December 09 (530-540)


11 editions published
(Story numbers 2712-2767) 

530 –  8 December  [2712-2716]

• Health issues led to Benson stand-down, says ICC  (530-2712).
• Bollinger reprimanded for dissent  (530-2713).
• UDRS for South Africa, England Tests  (530-2714).
• Indian umpires deserve better deal, says Kumble  (530-2715).• Ground's fiftieth Test sees umpires acknowledged  (530-2716).

531 –  9 December  [2717-2722]

• Health the issue not UDRS, says Benson  (531-2717).
• One-match ban handed out for 'serious dissent'  (531-2718).
• Saheba inaugural Indian 'Umpire of the Year'  (531-2719).
• Indian-Lankan skippers disagree on URDS value  (531-2720).
• Missed 'no ball' leads to UDRS 'tweak'  (531-2721).
• ICC looking at ODI format changes, says report  (531-2722).

532 –  15 December  [2723-2728]

• Tassy's first class 'drought' ends, now for Sheffield Shield?  (532-2723).
• Umpires named for Hobart Test  (532-2724).
• More work needed on UDRS, says match referee  (532-2725).
• Erasumus appointed to India-Lankan ODI series  (530-2726).
• Slow over-rate fine for Sri Lanka  (530-2727).
• Match ends in 'provisional tie', scoring to be checked (530-2728).

533 –  16 December  [2729-2734]

• Trial UDRS at 'another level', says Ponting (533-2729).
• Bowden, Gould, on-field for Perth Test  (533-2730).
• Committeeman reprimanded, club fined, over match incident (533-2731).
• Lightning victim commences rehabilitation (533-2732).
• Six match officials named for South Africa, England, Tests. (533-2733).
• Lankan umpire a selector for youth World Cup campaign (533-2734).

534 –  17 December  [2735-2738]

• Nogajski named for main 'Futures' T20 final (534-2735).
• Pink balls set for first class matches (534-2736).
• Zimbabwean Barbour retires from international cricket  (534-2737).
• Concern expressed at time taken for referral request  (534-2738).

535 –  19 December  [2739-2742]

• ODI ban, fines, handed down for on-field fracas (535-2739).
• Disparity in disciplinary decisions claim Windies (535-2740).
• Part wash out for Futures T20 finals (535-2741).
• Day-night Tests within two years, says ICC President (535-2742).

536 –  20 December  [2743-2747]

• Fourth player disciplined in Perth Test  (536-2743).
• Two ODI ban handed down for 'serious over-rate offence'  (536-2744).
• Kiwi skipper positive about UDRS workings  (536-2745).
• Time taken for UDRS referral concerns England  (536-2746).
• Referral system could end need for 'neutral' umpires, says ICC  (536-2747).

537 –  22 December  [2748-2752]

• Aussies to address on-field behaviour issues, says skipper  (537-2748).
• Match referee explains UDRS use in dismissal  (537-2749).
• Windies to protest, not appeal, Benn suspension  (537-2750).
• 'Provocateurs' get off too lightly, claims Kumble   (537-2751).
• Umpire reported 'under investigation' over match incident   (537-2752).
• Broad should 'stop the whinging' says former skipper  (537-2752).

538 –  23 December  [2753-2758]

• Aussies should revisit 'Spirit of Cricket' pledge, says Buchanan  (536-2753).
• Watson 'not embarrassed' over Gayle incident, claims provocation  (538-2754).
• NZC clears captains of 'collusion' in achieving match result  (538-2755).
• Ball tampering claims made by NZ provincial coach  (538-2756).
• ECB adds two umpires to 'Reserve' list  (538-2757).
• Three players face Cricket Wellington's tribunal  (538-2758).

539 –  24 December  [2759-2764]

• Cowie to leave ICC position (539-2759).
• NUP members dominate domestic T20 appointments  (539-2760).
• NZC to investigate 'ball tampering' accusations  (539-2761).
• Aussie players want 'better technology' for the UDRS  (539-2762).
• England coach 'unhappy' with UDRS  (539-2763).
• Officials named for Country Championship series  (539-2764).

540 –  28 December  [2765-2767]

• Tassy umpiring returns to the Sheffield Shield  (540-2765).
• Dangerous pitch leads to ODI abandonment  (540-2766).
• CA names umpires for ODI, T20I matches  (540-2767).






English umpire Mark Benson pulled out of the Second Test between Australia and the West Indies in Adelaide on Saturday because of health issues, says the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Benson, who was on the field in a Test for the first time in twelve months (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009), may have had a recurrence of a heart-related illness that forced him to pull out of the India-Australia One Day International series just six weeks ago (E-News 516-2654, 2 November 2009), and a Test in Durban three years ago this month.Match referee Chris Broad, who like Benson is a former England opener, denied reports in newspapers such as the 'Guardian' in the UK that the umpire has decided to retire because of his disaffection with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  That particular report claimed that Benson "was upset after a number of his decisions were challenged [via the UDRS] on the first day of the Test".  According to the web site Benson "ranted" in the umpires room at the close of play and expressed his dissatisfaction with the system which, he is alleged to have said, "just makes umpiring harder".Broad, who was with Benson in India when he fell ill there, is reported to have said that his colleague was an advocate of the UDRS, and that he "didn't feel as though he could go on the field" on Saturday because he felt unwell, "so we decided to leave him in the hotel".  Third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan took his place and fourth umpire Bruce Oxenford of Australia, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, move up to look after review duties.  David Richardson, the ICC's general manager cricket, was quoted by the 'Guardian' as saying that he did not know anything of Benson's alleged retirement.  "Vincent van der Bijl, our umpires manager, has been speaking to him but I know Mark has a problem with his heart, he was anxious about it [and] it was worrying him", said Richardson.  Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's Chief Executive Officer, also denied that Benson's return home was because of the review system. The ICC has appointed New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden to the playing control team for the Third Australia-Windies Test in Perth next week.  Broad will again be the match referee but just who of Rauf, Ian Gould (England) or Bowden will be the third umpire for the game has yet to be announced.



Australia bowler Doug Bollinger has received an official reprimand for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision”during the fourth day’s play in the second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide yesterday.  The offence, to which Bollinger pleaded guilty, took place in the fifty-second over of the West Indies’ second innings when an appeal for LBW was turned down, the bowler reacting angrily to the decision.Bollinger's appeal took him to within a metre of batsman Brendan Nash, and when refused by Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf the Australian paceman kicked the turf in disgust and was motioned to return to his bowling mark by his captain Ricky Ponting.  Australia couldn't refer the verdict to the third umpire as it had used their two permitted challenges unsuccessfully earlier in the innings.


The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is to be used after all in the forthcoming Test series between South Africa and England, despite indications by Cricket South Africa Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola last month that it would not be in operation for the three matches (E-News 523-2692, 16 November 2009).  One report says that the change came after "several days of negotiation, imploration and good old fashioned arm twisting" by the International Cricket Council. Indications are that so-called "predictive" technology, which aims to depict the flight of the ball after it has hit the pad, will be used, but that the 'Hotspot' camera will not.


Former Indian captain Anil Kumble feels that it is "high time" first class umpires in India are treated "on a par" with cricketers, says a report published on the Daily News Analysis web site on the sub continent last week.Speaking at an "Umpires Day" organised by the Association of Cricket Umpires Karnataka, Kumble is reported to have said that "if we look at it, the umpires spend more time at the centre than the cricketers themselves since they need to stand throughout the match while the players get some rest when they are not batting or fielding".  That, and the pressure they are under during a match means that in his view, "there is still scope for further pay increases" for umpires even "though the remuneration [they receive] has improved over the years".Kumble also felt that the state cricket associations should take the cue from the Board of Control for Cricket in India and increase the remuneration of the umpires who stand in local matches, "come up with annual contracts for their top umpires" and that they "should play a much bigger role in spotting talent at the grass root level".  "They officiate in local matches and can really help in finding new talent as they are closest to the players", said Kumble.The former national captain said that umpiring has become more challenging with the introduction of technology, for "with every decision [they] are under immense pressure just like the players on the field".


The recently completed Second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Basin Reserve in Wellington was the fiftieth such match played at that ground, and as part of celebrations seven former New Zealand Test umpires who have stood in Tests there were invited to lunch by New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. Those who were invited in appreciation of their achievement and contribution to the game were: Steve Woodward (eleven Tests at the Basin Reserve), Steve Dunne (nine), Brian Aldridge (six), Fred Goodall (five), Denis Copps (three), Evan Watkin (two) and Doug Cowie (one).  They were joined by the umpires standing in the Test, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Simon Taufel of Australia who have each stood there three times.  Altogether the group represented forty-three of the one hundred umpire appointments across the fifty Tests.  Current New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden has stood in a single Test at the Basin Reserve, the second of his career eight years ago this month, those first two games being his only 'home' Tests in his current fifty-six Test record. 





English umpire Mark Benson says he withdrew from the second Australia-West Indies Test in Adelaide on Saturday only for health reasons and not because of concerns about the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  Benson indicated in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) overnight that he will discuss his future as an on-going member of the world body's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) after undergoing "a series of medical assessments".Benson went on to state that given recent media speculation about his future (E-News 530-2712, 8 December 2009), he wanted to make it clear that he has not resigned from the EUP.  "Media speculation about the so-called disagreement in the umpires’ room" in Adelaide, when he was said, in the words of one reports to have "ranted about the UDRS, "is unfounded and totally untrue", says Benson.  The Englishman continued by saying that he "would also like to state clearly that my withdrawal had nothing whatsoever to do with the UDRS", for he remains "a proponent of the use of technology as it helps the reduction of the obvious umpiring errors". Media reports published in the UK yesterday say that since his return home to England on Monday, Benson has been "locked in deep discussion with the ICC umpires manager Vince van der Bijl".John Holder, the ICC umpires performance manager for Europe, is said by a report in the 'Guardian' newspaper in the UK to have "diverged" from the official ICC view of the new system by saying that it had increased pressure on officials and that "the reality is that now umpiring is so much more under the microscope".  "Imagine how it is", says a quote attributed to Holder, "you have made a decision in good faith and you are having it overthrown in front of millions of people worldwide".  "Some people might find that humiliating, some umpires can give a decision, be told they have got it wrong, and get on with their lives but others can't", he said.  "The system is about eliminating mistakes, but if the umpire loses confidence when he is overruled then for that particular umpire it might have the opposite effect".


South African batsman Hashim Amla has been banned for one domestic first class match as a result of his behaviour in South Africa A’s four-wicket defeat against England in a limited overs match played at Potchefstroom last month.  Amla, who was captaining his side, is said to have shown "serious dissent" at an umpire's decision.Amla pleaded guilty to a charge brought by on-field umpire Brian Jerling and a Cricket South Africa (CSA) disciplinary hearing handed down the one-match ban on Monday.  CSA disciplinary commissioner Michael Kuper said in his report that Amla's "breach is a serious one aggravated by the fact that it occurred during a tour match and was committed by the captain, who should have set an example".The ban means that Amla is unavailable to play for Nashua Dolphins against Chevrolet Warriors in their four-day match which is due to start in Durban tomorrow.  Amla has been picked in a fifteen-man South Africa squad for the first Test against England which starts at Centurion today week, three days after the last possible day of the domestic’ fixture.The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to name the three neutral umpires for the forthcoming Test series which will be conducted using the Umpire Decision Review System (E-News 530-2714, 8 December 2009).  


