(EN-0889 TO EN-1004)
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
165 – 1 January [0887-0889]
• Koertzen tops 2007 Test match appointments, Dar the ODI list (165-0889).
• Little domestic contact for ICC ‘Elite’ group (165-0888).
• Weather looks good for first TCA matches of 2008 (165-0887).
166 – 2 January [0890-0893]
• ‘Elite’ umpires want more technology, claims Lloyd (166-0893).
• Announcement on World Under 19 Championship umpire awaited (166-0892).
• Bucknor standing in Sydney Test (166-0891).
• Harper’s web site resumes service (166-0890).
167 – 3 January [0894-0897]
• Umpire’s coach queries ICC’s ‘shocked’ batsman judgement (167-0897).
• Protest to be lodged on umpiring decisions claim press (167-0896).
• TCUSA members prepare for two domestic Twenty20 matches (167-0895).
• Visitor thanks TCUSA members for hospitality (167-0894).
168 – 4 January [0898-0904]
• Match referee Proctor says he got Singh decision wrong (168-0904).
• Umpires prepare for national Under 17 Championships (168-0903).
• CA chief says player referrals may help umpiring (168-0902).
• Third umpire is fallible too says TV producer (168-0901).
• Another call for dumping of ‘neutral’ umpires in Tests (168-0900).
• Twelve umpires named for Australian Country Championships (168-0899).
• Weather holding for first TCA matches of 2008 (168-0898).
169 – 5 January [0905-0908]
• Champions Trophy to include player referrasls trial? (169-0908).
• Launceston umpire to make TCA debut, prepares for nationals (169-0907).
• India’s Harbhjan to face match referee (169-0906).
• Failure to discipline players leads to umpires’ revolt (169-0905).
170 – 7 January [0909-0910]
• Three-match ban for Harbhjan, appeal to be lodged (170-0910).
• Indian Board lodges umpiring protest with ICC say reports (170-0909).
171 – 8 January [0911-0915]
• Replace Bucknor, rescind Harbhjan decision, demands BCCI (171-0915).
• CA awaits ‘compelling evidence’ on player challenges issue (171-0914).
• Player referrals system for NZ domestic one-day final? (171-0914).
• Technology the only answer says Shepherd (171-0913).
• No NUAS-2 meeting this week (171-0912).
• Near-perfect conditions for Hobart cricket next weekend (171-0911).
172 – 9 January [0916-0919]
• ICC back flips and removes Bucknor, Indian tour to proceed (172-0919).
• Hogg charged, hearing set for Perth next week (172-0918).
• Proctor stands by Harbhjan decision, claims report (172-0917).
• Hair offers condolences to Bucknor, calls for referral system (172-0916).
173 – 10 January [0920-0924]
• Windies Board queries ICC on umpire change (173-0924).
• NZ Judge named for Harbhjan appeal (173-0923).
• Technology promotes lack of confidence, claims Hewitt (173-0922).
• On-field pink ball trial to start tonight (173-0921).
• Young umpire ready for the summer ahead (173-0920).
174 – 11 January [0925-0932]
• Pink ball ‘easy to se’, colour holds, in initial trial match (174-0932).
• Scorer disputes umpire’s decision but disciplinary case thrown out (174-0931).
• Windies umpires back Bucknor while Bird urges retirement (174-0930).
• No back down on Harbhjan says ICC (174-0929).
• Madugalle to work through Australia-India issues ‘quietly’ (174-0928).
• MCC again backs player challenge experiment (174-0927).
• Country captain banned until 2009-10 season (174-0926).
• Pleasant conditions forecast for weekend’s cricket in Hobart (174-0925).
175 – 13 January [0933-0937]
• Oxenford, Lock appointed to domestic Twenty20 final (175-0937).
• More Test players behaving badly (175-0936).
• Don’t sign if score sheets don’t tally, says umpire’s chief (175-0935).
• NZ umpiring heas reported wary of player referrals system (175-0934).
• NUP member supports player challenge concept (175-0933).
176 – 14 January [0938-0947]
• Pakistan seeks change in result of ‘ball tampering’ Test (176-0947).
• CA Cup debuts for umpire McGann, scorer Godfrey (176-0946).
• Lack of third umpire generates controversy, says press (176-0945).
• Umpire mistakes due to ‘burn out’, claims Ponting (176-0944).
• ‘Confusion’ joins ‘shock in cricket’s lexicon (176-0943).
• Three on-field umpires rotating between sessions for Tests? (176-0942).
• Ranatunga suggests different take on ICC ‘neutral’ umpire policy (176-0941).
• Windies player reported for suspect bowling action (176-0940).
• NUAS-2 training recommences this week (176-0939).
• Initial forecasts say fine Saturday, showers Sunday, for TCA matches (176-0938).
177 – 15 January [0948-0955]
• Senior ICC official publicly criticises match referee (177-0955).
• Harbhjan appeal to be heard after Test series (177-0954).
• India withdraw charge against Hogg (177-0953).
• Association of Cricket Officials interim Chair appointed (177-0952).
• Players the real problem, not umpires, says Agnew (177-0951).
• Call for promotion of ‘Spirit of Cricket’ in schools and clubs (177-0950).
• Twenty20 skippers want third ump, technology, used in ‘big games’ (177-0949).
• Slow over-rate fine for South Africans (177-0948).
178 – 16 January [0956-0960]
• Bucknor’s treatment ‘unfair, unjust, unprofessional’, say ICUS (178-0960).
• Bucknor home and ‘disappointed’ (178-0959).
• Travel change for IC Cup match umpires (178-0958).
• Appointments for Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODI series awaited (178-0957).
• Give on-field umpires more powers say Test trio (178-0956).
179 – 17 January [0961-0962]
• NZ one-day final to trial player challenge system (179-0962).
• Saturday fine, ‘a few showers’ Sunday, for TCA matches (179-0961).
180 – 21 January [0963-0970]
• Australian team fined for slow Test over-rate (180-0970).
• Pura Cup resumes after Christmas, Twenty20, break (180-0969).
• I’ll go on for another year says Bucknor (180-0968).
• Umpires suspended as ‘substitute’ takes on a new meaning (180-0967).
• One-day domestic debut for Victoria’s Joshua (180-0966).
• Umps preside over WNCL final wash out (180-0965).
• Sri Lankan ‘neutral’ official for Pakistan-Zimbabwe series (180-0964).
• ‘Dramas galore’ in first weeks of 2008 says Harper (180-0963).
181 – 22 January [0971-0977]
• Bucknor to stand in Bangladesh, South Africa, Test series (181-0977).
• TCA batsman out in rare ‘Obstructing the Field’ dismissal (181-0976).
• Gavaskar outburst concerns senior ICC official (181-0975).
• Playing conditions queried after rain stops play (181-0974).
• Cricket must embrace technology says incoming ICC head (181-0973).
• NUAS-2 training to focus on ‘duties and responsibilities’ (181-0972).
• Some rain, showers, possible for Hobart next weekend (181-0971).
182 – 24 January [0978-0980]
• Hair returned to first class cricket (182-0980).
• IPL franchises open for bidding today (182-0979).
• PNG umpire to stand in World U19 Championships (182-0978).
183 – 25 January [0981-0988]
• Umpires to make TCA First Grade debut this weekend (183-0988).
• Brush up on rain delay rules for weekend matches (183-0987).
• Harbhjan ‘may escape with minor punishment’, claims TOI (183-0986).
• TCUSA members for Launceston one-dayer (183-0985).
• Gavaskar to face penalty for attack on match referee (183-0984).
• Forty-nine umps manage Indian domestic first class games in 2007-08 (183-0983).
• Tucker, Ward, for SCG Pura Cup match (183-0982).
England women’s tour gets underway today (183-0981).
184 – 28 January [0989-0995]
• Busy three months for international umpires (184-0995).
• Harbhjan appeal ‘procedure’ to be outlined (184-0994).
• ICL’s fifty over ‘domestic’ series nears, umps unknown (184-0993).
• Gavaskar to defend attack on match referee (184-0992).
• ‘Bounce-throw’ tactic curtailed, claim press reports (184-0991).
• U19 World Cup playing squads named, umpire details awaited (184-0990).
• Non-walkers ‘cheats’ says former umpire (184-0989).
185 – 29 January [0996-1000]
• ‘ICC umpires’ to officiate in Indian Premier League, claims BCCI VP (185-1000).
• Match officials named for Under 19 World Cup (185-999).
• Unknowns stand in ICL fifty over competition opener (185-998).
• ‘New’ evidence for Harbhjan appeal? (185-997).
• Weekend weather looks good for tour match, TCA games (185-996).
186 – 30 January [1001-1003]
• Hearing reduces Test ban to fine for ‘abusive language’ (186-1003).
• NUP member, ACT umpire, to stand in PM XI match (186-1002).
• Player challenge system ‘only way forward’, says Crowe (186-1001).
187 – 2 January [1004-1010]
• World’s ‘best’ umpire, ODI record holder, to stand in Hobart (187-1010).
• Judge defends Harbhjan decision, ICC botches advice (187-1009).
• Loss of ‘grace and courtesy’ in cricket lamented by GG (187-1008).
• Seven NUP members to stand in last two domestic first class rounds (187-1007).
• Year-long ban for dupted umpires, five years for team (187-1006).
• Award for former Windies umpire (187-1005).
• Anthony to feature cricket tales (187-1004).
E-NEWS NUMBER 165TUESDAY, 1 JANUARY 2008
KOERTZEN TOPS 2007 TEST MATCH
APPOINTMENTS, DAR THE ODI LIST
South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen topped the list of Test match appointments in 2007 and was equal second behind his Pakistani colleague Aleem Dar in the number of One Day Internationals (ODI) he stood in during the year.
Koertzen, who officiated in eight Tests, was one ahead of Dar, his Pakistani countryman Asad Rauf and Australian Daryl Harper, all of who managed seven. Another Australian, Simon Taufel, and Billy Doctrove from the West Indies, were next with six Tests each, England's Mark Benson had five, while Doctrove's Carribean colleague Steve Bucknor and New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden both officiated in four Tests.
Australian Darrell Hair who is currently being "rehabiltated" by the International Cricket Council (ICC) (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007), was the only member of the world Body's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) not to be given a Test in 2007.
Dar, who with Bucknor stood in this year's World Cup final (E-News 35-196, 1 May 2007), led the way in the ODI arena with twenty-six matches over the twelve months, followed by Koertzen and Benson with twenty-four, Bowden (twenty-three), Taufel (seventeen), Bucknor and Rauf (sixteen each), Harper (fourteen) and Doctrove (thirteen); while Hair stood in thirteen ODIs, however, all his matches involved second-tier nations.
Of the ten EUP members only Benson, Doctrove, Harper, Rauf and Taufel were appointed to the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in September (E-News 59-324, 24 June 2007), Taufel topping the international Twenty20 list with ten games, followed by Benson and Rauf with eight each, with six going to both Doctrove and Harper; while Koertzen stood in a single such match earlier in the year.
In terms of actual on-field time in 2007, Koertzen headed the count spending just over seventy days officiating in international matches either out on the ground or in the third umpire's suite. In similar vein, records indicate that Benson, Dar, Harper, Rauf and Taufel spent between sixty-five and seventy days directly involved with matches, Doctrove close to sixty. Bowden just over fifty, and Bucknor a low of just over forty days.
LITTLE DOMESTIC CONTACT FOR
ICC 'ELITE' GROUP IN 2007
The ten umpires of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) current 'Elite' Umpiring Panel (EUP) between them umpired a total of just four First Class matches, six limited over games, and a single Twenty20 match involving top-level domestic sides in their home countries in 2007.
During the year 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Simon Taufel (Australia) each stood in one domestic First Class match, while in the limited over form of the game Doctrove and Daryl Harper (Australia) managed two domestic games each, and Bowden and Benson one match apiece. Bowden was the only EUP member to stand in a domestic Twenty20 game during the last twelve months.
The ICC plans to increase the membership of the EUP from the current ten to twelve in 2008, in part to allow those on that panel to spend less time away from home and more time mentoring up-and-coming officials and working on their own skills in their nation's domestic competitions (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).
WEATHER LOOKS GOOD FOR FIRST
TCA MATCHES OF 2008
Current long-range forecasts for the coming weekend indicate that conditions should generally be fine for the first round of Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) matches for the New Year this coming weekend. Today's Bureau of Meteorology forecast indicates that Saturday will be fine with a top temperature of 31 degrees Celsius, whilst Sunday will be 'mainly fine' with a more pleasant maximum of around twenty-three degrees.
A trough of low pressure and a cold front are currently expected to cross the state on Saturday evening, hence the 'mainly fine' forecast for Sunday. That suggests a small amount of rain or drizzle could fall on Saturday evening but clear quickly on Sunday morning.
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).
E-NEWS NUMBER 166WEDNESDAY, 2 JANUARY 2008
'ELITE' UMPIRES WANT MORE
TECHNOLOGY, CLAIMS LLOYD
A "number" of umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Elite' panel "want more technology" used to assist them in matches, according to former England player and First Class umpire David Lloyd.
Speaking on a 'Cricinfo Talk' forum last weekend, Lloyd said that he recently spoke "to a top international umpire", who he declined to name, and was told by that official that "if I'm in Kolkata [at the Eden Gardens], with 86,000 people, or at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with 90,000 people, I can't hear thin edges; don't even ask me to hear them". The unnamed umpire is believed to have said that he feels that "the third umpire is very much part of [a] team" that is made up of "the two umpires in the middle and the one upstairs".
According to Lloyd there's a growing feeling amongst the ICC's senior umpires that the number of umpires governing a game should be three not two, an issue that has been highlighted by the media on a number of occasions in a number of countries in recent months (E-News 164-855, 31 December 2007).
Despite the controversies surrounding umpiring decisions, Lloyd says that he's seen a lot of cricket around the world recently and believes that the umpiring has been "excellent". In the recent England versus Sri Lanka series he says that "the two Pakistani umpires, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, were under extreme pressure because it was a slow pitch that was dry, there was low bounce with the spinners bowling [and] a lot of appeals, but the two umpires were brilliant".
Similar positive comments were made by an English journalist about the pair during the match last month (E-News 150-826, 7 December 2007). "Of course, mistakes were made", says Lloyd, "but overall I thought they were outstanding".
ANNOUNCEMENT ON WORLD UNDER 19
CHAMPIONSHIP UMPIRES AWAITED
An announcement of the umpires and match referees who will officiate in next month's World Under 19 Championship in Malaysia is expected to be made in the near future. The structure of the tournament and number of games scheduled for the February-March series suggests that as was the case in the last two Championships in 2004 and 2006, twelve umpires and four match referees will be selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The 2004 series, which was played in Bangladesh, saw senior umpires from the home nation plus Australia, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe stand in between eight and ten matches each; that group including Mark Benson from England and Billy Doctrove from the West Indies, officials who two years later became members of the ICC's 'Elite' umpires panel. At that time Doctrove was on the ICC's second-tier International umpires panel (IUP), while Benson was not appointed to that level until 2005.
Of the ten other umpires who stood in the 2004 eight were then, or shortly after became, members of the IUP. Those eight were: Peter Parker (Australia); AFM Akhtaruddin (Bangladesh); Jeremy Lloyds (England); Krishna Hariharan (India); Nadeem Ghauri (Pakistan); Ian Howell and Brian Jerling (both South Africa); and Kevin Barbour (Zimbabwe). All except Akhtaruddin and Lloyds remain on the IUP today.
Lloyds and Parker officiated in the final of the top-section of the tournament between Pakistan and the West Indies, and Doctrove and Howell the deciding game of the second-tier play-off series between Bangladesh and Australia. The other two umpires used in the 2004 tournament, Showkatur Rahaman and Mahbubur Rahman from Bangladesh had both stood in a single Test match prior to the Under 19 series and are still standing at First Class level in Bangladesh.
Doctrove, Ghauri, and Hariharan were also selected for the 2006 Championship in Sri Lanka, together with Gary Baxter (New Zealand), Peter Baldwin (Germany), Steve Davis (Australia), Roger Dill (Bermuda), Shahul Hameed (Indonesia), Peter Manuel (Sri Lanka), Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal), and Sri Lankans Asoka de Silva and Tyron Wijewardene.
Baxter, Davis, de Silva and Wijewardene were and are still all members of the ICC's IUP. Davis and Doctrove stood in the main final and Ghauri and Wijewardene in the second-tier play-off match. The 2008 series, the fourth of the last five World Under 19 tournaments to be conducted in Asia since the year 2000, will be played on grounds in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. The competition is scheduled to commence on 17 February, with the main final being played 2 March. .
BUCKNOR STANDING IN
West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor took the field today in Sydney for the Second Test match between Australia and India, further extending his world record for such matches to 120 Tests. Bucknor was originally named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for two One Day International matches between New Zealand and Bangladesh between Christmas and New Year, however, he was replaced in those games by Australian Peter Parker (E-News 160-874, 27 December 2007).
It was not clear whether Bucknor would officiate in Sydney or in the Third Test in Perth in mid-month, the umpire's appointments section of the ICC's web site recently being well out of date. That page currently lists umpires for a total of twenty-four international matches, however, all but two of those games were completed last month.
HARPER'S WEB SITE
Australian international umpire Daryl Harper's web site has resumed service after a break of almost three months, a time during which he has officiated in two Tests each in South Africa and Sri Lanka (E-News 117-631, 15 October 2007).
The latest entry on the site, which talks in only very general terms of his recent umpiring tasks, was written following his return to Adelaide on Christmas morning after he stood in two Tests in Sri Lanka between the home side and England, during which technology again brought a number of interesting issues to the fore (E-News 152-844, 11 December 2007).
Harper says he plans to spend a few days in Sydney this week watching the Second Test between Australia and India, a time that he says he will enjoy as a member of the crowd "for a rare change". This is especially so as he has been "in Cape Town for the last three New Year Tests".
The Australian is due to fly to South Africa in the next few weeks for the One Day International series between the Proteas and the West Indies (E-News 154-852, 13 December 2007).
E-NEWS NUMBER 167THURSDAY, 3 JANUARY 2008
UMPIRE'S COACH QUERIES ICC's 'SHOCKED'
Tasmanian State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows has questioned the decision to dismiss a dissent charge laid against Indian player Yuvraj Singh late last month because the batsman was "shocked" at being given out in the First Test between Australia and India (E-News 163-882, 30 December 2008).
Widows is concerned about the quote attributed to match referee Mike Proctor of South Africa by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that "it was evident that Yuvraj took more time than normal to leave the crease" because he was "shocked at the decision".
