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April 08 (221-238)


 AUGUST 2008
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES

TOTAL OF 18 EDITIONS PUBLISHED

(Story numbers 1227-1311)


221   222   223   224   225   226   227   228   229   230   231   232   233   234   235   236   237   238  

 

221 –  221 – 1 April  [1227-1231]
          • ICC umpire mainstays to miss finals?  (221-1227).

• Patel withdraws from ICC CEO consideration  (221-1228).

• South Africa fined for slow over-rate in Test  (221-1229).

• PNG conducts umpire’s course (221-1230).

• TCUSA Annual General Meeting date set  (221-1231).

 

222 –  3 April  [1232-1239]

• Steven John 2008 ‘TCA Umpire of the Year’  (222-1232).

• TCUSA Annual Dinner pictures available on line  (222-1233).

• Have ICL’s county umpires returned to the UK  (222-1234).

• Windies officials seek solution to umpiring problems  (222-1235).

• Five U19 internationals have ‘potentially flawed actions’, says ICC  (222-1236).

• Kiwi chalks up 100 first class matches  (222-1237).

• Targett appointed as TCA Director  (222-1238).

• Walking in heat helps prepare Hill for Indian climate  (222-1239).

 

223 –  4 April  [1240-1245]

• Bucknor nominated for ODI series, ‘Elite’ panel announcement awaited  (223-1240).

• Brandon. Martinecz, stand in second ICL semi  (223-1241).

• Chanderpaul leaves game, no substitute allowed, claim reports  (223-1242).

• Second South African recommended for ICC CEO position  (223-1243).

• Gibbs again in strife, this time for match issues  (223-1244).

• ‘Dickie’ Bird charity being ‘probed’, claim reports  (223-1245).

 

224 –  6 April  [1246-1249]

• Changes to Windies umpire structure mooted, boycott ends  (224-1246).

• Argument continues over Chandrpaul’s absence  (224-1247).

• Lorgat confirmed as next ICC CEO  (224-1248).

• Double-header for ICL umps  (224-1249).

 

225 –  8 April  [1250-1253]

• PCB reported unhappy with Bucknor, Proctor, appointments  (225-1250).

• Hefty match fee fine for Windies go slow   (225-1251).

• Bangladesh Academy players warned for umpire abuse  (225-1252).

• Second ‘beamer’ leads to Test bowler’s removal  (225-1253).

 

226 –  13 April  [1254-1261]

• Eleven ICC umpires to stand in IPL, says report  (226-1254).

• Announcement on ICC’s ‘Elite’ panel still awaited  (226-1255).

• ICC anti-corruption unit queries players  (226-1256).

• ICL retains same umpires for ‘international’ series  (226-1257).

• Asif concerned at Hair’s return  (226-1258).

• Erasmus for international Under 15 tournament  (226-1259).

• One-match ban handed out for dissent  (226-1260).

• Volunteers sought for TCA by-laws working group  (226-1261).

 

227 –  15 April  [1262-1269]

• Decision-making by Australian umps ‘good’, says player survey  (227-1262).

• PRS-related test for ‘Hawk-Eye’ scheduled  (227-1263).

• MCC special general meeting to look at Law 6  (227-1264).

• Willey bemoans lack of ICC backing for umpires  (227-1265).

• Jerling, Hurter for SAF Twenty20 semis  (227-1266).

• Pink ball for trial at Lord’s  (227-1267).

• Harper for film role  (227-1268).

• ‘Old Umpire’ for UK pubs in June  (227-1269).

 

228 –  16 April  [1270-1272]

• Davis appointed to ‘Elite’ panel, claims web site  (228-1270).

• Player, umpire ‘donations’ to ground staff ‘tradition’  (228-1271).

• Kenyan umps standing in ACL tournament  (228-1272).

 

229 –  17 April  [1273-1276]

• Membership of new ICC umpires selection panel confirmed  (229-1273).

• By Laws group still needs members  (229-1274).

• ICC seeks ‘explanation’ on Kanpur pitch  (229-1275).

• Complaints about umpiring in NW African tournament  (229-1276).

 

230 –  18 April  [1277-1282]

• ‘Fair play’ award, cowboy hats for IPL  (230-1277).

