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December 07 (147-164)

TCUSA E-NEWS DECEMBER 2007

18 EDITIONS 

 

Number 147 – 4 December 2007 [EN0799-0804]

Number 148 – 5 December 2007 [EN0804-0812]

Number 149 – 6 December 2007 [EN0813-0818]

Number 150 – 7 December 2007 [EN0819-0826]

Number 151 – 10 December 2007 [EN0827-0836]

Number 152 – 11 December 2007 [EN0837-0844]

Number 153 – 12 December 2007 [EN0845-0849]

Number 154 – 13 December 2007 [EN0850-0854]

Number 155 – 14 December 2007 [EN0855-0860]

Number 156 – 17 December 2007 [EN0861-0862]

Number 157 – 18 December 2007 [EN0863-0865]

Number 158 – 20 December 2007 [EN0866-0870]

Number 159 – 24 December 2007 [EN0871-0873]

Number 160 – 27 December 2007 [EN0874]

Number 161 – 28 December 2007 [EN0875-0878]

Number 162 – 29 December 2007 [EN0879-0878]

Number 163 – 30 December 2007 [EN0879-0883]

Number 164 – 31 December 2007 [EN0884-0886]

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 147, 4 December 2007

 

UMPIRE FALLS ILL DURING INDIA-PAKISTAN TEST

West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove fell ill on the fourth day of the Second Test match between India and Pakistan in Kolkata yesterday and had to leave the field after complaining of chest pain and blurred vision, the third time an umpire has had to leave the ground in a Test in the past year due to illness.  Doctrove's hour-long absence brought third umpire Amiesh Saheba, who is an Indian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International umpires panel (IUP), on to the ground in a Test match for the first time.  Saheba, who played fifteen First Class cricket for Gujarat, was in the third official's chair in a Test for only the second time, having over the last fourteen years umpired forty-three games at First Class level and eighteen One Day Internationals.  Doctrove reportedly felt giddy 50 minutes into the morning session and Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh was seen holding him as a physio also rushed out to assist.  The West Indian, who was standing with South African umpire Rudi Koertzen (E-News 143-783, 28 November 2007), was treated at the emergency medical unit of the Cricket Association of Bengal at the Eden Gardens stadium, a doctor telling 'The Hindu' newspaper's correspondent that the West Indian's blood pressure "had shot up and he was advised to rest for some time".  Despite that Doctrove, who keeps fit in his home gymnasium (E-News 132-716, 1 November 2007), recovered quickly, and went back on to the field after the lunch break.  Fourth official K G Laxminarayan became the third umpire during Doctrove's absence with local umpire Sudip Moitra taking over his role.  Last month Australian IUP member Peter Parker took over in the Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Hobart when Pakistan's Aleem Dar became ill (E-News 136-737, 17 November 2007), while late last December Mark Benson, England's ICC 'Elite' umpire, had to leave the field and go to hospital during South Africa's Test against India due to what were reported to be heart palpitations.  EN147-804. 

 

ANOTHER NON FIRST CLASS OFFICIAL ADDED TO ICL UMPIRING GROUP 

The Indian Cricket League (ICL) has added a fifth umpire from England to its umpiring panel who becomes the second in the group not to have officiated at First Class level.  Score cards published for the first six ICL matches played over the last four days indicate that Ken Horden, an umpire records indicate has officiated in a single County Second XI match over two years ago, stood in the second match of the new series on Saturday.  Horden's appointment, along with that of ICL colleague Dean Johnstone who also has no First Class experience (E-News 140-759, 22 November 2007), suggests that the new league has had difficulty attracting senior umpires to its ranks, despite the reported "extremely lucrative" contracts involved (E-News 142-773, 26 November 2007).  Current County umpires Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty (E-News 143-777, 27 November 2007), stood in the opening game of the series in Chandigarth on Friday with Ray Julian as the third official and Indian Ajit Wadekar as the match referee.  To date Horden has stood in one match, Jesty and Johnston two each, Julian in three and Evans in four games.  Thirteen more ICL matches, including four double-headers, are scheduled between now and the final on 16 December.  EN147-803.  

 

RESPECT FOR GAME A KEY INGREDIENT SAYS ELITE UMPIRE

Respect for the game is the "over riding consideration" for umpires who want to make it to senior levels, says Australian international umpire Daryl Harper.  Speaking on a two file audio clip posted on the International Cricket Council's web site, Harper stressed that in his view every umpire should be themselves and "never try to imitate some one else's style, behaviour, method of control or communication as people will see through that"; an approach that echoes comments by his West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove last month (E-News 132-716, 1 November 2007).  In addition, Harper emphasised that umpires are "not out there to be noticed" and have to be able to "survive not having [their] name in the paper", and if they achieve both those aims they will have done a good job.  Harper says that he initially "struggled" with the increase scrutiny of umpires via television in recent years but that he has now "come to terms with the fact that it is an entertainment package".  He does not believe that Hawk Eye is entirely accurate when it comes to LBW decisions, particularly when it comes to bounce and height.  The Australian says that he doesn't "take a lot of notice of the scrutiny from the media these days [as he's] got [his] own self to please and [he] thinks there are better judges of those [he] reads [in the media], or [rather that he] used to read".  Asked about his relationship with players, Harper says that as in so many things every umpire is different in his approach, but personally he likes to talk with the non-striker or square leg fielder during a match.  As for off the field he says that "players have to put up with us [umpires] for 6-7 hours a day so they don't want to see too much of us" post match therefore "players go about their leave time and I go about mine".  One of the benefits of travelling the world is that there is usually "an umpiring fraternity that wants to meet us, learn from us, and share experiences with us", so he gets "a lot of benefit and a lot of enjoyment from speaking with and socialising with local umpires".  Harper recently umpired two Tests in South Africa involving New Zealand (E-News 117-631, 15 October 2007) and is scheduled to stand in the Second and Third Tests of the current series between Sri Lanka and England, games that will take his Test match total to 69 (E-News 125-682, 31 October 2007).  The Australian's personal umpiring web page has been quiet for the last two months after a brief return in October following a six-month hiatus (E-News 98-527, 12 September 2007).  EN147-802.  

 

CANADIAN, SOUTH AFRICAN UMPS STAND IN WCL DIVISION 2 FINAL

Karran Bayney from Canada and Karl Hurter from South African stood in the final of the World Cricket League's Division 2 tournament in Namibia last Saturday between Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  On the same day South Africans Adrian Holdstock and Cliffie Isaacs managed the match for third place between Namibia and Denmark, while Dane Niels Bagh and Namibia's Jeff Luck stood in the game for fifth place that featured Argentina and Uganda (E-News 141-761, 23 November 2007).  The UAE won the eighteen-match series and they Denmark, Namibia and Oman have therefore booked their spot in the 2009 qualifying series for the 2011 World Cup.  Argentina and Uganda were relegated from Division 2 but will have a second chance to book a place in that 2009 tournament when they play in the next Division 3 tournament, as the top two in that competition will also make the qualifier.  EN147-801.

 

KOERTZEN POSITIVE ABOUT KIRTSEN'S CREDENTIALS AS COACH 

South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen took the unusual step for a match official by commenting on the newly appointed coach of one of the teams he is currently umpiring in a Test series.  Koertzen, who is standing in his eighty-seventh Test, believes his countryman Gary Kirsten will prove to be an effective coach for India, according to an article published in the Indian newspaper 'The Hindu' on Saturday.  Speaking on the eve of the current Test, Koertzen was quoted as saying  that Kirsten “has the right technical attributes and is mentally strong [and] I'm sure he will deliver".  “Apart from his credentials as a cricketer, I like his attitude [as] he played the game in a fair manner, never created a scene on the field, and seldom questioned an umpiring decision", says Koertzen.  Asked whether "a quiet man like Kirsten" would be able to assert himself as India’s coach, Koertzen responded that "you don’t have to shout from the rooftop to be a good coach, [for while he] may be a quiet man he is a very firm and strong in his own right".  "I do not think he will be soft" but "I do not think he would be rude" either, said Koertzen.  EN147-800.

 

MUMBLINGS ARISE OVER AKHTAR'S ACTION

Indian players have reportedly questioned Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action and asked their administrators to look into the matter, according to news reports from the sub-continent.  When the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Niranjan Shah was asked his opinion he apparently pointed out that Akhtar has previously been cleared, being quoted as saying, however, that "it does not mean the clean chit is for life".  Shah said that Indian does not plan to take the matter up with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as "it is up to the field umpires" to make a formal report to the match referee on the matter.  EN147-799. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 148, 5 December 2007

 

BEES STOP PLAY IN KANDY TEST

A swarm of bees halted play for several minutes on the fourth day of the First Test between Sri Lanka and England in Kandy yesterday.  Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf was the first to spot the swarm as it flew across Asgiriya Stadium and laid down, followed soon after by the players an his umpiring countryman Aleem Dar.  All involved reportedly remained on the ground for several minutes until the bees moved on.  Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who has played on the ground since his school days, told local media outlets that to his knowledge angry bees have invaded the stadium at least twice before.  EN148-812.

 

UMPIRES 'STRIKE' FOR FREE TICKETS AND BETTER PAY

Umpires in the regions around Bangalore in India have refused to stand in lower league matches as a "protest against discrimination practised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA)", say press reports published in Mysore last weekend.  The protest, which is said to involve around 300 umpires, including "120 qualified ones" from  the outlying centres of Mysore, Mangalore and Shimoga, was sparked when the KSCA failed to give them free passes to the One Day International between India and Pakistan in Bangalore last month, while umpires from the city proper were  "provided with passes along with voluntary badges".  The regional umpires, who claim to have been provided with such passes for decades, want the KSCA to give them complimentary passes three days prior to all the matches the State Association conducts.  In addition, the protesting umpires alleged that the KSCA takes three to four months to pay them for matches they stand in and have called for their basic match fees to rise from the equivalent of $A6 to $A8.50 for non-qualified officials, and from $A11.40 to $A14.25 for those who are qualified.  EN148-811.

 

PARKER REPLACES TAUFEL FOR BELLERIVE ODI

Australian international umpire Simon Taufel will not be standing in the One Day International (ODI) between Australia and New Zealand at Bellerive on 20 December, nor in the game between the two sides in Sydney a few days earlier as originally scheduled (E-News 133-724, 14 November 2007).  International Cricket Council (ICC) International umpire panel (IUP) member Peter Parker from Queensland will replace Taufel for the Hobart match and his IUP colleague Steve Davis from South Australia for the game in Sydney.  ICC 'Elite' umpire panel member Mark Benson from England is still the world body's 'neutral' umpire for the three-match series, and Australian IUP third umpiring member Bruce Oxenford the third umpire, while the fourth officials named for the Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart also remain unchanged.  No reasons have been given for the change to Taufel's appointment.  EN148-810.

 

MELBOURNE, ADELAIDE, UMPIRES STANDING IN CA CUP MATCHES

Umpires from Melbourne and Adelaide are standing in the two four-day Cricket Australia (CA) Cup matches being played in those cities this week.  Geoff Joshua and C Stevens are managing the match between the Second XIs from Victoria and Western and Australia at the Albert Ground, while Andrew Willoughby and Luke Uthenwoldt are officiating in the game at the Adelaide Oval involving the home Second XI and their counterparts from NSW.  Joshua, who is officiating in his second CA Cup match, has stood in men's Under 17 and Under 19 tournaments, and over the last two years in eleven games in the Women's National Cricket League (WNCL); however, no details are available about Steven's career to date.  Adelaide-based Andrew Willoughby, who is standing in his fifth CA Cup match, has worked as the third umpire in five one-day, 50 over, interstate domestic games, an interstate Twenty20, this year's Emerging Players tournament (E-News 66-360, 13 July 2007), a tour match involving Sri Lanka in October (E-News 99-535, 13 September 2007), two Under 17 and an Under 19 men's tournaments, five WNCL games, a women's Test match and two women's One Day Internationals.  Uthenwoldt is in his second CA Cup match, his debut in the competition last February occurring a few months after he officiated in last year's men's Under 19 tournament in Adelaide.  EN148-809.

