Cup (ICWC)  tournament which is be played in Brisbane from 11-17 October.  Eight nations will be represented in this year's event with teams from Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Wales taking part in both men's and women's senior and 'nineteen and under' divisions as well as the new 'sixteen and under' competition for boys.

The seven Australians involved in managing 'on-field' activities are the tournament director David Shepley and his umpiring colleagues from Queensland, Mick Guest, Gaylene Oppermann and Warren Sowter, South Australian Andrew Summerton and Victorian Jason Rhodes, while the South Africans are Errol McLean and Jacques Westerberg.  

Scott Tooley, Cricket Australia's Administrative Officer for Indoor Cricket, told E-News yesterday that the Australian officials had been chosen for next month's series as a result of their performances in national tournaments played around the country over the past year, while McLean and Westerberg had been nominated from South Africa.  Tooley said that New Zealand had originally hoped to provide an umpire but that it had not been possible for them to do so.

Since the inception of the ICWC in 1995, which was originally an open men’s event, Australia has never lost a World Cup in any division.  At the last event in England in 2007 Australia took out the title in all four divisions, playing against South Africa in every final.  Australia last hosted the cup in October 1998 at the Glass House in Melbourne.

HARPER TO STAND IN FIRST 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SERIES

[EN494-2559]

Daryl Harper, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel, is to stand in next month's Champions League Twenty20 series in India, according to the latest entry posted on his personal web site.  The names of the other match officials who have been contracted for the competition by its organisers have not yet been made public, however, it seems likely that senior ICC umpires and match referees will be engaged for the event. 

Twelve domestic teams from seven nations are to take part in the inaugural fifteen-match Champions League series over sixteen days commencing on 8 October, all the games being played at grounds in Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad, the latter being where Harper says he will be stationed.  On eight of the playing days single-stadium 'double-headers' are planned, the logistics suggesting that less than a dozen umpires and only three match referees will be needed for the tournament.

At the moment though Harper is standing in the Champions Trophy fifty-over series in South Africa and is scheduled to umpire what will be its second game between Pakistan and the West Indies tonight.  His on-field partner for that match will be his countryman Steve Davis, while the third umpire will be another Aussie, Simon Taufel, with Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden the fourth official and Javagal Srinath of India the match referee.

The Champions Trophy final is scheduled for the afternoon and evening of 5 October, two days prior to the first Champions League match getting underway.

E-NEWS NUMBER 495

THURSDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2009

ENGLAND, INDIA, 'BLOCKING' TEST 

CHAMPIONSHIP PROPOSAL, SAYS LORGAT

[EN495-2560]

England and India are the only countries blocking a proposed World Test Championship (WTC) series, according to quotes attributed to International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Haroon Lorgat in an article published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Tuesday.  However, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO David Collier told the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday that his Board was not opposed to the concept itself but rather the format that is being proposed.

The 'Telegraph' says that "various models have been put forward in the past and the current format [under consideration] would result in countries playing each other over a four-cycle, with the highest-placed teams competing for the championship in a one-off final".  That approach, which is described as the "original plan", is different to the 'knock out' system that media reports on Monday say the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) is to present to the ICC at a meeting in Dubai in November (E-News 493-2552, 22 September 2009).  Yesterday's 'Cricinfo' article suggests that the ECB supports that type of approach.

A four-year qualification process contains "some stumbling blocks" says the 'Telegraph' report, the key concern being the change in strength of teams over such a long period of time.  The newspaper says that "no one would quibble with the fact England and Australia were the two best Test teams during the epic 2005 Ashes summer but neither could be classed in that bracket now". That may be why the WCC's 'knock out' format is now on the table for consideration, although such a move "would be problematic for leading nations such as England" claims the newspaper, a statement that appears counter to Collier's comments.