Pointing out that the batsman was, according to the ICC statement, reported for dissent by all four umpires at the match, Widows is of the view that Proctor, and thus the ICC, has "set a precedent that now allows for batsmen to indicate to all and sundry that the umpire’s decision does not immediately have to be accepted".
By "providing his reason for non compliance [as] being shocked by the decision", Singh made his own thoughts on the decision "quite clear to all those watching", says Widows, and he imagines that "it won’t be long before a bowler argues that his response of disbelief to an umpire turning down his appeal will be argued as merely being “shocked by the decision!”.
Widows is concerned of the "ramifications" Proctor's decision "sets for a cricket at all levels" of the game. ICC's statement that detailed Proctor's decision, which was posted on its web site late last week, appears to have been removed over the weekend and is no longer available on line.
PROTEST TO BE LODGED ON UMPIRING
DECISIONS CLAIM PRESS
Press reports from India overnight claim that the Board of Cricket for Cricket in India (BCCI) has directed the Indian team management to lodge a protest with International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Mike Procter against umpiring decisions made on the opening day of the second Test against Australia at Sydney yesterday.
"We have asked our team management to lodge a protest [with Proctor] against the wrong umpiring decisions made today by Steve Bucknor, decisions [that] have been commented upon by all cricketers and analysts alike", said BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla. "I am sure the ICC will be monitoring the matter [at its headquarters] in Dubai and take appropriate actions", said Shukla.
Indian press reports say that "Australian batsman Andrew Symonds [who went on to score a critical 162 not out] was caught by [wicketkeeper] Dhoni off Ishant Sharma when on 30 but to the horror of the Indian team, Bucknor decided he was not out". The reports also claim that "Symonds was also given another 'life' by third umpire Bruce Oxenford who ruled him not out when he was stumped by Dhoni off Anil Kumble a little later".
The incidents in yesterday's play resulted in a plethora of newspaper reports in India and Australia by a range of journalists and former players who are in favour or against an increase in the range of technology available for decision making at the highest levels of the game.
Writing in 'The Age' in Melbourne, former First Class player Peter Roebuck said that "dreadful umpiring cast a shadow over an otherwise superb day's cricket at a sunblessed SCG" on Wednesday and "alas their errors changed the mood of the match". "Umpires and traditionalists resist the onset of technology to resolve tricky decisions" said Roebuck, but "nothing in yesterday's events advanced their cause" (E-News 166-893, 2 Janaury 2008).
Former fast bowler Dennis Lillee said he has "no problems with technology that assists in helping umpires adjudicate correctly on run-outs and stumpings, but I am afraid 'Hawk-Eye' and his mate, the 'snickometer', are pure gadgetry", a comment that echoed in part the recent opinion of current Australian player Andrew Symonds (E-News 163-883, 30 December 2007).
Writing in Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper, journalist John Pierik said that "Channel 9's 'snickometer' confirmed a leg side tickle by Australian captain Ricky Ponting, and gave viewers the correct call", however, he says "it did take about three overs to compute the information". Pierik says though that "surely the technology will soon be there for a prompt answer [and] when it is it must be used".
TCUSA MEMBERS PREPARE FOR TWO
DOMESTIC TWENTY20 MATCHES
Three TCUSA umpiring members will be standing in the two interstate Twenty20 matches that are to be played at Bellerive over the next three days. On Friday, Steven John and Brian Muir will be on the field when Tasmania takes on NSW, and John will also be there on Sunday with Greg Luck for the home side's match against South Australia.
Tomorrow's game will be Muir's third such interstate match, and Sunday's Luck's second, both also having another game they were selected for last January washed out; while John will making his debut in interstate Twenty20 matches (E-News 164-886, 31 December 2007). Current Bureau of Meteorology forecasts indicate that the weather will be fine on both days for the two matches.
VISITOR THANKS TCUSA MEMBERS
Englishman Nick Westwell, who spent two weeks in Tasmania umpiring and watching cricket just before Christmas (E-News 146-796, 30 November 2007), has now returned home to Lancashire and has asked that his appreciation for the hospitality he received during his visit be passed on to members.
Westwell umpired with Martin Betts, Don Heapy and Michael Graeme-Smith and spent every day watching Tasmania's two four-day First Class matches against Western Australia and Victoria at Bellerive in the intervening period. He told E-News that he very much appreciated the welcome he received and that "it was an experience [he] will never forget".
After leaving Tasmania Nick traveled to Victoria but unfortunately bad weather washed out play on both of the weekends he was to have umpired in, and he says that he should "never have left Tassy".
E-NEWS NUMBER 168FRIDAY, 4 JANUARY 2008
MATCH REFEREE PROCTOR SAYS HE
GOT SINGH DECISION WRONG
International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Mike Proctor from South Africa told a Primary Club breakfast gathering of nearly 500 in Sydney on Wednesday that he made an error in not finding Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh guilty of dissent during last week's first Test in Melbourne against Australia, according to a report published in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday.
The Indian was charged with dissent but was reprieved because Proctor felt that he lingered at the wicket on being given out because he was "shocked", not because he was disputing the umpire's decision (E-News 163-882, 30 December 2008). Proctor's back down came thirty-six hours after Tasmanian State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows told E-News of his concerns about the "ramifications" Proctor's decision "sets for a cricket at all levels" of the game (E-News 166-897, 3 January 2008).
According to the report in 'The Australian', the ICC's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed, who was at the match, was reported to be "so annoyed" by Procter's decision that he told the former South African fast bowler he was wrong and "attempted to appeal against the decision".
ICC's CEO has appealed decisions made on more serious matters, says the story, but on this occasion he found that "because dissent is only a level-one offence, the lowest level of misdemeanor, the chief executive has no power to appeal". Clearly concerned about the issue, however, Speed released a short statement that indicated "the ICC will be writing to all [of its] umpires and match referees to ensure they understand the ICC's view on dissent".
'The Australian' article says that "the Australian cricket community was not only shocked by Procter's amazing leap of logic, there was also anger and dismay that a match referee had failed to do his one and only job, uphold the standards of the game".
Similar criticism was levied at match referees in he Australia-India One Day International series in October with regard to player behaviour (E-News 121-653, 2 October 2007). In a comment similar to that made by Widows earlier in the week, the newspaper article said that from "now on, petulant players will no doubt be lining up to explain their shock at umpiring decisions".
UMPIRES PREPARE FOR NATIONAL
UNDER 17 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eight umpires from around Australia will be in Melbourne tomorrow for the first day of this year's men's National Under 17 Championships and stand in four one-day and three two-day matches over the next two weeks. The officials selected for the tournament are: Ash Barrow (Victoria); Ian Barsby (Queensland); Alex Fyfe (Australian Capital Territory); Jim Harrod (Northern Territory); Shane Hicks (South Australia); Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania); Todd Rann (Western Australia); and Peter Tate (NSW).
It is not known how old Harrod and Rann are, but Fyfe is 26, Hicks 30, Tate 33, Mitchell 41 and Barsby 55. Barrow and Rann are the only umpires named who have previously stood in a national U17 series, while Tate took part in the equivalent U19 tournament in December 2006 in Adelaide.
Hicks and Tate each have games in the Cricket Australia Cup for State Second XIs to their credit, and Barrow and Rann nine and thirteen Women's National Cricket League games respectively under their belts. Tate was named as the third umpire for the one-day domestic match between NSW and South Australia last month, however, the game was washed out (E-News 151-832, 10 December 2007).
Harrod umpired in the Institute Challenge series in Darwin last August-September (E-News 88-471, 26 August 2007), but this will be Mitchell's first outing as an umpire at representative level, however, he represented Australia as a player in a Youth Test against India in Mumbai in 1985 (E-News 7-044, 22 February 2007). No details of Fyfe's experience are available on data-bases available to E-News.
CA CHIEF SAYS PLAYER REFERRALS
MAY HELP UMPIRING
Cricket Australia's (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has advocated the increased use of technology in the game, according to an article posted in the Cricinfo web site overnight. Sutherland, who was speaking after a controversial day for umpires on day one of the Test between Australia and India (E-News 167-896, 3 January 2008), is said to have indicated that a challenge system similar to those used in tennis, if effectively utilised in order to minimise delays, could reduce the impact of bad decisions.
CA's chief was quoted by 'The Australian" as saying that "there have been some advances in technology that cricket can continue to explore ... there is also a sense of delay when there is this use of technology". "We see [delays] at the moment with run-outs, and people may argue that the game of cricket doesn't need any more delays than it already has", he said (E-News 168-901 below).
Sutherland thinks that "in tennis it works where a player can make only two or three [incorrect] appeals in the course of a match, [and] that may be something that makes people think twice about using the appeals at the right time".
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has proposed that improved technology plus a system whereby players can challenge umpiring decisions be used in a Test match between England and South Africa at Lords next July (E-News 157-865, 18 December).
No decision on that issue has yet been made by the International Cricket Council (ICC), however, Sutherland is a member of the world body's Chief Executive's Committee (CEC) that deals with the game's operational and management matters.
Indications are that the CEC will consider the MCC's proposal at its next meeting later this year, while Sunil Gavaskar, Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee, was quoted in Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph' today as saying that all umpiring matters would be discussed at his group's normal annual meeting in late May.
THIRD UMPIRE IS FALLIBLE TOO
SAYS TV PRODUCER
The limits of both human judgement and camera technology mean that Nine Television Network's executive for sports production Steve Crawley is not keen about any rush to allow umpires or players more scope to refer decisions to the third official, according to a report in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne today.
Crawley is quoted in an article by journalist Andrew Stevenson as saying that he'd "hate us to be involved in the judicial system of cricket". Replays are now used, at the umpire's discretion, for run outs, stumpings, hit wickets and bump balls, and, if both umpires are unsighted, to judge whether a catch has been taken cleanly.
"We've only got one thing 100 per cent backed up by science and that's 'Hot Spot'" but "'Snicko' is very well informed but it's not 100 per cent, and Hawk-Eye's not 100 per cent", said Crawley, the latter being pointed out by Australian player Andrew Symonds last week (E-News 164-885, 31 December 2008).
Crawley also talked about the time taken to arrive at decisions, saying that on Wednesday "Snicko, like all computer systems, went down and it had to be rebooted and it was four minutes before we got it up" (E-News 167-896, 3 January 2008).
ANOTHER CALL FOR DUMPING OF
'NEUTRAL' UMPIRES IN TESTS
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh wants to do away the 'neutral' umpires concept in Test matches and says the best umpires should officiate in high-profile matches, such as the India-Australia series, according to an article he wrote for yesterday's 'Daily Telegraph' in Sydney.
Waugh's comments came after a controversial day for umpires on the first day of the current Test between India and Australia (E-News 167-896, 3 January 2008), and echo the thoughts of former Australian opening batsman Keith Stackpole last week (E-News 164-884, 31 December 2007).
The former captain wrote that "the world's number one umpire for the past four years is Simon Taufel from Sydney and he should be out in the middle making the crucial decisions under pressure for this is what the best aspire to". Waugh said neutral umpires might have been needed in the past because of a lack of professionalism but believes there is no reason to insist on neutral umpires any more.
Commenting on the controversial first day's play Waugh, who as far as it is known has not umpired at any significant level in cricket, said "that to have at least four obvious errors in one day is not bad luck", its "just inadequate concentration".
Last year Taufel was reported to have expressed the view that the best umpires available should be appointed to "important matches" and the neutral umpires policy rescinded (E-News 42, 20 May 2007). Shortly afterwards Cricket Australia confirmed its support for neutral umpires (E-News 45, 24 May 2007), as has Taufel's fellow Australian and member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 'Elite' umpiring panel Daryl Harper (E-News 34, 30 April 2007), and the Chairman of its Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar (E-News 41, 17 May 2007).
The question of 'neutral' umpires was one of a number of issues examined by the ICC's umpiring 'Task Force' last year, and in October the world body opted to maintain the system that is now in place (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).
TWELVE UMPIRES NAMED FOR AUSTRALIAN
Twelve umpires have been named to stand in the Australian Country Cricket Championships which start in Mackay, Queensland, on Sunday and run for just under two weeks. The Championships involve State Country Teams from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, together with a side from the East Asia Pacific Region.
Queensland State Umpiring Manager Mike Ralston told E-News this week that the officials chosen for the series form the nucleus of the Queensland Country Umpires Panel and have been standing at the highest level with their respective Associations for many years.
Those taken part in the series are: Zulfiqar Abdulal (Cairns), Ian Beattie (Atherton), Les Bennett (Bundaberg), Wayne Blinco (Dalby), Mark Dalgleish (Ipswich), Bruce Deem (Bundaberg), Ben Farrell (Brisbane), Colin Forster (Rockhampton), Greg Hamblin (Townsville), Ken Otte (Sunshine Coast), Mark Parry (Beaudesert), and Doug Pearce (Townsville).
The Queensland state side will take on a Australia Country XI team, which will be drawn from those participating in the tournament, on 15 January two days before the series ends.
WEATHER HOLDING FOR FIRST
Current forecasts for the weekend indicate that conditions should generally be fine for the first round of Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) matches for the New Year this coming weekend. Today's Bureau of Meteorology forecast indicates that Saturday will be fine with a top temperature of 31 degrees Celsius, whilst Sunday will be 'mainly fine' with a more pleasant maximum of around twenty-three 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). EN168-898.
E-NEWS NUMBER 169SATURDAY, 5 JANUARY 2008
CHAMPIONS TROPHY TO INCLUDE
PLAYER REFERRALS TRIAL?
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed told ABC Radio yesterday afternoon that the world body is likely to trial a player-driven appeal system for contentious decisions at the Champions Trophy scheduled to be played in Pakistan in September.
Speed, who was responding to the storm in media circles surrounding a number of umpiring issues in the current Australia-India Test match in Sydney (E-News 167-896, 3 January 2008), told commentator Jim Maxwell that he doesn't think such a system will be trialed in Tests, thus pouring cold water on a proposal to conduct the experiment in a Test between England and South Africa at Lords in July (E-News 157-865, 18 December 2007).
Speed also emphasised that any trial that is conducted would not be based on either 'Hawk-Eye' or the 'Snickometer' technology as they are not yet foolproof (E-News 93-505, 5 September 2007). He says that both he and David Richardson, the ICC's General Manager Cricket, developed a player referral system in 2006 and it was accepted by the world body's Cricket and Chief Executives committees, however, when it was considered by the ICC's top-level Executive Board, the vote was 5-5.
"Pakistan led the fight against [the proposal] and Australia was against it too", said Speed, who indicated that seven members must vote in favour for any issue before the Board for it to be accepted. In a clear reference to media comments in the last few days, the ICC's CEO said that it needs to be understood that his organisation has been very active in researching and evaluating the use of technology and ways in which it can be used to enhance the game of cricket.
Speed mentioned that referral system trial conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board last northern summer, saying that "the players lost interest in it after a couple of matches" (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007). "The dilemma is the technology has got better and what do we do with it?", said Speed, so "let's see if it works, then have the debate".
The CEO, who is due to step down from his post in mid-year after seven years at the helm, emphasised that any changes to the current system must be passed by the Chairman of the ICC's Test playing countries before they can be introduced.
LAUNCESTON UMPIRE TO MAKE TCA
DEBUT, PREPARES FOR NATIONALS
Launceston-based umpire Caroline McGregor will make her Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) debut this weekend in the two-day, Second Grade match between South Hobart Sandy Bay and Lindisfarne at Queenborough. For McGregor, who will be standing with State Umpires Squad member Steve Maxwell, the match is an important milestone in her umpiring career, and comes just over a week before she leaves for Brisbane to officiate in her second women's National Under 19 tournament (E-News 7-045, 22 February 2007).
Last month she took part in the women's version of the Cricket Australia (CA) Cup for state Second XI sides in Canberra, financial support for that trip and the one ahead to Brisbane coming from a grant she received from the Lord Taveners Club (E-News 150-825, 7 December 2007).
McGregor will join another woman, Brisbane-based umpire Rebecca Gruenfeld, together with her colleagues from the Queensland Cricket Umpires and Scorer’s Association (QCUSA), Craig Hoffmann, Tom Logan, Damien Mealey, Todd O’Rourke and Mark Pius, for the week-long Under 19 tournament.
Mike Ralston, Queensland's State Umpiring Manager, told E-News this week that the six QCUSA members were chosen for the series by taking into consideration their high performance umpiring during the current season, and that they will be given the opportunity and training in future seasons to progress through to representative duties.
INDIA'S HARBHJAN TO FACE
India's Harbhajan Singh has been charged with a Level III offence under the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct following an on-field altercation with Australian Andrew Symonds on day three of the Second Test in Sydney yesterday.
The two players came face to face while Harbhajan was batting and match referee Mike Procter of South Africa summoned the Indian to a hearing at the end of play later today for "using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethic origin".
The charge was laid by on-field umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor after the close of play yesterday evening following a complaint they received from Australian captain Ricky Ponting. If found guilty Harbhajan could face a ban of between two and four Tests or four and eight One Day Internationals.
FAILURE TO DISCIPLINE PLAYERS
LEADS TO UMPIRES’ REVOLT
What they see as the failure of the Tobago Cricket Association (TCA) to discipline players who are reported, has led to the Tobago Umpires Association (TUA) in the West Indies to withdraw their services from TCA games effective next Monday, according to a report in yesterday's 'Tobago News'.
TUA Secretary Keene Gibbs was quoted by the newspaper as saying that over the years umpires have been abused and threatened and though they have been writing reports no disciplinary action was ever taken against the players concerned. At least ten reports were submitted said Gibbs, some of which indicated that players had threatened to "chop referees".
Gibbs said that when his Association met with the TCA about the issues they were told that action would be taken, however, the TUA "later learnt that the players were just called in and told their ill-disciplined behaviour will not be accepted in the future". Asked what sort of action they believed the TCA should have taken Gibbs said that the guilty players should have been fined or suspended.
Contacted by the newspaper, the president of the TCA Ignatius Trim reportedly said that the only comment he wanted to make was that cricket will be played with or without the TUA's services.
E-NEWS NUMBER 170MONDAY, 7 JANUARY 2008
THREE-MATCH BAN FOR HARBHAJAN,
APPEAL TO BE LODGED
India's Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty of making a racist comment to Australian Andrew Symonds during the Second Test in Sydney and banned for three Test matches, but team management say that they will appeal the decision.