 

TODAY'S GABBA DAY-NIGHT MATCH TO MCNAMARA, WARD

Tonight's one-day, 50 over domestic day-night match between Queensland and South Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane will be the tenth and sixteenth in that competition respectively for local Norm McNamara and Victorian member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) John Ward.  McNamara, who returned to domestic First Class cricket after a two-year absence last month (E-News 136-736, 17 November 2007) umpired in his first interstate one-day match five years ago and Ward one year before that.  Third umpire for the game will be another local and NUP member Tim Laycock.  EN148-808.

 

TEST PITCH GETS THE 'HAMMER' TREATMENT

The pitch being used for the Second Test between India and Pakistan at Eden Gardens in Kolkata got the 'hammer' treatment at the end of the first day's play in the match last Saturday, according to an Indian media report.  In what one newspaper story claimed was "an audacious move that they could well have been avoided", a groundsman "quietly walked up to the pitch with a hammer in hand, and went about knocking on both ends of the wicket".  The man apparently told 'The Indian Express' that he was following instructions from chief curator Kalyan Mitra as "both popping crease areas were looking very rough [so] we tapped on the rough patches with a hammer so that the surface doesn’t [break up] as the match progresses".  Mitra apparently told the newspaper that "the action was to ensure that the rough patches at either end don’t break up midway into the match".  The 'Express" article claims that the work undertaken on the pitch was not done under the auspices of match officials and that as such it is a "gross violation of International Cricket Council rules" which "debards any 'external application to the pitch" without their authorisation".  According to the story neither South African Rudi Koertzen, West Indian Billy Doctrove or third umpire India's Amish Saheba, was present "when the suspicious hammer treatment was in progress", however, no mention is made as to whether the fourth official, local K G Laxminarayan, was present or if the newspaper had sought comment from match referee Ranjan Madugalle, the International Cricket Council's senior official for the Test.  EN148-807.

 

CROWDED DRINKS BREAKS AT EDEN GARDENS

As many as thirty-nine people, including an unprecedented sixteen-man ground staff, have been on the field during drink intervals in the Second Test India-Pakistan Test match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata over the last four days, according to reports from the sub-continent.   In addition to the thirteen players and two umpires, three non-playing Pakistani and one Indian player, and the sixteen groundsmen, four people drag the drinks trolley on to the ground.  Unlike most countries, says the report, there are extended ground staffs at almost every international venue in India and Pakistan, and the activity at Eden Gardens makes it probably "the biggest 'crowd' on any cricket ground" in the world.  EN148-806.

 

SHOWERS MAY IMPACT ON NEXT SUNDAY'S TCA MATCHES

There should be a little rain on Friday as a cold front clears the state, but Saturday is expected to be fine with a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.  Another cold front could be crossing Tasmania around the middle of the day on Sunday bringing showers to the Hobart area and could thus affect matches being played on that day, although the temperature will be similar to that on Saturday.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN148-805.  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 149, 6 December 2007

 

CALL FOR MORE 'PRO-ACTIVE' THIRD UMPIRES

Cricinfo 'blogger' Rob Steen believes that third umpires in televised matches should be able to be more pro-active when they see that their on-field colleagues have made an incorrect decision.  Steen uses as an example the LBW dismissal of Englishman Ryan Sidebottom in England's first innings of this week's First Test between Sri Lanka and England in Kandy.  While admitting that "in real time, it was far from obvious, to this couch potato at least, that anything was amiss", the fact that Sidebottom "got an inside edge to the ball that thudded fatally into his pads was beyond doubt from the very first replay transmitted by 'Sky' (television)".  Steen believes that "surely the third umpire Tyron Hirantha Wijewardene, should have been in a position to pick up his walkie-talkie and gently alert [Pakistani international umpire] Asad Rauf to the bat’s involvement before he made a fool of himself". Proactivity says the blogger, "may be one of those horrid buzzwords coined by management consultants" but the emphasis is on 'active' and in this case Wijewardene should have been able to "act".  Steen emphasised that in his view "no blame should be attached to Rauf [as it] had been a long day, a draining, concentration-sapping match, and visibility was deteriorating".  However, he says, the Sidebottom case"served to reinforce the argument a small but avowedly and incredibly sensible cadre of cricket-lovers have been voicing for some time" that the "days of the strictly reactive third official should be terminated with extreme, even excessive, prejudice". "One-way relationships seldom work", says Steen.  EN149-818.

 

ZIMBABWE'S TIFFIN SET FOR 100TH ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL

Zimbabwean international umpire Russell Tiffin appears likely to stand in his 100th One Day International (ODI) during the last two matches of the current series his nation's side is to play against the touring West Indies side over the next few days.  Tiffin and Kevin Barbour, Zimbabwe's umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) International Umpiring Panel (IUP), have stood with South African IUP member Brian Jerling in the first three games in the five-match One Day International series in Harare, Barbour officiating twice and Tiffin once.  The final two matches are to be played in the provincial city of Bulawayo tomorrow and on Sunday.  Tiffin, who was a member of the ICC's 'Elite' panel in the first two years of its existence, has officiated in a total of seventy-nine First Class matches, a figure that includes thirty-eight Tests.  One of the latter was at Bellerive Oval in 1997 when he and his colleague Steve Davis of Australia worked together in a match between Australia and New Zealand.  EN149-817.

 

BAT DISINTEGRATION INTERPRETATION QUESTIONED

A free part of a disintegrating bat that landed on the stumps and removed a bail after a batsman played a stroke at a ball would mean that the batsman would be dismissed, and not 'not out', according to E-News reader Ric Evans.  Evans, who is the Umpires Manager at the Western Australian Cricket Association in Perth, disagrees with the view of the UK-based Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) that South African player Mark Boucher would have been able to remain at the crease had the part of his bat that left the blade during a recent One Day International against New Zealand had actually hit his stumps (E-News 146-794, 30 November 2007).  Evans believes that Law 28, which covers when 'The Wicket is Down', is a more appropriate point of reference than ICUS's focus on Law 35.1 ('Hit Wicket').  Law 28.1(a)(iii) says that "any part of [a batsman's] clothing or equipment becoming detached from his person" can put the wicket down, and as a result Evans believes that in the case described, if part of Boucher's bat had hit the stumps and dislodged the bails last week then the South African would have been 'out'.  EN149-816.

 

NO SIGN OF HAIR'S MOOTED MEMOIRS

Media reports earlier this year that Australian international umpire Darrell Hair's memoirs would be published "in time for Christmas" appear to either incorrect, or circumstances have led to their non-production this year.  Hair was reported last March to be writing a book on his career, however, there is no sign as yet of it hitting bookshelves around the country (E-News 24-137, 5 April 2007).  The Australian is currently undergoing what the International Cricket Council calls "rehabiltation" prior to a possible return to high-level cricket next year, and recently undertook a man management course as part of that program (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2007).  On Monday Hair was quoted by a local newspaper in Mudgee, NSW, following a visit there last weekend, that he would like to continue umpiring international test matches in the future and that he'd like to finish his career on his terms.  According to the article Hair believes that the game of cricket has changed with “people [being] more willing to ask questions these days".  Asked about the future of cricket in Australia he said that he’d like to think that cricket authorities were gathering more information about how to do things better and that "more resources could go into making things better from the grass roots all the way up".  Hair is Deputy Chairman of the Community Cricket Trust in the UK, the parent body of Institute of Cricket Umpires of Scorers in the UK, the Trust having as one of its aims the promotion of grass roots cricket (E-News 72-396, 26 July 2007).  Hair was said to be "uncertain" about the future of Twenty20 cricket, although he thought that it "has its place in the game", however, despite its popularity he personally didn’t think it would develop into a serious international game.  Asked the best advice he could give to young players Hair was reported to have "joked" that it would be “always listen to the umpire".  EN149-815.

 

LAST TCUSA MEETING FOR 2007 TO INCLUDE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION

The Association's final meeting for the 2007 calendar year today week will see food and drinks available once the official proceedings for the night have been completed.  Prior to the celebrations match appointments for the weekend of 15-16 December and 5-6 January will be provided and members should ensure that they have advised TCUSA President-Administrator Graeme Hamley of their availability on those days.  Members involved in the National Umpires Accreditation Scheme (NUAS-2) should note that there will be no 6.30 p.m. meeting next Wednesday.  NUAS-2 training will continue in the New Year and the dates of meetings and their subjects will be provided via this newsletter as soon as they are available.    EN149-814.

 

RAIN, SHOWERS, LIKELY TO AFFECT SUNDAY'S TCA MATCHES

TCUSA members managing matches in the Hobart area on Sunday are likely to have to deal with interruptions to their games by rain and showers as a cold front crosses Tasmania.  There should be a little rain tomorrow as another cold front clears the state, but the weather is expected by be fine for Saturday's matches.  The maximum temperature on both days of the weekend is expected to be around 22-23 degrees Celsius.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN149-813.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 150, 7 December 2007

 

ENGLISH PRESS FOCUS ON RAUF 'ERROR', ROLE OF THIRD UMPIRE

Reports on England's loss to Sri Lanka published in a range of British newspapers yesterday have focused on an apparent error made by Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf, and what they say is "the need" to allow third umpires in televised matches to "correct" obvious errors made by their on-field colleagues.  Rauf gave English batsman Ryan Sidebottom out LBW at what the press is describing as a "critical phase of the game", replays available "very shortly after the decision", said the 'Daily Telegraph', showing that Sidebottom had in fact "inside-edged the ball on to his back pad".  Writing in 'The Independent', Stephen Brenkley said that "it was unfortunate that Rauf erred when he did, but it was a reminder that long days in the field affect umpires as well as players".  Rauf, he said "had been called on to answer a succession of appeals, usually for leg before, sometimes for close catches [and] usually, both he and his Pakistani colleague Aleem Dar got it right". Brenkley said that the pair "were exemplary, and are two of the best four or four five umpires in the world".  While England captain Michael Vaughan declared that such incidents were "just cricket", "we must not leave it there", said Simon Hughes of 'The Daily Telegraph'.  According to him "it is high time the third umpire was given wider powers to reverse such decisions if he has clear-cut and immediate evidence", a comment that was echoed in several other English publications (E-News 149-818, 6 December 2007).  Hughes makes the point that England batsman Kevin Pietersen "was reinstated after being given out at Lord's last [northern] summer after square-leg umpire Steve Bucknor of the West Indies indicated that he had reservations that a catch had in fact carried (E-News 75-411, 31 July 2007).  "There is no provision for the third umpire to intervene in LBW verdicts", says Hughes, "but there should be".  In his view Rauf could have been advised by radio of his error, and that would have resulted "in an instant correction, and justice would have been swiftly and almost imperceptibly done".  Both John Etheridge in 'The Sun' and Brenkley said that there was every indication that Rauf had apologised to Sidebottom shortly after the match ended and that the umpire and player shook hands on the field.  South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen acted similarly in a not dissimilar incident last month when replays quickly showed a caught behind decision that he made was in fact incorrect (E-News 139-753, 21 November 2007).  EN150-826.

 

TASMANIAN UMPIRE STANDS IN CA WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT

Launceston-based umpire Caroline McGregor stood in the women's version of the Cricket Australia (CA) Cup for state Second XI sides in Canberra this week.  During the twelve-match series teams from the six states each played four one-day, 50 over matches, McGregor officiating in three games, the other umpires used for the tournament coming from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  ACT umpires manager Brian Lawrence told E-News yesterday that his colleagues agreed to a request from his Tasmanian counterpart Richard Widows that McGregor stand in the series.  Funding for her trip came from a $1,000 grant she received last month from the Lord Taveners Club to help with the cost of attending carnivals.  McGregor, whose has said in the past that her ambition is to be the first of her sex to stand in a women's Test match (E-News 7-45, 22 February 2007), is to travel to Brisbane next month to officiate in the 2008 women's Under 19 national tournament in Brisbane.  She stood in the 2007 series played in Hobart last January (E-News 4-22, 5 January 2007).  EN150-825. 