Such a shortened approach may have impacts for the ECB "in terms of revenue" says the 'Telegraph' and would run the risk of "money-spinning series against Australia, South Africa and India being shortened to accommodate matches against lesser draws such as Bangladesh, New Zealand and West Indies".  While there is global concern for the state of the Test game, it is still thriving in England, where a day's play against top-class opposition is seldom watched by anything other than a full house and ECB sponsorship and television income is also based on such "big campaigns".

Lorgat told 'The Guardian' newspaper that he "would like to convince people" that the way to ensure Test cricket survives is through a championship model, but that India and England "do not see the argument".  "The MCC seem to have come out in favour but when I met the ECB recently it was the wrong time to tackle them in detail [as] they were too high on the Ashes".  

A senior Cricket Australia official said publicly two months ago that a WTC concept is not workable in the short to medium-term as attempts by "a Chicago-based business consultancy" to try and develop a suitable model for it "proved too difficult", the work involved in scheduling international cricket being described as "a bit like playing three-dimensional chess" (E-News 457-2376, 16 July 2009).  

The ICC's Lorgat CEO said that he doesn't understand the thinking of England and India as a "four-year cycle for the championship, which protects icon series like the Ashes, was very doable".  The ICC's Future Tours Program currently runs to May 2012 and "I would really like to see the [WTC] included from there on", said Lorgat.

TASSY UMPIRES NAMED 

FOR U23 MATCH

[EN495-2561]

TCUSA umpiring members Nick McGann and Sam Nogajski are to stand in the second round of Cricket Australia's (CA) Under 23 three-day competition from 27-29 October in the match between Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory at Bellerive.  The competition has been designed by CA to provide up-and-coming players who are either aged under 23 or are second-tier state players, the opportunity to compete at interstate level and is a revamped version of the former four-day Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) series for state second XIs (E-News 490-2541, 14 September 2009).

CA yesterday also named New South Wales umpires Michael Kumutat and Peter Tate for the U23 series game at Blacktown between the home state and South Australia over the same three days next month, and Victorians Ash Barrow and Phil Proctor for the parallel game involving Victoria and Queensland at the St Kilda Cricket Ground.  CA's Umpire High Performance Manager at the Bellerive match will be Steve Small, in Blacktown Ric Evans and in Melbourne David Levens.

Next month's game will be McGann's third in the CAC-U23 series and Nogajski's second.  Meanwhile, McGann stood with National Umpires Panel member Tony Ward in the opening one-day game of the 'Festival of Cricket series' in Lismore on Tuesday (E-News 468-2428, 5 August 2009).  That fifty-over match was between the New South Wales and Victorian first team squads.  

McGann's Tasmanian colleague Steven John is also in Lismore and may have stood in yesterday's one-day game between NSW and Tasmania, however, it was not possible to confirm that by the time E-News was published this morning.  

DHARMASENA FOR CHAMPIONS 

LEAGUE SERIES

[EN495-2562]

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena is to take part in the Champions League Twenty20 series in India next month, says the ESPNStar.com web site.  Journalist Bipin Dani quotes Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources as saying that Dharmasena will be the only Sri Lankan umpire working in the event, the only other match official involved who has been identified publicly to date being Australian Daryl Harper (E-News 494-2559, 22 September 2009).  

Dharmasena, thirty-nine, was recently reappointed as a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) by Sri Lanka Cricket, although that move has not pleased some in the island nation (E-News 485-2518, 7 September 2009).  Next month's visit to India will be his first as an umpire, although he was there several times as a Test and One Day International player.  

During his playing career Dharmasena gained both Level I and II coaching certificates in England before former Sri Lankan Test umpires Kandiah Francis and Peter Manuel encouraged him to take up umpiring.  Since his initial appointment to the IUP fourteen months ago (E-News 279-1487, 18 July 2008). the ICC has appointed him to a second-tier One Day International series in South Africa in April and the BCCI also employed him for its second Indian Premier League Twenty20 series there in May (E-News 429-2256, 25 May 2009).