• ICC receive Kanpur explanation, judgement awaited  (230-1278).

• Proposed law change to allow longer bats?  (230-1279).

• Slow rate, kick damage fines handed to Bangladesh  (230-1280).

• Team concedes ninety-two extras and still wins  (230-1281).

• Bird criticizes loss of ‘traditional’ sweaters  (230-1282).

 

231 –  20 April  [1283-1285]

• Rauf, Koertzen get IPL underway  (231-1283).

• ICC names East Asia Pacific umpire panels  (231-1284).

• Bird’s 75th birthday sees donation to own charity  (231-1285).

 

232 –  22 April  [1286-1290]

• Encouraging results from Lord’s pink ball trial  (232-1286).

• Fireworks delay IPL play, umpire in clean-up  (232-1287).

• IPL contracts to impact on Test selections  (232-1288).

• Reports provide insight into ICL’s player referral system  (232-1289).

• ‘Pitch expert’ needed for Kolkata wicket, says IPL franchise  (232-1290).

 

233 –  23 April  [1291-1295]

• County reps ‘confused, under-represented and oppressed’, says IICUS  (233-1291).

• IPL ‘Fair Play’ award linked to ‘big pay cheques, claims report  (233-1292).

• TCUSA winter scorers’ school dates announced  (233-1293).

• Details of Kuala Lumpur training course outlined  (233-1294).

• Umpires ‘confused’ by richocheting ball, claims ‘Bearders’  (233-1295).

 

234 –  24 April  [1296]

• Sri Lankan, Australian promoted to EUP  (234-1296).

 

235 –  27 April  [1297-1300]

• Speed departs as ICC tensions again surface  (235-1297).

• IPL ‘Spirit of Cricket’ push takes a slap  (235-1298).

• ‘Face protector’ use is legal, says MCC  (235-1299).

• ‘Cash prize’ on offer for good behaviour  (235-1300).

 

236 –  28 April  [1301-1305]

• CA Chair regrets manner of Speed’s departure  (236-1301).

• Umpire panel selection, season review, meetings this week  (236-1302).

• Full plate of work for new ECB officials group  (236-1303).

• Umpiring Twenty20 games ‘easier’, says Harper  (236-1304).

• ‘Sin bin’ approach for on-field misdemeanors proposed  (236-1305).

 

237 –  29 April  [1306-1309]

• Hair named for Old Trafford Test  (237-1306).

• Eleven-match ban for Harbhajan, BCCI inquiry underway  (237-1307).

• Tiffin appointed to Windies-Australia Tests  (237-1308).

• ICC confirms annual conference move to Dubai  (237-1309).

 

238 –  30 April  [1310-1311]

• Umpire’s newspaper comments lead to suspension  (238-1310).

• Nel penalized for ‘Code of Conduct’ breaches  (238-1311).

 

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 221,

TUESDAY, 1 APRIL 2008

 

ICL UMPIRE MAINSTAYS 

TO MISS FINALS?

[EN221-1227]

 

Three English county umpires who between them filled half of the fifty-six on-field positions available in the preliminary rounds of the India Cricket League's (ICL) current Twenty20 series, may miss the tournament's finals series this week, although the exact situation that prevails in not clear.  Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty all have contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that it is believed require them to be available in the UK from 1 April.

 

Prior to the ICL's first tournament in December, the ECB told all of its first-class officials that they would prefer them not to officiate in the so-called 'rebel' series because of a lack of anti-corruption controls, but media reports indicated that the Board had assured umpires that their contracts would not be affected by their ICL involvement (E-News 142-773, 26 November 2007).  Earlier this month, however, the  ECB's position hardened (E-News 206-1147, 10 March 2008), but whether they will enforce the 1 April deadline for Cowley, Evans and Jesty, is not known 

 

The last of the ICL's twenty-eight preliminary matches in the current tournament was played yesterday, however, the last games involving Cowley, Evans or Jesty ended on Sunday, an arrangement that would have allowed them to fly back to England before today if that was required by the ECB.