Amish Saheba, an Indian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires' Panel and its emerging umpires group (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), was named as his nation's top umpire for 2009 during the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) annual awards night held in Mumbai on Sunday evening.  Saheba is the first to receive his country's 'Umpire of the Year' trophy as the award was only instituted by the BCCI this year.


Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has called for the Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS) to be made mandatory.  Sangakkara was speaking on Sunday after his side lost its three-Test series against India where the UDRS was not used (E-News 524-2688, 17 November 2009), but his Indian counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a different opinion on the system saying that it "was not one hundred percent fool-proof".The Sri Lankan, whose team lost the second and third Tests after the first match ended in a draw, said umpiring errors contributed to his side's defeat.  "Youv'e got to accept the fact that we were outbowled and outplayed", Sangakkara told reporters, "but this series is probably the best advertisement for having the review system as decisions cost us over 500 runs and a lot of wickets".Reports claim that the tourists were set back by umpiring mistakes against in-form batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan in both innings of the final Test. Dilshan's first-innings century was cut short when English umpire Nigel Llong ruled the batsman caught at forward short-leg even though television replays appeared to show the ball bounced off the batsman's pad.In the second innings, Australia's Daryl Harper judged Dilshan to be leg-before to Harbhajan Singh when he padded up to a ball that spun sharply from the middle-stump and hit the batsman's front leg.  Television replays are said to have showed that the ball would have missed the leg-stump "by at least six inches", states a report circulated by Agence Francaise Press.Dhoni did not agree with Sangakkara. "The system has its own advantages and disadvantages"and "it's very difficult to judge right now whether it's good or not", he said.


A loophole in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was sealed after Pakistan lost a challenge in the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin late last month when a 'no-ball' was detected on replay.  Ball tracking technology used by third umpire Rudi Koertzen showed that Grant Elliott of the home side was out LBW, says a report by TV New Zealand, but he upheld the original 'not out' decision because he saw that the bowler had overstepped.   Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf was said to have been unhappy that his team lost one of their two available challenges because West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove had erred in failing to notice Asif's indiscretion.  The incident raised the issue of whether the bowling side should be expected to keep an eye on no-balls, or actually be penalised for having missed one, and the ICC subsequently addressed the situation.ICC umpires manager Doug Cowie had discussions with New Zealand and Pakistan and it was agreed that if a similar incident occurred later in the three-Test series the fielding side will not lose a challenge.


The International Cricket Council's (ICC) cricket committee has proposed a number of changes to the way One Day Internationals (ODI) are played that are aimed at breathing life into what is considered to be a dying format, says a report on the Cricinfo web site yesterday.   As yet though there has been no indication as to whether the proposals put forward will be ratified by the ICC, says South African journalist Neil Manthorp.Manthoorp's story quotes "a source" as saying that "there was a general consensus that one-sided games, especially when the bat is dominant over the ball, mean that interest in the fifty-over format is falling" .  "It was agreed that bowlers need to be brought back into the game and captains need to be encouraged to attack with the ball rather than just defend", runs the quote.The twelve-man committee, which is chaired by former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd and comprises respected former and current international players, considered reducing the standard ODI from fifty to forty overs but decided, instead, to attempt to redress the balance between bat and ball.  Whether there was any consideration of splitting each side's fifty overs into two separate innings as has been suggested recently is not known (E-News 485-2517, 7 September 2009).Their first proposal is said to involve the use of two new balls, one from each end, from the start of a game, as applies in one-day domestic matches in Australia this season.  Such a move would preclude the need for the "contentious" 'compulsory ball change' after thirty-four overs but would also, ironically, make it virtually impossible to achieve any reverse swing as both balls would be only twenty-five overs old at the end of the match, says Manthorp.Another suggestion is for two bowlers to be allowed twelve overs each and two to bowl ten, leaving the fifth bowler an allocation of just six. The intention behind that recommendation is to encourage captains and selectors to pick more 'specialists' and marginalise the need for bits-and-pieces cricketers, says Cricinfo.





Tasmania's nearly four-year umpire 'drought' at first class level will end on Saturday when TCUSA member Steven John steps out on to Bellerive Oval for the three-day tour match between the state side and Pakistan.  Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Friday that the game, which John was appointed to six weeks ago (E-News 513-2645, 27 October 2009),  now has first class status, and the interest now turns to whether a Tasmanian will stand in a Sheffield Shield game in the New Year for the first time in over 120 such matches and nearly 1,500 days. John's achievement comes in his seventh season of umpiring, his first game with the TCUSA being in late 2003, and he went on to be named as the Association's 'Umpire of the Year' in 2006 and 2007 (E-News 22-129, 29 March 2007).  Since October 2007 he has worked particularly hard to achieve his goal, being chosen and making himself available for a wide range of high-level representative games in Tasmania and other parts of the country in both summer and winter.  In that time he has stood in eleven one-day domestic matches and worked as the television suite in four such games, umpired four domestic Twenty20 contests, taken part in the last three Emerging Players and three men's Under 19 Tournaments, four Cricket Australia Cup games, a range of high-level pre-season series in Queendsland, been the reserve umpire in a Test and two One Day Internationals (ODI), and stood in a youth Test and two youth ODIs.John is to be presented with a CA umpire shirt that is only given to umpires who achieve first class status at a ceremony prior to Saturday's game by CA Director and Tasmanian Cricket Association Chairman Tony Harrison.  He will also be presented with a certificate recognising the occasion.The Tasmanian's on-field colleague for the match will be Paul Reiffel, a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpire Panel.  Reiffel's National Umpires Panel and Victorian colleague Geoff Joshua was originally named to stand in the match, but he has now been moved to the concurrent Sheffield Shield game in Adelaide that Reiffel was to have originally done with ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Daryl Harper (E-News 513-2645, 27 October 2009).  John will be the third Australian umpire to debut at first class level this season, the others being Joshua and Western Australian Paul Wilson (E-News 513-2644, 27 October 2009).  


South Africa's Rudi Koertzen and Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva have been named as the on-field umpires for next month's Australia-Pakistan Test match at Bellerive, while West Indian Billy Doctrove will be the television official and another Sri Lankan, Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee for a game that will see the Umpire Decision Review System used in Tasmania for the first time.  Koertzen has been to Hobart several times before as a match official and de Silva and Madugalle as players, but for Doctrove it will be his first visit to Tasmania.The quartet have been named by the International Cricket Council to manage the three Test series between the two nations, the opening match of which is to get underway in Melbourne on Boxing Day.  Doctrove and Koertzen will be on the field for that match with de Silva the third umpire, while de Silva will be accompanied on the ground for the second Test in Sydney by Doctrove in the lead up to the Hobart game.Next month's Test will see Koertzen visit Hobart for the fifth time in five years, the match being his 105th at the highest level of the game, second only to now-retired West Indian Steve Bucknor's record of 128 Tests.  The sixty-year-old's first visit was in January 2004 for a One Day International (ODI), he returned in November 2005 and 2007 for Tests, then in February last year for another ODI.For de Silva, who is fifty-three, it will be his forty-third Test as an on-field umpire and fourth such role in a match in Australia.  He has been to Hobart before as a player for his country, his initial visit being for a ODI against New Zealand in January 1988, followed by the first Test ever played in the state twenty years ago this month.  In the latter game he made a total of fifty-two runs, being claimed in both his innings by Tasmanian Greg Campbell, and taking 1/93 off thirty overs; his single victim being now national selector Merv Hughes.  de Silva's last visit was in February 1990 for an ODI against Pakistan.Madugalle, fifty, has played at Bellerive twice, being a member of the same side as de Silva for the ODI against New Zealand, later that same month returning for a three-day first class match against Tasmania, a game that was umpired by David Gregg and now Tasmanian Cricket Association Board member Mike Gandy.  The forthcoming Test will be Madugalle's 115th as a match referee.Doctrove, fifty-four, who like Koertzen is currently working in the Test NZ-Pakistan Test series across the Tasman, will travel to Australia for the third time for the latter side's Tests here, his last visit being early last year.  By the time he arrives in Hobart for the first time he will have twenty-eight Tests under his belt, his stint in the television suite at Bellerive being his eighteenth in that role.  The fourth umpire for the match is yet to be named.


International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad told the ABC's 'Grandstand' program on Sunday that the current Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) needs reviewing.  While supporting the use of technology, Broad, who is refereeing the current series between Australia and the West Indies, believes more work needs to be done to improve the system as it now stands.Former West Indies player Joel Garner has called for the system to be scrapped after it caused "consternation, frustration and delays" during the drawn second Test in Adelaide last week.  Some media reports blame the system for English umpire Mark Benson's with drawl after the first day of the match, something Broad denied at the time as did the umpire himself in a subsequent statement released by the ICC (E-News 531-2717, 9 December 2009).Asked about video umpires overruling central umpires, as occurred with Benson (E-News 530-2712, 8 December 2009), Broad replied that "it's a very tough call".  "It's something we discussed long and hard before this system was brought in to international cricket", he said.  "I think there is still some discussion that needs to be had because it's been said before that questioning an umpire's decision is always going to be difficult no matter who does it", Broad continued."We've all been brought up to play this wonderful game where the umpire is always right [but the UDRS is] a fundamental change in the game of cricket", said the match referee, and "we've got to find out the best way of using this technology and for the moment this is the way it's been decided".  "There are discussions that still need to be had", he said, and "a little bit of fine-tuning here and there", the details of which he did not identify, "is needed".   According to him we are now at "the start of the process" and he thinks "there is [still] a way to go".  In his experience "any new tool that comes into the game of cricket takes a while for everyone to understand the way forward".  "Sure there is more discussion that goes on, there are more processes to be put in place [but] once it all settles down I think it will be considered part and parcel of the game".Broad conceded that the system was hampered by the cost of the technology involved.  "We're a couple of cameras short in this series between Australia and the West Indies", Broad said.  "It's a matter of finding people to front up to pay for the technology because it's not cheap, something that both Indian and South African cricket authorities have complained about in the recent past (E-News 523-2692, 16 November 2009)."At the moment the 'Hot Spot' device", which can show if the ball has hit the edge of the bat if the angles are right, "is available in Australia and England but there aren't too many other countries who have that technology and its a question of finding a way of funding those technical advancements in every country".  'Hot Spot' is being used in the Tests in Australia this season but is not in the UDRS package in use in New Zealand and South Africa at the present time.  'Snickometer' is yet to be used because of the time needed for computers to process the information involved. Meanwhile former Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who now heads up the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, claims the new system is not serving the purpose it was intended for.  He was quoted by 'The Australian' as saying that "the ICC claimed it was designed to take the obvious errors out of cricket but it's not being used that way" for "captains use it to try and grab a big wicket and batsmen use it to try and dodge a bullet".