COUNTY PLAYER REPRIMANDED 

FOR DISSENT

[EN495-2563]

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has disciplined Glamorgan batsman Ben Wright for showing dissent at an umpiring decision in the forty-over one-day match between his side and Lancashire in Cardiff last week.  Wright was reported by umpires David Millns and George Sharp and has been given a reprimand by the ECB which will remain on his record for a period of two years.  Any further similar beaches during that period will result in him automatically receiving a three penalty point censure.

E-NEWS NUMBER 496

SATURDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

NTCA LOOSES UMPIRING 

STALWART

[EN496-2564]

Colin Nichols, a long-serving member of the Northern Tasmania Cricket Umpires Association (NTCUA), passed away in Launceston on Monday after a seven-year battle with Leukaemia.  Nichols commenced umpiring with the NTCUA in 1994 and remained an active member right up until his death, attending an Association meeting just three days before he died.

Paul Clark, the Administrator of the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) and a former first class umpire who is still active out on the field (E-News 400-2124, 31 March 2009), told E-News yesterday that "while Col never aspired to be a Test umpire" he was "always there week-in-week-out doing second, third Grade and any school cricket that needed umpiring".  "People like Col form the backbone of any Association but they are rare and hard to find", he said.

Nichols was member of the NTCUA's executive committee for five seasons and on the northern umpire selection panel for three, and as "nice a chap he was" he "always had something to say" and "made sure he said it", said Clark.  The NTCA Administrator said that "Col was aware that the Leukaemia he had endured would always win out in the end but he never a complained and always said he was "fine" when asked about his health.  Never one to see a game go ahead without an umpire he turned out "no matter how poorly he felt" if umpire numbers were short.

Together with his good mate the late Ted Richardson, Nichols loved to umpire Independent School games, but Clark says that it was never clear "whether it was helping out the kids that Col enjoyed or the famous lunches put on by the parents" that attracted him to the game.

Outside cricket Nichols was a member of two choirs and he and his fellow choristers would go around all the nursing homes in Launceston on a regular basis to bring song and merriment to the residents.

Clark says that his umpiring colleague will be missed and that he has no doubt that he, along with Richardson and Lance Cox, who died in Wynyard the day before Nichols (E-News 494-2557, 23 September 2009), will now be "organising the umpires in the sky in order to keep their love of the game going".

Nichols, who was seventy-one at the time of his death, is to be buried in Launceston on Monday.

E-NEWS NUMBER 497

MONDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

SENIOR NUP MEMBER, CA 'EDUCATOR' 

FOR TCUSA SEMINAR

[EN497-2565]

A senior member of Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) and the national body's 'Umpire Educator' will provide thought-provoking presentations at the TCUSA's Annual Seminar at Bellerive Oval next weekend, according to reports received from similar pre-season meetings they have spoken to in other states over the last month.  The pair are to work with a range of local presenters in a program the Tasmanian State Director of Umpires Richard Widows says has been designed to aid umpires and scorers from the Association to focus on the key issues they need to be working on as they prepare for the season ahead.

Western Australian NUP member Ian Lock has taken part in TCUSA meetings during some of his four visits to Hobart over the last seven years for first class and one-day games, while Denis Burns, CA's 'Umpire Educator' will be making his first visit to the state since his taking up that role in mid-January (E-News 357-1901, 5 December 2008).  In addition to their presentations on umpiring to groups around Australia, the pair have also recently played key roles in umpire educational seminars and training programs conducted in various parts of Asia.

Lock, who will start his seventh season on the NUP next month, made his debut at first class level in March 2001 and has since gone on to stand in fifty-six such games, forty-eight of them in the Sheffield Shield competition or its commercially-named equivalent. He has also officiated in thirty-four List A matches, twenty-six of which were domestic one-dayers, including the final of last season's interstate competition, plus six Twenty20 games, five of them interstate fixtures.