 

During the series to date Jesty has stood in eleven games, Cowley in ten and Evans seven, Pakistani Shakeel Khan eight, Sri Lankan Ranmor Martinesz and Englishman David Brandon seven each, and retired County umpire Roy Palmer six.  Each has also had a time in the third umpire's suite, Brandon six times, Palmer five, Martinez four, Jesty three, Cowley and Khan two each, Evans once, Indian national Alfred Burrows, who stood in the original ICL series, once, and a 'Dr Vaghela', who has no known umpiring history, four times. 

 

Six matches make up the ICL's final series.  Two semi finals are to be played tomorrow and Thursday, a third versus fourth match during the day on Friday, and the three-game final in the evening on Friday, Sunday and Monday.

 

If the three county umpires are not available for those games, responsibility for overseeing them would fall to Brandon, Khan, Martinez and Palmer.  The semi finals are being played a day apart in two separate cities, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, but with Burrows and Vaghela as third umpires, enough officials would still be available to cover both games.  

 

Khan, Martinez and Palmer have considerable first-class experience, while Brandon has officiated at County Second XI level in the UK (E-News 206-1147, 10 March 2008).

 

PATEL WITHDRAWS FROM ICC 

CEO CONSIDERATION

[EN221-1228]

 

South African Imtiaz Patel has withdrawn his interest in becoming the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Patel was named as the "preferred candidate" for the CEO position by the ICC Board two weeks ago, with former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Inderjit Singh Bindra as his principal advisor (E-News 212-1182, 18 March 2008).

 

As a result of Patel's decision the world body's recruitment committee will reconvene to identify the new "preferred candidate", and will then make another recommendation to the ICC Board so that an appointment can be finalised "at the earliest opportunity" in the "very near future".  The incoming CEO will take over from Australian Malcolm Speed, who will step down after seven years in that position following this year’s ICC Annual Conference which runs from 29 June and 4 July. 

 

ICC President-Elect David Morgan said in a statement that "we are obviously disappointed that Imtiaz has chosen to withdraw his interest, having regarded him highly".  “However, the fact that he has withdrawn does not mean that, by default, we will be left with a candidate who is, in any way, inferior to him", continued Morgan.  “In fact, we have been fortunate to have several high calibre candidates on the shortlist, all of whom bring something slightly different to the table".  The 'Cricinfo' web site is today reporting that when the ICC named Patel in mid-month it had "failed to seek Patel's consent for the post"

 

Patel said that "after considering my position carefully, I have, however, resolved to remain in my beloved country, South Africa, and continue in my challenging and fulfilling role as Chief Executive Officer of SuperSport International".

 

SOUTH AFRICA FINED FOR SLOW 

OVER-RATE IN TEST

[EN221-1229]

 

South Africa has been was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the First Test against India in Chennai last week.  Match referee Roshan Mahanama imposed the fines after the side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.

 

In accordance with the International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  As a result South African skipper Graeme Smith was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while each of his players received ten per cent fines.

 

PNG CONDUCTS UMPIRE'S 

COURSE

[EN221-1230]

 

The Papua New Guinea Cricket Board's (PNGCB) Level one accredited umpire’s course last weekend was attended by grade umpires, managers, coaches, and players from the Port Moresby competition plus umpires from Central province.  The course, which was run by Lakani Oala and Clive Elly, two senior PNG umpires, covered all facets of the Laws of Cricket and was aimed at equipping umpires and players with a better appreciation of the game both at club and representative level, says a report in PNG's 'The Nation' newspaper yesterday.

 

Oala was quoted as saying that the course is "part of PNGCB efforts to lift the standard of cricket umpiring in the local competitions", and that the Board plans to hold another level one course in September with several refresher courses to be held prior to that.  It is also hoped that a separate office for umpires in PNG can be established to help further develop the standard of umpiring in PNG.  

 

PNG is part of the International Cricket Council's East Asia Pacific region, an area that takes in nations in the Pacific, Japan and Malaysia.

 

TCUSA ANNUAL GENERAL 

MEETING DATE SET

[EN221-1231]

 

The TCUSA's 2008 Annual General Meeting is to be held at Bellerive on Wednesday, 21 May.  During the evening reports will be presented by officer bearers and members elected to the Management Committee for the 2008-09 season.  

 

In accordance with TCUSA rules the positions of Vice President, Secretary and two committee members are open for election this year.  Nomination forms for those positions are to be distributed to members by mail sometime in the first week of May, and will need to be returned to President-Administrator Graeme Hamley by Friday, 16 May.  