 

JENNER CALLS FOR IN-MATCH TESTING OF BOWLERS

Former Australian leg break bowler Terry Jenny has called for in-match testing of bowlers, telling the BBC in an interview that "as great as [Sri Lankan] Murali Muralitharan's world record wicket feat is, there will always be some who will doubt his bowling action".  The International Cricket Council is believed to be working with biomechanists on a new product that will enable bowlers with suspect actions to be tested via sensors that would be worn during play and linked to computers off the field, however, a working system is understood to be at least two years away (E-News 135-735, 16 November 2007).  Jenner said he was "amazed" by what Muralitharan "does with his wrist" and "doesn't want to take anything away from his achievement", but he believes that the laboratory tests he has undergone on several occasions are by their nature "staged" and that the bowling action used isn't necessarily the same as in a match.  It is "very sad" that the Sri Lankan's action is still questioned by some said Jenner, and on-field testing is needed not just for Muralitharan "but for everyone".  Last month a UK-based journalist claimed that some international umpires believe Muralitharan's bowling action is still "illegal" but they "don't dare say so publicly or officially for fear of imperilling their own careers" (E-News 133-728, 14 November 2007).  EN150-824.

 

DATE SET FOR FIRST PINK BALL MATCH TRIAL 

A pink ball is to be used in a game for the first time next month as part of a trial being conducted into that colour's durability in match conditions. The game, a women's interstate Twenty20 series match between Queensland and Western Australia, is to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane on 10 January as a curtain-raiser to an evening men's Twenty20 between the home side and Tasmania.  Pink balls could replaced the white ones used in one-day domestic cricket in England if the trial and other tests conducted over the next year by the Marylebone  Cricket Club prove the flourescent colour is more durable (E-News 133-726, 14 November 2007).   Use of the ball in a women's game continues a tradition of firsts, the Cricinfo web site pointing out that the first use of overarm bowling, the World Cup concept and the first international Twenty20 all involved women's matches.  EN150-823. 

 

RIAZUDDIN SET FOR 200TH FIRST CLASS MATCH

Pakistani umpire Riazuddin, who was suspended from umpiring international cricket by his home Board for a so-far undefined period, is expected to stand in his 200th First Class match sometime in the next few weeks (E-News  133-729, 14 November 2007).  In the time since his suspension, Riazuddin has stood in four First Class games in Pakistan, spending a total of fifteen days on the ground in those games in just three weeks.  Eleven of the Pakistani's 199 First Class matches to date have been in Tests in New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.  Despite his suspension, Riazuddin is still listed on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) web site as Pakistan's third umpire on the world body's International Umpires Panel, having been promoted to that position after the promotion of his countryman Asad Rauf to the ICC's 'Elite' panel last year.  Riazuddin has also stood in twelve One Day Internationals.  Yesterday was the twenty-third anniversary of the start of his first First Class match.  EN150-822. 

 

TEST UMPIRES TO CONDUCT SEMINAR IN COLOMBO 

International Cricket Council 'Elite' panel umpires Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf from Pakistan and Daryl Harper from Australia are to conduct a one-day seminar for seventy-one senior Sri Lankan umpires in Colombo later today Australian time.   The three umpires, who are standing in the current three-Test series between Sri Lanka and England, are to address the locals "on a wide range of topics relating to their international careers, coping up with pressure situations, international laws and adjusting to various conditions when officiating in different countries", says 'The Hindu' newspaper.  The seminar is believed to have been organised by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.  EN150-821.

 

ASIAN CRICKET COUNCIL UMPIRES AND SCORERS COURSE UNDERWAY

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is currently running a four-day, Level 1, Umpiring and Scorers course in Malaysia, according to a news report from Qatar.  It is believed that the course will run from 6-9 December, however, details of just who is presenting it, its content, and how many people are taking part are unknown at this stage as there is no reference to the course on the ACC's web site.   Eighteen nations make up the ACC, those involved being: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.  EN150-820.

 

FINE SATURDAY, RAIN AND SHOWERS ON SUNDAY, FOR HOBART

TCUSA members managing matches in the Hobart area on Sunday are likely to have to deal with interruptions to their games by rain and showers as a cold front crosses Tasmania.  There should be a little today (Friday) as a cold front clears the state, but the weather is expected by be fine for Saturday's matches.  The maximum temperature on both days of the weekend is expected to be around 22-23 degrees Celsius.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN150-819. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 151, 10 December 2007

 

UNDER 19 NATIONAL SERIES KEY TOURNAMENT FOR UMPIRING CAREERS

Umpires from around the nation could be at a key point in their careers when they stand in the men's national Under 19 championship which is scheduled to start in Hobart today and run for two weeks.  With membership of the twelve-member National Umpires Panel (NUP) unchanged for two years (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007), and with several of its members likely to retire in the next twelve to eighteen months, umpires who perform well over the next fortnight, in one-day domestic and other interstate matches this season and other higher-level competitions, could be in contention for promotion to the NUP in the short to medium term. The eight umpires involved in the U19 series will be Yohan Ramasandra (ACT), Darren Goodger (NSW), Mark Donfield (Northern Territory), Darren Moloney (Queensland), Andrew Willoughby (South Australia), Steven John (Tasmania), Tony Ward (Victoria), and Mick Martell (Western Australia).  All are members of their State or Territory umpiring squads who already have a range of experience (E-News 151-835 below), being chosen for the tournament by their respective coaches as having the potential to perhaps move on to the NUP level and beyond.  National Umpiring Manager Andrew Scotford told the TCUSA Annual Seminar in October that as a result of this year's national review of umpiring (E-News 9-49, 25 February 2007), Cricket Australia (CA) considers the overall pathway for suitably talented and motivated umpires to be via State Squads, the annual men's Under 19 series, the Emerging Umpires Program, the National Umpires Panel (NUP), and then if they show outstanding abilities, to international matches.  Given that pathway the eight umpires, who are expected to stand in four one-day and three two-day matches over the next two weeks will, for the first time during an U19 series, be closely observed by all six state umpiring managers as well as the three-man National Umpires Selection Panel (NUSP).  That group of coaches and administrators are understood to be planning to use the championship to develop a nationally-coordinated and standardised approach to umpire training and evaluation, and to further refine aspects of CA's pathway concept.  State coaches in attendance are expected to include Brian Lawrence (ACT), Graham Reid (NSW), Bob Woods (South Australia), Richard Widows (Tasmania), Bob Stratford (Victoria) and Ric Evans (Western Australia), while NUSP Convenor Scotford will be joined by his selection colleagues Dick French and Tony Crafter (E-News 89-477, 28 August 2007).  EN151-836.

 

FIRST CLASS EXPERIENCE AMONGST U19 TOURNAMENT UMPIRES

Two of the eight umpires nominated by State and Territory coaches to stand in this season's Under 19 men's national tournament in Hobart (E-News 151-836 above), have already had limited experience at First Class level, while six have officiated in one-day domestic 50 over and similar matches or Cricket Australia Cup games, and two in Youth or Women's internationals.  Of the eight, whose age ranges between 24 and 48, five are taking part in the U19 series for the second or third time and four have officiated at an Under 17 national men's tournament in the past.  Tony Ward from Victoria, who at 48 is the oldest umpire selected, has stood in three First Class matches to date, two of them in the interstate domestic series, while thirty-six-year-old Darren Goodger of NSW made his debut at that level last month (E-News 138-748, 20 November 2007).  Ward and Goodger have seven and six matches respectively on the one-day interstate series under their belt, and Steven John, who is 45, stood in his first two games this season and Mick Martell (41) from Western Australia his first, while Andrew Willoughby of South Australia who is 43 has to date been involved in five such games as the third official.  Darren Moloney from Queensland, who is 37, has taken part in the last three Emerging Players Tournaments, John, Martell, and Willoughby joining him for this year's series last July (E-News 66-360, 13 July 2007); while the youngest of the eight, Mark Donfield of the Northern Territory who is just 24, officiated in the Institute Challenge in Darwin last August (E-News 88-471, 26 August 2007).  The Cricket Australia Cup for state Second XIs has seen Ward stand in nine matches, Goodger eight, Willoughby six and John and Ramasandra (29) three each; while Ward has officiated in ten Women's National Cricket League games, Willoughby five and Martell one.  On the international scene Goodger has umpired a Youth International, and Willoughby both a Women's Test and two One Day Internationals.  EN151-835. 

 

ANOTHER INCIDENT HIGHLIGHTS THIRD UMPIRE QUESTION

A controversial catch that ended England batsman Kevin Pietersen's innings on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday has again highlighted recent questioning of the third umpire's role in televised matches (E-News 150-826, 7 December 2007).  The Cricinfo web site is reporting today that Pietersen edged his fifth delivery low to slip where Chamara Silva dived to his left and parried the ball up behind him allowing Kumar Sangakkara to hold the rebound. Cricinfo says that there was "no doubt about Sangakkara's catch, but the problems arose around Silva's initial take with replays showing the ball may have been grounded".  England captain Michael Vaughan was quoted by the web site as saying that "the third umpire should have been consulted" on the dismissal.  Cricinfo is reporting that "Pietersen stood his ground as Australian international umpire Daryl Harper and his colleague Aleem Dar from Pakistan conferred before Harper, who was at the bowling-end, gave the decision".  Part way off the field, says Cricinfo, "Pietersen saw the dismissal on the big screen and halted, but the decision couldn't be over-turned".  Vaughan told Ten Sports after play that "it's very difficult to be 100 per cent sure all the time if a catch has carried", and he believes that "common sense should prevail [for if] you have got the technology you [should be] allowed to use it".  "We had a similar instance to that at Lord's this year when Kevin was given out", said Vaughan, and when the umpires saw the big screen "they changed their opinion" (E-News 75-411, 31 July 2007).  The difference between the two incidents says Cricinfo is that at Lord's there wasn't an original agreement between the umpires on the catch as it was given immediately by Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, however, yesterday the umpires conferred before deciding Pietersen was out.  Playing arrangements state that the third official can only be used if the view of the on-field umpires is obstructed.  EN151-834.

 

'COMPULSORY BUCKNOR PAUSE' NEEDS CONSIDERATION SAYS BROADCASTER

Cricket broadcaster and journalist Christopher Martin-Jenkins has suggested that the International Cricket Council "command" all of its of-field umpires to "give no decisions until at least ten seconds have elapsed", so that their television colleagues "have ample time" to look at replays".  Writing in 'The Times' in London, Martin-Jenkins said that if such an approach, which he refers to as a "compulsory Bucknor pause", had been used when England batsman Ryan Sidebottom was given out incorrectly by Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf in the First Test between Sri Lanka and England last week (E-News 150-826, 7 December 2007), "justice" may have been done.  'The Times' article says that the third official would have had "ample time to take a look at what happened and [to liaise via] two-way radio, even if it was to say 'hold on a moment, I need to check that again' ”.  Martin-Jenkins says that such a suggestion is "another addition to the great technology debate" but that "surely it would be worth the wait, for batsman, bowler and spectator alike, if it enables justice to be done and to be seen to be done".  "At the moment", he says, "the painful fact [is] that television replays can make fools and villains of very good umpires, such as Rauf".  Jonathan Agnew of 'The Daily Telegraph' called Rauf's decision "poor", that "he made more [bad decisions] than he should in [the] game, and [that] he needs to take more time in reaching his decisions". According to Agnew, Rauf's "finger is up in a flash, and a little more consideration might have prevented him from dismissing Sidebottom LBW when the ball deflected off his bat into his pad".  EN151-833.

 

DOMESTIC ONE-DAYER ABANDONED BY UMPIRES 

The domestic, 50 over one day match between NSW and South Australia in Woolongong was abandoned yesterday just over three hours after the scheduled start time because of a waterlogged playing surface.  NSW captain Simon Katich was quoted by 'The Sydney Morning Herald' as saying that "the umpires made the right decision" as there was serious risk of injury to players given the state of the ground.  On-field umpires for the match were NSW officials Gerard Abood and National Umpire Panel member Rod Tucker.  The match would have been Abood's fifth in the one-day domestic series and Tucker's twelfth, while third umpire Peter Tate was to have made his debut in the television chair.  It would also have been the thirty-fifth time former Test match umpire Dick French, who will be in Hobart for the national Under 19 men’s tournament (E-News 151-836 above), would have been match referee in a domestic one-dayer.  EN151-832. 

