March 08 (203-220)




Number 203 – 2 March 2008 [EN1117-1121]

Number 204 – 4 March 2008 [EN1122-1133]

Number 205 – 6 March 2008 [EN1134-1142]

Number 206 – 10 March 2008 [EN1143-1151]

Number 207 – 11 March 2008 [EN1152-1155]

Number 208 – 13 March 2008 [EN1156-1166]

Number 209 – 14 March 2008 [EN1167-1171]

Number 210 – 15 March 2008 [EN1172-1173]

Number 211 – 17 March 2008 [EN1174-1178]

Number 212 – 18 March 2008 [EN1179-1182]

Number 213 – 19 March 2008 [EN1183-1186]

Number 214 – 20 March 2008 [EN1187-1189]

Number 215 – 21 March 2008 [EN1190-1202]

Number 216 – 23 March 2008 [EN1203-1208]

Number 217 – 25 March 2008 [EN1209-1214]

Number 218 – 27 March 2008 [EN1215-1219]

Number 219 – 29 March 2008 [EN1220-1223]

Number 220 – 31 March 2008 [EN1224-1226]



E-NEWS NUMBER 203, 2 March 2008



Phillip Gilchrist was named as the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) 'Umpire of the Year' for the second time on Friday evening.  Gilchrist, who first won the award in 2004-05, has been umpiring in the NTCA's First Grade competition for the past four years, and to date this season has officiated in the Jamie Cox Plate, the Grand Final of the Greater Northern Cup, and yesterday in the First Grade semi-final between Launceston and Mowbray.  Gilchrist's partner in that semi-final was second-year NTCA umpire Mark Burr, while the other First Grade semi-final involving South Launceston and Riverside was umpired by NTCA Umpires Advisor Paul Clark and Caroline McGregor (E-News 194-1058, 11 February 2008).  Semi-final umpires in Second Grade yesterday were Mike Hill, Peter Griffin, David Carruthers and Andrew Clarke.  Clarke, who has been with the NTCA for seven seasons, was named as 'Umpire of the Year' in both NTCA's Second and Third Grade competitions on Friday night.  Umpires for the NTCA's Grand Finals are to be selected on Tuesday.  EN203-1121.



A Player Referral System (PRS) is to operate in the final of New Zealand's one-day domestic final in Auckland later today.  The Chief Executive Officer of NZ Cricket (NZC), Justin Vaughan, was quoted by Television New Zealand (TVNZ) on Friday as saying that his organisation "is keen to trial the use of technology in assisting decisions and is supportive of this trial of the PRS"; and that NZC is "extremely grateful to Sky TV for their assistance, [for] without them we would be unable to continue with this project".   The TVNZ story infers that "the project" was in place at last month's [NZ domestic] Twenty20 final, but reports from that match make no specific reference to a PRS being used in that game, so just what is meant by that statement is not clear.  Vaughan was quoted as saying that today's "trial is designed to assist umpires" and that "although player referrals may occur, the authority of the umpires [will be] fully maintained", although just how that is to be achieved has not been spelt out in the media at least.  Reports in January quoted NZ Umpires Manager Brian Aldridge 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" and if it helps the game he would recommend its further use (E-News 179-962, 17 January 2008).  NZC says it is to provide a report on the outcomes of the trial to the International Cricket Council, whose Board is to consider use of a PRS in the Test series between England and South Africa this northern summer (E-News 199-1094, 21 February 2008).  EN203-1120. 



Gary Baxter from New Zealand and Peter Hartley from England are to stand in the Under 19 World Cup final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, later today between India and South Africa.  Sri Lankan Tyron Wijiwardena will be the third umpire and Zameer Haider of Pakistan the fourth, while Chris Broad of England is the match referee.  All four umpires are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The ICC says that Australian Steve Davis was not considered for the finals stage of the series because of his appointment to the Tests between New Zealand and England, the first of which gets underway on Wednesday (E-News 201-1105, 26 February 2008).  Up-and-coming South African umpire Marais Erasmus was not considered for the final because of the ICC's neutral umpire rule.  Yesterday's second-tier Plate final between the West Indies and Nepal was umpired by Paul Baldwin (Germany) and G A Pratapkumur (India), while Enamul Haque (Bangladesh) was the third official and Broad the match referee.  Pratapkumur and Haque are members of the IUP while Baldwin is from the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpiring Panel.  EN203-1119.   



Ireland Under 19 batsman Chris Dougherty has been found guilty of contravening the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Code of Conduct (COC) after he knocked the stumps with his bat shortly after being bowled in his side's match against Bermuda in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.  The Irishman, who was playing in the semi-final of the second-tier Plate section of the World Cup, was reported by on-field officials Sarika Prasad (Singapore) and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea), as well as third umpire Roger Dill of Bermuda, and charged under a section of the COC that deals with “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings”. Dougherty pleaded guilty to the charge and he was given an official reprimand by match referee Mike Procter from South Africa.  Procter was quoted in an ICC statement as saying that while he understands the batsman's disappointment, Dougherty "must realise that it is necessary to control that disappointment [and] knocking over the stumps with his bat in the way that he did is unacceptable behaviour and is not tolerated at any level of international cricket".  As it was Dougherty's first ICC COC offence Proctor was "content to give him an official reprimand".  EN203-1118.



The largest amateur cricket league in England has had a "dismal response" to the free meetings offered to clubs to help improve relations between players and umpires, says an article in the 'Southern Daily Echo' in the UK.  The report says that the Hampshire Cricket League (HCL), which has 193 clubs and 337 teams, has organised and paid for ten meetings to be held across the county so that players can improve knowledge of the Laws of the game. Despite over a month's notice, however, the first meeting which is scheduled for the coming week, could be cancelled due to lack of interest as only three of the twenty places on offer have been filled to date.  Overall only around fifty of the 200 places available across the ten meetings have so far been taken up.  HCL chairman Jonathan Blake was quoted as saying that "the meetings were designed for a lot of people", although "primarily, we thought that captains and vice captains would benefit from them [as] they are the moral guardians as such and the link between teams and umpires".  "We also thought the meetings would be good for ex-players who might umpire during the season, and for people who are thinking about taking up umpiring", said Blake.  The HCL Chair continued by saying that "long term, the [HCL] is concerned about the attitude of players to officials and opposition" as "unnecessary abuse" in recent years has led to the loss of a number of umpires.  "We have a duty to ensure that everyone who plays cricket enjoys it, including the umpires", said Blake, for "we don't want to get to the situation where we have major problems".  EN203-1117.


E-NEWS NUMBER 204, 4 March 2008



Current weather forecasts for Hobart for the semi-finals of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's Grade competitions this weekend look good with fine conditions and temperatures around twenty degrees Celsius anticipated on both days.  Computer-generated weather charts are suggesting that the northern part of a Cold front will 'flick' southern coastal regions of the state on Friday evening, therefore Saturday might start off cloudy, but conditions should improve as the weekend progresses.  TCUSA members can check the weather before they leave home for games on Saturday and Sunday by going to the weather section of the Association's web site (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007).  EN204-1133. 



The so-called 'rebel' Indian Cricket League's has announced that its second Twenty20 tournament is due to get underway next Sunday, and reports from the UK say that English County umpires Trevor Jesty and Jeff Evans will be flying to the sub-continent on Thursday to take part in the series.  Jesty, Evans and several other little-known English umpires stood in the ICL's inaugural series last December (E-News 140-759, 22 November 2007).  A total of eight teams, two more than took part the December series, will play each other in a league format in the new series, before the top four play in two semi finals, the winners of those games then taking part in a best of three finals series.  Umpires contracted to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are free agents over the six months from October to March (E-News 202-1114, 28 February 2008), and with the new ICL series set to finish on 7 April Evans and Jesty will probably have to cut short their stay and return to the UK to avoid breaching their ECB contracts, says a report in London's 'Daily Telegraph'.  The ECB warned off players and officials from the ICL last week and the 'Daily Telegraph' says that the "ECB may seek ways of amending umpires' contracts so that they cannot officiate in unauthorised tournaments".  The ICL's rival, the Indian Premier League, which says it is to use umpires from the International Cricket Council's 'Elite' panel and Indian First Class officials for its matches (E-News 194-1059, 11 February 2008), is not due to get underway until 18 April.  EN204-1132.   



International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Jeff Crowe has cleared India spinner Harbhajan Singh of claims that he made monkey gestures towards the crowd during the first final of the tri-series against Australia in Sydney on Sunday.  Crowe said in a statement released by the ICC overnight that after reading newspaper reports and viewing related photographs that have been published in the media, he carried out an investigation of "the alleged incident with Cricket Australia’s ground security officials", and concluded "that there is no need to take any action" against the Indian player.  Harbhajan is quoted in this morning's 'Herald Sun' newspaper in Melbourne as saying that Australian crowd behaviour was"despicable" and that he had nothing to apologise for over his actions in last Sunday's match.  EN204-1131. 



The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) refused to support India's bid to get a total ban imposed on sledging when the issue was discussed at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur last month, according to a news report from the sub-continent yesterday.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India had proposed a ban on sledging after a spate of unsavoury incidents between the Indian and Australian players in their ongoing series (E-News 197-1076, 15 February 2008).  A PCB official was quoted as saying that India had introduced the proposal for ban on sledging but Pakistan's stand was that the current ICC Code of Conduct had enough clauses to deal with the issue.  "We just feel sledging is a relative thing and although it should never allowed to go out of hand, umpires should use the context of a match or series and its location to determine what constitutes sledging", said the unnamed official.  ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed is writing to match officials, umpires and the heads of cricket boards to inform them of the CEC's decision (E-News 199-1089, 21 February 2008).  EN204-1130.



West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels faces disciplinary action after being charged by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for misconduct relating to last year's bookie scandal, according to a report in the 'Jamacian Gleaner' newspaper over the weekend.  The report says that the WICB's corporate secretary Tony Deyal confirmed Samuels "has been charged and the matter referred to a disciplinary committee".  The development follows an inquiry carried out by Jamaican lawyer Derek Jones after the WICB was asked by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to investigate the matter.  Last year, officials from the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit travelled to India to investigate Samuels' links to an Indian bookmaker, following a report from police in the city of Nagpur.  Indian police alleged that Samuels passed on team information to a bookmaker on the eve of a one-day match between West Indies and India in January last year.  That four-match series was umpired by New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden, and Indian members of the ICC's International Umpires Panel Suresh Shastri and Amiesh Shaheba, while Alan Hurst from Australia was the match referee for each of the games.  At the time, Samuels denied any wrongdoing and the WICB threw their support behind the player.  Last week the ICC banned Samuels from bowling in international matches after his action was deemed to be illegal (E-News 201-1110, 26 February 2008).  EN204-1129.



A bat manufactured by the Gray Nicholls company that has a carbon fibre handle does not comply with the Laws of Cricket, according to a recent ruling by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).  Marketed under the name 'Fusion', but sometimes used in professional cricket with different stickers, the bats have been banned from Test, One Day International or international Twenty20 matches with immediate effect, however, they will be allowed to be used in County cricket in England until the end of September.  After that date the bats will also not be able to be used in First Class, List 'A', Twenty20 professional matches worldwide.  Gray Nicholls will stop selling the bats to retailers in the UK from May onwards, but shops may continue to sell them until the end of April next year, after which they will not be able to be sold anywhere in the world.  EN204-1128.



Cricket Australia's (CA) new Umpire Education and Training Officer (UETO) position, which the national body said a year ago would be filled on 1 January this year, remains vacant, and no details are available publicly about the status of the appointment.  The position was one of four key initiatives that came out of CA's six-month review of national umpiring arrangements, the report on which was released in February 2007 (E-News 9-50, 25 February 2007).  CA told E-News in late August that recruitment action for the new position was imminent (E-News 91-493, 1 September 2007).  Andrew Larratt, CA's overall Education and Training Manager, produced the first edition of a newsletter for holders of the National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 certificate last September, but no further issues of the newsletter have been published to date, and the new UETO is expected to take over responsibility for its production.    E-News sought an up-date from CA on the status of the new position last week, however, as yet no details are available.  EN204-1127.



Press reports published over the last few days on Sunday's one-day domestic fifty-over final in New Zealand made no comments of any issues related to the use of a Players Referral System (PRS) during the match (E-News 203-1120, 2 March 2008).  New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden, and his colleague on that nation's 'Elite' umpiring panel Evan Watkin, were the on-field officials for the match, while David Quested, another panel member, was the third umpire (E-News 122-659, 23 October 2007).  New Zealand Cricket it is to provide a report on the outcomes of the trial to the International Cricket Council, whose Board will in two weeks time consider use of a PRS in the Test series between England and South Africa this northern summer (E-News 199-1094, 21 February 2008).  EN204-1126.  



The Sri Lanka team was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its One Day International against Australia in Melbourne last Friday.  Mahela Jayawardena’s side, which was fined for a similar offence the week before (E-News 199-1088, 21 February 2008), was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration, and as a result the skipper was fined ten per cent of his match fee and his team members five per cent.  EN204-1125. 



The recently published 'Break of Day' cricket anthology features a range of short stories written by and about umpires amongst the 100 articles featured in the 166 page book (E-News 187-1004, 31 January 2008).  Former TCUSA umpires Mike Gandy and Tim Swifte have provided details of the history of organised umpiring in Tasmania, while Australian international umpires Daryl Harper and Steve Davis talk about how they got their start in umpiring, their careers and experiences on the field and elsewhere.  There is also a description of how, in theory at least, cricket is played in Antarctica, by another TCUSA member.  A limited number of copies of the book, which is edited by Gandy and published by the Tasmanian chapter of the Australian Cricket Society, is available to umpires for $A25.  Copies can purchased from Myree Williams at the Tasmanian Cricket Association's Library at Bellerive.  EN204-1124.   



TCUSA umpiring member Wade Stewart is seeking sponsors for his participation in the 'World's Greatest Shave' charity event on 17 March.  Stewart told E-News that he and two other members of the Risdon Vale Volunteer Fire Brigade have decided to go "the whole hog" and plan to shave off their hair in order to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.  Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in Australia, and the number of people affected has doubled in the last twenty years.  The money raised by Wade and others will directly support patients and their families when they need it most.  Should you wish to see Wade Stewart bald at the TCUSA's Annual Dinner on 19 March and contribute to a very worthy cause, please contact him via e-mail about sponsorship at:  EN204-1123.



The final National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 (NUAS-2) meeting for the 2007-08 season, which will be held at Bellerive tomorrow night commencing at 6.30 p.m., will be an open session to take stock of what's been covered this season, to check records and training books, and to provide feedback to the course instructors.  Queries about the meeting and 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).  EN204-1122.   


E-NEWS NUMBER 205, 6 March 2008



The sixteen umpires who are to officiate in the eight two-day format semi-finals of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Grade competition this weekend were named during the fourteenth and final TCUSA Training-Appointments meeting of the 2007-08 season last night.  State Umpiring Squad (SUS) members Steven John, Nick McGann, Brian Muir and Wade Stewart will be on the field for the two First Grade games, John and Stewart at Bellerive when South Hobart Sandy Bay (SHSB) takes on Clarence, and McGann and Muir for the match at Kingston between Kingborough and University.  Second Grade games will be managed by SUS members Jamie Mitchell and Steve Maxwell, plus Ian Quaggin and Michael Graham-Smith, the first pair travelling to University where that side plays Kingborough, and the others a short distance away to Queenborough when SHSB takes on Clarence.  In Third Grade Mark Wickham and SUS member Greg Luck will look after Kingborough's game against Clarence at Lindisfarne, while Steve Gibson and Alistair Scott will be at the TCA Ground when SHSB, who like Clarence have teams playing in all four Grades, play University.  In the Under 17 semi-finals Kit Williams and Damien Daniels and David Gainsford and Ray Howe will officiate at KGV and New Town respectively when Glenorchy takes on SHSB and Kingborough plays Clarence.  Umpires for Grand Final matches on 15-16 March will be named at the TCA's annual Emerson Rodwell Medal Dinner at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday evening.  EN205-1142.