 

The AGM will get underway in the Premiership Room at Bellerive at 7.30 p.m. and the usual fortifications will be available after its conclusion.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 222,

THURSDAY, 3 APRIL 2008

 

STEVEN JOHN 2008 'TCA UMPIRE 

OF THE YEAR'

[EN222-1232]

 

TCUSA umpire Steven John was named as the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) 'Umpire of the Year' at the Tasmanian Tigers Players of the Year Annual Dinner last week.  John's award marks the end of a very successful season that saw him break into senior level interstate cricket, and experience international matches at close quarters.    

 

This year's award was presented by State Coach Tim Coyle, who during his remarks prior to presenting the trophy, acknowledge the important role the umpiring and scoring community play in cricket, pointed out that Tasmania is the only state without someone on the National Umpires Panel, and hoped that that situation will be corrected in the very near future.  

 

Named a member of the inaugural State Umpires Squad prior to the season after two consecutive TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year' awards in just his fifth year as an umpire (E-News 89-479, 28 August 2007), John stood in his first three one-day domestic matches plus a fourth as the third umpire, two interstate Twenty20 games, two four-day Cricket Australia Cup matches, and the men's national Under 19 tournament (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007).  

 

He was also the fourth official in the Test match at Bellerive between Australia and Sri Lanka in November, which was umpired by Pakistan's Aleem Dar and South African Rudi Koertzen with Australia's Peter Parker in the third umpire's suite, and for the One Day International between India and Sri Lanka in February, a game that saw Koertzen and Australians Simon Taufel and Bruce Oxenford the umpires for the game (E-News 187-1010, 31 January 2008). 

 

At the local level John stood in TCA First Grade, Twenty20, and intrastate Kookaburra Cup matches, and was appointed to the final of the latter competition and to the TCA First Grade Grand Final, the latter his second top-level season-ending match in twelve months (E-News 208-1165, 13 March 2008). 

 

TCUSA ANNUAL DINNER PICTURES 

AVAILABLE ON LINE

[EN222-1233]

 

Twenty-five of the pictures taken by Roy Loh during the TCUSA's Annual Dinner at Bellerive on 19 March are now available on the Association's web site.  The images presented show all of the members who received awards during the evening, details of which were provided in E-News 215 on 21 March.   

 

To access the images go to the Association's web site, the address of which is provided at the top of this newsletter, then click the 'Awards' link in the banner at the top right of the screen.  Pictures taken at the 2007 Annual Dinner continue to be available on the web site, a link being provided at the bottom of this year's page.  

 

HAVE ICL'S COUNTY UMPIRES 

RETURNED TO THE UK?

[EN222-1234]

 

Current England County umpires Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty were not involved in the first semi final of the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) Twenty20 competition last night.  Their non-appearance may mean that they have returned to England for the County season, although the exact position will not become clear until further ICL matches today and tomorrow (E-News 221-1227, 1 April 2008).

 

Last evening's semi final was looked after by retired County umpire Roy Palmer and Shakeel Khan from Pakistan, while Indians Alfred Burrows and Ajit Wadekar were the third official and match referee respectively.  

 

If tonight's second semi final sees Englishman David Brandon and Sri Lankan  Ranmor Martinez out on the field and the unknown 'Dr Vaghela' in the third umpire's box, plus Pakistani Mustaq Mohmad as the match referee, it could be a further indication that Cowley, Evans and Jesty have left the sub-continent.  

 

WINDIES OFFICIALS SEEK SOLUTION 

TO UMPIRING PROBLEMS

[EN222-1235]

 

Senior members of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) met in Trinidad on Tuesday in an attempt to settle the issues that led to the WICUA's boycott of recent domestic first-class matches, says a report by Tony Cozier in yesterday's 'Trinidad and Tobago Express'.  Differences between two umpiring bodies in Trinidad and Tobago, only one of which is recognised by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, led to the WICUA withdrawing its member's services (E-News 207-1153, 11 March 2008).  

 

Tuesday's meeting is reported to have involved WICB Chief Executive Officer Donald Peters and Chief Cricket Operations Officer Tony Howard, plus WICUA president Hartley Reid, the latter being quoted as saying that "it's a welcome opportunity to have this specific matter resolved and to discuss the general relationship between the WICB and the WICUA".  No reports of the outcome of the meeting have yet been published, however.