 

MADUGALLE COMPLETES RARE TEST-ODI DOUBLE

Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka is making history in the Third and final cricket Test between India and Pakistan in Bangalore by becoming the first International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee to complete a century of Tests.  Madugalle becomes only the second match official, after West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor, to reach three figures in both forms on the game for besides his 100 Tests, Madugalle has also officiated in 209 ODIs; bringing up his 200 during the World Cup earlier this year (E-News  23-133, 2 April 2007).  As a player Madugalle represented Sri Lanka in 21 Test matches and 65 One Day Internationals between 1979 and 1989, before being appointed to the ICC's match referees panel in 1994; and since 2001 has been the first and so far only person to hold the position of chief match referee.  Madugalle was quoted by the ICC as saying that ahead of every Test series in which he is involved, he tries to follow the two teams on television to get better understanding as to what they and their players do.  He then talks to ICC match officials who have been involved with those teams in recent series to see what has to be followed up to ensure consistency. The ICC says that at the end of the current Test, Australian international umpire Simon Taufel is to make a presentation to Madugalle in recognition of his "enormous contribution to the game".  EN151-831.

 

TIFFIN BECOMES ELEVENTH UMPIRE TO REACH 100 ODI 

Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin became the eleventh umpire to stand in 100 One Day Internationals (ODI) when he took the field for the match between Zimbabwe and the West Indies at the Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo on Friday (E-News 149-817, 6 December 2007).  Tiffin reached the milestone fifteen years after he made his debut at his home ground in Harare in a match between Zimbabwe and India.  He was quoted in a statement released by the International Cricket Council as saying that he believes his "cricketing background has helped [him] immensely in [his] umpiring career", as having been a wicketkeeper it helps him to make better calls as an umpire, for wicketkeepers "have the best view of a batsman".  The Zimbabwean has also stood in thirty-eight Tests, his last being in New Zealand in March 2004, and says he is looking forward "to returning to Test cricket and hopes many more [such games] come [his] way".  Tiffin believes umpires’ pre-match preparations, where "you stand in the nets and talk to the players, stay focused and try to give your best shot when you take the field", is now a normal practice.   He is said to constantly analyse the decisions he makes to see if he can improve his game further, and maintains a spreadsheet of those decisions on his laptop. Australia’s Simon Taufel is the youngest umpire so far to reach 100 ODIs, being just 35 when he achieved that mark last January in an Australia-England ODI at the MCG.  South Africa’s Rudi Koertzen currently leads the ODI list with 182 matches.  Other Century makers are: David Shepherd (England) 172, Steve Bucknor (West Indies) 167, Daryl Harper (Australia) 141, Darrell Hair (Australia) 135, Bill Bowden (New Zealand) 122, Taufel 116, David Orchard (South Africa) 107, Aleem Dar (Pakistan) 101, and Steve Dunn (New Zealand) 100.  EN151-830.

 

COUNTY UMPIRES GIVEN SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MATCH STOPPAGES

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced last Thursday that County umpires will no longer consult players before taking teams off the field because of bad weather or ground conditions.  Starting next northern summer County umpires will not "offer the light" to batsmen or invite captains to contest judgements they make on weather or the condition of grounds, instead, the officials will decide such issues unilaterally.  The ECB said in a statement that the change "ensures that umpires alone consider all matters relating to ground, weather and light and base a decision on whether play should take place on whether there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire".  EN151-829.

 

ORAL EXAMS CONDUCTED FOR UMPS IN WINDIES, AMERICAS, REGIONS

The West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) yesterday conducted a range of oral exams across its region and in North America.  Examinations were held in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica, and with the West Indies holding umbrella responsibilities for the Americas, the WICUA also assessed officials in Canada and the United States.  Guyana's Clyde Duncan, who is on the International Cricket Council's International Umpires Panel, is reported to have traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to supervise exams in that country, while in Guyana itself First Class umpires, Vincent Bullen (Barbados) and Guyanese Colin Alfred and Davteerth Anandjit ran the program there.  EN151-828.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 152, 11 December 2007

 

TV REFERRAL ADDS FURTHER TO TECHNOLOGY DEBATE

The referral of a decision to the television official in the current Lanka-England Test match on Monday that under current rules is in the perview of on-field umpires, has added further to the ongoing debate on the use of technology by umpires.  The debate resurfaced when English batsman Ryan Sidebottom appeared to get a touch to a bouncer delivered by Sri Lanka's Dilhara Fernando, the ball ballooning to second slip, where Mahela Jayawardene dived forward at second slip and claimed the catch.  Australian international umpire Daryl Harper, the man at the centre of the Kevin Pietersen controversy on the opening day (E-News 151-834, 10 December 2007), discussed the matter with colleague Aleem Dar and then referred it to third umpire Gamini Silva.  Sidebottom said after the day's play that "Daryl said to me he just thought I did get a bit of a glove on it", however, as International Cricket Council playing regulations now stand such a referral is only allowed when both umpires are unsighted, and a strict interpretation of those rules would have meant that the Englishman should have been given out when the TV replay showed the ball had carried.  What media reports are saying was "common sense" prevailed, however, as Silva advised Harper and Dar via radio that in his opinion Sidebottom was 'not out' for the ball had hit his shoulder, a situation that appears similar to that which prevailed in the Hobart Test match last month (E-News 139-753, 21 November 2007).  The referral decision came the day after match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand suggested that the use of available technology in that way might become standard practice in the future (E-News 152-843 below).  EN152-844.   

 

CHANGE TO TV DECISION RULES ON THE WAY?

International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand "might" call for a revision of the way technology is used in international cricket as a result of his experiences in the current Test match between Sri Lanka and England, according to a report published in 'The Guardian' newspaper in Britain on Sunday evening.  Crowe's comments were made after play ended that day and before the incident involving English batsman Ryan Sidebottom on day two of the match yesterday (E-News 152-844 above).  Crowe, who reportedly cleared England batsman Kevin Pietersen of dissent after his delayed departure from the ground when he was controversially dismissed on day one (E-News 151-834, 10 December 2007), is understood to have suggested to reporters that the ICC could be asked to change the rules so that umpires can ask for a referral even when not unsighted. 'The Guardian' report quotes him as saying that "We might need to look at [the playing conditions] closely and see if we can write it differently", for "umpires are sometimes reluctant to refer [matters to the television official] because it's obvious to everyone their sight wasn't obscured".  Talking about the Pietersen issue, Crowe reportedly said that he thinks "Kevin was a little confused at what went on out there and the process when the umpires conversed on whether they saw it as a fair catch".  He doesn't think that the batsman's actions were "a code violation" and that no "anger" was shown, and "that's what we look at [as] images are important more than anything".  Commenting on Pietersen's dismissal, Sri Lanka's coach Trevor Bayliss said that "it was one of those ones that, if referred to the TV umpire, would be 'not out' because on television when you get so close to the ground you can't tell".  EN152-843.  

 

BOWLER ON FINAL WARNING FOR PROTECTED AREA TRANSGRESSION

England fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad is on his final warning for running into the Protected Area as he prepares to take the field in Colombo later today on the third day of the Test match against Sri Lanka.  Pakistani international umpire Aleem Dar started the warning procedure in the sixth over of Sri Lanka's first innings yesterday when the bowler's right foot landed in the Protected Area immediately after his delivery stride.  Broad, who his playing in his first Test Match, was warned a second time in over ten, and should he transgress again in the current innings he will not be allowed to bowl again until Sri Lanka bats for a second time.  EN152-842.  

 

BOWDEN STANDING IN AUCKLAND MATCH

New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden whose need for "minor surgery" led to his withdrawl from the India-Pakistan Test series late last month, is standing in the NZ State Championship match between Auckland and Central Districts which got underway at Eden Park yesterday (E-News 145-790, 29 November 2007).  Bowden is scheduled to stand in the First Test between Australia and India at the MCG on Boxing Day with England's Mark Benson (E-News 133-723, 14 November 2007), and the current match, that is scheduled to end on Thursday, will be his last First Class game before the Melbourne Test.  EN152-841.

 

RESULT OF ACUS-ECB MERGER VOTE NEARS

The ballot of members being conducted by the England-based Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) on whether to end their existence as an independent body and merge with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), is scheduled to conclude this Friday (E-News 129-698, 6 November 2007).  ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships Mike Gatting attempted to woo ACUS members last month (E-News 131-710, 9 November), and the Board pointed to what it said was the "clear indication of [its] commitment to providing the appropriate opportunities to all officials" when it announced its 2008 list of First Class umpires late last month (E-News 143-777, 27 November 2007).  EN152-840.

 

RIAZUDDIN BRINGS UP 200 FIRST CLASS MATCHES

Pakistan umpire Riazuddin stood in his 200th First Class match in the Quaid-eAzam Trophy game between Lahore Ravi and Multan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore over the last four days (E-News 150-822, 7 December 2007).  Riazuddin, who was suspended indefinitely from international cricket last month as a result of comments he is said to have made about the Pakistan Cricket Board (E-News 133-729, 14 November 2007), has nonetheless been very busy on the field in domestic matches since then.  In the twenty-eight days since his suspension Riazuddin has umpired a total of four First Class matches played on all but nine of those days.  EN152-839. 

 

NO SIGN OF FURTHER BERRY CENSURE

Cricket Victoria's (CV) Board of Directors does not appear to have taken any further action following its side's Assistant Coach Darren Berry's eight-week suspension after he disputed a decision during the one-day domestic match against Queensland in Brisbane two weeks ago (E-News 143-784, 27 November 2007).  CV Chief Executive Tony Dodemaide was quoted in late November as saying that it was possible that Berry, like any Victorian representative found guilty of any disciplinary procedure, "could be subjected to further sanctions by the Board".  He implied at the time that the Board could look at the issues involved last week (E-News 145-789, 29 November 2007).  EN152-838.  

 

SHOWERS EXPECTED IN HOBART ON SATURDAY, FINE ON SUNDAY

Umpires managing Grade and other matches in the Hobart area and the one-day interstate match at Bellerive on Saturday appear likely to have to deal with showers during the late afternoon as a cold front approaches Tasmania.  Indications are that the weather will be 'mainly fine' on Sunday for games.  Temperatures on both days are expected to be around 21-22 degrees Celsius, according to current forecasts available from the Bureau of Meteorology.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN 152-837.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 153, 12 December 2007

 

EXPANDED 'ELITE' PANEL ONLY PART OF SOLUTION SAYS TAUFEL

Australian international umpire Simon Taufel believes that expansion of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Elite' panel of umpires is only part of the answer for reducing the workload of those officiating in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODI), according to a media report from India overnight (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  The 'Earth Times' web site story quotes Taufel as saying that having "twelve full-time umpires is certainly going to make the workload a bit easier", however, further work is needed on the provision of "extra training and support required to cope with the increasing demands" on umpires.  He said that the expectation "these days is that [umpires] get nothing wrong, that you are always on top of the game, that you are always improving, [and] that you are always able to give and meet people's expectations".  The additional of two officials to the 'Elite' panel will "go a long way in helping umpires prepare well for tough matches" and will mean top umpires will have "some extra time at home" and be able to "properly prepare for a series [and] be on top of the game more often", says Taufel.  The ICC faces a particularly busy time in the umpiring area in the year ahead, for in addition to expanding its 'Elite' panel and appointing umpires to what is a very crowded match schedule in 2008, the world body is also expected to introduce a three-man umpire selection panel, recruit and put to work five regional umpire coaches-mentors, develop an accreditation process for umpires wishing to gain accreditation to the international level, and improve the pay of its top level officials.  EN153-849.