Marais Erasmus of South Africa, one of four members of the International Cricket Council's emerging umpires group, has been named as the 'neutral' umpire for the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between India and South Africa and Sri Lanka which is due to get underway in Rajkot early this afternoon Australian time.  The games, which will take Erasmus' ODI match total to sixteen, are his first overseas top-level series as a neutral official, a stepping-stone that is similar to the appointment of Australia's Rod Tucker to the recent ODIs between South Africa and England (E-News 523-2692, 19 November 2009); three games of which saw him on the field with Erasmus.A third member of the emerging group, Indian Amish Saheba, has been named as the second on-field umpire for today's India-Lankan ODI, his thirty-ninth, his countryman Sanjay Hazare being an ODI third umpire for the fifth time and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the match referee.  Crowe will manage the first two matches, his 112th and 113th in that role, and Australian Alan Hurst the last three games which will take his ODI tally as a referee to eighty-one.Saheba has worked overseas as a neutral official three times in the last two years, while the fourth member of the emerging group, England's Nigel Llong, had his first overseas experience as an international 'neutral' in the ODI series between the West Indies and India in the Caribbean in July (E-News 441-2298, 21 June 2009).Both Llong and Saheba have Test matches under their belt and Tucker is believed to have been named for a match in the New  Year (E-News 525-2692, 19 November 2009), and it seems likely that Erasmus' elevation to that level will occur sometime next year.  The four are in the running for appointment to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel, the Englishman and Indian appearing to be most likely to make that jump either in 2010 or 2011.


The Sri Lanka team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second Twenty20 International against India in Mohali last Saturday.  New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the fines after Kumar Sangakkara’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration. In accordance with the International Cricket Council's up-graded Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations governing minor over-rate offences, players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time and captains double that amount. As such, Sangakkara was fined forty per cent of his match fee while his players received twenty-per-cent fines. If Sangakkara is found guilty of two further similar over-rate offences in T20Is over the next twelve months, he will receive a one-match suspension as per the provisions of the new, enhanced CoC. Commenting on his decision Crowe said in an ICC statement that Sangakkara "was kept informed throughout the match by the on-field umpires [Sanjay Hazare and Shavir Tarapore] of where his team was with its over-rate".  "Under the revised code of conduct", he continued, "Sri Lanka was very close to being three overs behind and charged for a Serious Over Rate Offence which would have resulted in its captain being suspended in the next two ODIs". The penalty was accepted by Sangakkara without contest therefore there was no need for a hearing.


A "provisional tie" was declared in a Southland Cricket Association (SCA) match between the Appleby and Albion sides in Invercargill, New Zealand, last Saturday, and the Association is to delve into the matter for what the exact result actually was is a matter of some controversy.Appleby batted first and when the batsmen left the field at the end of their innings it appeared that they had scored 217.  However, when the scorebooks were checked by the umpires, says a report in yesterday's 'Southland Times', the score was adjusted to 218, although just what the error was that was found was not spelt out.The 'Times' story indicates that during their innings Albion were unaware of the added run and thought they were chasing 217, so that when they lost their last wicket on that mark they thought they had tied the game.  The report says that "the confusion created some debate" and the matter has been referred to the SCA to determine just what the result should be.





Australian captain Ricky Ponting believes match referee Chris Broad's admission that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) needs more work (E-News 532-2725, 15 December 2009), is further proof that system should be trialled at "another level" of the game before being introduced to Test cricket, says a story published in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday.  While they were part of "what appeared to be a successful trial in South Africa earlier this year" says the article (E-News 379-2018, 3 March 2009), Ponting's side is said to be concerned about some of the problems experienced in the recent Adelaide Test against the West Indies, issues that some reports claim led to English umpire Mark Benson withdrawing from the series.  Benson has since denied the UDRS was a factor in his departure, instead citing health issues as the cause (E-News 531-2717, 9 December 2009).Broad admitted on the weekend that he thought UDRS processes needed more work and Ponting is said to have sought out the umpires after the Test to speak to them about their feelings on the issue.  "The talk went well", runs the quote attributed to the Australian skipper, and "I think they appreciated the fact of me coming to talk to them and getting their feedback about the whole thing".Ponting said that he didn't want to go into detail of what he and Broad talked about.  The meeting "was just for me to find out how they're handling it because [the match officials are] the most important people in the whole thing and they're the ones who are left out".  "It's important to know whether they feel it's taking some of the responsibility away from them [or if its] lightening their workload or making it harder", he continued.The Australian said though that its "a shame to be basically trialling something like this at the top level" for "there's got to be enough cricket going on around the world to have a look at it without using it in Test matches".  'The Australian' suggests that Ponting is hinting that the UDRS should have first been tested in the one-day international area instead of Tests.


New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden will be one of the on-field umpires when the third-and-final Test between Australa and the West Indies gets underway in Perth later today.  Bowden was added to the match management team following the withdrawl of English umpire Mark Benson from the series for what he has indicated are health-related issues (E-News 531-2717, 8 December 2009).The Kiwi, who will be standing in his fifty-seventh Test match, the last being the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval in August, will be on the field in the match with his English colleague Ian Gould, for whom the game is his ninth at the highest level of the sport.  Benson was originally listed with Pakistani Asad Rauf as the on-field umpires with Gould the third umpire for the match, but the latter two's roles have been reversed as according to some reports, that have not been confirmed, Rauf has a bad back (E-News 525-2694, 19 November 2009).  The change means that Gould will have been on the field for all three Tests of the current series.Rod Tucker, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will be the fourth umpire in Perth, his IUP colleagues Paul Reiffel and Bruce Oxenford filling that role in the first and second Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.  With the introduction of the Umpire Decision Review System into Tests in Australia (E-News 533-2729 above), the fourth umpire position is no longer available to senior state-based umpires, although South Australian Andy Collins had to be called to the Adelaide Oval during the second Test as he prepared for a Grade game after Benson withdrew from the Test there.  Rauf went on to the field with Gould and Oxenford into the television suite.  


John Pattinson, a committee member of the Dandenong Cricket Club in Victoria's top Grade competition, has been reprimanded and placed on a good-behaviour bond until the end of the 2010-11 season as a result of an incident in a Premier Cricket match last month.  The Melbourne 'Age' says in a report published yesterday that Pattinson was found guilty of misbehaviour, bringing the game into disrepute and threatening and abusing an umpire during a match between his club and Ringwood. Few details were provided in the report, which says simply that "crowd misbehaviour caused an interruption to play requiring one of the umpires, former Test umpire Bill Sheahan, to intervene".  In addition to its censure of Pattinson, whose two sons play first class cricket for Victoria, his club was fined $A2,500 by Cricket Victoria in relation to the incident.


A player in New York who was struck by lightning during a match in late July (E-News 463-2407, 28 July 2009), was transferred from hospital to a rehabilitation clinic last last month and the 'New York Daily News' says that he is making an "extraordinary recovery".  Stephen Gibson, forty-one, who remained in a coma almost a month after the strike, took six weeks before he was able to start to speak (E-News 493-2554, 22 September 2009), and has only recently regained some movement in his arms and legs.New York's 2,000-unit Coler-Goldwater Speciality Hospital and Nursing Facility is said to be one of the largest rehabilitation facilities in the United States.  While the unemployed electrician is improving very slowly nearly five months after he was critically injured, just how long he will need to remain in care is not known at this stage.  The lightning struck the left side of Gibson's face, causing his brain to bleed and damaging his lung, kidneys and liver.and by the time paramedics arrived at the ground, he was barely breathing.  


The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed six match officials from five nations to manage the four-Test series between South Africa and England that gets underway at Centurion this evening Australian time.  Match referee Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka will be there for the entire series, Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Steve Davis of Australia for three of the games, while another Australia Daryl Harper, Tony Hill of New Zealand and Amish Saheba from India, will be involved in two matches each. Saheba, one of four members of the ICC's emerging umpires group (E-News 305-2094, 24 March 2009), has been named as the third umpire for today's first Test, but he will be on the field for the second. The latter game will be his third at the highest level of the game, the last being in December last year.  Dar will be on the field for both the first and second Tests, the first with Davis and the second Saheba, before moving into the third umpire's position for the third.  Davis is the third umpire for the second game then back on the field for the fourth.  Hill and Harper are the on-field pair for Test three, with the latter the third umpire for the last fixture of the series.The four Tests will take Harper's on-field total in Tests to eighty-eight, Dar's to fifty-nine, Davis's to twenty-one, and Hill's to fifteen, while Mahanama's match referee tally will move up to twenty-eight. All four games are to be played using the Umpire Decision Review System (E-News 5340-2714, 8 December 2009).


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has appointed Ruchira Palliyaguru, a veteran of 124 first class matches from 1990-2008, and since October this year an umpire at that level, as the selector on tour for his country's under 19 side's visit to New Zealand next month for the youth world cup series, says Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaperHowever, as is often the case on the island nation, SLC's move is not without controversy, the 'Mirror' quoting what it called "some observers" as saying that "it is unethical to have Palliyguru as a selector as he is also serving as a leading cricket umpire".  "One former official", continues the report, described the move as."favouritism", a charge that is often thrown around cricket circles on the island, for "there are so many qualified people" who could be chosen for the role "so why should [SLC select] an umpire as there is a conflict in the roles and no other country in the world make appointments like this". Palliyaguru was said to have been "embroiled in controversy over his sudden promotion in the umpiring ranks" earlier this year, although data shows he has been umpiring at minor representative level for just over two years, the first match that is listed on data bases being played prior to his final first class game.  He made his debut as an umpire at first class level in October this year and now has six such matches to his credit."Several umpires" are said to have "complained to the authorities" about  "the manner in which he was promoted" to senior umpire ranks, a subject that was "one of the subjects studied recently by the special committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of the SLC Umpires Committee", says the 'Mirror' (E-News 520-2675, 10 November 2009).A two-man 'Special Probe Committee' (SPC) found last month that "almost all the allegations" made against the Umpires' Committee had substance and called for the issues concerned to be addressed.  The SPC, which was appointed on the orders of Sri Lanka's Sports Minister four months ago (E-News 479-2488, 23 August 2009), declined to blame any individual for the problems, instead calling for more “interaction” and “understanding” between umpires and the Umpires' Committee.






TCUSA member Sam Nogajski was last night named to stand in the main final of the Futures Twenty20 tournament at the in Melbourne this afternoon, Andy Collins of South Australia being his on-field partner.  Selection of the pair for the game by Cricket Australia (CA) suggests, given the national body's past practice, that they were rated highly in this week's competition, and event that CA has indicated a key milestone in the selection of umpires for the 2010 Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) (E-News 522-2684, 13 November 2009).Of the other three finals matches to be played today, Peter Tate of New South Wales and Yohan Ramasundara of the Australian Captital Territory will look after the play offs for third and fifth, while Nogajski and Collins will start their day this morning with the game that will determine seventh and eighth places in what is the inaugural Futures T20 tournament.CA's Umpire High Performance Managers Bob Stratford and Steve Small have been appointed as match referees and umpire observers for today's matches, the pair looking after two games each, their schedule being such they they will be able to assess the performance of each of the four umpires who will be on the field during the day.  Unfortunately the weather forecast for Melbourne today is for "afternoon rain" but hopefully it will hold off long enough for the four matches to be completed.Two Victorians who took part in this week's Futures series, Ash Barrow and Phil Proctor, missed out on finals selection, however, other CA appointments this year suggests that Barrow is a strong chance for the EPT next July, and if he continues to perform at a high standard may move from there to the National Umpires Panel for the 2010-11 season. 