Five TCUSA umpires were named for the one-day format semi-finals of the Southern Tasmania Cricket League's Division 1 and 2 competitions on Saturday and Sunday.  David Matthews and Bruce Parker will be on the field for two of the games, and Ross Carlson, John Muir and Mark Gillard for one match each.  Saturday will see the Division 1 semis being played and Muir and Mathews will be at Clare Street for the game between Derwent and Saint Virgils and Carlson and Parker at Eady Street when Wellington takes on DOSA.  On Sunday Parker and Matthews will be at Clare Street for the Division 2 match between Saint Virgils and Derwent, the corresponding fixture featuring City and Wellington being managed by Gillard and Muir.  STCL Grand Finals are scheduled to be played on 15 March.  EN205-1141.



Umpiring members of the TCUSA are to travel to country areas this weekend for finals matches in the Oatlands and Tasman Cricket Associations.  Mark Gillard and Martin Betts will be at Oatlands on Saturday for the Grand Final of that area's competition this season between Orford and Levendale, while Don Heapy and Michael Lee will be at Dodges Ferry for the Tasman Preliminary Final between the home side and Dunalley.  EN205-1140.



A player who killed an opponent during a match played in Kuwait last November following an argument over an umpiring decision, has reportedly been pardoned by the family of the victim after well-wishers of the accused paid blood money, says a report published in the 'Arab' Times on Tuesday.  Both men involved were Indian nationals who were working in Kuwait.  The victim died instantly after a knife pierced his neck and the accused, who surrendered at the nearest police station and admitted to his crime, was subsequently sentenced to death. The newspaper reported that a letter of pardon was secured by the kinsmen of the accused this week after a month of "hectic negotiations", and will be handed over to authorities in Kuwait in the next few days.  The 'Arab Times' says that under Kuwaiti law murder attracts capital punishment but paying blood money to the family of deceased can help in commuting such a sentence to life.  Cricket is a popular sport among Pakistanis, Indians and Sri Lankans who work in Kuwait and the regular cricket tournaments that are played attract sizeable crowds.  EN205-1139.



The Maitland and District Cricket Association (MDCA) in NSW has banned a player from all of its competitions for the next three seasons after he was found guilty of verbally abusing and threatening an umpire.  A report in 'The Maitland Mercury' this week said that MDCA A-Grade player Tom Cremona was 'no-balled' by an umpire for a "suspect bowling action" and that "Cremona took offence at the call and became aggressive".  MDCA senior vice president Brian Hammonds was quoted as saying that the player "showed dissent almost to the point of physical contact and threatening the umpire physically", and that when Cremona continued being aggressive, his team mates removed him from the ground and drove him home.  Hammonds praised Cremona’s team for acting appropriately in immediately removing him from the game, saying that "they performed exceptionally [and the] club acted exactly how any club should".  Cremona pleaded guilty at the tribunal hearing last week.  A number of disciplinary cases have been brought before the MDCA's tribunal this season and Hammond was quoted last month as saying that players “need to learn to pull their heads in" (E-News 191-1036, 6 February 2008).  EN205-1138. 



Cricket South Africa (CSA) was keen to try a Player Referral System (PRS) in a domestic competition but was prevented because of the "considerable costs" of the cameras involved, says CSA Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola.  Majola was quoted by South African media as saying that he has “always been pro-technology" and is in favour of taking another step forward in the use of television replays, and hopes that the PRS will be used in this year's Test series between his national side and England.  The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Board is to make a decision on that trial later this month and details of how many appeals will be allowed and the procedures that will apply will have to be resolved by the ICC's Cricket Committee.  New Zealand trialed a PRS in its one-day domestic final last Sunday, but as yet there has been no publicity on what the players and officials involved thought of the system (E-News 204-1126, 4 March 2008).  EN205-1137.



"Saturated" and "unrestricted" promotion of junk food and alcohol promotion in popular sports such as cricket is helping to fuel the obesity epidemic and umpires uniforms in some televised games are part of that exposure, says research conducted by Professor Mike Daube, the Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Curtin University in Western Australia.  Analysis by Daube and his associates of television footage of beach cricket matches played in Queensland in January showed that the logo of a well-known beverage was featured on umpires' shirts, bats, flags, crowd hats, scoreboards and the cheer squad, and that it was clearly visible on screen for seventy-five per cent of the playing time.  The final of the domestic one-day Twenty20 series between Victoria and WA in January saw a fast food sponsor's logo visible on the broadcast picture for almost two-thirds of the playing time, and players had the logo on their backs, chests, arms, legs and caps.  WA’s leading public health experts have called for restrictions on junk food and alcohol promotion and improved labelling amid new evidence on the health consequences of obesity, as "voluntary codes that are supposed to regulate this form of promotion are failing dismally", said Daube.  Dr Rosanna Capolingua, Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, said the impact obesity has on health is frighteningly and we are now looking at generations of Australians who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents; obesity at the age of twenty means a life expectancy shortened by four years; and across all children, two years less.  EN205-1136. 



High Court Judges from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana are likely to umpire a match to be played in Mohali next week between the region's politicians.  Cabinet minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia was quoted in local press reports as saying that the match will show "the positive side of politics and politicians", adding, apparently with a smile on his face, "that there will be no match fixing and no sledging, as that was for the floor of the [Parliament] only".  EN205-1135.



Weather forecasts for the Hobart area for the coming weekend continue to look very positive for the Tasmanian Cricket Association's semi-final and other matches scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.  Both days are expected to see fine weather with the temperature on Saturday being around twenty-three degrees Celsius, and on Sunday a warm twenty-eight degrees.  TCUSA members involved in matches this weekend can check the weather 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).  EN205-1134. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 206, 10 March 2008



The three umpires from the National Umpires Panel (NUP) who will officiate in the final of this season's First Class competition at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) between NSW and Victoria starting on Saturday are expected to be named by mid-week.  Analysis suggests that those most likely to be in serious contention for the three slots are NUP members Peter Parker and Bruce Oxenford from Queensland, Ian Lock from Western Australia and Rod Tucker from NSW.  Parker, who has umpired both Test and One Day International matches over the last three months, and NUP member Bob Parry from Victoria, are along with Steve Davis from South Australia, the most experienced panel members.  Parker has umpired at First Class level for the last twenty-two seasons, and has stood in four of the last five domestic First Class finals but was not considered for last year's match at Bellerive as he was standing in the World Cup in the West Indies (E-News 11-56, 3 March 2007).  Parry, who has three of the last four finals to his credit, is in his tenth season in First Class cricket and is well qualified, but some reports suggest that he may make way this year for younger members of the NUP; while Davis is unavailable as he will be standing in a Test in New Zealand next week (E-News 201-1105, 26 February 2008).  Of the younger brigade, Lock appears to have been well regarded by the selectors as he was appointed to seven First Class domestic games this season, more than any other member of the NUP, while Tucker's standing also appears high given that he, like Parker, was appointed to the domestic one-day final late last month (E-News 199-1095, 21 February 2008); as well as last year's First Class final with Parry (E-News 14-81, 13 March 2007).  Oxenford, who stood in his first One Day International (ODI) in February (E-News 195-1064, 12 February 2008), has chalked up two Tests and ten ODIs as the third umpire in what for him has been a hectic last ten weeks, and as such he appears well placed to be chosen to work in the television suite at the SCG; although Victoria's Paul Reiffel undertook that task in last month's one-day domestic final at Bellerive.  Should Oxenford get the nod this week's final would be his second such appointment in two years, for he worked with Parry and Tucker in that capacity in Hobart last year.  EN206-1151.



TCUSA Honorary Secretary Penny Paterson is unfortunately still in hospital but would very much like to hear from her colleagues in the Association.  Penny, who has been ill for several months now (E-News 189-1025, 4 February 2008), would, it is believed, benefit greatly from any member who would like to contact her via e-mail to tell he what is happening in our part of the world and to wish her well.  Penny can be contacted at:  EN206-1150.



Initial weather charts produced by the Bureau of Meteorology's super computer for next weekend are suggesting that Grand Final weekend in Hobart will be fine and warm and ideal for cricket.  Weather for preparation of pitches during the next four days looks very good and temperatures in the early twenties Celsius can be expected as a large High pressure system first drifts across Tasmania and then builds in the Tasman Sea bringing northerly winds to the state.  Friday, the day the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) three-day First Grade final is scheduled to get underway at Bellerive, is currently forecast as being 'fine' with a maximum temperature of twenty-nine degrees Celsius.  A cold front is expected to flick the southern coast of the state overnight on Friday-Saturday, but its influence should be short-lived as the High builds once again to the east, bringing fine weather and temperatures in the mid twenties on both Saturday and Sunday, when all four Grade finals, and those in the Southern Tasmania Cricket League and Tasman Association, will be underway.  Umpires for the Grand Finals are to be announced at the TCA's Emerson Rodwell Medal Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  EN206-1149.



Sri Lankan First Class umpire Ranmor Martinesz has joined the so-called 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL), a move that has resulted in his being banned from officiating at any matches sanctioned by his nation's cricket Board.  Martinez was the third umpire in last night's opening game of the ICL's latest series, with England County umpire Trevor Jesty (E-News 204-1132, 4 March 2008) and his retired colleague Roy Palmer (E-News 108-595, 3 October 2007), who is another new recruit to the ICL, being the on-field officials, and Indian Ajit Wadekar the match referee (E-News 147-803, 4 December 2007).  Media reports from Sri Lanka say that Martinesz, had requested leave from standing in matches in his country played under the auspices of Sri Lankan Cricket, however, the Board refused to grant him a leave of absence.  The 'Cricinfo' web site says that "Martinesz has proved himself an umpire worthy of being recognised at international level and being included in the International Cricket Council's International Umpires Panel in the near future".  Over the last three years he has officiated as third umpire in Test matches and on the field in One Day Internationals, his most important assignment to date being the Euro Asia Cup one-day final between India and Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in front of 50,000 people.  A fast bowling all-rounder, Martinesz who is 40, took up umpiring in 1996 when a back injury forced his retirement as a player.  Martinesz was quoted by the media as saying just before his departure for Indian that the offer from the ICL was "excellent" "and too good to refuse".  Former Sri Lankan One Day International player Saman Jayantha has also been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket after he too joined the ICL.  EN206-1148.  



David Brandon, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) in the UK, has been appointed to officiate in fourteen matches in the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) current thirty-four game Twenty20 tournament which got underway yesterday, according to his blog on the ICUS web site.  Brandon, who is 53, is the third UK umpire who has not stood in First Class cricket known to have been appointed to ICL ranks to date (E-News 147-803, 4 December 2007), data available on him indicating that over the last six years he has stood in seven County Second XI matches, as well as ten games in County Under 17, Under 19, Women's, and university competitions in the UK.  The first entry in the new ICL umpire's blog talks of his surprise in being contacted by the ICL by phone in mid-February and asked to take part in the so-called "rebel' competition, and the rush to get ready to travel to India where he arrived last week.  According to him his contract, the value of which is not revealed, "covers some warm up matches as well as media work and public relations appearances, [but] exactly what that means I just don't know but it sounds fun doesn't it?"  Brandon says that he is "somewhat shocked but delighted at all that [and that he is] so looking forward to it now I know it's really happening".  While it does not mention the ICL by name, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last Friday warned County players, and presumably umpires, tempted to join "unauthorised events" such as the ICL, that they face missing a whole County season should they take part in the 'rebel' competition in the twelve months leading up to 1 April each year; although those "who have already contracted with an unauthorised event" this year will be allowed to take part in it, but not in 2009 or beyond. The ECB says that it "has taken legal advice" on the matter and that it is "satisfied that its response is lawful, robust and proportionate in the face of the challenges presented by unauthorised events" (E-News 202-1114, 28 February 2008).  EN206-1147.



Fairfax newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne over the weekend ran articles that described a "heated exchange" that is said to have occurred between NSW's Simon Katich and Victoria's Shane Harwood in the player's race at the MCG in December, however, no complaint was lodged by the umpires or either side, so the incident was not subjected to a Cricket Australia investigation.  The published story claims that "the incident threatened to turn violent when Harwood took exception to being given out after Katich caught him off Nathan Bracken's bowling, [but] Harwood doubted [that] the ball had carried and argued strongly with Katich at the end of the day's play".  A source "who refused to be named" was quoted as saying that "it was full-on", and that "there was lots of shouting and swearing in the players' race",  "the language would've made a nun blush", and "there was a view [amongst those present] that had it gone on for any longer it could quite easily have ended up in a fight".  Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert "confirmed there was an incident" says the report, which went on to claim that "players from both teams defused the situation by dragging the pair away from each other".  "Katich is one of cricket's gentlemen" says the story, "and while he didn't start the stand-off, he certainly took exception to basically being called a 'f---ing cheat' and to having his integrity questioned by Harwood".  Bob Parry, a very experienced member of the National Umpires Panel, and his Victorian colleague Tony Ward were the umpires in last December's match, the game being Parry's fifty-eighth First Class match, and Ward's third.  Both Katich and Harwood are expected to be in the line-ups for the final of the domestic First Class season between NSW and Victoria that is scheduled to start on Saturday (E-News 206-1151 above).  EN206-1146. 



The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has banned left-arm fast bowler Ruchira Perera from bowling in First Class cricket on the island "until further notice" because of a suspect action.  Perera, who to date has played eight Tests and nineteen One Day Internationals (ODI) for his country, is believed to have been the subject of "several umpires' reports" during the current First Class season, according to a "Board source" quoted by Sri Lankan media over the weekend.  Batsmen have been constantly hit by some of Perera's deliveries which have been termed dangerous, claim reports, and his action was video-taped during matches and examined by a technical committee comprised Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka's Director of Cricket Operations, and former umpires Kandiah Francis, Peter Manuel, Bulathsinghalage Cooray and Godfrey Pushparaja.  The tapes and the technical committee's report were sent to Marc Portus, a bio-mechanist at the Australian Institute of Sport, who concluded that Perera's bowling arm exceeded the fifteen degree limit allowed by the International Cricket Council, and he recommended remedial action to rectify it.  Perera's action first came under scrutiny during Sri Lanka's tour to England in 2002, and he modified his wrist position just before the point of delivery after receiving advice from Darryl Foster, a bowling coach and biomechanics expert at the University of Western Australia.  Sri Lanka was satisfied with the adjustment and Perera returned to international cricket in late 2002, against South Africa, but reports at the time said that he "was only a shadow of the bowler he had been earlier" and he hasn't played a Test since, although he has featured in seventeen ODIs over the last two years; eight of them being played in Australia.  EN206-1145.



County players in England are to have precautionary checks for skin cancer this year, according to news reports from the UK over the weekend, however, tests for umpires were not mentioned.  According to an official of The Professional Cricket Players Association, “every First Class player will get a twenty-minute check from a visiting nurse".  One report says that there has been cause for concern about skin cancer in the UK in the past, although no England-based players are thought to have contracted skin cancer through exposure to the sun during matches.  Umpires generally spend more time on the field than the players during a season.  EN206-1144.