 

CRICKET OVERLOAD RESULTS IN BUSY TIME FOR SCORERS

Scorers from the TCUSA and Clubs around Hobart are particularly busy at the moment, for in addition to the normal weekend of Grade cricket ahead, the current First Class game at Bellerive and the one-dayer to follow there on Saturday, eight people are needed each day to support the national Under 19 Championships (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007).  Given the demand involved, TCUSA President and scorer's coordination Graeme Hamley faced the complex task of finding suitable people who were available to support Under 19 matches over the ten days of the comptition, particularly next weekend when Grade matches and the one-dayer between Tasmania and Victoria will also be underway.  A total of sixteen people are to be used for the youth tournament, the busiest being Brennan Azzopardi, Kylie Baldwin, David Gainsford, Robert Godfrey, and Des Mortimer who are each listed to score in seven games, Penny Paterson in five, Tom Green four, and Janet Gainsford, Graeme Hamley and Gary Millhouse three each.  At least one of the scorers will work with a computer at each match, the other using a book to record details in the time-honoured way.  The computers will be particularly important in the sixteen one-day matches scheduled as it may be necessary to use them to calculate Duckworth-Lewis data should weather intervene.  EN153-848.  

 

NEW YEAR NUAS-2 TRAINING PROGRAM OUTLINED

Six sessions for the National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 (NUAS-2) training program have been scheduled for the New Year, the meetings being held as usual at Bellerive in the hour prior to Training-Appointments meetings.  TCUSA NUAS-2 coordinators Ian Quaggin and Steve Maxwell originally proposed to target selective modules for individuals who are taking the course.  However, attendance at meetings over the last two months has been "very good" with upwards of fifteen people present, including a number of more experienced members, therefore it was decided to continue with the format used in recent years.  The next session is scheduled on 16 January with modules 2.2 (Report Writing) and 5.3 (Reporting Procedures and Tribunals) the subjects for discussion, then a week later on the twenty-third module 2.3 (Duties and Responsibilities) will be the focus.  On 6 February modules 1.4 (Sledging and Intimidation) and 3.2 (Attitude) are the subjects, on the thirteenth module 1.2 (Understanding the Decision Making Process) and 1.3 (Discrimination and Vilification), while on the twentieth three modules, 4.5 (Physical Preparation), 4.6 (Injury Prevention) and 4.9 (Hydration), will be the subjects.  The last meeting of the year on 5 March will be an open session to take stock of what's been covered this season, to check records and training books, and to provide feedback to the course instructors.  All meetings, which are listed in the TCUSA Meetings Schedule block below, start at 6.30 p.m. on the dates listed.  Queries should be directed to Ian Quaggin (6228 7921 or 0409 287 993) or Steve Maxwell 6268 6470 or 0416 277 464.  EN153-847.  

 

COACH WELCOMES CHANGES TO INDIAN UMPIRING ARRANGEMENTS     

Indian umpiring "has always been good", says former Test umpire Virinchirpuram Ramaswamy, but the lack of a coordinated, independent, national training and management structure for on-field officials in that country has led to limitations in their performance.  Ramaswamy told the Indian media recently that he welcomed the changes to umpiring being put in place by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with the assistance of Cricket Australia (CA), and that the structure being introduced is a very significant development (E-News 87-464, 23 August 2007).  Last September, Ramaswamy was appointed by the BCCI as one of its thirteen newly-established umpiring coach positions (E-News 94-511, 6 September 2007).  Speaking prior to several controversial decisions in Test matches over the last week (E-News 152-844, 11 December 2007), the sixty-two year-old said that be believes that technology that assists umpires to make correct decisions has its place, but he is concerned that it is not perfect and that too much time may be taken for some decisions, therefore judgements should generally be left "to the human element".  Asked if he feels it is necessary for higher-level umpires to have played First Class cricket, Ramaswamy said that in his view it helps, but that "ultimately" it is an umpire's "attitude" that is most important and anyone who wants "to be successful as an umpire [has] got to go through the umpiring mill".  Ramaswamy, an original member of the International Cricket Council's 'Elite' umpires panel (EUP) when it was established in 2002 until his retirement two years later, officiated in 26 Tests and 43 One Day Internationals (ODI) from 1983-2002.  Interestingly, he did not stand in either a Test or ODI during the time he was on the EUP.  Despite that he is still the only Indian umpire to have been named by the ICC as a member of the EUP.  EN153-846.  

 

SHOWERS EXPECTED IN HOBART ON SATURDAY, FINE ON SUNDAY

Umpires managing Grade and other matches in the Hobart area and the one-day interstate match at Bellerive on Saturday appear likely to have to deal with showers during the late afternoon as a cold front approaches Tasmania.  Indications are that the weather will be 'mainly fine' on Sunday for games.  Temperatures on both days are expected to be around 21-22 degrees Celsius, according to current forecasts available from the Bureau of Meteorology.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN153-845.  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 154, 13 December 2007

 

PRAISE FOR PAKISTANI TEST UMPIRES FROM ENGLISH JOURNALIST

English journalist Mike Selvey heaped praise on Pakistani international umpires Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf following the First Test match between Sri Lanka and England that was won by the home side in Kandy last week.  Writing in 'The Guardian' Selvey said that  "given the turn that the spinners [were getting] and some uneven bounce", the performance of the pair during the game "had been outstanding".  "They had many decisions to make, difficult ones too for the most part, and with the exception of Ryan Sidebottom's inside edge which pretty much sealed the game for Sri Lanka (E-News 150-826, 7 December 2007), and Michael Vaughan's first innings dismissal, they appeared to get them as right as could be expected".  Selvey said that "one decision by Rauf, at the start of an England innings, which reprieved Vaughan before he had scored when Lasith Malinga caught him on the back foot and to all eyes bang in front, was as good as it gets" as Vaughan later said that he 'feathered' the ball.  According to Selvey "such was the respect that both sides have for the pair" that England coach Peter Moores "made a beeline for them as the game finished to thank them for their efforts", and he wrote that if the players are asked "they will tell you that they are more than pleased to see the names of Dar and Rauf on the list for [their matches], rather than, say, Australian Daryl Harper or even [South African] Rudi Koertzen who was originally selected to officiate in the Kandy Test (E-News 145-790, 29 November 2007).  Selvey's article says that Harper is in his view a "lovely guy, [but] possibly the worst on the 'Elite' panel" due to what he says were "the number of mistakes that he made" in the Second Test in Colombo; a comment reflected by a number of other English journalists over the last few days.  Selvey's story concludes by saying that who would have thought "two decades ago" that "two Pakistani umpires would be the choice of some of the world's best players".  He says that Dar and Rauf's performance "couldn't be more at odds with the rancor in Faisalabad twenty years ago", a reference to the Test match between Pakistan and England when home umpires managed a game that featured the now infamous incident involving English captain Mike Gatting and Pakistani official Shakoor Rana.  Dar and Rauf along with Australian international umpire Simon Taufel are now the best three umpires in the world in Selvey's personal assessment.  EN154-854.

 

LLONG NAMED FOR HIS FIRST TEST MATCH

English umpire Nigel Llong has been appointed to stand in his first Test match by the International Cricket Council (ICC), a move that adds him to the group of officials in line for promotion to the world body's expanded 'Elite' panel sometime next year (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  Former First Class player Llong, who turns thirty-nine in February, is to officiate along with Australian Peter Parker in the two Tests to be played between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Dunedin and Wellington in the first half of January.  Prior to those matches Llong will be the 'neutral' official during the third and final One Day International between the two sides in Queenstown on New Years' Eve, West Indian Steve Bucknor working in that role in ODIs one and two in Auckland and Napier just after Christmas.  So far unnamed New Zealanders will stand with Llong and Bucknor in those games.  Long played sixty-eight First Class matches for Kent from 1990-98, and commenced his umpiring career at that level of the game just two years later, to date clocking up a total of seventy-two First Class games.  Appointed to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) in May 2005, he stood in the first of what now is his twelve One Day Internationals (ODI) after just four years at First Class level, and has since officiated in such matches in England, Pakistan and Ireland.  Llong has also worked as the third umpire in nine Test matches and fourteen ODIs.  Next month's two Tests will be Parker's ninth and tenth since his first fourteen years ago.  At 48 years of age he is now in his twenty-second consecutive season as a First Class umpire in Australia (E-News 127-691, 2 November 2007) and his fifth on the IUP, and is thus clearly one of the most experienced of the ICC's IUP members.  On that basis alone he could, like Llong, also be on the ICC's list of potential 'Elite' panel members.  In his case though other factors could come into play, one issue being that three other Australians are currently members of the 'Elite' panel, although the future of one of them is currently under review by the ICC (E-News 149-815, 6 December 2007).  EN154-853.

 

TIFFIN RETURNS TO TESTS AFTER LONG ABSENCE

Zimbabwean international umpire Russell Tiffin is to return to Tests after a three-and-a-half year absence, having been named overnight to stand in the First and Second Tests between South Africa and the West Indies in the next three weeks.  Tiffin's colleague for the First Test which starts in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day will be Pakistani Aleem Dar, and in the Second early in the New Year in Cape Town Australian Simon Taufel.  Dar and Taufel have been appointed to stand in the Third Test in Durban in mid-January.  Tiffin clearly new of his appointment last week when after standing in his 100th One Day International (ODI) he said that he is looking forward "to returning to Test cricket and hopes many more [such games] come [his] way" (E-News 151-830, 10 December).  The series between South Africa and the West Indies will take Tiffin's Test match record to forty games, Dar's to forty-four, and Taufel's to one short of his half Century.  Following the Test series the two sides will play a five-match ODI series between 20 January and 3 February and Australian Daryl Harper has been appointed as the 'neutral' umpire for that series, with a so far unnamed South African joining him on the ground for each match.  The series will take Harper's ODI record to 146 games, a record that places him fourth on the all-time umpiring list in that form of the game behind West Indian Steve Bucknor (167), David Shepherd of England (172), and world record holder Rui Koertzen (182).  EN154-852.

 

BUCKNOR, RAUF, BOWDEN COMPLETE AUS-INDIA TEST APPOINTMENTS

West Indian Steve Bucknor, Pakistan's Asad Rauf and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand will officiate in the Third and Fourth Test matches between Australia and India in Perth and Adelaide in the last half of next month.  England's Mark Benson, Bowden and Bucknor were named for the first two Tests of the series a month ago (E-News 133-723, 14 November 2007).  Rauf will stand in both the Third and Fourth Tests, Bucknor being his colleague in the first game and Bowden in the second.  The four-match Test series will take Benson's Test record to twenty-one, Rauf's to seventeen, and Bowden's to forty-three, while Bucknor will extend his world-record total to 121.  EN154-851.

 

WEATHER TO INTERRUPT HOBART GAMES THIS WEEKEND?

The latest weather outlook for Hobart for the coming weekend from the Bureau of Meteorology suggests that matches on Saturday could be interrupted by showers, and while they may hang around a little into Sunday, they shouldn't be as great a problem on that day.  Nevertheless the outlook suggests that those managing matches over the weekend should ensure that they are aware of playing conditions as they relate to rain interruptions and related issues. The forecast for Saturday, when a cold front is expected to cross the city area around midday, is for showers and a top temperature of around 3 degrees Celsius.  A trough-like feature is shown on the computer-produced weather maps for Sunday as being in the Hobart area around the middle of the day, and the forecast for that day at the moment is for a 'shower or two, which may not be a significant issue for most cricket matches.  The temperature on Sunday is expected to reach around 20 degrees Celsius.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN154-850.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 155, 14 December 2007

 

TENTH DOMESTIC INTERSTATE ONE-DAYER FOR BRIAN MUIR

TCUSA member Brian Muir will be standing in his tenth one-day, 50 over, domestic interstate match at Bellerive tomorrow when Tasmania takes on Victoria.  Muir's colleague will be National Umpiring Panel (NUP) member Tim Laycock from Queensland who will also be taking part in his tenth interstate one-dayer, although the Tasmanian has reached double figures in two years quicker than his mainland partner.  Laycock also stood in a 50 over one-dayer between Queensland and the touring South Africans in January last year.  Another TCUSA member, Greg Luck, will be in the third umpire's chair for the second time in a one-day domestic game, his first match in that role being in November last year.  Graeme Hamley and Janet Gainsford will again be in the score box for the match, having played the same role in this week's First Class game between the two sides.   EN155-860.   