A physical education teacher at a school in Perth, fifty-year-old Lock's match appointment record over the last few seasons suggests he is probably ranked fourth on the NUP by CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, just outside the three Australians on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Rod Tucker, Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel.

Burns, who has umpired at lower-levels in England, has a professional background in education and information technology.  Over the last two decades he has lectured in those fields in schools, further and adult education colleges, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and at the University of Cumbria.  

During that time he worked with a range of businesses on the development and use of business presentation software and was a key figure behind the high-quality umpire educational material that the International Institute of Cricket Umpires released two years ago (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).  TCUSA members will see some of that material first-hand next weekend.

 

Before taking up his position in Melbourne with CA in January, Burns lectured to umpires, scorers and players on the Laws of Cricket in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Greece, Nepal, Norway and Switzerland, and since January in Bangladesh and India as part of multi-year contracts CA's Global Development Program (GDP) arm has with cricket authorities in those two nations.  Under arrangements announced by CA last year, Burns' time is supposed to be split between overseas and domestic roles, with sixty per cent allocated to the GDP and forty per cent to similar work in Australia (E-News 357-1901, 5 December 2009).   

Umpires and scorers from the north-west, north and south of the state will be taking part in next weekend's gathering, which is being held the week before matches in the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association's 2009-10 season are scheduled to get underway in Launceston, and two weeks before the first games in both the Tasmanian Cricket Association in the south and Cricket North West competitions are currently due to start (E-News 469-2433, 6 August 2009).   

Details of presentations Burns, Lock and TCUSA members will provide next weekend at Bellerive will be provided in E-News later this week.  

KIWI FINED FOR 'EQUIPMENT ABUSE'

[EN497-2566]

New Zealand’s Jesse Ryder has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct during his team’s Champions Trophy One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg yesterday.  Ryder pleaded guilty to a charge which relates to the “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings”.

 

The incident Ryder was fined for took place after he was out caught behind for seventy-four when he struck and broke a chair with his bat as he was approaching his side's dressing room.  Match referee Javagal Srinath of Indian said in an ICC statement that that "sort of behaviour is entirely inappropriate for any player".

 

Srinath went on to say that "it is understandable that Jesse felt disappointment following his dismissal, especially given the fact that he had sustained an injury during his innings and knew he would probably be out of action for a considerable time as a result".  “But he must maintain a certain level of self-control and clearly [his] actions went beyond what would be deemed acceptable", continued the match referee. 

Ryder apologised at the disciplinary hearing after the match for his actions and as it was his first offence "as far as the ICC Code of Conduct is concerned", Srinath decided to set the fine he imposed "at the lower end of the scale".  All Level 1 breaches, which Ryder's offence falls into, carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of fifty per cent of a player’s match fee. 

The ICC says that the charge against the Kiwi was brought by the third and fourth umpires for the match, Simon Taufel of Australia and Aleem Dar of Pakistan.  Both were present at the post-match hearing together with on-field umpires Daryl Harper of Australia and Ian Gould of England, New Zealand coach Andy Moles and the player himself.

ENGLAND, LANKANS CENSURED FOR 

SLOW ODI OVER-RATES

[EN497-2567]

The England and Sri Lanka teams have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rates during their respective Champions Trophy One Day Internationals (ODI) against South Africa and New Zealand yesterday.  Match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka ruled that England was one over short of the required rate, while his counterpart in the other game, Javagal Srinath of India, said that Sri Lanka was two overs short of its target.

 

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

 

The ICC decided last June to double the fines for slow over-rates, however, no announcement has yet been made as to when the new arrangement will come into force (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).  Since that decision Pakistan in a Test, the West Indies twice in the shorter forms of the game, England twice in a Test and now it and Sri Lanka in a ODI, have been fined for slow over-rates (E-News 473-2454, 13 August 2009).