Gulam Bodi, a member of the South African domestic franchise team 'The Titans', was last week suspended for one match after pleading guilty to contravening a clause in Cricket South Africa's Code of Conduct that states "participants shall not use crude or abusive language nor make offensive gestures to any other participant, official or spectator".  No details of the incident, which occurred during a match played in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, have been reported in South African media to date.  A formal complaint against Bodi was made by umpires Brian Jerling, Earl Hendrikse and Shaun George, as well as match referee Tiffie Barnes.  EN206-1143. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 207, 11 March 2008



National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Bob Parry (Victoria), Rod Tucker (NSW) and Bruce Oxenford (Queensland) were last night appointed to officiate in the five-day final of this season's First Class competition which gets underway at the SCG on Saturday, the same trio who took part in last year's final at Bellerive (E-News 14-81, 13 March 2007).  Parry and Tucker will be the on-field umpires and Oxenford the third official, former Test umpire and national selector Dick French the match referee, and Narelle Johnston and Robyn Sanday from NSW the scorers. Parry, who will be standing in his sixty-second First Class match, has now been appointed to four of the last five finals, the same overall number as Queensland NUP member and current international umpire Peter Parker.  That pair are now third on the umpire's list for the final behind two other internationals, Steve Davis (South Australia) who has officiated in five, and Darrell Hair (NSW) who is out in front on eight.  Tucker's appointment continues an impressive rise in umpiring ranks for the former Tasmanian and NSW representative who played in 103 First Class matches over a twelve-year period up until 1999.  Sydney-based Tucker's selection for this week's final will be his second in what will be only his twenty-first First Class match as an umpire and follows his appointment to the final of this season's one-day domestic competition with Parker at Bellerive last month (E-News 199-1095, 21 February 2008).  That record has led the editor of the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association web site to ask in a story posted last night as to when Tucker will "be elevated to the [International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP)] by Cricket Australia".  Oxenford, who like Parker is on the IUP, will be in the television suite for his fourth First Class match, two of his three to date being in Test matches in this season's Australia-India Test series, and the other in last year's final.  In addition he has worked in that position in a Twenty20 international and ten One Day Internationals over the last ten weeks, and stood in thirty-eight First Class games over the last six-and-a-half years.  In making their choice for this week's final, selectors overlooked twenty-two season veteran and IUP member Parker who has officiated in both Test and One Day Internationals over the last three months, and Ian Lock from Western Australia who this year was at the top of domestic First Class appointments list for the fourth time in seven seasons (E-News 206-1151, 10 March 2008).  EN207-1155.  



Two-time Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) 'Umpire of the Year' Chris Fox, and this year's winner Phillip Gilchrist (E-News 203-1121, 2 March 2008), are officiating in the NTCA's First Grade Grade Final which is scheduled to conclude this weekend.  NTCA umpire Caroline McGregor continues to progress through the ranks, for after umpiring the Third Grade final last year and interstate on several occasions this season (E-News 193-1057, 8 February 2008), she is standing in the Second Grade final with Andrew Clarke who is taking part in his first Grand Final after seven season's on the field.  Clarke has won the past two NTCA Second Grade 'Umpire of the Year' awards.  Mike Hill and Peter Czerkiewicz, who have stood in six and eight First Grade games this season respectively, will officiate in the final of the Third Grade competition.  EN207-1154.



The final round of the current West Indies 'domestic' First Class season is in danger of being postponed because West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) members are threatening to go on strike, according to a report broadcast by Radio Jamaica on Sunday.  The report says that the WICUA are protesting the removal of two of their members, Hayden Bruce and Kasa Dowlat of Trinidad and Tobago, from the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) regional umpires panel.  Radio Jamaica says that the move "irked the WICUA", and quoted its Vice President Duncan Fletcher as saying that the Association is withdrawing their members from regional tournaments and that there will be no more discussion with the WICB until both Bruce and Dowlat are reinstated.  EN207-1153.



Pakistan fast bowler Sohail Khan has received a warning for breaching his country's players’ code of conduct during a domestic match in Islamabad on Saturday after making "inappropriate gestures" when he dismissed a batsman, according to a report published in the 'Daily Times' newspaper yesterday.  Pakistan Cricket Board "sources" were quoted as saying that after consulting his previous record the match referee Ishtiaq Ahmad decided to issue a warning, however, should he transgress again Khan could face a fine equivalent to $A175 and be suspension for three matches.  The player, who made his One Day International debut against Zimbabwe earlier this year, is the most successful bowler in Pakistan domestic cricket this season this year, having taken eight-five wickets to date.  The 'Daily Time' report indicates that Pakistan international Shahid Afridi "was not happy with the umpires" during the same match and "showed his distrust after his appeals were constantly turned down", [but] luckily umpire Ahmad Shahab did not loge a complaint against him".  EN207-1152. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 208, 13 March 2008



Two recent recruits to umpiring who stood in their first Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) First Grade matches just over twelve months ago, were named as members of the TCA's 'Team of the Year' at the annual end-of-season Emerson Rodwell Medal Dinner at Bellerive last night.  Nick McGann and Jamie Mitchell, both of whom have long playing careers behind them, were chosen by a poll of the eight TCA clubs for the officials they perceive as having best handled the management of all facets of the umpire's role in First Grade games this season.  McGann is well-known in TCA circles for he played First Grade for the Glenorchy club for many years before taking up umpiring in 2005.  Mitchell started umpiring in the TCA in 2006 after playing over 130 games of District Cricket in Melbourne, and in his youth for Australia at the Under 19 level, touring India and Sri Lanka in 1985 (E-News 7-44, 22 February 2007).  Both were named as members of the inaugural Tasmanian State Umpires Squad prior to the start of the season (E-News 89-479, 28 August 2007), and in addition to Grade and other duties over the last five months, Mitchell was selected to stand in the male national Under 17 Championship in Melbourne in December (E-News 141-767, 23 November 2007), while McGann made his debut in the Cricket Australia Cup in January (E-News 176-946, 14 January 2008).  McGann's selection came on the same night that he was appointed to stand in the TCA's Second Grade Grand Final this weekend (E-News 208-1164 below), Mitchell being selected for the premiership decider in Third Grade (E-News 208-1163 below).  EN208-1166.



TCUSA umpiring members Steven John and Brian Muir have been appointed to stand in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) three-day First Grade Grand Final between Kingborough and Clarence that starts at Bellerive on Friday.  The announcement of the pair's selection, which was made in front of several hundred people at last night's TCA Medal Dinner, brings together the only Tasmanian umpires to have been on the field in interstate List A matches this season.  John, who like Muir is a member of the inaugural State Umpires Squad and was involved in Grade-level duties throughout the season, stood in his second consecutive men's national Under 19 tournament in December (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007), not long after making his debut in top-level interstate one-day cricket, going on to stand in three such matches and two in the interstate Twenty20 series, plus a Cricket Australia Cup match.  Muir was involved in four interstate one-day matches, two as the third official, single interstate Twenty20 and Cricket Australia Cup matches, and Tasmania's one-day tour game against Sri Lanka early last month (E-News 188-1019, 1 February 2008); the latter taking his overall List A match tally to eleven in the last three-and-a-half years.  This week's Grand Final will be the second such appointment for both men.  John, who has been chosen as the TCUSA's 'Umpire of the Year' for the last two years (E-News 22-129, 29 March 2007), stood in last year's match in what was his fourth season umpiring in the TCA (E-News 19-109, 22 March 2007), and Muir two years ago in his fifth TCA season.  Steve Maxwell will be the reserve umpire for the Bellerive match.  Details of the scorers for the four TCA Grand Finals that are to be played this weekend are not yet available.  EN208-1165.



TCUSA umpiring members Nick McGann and Wade Stewart have been named to stand in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Second Grade Grand Final between South Hobart Sandy Bay and Kingborough at the Queenborough Oval this Saturday and Sunday.  The match will Stewart's second Grand Final at that level, his first being two year's ago and last year he officiated in the First Grade match (E-News 19-109, 22 March 2007), while McGann, who last night was named in the TCA's 'Team of the Year' (E-News 208-1166 above), will be making his umpiring debut in a Second Grade decider after standing in the Third Grade game last year (E-News 19-107, 22 March 2007).  The pair, who are both members of the inaugural Tasmanian State Umpires Squad this season, have been umpiring in the TCA for seven and three years respectively.  EN208-1164.   



Tasmanian State Umpire Squad members Greg Luck and Jamie Mitchell have been selected to look after the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Third Grade Grand Final at Kingston this weekend between Clarence and Glenorchy, a repeat of the pairing that saw them stand in the corresponding Under 17 match last year (E-News 19-106, 2 March 2007).  Apart from Grade-level duties this season Luck also umpired at higher level, standing in the one-day tour match between Tasmania and Sri Lanka last month (E-News 188-1019, 1 February 2008) and an interstate Twenty20 game (E-News 167-895, 3 January 2008), as well as working as the third or television official in an interstate one-day match.  Mitchell, who last night named as one of the umpires in this season's TCA 'Team of the Year' (E-News 208-1166 above), was chosen for the TCUSA's best first year umpire award at the end of his first TCA season last year (E-News 2-129, 29 March 2007).  EN208-1163.



Steve Gibson and Mark Wickham will each be standing in their second Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Under 17 Grand Final this weekend when Kingborough takes on South Hobart Sandy Bay at Kingston.  Gibson last stood in a Grand Final at that level six years ago, the following year umpiring in the Third Grade finale, the same season that Wickham officiated in a TCA Grade Grand Final series for the first time.  This season is Gibson's tenth with the TCUSA and Wickham's seventh.  EN208-1162. 



Six umpires have been named for the Grand Finals of the two Southern Tasmania Cricket League (STCL) Divisions and the Tasman Cricket Association on Saturday.  Bruce Parker and David Gainsford will look after the STCL Division one match at Clare Street, and Michael Graham-Smith and Ian Quaggin the Division two game at Eady Street.  For Parker it will be his fifth STCL Grand Final in five years, four of which were in the top Division, while Graham-Smith will be standing in his first such game as an umpire at the end of his first season as an umpire after a long playing and administrative career (E-News 87-463, 23 August 2007).  Veteran TCUSA members Don Heapy and Brian Pollard, who between them have umpired over 800 matches with the TCUSA over the last twenty-two seasons, will travel down to Dodges Ferry for the Grand Final of the Tasman Association.  EN208-1161.       



West Indian international umpire Billy Doctrove, the West Indian Cricket Umpires Association's (WICUA) area Vice President for the Windward Islands, says that the decision by WICUA members to boycott 'domestic' First Class matches in the Caribbean is a show of solidarity with two of their umpiring colleagues (E-News 207-1153, 10 March 2008).  A story published in the 'Nation News' in Barbados overnight quotes Doctrove as saying that the WICUA "is very much dissatisfied with the manner in which two of our members [from Trinidad and Tobago] were disenfranchised and removed from the [First Class umpires panel this] this year" for "we are of the opinion that [they] were victimised by the relevant authorities in Trinidad and Tobago".  "Both the Umpires' sub-committee and the WICUA [have previously made it clear] to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) that the two umpires had to be reinstated on the panel, but for some strange reason, the WICB took a unilateral decision after speaking to somebody in authority in the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board", said Doctrove.  According to the story Doctrove concluded by saying that "we are extremely unhappy with the turn of events and, as a result, we have decided to withdraw our services for the remainder of the competition until the two umpires are reinstated".  Fifteen of the scheduled twenty-one domestic First Class matches scheduled for this season have been played to date.  The next thee-match round is set to start on Friday night Australian time, and the final round on 28 March.  EN208-1160.



Australian international umpire Simon Taufel will not take part in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) inaugural season when it gets underway on 18 April, according to comments attributed to IPL tournament Director Dheeray Molhotra by the web site earlier this week.  In an article titled 'Not enough money in IPL for umpires' by an un-named journalist, Taufel is quoted as indicating that the remuneration offered by the IPL is not enough to compensate for his being away from his home in Sydney for so long; the series being scheduled to last six weeks.  Given his status as the world's best umpire for the last four years the IPL are likely to have been keen to secure Taufel's services, however, the Australian has previously made clear his concerns about frequent long absences from home (E-News 195-1066, 2 February 2008) as well as the structure and support available to top-level officials in international cricket (E-News 153-849, 12 December 2007).  The web article goes on the say that Molhotra indicated that International Cricket Council (ICC) 'Elite' umpire panel members Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Mark Benson (England), 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Daryl Harper (Australia) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) will be involved in this year's IPL series, but he is only quoted as saying that "we shall hire" those seven, a statement that suggests negotiations with each have not yet been finalised.  Tournament Director Molhotra is also quoted as saying that the League has "also sought the services" of members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel members, and indicated that Steve Davis (Australia), Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe), and Ian Howell and Brian Jerling (South Africa) have been approached for the much publicised Twenty20 series.  In addition to ICC-level umpires the IPL has said previously that sixteen First Class umpires from India will also officiate in fifty-nine matches that overall will need 177 umpire positions to be filled over a period of just six weeks (E-News 194-1059, 11 February 2008).  EN208-1159.



Two brothers were lynched by an angry mob following a dispute over an umpire’s decision during a cricket match in north-stern India last weekend, according to a report published on Monday in Kolkata's 'The Telegraph' newspaper.  The story says that during a game between the villages of Mohitpur and Palasdi, a dispute developed after an umpire gave a Mohitpur batsman out, and while the Palasdi team, who were fielding, supported the decision, their opponents protested.  Quoting "sources" from the area, 'The Telegraph' says that flights sparked by spectators from Mohitpur erupted, after which "youths from Palasdih" went to their village and returned to the cricket ground with sticks, iron rods and other weapons, but by the time they got there only a few people from Mohitpur, including the two brothers, were still present.  The pair were said to have then been set apon and subsequently killed while three others from Mohitpur were seriously injured. A Police spokesman said that murder charge has been registered against some Palasdih residents.  A player was murdered by an opponent during a match played in Kuwait last November following an argument over an umpiring decision (E-News 205-1139, 6 March 2008).  EN208-1158.



The "intervention" of South African coach Mickey Arthur led to a decision being referred to the television umpire and overturned in the second One Day International between Bangladesh and South Africa yesterday, according at an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report distributed overnight.  The AFP story states that Pakistan international umpire Aleem Dar initially did not refer a run out appeal against Bangladeshi batsman Dhiman Ghosh 'upstairs', but after South Africa coach Mickey Arthur, "who was sitting in a dugout near the boundary line" intervened, the third umpire's verdict was sought and Ghosh was ruled to be out.  EN208-1157.



There was plenty of cricket experience on hand during a Victorian Cricket Association (VCA) First Grade match that ended in Melbourne last weekend, according to a report in 'The Age' newspaper on Tuesday.  The match between Fitzroy Doncaster and Essendon was supported by scorers Mike Walsh (Essendon) and Roger Page (Fitzroy Doncaster), as well as umpires Bill Sheahan and Paul Jensen, the four between them having been involved in a total of 2,429 games of cricket, 1,629 of them in First Grade matches.  The report says that Walsh started scoring at Essendon during the 1963-64 season, and that apart from 493 VCA First Grade games, he has scored in 94 Tests, 214 One Day Internationals, and 202 other First Class or one-day matches.  EN208-1156. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 209, 14 March 2008



The latest forecast issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for Hobart today indicates that day one of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Grand Final series will get underway today at Bellerive in sweltering conditions and gusty winds.  The TCA's three-day First Grade finale between Kingborough and Clarence, which will be umpired by Steven John and Brian Muir (E-News 208-1165, 13 March 2008) and see Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey in the score box, is scheduled to get underway this morning.  Today's match will be Hamley's fourth Grand Final as a scorer and Godfrey's second as he made his debut when Kingborough won last year's match.  Despite today's severe conditions, with a top temperature of thirty-four degrees Celsius forecast, the Grand Finals in all four TCA Grades on Saturday and Sunday will be played in much more pleasant weather with maximums of twenty-three and twenty-eight Celsius respectively and light winds.  Tom Green from South Hobart Sandy Bay (SHSB) and Ray Kelly (Kingborough) will be the scorers for the Second Grade Grand Final at Queenborough over the weekend, supporting Nick McGann and Wade Stewart who will be out on the field (E-News 208-1164, 13 March 2008).  It is not known at this stage who the scorers will be for the Third Grade and Under 17 deciders.  EN209-1171.