 

FIRST ODI OF THE SEASON, TWO FIRST CLASS MATCHES, UNDERWAY TODAY

The first One Day International (ODI) of the Australian season will get underway later today at the Adelaide Oval when the first of three matches scheduled between Australia and New Zealand over the next week is played.  English international umpire Mark Benson and Australian Steve Davis of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) International umpire panel (IUP), will be the on-field umpires, while IUP third official, Bruce Oxenford, will be in the television suite in an ODI for the first time.  The match will be Benson's fifty-ninth ODI and twenty-second this year, while for Davis its his sixty-eighth overall and fifteen this calendar year.  Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka will be the ICC match referee for the game, his eighty-first ODI overall, and local Simon Fry, who like Davis and Oxenford is a member of the National Umpires Panel, will be the fourth official.  Two interstate First Class games are also scheduled to get underway today, NUP members Ian Lock (Western Australia) and Paul Reiffel (Victoria) standing in Brisbane in the Queensland-NSW game, while across the continent in Perth, Peter Parker (Queensland) and Rod Tucker (NSW) will officiate in the match between the sides from Western and South Australia.  Mahanama, Benson and Davis and Oxenford will travel to Sydney tomorrow for the second Australia-NZ ODI on Sunday, the fourth official for that game being Gerard Abood from NSW.  EN155-859. 

 

BUSY YEAR AHEAD FOR TOP ASSOCIATE SIDES, UMPIRES AND SCORERS

National sides from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Associate members face a busy year in 2008 with seventeen matches in second half of the two-year Intercontinental Cup to be played, twenty-five One Day Internationals, and a three-day qualifying series to determine which two sides will take part in the 2009 World Twenty20 Championships.  Those matches will produce a total of ninety-six days of cricket and will need around 188 umpiring positions to be filled by the ICC, while home sides will have to collectively provide a similar number of scorers over the year.  Games will be played on all continents expect Antarctica, Australia and South America, the Twenty20 qualifier being held in Belfast in August. EN155-858.  

 

FLOODLIGHTS UNEXPECTEDLY SWITCHED ON DURING TEST LIGHT DELAY

Floodlights at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore were unexpectedly and incorrectly turned on during a light delay in the last session of the Third and final Test India-Pakistan Test on Wednesday.  With Pakistan 7-162 umpires Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Simon Taufel (Australia) offered the batsmen Mohammed Yousuf and Mohammed Sami light and the batsmen promptly accepted it as clouds gathered.  With the Indians standing in a huddle on the ground and as the umpires checking visibility with light meters, the floodlights were suddenly switched on.  As the playing conditions for the series didn't allow the use of floodlights, local media reports say that Indian cricket manager Lalchand Rajput was seen rushing towards Karnataka State Cricket Association officials to ask them to switch them off. The lights were on for ten minutes, a situation that could have robbed India of at least two overs if the umpires had decided to resume play, say the reports from Bangalore.  Indian captain Anil Kumble was quoted as saying that the person who switched on the lights "was probably not aware of the playing conditions". “I don’t know whether play would have been possible under the light we had at that time… you have to accept the umpires’ decision", said Kumble.  Taufel is said to have told the local media that the benchmark of visibility on the light meter is 4.7, and the reading on the ground was just 3.4. EN155-857.    

 

ICUS INTERPRETATION OF BAT DISINTEGRATION ISSUE BACKED BY MCC

Part of a disintegrating bat that removes the bails from a batsman's wicket would mean that the striker is 'not out', according to an interpretation issued by the Marylebone  Cricket Club (MCC) in a 'question and answer' segment on the Laws of Cricket on its web site.  The MCC assessment was the basis of UK-based Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers's (ICUS) interpretation of what the umpire's decision would have been if part of South African player Mark Boucher's bat that disintegrated during a One Day International against New Zealand late last month had actually hit his stumps (E-News 146-794, 30 November 2007).  A subsequent counter view that Boucher would have been 'not out' was put last week (E-News 149-816, 6 December 2007).  In a section titled 'Wicket broken by piece breaking off bat' available on line at: http://www.lords.org/data/files/law_35_qanda-9683.pdf, the MCC explains its position by saying "28.1(a)(ii) (Wicket put down) and Law 35.1 (Out Hit wicket) both use the words ‘by the striker’s bat’ in specifying how the wicket can be put down, therefore part of his bat does not qualify".  Peter Hughes, the Executive Officer of the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, a group that collaborates with the ICUS (E-News 52-286, 7 June 2007), pointed out the MCC assessment, and also told E-News that the other issue raised by the ICUS, the splitting of a ball in two, has also been considered by the MCC.  In a section titled 'Ball splitting in two' the committee asks the question "What happens if a ball hit by the striker splits in two on impact, one part remaining within the field of play, the other carrying on over the boundary?  It answers the question by saying that the "Laws refer in all cases to ‘the ball’, not to part of it [and] it must be ‘the ball’ that fulfils the conditions for a boundary to be scored in Law 19, therefore in this case no boundary has been scored".  The committee goes on to say that "there are many other situations involving the ball which will not be valid if only part of the ball is involved [including that] it must be ‘the ball’ that is held by a fielder for a catch, puts down the wicket for a run out or stumping and so on".  As a result "under Law 3.6(b), the umpires cannot allow play to proceed, since ‘the ball’ no longer conforms to the requirements of Law 5", says the MCC.  Full details of the MCC's assessment of the ball issue is available at: http://www.lords.org/data/files/law_5_qanda-9663.pdf.  The MCC says that in publishing the answers to questions it receives, their aim is, in most cases, "to go beyond a merely factual reply to explain how the Law applies to the situation".  All answers are given in accordance with the 2000 Code of Laws (2nd Edition - 2003).  EN155-856.

 

MORNING SHOWERS FORECAST FOR SATURDAY, GEOGRAPHY A KEY FACTOR

Morning showers are expected in Hobart on Saturday as a cold front clears the southern Tasmanian region, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's latest forecasts.  Grounds may be wet tomorrow morning in the lead up to the start of play, but just how much shower activity there will be seems likely to depend on just where games are being played.  Geography is a key issue, for showers are more likely to persist to the west of the Derwent longer than on the other side of the river or further up the Derwent Valley itself.  Top temperature tomorrow is forecast to be around twenty-three degrees Celsius. A 'shower or two, which may not be a significant issue for most cricket matches, remains the forecast for Sunday, with a maximum of around twenty degrees.  TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN155-855. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 156, 17 December 2007

 

HAIR APPOINTED TO THREE ICC ASSOCIATES MATCHES

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair has been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand in three second-tier Associate international matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month, his first since he withdrew his racial discrimination claim against the world body (E-News 145-788, 29 November 2007).  Hair, who is currently being "rehabiltated by the ICC", is to stand with Niels Bagh from Denmark in two four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup (IC) matches in Sharjah between home side UAE and visitors Kenya and Namibia, as well as a UAE-Kenya One Day International; the games being scheduled over a twelve-day period that commences on 15 January.  At the conclusion of Hair's court case, ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said that Hair's future would in the first instance revolve around matches at the second-tier level, the question of his return to Tests and other games involving Test-playing nations being considered next March (E-News 149-815, 6 December 2007).  Hair's colleague Bagh officiated at the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Windhoek, Namibia, last month (E-News 141-761, 23 November 2007), and has previously umpired in six IC matches since his debut in 2005.  Another European umpire, Germany’s Paul Baldwin, has also been listed for an ICC Associate's match early next year, he and Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin (E-News 154-852, 13 December 2007), being appointed to stand in four-day IC match between Kenya and Namibia in Nairobi in late January, early February.  The matches in Shajarh and Nairobi will start a busy year of cricket for teams from the ICC's Associate nations (E-News 155-858, 14 December 2007).  EN156-862.

 

COUNTY UMPIRES STAND IN ICL FINAL, MORE WORK NEXT YEAR?

Current English County officials Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty were the umpires for the final of the inaugural Indian Cricket League series in Chandigarth yesterday (E-News 140-759, 22 November 2007), with Ray Julian as the third official and Erapalli Prasanna the match referee (E-News 140-759, 22 November 2007).  Six umpires were used during the twenty-match series over the last two-and-a-half weeks, Indian Dinesh Waghela being added to the group for the last week of the competition after Englishman Ken Horden joined the original four named for the series (E-News 147-803, 4 December 2007).  Waghela's background is unknown as several data bases available to E-News contain no details of his having any previous experience as an umpire, and his appointment, together with Horden and another Englishman Dean Johnson, meant that half of the ICL's on-field officials had not officiated at First Class level (E-News 132-717, 1 November 2007).  Despite that the three were given sixteen of the forty on-field slots available during the series, and eleven of the twenty television umpire positions.  Johnson was given thirteen appointments, the same number as Evans, although the latter was on the field for eleven games, the most of any of the officials.  Johnson's record was seven-six, Jesty's seven-two, Julian's six-five, Horden's six-three and Waghela's three-two.  Prasanna and his match referee colleague Ajit Wadekar each officiated in ten ICL games.  All eight ICL match officials may find themselves employed again next year as the ICL announced after yesterday's final that it plans to conduct a total of five tournaments next year.  In addition to an expanded Twenty20 series to be played next November-December, Subhash Chandra, the chairman of the company behind the venture, told the media that a domestic 50-over championship involving Indian players from the inaugural tournament's six teams has been scheduled for February, a triangular Twenty20 will then be played between the best of the Indian, Asian and the Rest of the World XIs in February-March, while what is called the ICL Invitation Cup, featuring teams "from around the world" playing in a Twenty20 tournament, is listed for September-October.  EN156-861. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 157, 18 December 2007

 

ACUS TO DISBAND AFTER 54 YEAR HISTORY, MERGE WITH ECB

Members of the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) in the UK have voted to disband the fifty-four year old organisation and join with the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Officials Association in forming the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO).  Details of the ACUS ballot released overnight indicate that 2,541 votes were cast in favour of the merger and 854 votes against, figures that mean that only around forty-five per cent of members took the opportunity to express their view (E-News 152-840, 11 December 2007).  The ACUS, whose current world wide membership is put at over 8,000, was set up by the late Tom Smith as the Association of Cricket Umpires in 1953 in order to provide training and advice to umpires, scorers joining the fold several years later.  Over the last fifty years the group has been instrumental in setting standards for match officials, its famous textbook, 'Tom Smith's Cricket Umpiring and Scoring' first being published in 1980, and its newsletter 'How's That' quarterly for many years.  The ACUS has undergone a difficult period over the last few years, the ECB withdrawing its annual $A62,00 grant to assist with the training and examination work, while some members split from it last year to form the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) (E-News 12-059, 7 March 2007).  The ACUS has already closed its office in Surrey and a Special General Meeting is to be convened "in due course" to formerly wind up the group and dispose of its assets.  The ACO is to commence operations on 1 January, leaving it and the ICUS as the two umpiring and scoring organisations in the UK.  EN157-866. 

 

UMPIRE CHALLENGE SYSTEM MOOTED FOR LORDS' TEST

Players may be able to challenge umpiring decisions in a Test match between England and South Africa at Lords next July, according to a report published in this month's 'Wisden Cricketer' magazine.  Writer Edward Craig says that the Marylebone  Cricket Club (MCC) has offered the match as a possible trial for a scheme that allows each side two appeals against umpiring decisions per innings.  Craig says that while similar to a system trialed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) earlier this year, the "experiment" would also allow the third umpire to consult Hawk-Eye and ultra-slow-motion cameras.  The ECB trial allowed up to three referrals to the third umpire per innings (E-News 27-151, 11 April 2007), however, it was not considered a success by either the players or the media (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007), and the ECB subsequently put it on hold while “available technology remains in its current position” (E-News 124-677, 30 October 2007).  The push for the Test-based trial came from the MCC's World Cricket Committee's meeting in Cape Town last September when it recommended 'Ultra Motion' cameras and an "independently tested" Hawk-Eye system be trialed in a Test series "where the highest quality of technological presence is assured" (E-News 115-623, 11 October 2007). The MCC has offered to assist with the increased costs involved in assessing the slow-motion cameras, which its says could provide "evidence of thin edges in bat-pad catches or LBWs", and before 'Hawk-Eye' is used in any trial it is expected to be subject to "independent testing to ensure its accuracy and reliability".  The mooted trial at Lords will have to be approved by the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee (CC) before it can proceed, something that appears unlikely to happen before June or July as the CC does not usually meet until around that time.  EN157-865. 