After the match Srinath also had to contend with a disciplinary offence committed by New Zealand player Jessie Ryder (E-News 497-2566 above),

QUEENSLAND UMPS TO SEE CHAMPIONS 

LEAGUE SIDE 'UP CLOSE'

[EN497-2568]

Six Queensland umpires will be able to watch one of the sides who are to play in next month's Champions League series in India up-close this week when they stand in the three Twenty20 practice matches New Zealand T20 champion Otago are to play in the Brisbane area this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  The South Island team are to play a side from the Queensland Academy (QA) on the first two days before taking on the South Australian senior squad on the third, after which they will fly out to India and two more warm-up games ahead of the League's start on Thursday week.

Queenslanders Allan Dore and Dan Bull will manage tomorrow's QA-Otago game, Iain Wyeth and Norm McNamara the repeat on Wednesday, and Jay Kangur and Mark Pius when the South Australians are their opponents on Thursday.

In a separate series, today sees the start of a week-long series of seven matches in the Brisbane region involving the Queensland, Tasmanian and South Australian first team squads.  Three fifty-over one-day, three Twenty20 and a single one-day ninety-six over match have been scheduled between today and Sunday, TCUSA umpiring member Steven John standing in six of them, Queenslander Ken Otte in five, and his local colleagues Greg Field, Craif Hoffmann and Damien Mealey in one game each.

John is to stand in two fifty-over, three Twenty20 and the ninety-six over games this week, his only day off from tomorrow being Saturday.  He is travelling to Maroochhydore from Lismore in northern New South Wales today where he has been since last Tuesday officiating in that city's 'Festival of Cricket' (E-News 495-2561, 24 September 2009).

Over the past six days John has stood in one fifty over and four Twenty20 matches involving the senior squads from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.  His Tasmanian colleague Nick McGann has had two fifty over games and three Twenty20s, while Victorian member of the National Umpires Panel Tony Ward had three matches in each form of the shortened game.

E-NEWS NUMBER 498

TUESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2009

 

BATSMAN'S 'CRAMP' NO REASON 

FOR RUNNER, SAYS ICC 

[EN497-2569]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has supported the refusal of its umpires to allow South African skipper Graeme Smith a runner after he suffered cramp while batting in his side's Champions Trophy One Day International against England at Centurion on Sunday.  An ICC spokesman told media outlets yesterday that "the umpires took the view that cramp is a symptom of fatigue" and that "being tired does not qualify batsmen for a runner under the laws of the game".

The issue arose in the forty-fifth over of South Africa's innings when, with five wickets in hand, they required sixty-nine from the final thirty-six deliveries to win the match.  Smith, who had been on the ground since the start of the day's play was suffering from cramp, and with AB de Villiers padded up and waiting at the boundary edge, he requested a runner.  However, on-field umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Tony Hill of New Zealand rejected the request.

Under the second of cricket's laws, it is up to umpires alone to satisfy themselves whether or not a player who has "been injured or become ill after the nomination of players" can have a runner whilst batting, the request having to be for what is termed "wholly acceptable reasons".  The ICC spokesman indicated that cramp does not fall into the latter phrase, and "that is the way [such situations] will be interpreted by the umpires for the rest of the tournament".

Smith is said by reports to have "looked irate" about the decision at the time it was made, telling a post-match press conference that from his "perspective it seemed a little bit inconsistent [as] players have got runners for cramp in the past and there needs to be a level of consistency".  

In making his comments Smith directed his ire at his England counterpart, Andrew Strauss, and appeared to indicate that it was Strauss who refused his use of a runner, as did a number of media reports.  "It was a crucial part of the game", said Smith, and "I had been on the field for ninety-five overs and had cramped up, [and] it will be interesting to see how [Strauss] handles it if it happens again". 