Australian international umpire Steve Davis was awarded the Cricket Australia (CA) Umpire Award for 2008 at CA's State Cricket Awards ceremony in Sydney yesterday.  CA says that Davis, who is today standing in his eleventh Test in the match in Wellington between New Zealand and England (E-News 201-1105, 26 February 2008), was chosen for the honour in "recognition of his exceptional season at both international and domestic levels".  Over the last twelve months the South Australian based official has been appointed by the International Cricket Council to the senior World Cup tournament in the West Indies (E-News 11-56, 3 March 2007), the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa (E-News 92-499, 3 September 2007), and the Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia (E-News 166-892, 2 January 2008).  He has stood in a total of two Tests, and as the third umpire in another two, ten One Day Internationals on the field and one as the third official, and three Twenty20 internationals plus another six in the television suite; and reports indicate that he is currently being sought by the Indian Premier League (E-News 208-1159, 13 March 2008).  CA says that those "achievements have been complimented by strong performances in interstate cricket" and as "a big contributor off the field supporting umpiring programs within South Australia [as well as] CA's national programs", although it does not elaborate on the latter.  Davis' international commitments have meant that his games at domestic level have been limited.  At interstate level he officiated in two First Class matches, two one-day games and a single Twenty20 match this season.  In addition to the award to Davis, CA has also announced that the Western Australian state side won the Benuad 'Spirit of Cricket' award for 2008.  EN209-1170.



The umpiring future of Australian international official Darrell Hair is expected to be on the line next week during the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) Executive Board's three-day meeting in Dubai.  Hair has been undergoing what the ICC has termed "rehabilitation" in the six months since he withdrew his racial discrimination claim against the world body, a case that resulted after he was banned from top-level matches for his actions in the so-called 'ball tampering" Test at the Oval in August 2006 (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2007).  Since the hearing ended Hair has, as part of his "rehabilitation", undertaken a man management course (E-News 140-758, 22 November 2007), stood in a number of second-tier international matches involving ICC Associate members (E-News 156-862, 17 December 2007), and continued his work with the accreditation and mentoring of development-level umpires during the recent Under 19 world cup in Malaysia (E-News 29 January 2008).  ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed, who reportedly described Hair as "a troublemaker" during last October's hearing (E-News 111-610, 6 October 2007), was quoted by the BBC shortly after it ended as saying that the ICC Board would decide whether Hair can return to elite umpiring, and if so, on what terms.  Speed emphasised at the time that the Board "is a very diverse group generally with strong and differing groups, so a lot will depend on the rehabilitation program and [Hair's] attitude towards it" (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2007).  Pakistan, which in the past has made no secret of its disapproval of Hair's actions in the Oval Test, was reportedly not happy with the ICC's decision to offer Hair to possibility of returning to top-level international cricket.  An unnamed official from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was quoted in press reports from the sub-continent late last year as saying that "when the time comes [to consider Hair's future] we will take our stand, but hopefully we don't think the ICC will clear him in the first place" (E-News 115-622, 11 October 2007).  Just what approach the PCB and others on the ICC's Executive Board will take to the Hair issue when it meets on Monday is not known, however, the PCB and some others would have to radically change their attitude if Hair is to return to Test cricket.  Whether any decision the Executive Board makes about Hair will be announced at the end of next week's meeting, or held over until the world body's 'Elite' panel in announced around 1 April, is not known.  EN209-1169.   



West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) president Julian Hunte has reiterated his Board's concern about the way international umpire Steve Bucknor was replaced for the Third Australia-India Test match in Perth in January (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).  In comments attributed to it by Agence France-Presse (AFP) yesterday, the WICB said that "the International Cricket Council (ICC) had been 'insulting' in the way it had responded to its concerns regarding [Bucknor's] treatment".  Hunte was said to have contrasted "the ICC's reaction [to the Bucknor situation] with the way it had batted away West Indian complaints about umpiring on their 2005 tour of Australia", the story saying that the WICB president "was unhappy with the response he'd had from Dubai" about this year's controversy.  Hunte was quoted as saying that when he wrote to the ICC in early January to seek information on Bucknor's removal he said that the world body was setting a dangerous precedent but that before the WICB took a decision on the matter they needed to know more (E-News 173-924, 10 January 2008).  He said that "so far, [the WICB has] not received the information sought and [he] considers that an insult to [his Board] which is a full-member of the ICC".  Other media groups in the West Indies are saying that the Bucknor affair is on the agenda of the ICC's Executive Board's three-day meeting in Dubai that starts next Monday.  Hunte is expected to represent the WICB at that gathering.  EN209-1168.



The International Cricket Council (ICC) has not yet named the umpires who will stand in the three-Test series between India and South Africa that starts in Chennai on Wednesday week.  With fifteen days of Test cricket scheduled over a period of just twenty-one days, the ICC is likely to appoint three umpires for the series, with each standing in two games.  All members of the world body's 'Elite' Umpires Panel except South Africa's Rudi Koertzen are eligible country-wise for selection for the series, although given the controversies involving West Indian Steve Bucknor and India earlier this year (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008), it would be a surprise if he was selected.  Given recent and current Test match appointments the EUP members for the series are likely to come from Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Mark Benson (England), 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (both Pakistan), and Simon Taufel (Australia), although members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel could also be in line for selection.  South Africa's three-and-a-half week sojourn of the sub-continent is a Test-only tour, the Second and Third matches being in Ahmedabad and Kanpur respectively.  EN209-1167.   


E-NEWS NUMBER 210, 15 March 2008



A spilt developed in umpiring ranks in the West Indies yesterday after the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TTCUSC) decided not to support a boycott of First Class matches that the executive of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) called for in mid-week (E-News 207-1153, 11 March 2008).  The Barbados newspaper 'The Nation' reported overnight Australian time that six Trinidadian umpires were sent on Thursday to stand in the three First Class matches that commenced in Barbados, Jamaica and Saint Thomas on Friday local time, thus filling the void created by the absence of WICUA officials who had been appointed to the games.  Five of those six are actually standing in the matches as WICUA member Derindranauth Somwaru, who was originally appointed to the Jamaica game by the West Indies Cricket Board, replaced what 'The Nation' is calling "the little-known TTCUSC umpire Joel Wilson".  The WICUA is protesting the removal of two of their members, Hayden Bruce and Kasa Dowlat of Trinidad and Tobago, from the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) regional umpires panel, West Indian international umpire Billy Doctrove saying that the WICUA "is very much dissatisfied with the manner in which two of our members were disenfranchised this year" (E-News 208-1160, 13 March 2008).  The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has, however, called claims made by Bruce and Dowlat as being "littered with many inaccuracies which attempt to obfuscate the basic facts of the matter", according to a report published in ''The Express' newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago overnight.  The TTCB is said to have stated that the TTCUSC selected six umpires, including Wilson, and recommended them to the WICB for appointment at regional games.  However, said the TTCB, when the schedule of umpiring appointments was first published it was noticed that the names of Dowlath and Bruce were on it.  The TTCB says that the error was quickly brought to the attention of the WICB who immediately corrected the mistake.  EN210-1173.



The West Indies' regional umpires' association president Hartley Reid, has called on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to take action against Jamaican and West Indian captain Chris Gayle after he castigated the umpires following his team's loss to Barbados in a First Class fixture earlier this week.  The 'Jamaican Gleaner' newspaper quoted Gayle as saying at the time that what he termed "bad decisions" made against his side were "blatant" and describing the umpiring in the game as "terrible for sports".  Gayle was said to be unimpressed with the performance of umpires Dalton Holder of Barbados and Terence Birbal of Trinidad and Tobago, singling out Holder as being "really, really terrible".  Over the years "Jamaica always seems to have it tough and decisions always seem to go against us", said Gayle, and that when "we are playing away from home it always seems to be [hard] for us".  Umpire's chief Reid was quoted by various Caribbean media outlets overnight as saying that the Jamaican captain's remarks went too far, and that "it's written clearly that players and officials may not be critical of the umpires [or] the match referee, but Gayle does as he likes [and] I am hoping that the WICB does something with him".  "It's unfortunate if an umpire makes a mistake, hard luck but you play" on said Reid, for our officials "are not infallible, they make errors"; and he appeared to be particularly concerned about the remarks Gayle made about Holder.  Writing in the 'Jamaican Gleaner", journalist Tony Becca said yesterday that "Gayle may well be right [for] when it comes to the general standard, there can be no question that umpiring [standards] around the West Indies [are] generally speaking, poor".  But, said Becca, "when it comes to umpires being biased [or] that the bias is against Jamaica and that it is blatant, that must be going too far".  Becca called on the West Indies captain to reflect on his responsibilities as a leader who "has the privilege, at any time, [of being able] to talk to the WICB about the standard of umpiring, and any perceived bias by any umpire", in private.  This week's match was Holder's forty-third at First Class level since his initial appearance in 1991, while for Birbal it was his thirty-fourth since his debut in 1995.  EN210-1172.


E-NEWS NUMBER 211, 17 March 2008



The Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board will be addressing a range of crucial, complex and in some cases controversial issues, during its two-day meeting that is due to get underway in Dubai later today Australian time.  The gathering, which one media report described as "a genuine fork in the road" for the world body, is says an ICC press release, to look at matters that will include: the trial of more technology in aiding umpires’ decisions in a Test series in England later this year (E-News 199-1094, 21 February 2008); an "independent forensic audit" of Zimbabwe Cricket; the format for the 2011 World Cup; the international calendar, including the Indian Premier League, Indian Cricket League and the proposed Champions Twenty20 international tournament; and just who will replace its current Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed when he steps down from the position in mid-year. Other issues likely to be considered that are not mentioned in the ICC statement include several that are directly related to umpiring, such as the future of Australian international umpire Darrell Hair (E-News 209-1169, 14 March 2008), the removal of his West Indian colleague Steve Bucknor from a Test match last January (E-News 209-1168, 14 March 2008), and a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate comment and sledging by international players and officials (E-News 199-1089, 21 February 2008).  The 'Cricinfo' website says in a story posted yesterday that Hair "remains in contract until March 2009 and at some stage the bullet will have to be bitten and a decision made what to do with him". "If his rehabilitation has gone well", says the web site, "then it becomes hard not to allow him back [for] by the ICC's own admission he is a good decision-maker, but [that it is] harder to see how several countries will permit it".  What Cricinfo calls "a behind-the-scenes compromise" would appear to be "the only way out", but just what that would mean in practice is far from clear.  EN211-1178.



An umpiring error which led to Victorian David Hussey's "cheap dismissal" helped swing the momentum back to NSW on day two of the final of the domestic First Class final at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday, according to a quote attributed to Victorian player Brad Hodge in a number of media reports overnight today.  The reports says that Hussey "was controversially given out for twenty-two by Victorian umpire Bob Parry, caught at first slip off the bowling of spinner Michael Clarke", and that "Hussey appeared angry with the decision and television replays showed no evidence of an edge onto his pad".  "It was an extremely disappointing moment", said Hodge, as "I didn't think he hit it, no" but "unfortunately the result was he was given out and we move on with the game".  EN211-1177.



An umpire and match referee from Pakistan, and another English County umpire, have joined the ranks of officials being used by the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in its current 'Grand Championship' series.  Former Pakistani Test and One Day International (ODI) umpire Shakeel Khan and Test player and match referee Mustaq Mohammed, plus County umpire Nigel Cowley, are part of what currently appears to be a six umpire and three match referee panel made up of officials from England, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.  After retiring from First Class cricket, Khan took up umpiring and stood in six Tests and sixteen ODIs in the period from 1982-2002.   The Cricinfo web site says that in his third Test, which was between Pakistan and England in Lahore in 1987-88, "he hit the headlines" for what it describes as "a plethora of appalling decisions which indirectly led to the infamous Shakoor Rana, Mike Gatting, showdown in the next Test at Faisalabad".  Mustaq Mohammed played fifty-seven Tests and ten ODIs for Pakistan, and he joins another former player, India's Erapelli Prasanna who played forty-nine Tests, and countryman Ajit Wadekar, as an ICL match referee; the latter being involved in last December's inaugural ICL Twenty20 series (E-News 147-803, 4 December 2007).  The umpire's panel currently appears to be made up of English County umpires Trevor Jesty, Jeff Evans and Nigel Cowley, their retired colleague Roy Palmer, English second-level umpire David Brandon (E-News 206-1147, 10 March 2008), and Sri Lanka's Ranmor Martinesz (E-News 206-1148, 10 March 2008).  Brandon made his debut as a third umpire last Wednesday and has been on the field in two other matches since.  Replacements are likely to be needed for Jesty, Evans and Cowley in the next ten days as their contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are believed to require them to be available in the UK from 1 April.  The ECB last week flagged its intention to tighten up on access players and officials contracted to it have to "unauthorised events" such as the ICL, although it did not mention the so-called 'rebel' league by name (E-News 206-1147, 10 March 2008).  Former England captain Tony Greig, who is on the ICL Board, subsequently warned the ECB that they will face a court battle if they carry through on their threat of banning its players and officials who are associated with the ICL, but the ECB claims that its approach "is lawful, robust and proportionate".  EN211-1176.



West Indian international umpire Billy Doctrove has accused an official of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of threatening his career after he turned down a WICB request to officiate in a four-day domestic First Class match that got underway last Friday.  Doctrove, who is a member of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) executive that made a decision to withdraw umpiring services in protest of the way they believe two WICUA umpires from Trinidad and Tobago have been treated by the WICB (E-News 210-1173, 15 March 2008), is reported to be unhappy with the tone of e-mail correspondence he received from the Board's corporate secretary Tony Deyal about his decision not to stand in the match.  According to 'The Nation' newspaper in Barbados, Deyal's initial reply to Doctrove said in part that "if you do not turn out for the match as requested by the CCOO [Chief Cricket Operations Officer], we will refer the matter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) pointing out that your actions have sought to bring the WICB and the game of cricket in the Caribbean into disrepute and that you, and any other persons from the region who have behaved in a similar fashion, should not be considered for further employment by the ICC now or at any future time".  In his reply Doctrove reportedly told Deyal that he considered such comments as a "serious threat" to his career and that he was passing them on to his personal attorney and WICUA, however, Deyal then stated that what he wrote was not a "threat", but an outline of a course of action that would be pursued.  The WICUA, through its secretary Vivian Johnson, then apparently responded to Deyal and indicated that "the WICUA is a unified and duly constituted body that can take and make decisions and articulate its views in an objective and logical manner", and that the WICB official should "not try to frighten the organisation or individuals with threats of reporting to ICC".  "The WICB has shown utter contempt for [the WICUA] by going around and contacting individual umpires to officiate in matches", actions that Johnson says "go against the established principles and procedures of good industrial relations practice".  Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago's 'News Day' newspaper yesterday quoted the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Umpires and Scorers Council (TTCUSO), Clarence Shaffarali, as saying that the two umpires at the centre of the WICUA's concerned had been dropped because they scored low in their assessments.  Both umpires were evaluated by reports from clubs, club captains and match referees throughout the domestic season in Trinidad and Tobago, said Shafarali, but scored only six and seven out of ten, while those that were selected scored eights and nines.  "This is not a guesswork business because we have the facts to support our statement", said Shafarali, and he promised that documents on the umpire's scores would be made available soon to back up the stance taken by the TTCUSO and the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board.  EN211-1175.