 

Cozier quotes Peters as saying in a television interview in Guyana prior to this week's meeting that he hoped "to come to some amicable agreement" with the WICUA's Reid.  According to Peters "the larger issue is all these factions in the umpires' fraternity", and what he "would like to see is one group, and [that] the WICB would contract an elite panel and three levels of umpires".  "We're not involved in the struggle [between umpires], but we have a responsibility to ensure that umpires work closely together so that, in the final analysis, we can get the best umpires to stand in our matches", added Peters.

 

The 'Trinidad and Tobago Express' article refers to comments made by the WICB's corporate secretary Tony Deyal to WICUA executive member and international umpire Billy Doctrove, that his decision not to stand in a domestic first-class match because of the umpire's boycott would be reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) (E-News 211-1175, 17 March 2008).  

 

It quotes ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald as saying that although the ICC was aware of the issue "it is really a domestic matter and so we have no direct part to play".  "However, if there is a way that we can assist all sides coming to a satisfactory agreement on this, then we will be happy to help", said Fitzgerald.  Doctrove is currently in India to stand in the last two Tests of the current series between the home side and South Africa, the first of which starts today (E-News 216-1204, 23 March 2008).

 

Relatively inexperienced umpires stood in the first two matches of the last round of 'domestic' first-class cricket in the West Indies last weekend (E-News 219-1220, 29 March 2008).  The third game, which got underway a day later than the other matches, was managed by umpires Davteerth Anadjit and Terrance Birbal.  

 

Anadjit was standing in his seventh first-class match, but first for three years, while Birbal, was taking part in his thirty-sixth first-class match.  Birbal was one of the umpires criticised by Jamaican and West Indian captain Chris Gayle earlier this month (E-News 210-1172, 15 March 2008), however despite calls for Gayle to be censured by the WICB, the Board is yet to take any action, at least publicly.

 

FIVE U19 INTERNATIONALS HAVE 

"POTENTIALLY FLAWED ACTIONS", SAYS ICC

[EN222-1236]

 

Five players were identified as having "potentially flawed bowling actions" during the Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia in February, says the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Three of the five players were from ICC Associate teams and the other two from Test-playing nations, however, the world body says that details of just which nations or players are involved will only be released if their home Boards choose to do so.

 

Player's actions were observed by the ICC's three-man Bowling Action Advisory Panel made up of ICC match referee Javagal Srinath, Richard Done, the ICC’s High Performance Manager, and biomechanist Marc Portus, who is a member of the ICC’s panel of human movement specialists.  Panel members attended games individually and assessed bowling actions from various aspects of the ground, and if an action was deemed to be suspicious it was filmed wherever possible.  

     

The five players identified are not eligible for selection for any national team until an assessment by their own boards’ bowling advisors confirms either the action is legal or that, although it was illegal, it has now been remedied. ICC General Manager Cricket, David Richardson, said in an ICC statement that "by identifying any player who has a flaw in their technique at junior level, there is an opportunity to address the problem before they graduate to senior international cricket". 

 

The ICC says that the use of the three-man panel during the competition last February, is part of its "comprehensive program to deal with the issue of flawed actions, including a streamlined process that was introduced in March 2005 at senior international level".  The ICC requires that national bodies develop their own system to identify players with flawed actions and correct any problems well before players reach senior international level.

 

In February the ICC banned West Indian Marlon Samuels from bowling in international matches after his action was deemed to be illegal (E-News 201-1110, 26 February 2008).  Thirteen first-class players in India were also identified as having suspect actions last month (E-News 193-1054, 8 February 2008).   

 

KIWI CHALKS UP 100 FIRST

CLASS MATCHES

[EN222-1237]

 

New Zealand Elite Umpire Panel member Evan Watkin stood in his 100th first-class match last week, a feat that came at the end of his nineteenth season officiating at that level.  Watkin becomes the sixth New Zealand umpire to reach that milestone after Fred Goodall (102) Dave Quested (105), 'Billy' Bowden (106), and Steve Dunne and Doug Cowie (both 112).