'RUN OUT' LANKAN BATSMAN RECALLED 

AFTER ACCIDENTAL IMPEDIMENT 

[EN497-2570]

England captain Andrew Strauss withdrew an appeal from his side for the 'run out' of Sri Lankan batsman Angelo Mathews in their One Day International (ODI) Champions Trophy match in Johannesburg on Friday after deciding that bowler Graham Onions had accidently impeded Mathews as he ran.  A similar incident in an ODI between England and New Zealand at The Oval last year saw then England captain Paul Collingwood severely criticised for not recalling batsman Grant Elliott after he was upended by bowler Ryan Sidebottom (E-News 263-1420, 27 June 2008).  

A 'Cricinfo' report says that Onions, who was returning to the bowling crease as the batsmen were running, "on balance unfairly impeded Mathews as he set off for a second run".  Strauss said after the game that he "had a chance to look at the replay and the umpires said it was up to me", and while he didn't think "Onions did anything wrong [and] there was no malice there, it just didn't look right".  

Strauss withdrew England's appeal after a brief discussion with on-field umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Aleem Dar of Pakistan, who then summoned Mathews back from the boundary to resume his innings.  Strauss "thought it was the right thing to do", says a quote attributed to him. 

Sri Lanka's captain, Kumar Sangakkara said that he thought Stauss' move "was an excellent gesture of sportsmanship and was in the spirit of the game".  "It's all a matter of interpretation, it might have been an accident, but at the end of the day I think the right thing was done", he said.

BRING BACK LIGHT METERS IN COUNTY 

GAMES, SAYS ILLINGWORTH

[EN497-2571]

Former England captain Ray Illingworth has criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision earlier this year to scrap the use of light meters by umpires in county matches.  Illingworth's comments in his column in yesterday's 'Yorkshire Evening Post' referred to the decision to delay the start of the first class fixture between the home side and Hampshire at Headingley last Wednesday, a move he described as "unbelievable" and a "farce". 

A report on the 'Times On Line' web site on Thursday said that "the Yorkshire faithful", turning out in welcome force" for a four-day match, "slow hand clapped" as lunch approached, and that "Nigel Cowley, the senior umpire, closely attended by Headingley's burliest steward, was subject to sustained irate comment from a cabal of supporters as he left the field" following an inspection.  Cowley, who was standing in his 142nd first class match following 271 as a player, was working in the game with Martin Bodenham for whom it was his thirty-first game at that level (E-News 347-1844, 11 November 2008).

Illingworth writes that he arrived at the ground just after the teams had tossed, and he claims that "as soon as they did that, the umpires said it was not fit to play".  According to him "it didn't enter my head that it wasn't fit to play [and that] surely the daft thing is that the umpires let them toss up?"   

Pointing out that "umpires don't use a light meter or anything now in county cricket" and that such judgements are now "left to the human eye", Illingworth says that "that doesn't half leave things open to variations", a situation he calls "absolutely crazy", especially when you think county cricket is fighting with the one-day game to keep its popularity".  

"Four-day cricket is fighting for survival [and club] members still want four-day cricket, but there are a heck of a lot more people pushing for more one-day cricket", writes Illingworth.  "In the last week of September [in England], you've got to be a little bit prepared that the light is not going to be like June or July", and the change made by the ECB is "absolutely stupid" and he doesn't know "how the authorities think [such changes] up".

ECB umpires' manager Chris Kelly was quoted as saying when the decision to do away with light maters was announced six months ago, that they "will only tell an umpire if the light has got worse or better, it won't tell them whether it is safe or unsafe to play on" (E-News 418-2211, 7 May 2009).   The whole matter is "all about safety for players and officials", continued Kelly, and it is "for [umpires] alone to decide using their experience and judgement".

Last May, long-serving county and international umpire Peter Willey welcomed the ECB's decision to allow the umpires to "decide if it is unfit, unsuitable or unsafe to continue playing", saying at the time that he thought the move would "stop all the argument".