New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram was fined twenty percent of his match fee after being found guilty of dissent during the Second Test against England in Wellington, according to a statement released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday. Oram pleaded guilty to the offence after being charged for showing "serious dissent at an umpire's decision" after he was given out LBW by Australian international umpire Steve Davis on day two of the game.  The ICC says that Oram openly showed dissent at the decision by looking at his bat then punching it.  Oram apologised to the umpires and as a result of that and the fact that it was his first offence, ICC match referee Javagal Srinath from India reduced the level of the charge from serious dissent to dissent.  Srinath was quoted as saying that despite that "the fact remains that when the umpire raises his finger a player must leave the crease immediately and without question no matter what he may think of the decision".  EN211-1174.


E-NEWS NUMBER 212, 18 March 2008



The Board of the International Cricket Council has selected South African Imtiaz Patel as its "preferred candidate" to take over as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) when Australian Malcolm Speed steps down at the end of June.  In what some media are seeing as a political compromise, Inderjit Singh Bindra the former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who was also a candidate for CEO, is to work as Patel's principal advisor, a newly created position from which he will be able to influence major decisions.  The South African's nomination reportedly skirts concerns that when current BCCI President Sharad Pawar takes over as ICC President in 2010, India would dominate at the top levels of the world body's administration.  Pawar was on the selection committee that nominated Patel and the advisor arrangement is believed to have only been worked out over the last few days, according to the 'Cricinfo' web site.  Patel, who is 43, is currently chief executive of SuperSport International in his native South Africa and has previously held directorships of the United Cricket Board of South Africa as well as other sports organisations including SuperSport United soccer club in Pretoria and Sharks Rugby in Kwazulu Natal.  Speaking after the conclusion of day one of the Board's two-day meeting overnight Australian time, current ICC President Ray Mali said that "we are delighted that Imtiaz is the Board’s choice for the post of next ICC Chief Executive [and that] I have no doubt that if he accepts the position he will do a great job".  ICC President-Elect David Morgan, whose Presidential term was also the result of a compromise and who will take over from Mali at the world body's conference in late June and serve for two years until Pawar takes over, reiterated that view and indicated that details of Patel’s engagement are currently being negotiated.  EN212-1182.



Former Australian player Bill Brown who died overnight, was apparently impressed by explanatory diagrams provided to him by the umpires after he enquired as to why the officials were turning down so many LBW appeals off Bill O'Reilly's bowling in the first ever Test against New Zealand in March 1946.  Brown, who was captaining his country for the only time in a Test, is said to have leant that "a few degrees of deviation can take a cricket ball a long way from its original target".  The New Zealand umpires for the game were H W Gourlay, who was standing in what was his only Test, and M F Pengelly, for whom the match was the first of the four Tests that he eventually officiated in.  EN212-1181. 



What are termed as "equipment constraints" will mean that no third umpire referrals will be made during the three-match One Day International series between Bangladesh and Ireland that gets underway in Mirpur later today Australian time, says 'The Daily Star' newspaper in Dhaka.  Sri Lankan umpire Tyron Wijewardena will officiate in the three games, his partner on the field being likely to come from two Bangladeshi members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Nadir Shah and Enamul Hoque-Moni.  Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle is the match referee for the series.  The International Cricket Council has not yet announced the officials for the First Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka that starts next Saturday in Guyana, nor the same match in the series between India and South Africa is due to get underway in eight days time (E-News 209-1167, 14 March 2008).  EN212-1180.



England bowler Stuart Broad received a formal warning for running into the Protected Area of the pitch during the Second Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Sunday.  South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen issued the warning in Broad's fifteenth over in New Zealand's second innings.  Broad, who transgressed in similar fashion in a Test against Sri Lanka last December (E-News 152-842, 11 December 2007), was quoted as saying that the problem occurs "when I try to bowl too close to the stumps I get close to the danger area but if I stay a touch wider I don’t seem to have much trouble".  He has “been working on [the issue] in the nets and it’s something [he is] aware of because a few umpires have warned me to keep off the wicket".  According to him “it’s never really occurred at County level [be he has] heard a few murmurs early in [his] One Day International career, but it’s not something that is going to weigh me down or play on my mind".  EN212-1179.


E-NEWS NUMBER 213, 19 March 2008



The International Cricket Council (ICC) cleared Australian international umpire Darrel Hair for a return to Test and One Day Internationals between the top cricket playing nations at meeting of it's Executive Board in Dubai yesterday. Media reports claim that the Board's decision "was unanimous", although whether the Pakistan Cricket Board will accept him for matches involving their national side is unknown given their strong concerns about the approach Hair took during the infamous 'ball tampering' Test at the Oval nineteen months ago (E-News 115-622, 11 October 2007).  Suggestions are being made in newspapers in the UK that Hair may make a return to Test cricket in England this northern summer, the home country being scheduled to play six Tests in that time, three each against New Zealand in May-June and South Africa in July.  The Australian, who sued the ICC for racial discrimination, withdrew the claim during a tribunal hearing last October after the world body admitted that he had acted within the regulations (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2007). He was then sent on a course to improve his communication skills as part of a six-month "rehabilitation" program organised by the ICC.  Yesterday's ICC statement says that Hair's position on the Elite Umpires Panel "will be reviewed in March 2009", a time at which media reports have stated in the past his current contract will expire.  EN213-1186.



A trial of a Player Referral System in a Test match is expected to go ahead in England later this year after being approved in principle by the Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at its meeting in Dubai yesterday.  The ICC says that subject to the consent of both the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa, the trial will be conducted during the Test series between their national sides in July, but whether it will involve all three matches scheduled is not yet clear.  ICC's Cricket Committee will be responsible for drawing up playing conditions for the trial, the method of review incorporating the principle of consultation by the on-field umpires with, rather than referral to, the television official, and the right of each team to formally question a limited number of decisions during an innings.  Details of the technology that will be used in the trial have yet to be formally announced, although ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said earlier this year that neither 'Hawk-Eye' or the 'Snickometer' technology would be considered as they are not yet foolproof  (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008).  The Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee recommended the Test trial at its meeting in South Africa last September (E-News 115-623, 11 October 2007).  EN213-1185.




Some sixty people are expected to attend the TCUSA's 2008 Annual Dinner and trophy presentation night in the Century Room at Bellerive Oval this evening.  During the night, which will see a three-course dinner served, the 'Umpire of the year' will be named, an individual provided with the Alan Powell Memorial trophy for services to the Association, and the Bob Reid Memorial trophy awarded to the most dedicated umpire.  In addition the Dennis Rogers award to the best first year umpire will be announced, trophies presented to both the umpire and scorer considered to have improved the most during the 2007-08 season, the recipient of the Advisor's Merit award named, and umpire ratings awards, Grand Final and Kookaburra Cup medallions all presented.  EN213-1184.



The Northern Tasmania Cricket Association's (NTCA) annual dinner and auction is scheduled to be held at Launceston's Country Club on Saturday, 29 March and tickets are now available.  NTCA Marketing Manager Gary Carr says that former Australian players Rodney Hogg and Damien Martin will be guest speakers, while Tasmania's Tony Benneworth will be both the Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer.  EN213-1183.


E-NEWS NUMBER 214, 20 March 2008



Australian international umpire Darrell Hair, who was yesterday reinstated to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP), is unlikely to umpire any Test or One Day Internationals involving Pakistan in the near future, says the world body's General Manager Cricket, David Richardson (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).  Richardson, whose area of responsibility includes umpires, told BBC Radio yesterday that "we don’t want to put umpires in an almost impossible position where any mistake they might make would be under such scrutiny that the pressure becomes impossible", and that we will therefore "have to take a sensible approach [and] will probably keep [Hair] away from Pakistan matches where we can".  Richardson indicated, however, that the Australian would not be barred from officiating in all matches involving Asian teams as "it’s pointless having an umpire on the [EUP] who is excluded from umpiring certain teams".  “There are always going to be stages in an umpire’s career when he is not flavour of the month" continued Richardson, "but he will come up against an Asian team at some stage".  In Karachi, former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was involved in the now infamous 'ball tampering' Test with Hair in August 2006 (E-News 111-612, 6 October 2007), was widely quoted by media outlets as saying that he was “disgusted” by Hair’s reinstatement, and that players would "now be afraid to stand up to officials".  “I am terribly shocked and disgusted at the news", said Inzamam, and he blames "the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bowing down in Hair’s case".  “Hair was at fault but he is reinstated like a hero", say quotes attributed to Inzamam, for like "India and Bucknor [the PCB] should never have backed down on this (Hair) issue".  Hair has indicated that he does not believe that Inzamam was personally responsible for any ball tampering during the Oval Test (E-News 111-611, 6 October 2007).  Former head of the PCB Shahayar Khan indicated that Hair "should never have been reinstated after committing so many gross irregularities during the Oval test [and that] this is shocking news".  Current PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf, who took part in this week's ICC meeting, is being quoted by the 'Cricinfo' web site as saying that "all I can say is that we, the PCB, have full confidence and faith in the ICC management that they will exercise wise judgment in assigning Mr Hair in international matches".  PCB Chief Executive Officer Shafqat Naghmi, told a Pakistani television channel that he doesn't think that Hair "ever be officiating in matches in which Pakistan is a party".  In Australia the national body's spokesman Peter Young, said Hair remained one of the game’s most technically proficient officials and welcomed the ICC’s decision to reinstate him".  “Cricket Australia has always had a view that he is, in a technical sense, an excellent umpire, one of the best two or three in the world", said Young.  Reports say that Hair has said that he will be prepared to umpire in Pakistan if called upon.  [EN214-1187].



A report on the Tasmanian Cricket Association's  (TCA) University Club's web site has named the umpire the author believes cost it the chance to play in this season's First Grade Grand Final.  Kingborough, the eventual premiers, scraped through its semi final against University after a tense few overs with just one wicket left.  The report says that with Kingborough having ten runs still to get to win on the first innings, a ball from bowler Darren McNees lifted and got "the shoulder of the bat", which produced "huge joy for the University team and fans as Tom Coyle comfortably took the catch behind, threw the ball to the square leg umpire and awaited the raised finger".  "Slight problem though [as] the finger was never raised", says the story.  The author of the report, who calls the pitch for the game "a disgrace", says that "being an ex-ump I won't call it other than a mistake, and we all make them", however "players from both clubs, officials from both clubs and all those at the ground know it was out".   Its "just a shame it cost us [a Grand] Final chance", the report concluding with the comment "better luck next time Moose", a reference to TCUSA member Brian Muir.  [EN214-1189]



Australian international umpire Daryl Harper was involved in his fourth Test 'hat trick' when England bowler Ryan Sidebottom claimed New Zealander Jacob Oram's wicket in the First Test between the two sides in Hamilton earlier this month.  Harper says in the latest entry on his web site posted last Sunday that Oram, who was given out LBW, "generously obliged by not moving his feet and therefore [made] my task simple".  Of the last eight 'hat tricks' in Tests Harper has been present for the half of them, and for all of the last three. [EN214-1190].


E-NEWS NUMBER 215, 21 March 2008



Long-serving TCUSA member Steve Maxwell completed another solid season both on and off the field of play when he was named as the Association's 'Umpire of the Year' at the Annual Dinner at Bellerive last Wednesday night.  Maxwell's selection, the second time he has been awarded the TCUSA's top individual honour in the last five years, comes at the end of a season that has seen him stand in thirty matches in Tasmania as well as in the Impajar Cup in the Northern Territory (E-News 192-1048, 7 February 2008).  On receiving his award Maxwell, one of eight members of the inaugural Tasmanian State Umpires Squad this season, spoke about the enjoyment he gets from his participation in the game, and said that in his view the improvement in umpiring standards in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) means that they are now "as high as anywhere around the country".  He urged members to continue to work together so that the Association can continue to move forward, saying that the aim now should be to get a Tasmanian back into interstate first-class cricket and beyond.  In addition to the Impajar Cup, Maxwell's thirty games "at home" were made up of ten in TCA First Grade, two each in the Jamie Cox Plate and Kookaburra Cup, three, two and two matches in the Second, Third Grade and Under 17 Grades respectively, one in the Southern Tasmania Cricket League, and seven in Twenty20 games.  Maxwell was presented with his award in front of sixty people who attended the Annual Dinner.  Amongst those attending were TCUSA Patron Don Edwards, the Chief Executive Officer of the TCA David Johnston, Mike Gandy Chairman of the TCA's Grade Cricket Committee, and Chris Garrett the TCA's Grade Cricket Manager.  TCUSA Life members Don Heapy, Alan Salter, Tim Swifte were also amongst those who enjoyed a first-class meal provided by TCA caterers Keith and Di Mellors. [EN215-1191]



Three long-serving TCUSA members were awarded with certificates to mark their appointment as Life Members of the Association during the Annual Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  Hazell Bradshaw, Graeme Hamley and Brian Pollard, who between them have served cricket in Tasmania for close to eighty years, join current Vice President Don Heapy, Alan Newman, Steve Randell, Alan Salter, Tim Swifte and the late Alan Powell on the Life Member's list.  Bradshaw, whose career and achievements were outlined by former First Class umpire John Smeaton, retired last season after a distinguished thirty-year career in the score box that started when her son Keith, who is now the Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Marylebone Cricket Club, commenced at High School.  She moved up the Grades as Keith's career progressed before reaching first-class level in 1990-91, scoring more than eighty games for Tasmania over sixteen seasons in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport.  In addition she has been in the score box for eighteen of the twenty-six One Day Internationals, and five of the eight Test Matches, that have been played at Bellerive to date.  Current TCUSA President-Administrator Hamley, joined the Association during the 1989-90 season as an umpire and in the time since has stood in over 180 games, seventy-six of them at First Grade level.  In presenting his award, State Director of Umpiring, Richard Widows, talked of his move from umpiring to scoring and the skills he brought to that profession at all levels of the game, including the Test arena.  One of his many key tasks over the last few years has been to manage the introduction of computer scoring to the TCA, a project that is now well established.  Hamley also has a remarkable record on the management side, having now served on the TCUSA management committee for a total of fifteen years, nine as President, one as Vice President, five as Treasurer, and for the past five years as Association Administrator.  Just when Pollard commenced with the Association has literally been lost in 'the mists of time' due to the loss of early records, however, it may have been as much as 30-35 years ago.  TCUSA Patron Don Edwards who made the award, said that Pollard he has stood in a record 436 games with the TCUSA, including a massive 236 in First Grade, figures that easily make him the Association's highest achiever in terms of games umpired.  He has also served on the management committee for at least seven seasons over the years.  The TCUSA award is his second Life Membership in cricket, the Montague Bay Cricket Club giving his that honour several years ago for two decades of service. [EN215-1192]