Pink balls are to be used in first class matches that are to be played under lights in both the West Indies and Abu Dahbi in the first quarter of next year.  The twenty-one match, seven-team, domestic series in the Caribbean in January-February is to feature four such games, while the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is planning a similar arrangement for its traditional County season opener in late March which it has moved from Lord's to the Gulf. Ernest Hilaire, Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board, said on Tuesday that scheduled and other arrangements for its 2010 first class series have been modified as they "will pose less logistical and physical challenges with travel and hotel arrangements" than in the past, and "ensure greater value for all our stakeholders, including players and spectators". "We believe having day-night cricket in the four-day tournament will help to generate public interest and also be a winner with the players and officials", he says.The four-day fixture between the County champion from the previous year, in this case Durham, and a team selected by the MCC, will "contest the first-ever day-night, four-day match using pink balls", says the club in a press statement, however, that game will not be played until late March, more than a month after the final such match is played in the Caribbean.The MCC release says that "the proposed fixture schedule for [the match at] Lord’s of 3-5 April was far too early in the year to play meaningful cricket, with poor weather a very likely possibility".  Furthermore, "we’ve been asking cricket authorities around the world to help us trial the pink ball under floodlights" it says, and if the forthcoming match is a success "it could help to re-invigorate Test cricket".  The MCC, which works very hard to maintain its position in world cricket, says its has "an opportunity to play our part for the good of the game and [that it is] determined to grasp it".Attempts were made by the MCC earlier this year to have Durham and Worcestershire use a pink ball in their final County Championship match of the season, but both declined the request (E-News 501-2589, 2 October 2009).  Reports at the time indicated that their refusal, along with what were probably more important questions about how good current pink balls were for multi-day games, were reasons as to why a proposed day-night Test at Lord's next May between England and Bangladesh were dropped.Durham Head Coach, Geoff Cook, was quoted by the MCC as saying that while "it is a disappointment not to have the traditional season opener at Lord’s, we fully understand and support the reasons for that and are therefore honoured to have the opportunity to take part in this innovative and historic match".  "As the game of cricket generally is moving forward, the possibility of playing with pink cricket balls for the first time in a four-day match, under floodlights, is an experience that the players will be really looking forward to".The MCC says it "will select a competitive team to face the double county champions, with the best county, MCC University and United Arab Emirates cricketers in line for selection" for their side.


Zimbabwean Kevan Barbour, an on-field member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), retired from all forms of umpiring "with immediate effect" yesterday, accusing Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) of establishing "unreasonable" criteria for his on-going selection as a IUP member.  In an e-mail sent to ZC which he circulated widely, Barbour also queries the national body as to why match officials have not been paid for recent domestic first class matches.Barbour made his debut at first class level in 1995, and went on to stand in forty-seven matches at that level, four of those games being Tests.  Two of his first class matches were played in Namibia, all the others being in his home country, however, he travelled to both Sharjah and South Africa for five of the fifty-one One Day Internationals he officiated in, and took part in the 2004 Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh.While Barbour, who turned sixty in October, cites IUP selection criteria as the key reason for his resignation, he also mentions domestic match scheduling and pressure of work as other reasons for his withdrawl from cricket.  A full-time employee of ZC until two years ago, he now works at a private school as a teacher, housemaster and hockey coach.  "Having given my life to cricket, more often than not at the expense of my wife and family, I'm not overly keen to use up my hard earned school holidays" so that he can continue his umpiring career, he says.Bulawayo-born Barbour concludes his e-mail with comments about match payments. It took "nearly four months" to be paid for the Zimbabwe-Bangladesh matches he stood in in August this year he says (E-News  472-2448, 12 August 2009), and that "no explanation or apology" was forthcoming from ZC for that wait.  He goes on to mention the so-far lack of payment for more the more recent Zimbabwe-Kenya series as well as high-level domestic first class games in Zimbabwe, the latter apparently being an issue for both him and other match officials around the country.  Barbour concludes by wishing Zimbabwe Cricket and his fellow umpires and scorers "all the best" but warns that "these dedicated people" should not be "taken for granted", for "everybody is a stake holder, the players are the core product [but] match officials are no different".  "Administrators are in place to serve them and ensure there is a return on the investment, not the other way around", he says.Other separate reports received by E-News from Zimbabwe in recent times suggest that if Barbour's resignation stands, his on-field IUP colleague Russell Tiffin, fifty, will continue on the panel and that current third umpire member Owen Chirombe will move up to join him.  Among those said to be in line for Chirombe's spot is Jerry Matibiri who is currently umpiring with the TCUSA.  Matibiri was unaware of any of yesterday's developments at last night's Association meeting at Bellerive as Barbour's resignation only became public in the very early hours of this morning Australian time.


 Pakistan expressed concern at the time taken by New Zealand opener Tim McIntosh to consult with batting partner Bradley-John Watling before he successfully had his leg-before-wicket dismissal overturned on a referral appeal on the opening day of the third and Test in Napier last Friday.  West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove initially gave McIntosh, who at the time had yet to score, out in the fourth over of the Kiwi's first innings, but reports state that it took "about twenty seconds" for the request for a referral to be made.The review by third umpire Simon Taufel of Australia indicated the ball was actually clearing the stumps and Doctrove reversed his decision.  Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf was said to be "annoyed" about the time issue, and Imran Farhat, one of his players was quoted as saying that "we were told [a review request] had to be [made] as soon as possible".  In Imran's view "three of four" seconds was a fairer time frame for a batsman to decide whether to ask for a reassessment or not.  ‘You can’t talk [with your partner] too much and take time to make the decision", he said, although published reports claim that "there appears to be no hard and fast rule on the maximum time able to be taken".Meanwhile, Pakistan had their own indiscretion on the same day of the Test when Shoaib Malik is said to have been "sent from the ground" after briefly appearing as a substitute fielder.  Dropped for this match, the former skipper was not among the four substitutes nominated by Pakistan before the toss, claim press reports.





West Indies spinner Sulieman Benn has been suspended for two One Day Internationals (ODI) and Australians Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson fined twenty-five and ten per cent of their match fees respectively, after being found guilty of misbehaviour during the second day of the third Test in Perth on Thursday.  All three were charged with conducting themselves in a manner that is contrary to the spirit of the game, Benn attracting a higher-level censure than the other two.Haddin and Johnson, who were batting at the time, and Benn who was bowling, had an ugly confrontation in the first over after lunch that television pictures indicate was sparked by Benn, fuelled by Haddin and exacerbated by Johnson.  Johnson and Benn initially bumped into each other when the Australian was attempting a run and the West Indian was simultaneously trying to field the ball, and two balls later Haddin became involved.  The Australian wicketkeeper's apparent verbal provocation of Benn saw the spinner threaten to hurl the ball at him, and additional words uttered by Haddin brought tensions to an even higher pitch.  Benn pointed his finger angrily towards Haddin as the players converged on the pitch at the end of that over, and when Johnson brushed into Benn's line the pair had a brief shoving match that required intervention by New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden.  Cricket Australia chairman Jack Clarke is reported to have called the overall incident "terrible".Match referee Chris Broad from England said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday that the events involved "could have been avoided [and that] no one likes to see cricketers pointing bats at their opponents or pushing each other away".  “It is not the sort of example that players should be setting at any time, least of all in a series which is being played in a great spirit and being followed by millions around the world on television", he said.Benn pleaded not guilty to the charges laid by on-field umpires Bowden and Ian Gould (England), third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan and fourth umpire Rod Tucker of Australia, but the two Australian players agreed that they were guilty at any early stage of proceedings.  Benn's plea meant that under the provisions of the ICC's recently upgraded Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations, Broad had to hold a full hearing into the bowler's actions, and it was held on Thursday evening after play had closed for the day.After conducting the hearing and looking at video evidence of the events concerned, Broad handed Benn two suspension points, a censure that under CoC regulations means he must be banned for either one Test match or two ODIs, depending on whichever comes first for the player.  As a result Benn will miss the opening two Australia-Windies ODIs in early February, although he has the right to appeal against Broad's decision but must do so within forty-eight hours of the ruling being made. ICC regulations meant that the match referee had a choice of giving Haddin and Johnston anything from an official reprimand up to a fine of fifty per cent of their match fees.  The twenty-five and ten per cent deductions Broad decided on are therefore in the lower half of the fines scale, figures that amount to around $A3,300 and $A1,300 respectively. The West Indian camp is reported to be unhappy between the disparity of their fines and Benn's suspension (E-News 535-2740 below). 


The West Indies are "furious" at the suspension of their spin bowler Sulieman Benn and plan to vent their displeasure to the International Cricket Council, claims an article in this morning's edition of Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper.  Benn was suspended for two one-day matches yesterday for his part in an ugly exchange with Australian players Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson on day two of the second Test in Perth (E-News 535-2739 above).While Benn was outed for two One Day Internationals, Haddin and Johnston were fined twenty-five and ten per cent of their match fees respectively, results that the tourists apparently feel are weighted too much against their player.  West Indian team manager Joel Garner was quoted by journalist Robert Craddock as saying that he has "strong feelings" on the issue and "will have plenty to say to the right people". Craddock says that  the West Indians are set to appeal the decisions made by match referee Chris Broad of England on the grounds that there is a wide gap in the individual penalties.  They apparently believe that Haddin, as the player who inflamed the incident by pointing his bat at Benn, and Johnson, who made physical contact with Benn, should have got penalties comparable to their spinner.  "Many observers agreed with them", says Craddock.  Meanwhile Haddin has expressed his regret over the incident, telling ABC Radio that "from a personal point of view I was probably a bit animated in my approach to what happened".  "That's not good for the fans and it's something I'm not proud of", he said.


Two of the four finals of the Futures League Twenty20 tournament in Melbourne on Thursday, including the match to decided first place that was to be umpired by Tasmanian Sam Nogajski and South Australian Andy Collins (E-News 534-2735, 17 December 2009), were abandoned after heavy rain prevented play.  The main final and the match for fifth place which were to be played simultaneously at separate grounds were due to start at 2.45 p.m., but the rain started to fall an hour before then and didn't let up.However, some cricket was played, for in the morning the weather was fine.  Nogajski and Collins managed the  match for seventh place which finished just after noon, at the same time New South Welshman Peter Tate and Yohan Ramasundara of the Australian Capital Territory, who were to have done the afternoon fifth-place game, were looking after the third place decider.   