South African Mike Procter, the match referee, ruled at the end of a four-hour hearing last night that Harbhajan had breached Level 3 of the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) Code of Conduct. The charge was laid by the on-field umpires Mark Benson (England) and Steve Bucknor (West Indies) after they received a complaint from Australian captain Ricky Ponting at the end of the third day's play on Friday (E-News 169-906, 5 January 2008).
Harbhajan is said to have called Symonds a "monkey" and Procter said following the hearing that he was "satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds' race or ethnic origin". MV Sridhar, India's assistant team manager, who spoke to the media before the decision was announced, said there was "no substantial evidence" as to just what Harbhajan said.
The ban announced by Proctor takes effect immediately and will rule Harbhajan out of the rest of the current Australia-India Test series, however, if Indian team management lodges the appeal within twenty-four hours, Harbhajan will be free to play pending the appeal being hearied.
A report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) over the weekend claimed that the Indians have accused Australian spinner Brad Hogg of using offensive language during the Test. The SMH article states that a hearing into that matter "will, in all likelihood, be held" in Sydney today.
INDIAN BOARD LODGES UMPIRING
PROTEST WITH ICC SAY REPORTS
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have conveyed their ‘strong’ views to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about "the bad officiating, which influenced the second Test match between India and Australia in Sydney", say reports issued the Press Trust of India (PTI) overnight.
BCCI President Sharad Pawar was quoted as saying that the Board "has taken the decision to communicate our strong views to the ICC, which we have sent”, [and] "we believe, we have full trust that they will take appropriate" action.
Indian team management in Sydney are reported to have decided to not lodge an official protest about what the PTI described as "the horrendous umpiring by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson" which continued to the final day (E-News 167-896, 3 January 2008).
“The quality of umpiring has been unacceptable [and] we do not consider it to be neutral”, said to BCCI vice president Mr Rajiv Shukla. “Even Sunil Gavaskar who is a member of the ICC’s technical committee has expressed his outrage", he added. Umpires’ effigies are said to have been burnt in at least one Indian city by crowds angry over poor umpiring in the Sydney Test.
E-NEWS NUMBER 171TUESDAY, 8 JANUARY 2008
REPLACE BUCKNOR, RESCIND HARBHAJAN
DECISION, DEMANDS BCCI
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will only allow its team's current tour of Australia to continue if the International Cricket Council (ICC) replaces West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor for the Third Test against Australia in Perth next week, and the decision to suspend player Harbhajan Singh for three Tests is rescinded.
Bucknor, who with his English colleague Mark Benson has been strongly criticised for the quality of his decision making in the recently completed Second Test in Sydney (E-News 170-909, 7 January 2008), was appointed to the Third Test by the ICC last month along with Pakistani Asad Rauf (E-News 154-851, 13 December 2007).
Harbhajan was suspended by ICC match referee Mike Proctor from South Africa for allegedly calling Australian player Andrew Symonds a "monkey", something the Indian is believed to have denied (E-News 170-910, 7 January 2008).
The BCCI's vice president Rajiv Shukla said in an interview on ABC Radio's current affairs program 'AM' this morning that his Board has demanded that the ICC respond to their request within "twenty-four hours" or face a curtailment of India's tour of Australia. According to 'AM', however, the ICC has already ruled out removing Bucknor, a move that many observers see would create a dangerous precedent for the game of cricket as a whole.
The BCCI vice president went on to say that the Board and its players are "furious" that match referee Procter "took Australia's word over that of the Indians" in suspending Harbhajan. According to Shulka "you haven't got any television visuals, you haven't got any evidence from ground umpires" therefore the decision "is a challenge to the integrity and honour of Indian players".
As yet there has been no indication as to whether the planned appeal against the Harbhajan ruling has been lodged, or when any hearing that would result from that appeal might occur. Bucknor, who is sixty-one, was quoted by his home town 'Jamacian Gleaner' newspaper in October as saying that he planned to retire from the international scene sometime in the next two years for "after the age of 63 umpires don't perform well" (E-News 113-619, 9 October 2007).
The West Indian missed the two Test matches between Australia and Sri Lanka last November when he "forgot" to fill out his visa application in time (E-News 131-711, 9 November 2007), and was originally appointed to two One Day Internationals in New Zealand late last month but was later replaced for unknown reasons (E-News 160-874, 27 December 2007).
The current dispute about Bucknor and Harbhajan is a challenge by the "all-powerful BCCI to the sovereignty of the ICC", says the ABC story, which concluded by saying that "the two organisations have not seen eye to eye over many issues in recent years, and there is little love lost between the BCCI's top officials and the ICC’s chief executive officer, Malcolm Speed, who also happens to be Australian by birth.
CA AWAITS 'COMPELLING EVIDENCE' ON
PLAYER CHALLENGES ISSUE
Cricket Australia (CA) is not yet ready to support player challenges of umpiring decisions in international cricket, says an article in Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun" newspaper.
Australia was one of five countries which voted against the idea in 2006 (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008), and although it is prepared to listen to further proposals, CA spokesman Peter Young was quoted as saying that "if the International Cricket Council (ICC) comes up with an approach containing compelling evidence that it will work, we are prepared to consider it".
For the time being though CA is "happy for the status quo to continue”, said Youg. His comments came a day after CA chief executive officer James Sutherland was reported by 'The Australian' newspaper to have indicated that a challenge system similar to those used in tennis, if effectively utilised in order to minimise delays, could reduce the impact of bad decisions (E-News 168-902, 4 January 2008).
ICC chief executive office Malcolm Speed, who said last week that attempts to introduce a referrals system in international cricket had been stymied by a 5-5 tie of votes on the world body's Executive Committee, was quoted by the 'Herald-Sun' article as saying that since then "there have been some changes at the ICC Board [and] that balance may have changed"; the support of seven of the seven voting members on the committee being required before any trial can proceed.
Speed also said that "we need to recognise that (umpiring) is a seriously hard job" as the officials on the ground only "get to see [a ball that is bowled] once in real life", whereas everybody else gets "to see it ten times on television with all sorts of technological aids, and we still can't make up our mind in many cases"; a fact that was pointed to by a senior Australian television executive last week (E-News 168-901, 4 January 2008).
The ICC's incoming president, David Morgan, was quoted in the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK overnight as saying that "increasingly there's a view that we have to embrace technology more than we are", and that the ICC's executive board will be looking at this at their next meeting in March. Further discussion on the matter is expected at the ICC's annual meeting in London in June.
PLAYER REFERRALS SYSTEM FOR NZ
DOMESTIC ONE-DAY FINAL?
New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan has indicated that the final of his country's domestic one-day competition on 2 March might be used for a trial run of a player referral system.
Vaughan was quoted by 'The New Zealand Herald' over the weekend as indicating that he supported the concept, which was first trialed in English county cricket last year but not accepted by players or the media (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007), but gave no reason why such a system would be tested in a single, relatively high-profile, domestic final.
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive officer Malcolm Speed said last week the world body could use a referrals system during the Champions Trophy series in Pakistan in September providing the its top-level countries back it (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008).
NZ all-rounder Jacob Oram was said by the New Zealand Press Association to have "reacted cautiously" to the domestic finals plan, saying that he'd "been given out when [he wasn't] and [he'd] been given not out when [was out], [and] to me [that's] part of cricket, although [he] knows there are players out there that would like to see more technology used".
It has also been claimed that a "number" of members of the ICC's top-level 'Elite' umpiring panel are in favour of the increased use of technology (E-News 16-893, 2 January 2008).
The ICC is believed to be planning to discuss use of the system in the Pakistan series at a meeting to be held in Malaysia in March, but that a final decision on the matter may be left until its next meeting in London in June.
TECHNOLOGY THE ONLY ANSWER
Retired English international umpire David Shepherd has called for more technological help for officials, according to a report published in 'The Daily Telegraph' in the UK overnight. Shepherd, whose ninety-two Tests as an umpire is exceeded only by West Indian Steve Bucknor's 120, believes it is unfair that viewers at home have better information than the men making the decisions.
Shephard has personal experience of what he calls "trial by television", when a media storm erupted after an England collapse at Old Trafford in 2001 in which four wickets fell to unnoticed no-balls and almost led to his retirement.
The Telegraph’s article quoted Shephard as saying that "technology has got to be used more". "We are judged by technology and people have started thinking that the technology is better than the umpires", but that's not entirely true for in the case of LBWs "an umpire is better placed to judge whether the ball will hit the stumps".
However, says Shephard, "perhaps television could help check whether there was an inside edge" or not. "Cricket will lose something of its spirit as more decisions are referred", says Shepherd, adding "but ultimately it is a game for players, not for umpires, and something has to be done".
His main concern is that the use of replays and other aids should not add too many interruptions to the flow of the game. "Perhaps the system where each team can call for a certain number of referrals could be the way forward," he said. "It has been trialled, but with limited success, because the television umpires were reluctant to overrule their colleagues in the middle, [but] they might have to get over that if we are to find a solution" (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007).
Shepherd is also worried about the strain on the men in the middle. "When I see things like [the current Sydney fiasco], I think 'thank God I've retired' [as] I went through the wringer with the Old Trafford Test and it nearly finished me. "I can't imagine what the guys out in Australia are going through now", he said, in a reference to his English colleague Mark Benson and West Indian Steve Bucknor (E-News 171-915 above).
The same article quoted the International Cricket Council's incoming president, Englishman David Morgan, as saying that "increasingly there's a view that we have to embrace technology more than we are", and that the ICC's executive board will be looking at this at their next meeting in March.
A "number" of members of the ICC's top-level 'Elite' umpiring panel are said to be in favour of the increased use of technology in matches (E-News 16-893, 2 January 2008).
NO NUAS-2 MEETING THIS WEEK
TCUSA members are reminded that there will be no National Umpires Accreditation Scheme (NUAS-2) meeting prior to this week's Training-Appointments meeting on Wednesday. The first of six NUAS-2 training sessions that will be held over the remainder of the 2007-08 season is scheduled for 16 January (E-News 153-847, 12 December 2007).
NEAR-PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR HOBART
CRICKET NEXT WEEKEND
Near-perfect weather is forecast for the next round of Tasmanian Cricket Association matches around Hobart next weekend. Both days are currently forecast to be fine with maximum temperatures 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).
E-NEWS NUMBER 172WEDNESDAY, 9 JANUARY 2008
ICC BACK FLIPS AND REMOVES BUCKNOR,
INDIAN TOUR TO PROCEED
India’s tour of Australia is to proceed after the International Cricket Council (ICC) removed West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor from next week's Third Test in Perth and worked to have the suspension of Indian player Harbhajan Singh examined by a Code of Conduct Commissioner.
The world body's moves, which involved replacing Bucknor with New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden, came less than twenty-four hours after news reports quoted a ICC spokesman as saying that there were no plans to exclude Bucknor from the Perth Test (E-News 171-915, 8 January 2008).
Indian officials pushed for Bucknor's removal because of a series of errors the 61-year-old made in the Sydney Test that they believe contributed to their side's defeat, as well as longer-standing issues related to their perception of his performance.
ICC's chief executive officer Malcolm Speed told a press conference in Melbourne yesterday afternoon that his organisation did not normally allow member nations to interfere with the umpires, but that the change was necessary to ensure that the tour continued. Speed acknowledged that some people would be unhappy with the ICC's back flip, but said that "it is an extraordinary set of circumstances and we want to take some of the tension out of the situation".
The world body's chief executive officer said that Bucknor "accepts that his presence was a problem and in the best interests of the game he accepted the decision”. Nothing has been heard directly from Bucknor about the situation.
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah was quoted in various media outlets overnight as saying that "the ICC has done a good job in replacing" the West Indian, as the Indian "players had lost confidence in him and that is not good". "I don't like to say that we have won or lost", said the BCCI official, "but when the team loses faith in a match umpire it is better that the umpire doesn't stand".
Speed says that he expects Bucknor to keep umpiring, likening the situation to that "the cricket world faced at The Oval in 2006" that led to Australian international umpire Darrell Hair's current suspension from Test cricket (E-News 172-916 below). Bucknor, whose contract with the ICC is said by some media reports to expire on 31 March, indicated last October that he expected to retire within two years (E-News 113-619, 9 October 2007).
The world body's chief executive officer also said yesterday that the appeal process for Harbhajan might not be resolved quickly, although "an appointment of a very senior judge will be made in the next 24 hours", but there is no guarantee that the hearing will be held before next week's Third Test. Should it not proceed in time Speed said that Harbhajan, who has denied making racist comments, would be allowed to resume playing until the case was decided.
In addition to the moves on Bucknor and Harbhajan, the ICC is arranging for its chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka, to fly to Perth and work "as a mediator" to help resolve the dispute between the Australian and Indians teams.
”I believe the captains need to sit with Rajan Madugalle and listen to what he has to say and express to him what their problems are, resolve those issues and move forward", said Speed. The ICC's South African match referee Mike Proctor will still carry out normal match referee duties during the Third Test, according to Speed.
HOGG CHARGED, HEARING SET FOR
PERTH NEXT WEEK
Australian player Brad Hogg has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with making an offensive remark against Indian captain Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the Second Test in Sydney last Sunday.
Hogg has been charged under the part of the ICC's Code of Conduct that covers comments made on the basis of race, religion, and other factors, the same section that Indian Harbhajan Singh was censured under last week (E-News 170-910, 7 January 2008).
A hearing into the Australian's alleged behaviour, which is to be conducted by ICC match referee Mike Proctor from South Africa, is currently expected to be held in Perth next Monday, two days prior to the start of the Third Test. The penalty for the offence is a ban of between two and four Test matches or between four and eight One Day Internationals.
Harbhajan has appealed against his three Test match suspension, however, just when his new hearing will be held and who will conducted are not expected to be known until later today (E-News 172-919 above).
PROCTOR STANDS BY HARBHAJAN
DECISION, CLAIMS REPORT
International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Mike Proctor stands by his decision to ban Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for three Tests for the alleged racial abuse of Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test, according to a report published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).
Proctor, who is from South Africa, is said to have labeled the twenty-four hours following his decision on the Indian player "one of the most difficult of my life", but plans to continue officiating in the remaining two Tests of the current summer.
Despite the current furor Proctor, who was at the centre of the controversy surrounding Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh last week (E-News 168-904, 4 January 2008), told the SMH he believes that the process used in the Harbhajan decision was "a fair one".
"As a South African", Proctor says that he "understands the word 'racism' for [he] has "lived with it for much of [his] life", and it was not a case of just taking the word of an Australian over an Indian, as alleged by Indian team management.
Proctor is not the first ICC match referee to be challenged by Indian officials. In November 2001, Mike Denness from England, who was the match referee in a three-Test series between South Africa and India, suspended India's Sachin Tendulkar for a match after finding him guilty of ball tampering during the Second Test, gave a similar ban to Tendulkar's colleague Virender Sehwag for excessive appealing, and handed out either warnings or fines for the same reason to four others from the sub-continent in the game.
India responded by including Sehwag in their side for the next Third Test of the series, and the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), concerned about the potential loss of revenue if the Third Test did not proceed, excluded Denness from the match in Johannesburg. The ICC's reaction to Denness' exclusion was to strip the match of Test status and it is listed in the records today as simply a "tour match".
HAIR OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO BUCKNOR,
CALLS FOR REFERRAL SYSTEM
Australian international umpire Darrell Hair has offered his condolences to his West Indian colleague Steve Bucknor and called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to embrace an umpiring referral system to relieve pressure on the game's decision-makers, according to a report published in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).
Bucknor was removed from next week's Perth Test by the ICC in the wake of the controversial Sydney Test (E-News 172-919 above). Hair is quoted by journalist Alex Brown as saying that he "feels for Steve" but that "in a way, it's probably best for him to stand down and relieve the pressure a little bit".
The Australian umpire said that the ICC should use the lessons from Sydney to investigate ways to relieve the pressure on umpires. "There were a few unfortunate decisions made" in the Test, said Hair, but he is certain "that the people involved would not have enjoyed making such errors".
"But the fact is those mistakes have been made, and rather than dwell on the negative, there is an opportunity to assess the situation and find the best ways forward", said Hair, who indicated that he supported the introduction of a player referral system.
"A couple of years ago, I would have been against a challenge system, but the more I look at it, I think it has merit", said Hair, and that "it works well in American football, and it could save time if it is used in place of other replays". Earlier this week retired English umpire David Shephard expressed similar views about the need for such a system (E-News 171-913, 8 January 2008).
Speaking of his own future, Hair, who is currently being "rehabilitated" by the ICC (E-News 140-758, 22 November 2007), said that his desire to return to Test cricket is "strong" and he would "love to make it back to the top level again".
He is to stand in a number of second-tier international games in the United Arab Emirates in the last half of this month (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007), and said that he will also be working as an umpiring assessor at the Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia next month.
Umpires for the Under 19 series have not yet been announced by the ICC (E-News 166-892, 2 January 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 173THURSDAY, 10 JANUARY 2008
WINDIES BOARD QUERIES ICC
ON UMPIRE CHANGE
The president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has attacked the ICC's decision to remove West Indian Steve Bucknor from umpiring in the Third Australia-India Test in Perth next week as being an "extreme" reaction, says a report on the 'Cricinfo' web site.
WICB president Julian Hunte is said to have written to International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ray Mali asking him to provide information to the WICB to enable it to consider what action it might want to take.
'Cricinfo' says that the WICB has asked for copies of all communication between the ICC, Bucknor and other parties, plus the report on the game prepared by match referee Mike Proctor of South Africa.
Hunte is said to have compared this week's controversy to the way the ICC handled a complaint lodged by the WICB about umpiring during their side's tour of Australian in 2005. The umpires for that series were South Africans Ian Howell and Rudi Koertzen, Pakistan's Aleem Dar and 'Billy' Bowden from New Zealand.
Bowden has been chosen to replace Bucknor for the Third Test next week (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008), while Proctor was the match referee for the 2005 series.
Hunte was quoted as saying that "it would be interesting to know what made [the current] situation any different". "There is no question that even the best umpires make mistakes [for] they are human and there are circumstances which may affect their judgement", said the WICB chairman.
"What worries us is whether the action of the ICC in the case of Bucknor might create even more problems for the ICC and international cricket down the line", he concluded.
NZ JUDGE NAMED FOR
Judge John Hansen from New Zealand has been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the Code of Conduct Commissioner for Indian player Harbhajan Singh's appeal against his suspension for allegedly making racist comments during the second Test against Australia in Sydney.
The Indian was given a three-Test ban, a decision that enraged the Indians, who said that they considered the Harbhajan issue "more important" that their concern about umpiring in Sydney (E-News 170-910, 7 January 2008).