TCUSA umpiring member Brian Muir, one of only three Tasmanian umpires to stand in List A games this season, was presented with the Bob Reid Memorial Trophy as the Association's 'Most Dedicated' umpire for the 2007-08 season at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday evening.  'Moose' was chosen after separate 4-3-2-1 votes cast by members of the TCUSA's Management Committee were tallied.  Muir, who commenced his umpiring career in the north-west of the state, was this season chosen for four interstate one-day matches, two of them as the third official, and single interstate Twenty20 and Cricket Australia Cup matches, as well as Tasmania's one-day tour game against Sri Lanka early last month (E-News 188-1019, 1 February 2008).  At the local level he stood in a total of twenty-eight Grade and related matches, during what was his seventh season with the TCUSA.  Those games, which were spread across most cricket competitions in southern Tasmania, included twelve in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) First Grade series, including the Grand Final (E-News 208-1165, 13 March 2008), two each in the Jamie Cox Plate and the TCA's Twenty20 competition, one each in TCA Second, Third and Under 15 Grades, three in the Under 17s, five in the Southern Tasmania Cricket League, and one in the Independent Schools series.  Muir was presented with his trophy by fellow member Steve Maxwell, the winner of the award over the last two seasons. [EN215-1193]



An impressive transition from player and administrator to umpire over the last year has led to Michael Graham-Smith being named as the TCUSA's best first year official at the Association's Annual Dinner at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  During his first season in black trousers Graham-Smith stood in a total of twenty-one matches, four of which were in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) First Grade competition.  Graham-Smith was a long-serving President of University Cricket Club in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) and skipper of their Second Grade side before deciding to take up umpiring at the end of the 2006-07 season.  After attending last year's TCUSA Laws of Cricket school he said that he had a whole new perspective on the challenges umpires face and their role in the game (E-News 87-463, 23 August 2007).  Apart from his four First Grade games, the other seventeen matches he officiated in this season were made up of a First Grade Twenty20 match, four in Second Grade, five in Third Grade, three in the Under 17s, three in the South Tasmania Cricket League, one of which was the Grand Final (E-News 208-1161, 13 March 2008), and one Independent Schools fixture.  Prior to announcing the winner of this year's award, TCUSA Umpires Advisor Richard Widows spoke of how fortunate the Association had been in attracting eleven new umpiring members at the start of this season, and congratulated them on their performances and contribution over the last six months.  Apart from Graham Smith, the others to join as umpiring members this year were Jack Bucher, Ross Calson (E-News 190-1031, 5 February 2008), Damien Daniels, Zac Duggan, Mark Ferris, Conrad Lawson, Colin McNiff, John Muir, Roger Palfreyman and Peter Walker. [EN215-1194]



Fourteen-year-old Tom Green, who scored numerous matches for the South Hobart Sandy Bay Club's First Grade side in what was his first season, was named as the TCUSA's Best First Year Scorer at the Association's Annual Dinner on Wednesday night.  TCUSA President-Administrator Grame Hamley, told the gathering that Green "adapted to the Tasmanian Cricket Association's computer scoring system very well".  In addition to Tasmanian Cricket Association games, Green also supported the men's Under 19 national championship in December (E-News 153-848, 12 December 2007). [EN215-1195]



Alistair Scott, who made his debut in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's First Grade competition this season and went on to stand in five matches at that level, was awarded the TCUSA's 'Most Improved' umpire award during the Association's Annual Dinner at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday night.  Scott, who received the same award at the end of his second season with the TCUSA in 2004, stood in a total of seventeen games during the season, for in addition First Grade matches he was also on the ground in one First Grade Twenty20, nine Second Grade and two Third Grade games.  In his five season's with the TCUSA, Scott has now chalked up a total of ninety-five matches in all of the competitions to which the Association normally provides umpires.  TCUSA Life Member Alan Salter, who stood in a total of 156 games with the TCUSA from 1986-99, eighteen of them in First Grade, presented Scott with his trophy. [EN215-1196]



Kylie Baldwin, who this season scored for the New Town Cricket Club's (NTCC) Second Grade side, was presented with the  TCUSA's 'Most Improved Scorer" award at Bellerive on Wednesday evening.  During the season Baldwin, who is in her second season as a scorer, successfully made the transition from manual to computer scoring, and in addition to the time she put in supporting the NTCC, she worked in seven games in the men's Under 19 national championship in December (E-News 153-848, 12 December 2007).  At New Town, Baldwin was often supported by her son Daniel, whose prowess in running the scoreboard there is greatly appreciated by players and spectators alike.  He keeps in touch with the score box via mobile phone, and not only provides the basic score on the board for all to see, but also displays bowling and other figures, a service that is not bettered at any other ground around Hobart except Bellerive. [EN215-1197]



Cricket stalwart David Gainsford, who returned to umpiring last year after a decade as a junior coach and administrator, was acknowledged for his contribution to the Association on Wednesday night when he was presented with the Advisor's Merit Award by State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows.  Widows told the gathering that many people contribute to helping the Association achieve its goals each year and that the task of selecting a candidate for their work on or off the field of play each year is always difficult.  He spoke of Gainsford's readiness to stand wherever he was needed for matches, and the contribution he has made to moving the TCUSA forward in the assistance he has given to new umpires.  During the season just completed he stood with most of the eleven members who joined the Association as umpires this year (E-News 215-1194 above].  David, who served in the Army for twenty-eight years, started umpiring ten years ago after settling in Tasmania, but then switched to looking after junior teams at North Hobart and Glenorchy over the following eight years.  After a successful period with the juniors, during which the numbers involved at both clubs increased significantly, he came back to umpiring ranks at the start of the 2006-07 season, making his debut at First Grade level soon after (E-News 4-21, 5 January 2007). [EN215-1198]



Wade Stewart was rated by club captains as the top umpire in the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) First Grade competition this season, however, the competition for the prize was very tight with a mark of just 0.5 separating the eight umpires who headed the list.  Stewart was presented with a recognition of his achievement by TCA Grade Cricket Manager Chris Garrett at the TCUSA's Annual Dinner at Bellerive Oval on Wednesday night.  A tally of marks given by captains saw second-year umpire Ray Howe top Second Grade,  long-serving member Mark Gillard Third Grade, and veteran Michael Lee the Under 17s, all receiving presentations from Garrett.  An individual has to have stood in at least five games in a Grade to qualify for consideration for an umpire ratings award. [EN215-1199]



Long-time TCUSA umpiring member Mark Gillard, who has just completed his nineteenth season with the Association, received the top Achievements Certificate at last Wednesday's Annual Dinner for reaching the 350 game mark in the season just completed.  Gillard, who was presented with his award by Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Cricket Committee Chairman Mike Gandy, become the third TCUSA member to pass the 350 milestone behind twenty-two season veterans Don Heapy and Brian Pollard.  Gandy also presented awards to Steve Gibson and Wade Stewart, who both chalked up 150 matches with the Association in 2007-08, and Steven John and Martin Betts who received 100 game certificates.  Five members, David Gainsford, Nick McGann, David Matthews, Jamie Mitchell and Peter Pitt were recognised for standing in fifty matches with the TCUSA.  Some of those who received awards have also officiated in matches in a range of other competitions outside the TCA over the years.  In addition to certificates for match milestones, six members were presented with their National Umpires Accreditation Scheme Level 2 Certificates on Wednesday evening.  Those involved were Nick McGann, Jamie Mitchell, Sam Nogajski, Brian Pollard and Alistair Scott.  [EN215-1201]



Nineteen TCUSA umpiring members were presented with finals medallions by the Association's Patron Don Edwards during the Annual Dinner on Wednesday night.  Those involved stood in the Grand Finals of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) home-and-away season and in two country competitions, plus the finals of the season's intra-state club one-day series the Kookaburra Cup, and the TCA's mid-week First Grade Twenty20 tournament.  At the highest levels of the game within the state, Steven John and Brian Muir stood in the First Grade Grand Final, John and Steve Maxwell in the Kookaburra Cup decider, and Wade Stewart and Jamie Mitchell in the Twenty20 final.  Stewart and Nick McGann stood in the Second Grade final, Mitchell and Greg Luck in Third Grade, Steve Gibson and Mark Wickham in the Under 17s, and David Costello and Jack Bucher in the Under 15s.  In the TCA's Southern Tasmania Cricket League competition David Gainsford and Peter Parker looked after the 'A' Division final and Ian Quaggin and Mike Graham-Smith the 'B' Division match.  TCUSA umpires who traveled to the country for Grand Finals were Don Heapy and Mike Lee who looked after the Tasman Association's match, while Mark Gillard and Martin Betts stood in the Oatlands Association final.  Those involved received medallions inscribed with details of the finals games they stood in, including the name of their partner for the match. [EN215-1202].


E-NEWS NUMBER 216, 23 March 2008



Australian international umpire Darrell Hair will focus on improved communication with players in the top-level matches to which he is assigned over the next year, according to comments he made on radio in Sydney last Thursday.  Hair had been recalled to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel two days earlier after being dumped following the now infamous 'ball tampering Test at the Oval in August 2006 (E-News 213-1168, 19 March 2008).  Hair's comments were made around the time that the BBC quoted an unnamed "ICC spokesman" as saying that the three Tests between England and New Zealand at Lords, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge that are to be played in the period from mid-May and early June "would be the first where Darrell would be considered" for appointment, and that "it wouldn't be outrageous to say he could appear during that series".  Hair said on Thursday that the events that flowed from the Oval Test "caused me a lot of stress, [and] I suppose it caused a lot of people some stress along the way".  "The laws now have been changed to take those decisions out of the hands of the umpires and I fully support the way that that's going to happen in future, so, it's time to move on", said the Australian (E-News 12-62, 7 March 2007).  "Every day in life you like to pick up something and move forward, so I won't say my whole attitude to umpiring has changed but I think I have picked up a few things that are going to be very helpful to me in the future", said Hair, and that "probably just... having a broader understanding of what everybody else is thinking and the old communication issue of making sure that what you say and what you want is understood by the other people".  According to Hair he has "always been a little bit ... stand-offish in that I've always preferred to let them play the game themselves and only get involved when things go overboard, but maybe there's a case to be made for a little bit more work in that area".  He said that while he was available to umpire in Pakistan, "whether that is going to happen [is something] you'll need to ask the people who make the appointments".  ICC general manager Dave Richardson told the BBC last week that the world body "will probably keep him away from Pakistan matches where we can", although "it's pointless having an umpire on the elite panel who is excluded from umpiring certain teams".  Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain during the Oval Test but whom the Australian did not think was personally involved in ball tampering (E-News 111-611, 6 October 2007), said last week that he was "shocked and disgusted" by Hair's reinstatement.  Hair said during the Sydney radio interview, however, that he was not concerned by others' views of him.  "I've got no comment on anyone else's reaction really", he said, "I'm just going to look after my own patch and go out there and umpire the matches that I'm appointed to and do that to the best of my ability which is what I've always done".  Speaking in Mohali last Friday, India's Inderjit Singh Bindra, who will take up the new position of Principal Advisor (PA) at the ICC on 1 July (E-News 212-1182, 18 March 2008 ), said that Hair's" man-management skills would be under the scanner for the next twelve months", according to an article published in Indian newspaper 'The Hindu' yesterday.  The report states that Bindra said Hair was rated highly for his decision making ability, [but that] the same could not be said about his man management skills, and the story says that Bindra also revealed that [Pakistan's representative at last week's ICC Executive meeting Nasim Ashraf] enjoyed the full support [of that gathering] in his demand that Hair should not officiate in matches featuring Pakistan.  “We were clear that we want to reform and rehabilitate Hair", said Bindra.  With regard to the newly-created PA position at the ICC, Bindra ruled out the possibility of a conflict with the new ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and said he had great respect for Imtiaz Patel, the CEO designate, and was looking forward to a cordial working relationship with him. [EN216-1203]. 



New Zealander Tony Hill, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, has been named to stand in the first two games of the three Tests between India and South Africa that are scheduled to be played on the sub-continent over the next month.  Hill's appointment comes as the ICC prepares to name its new twelve-member, top-level, Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), an announcement that is currently expected to be made sometime around 1 April, a date that falls within the three day break between the First and Second Tests.  Hill, who will be out on the ground in his sixth and seventh Tests, but his first in India, will stand in the First Test in Chennai with Pakistan EUP member Asad Rauf, a match that is due to get underway next Wednesday, and in the Second in Ahmenedbad from 3-7 April with another EUP official, West Indian Billy Doctrove.  Rauf and Doctrove will officiate in the Third Test in Kanpur from 11-15 April, a match that is scheduled to end just three days before the Indian Premier League's inaugural Twenty20 series gets underway.  The match referee for the three Tests will be Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka.  Over in the West Indies, EUP members Simon Taufel from Australia and 'Billy' Bowden from New Zealand are officiating in the two Test series between the West Indies and Sri Lanka that commenced in Guyana overnight Australian time.  The series is being overseen by Chris Broad from England and he and Taufel will stay on for the three-match One Day International series between the two sides that is scheduled for the period from 10-15 April in Trinidad and Saint Lucia. [EN216-1204].



Concerns that the integrity of international cricket is being undermined by sledging, cheating and a growing lack of respect for umpires and opponents has prompted the Indian Premier League (IPL) to take a stand to reinforce the spirit and laws of the game, says an article published in 'The Times' newspaper in London last Thursday.  As a result the captains of the eight teams that will play in this year's inaugural six-week IPL Twenty20 tournament are to sign a pledge to embrace the 'Spirit of Cricket' prior to the opening match on 18 April.

'The Times' says that Chris Cowdrey, the son of former England player the late Colin Cowdrey, who drew up the 'Spirit of Cricket' section of the current Laws of Cricket, will be invited to India, his father’s birthplace, to witness what is described as the initiative of Lalit Modi, the vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL's Chairman.  Modi is quoted as saying that "the move is timely, given recent events, particularly the rancor of the recent India tour to Australia", that "the 'Spirit of Cricket' is something the IPL embraces", and that it "will be part of our tournament [as it] is absolutely apt for us".  Chris Cowdrey was quoted as saying that the "Spirit of Cricket puts the onus on each captain to make sure that his players show respect for the umpires and the opposition and that unfair play and cheating is not tolerated [for it] is arguably the biggest issue in the game today".  My father would be so thrilled if it were his beloved India which made this stand", says the son, and while some "people have dismissed the 'Spirit of Cricket' concept as some outdated ideal, it is not".  “There is a golden opportunity to leave a positive legacy for the millions of youngsters in India and across the globe who emulate every move of their heroes, [including] their conduct and demeanor, and aspire to play cricket", said Cowdrey.  Modi denied that the declaration was an exercise to deflect criticism aimed at the fledgling tournament for merely being a business venture, the scale of which has led to fears that it could pose a threat to Test cricket. “Not at all" Modi said, as "it is important that we set an example for cricket".  "This tournament is not about making money purely for profit [as the] IPL is part of BCCI, a nonprofit organisation" and that while "money will be made [it will go] back 100 per cent into the game to build the game".  [EN216-1205].



England's Test captain Michael Vaughan's view on the use of the proposed Player Referrals System (PRS) during his side's home Test series against South Africa later this year were "sounded out" by a senior official of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last Thursday, according to a report  published in 'The Times' in London on Friday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed in principle last week to a trial of the PRS, whereby decisions made by umpires’ on the field of play, can be referred to the third umpire for assessment, provided the ECB and Cricket South Africa agreed (E-News 213-1185, 19 March 2008).  The story, by Christopher Martin-Jenkins, states that Vaughan told Hugh Morris, the ECB's Managing Director, that "he trusted only some of the innovations used by television directors, [and that that did not] including Hawk-Eye".  Current ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said in January 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 169-908, 5 January 2008).   Morris is believed to be planning to approach Cricket South Africa about the issue in the near future, and if they agree in principle the ICC's Cricket Committee will be charged with drawing up detailed playing conditions for the Tests involved.  [EN216-1206].