David Morgan, the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), told at a meeting of the Indian Journalists' Association held at The Oval earlier this week that he would be "surprised and disappointed" if a day-night Test is not played "in the next two years".  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have been pushing the concept for sometime, however, progress is solving the issues involved has been slow (E-News 422-2226, 13 May 2009).According to Morgan, Australia and other countries who have large stadiums and experience hot weather, are "made for day-night Tests".  On the other hand such a format "is less important in England and Wales because the grounds used, which are relatively small, sell-out", and the climate is not so favourable, he says, although that has not discouraged the ECB-MCC push for a day-night Test to be played at Lord's."Eighteen months ago, I wouldn't have been overly enthusiastic, thinking of the tradition and the records", says Morgan, but "given the way Test match cricket has changed over 130-odd years", he sees day-night Tests "as a very good reason for bringing the crowds out". Morgan's comments came soon after it was announced that some first-class matches in the Caribbean early next year are to be played in a day-night format and use of pink balls, a key experiment in the project to establish a similar regime for Tests (E-News 534-2736, 17 December 2009).





Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was last night fined fifteen-per-cent of his match fee after he ran down the pitch screaming at West Indian batsman Chris Gayle when he captured his wicket during the fourth day’s play in the third Test against the West Indies in Perth yesterday.  Watson was charged under a section of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct which states that players shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game. Watson, who was spoken to immediately after the incident by on-field umpires Ian Gould of England and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, pleaded guilty at an early stage after the day's play.  Commenting on his decision to fine Watson, match referee Chris Broad from England said: “Shane is a very energetic and enthusiastic bowler but on this occasion he has gone too far by running down the wicket screaming, thereby not showing due respect for the opponent".  “While handing down the punishment, I took into account that Shane admitted his mistake by pleading guilty", said Broad in an ICC statement. Broad is the fourth player to be formally disciplined during the current Test, West Indian Sulieman Benn and Australians Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson receiving censures earlier in the match (E-News 535-2739, 19 December 2009).


India's captain Mahendra Singh Dohni, has been banned from playing in two One Day Internationals (ODI), effective immediately, after his side maintained a slow over-rate during the second match of the series against Sri Lanka in Nagpur on Friday. The penalty is severe because India were found to be three overs short of requirements, a number that under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) recently upgraded Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations comes under the "serious over-rate offence" category. Under the revamped CoC, falling short by up to two overs in an ODI, and five in a Test day, is considered a "minor offence", and merits a ban only if the offence is repeated twice in twelve months.  However, on Friday night India finished their fifty overs about forty-five minutes after the scheduled finish, and match referee Jeff Crowe from New Zealand appears to have had no choice but to impose a ban. Crowe said in an ICC statement that "the India captain like his Sri Lanka counterpart was reminded and warned before and during the ODI series to be mindful of the slow over-rates and the penalties under the revised code".  "[India] was at par until the forty-second over but bowled only eight overs in the last hour which is unacceptable", said Crowe, and while he accepted "that the ultimate desire of the India side was to win the match, it had deadlines to meet and also fulfill the responsibilities it owed to the stakeholders".The ban means Dhoni will be unavailable for the third and fourth ODIs of the series. Should he be in charge of India for a repeat a "serious over-rate offence" in any form of the game within the next twelve months, he runs the risk of being banned for from two to eight ODIs or one to four Tests.In addition to Dohni's ban, his playing colleagues were fined forty per cent of their match fees for the offence, ten per cent each for the first two overs of "minor offence" and twenty per cent each for the subsequent over.  Ratnakar Shetty, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's chief administrative officer acknowledged that they had been advise informally of Doohni's two-ODI ban but that they were waiting for "a formal communication" on the matter, after which they "will look into details [before making any] further comments".Last week Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara came close to being banned when his side were found to be two overs short during the second Twenty20 international between the two sides in Mohali.  He was fined forty per cent of his match fee and his team mates twenty per cent, but Crowe said at the time that Sangakkara just escaped the much bigger penalty of a ban (E-News 532-2727, 15 December 2009).Concerned for some time about slow over-rate issues, the ICC agreed in June to a tightening of regulations that govern that area of the international game (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009), but the new arrangements only came into force last month (E-News 524-2687, 17 November 2009).


New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori told the 'New Zealand Herald' this week that he was happy with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) as it was used during the recent three-Test series against Pakistan.  Vettori said that in his view the system "does not undermine the umpires' decision-making because it has a bias towards the umpires' original decision, which I think is fair".Ian Taylor, the Chief Executive Officer of Animation Research, a NZ company who provide technology for the UDRS, said that "it's been a baptism of fire because there was last-minute stuff that had to be modified simply for the umpiring reviews (E-News 523-2694, 16 November 2009), but we've had really good feedback from the umpires and we're pleased with the way it went".  Taylor said fine-tuning and some more advances are going to be worked on during the world under-19 tournament which starts in New Zealand in the middle of January.During the Test series, the 'Herald' says there were thirty umpiring reviews sought by players, the home side making fourteen, of which five were upheld, while Pakistan made sixteen, with two coming back in their favour.  New Zealand batsmen got a second life through an appeal four times, however, the visitors did not get one.  David Morgan, the current President of the International Cricket Council, believes that the UDRS "will ultimately" lead to better decision-making and may even improve the spirit in which the game is played, says a report by Agence Francaise Presse (AFP) from London on Friday.


England expressed concerned at the time it took for South Africa to ask for a referral under the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) after Stuart Broad was given 'not out' to shouts for LBW on the third day of the first Test at Centurion on Friday.  Following the review the original decision was overturned and Broad was given out, but left the ground after going over to on-field umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Steve Davis from Australia, apparently to make his view of the situation known to them.UDRS guidelines set down by the International Cricket Council (ICC) indicate that a request for a referral has to be made quickly, whether it be by the fielding of batting side.  According to the conditions that apply "the total time elapsed between the ball becoming dead and the review request being made should be no more than a few seconds, [and] if the umpires believe that a request has not been made sufficiently promptly, they may at their discretion decline to review the decision".Media reports from Centurion state that some thirty-five seconds elapsed before third umpire Amish Saheba of India was called in to provide his assessment of the LBW.  An England spokesman later confirmed they will be taking up their concerns about the delay with match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, but do not expect Broad to face censure from match officials over his actions.   "Because of the amount of time that the decision took, we just asked the umpires", said England's Graeme Swann who was Broad's batting partner at the time as "we didn't know out in the middle how much time was allowed".There were suggestions that the South Africans on the field had received a signal from the dressing room and that it sparked the referral request, however, both teams played that issue down.   The ICC's UDRS regulations state that "jf the umpires believe that the captain or batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion decline the request for a Player Review".  "Signals from the dressing room must not be given", continue the ICC rules.In Swann's view the UDRS "has a few irregularities that need ironing out quickly if it's going to be a lasting method for technology to be used in Test cricket".  "We've seen the issues that need sorting in this game [and] hope they'll be sorted ASAP", he said.Pakistan made a similar complaint during the third Test against New Zealand in Napier last week, the time taken by the NZ opening pair to ask for a referral on that occasion said to have been around twenty seconds according to reports (E-News 534-2738, 17 December 2009).  On-field umpire Billy Doctrove of the West Indies gave NZ opener Tim McIntosh out LBW but on referral the ball was seen to be clearing the stumps.


Haroon Lorgat, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), has indicated that once the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) becomes an accepted part of Test cricket, 'neutral' umpires will no longer be need in such games, says a report in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Thursday.  'Home' umpires have not been selected for Tests in their own country since 2001, a policy which was introduced because the ICC was concerned at frequently seeing the integrity of its officials' questioned in the media, and in some cases, by the players themselves, says journalist Simon Briggs.Lorgat was reported by Briggs as saying that "it is probable that we will be able to go back to home umpires standing in Test matches because their integrity cannot be questioned so easily when they have the UDRS backing them up".  "If we can use home umpires, it will reduce cost substantially", he continued, as well as also reducing "the amount of time umpires have to spend away from home".The ICC CEO said that "some good umpires don't want to stand on the [world body's] Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) because of the rigours of the lifestyle", particularly the time they are away from home, something the ICC's investigation into international umpiring identified as a key problem two years ago, leading as a direct result to an increase in the size of the EUP (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).Lorgat admitted on Thursday that it will be a big step to change a system that has become ingrained over eight years of Test cricket.  "At the moment, if a visiting umpire makes a mistake its one thing," he said, "while if a home umpire makes the same mistake, it can be unfairly exaggerated".While it was not mentioned in the 'Telegraph' article, the ICC agreed last June to a "survey" of the opinions of both players and umpires as to whether two 'neutral' umpires should continue to be appointed to Tests and one for One Day Internationals, and Lorgat may well have knowledge of the outcome of that poll.  The ICC said at the time that its Cricket Committee would consider the feedback received from the survey at its 2010 annual meeting next May (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).




Australia captain Ricky Ponting has demanded a greater level of discipline from his team after three members of his side were fined by the International Cricket Council for their conduct during the third Test against West Indies in Perth (E-News 536-2743, 20 December 2009), and a fourth was reprimanded in the previous match in Adelaide (E-News 530-2713, 8 December 2009). Ponting, who media reports say has been working hard with his playing group to ensure their on-field behaviour is of a high standard, was said to be disappointed with the actions of his players of late.  He told a press conference in Perth that he is "not proud of the fact, and I'm sure the players aren't either, that we've had three guys reported in the one game".  The Australian skipper was also quoted as saying that "reports have been something that we've been really strict on the last couple of years amongst the player group and we've got a good record [over that time]", although some suggest that Australians are treated differently than others when it comes to disciplinary issues (E-News 537-2751 below).The "guys [involved in Perth] are a bit embarrassed probably and know that they have overstepped the mark, and as captain I do have to take some responsibility", said Ponting.  "When things happen in the spur of the moment it's not as if I can stop or interject as it's happening either, particularly with the one with Haddin and Johnson, and I'm in the change rooms", Ponting continued.''All you can do is talk to them about it after, let them know it's not acceptable and hope that they learn from their mistakes", he said.  "The three are all relatively young in international cricket and if they didn't know before, they now know the mark that they've overstepped", he continued, without mentioning the fact that the type of issues involved are fundamental at all levels of the game all his players have been involved in in their careers.Ponting and Australian coach Tim Nielsen are said have spoken to the individuals involved in incidents in Perth, and that the matter will be again brought up to the entire playing group before the Boxing Day Test with Pakistan which starts this Saturday.  ''There has been enough talk already for the guys to be clear on what is acceptable and it's something that needs to be revisited quite regularly, but at the same time a lot of it is unavoidable, and we all have responsibilities and one of mine as captain is to make sure guys don't overstep the mark".Ponting's side was criticised for its behaviour in the controversial New Year Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground nearly two years ago by the then Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery who called for a return to good manners on the cricket field (E-News 187-1008, 31 January 2008).   Major General Jeffery said that cricket players and umpires needed to take a tougher stance regarding on-field behaviour.The Australian skipper was reported at the time to have said in reply that the Governor-General was talking about "a bygone era" and that modern cricket has no room for niceties for "we're not playing the game in the 1950s now, we're playing a fully professional game and we're all being paid that way", he said (E-News 188-1017, 1 February 2008).  "Our livelihoods are on the line all the time with everything that we do and, to tell the truth, I think there's been way too much made of all of this stuff over the past couple of weeks". 