 

ACT UMPS STANDING IN CA CUP MATCH

Two umpires from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Andrew Shelley and G Rouse, are standing in the four-day Cricket Australia (CA) Cup match between the ACT and the NSW Second XI that got underway at Manuka Oval in Canberra yesterday.  Shelley, who is standing in his fifth CA Cup match, has a long record in representative matches, having officiated in three national Under 19 Championships and an Under 17 tournament, a national Country Cricket series, and two matches between a Prime Minister's XI and international touring sides, one of them being the match against Pakistan with TCUSA member John Smeaton in January 2005.  Rouse is in his first CA Cup match, prior to that standing in three Australian Cricket Board Cup one day-games early in 2002.  EN157-864.

 

HARD TO WIN IN AUSTRALIA BEFORE NEUTRAL UMPIRES CLAIMS HOLDING

Former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding claims that it was difficult to beat Australia in Australia before there was an independent panel of umpires, according to comments attributed to him in this month's edition of the 'Wisden Cricketer' magazine.  Holding, who played fourteen Test matches down under over four tours between 1975 and 1985, said that he never had a bad tour after his first in 1975-76 which Australia won.  In the subsequent Tests played in 1979-80 and 1984-85 the tourists won comfortably, the 1981-82 series being drawn, and Holding says that those results were a great achievement for his team given neutral officials were not used.  Of the thirty-four Test umpire positions available during Holding's four tours, Mel Johnson stood in six matches, Robin Bailhache and Tony Crafter (five each), Tom Brooks and Max O'Connell (four each), Dick French, Reg Ledwidge and Peter McConnell (two each), and John Collins, Clarence Harvey, Ray Isherwood and Steve Randell (one each).  EN157-863. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 158, 20 December 2007

 

RADICAL CHANGES TO TWENTY20 CRICKET SUGGESTED

An additional stump, a player interchange, and wearing shorts are among the left-field ideas proposed by Cricket Australia (CA) contracted players to "improve and enliven" Twenty20 cricket, according to an article published in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  The story by journalist Alex Brown says that the concepts were raised in a Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) survey, which canvassed Australia's state and international players about the future of the 20-over game, domestically and globally.  Amongst the suggestions made were the use of four stumps at each end to bring equality to the "batsman-dominated game", the option of an "additional over" for bowlers if they take a wicket, the abolition of leg-byes, a free hit for batsmen on the first ball they receive, and in a throwback to backyard cricket a "last man carries", "electric wicketkeeper" and "six-and-out" rules. Other thoughts include a player interchange bench, a return to the supersub and technological innovations, including handheld television screens for umpires, to allow them to make "faster run-out decisions".  In addition ninety-four per cent of those surveyed were in favour of on-field microphones, and eighty-eight per cent saw no harm in batsmen being interviewed immediately after their dismissals.  An overwhelming percentage gave their support to the use of live music and DJs at Twenty20 matches, only six per cent suggesting that such "sideshows" could detrimentally affect their performances.  Players were less taken by the use of nicknames on shirts and celebrity players for one-off appearances, such as NSW's selection of rugby player Andrew Johns last season in the name of charity. Eighty-three per cent of state and international cricketers were against celebrity appearances, and sixty-five per cent supported the idea of scrapping the use of nicknames on shirts.  ACA Chief Executive Paul Marsh as quoted as saying that "whilst a lot of players are traditionalists, they are moving down a path of wanting to bring more people to the game".  Despite the changes that were suggested, Marsh apparently said that "what's really important is that whatever innovations are brought in they don't affect the integrity of the game on the field".  EN158-870. 

 

ECB 'DELIGHTED' WITH ACUS MERGER DECISION

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) says that it is "delighted" with the decision of members of the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers" (ACUS) to wind up their organisation and support the establishment of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) (E-News 157-866, 18 December 2007).  A two-thirds majority was required for the move to go ahead and more than 74 per cent of those who voted supported the change, although indications are that less than fifty per cent of members actually took part in the recent ballot.  Former England captain Mike Gatting, who is now the ECB's Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, said in a ECB statement that "the work completed in this important area of the game by ACUS has laid a strong foundation for the further development of officiating".  “Together with the resources available to the [ECB] the partnership with officials can be strengthened and taken on to new levels, [and this] is a positive move for the sport and especially for the officials", said Gatting.  ACUS Chair Geoff Lowden was quoted in the same statement as saying that "there is little doubt that the game has developed over the last few years", and that "the demands on officials have increased at all levels", therefore the ACO "is in the ideal position to provide the support that the officials require".  EN158-869.

 

REPORT CLAIMS DENIAL OF 'CHEATS' COMMENT CLEARED KOERTZEN FOR TESTS

A media report published in India this morning claims that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had only "accepted [South African international umpire Rudi] Koertzen as an umpire during the [recent] Test series in India" after receiving a denial that he called the Pakistani side "cheats" earlier this year.  Australian umpire Darrell Hair made the claim during his racial discrimination case against the International Cricket Council (ICC) in October, but Koertzen told 'The Australian' soon after that he had "no memory" of making such comments (E-News 109-602, 4 October 2007).  The PCB said at the time that it would ask the ICC to inquire into the matter (E-News 113-616, 9 October 2007), and today's 'Newind Press.com' story quotes a PCB "source" as saying that "the ICC has informed us that they inquired about the matter from Koertzen and he denied ever making such comments to Hair at any time during the World Cup".  The PCB "source" was then quoted as saying that “unlike the Sri Lankans, who had Koertzen removed from a Test in Australia after he admitted giving Kumar Sangakkara incorrectly out, the [PCB] preferred to close the issue".  A Sri Lankan Board representative would not respond to media questions last month as to whether the South African had been removed from their series with England at their request, even though publicly available evidence suggests other unrelated illness and logistical factors were involved (E-News 145-790, 29 November 2007).  It has not been possible for E-News to confirm the accuracy of the comments attributed to the PCB "source" in the 'Newind Press.com' article.  EN158-868.  

 

'LOCALS' STANDING IN PRE-CHRISTMAS MATCHES

Two interstate domestic one-day 50 over matches and a tour match involving the Indian side that are to be played in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne in the week before Christmas are all being umpired by National Umpiring Panel members from the respective cities.  Jeff Brookes and Ian Lock from Western Australia stood in the one-day game between the home side and South Australia yesterday in Perth, Steve Davis and Simon Fry in a similar match involving South Australia and Queensland in Adelaide on Sunday, and Paul Reiffel and John Ward in Victoria's three-day match against the Indians that starts in Melbourne today.  Immediately after Christmas, Ward will be the fourth official during the First Test match between Australia and India when it gets underway on Boxing Day (E-News 133-723, 14 November 2007).  EN158-867.   

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 159, 24 December 2007

 

CALL MADE FOR LIFT IN PAKISTAN UMPIRING STANDARDS

Former cricketer and Council Member of Lahore Region Tahir Shah, has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to improve the standard of umpiring in that country, according to media reports from Lahore.  Tahir said that while his countrymen Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf were "earning a good name for the country at international level", and that the PCB also have some "good umpires" of the likes of Mian Aslam, Iftikhar Malik, Ihtsham-ul-Haq and Zameer Haider, "poor umpiring standards" have damaged the game in Pakistan and the matter needs "special attention".  Tahir was quoted as saying that he hopes PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf will take the "necessary steps" to make changes in the PCB's umpiring department and to "improve its status".  In his view the PCB should "initiate a retainership scheme for the umpires [as it has done for] the players, so that [the officials involved] can concentrate on their job".  The Board "should appoint senior and experienced umpires in top domestic competitions", says Tahir, for he is reportedly "unhappy" with the standard of some umpires used by the PCB and their approach in matches to which they are appointed.  EN159-873.  [24 December 2007]

 

SIX UMPIRES STAND IN WEEKEND'S FOUR WNCL MATCHES

Six umpires from two states stood in the four National Women's Cricket League (WNCL) matches played over the weekend.  David Dilley, 48, and William Hendricks from NSW were appointed for the two one-day matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground between the home side and Queensland on Saturday and Sunday.  Dilley was standing in his seventh and eighth WNCL matches in just over a year.  At the Adelaide Oval Number 2 ground National Umpire Panel member Simon Fry and fellow South Australian Umpires Squad member Andrew Collins umpired the one-dayer between the home state and Western Australia on Saturday.  On Sunday Shane Hicks, 30, who has stood in three Cricket Australia Cup matches this year, made his debut in the WNCL in the second SA-WA game, accompanied by Luke Uthenwoldt who was officiating in his fifth WNCL match.  Uthenwoldt took part in last year's men's national Under 19 tournament in Adelaide, and also has two Cricket Australia Cup games under his belt.  EN159-872. [24 December 2007]

 

OFFICIALS NAMED FOR RANJI TROPHY PLATE FINAL

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have named G.A. Pratapkumar and C.R. Mohite as the umpires for the Rani Trophy Plate League final which is to be played in Mumbai from 5-9 January, while Divakar Vasu will be the match referee and Vijay Chopra the umpire coach.  While listed as First Class games, the Plate series is in fact the second-tier of Indian cricket below the top-level Super League section, the finalists from the Plate League being promoted to replace the two sides who finish at the bottom of each Super League series.  Both Pratakumar, 51, and Mohite, 55, played First Class cricket in India before turning to umpiring and each has since officiated in One Day Internationals (ODI).  Pratakumar, who is currently India's third umpire on the International Cricket Council's International umpires panel, has stood in forty-two First Class games since his debut in 1990, and was in the television suite six times during the recent India-Australia and India-Pakistan ODI series.  Mohite's initial First Class match as an umpire was in 1991 and since then he has officiated in thirty-eight games at that level.  Appointments were also announced last week for the two four-day Plate League semi-final matches which are scheduled to get underway in Delhi and Nagpur tomorrow.  In the first semi-final between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Ivaturi Sivaram, 53, and Harnarain Sekhon, 57, will be the umpires, Tushar Arothe the match referee and B.K. Sadashiv the umpire coach.  For the second semi-final, which features Railways and Kerala, Sudhir Asnani, 47, and Suhas Phadkar, 53, will be the on-field officials, Jasbir Singh the match referee and Anand Patel the umpire coach.  The Plate series which commenced in early November, is made up of teams representing Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Railways, Services and Tripura.  The BCCI has used a total of forty umpires from across India for the thirty matches played in the lead-up to the semi finals.  EN159-871. [24 December 2007]   

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 160, 27 December 2007

 

BUCKNOR REPLACED FOR NZ ONE-DAYERS, OUT OF AUS-INDIA TESTS?

West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor, who had been named as the 'neutral' official for two One Day Internationals (ODI) between New Zealand and Bangladesh this week, has been replaced at short notice for matches in Australasia for the second time  in two months.  Bucknor was also listed for the Second and Third Test matches in the current Australia-India series just two weeks ago (E-News 154-851, 13 December 2007), but as yet the International Cricket Council (ICC) has given no reason for his non-appearance in New Zealand, and whether he will still stand in Sydney and Perth is unclear at this stage.  What little information that is available suggests that Australian Peter Parker, a member of the ICC's International Umpires Panel (IUP), was called across the Tasman at short notice to officiate in the two NZ ODIs; a similar situation to that which confronted NZ umpire Tony Hill last November when Bucknor became unavailable for the Test matches between Australia and Sri Lanka because he "forgot" to fill in his visa in time (E-News 131-711, 9 November 2007).  The 'latest appointments' section of the ICC's web site indicates that Parker and Englishman Nigel Llong will still umpire the two Tests between NZ and Bangladesh in January.  Parker umpired yesterday's first ODI between the home nation and Bangladesh with NZ IUP member Gary Baxter who was standing in his thirteenth ODI in just over two years.  The Australian will take his ODI record to sixty-one games during the second ODI in Napier tomorrow.  EN160-874. [Thursday, 27 December 2007].