Last week's strike by the West Indies Umpires' Association (WICUA) during the penultimate round of this season's first-class competition in the Caribbean was "a total failure", according to Lalman Kowlessar, a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) (E-News 211-1175, 17 March 2008).  Kowlessar, who was speaking at a press conference on Thursday, praised the six Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Umpires and Scorers Council (TTCUSC) umpires who were used to get around the WICUA's boycott, saying that "the games went on and the umpires did a great job".  Kowlessar, who is also the President of the TTCUSC, refuted claims of victimisation made by Kasso Dowlath and Hayden Bruce, two members of the newly-formed, Association of Cricket Umpires of Trinidad and Tobago, a group that is not affiliated with the TTCB but is understood to have links to the over arching West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA).  TTCB President Deryck Murray, who also spoke at the briefing, and was quoted by the 'Trinidad and Tobago Express' as saying that "both the TTCUSC and the TTCB acted totally in accordance with the procedures and principles governing selection of umpires".  Kowlessar claimed that Dowlath and Bruce were using their influence and clout on the WICUA to get the other umpires in the region to boycott regional matches, however, he noted, "a total boycott did not take place, a reference to the fact that one WICUA member, Derindranauth Somwaru, stood in one of the matches (E-News 210-1173, 15 March 2008).  "The umpires selected to serve for the West Indies are the best umpires at that time", said Kowlessar.  "The list changes from year to year and if an umpire remains stagnant, they will be removed...we will continue to appoint umpires who deserve to be there".  "I hope that good sense will [now] prevail and the other umpires go out to work as [Dowlath and Bruce] are not bad umpires and I am sure they will return to the fold in the future", said Kowlessar. [EN216-1207].



India's Kingfisher Airlines (KA), which is run by Vijay Mallya owner of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Bangalore franchise, has signed a five-year, $A27m, contract that entitles the airline to be the League's Official Umpire Partner, say media reports from the sub-continent over the last few days.  The deal means that KA will get branding rights on IPL umpires' uniforms, including shirts and hats and all third umpire decisions made during the fifty-nine match Twenty20 tournamenet, plus what is referred to as "several other activation opportunities around the property".  Mallya was quoted as saying that the IPL will present "umpires in a completely new and modern style while retaining their critical role in the sport", although just what that means in practice has not yet been made clear.  IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said in a statement yesterday that he is "very pleased to have Kingfisher join us as the umpire partner in an exclusive five-year deal".  KA's "decision bears testimony to the fact that the [IPL] is here to stay and is set to carve out a distinct niche for itself in the international cricket calendar".  The IPL is believed to be in negotiations with some members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpiring Panel (EUP) to stand in the new League, but as yet the names of who will officiated in matches, including sixteen Indian first-class umpires who will be involved, have not been announced.  Australian international umpire Simon Taufel reportedly turned down overtures made to him by the IPL earlier this month, according to statements attributed to IPL tournament Director Dheeray Molhotra by an Indian web site earlier this month (E-News 208-1159, 13 March 2008).  Meanwhile the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have reportedly denied New Zealand player Hamish Marshall, Wavell Hinds (West Indies), Johannes van der Wath (South Africa), Andrew Hall (South Africa) and Justin Kemp (South Africa), registration to play in this year's County Championship, according to a report in today's 'Calcutta Telegraph'.  All five have previously signed up to join the IPL's rival, the Indian Cricket League.  Earlier this month the ECB warned players and umpires that they faced censure if they sign up for "unauthorized events” such as the ICL (E-News 206-147, 10 March 2008).  The inaugural IPL series is due to get underway on 18 April in Bangalore. [EN216-1208].  


E-NEWS NUMBER 217, 25 March 2008





Australian international umpire Daryl Harper is to officiate in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament next month.  An entry posted on Harper's web site last week indicates that his "707th career game", and first match after the current Test between New Zealand and England in Napier (E-News 201-1105, 26 February 2008), will be on 20 April when IPL's Mumbai and Banglaore frachices face each other.   


Harper appears to be the first umpire to indicate publicly that he will be officiating in the IPL.  While saying that it would be using International Cricket Council (ICC) umpires and Indian first-class officials for its series, the IPL has yet to formally name just who will manage its tournament on the field or in the third umpire's suite (E-News 194-1059, 11 February 2008).


The Australian has been publicly linked to the IPL by the new competition's officials in the last few weeks (E-News 208-1159, 13 March 2008).  Other ICC senior umpires named at that time as being “sought" by the IPL were his countryman Steve Davis, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Harper's colleagues on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Mark Benson (England), 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), and three other IUP officials, Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe), and Ian Howell and Brian Jerling (South Africa).


Whether all have actually signed by the IPL is not known at this time.  ICC EUP member Simon Taufel of Australia reportedly turned down the IPL's overtures, apparently because the remuneration offered to him by the new league was not enough to compensate for his being away from his home in Sydney for an extended period.  


India's Kingfisher Airlines last week signed a five-year, $A27m, contract that entitles it to be the League's Official Umpire Partner (E-News 216-1208, 23 March 2008).





The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent a letter to international match officials and the captains and chief executives of its full-member teams and top one-day sides calling for their support for a "zero tolerance" crackdown on the use of offensive language and gestures on the field of play.  


The letter, which is believed to have first been published in India's 'Hindustan Times' newspaper yesterday, has asked all concerned to learn from "India's recent acrimonious tour of Australia".  "We acknowledge that every incident is highlighted and sensationalised in the media, often with very little objectivity, but ... there have been several controversial incidents on the field which originated from the use by players of language or gestures which are considered obscene, offensive or insulting", says the letter.  


The ICC said that while verbal exchanges could not be eliminated entirely, umpires had to decide what they felt were acceptable levels.  "The umpire seeking to lay a charge shall be required to take into account the context of the particular situation and whether the words or gesture are likely to be regarded as obscene, or give offence, or insult another person", reads the letter.


The letter, written by ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed, follows a decision made by the world body's Chief Executives Committee at its meeting in Malaysia last month, of the need to enforce its current Code of Conduct for players and officials (E-News 199-1089, 21 February 2008).





The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) new Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has appointed an Interim Board of seven under the Chairmanship of Roger Knight, a former Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Marylebone Cricket Club (E-News 177-952, 15 January 2008).  


The ACO, which commenced operations on 1 January after the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers merged with the ECB, says in its newsletter that the Interim Board will "manage the transition period and help put in place a permanent Board [that will be established] prior to the 2009 season".


In addition to Knight, the other Interim Board members are Lyn Allen, Nick Cousins, Chris Kelly, Geoff Lowden, Peter Mitchell, David Moseby and Peter Willey. 





International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Asad Rauf from Pakistan "never wanted to become a cricket umpire", according to comments attributed to him by the 'Gulf News'.  While enjoying the role now, Rauf, who is 51, apparently indicated to the newspaper that he might only umpire for another two years as he "will give up umpiring when [he is] at [his] best and not hang on for [another] five or ten years".


Rauf, who had played seventy-one first-class matches for four separate sides in Pakistan from 1977-90, was quoted by the 'Gulf News' as saying that as a player he "was not at all interested in umpiring [as in Pakistan at the time they] did not have a good reputation, [and that] as a player [he] had seen the behaviour of some players towards umpires".


Former Pakistani player Majid Khan persuaded Rauf to become an umpire, organising an umpiring course for him and his now fellow EUP member Aleem Dar, plus current Pakistani member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Nadeem Ghouri. After attending the course Rauf says that he "felt confident", but when Khan asked him to umpire first-class matches he at initially refused.


Rauf says that in those early days he didn't know whether he had the temperament to become an umpire, and so told Khan he would only officiate in Under 19 and Grade matches, but "after four matches, I started enjoying my job and [in late 1998, seven years after he retired from first-class cricket as a player he] agreed to officiate in four first-class matches in Sargoda, one of the hottest areas in Pakistan".  "The matches were played in 47 degrees Celsius and I survived it", says Rauf, and after that one assignment, he went and "told [Khan that he] would take up umpiring".


Asked by the 'Gulf News' what makes a good umpire, Rauf said that "it is the willingness to learn, [to] never hesitated to knock the doors of senior umpires and learn from them".  He believes that an umpire should win the respect of players, but "you will earn their respect only if you perform in the middle, so it is important to get the decisions right", he added.


Coincidently, Rauf has now umpired the same number of first-class matches that he played in, seventy-one, since his first nearly ten years ago.  His first Test was in January 2005, and over the last thirty-eight months he has stood in seventeen such games involving all of the Test-playing nations except New Zealand and Pakistan; while in the One Day International sphere he now has fifty-one games under his belt. 





Cricket Australia (CA) is this week running a 'Behind the Scenes with the Third Umpire' feature on its web site.  The CATV file shows Bruce Oxenford, Australia's third umpire on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), at work. 


Oxenford, who is based in Queensland, was promoted to the IUP last July (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007), and has since worked as the third official in two Test matches, ten One Day Internationals (ODI) and a single Twenty20 international.  Last month he made his debut in an ODI as an on field official (E-News 161-876, 28 December 2007), and umpired his second international Twenty20 (E-News 188-1015, 1 February 2008).  


The Queenslander has a total of thirty-eight first-class games as an umpire to his credit, all but two of them being in the Australian interstate competition, and he has been the third official in the last two finals of the domestic first-class competition in Australia (E-News 207-1155, 11 March 2008).  Oxenford also stood with Ian Lock from Western Australia in the final of this year's domestic Twenty20 final (E-News 175-937, 13 January 2008).





Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful has been fined twenty-five per cent of his salary for the month of March for hitting a fan during a practice session, says a report from the Reuters News Agency.  The incident is believed to have occurred in Dhaka last week.


The Reuters report says that around the same time the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) also fined Ashraful's team mates Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel and Abdur Razzak twenty percent of their salary for playing in a domestic tournament without permission from the BCB.  


Reuters says that the BCB also warned bowler Shahadat Hossain for making gestures towards the spectators during his side's One Day International series against Ireland last week. 



E-NEWS NUMBER 218, 27 March 2008






The proposed trial of a Player Referral System (PRS) in Tests later this year should stop the "hysterical furor that always surrounds mistakes made by umpires in international cricket", says senior International Cricket Council (ICC) official David Richardson.  The PRS will work with "whatever technology is available", and not "compromise the role of the on field umpire", or "deskill him in any way", says Richardson, who is "particularly excited" about this year's trial. 


Speaking on an audio file posted on the ICC's web site this week, Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket) who has line responsibility for umpires, says the PRS will keep the responsibility for final decisions on appeals with the umpire out on the ground.  The question that umpire "will basically ask" the television official is "is there anything you can see of hear from the TV replays or technology available to you that would cause you to suggest to me that I should change my decision", says Richardson.


While not detailing exactly what technology will be used during this year's trial, which looks likely to occur during the Test series between England and South Africa in July-August (E-News 216-1206, 23 March 2008), Richardson says that "obviously the more technology available [and the higher its quality], the better the system will work".  However, he believes that  "whether youv'e got [just] six cameras or twenty-five cameras [plus] super slow motions, and mats and 'Hawke Eye', in theory it will work whatever the technology we have".  


According to him it might be argued that a PRS "diminishes the authority of the on field umpire", but he believes that "the counter argument to that is what's better for the game?  Richardson answers his own question by saying that with "umpires being blamed for ruining player's careers, influencing the result of matches, influencing the result of series", the PRS, which might only be used "three or four times in a Test match", is "the lesser evil". 





The Board of the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA)  has decided that when First and Second Grade two-day matches are being played over Saturday-Sunday next season, Third Grade and Under 17 games will only play one-day games on the Sunday only.  The move is one of several of By Law changes formulated for the 2008-09 season by the TCA' Grade Cricket Committee after consultation with clubs and others. 


In other changes announced, arrangements whereby replacement players are permitted in TCA two-day matches will now be extended to one-day games, however, all existing team sheet and 'like-for-like' procedures will remain unchanged.  Similarly, in the Under 15 competition, players who have participated in the first week of a two-day match, but who are subsequently selected to play in the Under 17s the following week, can be replaced in the Under 15 game.


A proposal to replace the Under 17 competition with Fourth Grade sides, as has existed in the past, was apparently not agreed to.





The International Cricket Council (ICC) has urged the media to respect its decision to restore Darryll Hair to its Elite Umpires Panel, according to a report on the 'cricket365' web site yesterday.   


Doug Cowie, the ICC's Umpires Manager, was quoted as saying that Hair "needs time and space to concentrate on his umpiring".  "We ask you in the media to respect that it is in the best interests of cricket that all our officials can perform at their best when there is less focus from the media" and we "try to preserve that environment for officials wherever we can”, said Cowie.


Referring to Hair's "rehabilitation" course, David Richards, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket) said that it "was aimed at improving comminication skills, body language and learning to be more aware of the views of others". "No one has ever disputed that he is a good decision maker", said Richards, and "it is only fair that he be given a chance to put into practice what he may have learnt".


Hair said last week that he plans to focus on improved communication with players in the top-level matches to which he is assigned over the next year (E-News 216-1203, 23 March 2008).





In New Zealand, Canterbury batsman Michael Papps has been fined half of his match fee after he indicted his disapproval of the umpire's decision when he was judged to have been caught behind in a match against Auckland at Eden Park on Monday.  


Papps, who was out for a 'duck', was reported by Dennis Smith, the umpire who gave the decision, and his colleague Phil Jones, for remaining at the crease for an unacceptable amount of time after Smith indicated that he was out.


After a hearing into the charges that were laid, Auckland Association Commissioner Andrew Gilchrist, the meeting's convenor, said that "it would be unfair and harsh on Papps to be suspended for a four-day match for what must be considered a breach at the lowest end of the scale".  After taking into account all possible mitigating factors he fined Papps half his match fee.


Gilchrist granted Papps leave to appeal the decision to the National Commissioner, but there is no indication s yet that the player plans to proceed with an appeal.




The International Cricket Council (ICC) appears likely to appoint the five regional umpire managers around the world next month, the latest move in the world body's response to last year's review of international umpiring arrangements (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  


The new positions, whose role is to work with the world body's 'Elite' and second-tier 'International' umpire panels from their region as well as all visiting umpires, will report direct to the ICC's "Umpires and Referees Manager" at its headquarters in Dubai "or any other Employer", says the ICC.  The five regions to which umpires managers will be appointed are the 'UK and the West Indies', 'Australia-NZ-Pacific', 'Asia West', 'Asia East' and 'Africa'. 


The ICC is also in the process of recruiting a new Umpires and Referees Manager "to oversee the development and execution of the ICC strategic and operational plans relating to all aspects of officiating in international cricket, and in particular to the management of the ICC’s Umpires and Referees Department.  Areas to be covered by the position include: selection and appointments; assessments; training and development and operational and administrative support. 


Former New Zealand international umpire Doug Cowie currently holds the ICC Umpires Manager position in Dubai. 


E-NEWS NUMBER 219, 29 March 2008





Umpires with little or no experience at the higher levels of the game are managing two games of the last round of the 'domestic' first-class competition in the West Indies that got underway overnight Australian time, a situation that suggests the strike by the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) is continuing.


The WICUA decided earlier this month to boycott the last two rounds of this season's domestic series in the Caribbean as a show of solidarity with two of their umpiring colleagues in Trinidad and Tobago who they say were unfairly removed from the domestic first-class panel  (E-News 207-1153, 10 March 2008).  A split in umpiring ranks later saw the WICUA's ban blocked when Trindad and Tobago umpires and a WICUA renegade stood in the three games involved (E-News 210-1173, 15 March 2008).