 

Writing in 'The Dominion Post' newspaper yesterday, journalist Sam Worthington quotes Watkin as saying that "being only the sixth New Zealander is a special feeling and I'm pretty proud of that", but for a while he thought he "might be fourth but with 'Billy' [Bowden] doing so many overseas Test matches he beat me to it, and Dave got there at the start of this season". 

 

According to Worthington, Watkin, who is 56, joked that pushing on to a double century of first-class matches was highly unlikely, but he was keen to continue to at least 60 years old "as long as I'm still enjoying it and healthy".  "I might have to go to England for a couple of seasons of County cricket to speed things up otherwise I'll be about 75 when I get to 200", he quipped.

 

Watkin, who has stood in two Test matches, rated his debut between New Zealand and India at the Basin Reserve in 1998 as his fondest umpiring memory.  "New Zealand managed to get home by four wickets in the finish but it was a tremendous match - watching [Sachin] Tendulkar score a 100, [Mohammad] Azharuddin also got 100 in the first dig ... it was a special occasion", he says.

 

During his career at international level Watkin has also stood in twenty-one One Day Internationals and a single Twenty20, all of those matches being played in New Zealand.

 

Bowden holds the New Zealand Test record with forty-five matches, Dunne has thirty-nine, Goodall twenty-four, Cowie twenty-two, and Quested five.

 

TARGETT APPOINTED AS 

TCA DIRECTOR

[EN222-1238]

 

Former Tasmanian first-class cricketer Ben Targett, who many TCUSA umpire and scorer members will have seen playing Second or Third Grade for the South Hobart Sandy Bay club over the last few years, has been appointed as a Director of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) Board.

 

TCA Chairman Brent Palfreyman said in a press release that the Board of Directors welcomed Targett's move into State cricket administration and believed he would make a valuable contribution to the future of the TCA.  "Ben joins the TCA Board as its youngest Director and I am confident with his vast knowledge of Tasmanian cricket and fresh ideas he will only further strengthen the Board and make an important contribution to TCA deliberations", said Palfreyman.

 

Targett, who quite a few TCUSA umpiring members will have seen up close making his views of the batsman he is bowling to crystal clear, even in the twilight of his playing career, said he was really looking forward to serving as a TCA Director and as a former player, being involved with Tasmanian cricket on another level.  "I have been a keen follower of Tasmanian cricket at all levels for many years now and I certainly look forward to making a positive contribution at this level", says Targett.

 

In his four-year playing career with Tasmania from 1997-2001 Targett, a right-arm fast bowler and lower order batsman, played sixteen first-class matches,  including the 1997-98 Sheffielfd Shield final, overall taking forty wickets at an average of 34.8, and in twenty-three innings scoring  207 runs at 11.5.  He also played five one-day interstate matches.

 

WALKING IN HEAT HELPS PREPARE HILL 

PREPARE FOR INDIAN CLIMATE

[EN222-1239]

 

New Zealand international umpire Tony Hill prepared for the extremely hot and humid conditions he experienced during the First Test between India and South Africa in Chennai last week by doing a lot of walking in the heat in the days leading up to the match, says a report published by the Rediff News on Tuesday.

 

Hill told a reporter in Ahmedabad, where he is preparing for the Second Test which starts today, that he "always prepares for the conditions" and that walking around the city when it was really hot meant that he was working hard during the day.  He says he had a fair idea of what conditions would be like as he was in India for the Afro-Asia Cup last year. 

 

Rediff News says that during the Test in Chennai, Hill had a small bottle of water stuck in his back pocket which he filled up at each drinks break to keep his fluids uptake at appropriate levels.  His partner for the match, Pakistan's Asad Rauf, rested on the ground at every drinks break, but Hill did not follow his lead because he "was not sure if [he] would get up at all".

 

Weather forecasts for Ahmedabad over the next few days, when Hill will be standing with West Indian Billy Doctove, indicate that day time temperatures are expected to be in the order of forty degrees Celsius.

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 223,

FRIDAY, 4 APRIL 2008

 

BUCKNOR NAMED FOR ODI SERIES, 'ELITE' PANEL 

ANNOUNCEMENT AWAITED

[EN223-1240]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday appointed West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, and South African match referee Mike Proctor to the five One Day Internationals (ODI) that will be played this month between Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

 

Bucknor's appointment as the neutral umpire for the series suggests he may be continuing as a member of the ICC's Elite Umpiring Panel (EUP) for another year, although the world body is yet to make an announce on that group's composition for the next year (E-News 220-1224, 31 March 2008).