Hansen, who is a High Court Judge and NZ Cricket's appointee on the ICC's Code of Conduct Commission, could hear the appeal within the next week, however, the ICC said yesterday that no time, date or venue for the hearing has yet been fixed. ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed said earlier this week that Harbhajan will be able to play in the Perth Test next week if his appeal had not been heard by that time (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
ICC president Ray Mali was quoted by numerous media outlets yesterday as indicating that whatever the result, India will have "no choice but to accept the result of Harbhajan’s appeal against his suspension".
TECHNOLOGY PROMOTES LACK OF
CONFIDENCE, CLAIMS HEWITT
Australian tennis player Leighton Hewitt claims that some umpires have lacked confidence since the introduction of 'Hawk Eye' technology to the game, according to reports from Sydney yesterday. A number of senior cricket officials have over the last six months pointed to the use of 'Hawk Eye' in tennis, citing the role they believe it has played in improving that management of matches (E-News 168-902, 4 January 2008).
Hewitt, who is known for his readiness to challenge umpiring decisions when they are not in his favour, made the comments after being knocked out of the Sydney International tournament. The Australian said he could empathise with the cricketers after he felt he was the victim of "useless" umpiring decisions and declared umpiring on the tennis tour as "pretty ordinary" for they were becoming too reliant on technology.
ON-FIELD PINK BALL TRIAL
TO START TONIGHT
A pink ball is to be used in a game for the first time later today 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 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 150-823, 7 December 2007).
YOUNG UMPIRE READY FOR
THE SUMMER AHEAD
A fourteen-year-old described by 'The Star' newspaper in South Yorkshire as a "cricket-crazy youngster" last week became the County's most junior qualified umpire. Edward Hennessy 14, scored 93 per cent in his Umpires Association examination, and told the paper that he has loved cricket since watching his first Yorkshire game four years ago and knew then that he "wanted to make it as an umpire".
The new umpire, who also plays as a batsman, is said to be looking forward to taking up his new post behind the wickets when the new northern hemisphere season starts in April. Hennessy was introduced to former England international umpire Dickie Bird to celebrate his achievement, Bird being quoted as saying that he was "amazed" by the Hennessy's achievement.
E-NEWS NUMBER 174FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2008
PINK BALL 'EASY TO SEE', COLOUR HOLDS,
IN INITIAL TRIAL MATCH
Pink balls were trialed for the first time in a match during a women's Twenty20 game in Brisbane last night as part of an experiment that is looking to replace the white ball in 50 over one-day cricket, and initial results appear positive (E-News 173-921, 10 January 2008).
Initial media reports from the Gabba say that the balls appeared to hold their shape and colour over the course of each twenty-over innings, but it remains to be seen whether they could stand the test of the longer forms of the game.
Queensland player Jodie Purves, who scored forty-one and whose side lost the match to their Western Australian opponents, was quoted by Brisbane media as saying that she "couldn't see the seam as well [as the white ball], but it was very bright so you could see the ball really well". "It was a bit harder than the normal white ball", said Purvis, and "it came onto the bat well".
Last night's game was a curtain raiser for the men's interstate Twenty20 series match between Queensland and Tasmania.
SCORER DISPUTES UMPIRES' DECISION
BUT DISCIPLINARY CASE THROWN OUT
Bendigo Cricket Club first XI scorer Bill Baker had his case of disputing an umpire’s decision dismissed by the Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA) tribunal on a technicality last night, according to news reports from Victoria this morning.
Baker, who is also the BDCA's vice-president, had been reported for disputing the decision of umpires Ken Datson and Ken Reed on how many overs should be bowled in what was a rain-affected match. While the incident occurred during the tea break on the first day of his club's match against Bendigo United on 15 December, Baker was not notified of his report until the second day of the match a week later.
Umpire Datson told the tribunal that Baker was not informed of the report on 15 December because his colleague Reed had to leave the ground immediately after play because of family commitments, and he didn’t deem it appropriate for only one of the umpires to be present when Baker was informed.
The tribunal deliberated for ten minutes before finding Baker, who has had a long association with the BDCA and is normally its tribunal convenor, had no case to answer.
Baker’s advocate argued the case should be thrown out because BDCA rules that relate to the reporting of club players or officials say that "the person concerned, or the captain or official of the person’s club [should be notified] as soon as it is practicable on the day in which the misbehaviour or bringing the game of cricket into disrepute occurs".
News reports indicate that no actual evidence as to precisely what happened during the tea break was heard during the hearing. The tribunal's chairman was quoted as saying that "we don’t like dismissing hearings because of a technicality, but we feel the rules are there to be adhered to".
WINDIES UMPIRES BACK BUCKNOR
WHILE BIRD URGES RETIREMENT
The West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) has strongly criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for removing one of its members, Steve Bucknor, from next week's Australia-India Test in Perth. Bucknor, who most observers believe made crucial errors last week in the Second Australia-India Test in Sydney, was dropped by the ICC after a protest from India officials (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
The West Indies Cricket Board has formally queried the ICC about the matter (E-News 173-924, 10 January 2008). In a letter made public yesterday Australian time, the WICUA said to Bucknor that "we do not support the decision of the ICC to replace you as the umpire for the Third Test as it sends the wrong signal to those countries that are awash with cash, power and influence that they can get what they want as a result of their status".
"We are fully supporting you as one of our own that has been at the forefront of world cricket for nearly twenty years and have made us proud" the letter said. The WICUA says that it hopes that "the ICC will have discussions regarding this decision with a view not to repeating it in the future".
In making their comments, the Windies umpire's group joins former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath, former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd and former Australian coach John Buchanan and others who have criticised the ICC for replacing Bucknor.
However, retired England international umpire Dickie Bird was quoted as saying he has indicated to Bucknor in the past that he shouldn't "go on too long, get out while you are still respected", and that he thinks that the West Indian "has gone on too long".
NO BACK DOWN ON HARBHAJAN
ISSUE SAYS ICC
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive officer Malcolm Speed says that Indian cricket authorities will have to accept the outcome of the Harbhajan Sign appeal. The Indian player is appealing against his suspension for allegedly making racist comments during the second Test against Australia in Sydney last week (E-News 173-923, 10 January 2008).
Speed's comment followed an indication by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that its decision to continue their team's tour of Australia was an "interim" one that could change if the result of Harbhajan's appeal was not to their liking.
Speed emphasised that Indian representatives were present when the world body's current disciplinary and appeals system was being formulated in the past and that that the BCCI "have signed off on the appeals process". The world body's chief executive officer said that "we can't have one set of rules for the India team and another set for everyone else, [and] we will follow the process and I hope whatever the outcome all parties will be able to say they have had a fair hearing".
ICC president Ray Mali expressed the view recently that India will have "no choice but to accept the result of Harbhajan’s appeal against his suspension". “On every previous occasion over the years that we have had an appeal to a Code of Conduct hearing, all parties have accepted the finding of the independent arbiter, [and] I expect all parties to respect the process on this occasion too", said Mali.
Suggestions by journalists that the appeal could be postponed in order to safeguard the remainder of India's tour were rejected by Speed. According to him the key issue for just when the hearing will be held is the logistics of bringing together at the one time all of the people who need to be present.
A New Zealand High Court judge, John Hanson, has been appointed to conduct for the hearing (E-News 173-923, 10 January 2008). Judge Hansen has, under the ICC's Code of Conduct, the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the initial hearing, and his decision is final and binding.
After reaching his conclusion Judge Hansen is required to provide it in writing to the ICC's Senior Counsel and Company Secretary Urvasi Naidoo, who will then forward it to player Harbhajan, Second Test match referee Mike Procter and Speed ahead of any public announcement.
Proctor, who conducted the initial hearing into the allegations against Harbhajan, is reported to have said that he stands by his decision in the case (E-News 172-917, 9 January 2008).
MADUGALLE TO WORK THROUGH
AUSTRALIA-INDIA ISSUES 'QUIETLY'
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle says he is confident he will succeed in sorting out differences between the Australian and Indian Test sides, according to an article in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).
The SMH quotes Madugalle as saying that both captains, Australia's Ricky Ponting and India's Anil Kumble, "realises cricket is everyone's passion and they will stretch that little bit extra to uphold the spirit of the game".
"I have an open briefing to get things back on track", said Madugalle (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008). "I will try and go about things quietly and do as much as I can without making too much noise about it", [but] "it is important we work through this, and I am sure they understand that".
Madugalle is scheduled to arrive in Perth tomorrow but just when he will meet with Kumble and Ponting has not yet known. The Third Test starts in Perth next Wednesday.
MCC AGAIN BACKS PLAYER
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who are guardians of the Laws of Cricket, has re-issued a call for a player challenge experiment to be implemented in international cricket in 2008 (E-News 117-633, 15 October 2007).
The MCC's support for the use of technology to assist umpires was made public last October (E-News 15-623, 11 October 2007), and Keith Bradshaw, MCC’s Secretary and Chief Executive, said in a statement issued last Friday after the initial controversies had occurred in the Australia-India Test match in Sydney, that he hopes that a trial can be conducted this year.
"Recent Test Matches around the world have given rise to incidents where we feel a player challenge experiment could have assisted the on-field umpires, [and] having researched the technology, we believe a player challenge system could be implemented", said Bradshaw.
In his view "accurate decisions would be made in a timely manner, which would not adversely affect the spectator's enjoyment of the game or be detrimental to the flow of the match from a player's perspective".
The MCC's Secretary and Chief Executive said in London that "we want to work very closely with the International Cricket Council (ICC) on this, [for] we feel that as guardian of the Laws, [one of our key roles] is look at ways to improve the game". The MCC thinks that there is "no better place" to conduct the trial than at Lord's this [northern] summer during a Test Match, [a ground] where the requisite technology will be in place", said Bradshaw.
Speaking earlier on the same day in Sydney, ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed told ABC Radio that he didn't think such a player referral system will be trialed in Tests his northern summer, but rather during the one-day format Champions Trophy series scheduled for Pakistan in September (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008).
COUNTRY CAPTAIN BANNED UNTIL
Victoria's Emu Valley Cricket Association (EVCA) tribunal delivered a stern warning to its players on Thursday night that it will not tolerate abuse towards umpires by suspending the captain of the Golden Hill team for a season-and-a-half, says a report in the 'Bendigo Advertiser' newspaper yesterday.
Golden Hill's Steve Rowe was reported by umpire Mark Snell in last Saturday's EVCA division one match against Spring Gully on a charge of bringing the game into disrepute. Rowe, who had already had two official warnings this season and was captaining Golden Hill for the first time, pleaded guilty to the charge.
During the seventy-five minutes of evidence and deliberation, umpire Snell said the report was laid after several incidents over a period of time. According to the umpire Rowe became progessively angrier as his opponents built a partnership after Golden Hill had been on top early in the game.
After asking Rowe to "focus on the job at hand", Snell said the captain, who was bowling, became agitated after, during a single over, he spoke to Rowe for speaking while he was running in to deliver the ball, then called him for a 'no-ball' for a delivery that was deemed to be over the shoulder.
Skipper Rowe then said he would "take me aside at the tea break and show me the rules", said Snell, something the umpire viewed as dissent. According to the newspaper report, Rowe was informed of the dissent charge on the ground at that the time of the incident, the captain reacting with comments to the official described in part as "f... off", "c..." and "maggot".
Snell said he was concerned Rowe would throw a punch and that he and fellow umpire Russell Cartledge had seriously considered calling the game off. Golden Hill president Steve Hollingsworth, who was also Rowe's advocate, said the club itself had imposed a suspension on Rowe and also spoke to him about taking anger management courses. Hollingsworth also indicated that his club had requested that the EVCA not appoint Snell to officiate in any of its matches in he future.
PLEASANT CONDITIONS FORECAST FOR
WEEKEND'S CRICKET IN HOBART
Very pleasant weather conditions are forecast for the next round of Tasmanian Cricket Association matches in the Hobart area over the next two days. Saturday and Sunday are currently forecast to be fine with maximum temperatures 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).
E-NEWS NUMBER 175SUNDAY, 13 JANUARY 2008
OXENFORD, LOCK APPOINTED TO
DOMESTIC TWENTY20 FINAL
National Umpires Panel members Bruce Oxenford from Queensland and Western Australian Ian Lock have been appointed to stand in the final of this season's interstate Twenty20 series in Perth later today.
The match, which is between Western Australia and Victoria, will be the third domestic Twenty20 umpired by both officials, their first being when they stood together in a match at the Adelaide Oval between Australia 'A' and the touring Pakistanis in January 2005.
Oxenford has been on the field for a single international Twenty20 to date, that game involving Australia and South Africa two years ago, and he also worked as the television umpire when Australia played New Zealand last month (E-News 133-722, 14 November 2007).
The Queenslander has also been named to stand in the Twenty20 international between Australia and India at the MCG on 1 February (E-News 161-876, 28 December 2007).
MORE TEST PLAYERS BEHAVING BADLY
West Indies opening batsman Brenton Parchment and South African fast bowler Dale Steyn have both been found guilty of offences under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct during the Third Test match in Durban last Friday.
Parchment was found guilty of "intentional and inappropriate contact" with Steyn during the Windies second innings, and Steyn for "showing disrespect to West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels through his physical and verbal actions" later the same day.
Both players pleaded not guilty to the respective charges against then, however, after considering each incident, ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka found against both men. Parchment, who was playing in his first Test match, was fined fifty per cent of his match fee for his indiscretion, and Steyn ten percent in what was his eighteenth Test.
Both charges were laid by the four on-duty umpires, on-field officials Simon Taufel (Australia) and Aleem Dar (Pakistan), together with third and fourth umpires Brian Jerling and Zed Ndamane who are both South African.
Dar, Jerling, and Taufel have been on the ground in a total of ninety-seven Test matches; forty-four, forty-nine and four respectively.
DON'T SIGN IF SCORE SHEETS DON'T
TALLY, SAYS UMPIRES' CHIEF
The president of the Maitland Umpires Association (MUA) in NSW, David Merchant, has instructed his members not to sign score sheets that do not add up, after a scoring mix-up in a local match last weekend went to the Maitland District Cricket Association's (MDCA) Board meeting on Tuesday.
The Board referred the incident to the MUA and Merchant told the 'Maitland Mercury' on Wednesday that the incident was both a warning to all the umpires and team captains of the role they all have in dealing with scoring discrepancies in the MDCA. Reports say that the MDCA has had its share of scoring mix-ups in the past three seasons, mainly because players from the batting team are given the responsibility of scoring when a designated club volunteer is not in place.
Merchant was quoted as saying that umpire Robert Humphries had done nothing wrong by signing the score sheets when one of the captains refused to sign them at the conclusion of the match.
The MUA's chief said that umpire Humphries had acted “above and beyond” what was required on the day, spending forty-five minutes after the match working through the scorebooks with representatives from both clubs. Merchant said though that he didn't know "why only one captain was present at the time [when the problem was being discussed] as umpires and captains "all need to work together".
Under the MDCA by-laws, captains and umpires can only sign the books when they are complete, a requirement that includes correctness of the scores being confirmed and the result clearly filled out to identify the winner. If after a “reasonable” time period, considered by the MDCA to be a maximum of thirty minutes, captains from both teams and the appointed umpire cannot agree on the scorebooks, the books are to remain unsigned and forwarded to the MDCA recorder or another board member to be resolved.
Merchant mentioned that if both team captains had been involved in helping to resolve the dispute at the change of innings, it might have helped avoid the lengthy post-match discussions.
NZ UMPIRING HEAD REPORTED WARY
OF PLAYER REFERRALS SYSTEM
New Zealand's national umpiring manager Brian Aldridge is "not sold" on the proposal for a player challenge system for international cricket, according to a report broadcast on Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Thursday.
Aldridge pointed to the trial of such a system in County cricket in the UK last year saying it was not successful, as players were unwilling to go against the on-field umpire's decision (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007). The RNZ report indicated that Aldridge believes that could be because many English umpires, most of whom have played First Class cricket, are former teammates of those players.
No mention appears to have been made in the interview of New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan's reported comments last week that a trial of the player referral system could be held during the final of his country's domestic one-day competition on 2 March (E-News 171-914, 8 January 2008).
NUP MEMBER SUPPORTS
PLAYER CHALLENGE CONCEPT
Former Australian player and now First Class umpire Paul Reiffel says cricket should follow the lead of tennis and implement a player challenge rule, according to a report in Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper this week.
The article by journalist Ken Piesse quotes Reiffel, who is a member of Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel (NUP), as saying that "you want the right decision to be made", and "it doesn't bother me how you get it [for if] it's there and available straight away, you (should) look at it".
Reiffel emphasised that in his view technology needed to improve and the information it produces needs to be available quickly as "you don't want everyone to be waiting and waiting all the time".
The Herald-Sun article indicates though that Reiffel doesn't necessarily agree that fielding captains should be able to challenge as many as three decisions per innings, "but let's look to improve the situation and embrace the technology if it means less controversy and contention", he said. "The trouble in the past is that the technology hasn't quite been in place and the players have said they don't want it", said Reiffel.
On another umpiring issue that is currently a hot topic, Reiffel does not agree that the best umpires such as Sydney-born Simon Taufel should be able to stand anywhere and anytime, even in their home cities (E-News 166-900, 4 January 2008). "I know having had fifteen years' experience [playing] with Victoria, that I'm more comfortable standing in games interstate [that involve] teams other than Victoria," he said.
The same 'Herald-Sun' story quoted former Australian Test umpire Robin Bailhache as saying that he didn't like the idea of a referral system as it wasn't in the spirit of the game for umpires' decisions to be challenged. "I have no problem if [extra technology] gets the right decision, as long as it is not abused," Bailhache said, for "you don't want the umpire to look like a goose”.
E-NEWS NUMBER 176MONDAY, 14 JANUARY 2008
PAKISTAN SEEKS CHANGE IN RESULT
OF 'BALL TAMPERING' TEST
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change the official result of the infamous 'ball tampering' Test against England at the Oval in 2006, according to a report broadcast on the BBC on Saturday.
England were awarded the match "on forfeit" after Pakistan refused to play in protest over the umpires' decision to penalise them for changing the condition of the match ball, something they were subsequently cleared of by an ICC tribunal. That tribunal's finding, said the unnamed Pakistani official, means that the official match result should be changed to "match abandoned" or "match drawn".
Pakistan's captain in the Test Inzamam-ul-haq, who retired from international cricket last year, last week urged the PCB to press for the change, linking the issue to "the lead" the Indian board and press took in seeking the removal of West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor from a forthcoming Test match because their side had lost confidence in his ability (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
According to unidentified PCB official "the good thing is that England supported our plea and the matter has been discussed at [ICC] executive board" level, and therefore "we have [formally] made the application to the ICC and hope for a favourable result at [their] next cricket committee meeting in May".