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 161, 28 December 2007

 

TCUSA MEMBERS TO STAND IN TOURIST'S BELLERIVE ONE-DAYER

TCUSA members Greg Luck and Brian Muir have been appointed to stand in the one-day, fifty over, match between Tasmania and the touring Sri Lankan side at Bellerive on 2 February.  The match, which is a warm-up game for the tourists just ahead of their tri-nation series with Australia and India, will be Luck's first 50 over match at that level, while Muir has officiated in ten such games in the interstate series in the last three years (E-News 155-860, 14 December).  EN161-878.

 

INDIAN BATSMAN TO FACE DISCIPLINARY HEARING

Indian middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh is to face a hearing when the third day's play in the First Test between Australia and India ends this evening.  Match referee Mike Proctor of South Africa is expected to convene the meeting to look into Singh's actions after he lingered at the crease in defiance of the caught-behind decision given against him on day two yesterday.  EN161-877.  

 

OXENFORD APPOINTED TO FIRST ODI ON-FIELD ROLE

Queenslander Bruce Oxenford, who was named as a member of the International Cricket Council's International Umpires Panel (IUP) in June, has been appointed to stand in his first One Day International (ODI) in mid-February.  Oxenford, together with South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen, New Zealander Tony Hill and Australians Simon Taufel, Daryl Harper, Peter Parker and Steve Davis, are listed to officiate in the first eight games of the twelve-match preliminary section of the tri-nation ODI series involving Australia, India and Sri Lanka to be played during February.  Koertzen and Hill will both stand in four matches, Taufel, Parker and Davis in two each, while Harper and Oxenford have single appointments.  Oxenford, who will be on the ground with Hill during the game between Sri Lanka and India in Canberra on 12 February, but before that he will be in the third umpire's chair for the first two matches on 3 and 5 February.  Other third umpires named to date are Parker and Bob Parry a Victorian member of the National Umpires Panel who Oxenford replaced on the IUP six months ago (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007).  They will each be in the television suite for three ODIs. Umpires have not yet been named for the last four matches of the preliminary series, including the game between Sri Lanka and India at Bellerive Oval on 26 February.  Oxenford has also been named to stand with Taufel in the Twenty20 international between Australia and India at the MCG on 1 February, Parry being the third umpire.  EN161-876.

 

PHYSIO TREATS BOWDEN FOR LEG PROBLEM 

New Zealand international umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden needed on-field treatment for a problem with his leg during the First Test between Australia and India at the MCG yesterday.  Indian physiotherapist John Gloster went on to the ground to assist batsman Sachin Tendulkar mid-way through the day and Bowden asked him to look at his leg.  After a few minutes treatment Bowden appeared fined and went back to his position thus allowing play to proceed.  EN161-875.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 162, 28 December 2007

 

WOMEN'S 'ASHES' TEST TO REIFFEL, TUCKER

Ten umpires from two states have been appointed to stand in the nine matches England's Women team will play in Australia early next year, National Umpires Panel (NUP) members Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker being named for the only Test match of the three-week tour in Bowral, NSW, from 15-19 February.  Prior to that England is to play two warm up games in Melbourne and Geelong against the Australian Under 21 side on 28 and 30 January, then a Twenty20 international and five One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1-11 February at the MCG, SCG and Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.  The Twenty20 and two ODIs at the MCG will be umpired by Victorians Geoff Joshua, John Ward, Bob Parry and Paul Reiffel, while the other three ODIs in NSW will see locals Darren Goodger, Rod Tucker and Gerard Abood officiating.  Ward and Parry are also members of the NUP (E-News 65-355, 12 July 2007).  EN162-880.

 

ENGLAND FINED FOR SLOW OVER RATE IN GALLE TEST  

England has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its drawn Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last week.  Match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand imposed the fines after Michael Vaughan’s side was ruled to be four overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. Under International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations players are each fined five per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain loosing double that amount.  As a result England captain Michael Vaughan forfeited forty per cent, and his players 20 per cent, of their match fees.  EN162-879.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 163, 30 December 2007

 

TEST PLAYER QUESTIONS ACCURACY OF HAWK-EYE 

Australian player Andrew Symonds says that while there have "been some great innovations in cricket in the past decade", he is not the biggest fan of 'Hawk-Eye', according to his column in today's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper in Melbourne.  "Put simply", writes Symonds, that piece of technology "frustrates me", and he questions how Hawk-Eye can possibly tell every time where the ball is traveling, particularly on LBW shouts given "the many conditions and variables [that affect] a pitch over five days".  Symonds says he can't see "how Hawk-Eye can work out where the ball is going to end up once the ball pitches", and claims that he and "other guys in the Australian team find it frustrating because we don't believe it's as accurate as it should be".  Symonds' says that Hawk-Eye sometimes indicates that a ball is going to hit leg stump when to the naked eye it looks as if it is missing.  "Maybe that's the naked eye getting it wrong, but an inch or two in cricket can be a long way, especially when we're talking about LBW decisions", says the player.  On the other hand he doesn't think that "Hawk-Eye is a pointless tool because [he] can see value in it for viewers and it can be informative for young kids learning about bowling".  But as a player he doesn't believe it's accurate enough to draw an absolute, dead set conclusion from, especially when commentators are relying on it to make post-wicket analysis.  "The beauty of cricket is the human element of decision making", he says, and now that "we've got neutral umpiring in world cricket the less of a role Hawk-Eye plays, the better".  Symonds concludes his comments by saying that he wouldn't like to see umpires using Hawk-Eye for LBW decisions until its "proven to be 100 per cent accurate every time".  The manufacturers of Hawk-Eye believe that they can further improve its accuracy (E-News 115-623, 11 October 2007), and the Marylebone Cricket Club has proposed that it and other technology be used by players as part of a system that would allow players to challenge umpiring decisions in a Test match between England and South Africa at Lords next July (E-News 157-865, 18 December).  EN163-883. 

 

'SHOCK' AT DISMISSAL SAVES BATSMAN FROM FINE

Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh's "shock" at being given out has saved him from any guilt to a dissent charge laid against him during the first cricket Test against Australia at the MCG last week, according to a statement released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday.  Yuvraj was found not guilty of showing dissent towards New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden's decision after he was caught behind for a duck off the bowling of Brett Lee just before tea on day two of the match (E-News 161-878, 28 December 2007).  Yuvraj lingered for a moment at the crease before slowly walking back to the pavilion, however, match referee Mike Procter was quoted by the ICC as saying that "it was evident that Yuvraj took more time than normal to leave the crease but it was due to the fact that he was shocked at the decision". Despite the fact that he was apparently charged with dissent by Bowden and his on-field colleague Englishman Mark Benson, plus third umpire Steve Davis and fourth umpire John Ward, Proctor said that "at no stage did he show displeasure or dissent at the umpires decision".  The ICC statement says that Yuvraj, Indian captain Anil Kumble and team manager Chetan Chauhan argued the batsman's defence at a hearing on Friday night.  If the batsman had been found guilty he could have faced penalties ranging from an official reprimand to being docked half his match payment.  EN163-882.

 

SPORTS FOUNDATION PROPOSES UMPIRES' SEMINAR IN GUYANA

Funding and other support for a workshop for umpires from the West Indian nation of Guyana, is one of a number of sporting projects that veteran cricket commentator Joseph 'Reds' Perreira, founder of the 'Reds' Perreira Sports Foundation, has promised the community there sometime in 2008.  According to press reports Perreira plans to organise the event "with the permission of the Guyana Cricket Umpires Association and the International Cricket Council".  No details of the proposed seminar are currently available and it is not known whether the ICC has been approached on the matter.  EN163-881.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 164, 31 December 2007

 

'HOME' UMPIRES APPOINTED TO DOMESTIC TWENTY20 MATCHES

Umpires from 'home' states have been selected to officiate in this season's domestic Twenty20 interstate competition which gets underway with two matches today.  The fifteen match preliminary series, which will be completed in just two weeks in time for the final on 13 January, will see a total of twenty-one umpires from six states standing in matches, three more than were used last season.  Those appointed, seven of whom are members of the National Umpires Panel (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007), are: Steven John, Greg Luck and Brian Muir (Tasmania); Andrew Curran, Bruce Oxenford, Tim Laycock and Norm McNamara (Queensland); Paul Reiffel, and John and Tony Ward (Victoria); Jeff Brooks, Andrew Craig, Ian Lock and Mick Martel (Western Australia); Andrew Collins, Steve Davis, Simon Fry and Andrew Willoughby (South Australia); and Gerard Abood, Darren Goodger and Terry Keel (NSW).  For John and Martel it will be their first Twenty20 match at interstate level, while the others have one to two such games under their belt, Davis being the most experienced in the shortened form of the game having stood in the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship last September (E-News 92-499, 3 September 2007).  Abood, Curran, Fry, John, Laycock, Lock, Martel, Tony Ward and Willoughby have been given two matches each, and the others a single game.  Umpires for the final have not been announced and that decision is not likely to be made until the teams involved and the ground the match will be played on are known.  Locals Reiffel and John Ward umpired last season's final at the MCG between Victoria and Tasmania.  EN164-886.     

 

PLAYER ADDS HIS VIEW TO USE OF VIDEO UMPIRE ISSUE

New Zealand player Ross Taylor, who has been both the victim and beneficiary of dubious catches over the past year, has added his thoughts to the potential for the wider use of the third umpire for decision-making in high-level cricket.  A NZ Press Association (NZPA) report yesterday indicated that Taylor "wonders if it's time for a greater use of video technology" after his inconclusive dismissal of Bangladeshi Mohammad Ashraful in his team's second One Day International against New Zealand in Napier on Saturday.  Ashraful stood his ground after Taylor celebrated snaffling a cover drive when the captain was on three, a wicket that effectively killed off any chance the visitors had of keeping the three-match series alive by overhauling the Black Caps' 335.  Bangladesh's leading batsman beat what the NZPA says "appeared to be a reluctant retreat" from the ground when umpires Tony Hill (New Zealand) and Peter Parker (Australia) confirmed the dismissal".  Ashraful apparently felt the ball had been caught on the bounce.  Taylor was quoted as saying that he had "most of it [the ball], but "wasn't 100 per cent sure whether [he had] caught [it cleanly]".  Currently, catches cannot be referred to the television official to study a video replay if umpires had a clear view of the incident and Taylor thinks that "maybe technology could come in a bit more", although such a referral did occur in a recent Test match (E-News 152-844, 11 December 2007).  "It's a difficult situation", he said, as he's "seen so many people take catches when they genuinely thought they caught them but they hadn't".  Taylor was reportedly wrongly given out for a duck in Christchurch last January in a Test against Sri Lanka, but slow motion replays indicated the ball made contact with the ground before it was scooped up.  More recently Gareth Hopkins was given out in the Chappell Hadlee Trophy decider in Hobart just before Christmas, though replays also cast doubt as to whether Australian Michael Clarke caught the ball after it hit the ground.  Though Taylor thought there might be merit in the third umpire's powers being extended, the NZPA says that he also indicated that controversial catches were part and parcel of the game.  EN164-885

 

STACKPOLE CALLS FOR 'BEST UMPIRES' FOR TESTS

Former Australian player Keith Stackpole believes that when "the two best teams meet the best umpires should be in control".  In an article on last week's First Test between Australia and India published in Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper yesterday.  Stackpole says that "the only downside to [the match] has been the poor standard of umpiring, particularly when they are judging LBW decisions".  The former opening batsman did not elaborate on what aspects of decisions made were of concern to him, however, he is clearly of the view that the 'neutral' umpires should be set aside in such matches.  Australian international umpire Simon Taufel should, for example, be appointed to high-profile Tests involving his home nation if he as rated the best Test umpire, says Stackpole.  The question of 'neutral' umpires was one of a number of issues examined by the International Crciket Council's umpiring 'Task Force' earlier this year, and the world body opted to maintain the system that is now in place (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), therefore Stackpole's view is unlikely to change the status quo at the present time.  EN164-884. 

 

 

END OF DECEMBER 2007 E-NEWS FILE