Chris Broad, the match referee for the Test series between Australia and the West Indies, has moved to clarify the dismissal of Windies batsman Kemar Roach on the last day of the third and final Test in Perth on Sunday.  Roach was judged by New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden to have been caught behind, however, his side still had two referrals available and he immediately asked for the dismissal to be looked at as it gave Australia a win by just thirty-five runs.Broad said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council on Sunday that in reviewing the decision, third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan "used a range of technologies that were available to him, including the slow-motion replays, amplified stump microphone sound, both at normal speed and slow motion, approved ball-tracking technology, the pitch mat generated by the ball-tracking technology, and 'Hot Spot' footage. “While the 'Hot Spot' [signature] was not visible on the bat during the review", continued Broad, "the noise of the ball hitting the bat was picked up by the stump microphone which was sufficient for Asad to recommend to 'Billy' to uphold his earlier decision".  “It must be remembered that there needs to be conclusive evidence to over-turn the decision of the on-field umpire as the [Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS)] has been designed to eliminate the obvious umpiring errors", said the match referee.Windies captain Chris Gayle, who has been a strident critic of the UDRS and thinks that it's "still complicated", maintained after the match that the referral "was not used cynically" to double check for an overstep by the bowler and said Roach must have felt there was some doubt about the edge.  When put to him that the final dismissal could have been referred under any circumstance to double check a 'no-ball', Gayle replied: ''I never thought about that, but I think that could've been a nice idea to refer it".  "Next time, I will tell [my players to do that]", he reportedly said.  Gayle's counterpart Ricky Ponting said that had the situation been reversed, he would have done the same. ''They've got two [referrals] up their sleeve, they're nine wickets down and they need thirty-odd to win, and it was a really faint edge", Ponting said.  ''You've been given out, but you've got to use whatever you can [for] if that was us, we probably would have done the same thing", he concluded.


Media reports from Perth yesterday state that the West Indies Cricket Board has indicated that it will send a letter of protest to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the "hefty suspension handed down to spinner Sulieman Benn", but that it will not appeal against the decision.  Benn was suspended for two One Day Internationals and Australians Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson fined after an ugly confrontation during the second day of the third Test in Perth on Thursday (E-News 535-2739, 19 December 2009).  The West Indies' hierarchy is said to be upset about the severity of the punishment handed down to Benn, questioning why their player was slapped with a ban when the two Australians escaped with just fines (E-News 535-2740, 19 December 2009), something former Indian captain Anil Kumble claims often occurs when Australian players are involved in incidents (E-News 537-2751 below).  


Former Indian captain Anil Kumble believes that match referees don't punish "the instigators" of on-field incidents severely enough, and that "the provocateurs" escape too often with a "light censure" while players who react strongly are penalised severely.  Kumble's views were contained in his syndicated column which appeared on the sub-continent after the Perth Test, a match that saw four players formally disciplined (E-News 536-2743, 20 December 2009).Kumble wrote that "there doesn't seem to be any punishment forthcoming for someone who provokes and that to me is against the principles of natural justice.  "Whatever their transgressions on the field, the Australians always seem to get away with things and invariably it is their opponents who end up paying a price", he continued, for "somehow or the other, teams playing against the Aussies seem to invite the match referee's wrath".Kumble cited the example of the Delhi Test late last year during which his team mate Gautam Gambhir was banned for a Test by match referee Chris Broad of England because he elbowed Shane Watson, an opponent with whom he had verbal altercations before the incident (E-News 343-1816, 5 November 2008).  Gambhir also argued with Simon Katich in the same innings."In the Delhi Test against us, my last, the one that earned Gautam Gambhir a ban for having a go at Watson, the same umpire [New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden] and match referee [Chris Broad of England] were officiating" as in the recent Perth Test, Kumble wrote. "At that time, [Bowden] didn't see it fit to report Simon Katich who had later obstructed Gautam and match referee [Broad] too didn't bother to act on his own or follow it up with the on-field umpires even though it was very much evident on TV", says Kumble."As on that occasion, the provocateurs [in the incident] in Perth got away with their actions, for Haddin and Johnson receiving minor reprimands", compared to West Indian Benn who was suspended for two One Day Internationals.  The West Indian Cricket Board are to "protest" what they see as the disparity of Benn's suspension compared to the fines handed down to the Australians, however, they do not plan to appeal against the decision (E-News 537-2750 above). 


Victoria's top Grade competition "is investigating" former Test umpire Bill Sheahan's handling of an incident in a match last month that led to a club committeeman being reprimanded and placed on a good-behaviour bond and his club fined $2,500, according to a report in 'The Age' newspaper on Sunday.  The club are said to have pleaded guilty to the charges laid against it, however, journalist Brad Beitzel, says that "information revealed during the inquiry is believed to have led to another probe". Sheahan, fifty-six, stood in two Tests and five One Day Internationals in the first half of the 1990s.  His first Test was at Bellerive, his colleague being countryman Darrell Hair, and the second at the Sydney Cricket Ground with Tasmania Steve Randell.  


England bowler Stuart Broad has been told by former England captain Michael Vaughan to concentrate on his cricket and "stop moaning".  Vaughan's comments on BBC Radio 5 on Sunday came after Broad's complaint after South Africa waited more than thirty seconds before using the referral system during the first Test between the two sides at Centurion last Friday (E-News 536-2746, 20 December 2009).Vaughan said that "the big thing about the referral system is that it's there to try to get as many decisions as correct as possible".  "Stuart Broad was out and the right decision was made in the end [after the review] and he has got to let his bowling and batting do the talking and stop the whinging".  Vaughan, who was England's captain when Broad made his Test debut in 2007, said that the bowler, whose father is an international match referee, "needs to accept decisions made against him". 






Former Australian coach John Buchanan believes it is time for Ricky Ponting's team to revisit the 'Spirit of Cricket' pledge that was signed during his tenure with the national side, and urged Shane Watson not to undo years of hard work and to control his emotions, says an article by journalist Chloe Saltau that was published in yesterday's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).Buchanan, who was coach in 2003 when former captain Steve Waugh pledged to improve standards of behaviour by signing up to the 'Spirit of Cricket', believes it needs to "reflect a new team and a new culture" following the recent ill-tempered series against the West Indies during which four Australian players were found guilty of bad behaviour (E-News 536-2743, 20 December 2009).  The 2003 move came after bowler Glenn McGrath's ugly spat with Ramnaresh Sarwan in the Caribbean that year..The former coach, who the 'SMH' describes as a "Watson mentor", indicated that the all-rounder had made a concerted effort to control his emotions and improve his body language.  Watson was fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for his pointed celebration when he took West Indian skipper Chris Gayle's wicket in the third Test in Perth last week, a reaction he now claims he was provoked into (E-News 538-2748 below). ''My view would have been that [Watson] had moved on from [problems of the past] and learnt a lot more about his game and himself", Buchanan said, and hopefully that "particular outburst is an uncharacteristic blemish".  ''One would hope this is only a little blemish and he will continue what has been a marked improvement from where he was a few years ago", he said.Meanwhile former Australian bowler told a Sydney radio station yesterday that Watson behaved like a four-year-old after taking Gayle's wicket and labelled the Australian side's recent on-field conduct as "childish".Ponting has promised to "pull his players into line" before the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan starts on Saturday (E-News 537-2748, 22 December 2009), and Buchanan says that ''one step would be for the group to revisit the Spirit of Cricket". ''It was a foundation document so the current group may wish to move it in a direction that is more appropriate to themselves", although he "wouldn't like to see the game sanitised so much that everybody was meek and mild on the field in an environment that requires intense competition, and with that comes certain animation".Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman Peter Young told media outlets yesterday that CA chief executive James Sutherland  "supported [Ponting's] move to address his players on their behaviour before the first Test against Pakistan. Young said that every Australian debutant committed to the 'Spirit of Cricket' pledge as part of an induction overseen by Ponting.  Sutherland "has a lot of faith in Ricky's captaincy", continued Young, and "the fact that the on-field behaviour has been consistently good for such a long time is in part a tribute to Ricky's leadership".  Australian players ''have taken a pledge to play hard but fair [and] for the past six years there has been the occasional blemish, but by and large the players have got it right", he said.


Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is "not embarrassed" by his reaction when he took the wicket of West Indian captain Chris Gayle in the third Test match in Perth last week and says he was provoked, says a news report that was featured on Cricket Australia's web site yesterday.  Watson was fined fifteen per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council after he ran down the pitch screaming at Gayle as the batsman departed for the pavilion (E-News 536-2743, 20 December 2009).While admitting his actions were "over the top", Watson told journalist Bren O'Brien that his action was "just a reflection of the passion he feels for the baggy green" cap that is awarded to those chosen to play for Australia in Tests.  "Just from seeing the [television] footage, it doesn't look ideal, there's no doubt about that", said Watson, "but people don't understand the full story".Watson is quoted by O'Brien as saying that Gayle had repeatedly niggled him in the lead-up to the incident, suggesting that during his innings he was looking forward to dispatching the all-rounder to various parts of the ground.  "He definitely let me know that he was keen from me to come on and bowl, leading up to that [and] it was very nice to get him out first ball and that was the catalyst for me celebrating the way I did", said Watson.O'Brien writes that celebrations such as Watson's "would have hardly raised an eyebrow in the 1970s and 80s when batsman and bowlers were often at each other's throats and verbal confrontations".  But Watson believes the culture around "gamesmanship" has changed and that players needed to adapt to the new standards because of the scrutiny that's on all players these days in terms of cameras at grounds and the extent to what's reported in the media. 


New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has cleared two of its first class provincial sides, Auckland and Northern Districts, of colluding to contrive a result in their Plunket Shield match played in Auckland earlier this month, says the 'Dominion Post' newspaper.  With almost three days of the four-day match washed out, both sides forfeited an innings to set up a result on the final day.Northern Districts batted first but the opening day saw just thirty-nine overs delivered, the second was washed out completely, and during the third only five balls were bowled.  On day four, Northern Districts batted on for another twenty-one overs before declaring, one report saying that "to help speed up the game and a potential result, Auckland wicket-keeper Reece Young threw up loopy leg-spinners as Northern opener Bradley-John Watling piled on a century" as his side reached 3/290.Once their opponents declared, Auckland forfeited their first innings and Northern Districts quickly did the same with their second.  That left Auckland to get 291 in its second dig but they were all out short of that total and as a result Northern Districts took home eight Plunkett Shield points.  Auckland skipper Gareth Hopkins and Northern captain James Marshall say they avoided breaking NZC rules regarding collusion because they didn't speak to each other about the forfeits, according to the 'Post' report.  Hopkins accepted the match had "raised eyebrows", but he had been forced to take unusual risks because Auckland had yet to gain an a competition point this season.  Marshall said it was a case of two positive captains trying to create a meaningful game.The 'Post' story states that NZC received protests from the other four provincial first class sides about the situation but, after an investigation, found there was no evidence of collusion.  Both the Central Districts and Wellington sides were said to be unhappy with the ruling and of the view that the eight premiership points earned by Northern Districts, who are the current competition leaders, should be stripped from them.Central Districts coach Dermot Reeve, a former England international, was quoted by the 'Post' as saying that "no captain in his right mind forfeits an innings 290 runs behind if he doesn't know that the other people aren't going to enforce the follow-on and play ball".  Labelling NZC's ruling on the match as "rubbish" and that the situation "as disgraceful", Reeve said, as "this is not playing within the spirit of the game [and] it could just become farcical if there's nothing done".Wellington coach Anthony Stuart said the match compromised the credibility of the competition and that "our jobs are on the line and you get a ridiculous game like this".  "I find it incredibly frustrating [and] hard to believe the players sat around for [over two] days and didn't discuss manufacturing a result", he said.NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan was happy with how the issue had been handled.  "It was obviously unusual circumstances", he said.  "We did a thorough investigation and you've got to back the evidence that you receive [and] there was no evidence of collusion", therefore "what can you do, accuse [the captains] of being liars?"  The 'Post' says that it understands Auckland coach Paul Strang, a former Zimbabwe international, was unaware that collusion was not allowed in New Zealand.  Vaughan said NZC had sent a reminder to the provinces, captains and umpires about collusion issues.