Pakistan blamed Australian international umpire Darrell Hair for the outcome of the match (E-News 115-622, 11 October 2007), even though Hair's colleague during the game, West Indian Billy Doctrove, was said by then England coach Keith Fletcher to have "backed [Hair] to the hilt but it was Hair who copped all the flak" (E-News 126-685, 1 November 2007).
Following the match Hair was dropped from the ICC's ‘Elite’ umpiring panel, and he then took the world body to an industrial tribunal, alleging racial discrimination, but eventually withdrew from the case (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2007).
Since then the Australian, whose future in Tests is expected to be considered by the ICC in March, has been undergoing "rehabilitation", a program that involves man management training and standing in lower-tier ICC matches (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007).
CA CUP DEBUTS FOR UMPIRE McGANN,
TCUSA State Umpires Squad member Nick McGann and scorer Robert Godfrey will be making their debut in the Cricket Australia Cup when the Second XI sides from Tasmania and Western Australia commence a four-day match at Bellerive today.
McGann will be standing with Steven John who will be on the field for his fourth CA Cup match (E-News 112-613, 8 October 2007), while Godfrey's colleague will be Allan Dendle from the north-west coast who normally records domestic, 50 over, interstate matches when they are played in the north of the state.
LACK OF THIRD UMPIRE GENERATES
CONTROVERSY, SAYS PRESS
The lack of a third or television umpire in yesterday's domestic Twenty20 final between Western Australia and Victoria in Perth, resulted in what 'The Australian' is today calling two "questionable decisions".
According to the report WA opener "Luke Ronchi was dismissed first ball by an Adam Crosthwaite catch that television replays suggested may have bounced before it entered the wicketkeeper's gloves". As "no third umpire" was used the article says that "umpires Ian Lock and Bruce Oxenford (E-News 175-937, 13 January 2008), had no choice but to accept Crosthwaite's word" on the matter.
Ronchi's team mate "also appeared unlucky to be judged run out" claimed the Australian Associated Press story.
UMPIRE MISTAKES DUE TO 'BURN OUT',
Australian captain Ricky Ponting says that some umpires are making errors due to "exhaustion", according to comments attributed to him by Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper over the weekend.
Ponting is quoted in the article as saying that English international umpire Mark Benson, who stood in the controversial Australia-India Test match last week, had been on the road for four months, and that while "we talk a lot as players about how much we’re playing, the same applies to umpires".
“The umpires could be in Pakistan last week doing a Test match and they’ll be in Perth next week doing us, with only a couple of days in between”, reads a quote from Ponting, and he's "sure after four months [Benson] thought he was as good as gold [in Sydney], but he wouldn’t know how tired he was until he gets a break".
Analysis by E-News of Benson's appointments record over the four months leading up to the Sydney Test, suggests that when travel is taken into account the Englishman could have been away from home for as many as 95 out of the 114 days involved. In that time the Englishman spent around 39 days officiating and probably 15 days or more traveling, a program that involved twelve international Twenty20 (two of them unofficial practice games), five Test, and six One Day International matches played at ten separate grounds in Pakistan, South Africa and Australia.
While precise details are not known, his match appointments suggest Benson traveled numerous times between four continents, moves that probably involved flying from London to Johannesburg, then Durban, Johannesburg, London, Karachi, Lahore, London again, Johannesberg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Adelaide, Sydney, Hobart, then Melbourne, before a final flight to Sydney for the Second Australia-India Test.
In discussing the "exhaustion" issue, the 'Herald-Sun' goes on state that Ponting said that he has "been talking to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for some time about getting more umpires on the 'Elite' panel". The ICC decided to increase membership of that panel from ten to twelve last October after a six-month evaluation by its umpiring Task Force (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).
'CONFUSION' JOINS 'SHOCK' IN
Australian player Michael Clarke, touted by some as a future Australian captain, lingered at the crease after he as dismissed during the controversial Second Australia-India Test last week because of "shock" and "confusion" at getting out, according to comments attributed to Australian coach Tim Nielsen in an article published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH') on Saturday.
Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh escaped censure after being charged for a similar offence during the First Test in Melbourne in late December because he was judged to be "shocked" at the decision, an assessment that concerned some observers (E-News 168-904, 4 January 2008).
Neilson was quoted as saying that Clarke's prolonged stay at the crease after being clearly caught at slip in Australia's second innings was not an attempt to anger the tourists by staying until English international umpire Mark Benson sent him on his way, the story saying that the batsman "was instead disbelieving he was out for a golden duck".
"I'm sure [Clarke] wasn't being a smarty-pants about it, [said Neilson], it was just a situation where he was very keen to do well, he was in the spotlight and all of a sudden he nicked it to first slip". The Australian coach thinks Clarke "was confused, basically".
THREE ON-FIELD UMPIRES ROTATING
BETWEEN SESSIONS FOR TESTS?
An article published in Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper over the weekend says that a "source close to Cricket Australia" believes that "there is a growing belief that it is time for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to introduce a third on-field umpire into Test cricket".
Under the reported plan each umpire would officiate for four hours each day, rather than the scheduled six, each of the three working as the television official when they are not out on the ground. The unnamed CA source is quoted by journalist Garry Linnell as saying that "it's a bloody good idea because it immediately takes a lot of the pressure off these blokes".
RANATUNGA SUGGESTS DIFFERENT
TAKE ON ICC 'NEUTRAL' UMPIRE POLICY
Sri Lanka's cricket chief and World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga is pushing for a revamp of the International Cricket Council's 'neutral' umpires policy, telling Agence France-Presse (AFP) yesterday that "local umpires" should be on the field for ICC sponsored matches with a single 'neutral' official from the world body "sitting in the television suite with the match referee".
According to the AFP story Ranatunga, who was speaking following the controversial Australia-India Test match last week, is reported as saying that "the whole point is to make the right decision", for "if local umpires make mistakes, the ICC panel [member present] can correct them after consultation with the match referee".
Sri Lanka's newly appointed cricket chief also advocated a player appeal system during the interview with AFP, whereby a side would be limited to two or three appeals per day or per innings. Such a process "would raise the standards of local umpiring in every country, [and officials] could get assessed on their performance", claimed Ranatunga.
An added advantage, he claimed, would be that more former international players could be lured into umpiring.
WINDIES PLAYER REPORTED FOR
SUSPECT BOWLING ACTION
Match officials have reported West Indies right-hand off break bowler Marlon Samuels for a suspected illegal bowling action during the Third Test match between South Africa and the West Indies that ended in Durban on Saturday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) says in a statement that its match referee, Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka, has informed both it and the West Indies team management of the report.
Concerns were raised by on-field umpires Simon Taufel (Australia) and Aleem Dar (Pakistan) as well as third umpire Brian Jerling from South Africa "over the legality of Marlon’s bowling action with particular reference to his ‘fast ball’ when viewed with the naked eye”, said Mahanama.
The ICC has been asked to commission a biomechanical report into Samuel's fast-ball delivery action and he is expected to undergo independent analysis by a member of the ICC’s panel of human movement specialists, the results of which should be available by the end of February.
At this stage Samuels is free to play and bowl in international cricket "at the discretion of the West Indies Cricket Board" says the ICC, however, should he continue to bowl his fast ball he would run the risk of being reported for a second time.
RECOMMENCES THIS WEEK
The first of six National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 (NUAS-2) training program sessions scheduled for the remainder of this season will get underway at 6.30 p.m. at Bellerive Oval next Wednesday.
Modules 2.2 (Report Writing) and 5.3 (Reporting Procedures and Tribunals) will be the subjects being considered this week, the schedule for the remainder of the season being provided in the list of TCUSA activities below (E-News 153-847, 12 December 2007).
Queries about the NUAS-2 training program can be directed to Ian Quaggin (6228 7921 or 0409 287 993) or Steve Maxwell (6268 6470 or 0416 277 464).
INITIAL FORECASTS SAY FINE SATURDAY,
SHOWERS SUNDAY, FOR TCA MATCHES
Initial forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for next weekend indicate that Saturday will be fine and hot in Hobart with a top temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, but on Sunday showers are expected to develop during the day as a cold front approaches the state. Top temperature on Sunday is put at 22 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).
E-NEWS NUMBER 177TUESDAY, 15 JANUARY 2008
SENIOR ICC OFFICIAL PUBLICLY CRITICISES
Sunil Gavaskar, the powerful chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) cricket committee, has launched a strong public attack on the world body's South African match referee, Mike Procter.
Writing in the 'Hindustan Times' over the weekend, Gavaskar accused Procter of making the decision to suspend Indian player Harbhajan Singh for three Test matches on the basis of "emotion", and that he had no hard evidence to support Australian players' claims that he called Andrew Symonds a "monkey" during the Second Australia-India Sydney Test last week.
Proctor said publicly last week that he stands by his decision on Harbhajan's case (E-News 172-917, 9 January 2008). Former Indian captain Gavaskar stated that New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, who will hear Harbhajan's appeal (E-News 173-923, 10 January 2008), should find him not guilty, as "millions of Indians want to know if [it] was a 'white man' taking the 'white man's' word against that of the 'brown man'". "Quite simply if there was no audio evidence [and] the officials [did not] hear anything" then "the charge should have been dropped straight away", he wrote.
The Indian side's tour of Australia is continuing on an "interim" basis pending Judge Hansen's findings (E-News 174-929, 11 January 2008). ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed and its president Ray Mali have made it clear that in their view Indian cricket authorities will have to accept the outcome of the Harbhajan Sign appeal, whatever the outcome (E-News 174-929, 11 January 2008).
HARBHAJAN APPEAL TO BE HEARD
AFTER TEST SERIES
Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh's appeal against a three-Test ban for alleged racial abuse will be heard after the four-match Australia-India series is over. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement released overnight that New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, the appeals commissioner, will hear the case in Adelaide on 29 January, the day after the Fourth and final Test ends.
The ICC says that both the Indian and Australian cricket authorities had requested that the hearing be held between the Test series and the Twenty20 international between the two sides and before the tri-nation One Day International tournament with Sri Lanka gets underway.
Last week the Board of Control for Cricket in India reacted strongly to the charge against Harbhajan. It threatened to abandon its side's current tour of Australia unless the ICC removed West Indies international umpire Steve Bucknor from the series (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008), and after that was done agreed to continue playing on an "interim basis pending the outcome of Harbhajan's appeal (E-News 174-929, 11 January 2008).
Yesterday India dropped what the media is describing as a "counter-charge" against Australian spinner Brad Hogg for alleged abusive language during the Sydney Test (E-News 177-953 below).
INDIA WITHDRAW CHARGE
India authorities have withdrawn the charge of abusive language made against Australian player Brad Hogg after the Second Test in Sydney last week. The Indian decision came a few hours before Hogg was to face a hearing in Perth (E-News 172-918, 9 January 2008), and two days before the Third Test gets underway.
Media reports overnight say that the decision to drop Hogg's charge was taken at a meeting of the two captains, Australia's Ricky Ponting and India's Anil Kumble, that was convened by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka.
Madugalle was flown to Perth by the ICC to mediate between the two sides following the controversies that erupted during the Sydney Test (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
ASSOCIATION OF CRICKET OFFICIALS
INTERIM CHAIR APPOINTED
Roger Knight, who was secretary and chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from 1994-2006, has been appointed as the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) newly created Association of Cricket Officials (ACO).
Reports from the UK late last week say that Knight, who played 387 First Class and 310 one-day matches during a twenty-two year playing career from 1967-89, has agreed to oversee the establishment of the new organisation, a role that includes the appointment of a management board.
The ACO, which came into being on 1 January, was formed after members of the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) in the UK voted to disband the fifty-four year old organisation last month and join with the ACO (E-News 157-866, 18 December 2008).
ECB Director of cricket partnerships Mike Gatting, who pushed hard for ACUS members to support the ACO's establishment (E-News 131-710, 9 November 2007), is quoted as saying that "we are delighted and honoured to have Roger Knight on board to take this role at a crucial time for officials in the sport and look forward to working with umpires, scorers, ECB and county personnel to ensure that England and Wales continue to produce quality officials at all levels of the game".
PLAYERS THE REAL PROBLEM,
NOT UMPIRES, SAYS AGNEW
The decision by the International Cricket Council to remove West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor from the Third Australia-India Test was "short-sighted" and opens the way for "powerful cricket teams to dispose of officials when a decision is made they do not like", says former England player and now commentator Jonathan Agnew.
Writing in his column on the BBC web site, Agnew says "the real fault lies with the players, and it is their behaviour, attitude and respect for the game and its traditions that need urgently to be addressed". "Umpires will always make mistakes", says Agnew, "just as the players do (although you wouldn’t believe it sometimes), and undermining their confidence by removing their most senior colleague [Bucknor] in this way is unbelievably foolish".
Cricket is, he believes "truly at a crossroads", for these days "it is being administered by businessmen who have no feel for, or genuine love and understanding of the game", and the sport "is played purely for money, ego and power for those who control it". Agnew says that he doesn't know "where it will end unless a stand is taken, and that action must be directed by all the countries at all of their players, and not the umpires".
Dave Richardson, the ICC's operations manager who has line control of the organisation's match officials, was quoted by several media outlets over the weekend as saying that the decision to remove West Indian international umpire Bucknor from this week's Perth Test was not tantamount to the ICC caving into the demands of the financially powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India, but was made to relieve the pressure on the Jamaican official (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
"I would be concerned about the precedent set if this decision was made because of the complaints of a team", Richardson said from Dubai. The move was in fact "made in the best interests of the game, and [the ICC has always] reserved the right to change umpiring appointments from time to time, if the situation warrants it".
Richardson is reported to have conceded that the ICC has placed added pressure on the shoulders of Bucknor's replacement, New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden.
CALL FOR PROMOTION OF 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET'
IN SCHOOLS AND CLUBS
English journalist Mark Nicholas believes that more work needs to be done to promote the 'Spirit of Cricket' at school and club level, according to his column in yesterday's 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK. Nicholas, who is in Australia, uses a situation he says occurred in an Under 16 match in Sydney last weekend between Manly and Fairfield-Liverpool to illustrate his point.
According to him the game was close and the ninth Manly wicket fell "amid great tension", and as the 12-year-old last man walked out, a 15-year-old Fairfield-Liverpool player "ran to the gate to greet him with a volley of invective". That player allegedly "accompanied the 12-year-old all the way to the wicket, hammering in his ear", an approach that Nicholas says "breaks new, unbearable ground".
"Cricketers no longer wait for their prey, they go to get it", he says, and "promotion of the 'Spirit of Cricket' is an absolute must". E-News has been unable to confirm the accuracy of Nicholas’ report.
TWENTY20 SKIPPERS WANT THIRD UMP,
TECHNOLOGY, USED IN 'BIG GAMES'
The captains of the sides who played in last Sunday's domestic Twenty20 final in Perth have called for more technology to be used in big games, says a report published in 'The Australian' overnight. Despite the fact that the match was being televised there was no third umpire at the WACA Ground, and what the newspaper suggests were several "questionable" decisions may have been resolved more satisfactorally had there been (E-News 176-945, 14 January 2008).
Adam Voges from Western Australia, the loosing captain, was quoted as saying that with cameras present the third umpire should be used for "we have got the technology [so] why not use it?" “Twenty20 has gone past a bit of fun" and with $A48,000 in prize money up for grabs, Victorian captain Cameron White believes that "there is a lot at stake and [the availability of technology] would solve all the dramas".
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR
South African players were fined five per cent of their match fees, and their captain Graeme Smith ten percent, for a slow over-rate during the second Test against West Indies in Cape Town last month. Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka, the match referee, imposed the fine after South Africa were ruled to be one over short of its target after time allowances were taken into consideration.
The home side took 467 minutes to bowl 102 overs during their opponent's second innings, a statistic that equates to a basic average of just 13.1 overs per hour; a figure that is three to four overs less than is required in Tasmanian Cricket Association matches.
E-NEWS NUMBER 178WEDNESDAY, 16 JANUARY 2008
BUCKNOR'S TREATMENT 'UNFAIR, UNJUST,
UNPROFESSIONAL', SAY ICUS
The UK-based Institute for Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) believes that "the treatment" handed out to West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor last week "is unfair, unjust, unprofessional, unacceptable, and against the 'Spirit of the Game'”.
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to remove Bucknor from today's Third Test provides, says the ICUS, "further evidence of the need for a completely independent body which can represent umpires at all levels of the game", an issue that is a key plank in the Institute's platform.
The ICUS says that it is "unequivocal in its complete support for Steve Bucknor and his [English] colleague, Mark Benson", however, such support "has not come from official cricket organisations", but rather from "professional players and journalists" who are "voicing concern for the future of cricket and the officials who stand in the game" (E-News 177-951, 15 January 2008).
"Steve Bucknor should have been afforded proper treatment by his employers which should have included private performance assessment and a commitment to have him resume umpiring international cricket in the near future", says the Institute.
In the view of the ICUS, "it is an unacceptable blame game to publicly remove an umpire from an upcoming appointment when decisions taken in good faith, made honestly and to the best of his ability, are not accepted without it resulting in a world wide incident". "Little of the spirit [of the game] is afforded to umpires [and that] damages respect for the game and its umpires at all levels", says the ICUS.
The West Indian Cricket Board asked the ICC for detailed information on Bucknor's dismissal (E-News 173-924, 10 January 2008), while Malcolm Speed, ICC's chief executive officer has indicated that he expects that Bucknor will continue umpiring with the ICC, although his current contract is believed to end on 31 March (E-News 178-959 below).
BUCKNOR HOME AND
West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor arrived home in Jamacia yesterday Australian time and told the media there that he was "disappointed" in being sent home from the Test series between India and Australia, according to reports published in the Carribean nation overnight (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
An Agence France-Presse (AFP) story quotes the umpire as saying that its "a sad day to see umpires sidelined after making only two wrong decisions out of a [total] of 35 appeals", and that "to err is human, to forgive divine, as the old saying goes".
Despite his concerns Bucknor says that he "respects the International Cricket Council's (ICC) authority in the matter", and an article in today's 'Daily Telegraph' in London says that the West Indian "is expected to be asked to continue" with the ICC after his contract expires on 31 March.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said at the time of Bucknor's dumping last week that he expected "that Steve will continue as an ICC 'Elite' panel umpire". Speed gave similar public support to Australian international umpire following the now infamous ball-tampering Test between England and Pakistan in 2006, but was later over ruled by an ICC Board decision and Hair is currently undergoing a "rehabiltation" program (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007).