The first day of last night's two matches were umpired by Patrick Grazette, Kenrick Davis-Whyttle, Roger Laroque and Peter Nero.  Grazette and Davis-Whyttle are managing the game in the Leeward Islands, the match being the former's third at first-class level, and first for three years, and Davis-Whyttle's second after his debut game last January.  Laroque and Nero are looking after the match in Trinidad, and records consulted by E-News indicate that both are making their first-class debut, an unusual situation that is unlikely to occur in normal circumstances. 


The third and last match in the final round in Guyana does not start until tonight Australian time.  No press reports of the matches, or of what is happening in the dispute, had been published as this edition of E-News was being prepared.





The International Cricket Council's recent call for a "zero tolerance" crackdown on the use of offensive language and gestures on the field of play (E-News 217-1210, 25 March 2008), led Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf to be more "proactive" in tackling an issue that arose during the First Test between India and South Africa in mid week, claims a report in Thursday's 'India Times' newspaper.


Journalist Satish Viswanathan states in his report that Indian speedster Shanthakumaran  Sreesanth was "getting just a bit frustrated with no South African wicket having fallen" in its first innings on day one of the match "and he seemed to take it out on [batsman] Graeme Smith, a move that Rauf noticed".  Whatever "Sreesanth had said or done" says the report, "Rauf saw it fit to give the bowler an unofficial warning [which resulted] in a miffed Sreesanth snatching his cap away from the Pakistani umpire". 


As a result "Rauf followed up his mild censure of Sreesanth by walking up to [Indian captain Anil] Kumble and having a word with [him as] Smith looked on".  "But Sreesanth had done his job" claims  Viswanathan, as "Smith's concentration wavered just enough in the following over [when] he pushed at a Kumble delivery into the waiting hands of VVS Laxman at short mid-wicket". The 'India Times' story says that "at no time did [Sreesanth's actions] seem to be sledging, [however], it was perhaps gamesmanship at its best".  


On match eve Kumble had told the newspaper that he "did receive the letter from the ICC but I think we are mature and capable enough to understand where to draw the line and I am sure cricket will be played in the right spirit here".  He was quoted as saying that "it's always good to have a healthy banter on the field and whatever happens on the field should remain on the field [and], my teammates know that and that's how we are going to play here and the future series as well".  





Last week's International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting in Dubai voted to ask Sunil Gavaskar, the Chairman of its Cricket Committee, to give up either his honorary position with the world body or his paid role as a columnist and commentator because of conflict of interest issues, says a report published in 'The Times' newspaper in London this week.


Late last September, Gavaskar queried the role of umpires and the match referee in diffusing on-field confrontations during the India-Australia One Day International series in his newspaper column (E-News 121-653, 2 October 2007).  Then in January he criticised, again via his column, South African match referee Mike Proctor's decision to censure Indian player Harbhajan Singh (E-News 177-955, 15 January 2008), those comments attracting concern from a number of ICC officials (E-News 181-975, 22 January 2008).


Gavaskar appears to be troubled by the choice he now appears to have to make, telling the 'Mumbai Mirror' that he "loves writing and loves being on television, but [he] also appreciate[s] the opportunity to be on the ICC committee, to sit along with players who have distinguished themselves, and also the umpires who are in the technical committee".  "Being in the ICC committee, I get a perspective from just about every stake holder and that is also something very enjoyable and fulfilling", said Gavaskar.


Journalist-broadcaster Christopher Martin-Jenkins, claimed in an article in 'The Times' this week that the ICC Board's decision may explain an article by Gavaskar published in India in the time since its meeting that described England and Australia as "dinosaurs" who cannot "open their eyes and see the reality". Gavaskar wrote that "the cricketing world has found that India has no longer a diffident voice but a confident one that knows what is good for its cricket, and will strive to get it".  


An ICC statement released on Wednesday said that Gavaskar has held discussions with ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed, and that it "was agreed that Sunil will convey his [decision] to the ICC [after] having chaired the upcoming meeting of the ICC Cricket Committee on 5-6 May".  Those views are likely to be considered during the ICC's Annual Conference week, which is scheduled for the period from 29 June to 4 July.





England County professional John Francis has been charged with "unacceptable behaviour" after smashing all three stumps with his bat when he was given out in the final of the Wellington, New Zealand, club competition last Sunday, says a report published in the 'Manawatu Standard' newspaper on Thursday. 


Francis was playing for eventual champions Eastern Suburbs when he was adjudged to have been LBW without scoring, the dismissal giving him a 'pair' for the match; the incident overshadowing the hat-trick that the bowler claimed at the same time.  Umpires Rob Kinsey and Grant McAlister later charged Francis with "unacceptable behaviour under Law 42.18", says the newspaper report.  


If found guilty of the charge Francis "is likely to receive a lengthy ban, although Easts would be unlikely to seek his services next season", according to the 'Manawatu Standard'.  The Englishman, who plays for Somerset, has already left Wellington to rejoin his County.  He is to be represented at Cricket Wellington's (CW) disciplinary hearing by Easts captain Lance Dry and chairman Tim Boyer. 


CW's Chief Executive Officer Gavin Larsen, who along with CW President Bruce Murray witnessed the incident, described it as "one of the more unsavoury things that I've seen on a cricket park" and said Murray was "disturbed" by the incident.  Francis' "behaviour was totally unacceptable and just the last sort of thing you want to see ... just an incredibly bad example to be sending to fellow cricketers of all ages across Wellington", Larsen said.


CW Development Manager Peter Clinton was quoted as saying that he was unaware of a precedent to Francis' case.  "There's been plenty of swearing and conduct unbecoming and that sort of stuff, but stumps flying out of the ground is perhaps a new one", he said.  Clinton said that any ban Wellington might impose could not be enforced in England. 



E-NEWS NUMBER 220, 31 March 2008






Seven members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) may be in the running for positions on the world body's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), if their selection to stand in Test matches over the last fifteen months is any guide.  The ICC is expected to announce the names of the twelve members of an expanded EUP sometime in the next few days, a move agreed to by the world body last October following a length review of international umpiring (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007). 


Speculating about just who will get the nod for the new slots is extremely difficult, in terms of judging an individual's abilities and when the significant complexities of ICC politics are factored in.  Little is available publicly to indicate how the ICC rates its umpires' decision making abilities, technique, field craft, or man and match management skills, although given that Test cricket is the highest form of the game, selections for such games should be a guide.  


Of the seven IUP members  involved, Peter Parker (Australia) has been named to four of the forty-eight Tests to which appointments have been made since 1 January last year,  Tony Hill (New Zealand) three, and Steve Davis (Australia), Ian Howell (South Africa), Nigel Llong (England), Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe) and Suresh Shastri (India), two each.


Parker has been on the first-class umpiring scene the longest, having commenced his career in 1986, Davis, Shastri and Tiffin in 1990, Hill in 1994, Howell in 1999 and Llong in 2000.  Howell, Shastri and Llong also played  first-class cricket, the South African 119 matches from 1981-98, the Englishman 68 games from 1990-98, and the Indian 53 matches from 1972-87.  


Tiffin, who was a member of the EUP before being dropped in 2004, is the most experienced at Test level.  Currently he has a total of 82 first-class matches as an umpire to his credit, a figure that includes a remarkable 40 Tests, Parker (113/10), Davis (92/11), Llong (74/2), Howell (66/9), Hill (67/7) and Shastri (58/2).


Llong and Shastri made their Test debuts quite recently, Shastri in the Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, series last June-July (E-News 55-305,  18 June 2007), and Llong when New Zealand took on the Bangladesh side in January (E-News 154-853, 13 December 2007), while Parker's first Test was in 1993, Tiffin's in 1995, Davis in 1997, and Hill and Howell both in 2001.


Llong and Shastri's limited Test experience to date may not necessarily be a disadvantage, however, for current EUP members Mark Benson, Aleem Dar, Billy Doctrove and Asad Rauf had just 8, 6, 2, and 5 Tests under their belt when they ere elevated to their current positions.  


Since Shastri's last appointment to a Test, however, appointments have been made to a 34 further Tests, but whether the fact that he has been overlooked for Tests in the eight months since is an indication of how the ICC rates him is unknown.


Tiffin also tops the list on the One Day International scene will 100 matches over the past sixteen years (E-News 151-830, 10 December 2007), Davis has 71 over the same period, Parker and Howell both 63 (in 15 and 8 years respectively), Shastri 19 (15 years), and Llong 13 in just two years.  Davis, Hill, Howell, Parker, Tiffin all have one World Cup under their belt.   


If the age an individual is a factor for the ICC in terms of the potential for a long career on the EUP, then Davis and Hill, who are the oldest at 55 and 56 respectively, would possibly only have a few years at the top level if selected, although of the seven Hill has been consistently chosen for Tests in each of the last four years.  Llong is the youngest of the seven at 39, while Howell, Parker, Shastri and Tiffin are between 48 and 52, an age-range that may better suited to a longer stay at the top level, if that is what the ICC is looking for. 


Parker's chances of elevation to the top level may have taken a blow after his countryman Darrell Hair was reinstated to the EUP earlier this month (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).  Australians Daryl Harper, Simon Taufel and Hair are currently on the EUP, and Parker's addition would make four from 'down under', something that may well be hard for the ICC to sell to its member nations; unless the unexpected happens and Taufel decides he no longer wishes to continue on the EUP as was apparently hinted at last month (E-News 195-1066, 12 February 2008).    


Parker's position is also difficult to gauge given that Australian selector's chose two non-IUP Australian umpires to stand in the final of this season's domestic First Class competition ahead of him earlier this month (E-News 207-1155, 11 March 2008).  Some reports have suggested that fitness issues were involved, although if true that didn't stop the ICC selecting him for two Tests in New Zealand in January (E-News 154-853, 13 December 2007). 


India, which has been concerned for some time about the absence of its nationals on the EUP, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has been criticised at home by some for its lack of attention to umpiring matters (E-News 27-150, 11 April 2007), moved last year to address umpiring standards (E-News 94-511, 6 September 2007).  The BBCI is believed to have been pushing both Shastri and his IUP countryman Amish Saheba for EUP slots (E-News 198-1086, 19 February 2008).  


Typical of the public comments made on the issue on the sub-continent were those of former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram last week, 'The Navhind Times' quoting him as saying that “more Asian umpires need to be inducted into the Elite Panel [and the fact that] no Indian is on [the EUP] is not good", and that "the ICC must get the best umpires to do the matches".


The Indians are not alone though, for while two of their nationals have only filled four of the 300 on-field umpiring appointments to the last 150 Tests, Sri Lankans have been appointed to just five (two umpires) and Zimbabwe two (one umpire), but no Bangladeshis have yet broken through to Test level.  In contrast Australians have filled 86 of the 300 slots (five umpires), Pakistanis 57 (three), South Africans 43 (three), West Indians 41 (two), and Englishmen and New Zealanders 31 each (four and two), a reflection say some observers on the umpiring systems and standards in those nations.


Press reports have suggested that a four-man panel consisting of the ICC's General Manager Cricket, David Richardson, the ICC's Chief Mantch Referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, former English player and Test umpire David Lloyd, and former Indian player and umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghvan, who is currently the BCCI's Director of Umpires, have the responsibility for choosing the new EUP (E-News 201-1108, 26 February 2008).  


Despite a number of press reports, however, the ICC does not appear to have publicly announced the existence of the selection panel, although its formation as one of the outcome's of last year's review of international umpiring. 


While the ICC is nominally looking for two umpires for an expanded EUP membership, just how many positions are actually available is complicated, publicly at least, by recent controversies involving West Indian Steve Bucknor (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008) and South African Rudi Koertzen (E-News 195-1065, 12 February 2008).  


However, while many observers feel that both are past their best, the ICC may find it difficult to loose them at this time for several reasons, including the fact that two new members are being recruited, and the difficult politics of world umpiring at the moment.   


Bucknor has been reported as saying that if he is reappointed this will be his last year at the game's highest level (E-News 178-959, 16 January 2008), and Koertzen is within a year of his reported aim of standing in 100 Tests and 200 One Day Internationals before retirement (E-News 33-186, 27 April 2007).





The International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to "ask umpires to report any player guilty of abusing an opponent and then make sure the first offender receives a stiff penalty", says former Australian captain Ian Chappell in an column published on the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday.  Chappell was responding to the letter the ICC sent to the international cricket community last week that said in part that "it is impossible to define which words or combination of words will be regarded as offensive" (E-News 217-1210, 25 March 2008). 


The Australian, who in his time was not known for his reluctance to get across his point on the field of play, says that the ICC should also "demand that captains crack down on the amount of inane chatter indulged in by their players, and ensure that any batsman who takes the law into his own hands in quieting the fielding side is awarded a medal for doing the game a belated service, rather than be reported for a misdemeanor".  


Chappell said in January that sledging and other problems during matches should be tackled by giving "more power" to on-field umpires (E-News 178-956, 16 January 2008), and a month later attacked the ICC for what he says is the erosion of the authority of umpires (E-News 190-1034, 5 February 2008). 


Chappell says that "if as modern players regularly assert, inane chatter is "part of the game", then why don't batsmen talk to the bowler while he's running up?"  He says he was fascinated "to read the response of some Australian players to the ICC's letter, [which was] basically along the same lines as [their] pace bowler Stuart Clark's [comments that] "it's going to be very boring for six hours if you can't talk to one another and can't do anything like that".  "What is a sledge and what's not a sledge is my big question", said Clark last week,


Chappell asserts the opposite, however, saying "it is bloody boring having to endure the constant inane chatter, and I've never associated a hard-fought contest on the cricket field with boredom".  It seems to have become accepted wisdom that "hard men" have a lot to say on the cricket field, he says, but "the two toughest opposing fast bowlers I encountered were John Snow of England and Andy Roberts of the West Indies and not one word ever passed between us on the field, [although] mind you, if looks could have killed I wouldn't be typing this column".


The former captain talks of a match at the SCG in 1980 when he says he "politely" told Englishman Derek Randall, whose frequent chatter at silly mid-off "became rather tiresome", that he would "cover-drive his head instead of the ball if he didn't shut up".  That "short, sharp reminder had the desired effect" says Chappell, and he was able to go on batting "in relative quiet, which is the way a batsman should be able to conduct his business in the middle".


"There were words spoken on the field when I played, some of them angry, some abusive and some humorous, but they were the result of spur-of-the moment action and reaction", writes Chappell, and that "if someone overstepped the mark he was spoken to by the umpire, and if that didn't resolve the issue the player was reported".  


"The ICC has failed to earn the respect of players and, I suspect, most umpires [when it allows] the Indian board to run roughshod over it, and does nothing to rein in a recalcitrant Zimbabwe, but strongly disciplines umpires Darrell Hair and Steve Bucknor and the officials in the World Cup final debacle", concludes Chappell.





South African international umpire was hit where it hurts most during an domestic Twenty20 match in Durban on Friday evening.


A report from Durban on Saturday says that Eagles batsman Jaques Rudolph swept the first ball of the tenth over from Dolphins bowler Daryn Smit, "firmly into Brian Jerling's centrally situated soft bits at square leg".  "Jerling dropped like a stone and it was no surprise when the word 'Urggh!' came up on the big screen as the umpire, a former sergeant-major in the army, rolled around in agony".


Fortunately says the report, "the nuggety Jerling finally recovered, acknowledging the cheers of a crowd that had been given something else to think about apart from the dismal form of the Dolphins who lost the match comprehensively".


Jerling, who is on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel,  was standing in his twenty-second domestic Twenty20 match.  He has officiated at first-class level since December 1988, and in the time since been on the field for 119 such games, four of them Tests, as well as sixty-two One Day Internationals, three of them in last year's World Cup in the West Indies (E-News 20-115, 27 March 2007).