Dermot Reeve, the coach of the Central Districts side in New Zealand, has claimed that Auckland's English international import Ravi Bopara, tampered with the ball in a New Zealand Cricket one-day match played in Palmerston North on Sunday.  Chief executive of Auckland Cricket Andrew Eade denied the charge, telling 'The Dominion Post" that it was a non-issue and that "it's quite common for teams that [like Central Districts] lose to start looking for excuses".Former England international Reeve said he witnessed Bopara picking at the seam during the game in a bid to "illegally create reverse swing", says the 'Post' report.  He was quoted as saying that he "would take an oath and swear on my children's lives, that I saw Ravi Bopara using his nails on the ball to help it swing".  However, Auckland coach Paul Strang, a former Zimbabwe international, told the 'Manawatu Standard' that there was no wrongdoing from his side.  Strand said that "it was a windy day, the ball does funny things [and] none of these concerns have been addressed to me".  In his view "sour grapes" might be involved.Reeve, who says he watched through binoculars as Bopara "repeatedly tampered with the ball", laughed off Strang's explanation.  "What Strang is saying is ridiculous", he said, for "I know one hundred per cent the ball was tampered with [for] I had the binoculars on him and I saw his nails in the ball on several occasions", continued Reeve.The Central Districts coach said that he raised the issue during the game through Auckland's twelfth man and former Central player Richard Sherlock "because I wanted Bopara to realise that I knew what he was doing so that he might stop doing it".  Despite that Reeve's own captain Jamie How, who top scored with ninety-four in his die's innings, told the 'Standard' he did not notice anything out of the ordinary when he was batting and said the ball moving in the air was "part of the game".Reeve says he also approached Gary Baxter, one of the umpires in the game, who is a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel about the matter.  The coach makes the claim that Baxter "said he'd had a word with [Auckland captain Gareth] Hopkins in the previous game [against Otago], because he thought something was going on".  But Baxter and his colleague Phil Jones indicated, says Reeve, that "unless we actually see somebody putting their nails in or doing something to the ball, how can we prove it?"  'Post' jourmalist Sam Worthington says he could not contact NZC's umpires manager Rodger McHarg for comment when preparing his article for publication.


The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has appointed two new umpires to its first-class reserve list for 2010, however, there are no new additions to the full list which now comprises twenty-three members following the retirements of John Holder and Mike Harris at the end of the ECB's 2009 domestic season.    The new members of the reserve list are former Kent and England bowler Martin Saggers, who retired at the end of the 2009 season in England, and Paul Baldwin who as a German resident has been a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliates Umpires Panel (AAUP) panel since its inception in 2005.Saggers, thirty-seven, retired this year after an 119 first class game playing career that spans thirteen years and includes three Tests (E-News 493-2556, 22 September 2009), and the ECB says that he acquired his umpiring qualifications five years ago.  It would appear that Saggers was appointed to umpire at Kent League level during the last northern summer and that his experience at representative level has to date been limited to a single match at county Second XI level last September.  He said on his retirement that his aim is to eventually stand at international level.  Baldwin, who was born in England in 1973, developed the majority of his umpiring in Germany but moved back to England for the 2009 season and the ECB says that "his high quality performances throughout the season have earned him a place on the reserve list".  Over the last three years he has stood in eighteen One Day Internationals, most involving second-tier nations, and ten first class games at that level, including the last two finals of the ICC's Inter-continental Cup.  Richard Holdsworth, the ICC's Europe regional development manager, said: “Paul has been involved in the [umpires'] development programme since 2002, and during that time has excelled with his knowledge and skills in umpiring, not only continuing his own education but also choosing to educate others".“He has stood in a significant number of ICC European and global matches and tournaments, and his experience was duly acknowledged when he was selected for the AAUP", said Holdsworth, and "it is great credit to Paul’s commitment to the program that he has been selected on the ECB first-class reserve list.”ECB umpires’ manager Chris Kelly said: “We are pleased to welcome Martin and Paul onto the reserve list for 2010 which increases the number of umpires available at this level".  “Along with the other members of the reserve list there are now plenty of opportunities for them to demonstrate their officiating skills within our domestic game and to aspire to being at the forefront of officiating the sport", he said.In addition to Baldwin and Saggers, the reserve list is now Keith Coburn, Ismail Dawood, Mark Eggleston, Steve Gale, Andy Hicks, Graham Lloyd, Steve Malone and Steve O'Shaughnessy.The ECB's full list for 2010: is Rob Bailey, Neil Bainton, Martin Bodenham, Nick Cook, Nigel Cowley, Barry Dudleston, Jeff Evans, Steve Garratt, Michael Gough, Ian Gould, Peter Hartley, Vanburn Holder, Richard Illingworth, Trevor Jesty, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Jeremy Lloyds, Neil Mallender, David Millns, Tim Robinson, George Sharp, John Steele and Peter Willey.  Gould, who  is a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is included on the list, but his English EUP colleague Mark Benson whose future is said to be under a health cloud, is not (E-News 531-2717, 9 December 2009).  He was also missing from last year's list but that didn't stop him from standing in a number of county matches in 2009 (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009). 


Three players from the Eastern Suburbs side in Weillington, New Zealand, were to face a Cricket Wellington (CW) judiciary panel last night as a result of incidents that occurred in a Twenty20 club game earlier this month.  Easts' captain Lance Dry, former Wellington batsman Scott Golder and English import Danny Evans are all under the microscope after umpires Rob Kinsey and Gopal Reddy reported the players for dissent, says an article in yesterday's 'Dominion Post' newspaper.The 'Post' says that Dry, a former Wellington player and selector, has already been banned this year for three playing days because of a previous transgression.  Dry was then found to have breached CW's code of conduct by not ensuring that his players conducted themselves within the spirit of the game or its laws.  CW's chief executive Gavin Larsen told reporter Sam Worthington that he couldn't comment on the incidents until after last night's hearing.






Former New Zealand international umpire Doug Cowie is to leave his position as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) manager for umpires next week after four years in the job, say reports from across the Tasman.  Cowie's two-decade long international umpiring career saw him stand in twenty-two Tests and seventy-one One Day Internationals in the lead up to his appointment to his current role at the ICC in 2005.An article published on the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) web site says that on arrival at the ICC, Cowie "set to work improving support systems and putting mentoring strategies in place to ensure [international] umpires had the right resources and support available to succeed", activities NZC says "had a big impact" on the way things were arranged and conducted in his area of expertise.Less than two years into his tenure the ICC established an "independent task force" to look at a wide range of international umpiring issues, the aim being to "enhance the already high standards of officiating" that were present at the time.  The move came at the end of a year of significant controversy for umpires at the highest level of the game and following reports that problems were being experienced with the then existing structures and arrangements for umpires that Cowie was overseeing (E-News 63-344, 1 July 2007).Cowie supported the task force in its work in what the ICC said at the time was "an administrative and secretarial capacity" (E-News 87-465, 23 August 2007), and its report went on to recommend an expansion of the Elite Umpires Panel, the establishment of a match selection panel, setting up five regional umpire coaches-mentor positions, the development of an accreditation process for umpires aiming to reach international level, and an improved pay structure, including a merit-based increment, for international match officials (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).In May 2008, as a direct result of the task force's report, the ICC appointed former Natal, Transvaal and Middlesex fast bowler Vintcent van der Bijl as its Umpires and Referees Manager, although he had no direct experience in either of those fields (E-News 345-1347, 25 May 2008).  Cowie then reported to him, rather than directly his former boss David Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket), on the development, mentoring and coaching of the umpires as well as feeding back performance-related information.There have been suggestions from some quarters, which have yet to be confirmed, that the New Zealander is not leaving his position in Dubai of his own free will.  The ICC is yet to formally announce Cowie's departure, something it usually does for its departing senior staff via a press release which summarises the contributions the individual has made to the world body's activities.   As Cowie moves out, former Cricket Australia Umpire Officer Brent Silva is to join the ICC in the New Year as its umpire and referees Administration Manager, a role in which he will report directly to van der Bijl (E-News 528-2707, 24 November 2009).


Tasmanians will again see interstate umpires in action on the field when the state side plays its two domestic Twenty20 matches at Bellerive either side of New Year's Eve.  Victorian members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP), John and Tony Ward are to fly in to stand in the two games with TCUSA member Steven John being in the television suite on both occasions for a competition Cricket Australia (CA) now ranks second in importance to the Sheffield Shield.The Wards together with all ten of their colleagues on the NUP have been named by CA for this season's fifteen T20 interstate matches.  Seven others from outside the national panel will also participate, although Paul Wilson of Western Australia, who made his debut at first class level late last month (E-News 513-2644, 27 October 2009), is the only non-NUP to receive an on-field appointment, his two games being in Perth and Adelaide, the six others having been given third umpire duties.Of the NUP members Gerard Abood (NSW), Simon Fry (South Australia), Mick Martell (Western Australia) and Victorians Paul Reiffel and John Ward are to all stand in three matches each.  Jeff Brookes and Ian Lock, both of whom are from WA, and Geoff Joshua of Victoria, also have three matches, although one of those is as the third umpire.  Rod Tucker (NSW) and Victorian pair Bob Parry and Tony Ward all have two games on the field of play, and Bruce Oxenford of Queensland one. After initially favouring up-and-coming umpires for appointments to its domestic T20 series, CA tightened its selections for last season's competition, primarily because of the huge amounts of money that is potentially available to competition winners.  Two-thirds of umpiring spots in the fifteen home-and-away matches last season went to the nation's senior listed umpires, a complete reversal of the policy that applied twelve months before that (E-News 352-1878, 23 November 2008). This year the non-NUP members will fill eleven slots, Wilson having three games, the two on the field and the other as the third umpire, while John, Peter Tate (NSW), Andrew Willoughy (South Australia) have two each watching the television screen, and Ash Barrow (Victoria) and Andrew Colling (South Australia) single games each.All six on-field positions available in T20 games in Perth are to be filled by Western Australians, while of Adelaide's six, four have been allocated to visitors, and Brisbane will see a plethora of visiting umpires as five of the six will come from interstate.  All four slots in Melbourne go to Victorian umpires, Sydney's four being half-filled by visitors.