The West Indian Cricket Board asked the ICC for detailed information on Bucknor's dismissal (E-News 173-924, 10 January 2008).
TRAVEL CHANGE FOR IC CUP
German umpire Paul Baldwin and his colleague from Zimbabwe, Russell Tiffin, will now travel to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates for the four-day, First Class, Intercontinental Cup (IC) match between Kenya and Namibia, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to switch the venue following the recent unrest in Kenya.
ICC’s High Performance Manager Richard Done said in a statement that “it is difficult at any time to make late changes to international tours and this decision is no different because of the interest in cricket in Kenya, however, the safety of all participants is always our number-one priority".
The match will now start in Sharjah on 30 January, a day later that originally planned (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007).
APPOINTMENTS FOR PAKISTAN-ZIMBABWE
ODI SERIES AWAITED
The International Cricket Council is yet to announcement its 'neutral' umpire appointment for the five-match, One Day International series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, which is due to get underway next Monday.
The five games have been scheduled to be played over a thirteen-day period at five different grounds around Pakistan. Pakistan members of the ICC's second-tier 'International' umpires panel are expected to stand in each of the matches with the ICC's ‘neutral’ appointee.
GIVE ON-FIELD UMPIRES MORE
POWERS SAY TEST TRIO
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell, Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara and former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar believe that sledging and other problems during matches could be tackled by giving "more power" to on-field umpires, according to comments they made during Cricinfo's latest 'Round Table' discussion.
The trio, like former English player Jonathan Agnew earlier this week (E-News 177-951, 15 January 2008), called for players to act with more responsibility. In their view even the match referee is quite far removed from where the action is and that the umpires out on the ground should be allowed to handle situations that occur as they see fit.
Chappell was critical of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for what he believes has been its undermining of the authority of umpires over recent years for in his view the world body has "put layers of officials between the umpires and the players", thus "diluting the decision-making process of the umpires on the field".
Chappell, Sangakkara and Manjrekar say that while banter on the field is always going to be present, there are lines which should not be crossed and that a player's colour, race, country or family should never be dragged "into the debate".
Manjrekar feels that television is a contributing factor to players displaying more aggression on the field. "Some players have realised that if they behaved in a certain manner, if they said some things or glared at the opposition, they would get a lot of attention via the television cameras", he said.
E-NEWS NUMBER 179THURSDAY, 17 JANUARY 2008
NZ ONE-DAY FINAL TO TRIAL PLAYER
Cricket authorities in New Zealand have agreed to trial player challenge system in the deciding match of their domestic 50 over competition, the State Shield final, in early March. Under arrangements being developed each team will be allocated three appeals, with only unsuccessful shouts reducing that number, according to a report in the 'Southland Times' newspaper last weekend.
The final is reported to have been chosen for the trial because it is the only domestic fifty-over-a-side game to be televised in NZ during the current season, in contrast to Australia where most matches were televised but no third umpire was used in its domestic final last weekend (E-News 177-949, 15 January 2008).
According to the story, the umpires and players involved are to prepare a report on their experiences during the match for forwarding to the International Cricket Council (ICC) "as it works out whether to introduce the extra use of technology on a regular basis on the international stage". NZ umpires head Brian Aldridge, who stated last week that he was not in favour of the system (E-News 175-934, 13 January 2008), was quoted as saying that "the feeling among many New Zealand umpires is that allowing players to appeal against decisions [is] bordering on dissent", but they were "happy to trial the new process".
Aldridge said though that if the trial shows "that allowing players to appeal an umpiring decision did in fact help the game", he would recommend it go ahead. "If it's shown that the extra use of technology will help the game then I think it probably does need to be brought in, especially at the top level where people's livelihoods do rely on it", said Aldridge. He believes that the ICC is likely to trial the proposed system for two years before it agrees to make it a normal part of international cricket.
The England and Wales Cricket Board conduct a player referrals trial during the 2007 summer but it was not considered a success (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007), the Marylebone Cricket Club wants a trial of the player referral system in a Test match later this year (E-News 174-927, 11 January 2008), but the ICC is looking to use the system during this year's Champions Trophy series in Pakistan in September (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008).
SATURDAY FINE, 'A FEW SHOWERS'
SUNDAY, FOR TCA MATCHES
Current forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for next weekend indicate that Saturday will be fine with a top temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, but on Sunday 'a few showers' are expected to develop later in the day as a trough and cold front approach the state. Top temperature on Sunday is put at 21 degrees Celsius.
TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information before they leave home for games by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).
E-NEWS NUMBER 180MONDAY, 21 JANUARY 2008
AUSTRALIAN TEAM FINED FOR
SLOW TEST OVER RATE
Australia's sluggish over rate in the Third Test match against India in Perth last week impacted directly on key bowling tactics used by the team at a critical phase of the game, however, despite their efforts to catch up the team was still short of International Cricket Council (ICC) requirements and its players have been fined.
During the match Australia averaged close to 13.3 over per hour, but reports indicate that at a key stage during India's second innings it was eight overs behind the required rate. Had such a shortfall been maintained, ICC Code of Conduct arrangements mean that Australian captain Ricky Ponting could have been suspended for this week's Fourth Test in Adelaide.
Ponting told a press conference after the match that he "didn't manage the bowlers that well" and said that as a result he was "forced to bowl part-timers [Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds]" to try and increase the over rate at a time when his side was trying to limit India's second innings score and thus his team's run chase in their own second innings.
While that tactic improved the rate, the side still ended up two overs short of the target. That led match referee Mike Procter from South Africa to fine Ponting twenty per cent of his match fee, a figure put by some media outlets at just $2,500, an amount that is unlikely to be a financial problem for him, while his team mates lost ten per cent of their fee.
During the six Indian innings of the series to date Australia has averaged 13.3 overs per hour, with a low of 12.5 overs in the first innings of the Second Test, and a high of 14.0 in the second innings of that match when they were pushing for a win. EN180-970.
PURA CUP RESUMES AFTER CHRISTMAS,
Three Victorian umpires, two of whom are members of the National Umpire Panel (NUP) and the other from their State Umpires Squad (SUS), are to officiate in the first Pura Cup matches to be played in over a month that are scheduled to get underway today in Melbourne and Hobart.
Melbourne-based NUP member Paul Reiffel and his SUS colleague Tony Ward will be at the St Kilda Cricket Ground when Victoria takes on South Australia, the match being their fifth and second First Class appointments respectively for the current season, and nineteenth and fourth overall.
Victorian assistant cricket coach Darren Berry's six week suspension for abusing third umpire Norm McNamara from Queensland last November ends today and he is expected to be present at the St Kilda ground (E-News 144, 28 November 2007).
In Tasmania, South Australian NUP member Simon Fry returns to Bellerive for his fifth First Class game at that venue and second this season. His colleague for the match will be veteran Victorian NUP member Bob Parry who will be standing in his ninth match at Bellerive, and his first since the Pura Cup final last March (E-News 14-81, 13 March 2007). The game will be Fry's twenty-fourth First Class match and Parry's fifty-ninth.
I'LL GO ON FOR ANOTHER YEAR
News reports from the Caribbean indicate that West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor hopes to continue officiating in international matches for another year provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) require his services. Speaking to journalists at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamacia, while watching a First Class match there between the home side and Guyana, Bucknor is reported to have said stated his continuing desire to stand "in the middle as an 'Elite' umpire".
"I'm in reasonably good physical condition, seeing reasonably well", said Bucknor, "so I'll go on until I think it is necessary to stop". Reports quote the West Indian as saying though that he "would not wish to go on beyond another year".
A March 2009 retirement would fit with ICC contract renewal schedules and his comments last year that he expected to retire around that time frame (E-News 113-619, 9 October 2007). A year's extension would also give the ICC breathing space in its task of expanding its 'Elite' umpires panel from the present ten to twelve in the next two months (E-News 99-541, 13 September 2007).
UMPIRES SUSPENDED AS 'SUBSTITUTE'
TAKES ON A NEW MEANING
Two umpires have been suspended in India "for negligence" after a junior cricketer who scored 301 in 126 balls in a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) tournament last week was found to have "impersonated" the player named on the team sheet.
A report by India's 'Rediff News' says that the loosing side, who only managed 121 in reply to their opponent's total of 634, lodged a complaint with the umpires on Friday saying that the batsman who was credited with the triple century, Masrum Sarkar, did not take the field.
Players in the competition have a registration card complete with their picture that umpires are required to check, but what some reports say was an "unscrupulous, and over-ambitious, official" changed the picture of Sarkar that was submitted with the team list.
Umpires Goutam Roy and Dhiman Ghosh apparently missed the player-swapping act and have reportedly been suspended pending further enquiries into the situation. All the players, officials and umpires involved in the match have been summoned to attend a further CAB hearing on 29 January during which the issues involved, including the result of the match, will be considered further.
ONE-DAY DOMESTIC DEBUT FOR
Victorian umpire Geoff Josua made his debut in the domestic one-day series last Friday when he stood in the match between Victoria and Tasmania at the MCG, the fourth new official to reach that level of the game during the current austral summer (E-News 99-538, 13 September 2007).
Joshua, who stood in the match with fellow Victorian and National Umpires Panel member Paul Reiffel, has officiated in men's national Under 17 and Under 19 series, several Cricket Australia Cup matches, and over the last two years a total of fifteen Women's National Cricket League games.
Last month the thirty-seven year old was named to stand in one of the five One Day Internationals between the Australian and England women's teams scheduled for early February (E-News 162-880, 28 December 2007).
UMPS PRESIDE OVER WNCL
FINAL WASH OUT
Weather prevented NSW umpires Bill Hendricks and David Dilley from getting this year's Women's National Cricket League final at the SCG underway on Saturday. No reserve day was designated for the fixture.
SRI LANKAN 'NEUTRAL' OFFICIAL FOR
Asoka de Silva from Sri Lanka has been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe which gets underway in Karachi later today Australian time, according to media reports from the sub-continent. de Silva's on-field colleague for the first game will be Zameer Haider, one of Pakistan's umpires on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), while his countryman on the IUP, Riazuddin, will be in the third umpire's chair.
Riazuddin was suspended from international matches by the Pakistan Cricket Board in November and had his appointment as the third umpire in a Test match between the home side and South Africa rescinded as a result, however, since then he has stood in eight domestic First Class matches in just two months, passing the 200 mark during that time (E-News 152-839, 11 December 2007) and reaching 203 games last week.
Today's match will take de Silva's ODI record to seventy-two such games, Haider's to three and Broad's to 115 as a match referee in just four years, while Riazuddin will have been in the third umpire's suite for eleven such matches. England’s Chris Broad is the ICC's match referee for the series.
'DRAMAS GALORE' IN FIRST WEEKS
OF 2008 SAYS HARPER
Australian international umpire Daryl Harper says that there have been "dramas galore in the first few weeks of 2008", and that India has made a "remarkable comeback after the troubled Sydney encounter" to win against Australia, according to comments posted on his personal web site last Saturday.
Harper, who attended the first three days of the Test in Sydney before moving on to Dubai for a week long "holiday" (E-News 166-890, 2 January 2008), has since travelled to South Africa for their five-match One Day International series against the West Indies that got underway yesterday (E-News 154-852, 13 December 2007).
Last Friday "was a rare chance to enjoy the hospitality afforded to the privileged few" when Harper and his wife "were guests of Cricket South Africa" in The Long Room at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg for the Twenty 20 international between the two sides.
Discussing this week's Fourth Australia-India Test in Adelaide, Harper's home town, he says the pitch at the Adelaide Oval always offers "a little life for the quick bowlers on the opening morning, before the pitch provides perfect batting conditions into the third and fourth days".
"Cracks appear and widen as the surface dries out, allowing the spinners to come into their own on the final two days", says Harper, and he is of the view that "we will probably see India bring back [spinner] Harbhajan Singh and Australia [his counterpart] Brad Hogg’.
E-NEWS NUMBER 181TUESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2008
BUCKNOR TO STAND IN BANGLADESH,
SOUTH AFRICA, TEST SERIES
West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor has indicated that he is to stand in the two-match Test series between Bangladesh and South Africa scheduled for Mirpur and Chittagong in late February and early March, according to news reports from Jamacia.
If comments attributed to the West Indian are correct, the Tests in Bangladesh will be his first since the Third Australia-India Test in Sydney just after New Year, a game that saw him controversely replaced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the Fourth Test in Perth last week (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).
The ICC has not yet formally named Bucknor for the series in Bangladesh which would extend his world record Test tally to 122 matches, nor indicated who his partner for the two games will be.
Following the Tests the two nations are to play a three-match One Day International (ODI) series in the first half of March but the ICC is yet to announce who its 'neutral' umpire for those games will be.
TCA BATSMAN OUT IN RARE
'OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD' DISMISSAL
Kingborough batsman Brady Jones was given out 'Obstructing the Field' during his side's Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) First Grade match against Lindisfarne at Kingston last Saturday. Reports from the match indicate that Jones played a ball some five metres down the wicket and set off for a run, but as he turned to regain his ground after judging that a run was not on, he appeared to kick the ball away from a fielder who was trying to retrieve it and run him out.
After consulting each other TCUSA umpires John Smeaton and Steve Maxwell, who have between them officiated in over 250 First Grade matches, and in Smeaton's case forty-two First Class games, concluded that on the evidence available to them it appeared that Jones had deliberately interfered with the ball's course, and he was given out.
Law 37 requires that if an umpire reaches the view that a batsman "wilfully" hinders the fielding side while the ball is in play he must be given out 'Obstructing the Field', the key decision required from umpires in such cases being as to whether the action was deliberate or accidental.
GAVASKAR OUTBURST CONCERNS
SENIOR ICC OFFICIAL
David Morgan, the president-elect of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is concerned about senior ICC official Sunil Gavaskar's recent critical public comments about Mike Procter, one of the world body's match referees. Gavaskar, who is the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, strongly criticised Procter in his newspaper column about the decision to ban Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for three Tests (E-News 177-955, 15 January 2008).
Morgan was quoted by a number of media outlets as saying that "conflicts of interests pervade our sport [and] within the ICC there is a concern", given Gavaskar's key role as a committee chairman, about his public attack on the match referee. Management boards in all walks of life "have a policy for conflicts", he said, and "when people come to the board table they [need to] leave their other baggage at the door".
According to reports Morgan indicated that the Gavaskar issue is being handled by David Richardson the ICC's General Manager Cricket. Richardson, who is a qualified lawyer, played forty-two Tests for South Africa in the 1990s.
PLAYING CONDITIONS QUERIED
AFTER RAIN STOPS PLAY
A Tobago Cricket Association (TCA) team in the Caribbean is querying the result of their first match in this season's Sunday League competition after their innings was curtailed by rain one over short of the minimum number required, according to yesterday's edition of the 'Tobago News'.
After their opponents scored 159 in their innings, rain caused the protesting side’s innings to be reduced first to forty-one overs, then thirty-four, before conditions deteriorated further leaving them at 5/120 after nineteen overs, one short of the minimum required to constitute a match.
As required by the playing conditions the umpires declared the game to be 'abandoned', however, the TCA side is refuting that decision. They claim that because their innings was reduced to thirty-four overs they should get "full points" because of their "faster run rate and [the fact that] more than half [of the thorty-four] overs had been bowled", a method of calculation that is apparently not mentioned in the TCA's by laws.
It is not known who the umpires were for the match of if they were affiliated with the Tobago Umpires Association, the group who reportedly withdrew their services from TCA games earlier this month because of what they saw as lack of action on player disciplinary issues (E-News 169-905, 5 January 2008).
CRICKET MUST EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY,
SAYS INCOMING ICC HEAD
International Cricket Council (ICC) president-elect David Morgan believes that the sport has to be prepared to "embrace technology" and work towards allowing players tennis-style challenges to umpiring decisions, according to an Australian Associated Press (AAP) story published widely yesterday.
Morgan, who will assume the ICC presidency in May, was quoted as saying that he is "quite sure" the world body's executive board will be looking at a range of technology-related issues when it meets in Dubai in March. "Technology needs to be [further] improved", said Morgan, but with further work he believes it is probably feasible to embrace more technology "in a way that doesn't diminish the authority of the on-field umpires".
Morgan emphasised that the 'Hawk Eye' program used by broadcasters to judge leg before decisions was not yet ready to be used as a definitive tool (E-News 168-901, 4 January 2008), but in his assessment other technology was "almost advanced enough" to help a third umpire adjudicate in close LBW appeals; but in situations where there are contentious catches, it was "paramount the batsman received the benefit of any doubt".
In a reference to the player referrals system issue Morgan said he believes that with "an improvement in technology the third umpire could be called upon [by players] to assist the on-field umpires". Advanced technology would need to be trialed in a Test before it became common practice and that could occur in the "not too distant future", said the president-elect, a move that has been strongly supported by the Marylebone Cricket Club (E-News 174-927, 11 January 2008).
The ICC's chief executive officer Malcolm Speed indicated earlier this month that in his view a trial in the fifty over Champions Trophy in September would take precedence over a Test trial mooted for July at Lords (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008).
NUAS-2 TRAINING TO FOCUS ON
'DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES'
This week's National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 (NUAS-2) training program session will focus on Module 2.3 of the syllabus titled 'Duties and Responsibilities' (E-News 153-847, 12 December 2007). The session is scheduled to start at 6.30 p.m. at Bellerive Oval next Wednesday immediately prior to Training-Appointments meeting 10.
Queries about the NUAS-2 training program can be directed to Ian Quaggin (6228 7921 or 0409 287 993) or Steve Maxwell (6268 6470 or 0416 277 464).
SOME RAIN, SHOWERS, POSSIBLE FOR
HOBART NEXT WEEKEND
A trough and a cold front that are expected to be in the vicinity of Tasmania next weekend could result in a little rain of Saturday in the Hobart area, then a few showers on Sunday, according to the latest outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology overnight. A top temperature of 24 degrees Celsius is currently anticipated on Saturday and 21 on Sunday.
TCUSA members who are managing games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information before they leave home for games by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).
E-NEWS NUMBER 182THURSDAY, 24 JANUARY 2008
HAIR RETURNS TO FIRST
Australian international umpire Darrell Hair returned to First Class cricket for the first time in nearly seven months yesterday when he officiated in the opening day of the four-day, second-tier, Intercontinental Cup (IC) match in Sharjah between the United Arab Emirates and Namibia. For Hair, who is standing with Neils Bagh from Denmark, the current match is only his second at First Class level, after a Canada-Netherlands IC match last June-July, since the infamous 'ball tampering' Test between England and Pakistan in August 2006.