Illingworth also comments on pitches in his column, saying that "counties have gone down the avenue of preparing pitches as instructed by the ECB and others and now you are getting too many flat, 'nothing' wickets", and "that's not doing any good for cricket [for] all we are getting is drawn games".  In his view "if it means leaving a bit more grass on or taking a bit more off in a spinner's length to ensure a game finishes, then so be it".  "Four days is a long time in cricket [and] if they can't get results on these wickets, at least instruct groundsmen otherwise", he concludes.

DOCTROVE RE-ELECTED AS 

WINDWARDS UMPIRING PRESIDENT

[EN497-2571]

Billy Doctrove, currently the only West Indian member of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel, was re-elected as President of the Windward Island Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) at its convention held on the island of St. Vincent on the weekend.  The WICUA is made up umpiring groups from Dominica, which is Doctrove's homeland, St Lucia, Grenada, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, islands that stretch for 400 km in a north-south line at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea. 

Reports indicate that the meeting was the first of its kind to be conducted by the Association for some time because of lack of funds.  Doctrove, who has been WICUA president for the last six years, told local media that his Association was grateful for the assistance the Windward Islands Cricket Board (WICB) had given to enable the meeting to go ahead this year, and he believes that with their assistance "things should [now] improve" for his Association.  There are some "good umpires" in the Windward Islands, he says, and what they really need is "the opportunity to perform".

During the convention's opening ceremony on Friday evening, addresses were given by a representatives of the West Indies Umpires Association, the West Indies Cricket Board, St Vincent's Minister of Sports, and former West Indies player and selector Mike Finley.  On Saturday the meeting looked at the performance of its various associations, the WICB's Code of Conduct and other issues related to the forthcoming season in the Caribbean.

Apart from Doctrove the others on the WICUA Executive are Morrison Blanchard of St. Lucia who is the Vice President, Lennox Abraham of Dominica is Secretary, Evelyn Jules of Grenada the Treasurer and Golan Grace of St Vincent an executive member.

Meanwhile, Lalman Kowlessar was re-elected as President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Umpires and Scorers Council at their Annual General Meeting on the weekend.  Azim Bassarath was elected unopposed as vice-president, Paresram Ramsubhag unopposed as Secretary, while Shahid Allaham won the vote for the post of Treasurer.  Rawle Richards and Lyndon Rajkumar were both elected unopposed as assistant secretaries.

ADELAIDE'S CHANDRAKUMAR AIMING FOR 

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

[EN497-2573]

Kumar Chandrakumar, a member of South Australia's State Umpires Panel, has made the quickest rise through the cricket umpiring ranks in South Australian history, according to an article published in the 'East Torrens Messenger' in Adelaide last week.  Earlier this month Chandrakumar was named to stand in his first match in Cricket Australia's Under 23 three-day competition next week (E-News 490-2541, 14 September 2009), but Katelin Nelligan of the 'Messenger' indicates in her article that his aim is to follow his father into international ranks. 

Chandrakumar's father Selliah Ponnadurai is a former international umpire who stood in three Tests amongst the seventy-four first class matches he officiated in over a twenty-year period from 1982-2002 in Sri Lanka.  His Test debut was in just his third first class match in September 1985 and he stood in a second in his fifth early the next year, but then had to wait nearly seven years for his third.  Ponnadurai also took part in eight One Day Internationals (ODI), three of them in Bangladesh, and a single Youth ODI.    

The 'Messenger' story says that his son Chandrakumar took up umpiring in 1985 while playing cricket for the Sri Lankan army.  Like many others he commenced his career standing in children’s matches but before he move to Adelaide in 2002 he was presiding over "premier level games".  In South Australia Chandrakumar started again at Under-14 club games but by the end of his first season there had been appointed to his first A Grade game, says Nelligan.

Records available indicate that Chandrakumar made his debut in interstate representative cricket in Australia last December in two Women's National Cricket League games played in Adelaide, next week's match between being between the South Australian and Victorian second XI sides.

END OF SEPTEMBER 2009 E-NEWS FILE