New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has initiated a Code of Conduct hearing into accusations made by Central Districts coach Dermot Reeve this week that Auckland all-rounder Ravi Bopara engaged in ball tampering in a one-day match between the two sides last Sunday (E-News 538-2756, 23 December 2009).  NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan said yesterday that he requested the hearing to determine whether Reeve's comments were prejudicial to the game or brought it into disrepute.  The hearing, which is to be conducted by a commissioner who is to be appointed by the Central Districts Cricket Association, is expected to be held early in the New Year.


Eighty-seven per cent of Australia's current state and international players surveyed by the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) are in favour of the general Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) concept, however, they want to see better technology than is currently available introduced to assist umpires in the decision making process.  Half of those surveyed consider the system as it now stands to be either "successful or very successful", while forty-three per cent are "unsure", and seven per cent consider it "unsuccessful".ACA chief executive Paul Marsh told the Cricinfo web site that "players would like to see the technology have the ability to definitively determine whether or not a batsman is out" and "whilst players are supportive of the concept of using technology, they are yet to be convinced of the effectiveness of the current technology being used".In Marsh's view "it's human nature to expect technological tools to be foolproof and there's no doubt the new system is experiencing some teething problems".  "Now that the game has gone so far down the path of allowing technology to assist in on field decision making, the players would like to see the game invest in the technology being used so it's as good as it can be", he said.Another matter addressed by the survey was day-night Tests, fifty-seven per cent of players indicating that they are opposed to the concept.  The player's views come a week after International Cricket Council (ICC) President David Morgan said that he would be "surprised and disappointed" if a day-night Test is not played "in the next two years" (E-News 535-2742, 19 December 2009)Marsh told Cricinfo that "the most significant issue is whether or not a ball can be developed that can be used at night time", but "if an appropriate solution can be found I'm confident players and the ACA will be supportive of introducing day-night Test cricket".  The ACA chief added, however, that "it does concern us that in some quarters [which were not defined] there is talk of compromising the quality of the ball in order to introduce" such a playing concept.Marsh said that the game needs to "find an appropriate balance between the commercial and cricketing considerations".  "Many players don't want to entertain day-night Test cricket because of the traditions of the game and the fundamental changes required, [while] others are more open-minded to it, however this is only on the proviso that the game isn't compromised by doing so".Of those surveyed who were in favour of the day-night proposal, thirty-per cent of Cricket Australia (CA) contracted players said they would be amenable to day-night Tests if an appropriate ball was developed, while twenty-one per cent are of the view that it should only involve matches against "minor Test playing nations".  Cricinfo says that "with the majority [of players] against the concept, the ICC and CA could be facing a tough sell" to convince them about it.


England coach Andy Flower is unhappy with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) as he doesn't "like the questioning of the umpires and the delay as players discuss whether or not to question an umpire's decision", says a story circulated by the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.  The system is being used during the current Test series between Flower's side and South Africa (E-News 530-2714, 8 December 2009).    Flower told a news conference in Durban that he "can't say that [he's] enjoying the review system that much but it is here to stay for the series so we will deal with it as well as we can".  He "prefers the old style where the umpire makes a decision and you just get on with it [as] it was nice and simple, but the new system just seems to be leading to more and more complications".England lost seven of their own reviewed decisions in the first test of the current series at Centurion, and all-rounder Stuart Broad was seen remonstrating with the on-field umpires after being given out LBW following a South Africa referral.  Broad's concern was whether or not the home side had taken too long to ask for a referral (E-News 536-2746, 20 December 2009).The England and Wales Cricket Board (WCB) was the only national body to vote against the introduction of the UDRS when it was being considered by the International Cricket Council in June (E-News 527-2702, 23 November 2009).  ECB Chairman Giles Clarke also believes the system as it now stands "undermines the authority of on-field officials" (E-News 379-2018, 3 March 2009), and that the system used in last year's Stanford Twenty20 series in which the third umpire intervened on his own initiative in case of doubt, should be trialled at international level (E-News 370-1971, 12 February 2009).


Geoff Clelland from Vanuatu, a member of the International Cricket Council's East Asia Pacific Umpires Panel who has previously stood in lower-level international series in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vanuatu, has been appointed by Cricket Australia to stand in the twenty-sixth Australian Country Cricket Championship which is to be played in the Albury-Wadonga area from 3-14 January.  Clelland's eleven colleagues in the tournament are from the New South Wales Country Umpires Panel and Country Umpires Advisor Keith Griffiths will be the referee for the series.This year’s championships will see the inclusion of two additional teams with the debut of the Northern Territory and the return to the competition of the Australian Capital Territory, those two sides joining teams from the five mainland states and an ICC 'East Asia Pacific' side.  Also making its debut at the championships will be the Twenty20 format, meaning that the players will be tested in all forms of the game over the twelve-day competition.





Tasmanian umpiring is to return to the Sheffield Shield for the first time in almost four years late next month when TCUSA member Steven John stands in the state side's match against Victoria at Bellerive.  John, who made his first class debut in a tour match last week (E-News 532-2723, 15 December 2009), was appointed to his first Shield match by Cricket Australia  (CA) on Christmas Eve, as well as a second in early February in which Queensland will be the visitors.The Tasmanian's selection comes in his seventh season of umpiring.  Apart from the single first class match, he has stood in eleven one-day domestic matches and worked in the television suite in four others, umpired four domestic Twenty20 contests, in three Emerging Players Tournaments, three men's Under 19 Championships, four CA Cup games and a range of high-level pre-season series interstate in winter and autumn over the last two years.  In addition, John has also been the reserve umpire in a Test and two One Day Internationals (ODI), stood in a youth Test and two youth ODIs, and was awarded a twelve-month Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship Program grant to further develop his umpire-related skills (E-News 369-1963, 9 February 2009).  Richard Widows, Tasmania's State Director of Umpires told E-News that he is pleased to see John recognised by CA with the two appointments. Apart from John, twelve other umpires were named by CA for the eight Shield games scheduled around the country over the four weeks from 29 January and 25 February.  Ten of those assigned to matches are from the National Umpires Panel (NUP), with Ian Lock (Western Australia) like John being involved in two matches, while one game each has been allocated to his state colleagues Jeff Brookes and Mick Martell, as well as Gerard Abood and Rod Tucker (NSW), Victorians John and Tony Ward, Geoff Joshua and Bob Parry, and South Australian Simon Fry.  The other two NUP members, Bruce Oxenford (Queensland) and Paul Reiffel (Victoria) will be busy with ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals while the eight Shield games are underway (E-News 540-2767 below).The other two to receive Shield appointments are Paul Wilson of Western Australia a member of CA's 'Project Panel' for former first class players who is to stand in one match, his second first class game as an umpire, and South African member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Marais Erasmus, for two.  Erasmus stood in the recent ODI series between India and South Africa (E-News 540-2766 below), and like Tucker is a member of the ICC's four-man emerging umpires group (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009).  His Australian visit appears to be part of the umpire exchange agreement between CA and Cricket South Africa which operated for the first time last February-March (E-News 368-1956, 6 February 2009).  No announcement has yet been made as to whether an Australian umpire will work in South Africa in March, as was the case with Tucker last year, or if so, who might be involved, although Oxenford and Reiffel appear the most likely candidates.Tucker is to stand with John at Bellerive in the latter's second Shield match.  That game will finish on 11 February at the latest and Tucker's next CA appointment is as the third umpire in the Twenty20 International between Australia and the West Indies at Bellerive on 21 February (E-News 540-2767 below).  New Zealand is to play Bangladesh in a single Test match in Hamilton from 15-19 February, therefore CA's latest match allocations continue to support suggestions that Tucker will stand in the NZ match, his first in a Test.


The final One Day International of the series between India and Sri Lanka was suspended due to unplayable conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi yesterday.  Sri Lanka were put in to bat on a surface that had an uneven sprinkling of grass on it, and they were 5/83 after 23.3 overs when match officials deemed the surface too treacherous for play to continue.The players left the field as officials from the staging association together with match referee Alan Hurst of Australia and the on-field umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Indian Shavir Tarapore headed for the pavilion for a closed-room discussion.  India's bowlers, aided generously by hazy morning conditions and a surface that provided considerable variable bounce, had left Sri Lanka in disarray.Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya had battled on and helped the visitors recover some ground, both living dangerously on the edge in that period.  Dilshan was then rapped on the elbow by a delivery from Nehra which took off from good length resulting in a delay in proceedings as he received treatment.  Jayasuriya was also hit on the gloves by a delivery and play was stopped for the third time as he was attended to by the physio.Both batsman fell almost immediately after those blows and Sri Lanka slipped to 5/63. They had avoided losing any further wickets when a delivery from debutant Sudeep Tyagi again took off from good length and flew well over Thilina Kandamby's head.  At that point Erasmus and Tarapore decided to intervene and they were joined by Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara and Hurst in an on-field discussion after which the players left the field.Hurst said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council last night that "the decision to abandon the match was taken by myself, in consultation with the on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore, and both captains as it was clear that the pitch had extremely variable bounce and was too dangerous for further play".  “I’d like to commend the on-field umpires and captains for continuing as long as they did in the hope that the pitch may settle down [but] unfortunately, this did not happen".He concluded by saying that “before abandoning the match, consideration was given to shifting the match to a secondary pitch, however, it was deemed impractical as the secondary pitch was not adequately prepared".


Five Australian umpires, two from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and three from its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be involved in managing Australia's ten One Day International and three Twenty20 International (T2OI) matches against Pakistan and the West Indies in the month commencing 22 January.  The ICC is yet to name the 'neutral' umpires and match referees for the ODIs, although there were indications last month that New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden will be in Australia for the West Indian one dayers (E-News 522-2688, 13 November 2009). IUP member Paul Reiffel will be the busiest of the five Australians having been assigned to twelve matches over the thirty days, while his colleagues Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford will work in eight and six games respectively, and EUP members Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel in one match each.  The single T20I at Bellerive on 21 February will be looked after by Oxenford and Reiffel with Tucker the third umpire, while TCUSA member Steven John will be the fourth official.   Reiffel, who made his on-field debut in an ODI last season, will work in two more in that capacity, one each involving the two touring sides, plus seven matches in the television suite.  Three of Tucker's five ODIs, all which involve Pakistan, will be on the field and the other two as the third umpire, while Oxenford's four, three on-field and one television spot, involve the West Indies.  Taufel will be on the field in one Pakistan ODI, and Harper in a single West Indian game.The three T20Is will see Oxenford, Reiffel and Tucker share the appointments, each having two games on the field and one as the third umpire.The fourth umpire position in the ODIs will be filled in their respective capital cities by Gerard Abood (NSW), Simon Fry (South Australia), Ian Lock and Mick Martell (Western Australia), Norm McNamara (Queensland), and John and Tony Ward (Victoria).  Abod, Fry and McNamara will be involved in two games each and the others in single games.  Abood, Tony Ward and Tasmania's John will be the fourth officials in the T20Is.Victorian Parry and Yohan Ramasundara of the Australian Capital Territory have been appointed to the one-day match between the West Indies and a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on 4 February.  This is the third year in a row that Ramasundara will have stood in a PM XI match.