In the seventeen months since that match at the Oval, Hair has stood in a total of thirteen One Day Internationals (ODI) between second-tier nations at grounds in Kenya, Canada and Northern Ireland. Records available indicate that the last time he was on the field in an international match before this week was for an ODI between Ireland and Scotland on 15 July last year.
In the time since, however, Hair has undertaken a man management course as part of a "rehabilitation" program organised for him by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The ICC is expected to make a decision on his future at the highest levels of cricket in March (E-News 140-758, 22 November 2007).
IPL FRANCHISES OPEN FOR
Bidding for the franchises for the eight teams that will make up the Board of Control for Cricket in India's inaugural Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) season gets underway today. Reports from the sub-continent indicate that a range of corporations, some who are involved in real estate, the media, fast food and even a betting firm, are looking to acquire the right for teams in the competition, the start of which is scheduled for 18 April.
The base price for owning a team for ten years is put by some media outlets at around $A60m. What are described as "player auctions", where the successful franchises can bid from a pool of around eight players for their teams, are scheduled for 7 February; with former Australian international Shane Warne believed to be the most expensive player at $A465,000.
No details of where umpires or scorers will be drawn from for the planned fifty-nine match season have yet been released. Each franchise will play the seven others on a home-and-away basis, with the top four sides going through to the semi-finals.
PNG UMPIRE TO STAND IN WORLD
Former Papua New Guinea (PNG) opening batsman and current PNG Cricket Board operations manager Lakani Oala is to officiate in the World Under 19 Championship in Malaysia next month, according to a story published in 'The Nation' newspaper in Port Moresby overnight (E-News 45-246, 24 May 2007).
A total of twelve umpires and four match referees are expected to take part between eight and ten matches each during the series (E-News 166-892, 2 January 2008), however, as yet the International Cricket Council (ICC) has not announced the group who will be involved.
Oala’s international umpiring career began in 2003 when he officiated in Port Moresby in a match between a PNG select side and the Marylebone Cricket Club and he then went on to umpire at the South Pacific games in Fiji later that year.
Participation in several other regional tournaments followed, and in 2006 the ICC invited him to attend a seminar in Dubai organised for officials from its Associate member countries, and he is now reported to be amongst the most experienced umpires in the Pacific. In June last year he stood in the final of the World Cricket League's Division 3 final in Darwin (E-News 51-285, 4 June 2007).
E-News understand that Steve Davis, a member of the National Umpires Panel and of the ICC's second-level International Umpires Panel, has also been selected for the series in Malaysia. He also stood in the series held in Sri Lanka two years ago, officiating in the main final of that competition with West Indian Billy Doctrove.
The 2008 series, the fourth of the last five World Under 19 tournaments to be conducted in Asia since the year 2000, will be played on grounds in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. The competition is scheduled to commence on 17 February, with the main final being played 2 March.
E-NEWS NUMBER 183FRIDAY, 25 JANUARY 2008
UMPIRES TO MAKE TCA FIRST GRADE
DEBUT THIS WEEKEND
Two TCUSA umpiring members, Ray Howe and Mike Graham-Smith, are to make their debuts in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) First Grade competition in matches that commence this weekend. Howe will be standing with State Umpires Squad (SUS) member Steve Maxwell in the game between North Hobart and University at the TCA Ground, while Maxwell's SUS colleague Wade Stewart will partner Graham-Smith at Queenborough when South Hobart Sandy Bay take on Kingborough.
Both umpires have made rapid progress through the ranks, Howe starting with the Association last season, while this is Graham-Smith's first season as an umpire after many years as a player and administrator with TCA club University (E-News 87-463, 23 August 2008).
BRUSH UP ON RAIN DELAY RULES
FOR WEEKEND MATCHES
TCUSA members managing Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) matches around Hobart this weekend should ensure that they are fully conversant with those parts of the TCA by laws that deal with rain delays. The Bureau of Meteorology is currently forecasting "afternoon showers, possibly thundery" for Saturday with a maximum of twenty-six degrees Celsius.
Saturday may well start of looking good, however, on the current forecast those managing games that day should keep their eye on the sky as the afternoon proceeds. On Sunday umpires may need their heavy bails as the forecast is for windy conditions and a shower or two, but the temperature is expected to be similar to Saturday's.
TCUSA members can check the latest weather information before they leave home for games by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).
HARBHAJAN 'MAY ESCAPE WITH MINOR
PUNISHMENT', CLAIMS TOI
The 'Times of India' (TOI) newspaper reported over night that work being undertaken by the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India to clear player Harbhajan Singh of the racial abuse charges "might well bear fruit", and that the spinner's three match ban from Tests might be "significantly reduced" when his appeal is heard in Adelaide next Tuesday.
A BCCI "source" is quoted in the TOI article as saying that "we are in the process of working out an arrangement with the International Cricket Council", and that "we are confident that the ban on Harbhajan will be significantly reduced and he might eventually have to face only a minor penalty", such as a fine.
Next week's hearing is to be conducted by ICC Code of Conduct commissioner Judge John Hansen of New Zealand (E-News 173-923, 10 January 2008).
TCUSA MEMBERS FOR
TCUSA member Steven John is to stand in the domestic, fifty over, match between Tasmania and Queensland that is to be played in Launceston on Sunday. John's colleague for the game is National Umpires Panel (NUP) member Simon Fry from South Australia who stood in this week's First Class game between the two sides at Bellerive (E-News 180-969, 21 January 2008).
The game will be Fry's twentieth in the interstate one day series since his first seven years ago, while John, who made his debut in the competition last October (E-News 167-895, 3 January 2008), will be standing is his third. Scorers for the game will be the TCUSA's Graeme Hamley and Allan Dendle (E-News 176-946, 14 January 2008).
Bob Parry, Fry's colleague at Bellerive this week will also be in action on Sunday in another domestic one-dayer, the game between Victoria and South Australia in Traralgon, his twenty-sixth such match since his first just over ten years ago. His partner will be Victorian State Umpires Squad member Tony Ward who will be standing in his eighth such match in the last three years.
After this weekend only five domestic one day matches plus the final remain to be played this season, the final being scheduled for 23 February. EN183-985.
GAVASKAR TO FACE PENALTY FOR
ATTACK ON MATCH REFEREE?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is preparing to take action against former Indian player and now ICC committee member Sunil Gavaskar for his attack on South African match referee Mike Procter after the suspension of India spinner Harbhajan Singh, according to media reports published today.
Reports say that as an ICC official Gavaskar could be cited for "two obvious breaches" of the ICC's Code of Conduct, the first for commenting on a match referee's decision, and the second for claiming the referee's decision was made on the basis of race.
Gavaskar said in his newspaper column last week that Proctor had handed Indian player Harbhajan Singh a three-Test ban for racial abuse because the South African believed the word of a fellow white man instead of a "brown man" (E-News 177-955, 15 January 2008), however, in the time since Gavaskar has denied making racial comments.
News reports overnight quote an ICC spokesman as confirming that Gavaskar's case had been referred to the next meeting of its executive board in March. The ICC's president-elect David Morgan expressed his concern about Gavaskar's comments last week (E-News 181-975, 22 January 2008), and the media is now indicating that that ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed and cricket manager Dave Richardson have spoken to Gavaskar about his claims. .
FORTY-NINE UMPS MANAGE INDIAN DOMESTIC
FIRST CLASS GAMES IN 2007-08
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) used a total of forty-nine umpires for the eight-five Ranji Trophy First Class matches played on the sub continent in the 2007-08 season, by far the largest panel in use for domestic competitions anywhere in the world. Two officials, Suhas Pradkar a former player, and Ivaturi Shivram, a former member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), topped the overall list with six matches each.
Of the others, seven were each given five Ranji Trophy matches to manage during the season, the majority of umpires, twenty-one, stood in four matches each, while eight had three games, four had two matches, and seven officials just one game each.
India's current IUP members G A Pratapkumar, Amiesh Saheba and Suresh Shastri stood in four, three and two Ranji Trophy matches during the season, Saheba officiating in the Super League section final with a former Indian IUP member Arani Jayaprakash, and Pratapkumar with C R Mohite in the Plate section final (E-News 159-871, 24 December 2007).
The average age of the forty-nine umpires used in the series was just that, forty-nine, the youngest Anil Dandekar, who is thirty-nine, standing in five games, while the oldest Jayaprakash who is fifty-eight and is also the most experienced of the group with thirteen Tests and thirty-eight ODIs under his belt, was given three matches.
One-third of the group are in their forties, the majority being in their early to mid fifties. Of the forty-nine umpires, three have stood in a total of seventeen Test matches, and that trio plus fourteen others have officiated in a total of 154 One Day Internationals (ODI); while just on a third had played First Class cricket before taking up umpiring.
The Ranji Trophy series is played in two divisions, the higher-level Super League being made up of fourteen sides who play a total of fifty-two games, and the lower-level Plate section thirteen teams whose season consists of thirty-three matches. A promotion-relegation system operates between the two competitions, the two teams who reach the final of the Plate section being promoted to the Super League the following season, the bottom two sides in the latter going in the other direction.
The series is played in November-December with the finals being decided in late December and early January.
Over 100 umpires attended training courses run by Cricket Australia last August in the lead up to India's domestic season as part of a BCCI program that aims to improve the standard of officiating in that country (E-News 89-475, 28 August 2007). It appears that some of those were culled after initial assessment as less than half that number were present during a follow up camp in October (E-News 117-632, 15 October 2007).
The BCCI's financial strength was on display again yesterday when franchises for the teams that are to make up its inaugural Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition were decided, the successful bidders paying a total close to $A800m for the rights to operate the eight sides (E-News 182-979, 24 January 2008).
TUCKER, WARD, FOR SCG
PURA CUP MATCH
NSW member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) Rod Tucker, and his colleague on the panel, John Ward from Victoria, are to stand in the four-day domestic First Class match between NSW and Western Australia that is scheduled to get underway at the SCG today.
The twenty-first of the thirty-one domestic First Class games scheduled for this season will see Tucker officiating in his third First Class match of the season and eighteenth overall over the last four seasons. Ward will be officiating in his fourteenth First Class match and third of the current season, his last being the washed out tour match between Victoria and India in early December.
When the match at the SCG concludes only ten domestic First Class matches remain before season's end, nine of them home-and-away games. Umpires have not yet been appointed for the last six games or the final.
ENGLAND WOMEN'S TOUR GETS
Victorian umpires Geoff Joshua and Chris Stevens will be looking after the England women's side's one-day tour opener against Victoria that is scheduled to be played at Wesley College in Melbourne today.
Joshua made his debut in the men's domestic one day competition last week (E-News 180-966, 21 January 2008), and will stand in one of the five One Day Internationals between the Australian and England women's teams scheduled for early February (E-News 162-880, 28 December 2007).
Stevens has umpired four Women's National Cricket League matches over the past year and made his Cricket Australia Cup debut early last month.
E-NEWS NUMBER 184MONDAY, 28 JANUARY 2008
BUSY THREE MONTHS FOR
Umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Elite', and 'International' umpiring panels face a busy three months in February, March and April, with thirteen Test matches and thirty-four One Day Internationals (ODI) scheduled in widespread locations in Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Caribbean.
During the ninety days involved, sixty ''neutral' umpire and eight match referee positions will have to be filled to oversee a total of ninety-nine days of cricket that involves all nine Test playing nations plus Zimbabwe.
In that time the South Africa and West Indies, and Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODI series are to be concluded, the fifteen-match tri-nation ODI tournament involving Australia, India and Sri Lanka played, while Tests and ODIs are listed between New Zealand and England, Bangladesh and South Africa, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, and if the security situation allows Pakistan and Australia, while India and South Africa will meet in a Test-only series.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to announce the names of any of the 'neutral' umpires for the thirteen Tests, although West Indian 'Elite' panel member Steve Bucknor has indicated he will be filling two slots in the series between Bangladesh and South Africa (E-News 181-977, 22 January 2008).
On the ODI front Australian Daryl Harper is the 'neutral' standing in the South Africa, West Indies ODIs (E-News 154-852, 13 December 2007), and Asoka de Silva the Pakistan-Zimbabe series (E-News 180-964, 21 January 2008), while Cricket Australia has indicated that South Africa's Rudi Koertzen and New Zealand's Tony Hill will manage the tri-nation series as 'neutrals' in Australia (E-News 161-876, 28 December 2007).
In addition to tier one First Class and ODIs, the ICC has to provide a dozen umpires and four match referees for the Under 19 World Championships in Malaysia over two weeks in late February and early March (E-News 184-990 below), and second-tier four-day Intercontinental Cup and ODI games in February-March in the United Arab Emirates. The world body is likely to draw on members of its third-tier Associate and Affiliates Umpires Panel, as well as available 'Elite' and 'International' panel members for those games.
The ICC is in the process of increasing its 'Elite' panel from ten to twelve members following a review of its umpiring area last year (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), and recent events have indicated the travel-match pressure some of its senior umpires have been put under of late (E-News 176-944, 14 January 2008).
HARBHAJAN APPEAL 'PROCEDURE'
TO BE OUTLINED
New Zealand High Court Justice John Hansen, who has been appointed as the Code of Commissioner for Indian player Harbhajan Singh's appeal against a three-match Test ban, is spell out the procedure to be adopted in the case in Adelaide this morning.
A statement released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday says that "under the provisions of the ICC Code of Conduct, Justice Hansen has the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the previous hearing, and his decision is final and binding".
Late last week what were claimed as "sources" at the Board of Control for Cricket in India were said to be "confident that the ban on Harbhajan will be significantly reduced and he might eventually have to face only a minor penalty" (E-News 183-986, 25 January 2008).
ICL's FIFTY OVER 'DOMESTIC' SERIES
NEARS, UMPS UNKNOWN
The Indian Cricket League's (ICL) "domestic" fifty over competition, the newest phase of the 'rebel' organisation's planned program for 2008 (E-News 156-89, 17 December 2007), is due to get underway in Chennai in the near future, however, just who will umpire the series has not been announced.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, whose Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) series which was set up to counter the ICL is expected to start on 18 April (E-News 182-979, 24 January 2008), first warned off umpires and players from joining the ICL six months ago (E-News 62-340, 29 June 2007).
Five of the six umpires who stood in the ICL's inaugural Twenty20 series last month came from England and the other from India, while both match referees were also Indian nationals (E-News 156-891, 17 December 2007). Reports from the sub continent yesterday say that "a meeting of the umpires for the [ICL's fifty over] championship" was held last Saturday "to finalise the rules and the playing conditions"; although indications are that matches will be played using One Day International rules.
Players in the six ICL teams involved are reported to all be from the sub-continent, those from other countries who played in the ICL's Twenty20 in December having returned home. Teams taking part are said to be the Chandigarh Lions, Chennai Superstars, Hyderabad Heroes, Mumbai Champions, Delhi Jets and Kolkata Tigers.
GAVASKAR TO DEFEND ATTACK
ON MATCH REFEREE
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar will personally defend himself if the International Cricket Council (ICC) Executive Board asks him to explain his attack on South African match referee Mike Procter at their meeting in March, according to media reports published in Indian newspapers over the weekend.
Gavaskar questioned Proctor's decision to impose a three-Test ban on Harbhajan Singh for racist abuse in the controversial Sydney Test, and made what some reports believe were racist comments about some of the matters involved, although the Indian denies such an interpretation of the view he expressed in his newspaper column (E-News 177-955, 15 January 2008).
Weekend reports claim that Gavaskar, who is the Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee, "has been asked to explain [his] outburst [on Proctor] at the Board's next meeting in March”. Gavaskar was quoted as saying that "at no stage, have I called anyone a racist", and that he "wrote about what cricket fans had been wanting to know", and insisted that the column "wasn't necessarily [his] viewpoint on the [Harbhajan] issue".
'BOUNCE-THROW' TACTIC CURTAILED,
CLAIM PRESS REPORTS
Attempts by Indian players to scuff the ball using 'bounce-throw' returns from the field to wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in order to enhance the chances of gaining reverse swing, were curtailed by the umpires during the third day of the Fourth Test against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday, claim a number of press reports.
Stories circulating in a number of Australian newspapers yesterday say that third umpire Steve Davis "instructed" on-field officials 'Billy Bowden and Asad Rauf to stop the tactic being used. If the reports are correct such "instruction" would more than likely have come from 'neutral' South African match referee Mike Proctor.
U19 WORLD CUP PLAYING SQUADS NAMED,
UMPIRE DETAILS AWAITED
The International Cricket Council (ICC) provided lists of playing squads of the sixteen nations who are involved in next month's World Under 19 Championship in Malaysia last Wednesday, but details of the umpires involved have not yet been publicly released. The Championship is scheduled to get underway on 17 February and run for just over two weeks (E-News 166-892, 2 January 2008).
Media reports over the last week have indicated that Papua New Guineau umpire Lakani Oala is to stand in the tournament (E-News 182-978, 24 January 2008), while Australian international umpires Steve Davis and Darrell Hair will also take part, the latter as an umpiring assessor (E-News 172-916, 9 January 2008).
SAYS FORMER UMPIRE
Players who do not walk when they know they are out are guilty of "blatant cheating" and their approach "does not service to the game at all", says former England player and Test umpire David Lloyd. Writing in his column in 'The Manchester Evening News' on the weekend, Lloyd says that "whether they like it or not, [players] are playing for the public, [and] the public want to see high quality cricket played in the right spirit".
He is of the view that "players need to make sure that honesty and integrity is brought back into the game of cricket", and while he likes "the way Australians play their cricket in a tough manner", the "one thing [Lloyd doesn't] like is the habit they have of appealing and celebrating in one movement to sway the umpire". "If I were ever a match referee", says Lloyd, he would "ban them for it immediately".
E-NEWS NUMBER 185TUESDAY, 29 JANUARY 2008
‘ICC UMPIRES’ TO OFFICIATE IN INDIAN
PREMIER LEAGUE, CLAIMS BCCI VP
Umpires from the International Cricket Council (ICC) will officiate in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) inaugural Twenty20 competition when it gets underway in April, according to comments attributed to the Vice President (VP) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday. Such a link between the ICC's umpires and the IPL does not appear to have been made publicly before, and the accuracy of the claim has not yet been verified by E-News.
BCCI VP Lalit Modi was quoted by a number of news reports from the sub-continent as saying that IPL matches will be run using "ICC rules and under the ICC's jurisdiction", that ICC anti-doping and anti-corruption measures will be adopted, and that "ICC umpires will officiate" in IPL games.
While he is said to have used the term "ICC umpires", Modi did not indicate precisely what he meant by that description and the journalists he talked to do not appear to have sought more details. The clear implication of his reported comments is, however, that the world body's 'Elite' and 'International' panel members will be assigned to IPL matches, although given the heavy international match schedule over the next three months such a move would add further to the work load of the umpires involved (E-News 184-995, 28 January 2008).
Modi indicated that the IPL, which is scheduled to commence on 18 April, will involve "matches being held on every Saturday and Sunday and midweek over [a total of] forty-four days", a program that would put the final near the end of May.
The rival competition to the BCCI's IPL, the Indian Cricket League, is using inexperienced umpires in its 'domestic' fifty over competition at the present time, and acquired most of its officials from England for its inaugural Twenty20 series last month (E-News 185-998 below).
MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
UNDER 19 WORLD CUP
The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday named sixteen umpires and three match referees from sixteen nations to manage matches in the World Under 19 Championship in Malaysia next month. The tournament is to be overseen by match referees Chris Broad (England), Mike Proctor (South Africa) and Javagal Srinath (India), all of whom have played at the highest levels of the game.
The umpires come from the ranks of the ICC's second and third tier 'International' and 'Associates and Affiliates' (AA) umpiring panels (E-News 184-995, 28 January 2008). International panel members taking part are Gary Baxter (New Zealand), Steve Davis (Australia), Clyde Duncan (West Indies), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Zameer Haider (Pakistan), Peter Hartley (England), Enamul Hoque-Moni (Bangladesh), GA Prathap Kumar (India), Ian Robinson (Zimbabwe) and Tyron Wijewardena (Sri Lanka); Erasmus, Hartley, Prathap Kumar and Robinson being third umpire members of that panel.
Those from the AA panel are Paul Baldwin (Germany), Roger Dill (Bermuda), Jeff Luck (Namibia), Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea), Sarika Prasad (Singapore) and Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal).
Baldwin, Baxter, Davis, Dill, Pradhan and Wijewardena all stood in the last Under 19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2006 (E-News 166-892, 2 January 2008).
The ICC also announced that Australian international umpire Darrell Hair from its 'Elite' umpiring panel will also be present in Malaysia for the series, primarily as a "continuation of his work with the accreditation and mentoring of development-level umpires" during his so-far fifteen month "rehabilitation" period (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007).
ICC Umpires Manager Doug Cowie from New Zealand is quoted in a statement as saying that "in the same way that the U19 [Championship] is a great opportunity for players to make their mark, it is also a chance for up-and-coming umpires to experience an international cricket event". He continued by saying that the world body has chosen "a good mix of experienced 'International' panel umpires who are pushing their way towards the very top, [as well as] talented officials from outside the [ICC] full member countries".
"All the umpires present will use this tournament to hone their skills and techniques while also having to cope with the rigours of tournament cricket", said Cowie, and "its a chance for us to identify emerging talent and provide them with intensive individual mentoring and coaching over the course of the event and also give them direction for the future".
The umpires will have the chance to stand in warm-up matches in Malaysia prior to the tournament proper, and are expected to begin getting feedback on their performances during that time. The ICC says that individual match appointments for next month's World Championship will be made in due course.
UNKNOWNS STAND IN ICL FIFTY OVER
Two umpires that have not stood in First Class cricket and about little is known were used by the Indian Cricket League (ICL) for the opening match of their thirteen-match 'domestic' fifty over competition which got underway on Sunday (E-News 184-993, 28 January 2008). Dinesh Waghela, who took part in the ICL's inaugural Twenty20 series last month (E-News 156-861, 17 December 2007), and R Mundhava who is not listed in any of the data bases checked by E-News, officiated in the opening game in Chennai between the Chandigarh Lions and the Chennai Superstars.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India warned off umpires and players from joining the ICL six months ago, and as a result its Twenty20 series was umpired by five Englishmen plus Waghela. The score card for last Sunday's match suggests that no referee was appointed to oversee the match. EN185-998.
'NEW' EVIDENCE FOR
Recordings from the stump microphone could be used as evidence in Indian player Harbhajan Singh's appeal against a three Test match ban for alleged racist comments that gets underway in Adelaide today. Harbhajan was found guilty earlier this month of calling Australian player Andrew Symonds a "monkey" in the Second Test between the two sides in Sydney.
Harbhajan has vehemently denied the accusations made against him by several Australian players.
Speaking to the media yesterday, New Zealand judge John Hansen who will conduct the appeal, said that the process will involve "a re-hearing" of the matters examine by Second Test match referee Mike Procter from South Africa three weeks ago (E-News 170-910, 7 January 2008), but added that "there may be some additional evidence such as the transcript available from the stump microphone which was not available to Mr Proctor".
In the aftermath of Procter's decision, India suspended its tour of Australia and later insisted they might abandon it if Harbhajan's appeal failed (E-News 171-915, 8 January 2008). Once he reaches his decision later this week Hansen will provided it in writing to Harbhajan, Procter and ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed before it is released publicly. If the charge is upheld, the off-spinner could miss the first two of India's home Tests against South Africa in March.
WEEKEND WEATHER LOOKS GOOD
FOR TOUR MATCH, TCA GAMES
Initial indications are that weather conditions in Hobart during the coming weekend should be very favourable to the one-day tour match between Tasmania and Sri Lanka at Bellerive, and Tasmanian Cricket Association games in the south of the State.
The current Bureau of Meteorology forecast for Saturday and Sunday is for generally fine conditions and top temperatures of around twenty-two degrees Celsius.
TCUSA members can check the latest weather information before they leave home for games by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).
E-NEWS NUMBER 186WEDNESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2008
HEARING REDUCES TEST BAN TO FINE
FOR 'ABUSIVE LANGUAGE'
The three Test match ban handed to Indian player Harbhajan Singh earlier this month for allegedly making racist comments during the Second Australia-India Test in Sydney, was overturned at an appeal hearing in Adelaide yesterday, and he was instead fined fifty per cent of his match fee for using abusive language.
New Zealand Judge John Hansen, who conducted the hearing, found the racism charge to be unproven, and Harhajan pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, an outcome foreshadowed by Indian cricket authorities last week (E-News 183-986, 25 January 2008).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement issued at the conclusion of yesterday's hearing that "a letter signed by all the players involved from both Australia and India, was tendered into evidence as an agreed statement of facts as to what took place during the Sydney Test match".
Media reports indicate that oral evidence was called for from all the witnesses to the exchange between Harbhajan and Australian player Andrew Symonds, including Australians Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden, and India's Sachin Tendulkar; however, no mention was made of stump microphone recordings (E-News 185-997, 29 January 2008). Each witness was then cross-examined by Brian Ward, counsel representing the Australians, and VR Manohar, who represented Harbhajan via video link from Mumbai.
Cricket Australia's (CA) spokesman Peter Young was quoted in several media reports as saying that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and CA were happy with the decision, while BCCI president Sharad Pawar said the verdict vindicated the BCCI's stand. "The judge has given a proper judgement [for it] was practically impossible for us to accept the racist charges against any Indian player", said Pawar.
ICC match referee Mike Proctor initially found Harbhajan guilty of calling Symmonds a "monkey" at a hearing three weeks ago, but the Indian has always denied that he made such a comment and appealed the decision (E-News 170-910, 7 January 2008).
The BCCI demanded that the ICC rescind the finding against Harbhajan or it would pull its team out of the current tour (E-News 171-915, 8 January 2008), Proctor stood by his finding (E-News 171-917, 9 January 2008), and senior ICC official Sunil Gavaskar publicly questioned Proctor's judgement (E-News 177-955, 15 January 2008) and could face an inquiry by the ICC himself in March (E-News 184-992, 28 January 2008).
The ICC appointed Hansen as the Code of Conduct Commissioner for the case three days after the incident took place (E-News 173-923, 10 January 2008), eventually scheduling Harbhajan's appeal for after the Fourth Test match series between the two national sides ended, and allowed the Indian to play pending its outcome (E-News 177-954, 15 January 2008).
The Indian and Australian teams issued a statement last night that said they had resolved the Sydney issue and now intend to move on, both captains expressing their satisfaction with the outcome of the hearing.
NUP MEMBER, ACT UMPIRE, TO STAND
IN PM XI MATCH
Queensland member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) Tim Laycock, and Yohan Ramasundara from the Australian Capital Territory, will be standing in the one-day, fifty over, match between the Prime Minister's XI and the Sri Lankan tourists at Manuka Oval in Canberra today.
Ramasundara, who was the third umpire when a the PM's side took on an England XI last season, took part in his third men's Under 19 national championships in Hobart last month (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007), the 2006 winter 'Institute Challenge' series in Darwin, and has three Cricket Australia (CA) Cup matches under his belt (E-News 143-781, 28 November 2007).
For Laycock it is his first PM XI game but his thirteenth limited over match overall, all but one of them being in the interstate one-day competition (E-News 155-860, 14 December 2007). Over the last three-and-a-half years he has stood in a total of eight First Class games, the last at Bellerive six weeks ago.
PLAYER CHALLENGE SYSTEM
'ONLY WAY FORWARD', SAYS CROWE
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe, who is now a television producer in his home country, is to provide the International Cricket Council (ICC) with a presentation on the role of technology in umpiring decisions at one or more of its meetings in May, according to an article in yesterday's 'Daily Telegraph' newspaper in the UK.
Crowe, who gave what appears to be a similar presentation to the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee last September (E-News 93-505, 5 September 2007), is said to be "a strong advocate of the player-referral system and is quoted as saying that the "best way to police the sport is for the players to challenge when they feel something is wrong, [and the fact that "they will be policing themselves is the best way to ensure the spirit of the game is followed".
"You can't have a player challenging one minute and then not walking when he knows he's nicked it the next", said Crowe, and he believes that "it is the only way forward". He is of the view that "if you offer technology to the umpires then they will use it for every decision and that would slow the game down tremendously". According to the article by journalist Nick Hoult, Crowe thinks that the world body "will be idiots if they don't [take the player challenge system up]".
The MCC has backed the player challenge concept (E-News 174-927, 11 January 2008), as has ICC president-elect David Morgan (E-News 181-973, 22 January 2008), Australian international umpire Darrell Hair gave it his support in principal (E-News 172-916, 9 January 2008) as has National Umpires Panel member Paul Reiffel (E-News 175-933, 13 January 2008) and retired English official David Shepherd (E-News 171-913, 8 January 2008).
New Zealand is to trial it in the final of their domestic fifty over competition in March (E-News 179-962, 17 January 2008), while Cricket Australia officials have so far given mixed signals as to what its views are (E-News 168-902, 4 January 2008 and 171-915, 8 January 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 187THURSDAY, 31 JANUARY 2008
WORLD'S ‘BEST’ UMPIRE, ODI RECORD HOLDER,
TO STAND IN HOBART
The world's best umpire and the holder of the world One Day International (ODI) match record have been listed to stand in the ODI between India and Sri Lanka scheduled for Bellerive next month.
The two umpires are Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who has been selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the world's best umpire in each of the last four years (E-News 97-524, 11 September 2007), and South African Rudi Koertzen who at the moment has a world record 183 ODIs to his credit.
The match, which is the second last game of the twelve-match pool section of the tri-nation series involving those sides and Australia, will be managed by match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, while Bruce Oxenford from Queensland is the third umpire and TCUSA member Steven John the fourth official.
For Taufel, who was originally listed to stand in the ODI between Australia and New Zealand last month (E-News 148-810, 5 December 2007), but was then assigned to Test matches in South Africa instead (E-News 154-852, 13 December 2007), it will be only his second ODI at Bellerive and first there for seven years, but 120th overall.
Koertzen too will be officiating in his second ODI at Bellerive, his first being four years ago, and next month’s match on 26 February will extend his ODI world record to 189 matches; eleven games short of his reported target of 200 such games (E-News 33-186, 27 April 2007).
JUDGE DEFENDS HARBHAJAN DECISION,
ICC BOTCHES ADVICE
The judge who cleared Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of racial abuse at an appeal hearing on Tuesday says his decision was based on a lack of evidence, and the prospect of India possibly abandoning the tour of Australia if the ruling went against their player did not influence him.
John Hansen, who is a High Court Judge in New Zealand, said in a statement yesterday that he was not persuaded to the "necessary level required" that Harbhajan referred to Australian Andrew Symonds in racial terms (E-News 186-1003, 30 January 2008). Hansen instead found the off-spinner guilty of a lesser charge of using obscene language and fined him half his match fee, a figure that is put by some media outlets as around $A3,000.
Hansen rejected suggestions in the Australian media that the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia reached an agreement prior to the hearing which he simply sealed with his ruling (E-News 183-986, 25 January 2008). He said that while he "was aware of the media furor surrounding this matter, no-one has attempted to apply direct pressure to obtain an outcome".
However, Hansen also said that Harbhajan might have received a tougher penalty had he been fully aware of the Indian's past disciplinary record at the time of the hearing. The Judge said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had indicated that Harbhajan had only one prior disciplinary offence, but after he had handed down his penalty, he discovered in fact that the Indian spinner had four previous offences, the most serious being in 2001 when the player was given a suspended sentence for showing dissent and trying to influence an umpire.
"If I had been aware of [that] transgression I would have required more extensive submissions as to the offence in mitigation which could have led to a different penalty", Hansen wrote in his judgement. The Judge said that as soon as he became aware of the mistake, he began reviewing the ICC's Code of Conduct laws to see whether he could change Harbhajan's penalty, but discovered he was powerless to act.
"Regrettably I have concluded that I cannot do so and the penalty imposed by me must stand", he said. "At the end of the day Mr Singh can feel himself fortunate that he has reaped the benefit of these database and human errors", said Hansen.
LOSS OF 'GRACE AND COURTESY' IN
CRICKET LAMENTED BY GG
Australia's Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery is concerned about the "reduction in the grace and the courtesies" shown on the cricket field over the last few years, and has lamented what he sees as a lack of sportsmanship at the game's highest level.
Speaking on ABC Radio yesterday, the Governor-General said that "while we should be playing the game tough and hard and all of that sort of thing, I think there's also a need to really take care of the fundamental courtesies and good manners", and "we've got to have a little bit of a look at this" issue.
The Governor-General said he was troubled by some batsmen's failure to walk from the crease when they knew they were out but had been given an incorrect let-off from the umpires. "I think there have been times in recent years where it's obvious that things [have deteriorated]", he said.
An on-field humorous remark is fine in his view but sledging in its true sense was "totally un-Australian" and unacceptable and he warned that bad behaviour by Australian sports people could have ramifications overseas. "If we're seen to be a bit churlish or we don't acknowledge the other players in an appropriate manner that can have a negative effect", he said.
Major General Jeffery believes that this month's acrimonious Sydney Test between Australia and India had been a "wake-up call" and the subsequent two matches had been conducted in a far better spirit. "Every [young person] who plays cricket in Australia models himself or herself on our Test players or on our Pura Cup shield players" he said, and "their example is absolutely critical to the well-being of cricket and sportsmanship in this country".
SEVEN NUP MEMBERS TO STAND IN LAST
TWO DOMESTIC FIRST CLASS ROUNDS
Seven of the twelve members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) have been named by Cricket Australia to fill the dozen on-field umpiring positions available in the last two rounds of the domestic First Class competition in late February and early March.
Two matches have been awarded to Victorians Bob Parry and Paul Reiffel, Queenslander Peter Parker, Rod Tucker from NSW, and West Australian Ian Lock, while Bruce Oxenford (Queensland) and John Ward (Victoria) will stand in one match each.
No indication has been given as yet as to who will stand in the final of the competition, but of the seven Parry, Parker and Tucker have filled a total of eight spots in a final in the last five years; Parry officiating in three of the last four finals, Parker in four of the last five, while Tucker stood in last year's final at Bellerive (E-News 14-81, 13 March 2007).
NUP members overlooked for the final two rounds are Simon Fry from South Australia, Queenslanders Tim Laycock and David Orchard, and West Australian Jeff Brookes.
YEAR-LONG BAN FOR DUPTED UMPIRES,
FIVE YEARS FOR TEAM
Two umpires in India have been banned for a year and another for six months for failure to carry out their duties, and a cricket club suspended for five years for cheating, following a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) hearing in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Umpires Goutam Roy and Dhiman Biswas, who did not pick up the fact that the Kachrapara side had altered a player's photograph and used another in his place, each receive one-year bans, while another official Suman Biswas, who officiated an earlier match and did not pick up the swap in that game, was suspended for six months.
The substitution came to light after Soumen Ghosh, who was masquerading as Masrum Sarkar, scored a spectacular 301 in 126 balls in his side's total of 634 (E-News 180-967, 21 January 2008).
The CAB committee suspended Kachrapara and its coach for five years for the deception, while the cricketers involved were each banned for a year. Kachrapara's opponents in the match were awarded full points for the game.
AWARD FOR FORMER
Former West Indian international umpire Douglas Sang Hue was presented with an award for outstanding services to cricket at a ceremony yesterday, says an article in the 'Jamacian Observer' newspaper. Sang Hue who is now seventy-six, stood in thirty-one Test matches in the Carribean between the home side and Australia, England, India, New Zealand and Pakistan between 1962 and 1981, as well as a single One Day International (ODI) in 1988.
Cricinfo says that after a summer spent officiating in England in 1977, he signed for Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket and that led to him being dropped by the West Indies board. He returned for his final three Tests in 1981 then continued in domestic cricket until 1988 in the lead up to the ODI.
Another person presented with an award at the ceremony was Charles Joseph, who has given over fifty years of service as grounds man at Sabina Park, Kingston.
ANTHOLOGY TO FEATURE
The Australian Cricket Society (ACS) is to publish a cricket anthology in March that features stories told by a range of national and local identities at various ACS functions over the years. Edited by former First Class umpire and now Board member of the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Mike Gandy, he and noted Tasmanian cricket historians Ric Finlay and Rick Smith are amongst the authors.
The book, which is titled 'Break of Day - A Cricket Anthology', is being published to celebrate the twenty-five anniversary of the ACS in Tasmania and will be available from the TCA Museum and Library at Bellerive from 1 March. Chapters titled 'Cricket Talk' and 'I Was There" record the experiences of many who have enjoyed the game at home and abroad.
TCA Members can obtain it at a special discount price of $A25, and copies can be ordered now by contacting the TCA Office at Bellerive Oval. EN187-1004.
END OF JANUARY 2008 E-NEWS FILE