 

The Pakistan-Bangladesh series, which was hastily cobbled together after Australia withdrew from its visit to Pakistan for security reasons, will be played over eleven days in five cites, and take Bucknor's ODI match record to 172, fifteen of which were played in Pakistan.  

 

Bucknor's umpiring colleagues during the games are likely to come from Bucknor's EUP collegues Aleem Dar or Asad Rauf, or Pakistani members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Zameer Haider, Nadeem Ghauri and third umpire Riazuddin.  

 

Given that Dar and Rauf's names have been banded about as possible umpires for the Indian Premier League, which starts just before the ODI series finishes, their availability to the Pakistan Cricket Board for the international series, which makes what the ICC calls the "local appointments", is unknown (E-News 207, 1209, 25 March 2008).

 

Following the ODIs Pakistan and Bangladesh are to take each other on in a Twenty20 International on 20 April in Karachi.  Proctor will be the referee for that game, but it is to be umpired by "Pakistan Cricket Board appointees". 

 

BRANDON, MARTINECZ, STAND IN 

SECOND ICL SEMI

[EN223-1241]

 

Englishman David Brandon and Sri Lankan Ranmor Martinez were the on-field umpires for the Indian Cricket League's second semi final last night.  Their appointments suggest that currently contracted English County umpires Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty have returned to the UK as required by their contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (E-News 222-1234, 3 April 2008).

 

Match referee for yesterday's semi final was Mustaq Mohmad, who has been officiating through the current ICL competition, while the third umpire was listed as 'V. Satish', someone who does not appear to have been used in an ICL match to date, and about which little is known.  Four more matches are left in the ICL's current series, a third versus fourth match and the first final later today, a second final on Sunday, and if necessary a third next Monday.

 

Meanwhile the ICL announced on Wednesday that it is to hold an "international" three-team Twenty20 tournament involving sides representing India, Pakistan and the rest of the world in Hyderabad from 9-15 April.  The teams will be made up of players from the League's current Twenty20 series divided up on the basis of nationality to form Indian and Pakistan teams, while the world team will feature the best international players.  The ICL's 'Lahore Badshahs' side, who topped the ladder and have now reached the final, is made up primarily of players from Pakistan.  

 

The new tournament will see each team playing the other twice before the top two sides compete in the finals.  No details of who will umpire the so-called international series, which will end just three days before the Indian Premier League gets underway, have yet been announced.

 

CHANDERPAUL LEAVES GAME, NO SUBSTITUTE 

ALLOWED, SUGGEST REPORTS

[EN223-1242]

 

Guyana was refused the use of a substitute fielder on the second day of first-class match against the Windward Islands last weekend when West Indian player Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was not out 78 at the close of day one, failed to appear on the second day to resume his innings.  Unbeknown to team management at the time team sheets were handed in prior to the game getting underway, Chanderpaul had to travel to Trinidad that evening to attend a West Indies Player's Association awards night.

 

Media reports in the West Indies say that neither Guyana's manager Carl Moore, their coach Albert Smith or captain Travis Dowlin were aware of Chanderpaul's planned absence until after the game got underway, and he was subsequently deemed to be "retired out" before play recommenced on the second day.

 

Moore, who claimed that key officials of the Guyanan Cricket Board knew about Chanderpaul's plans, said that after being informed of the situation he approached Windward Islands manager Lockhart Sebastien just before day two commenced, but while symphathising with Moore's position, he considered that "allowing of Chanderpaul to take liberties with a cricket match of that importance [was] absolutely nonsensical".  He then reportedly advised Moore that the situation was such that "as allowed under the Laws of Cricket, he was not going to allow a substitute player to field for Chanderpaul when the time came". 

 

By the time Moore and Sebastien had finished their discussion the two umpires, Davteerth Anadjit and Terrance Birbal (E-News 222-1235, 3 April 2008), had already taken the field for the resumption of Guyana's first innings, and it is claimed that they did not know about the situation until the lunch break, although commonsense suggests that they must have enquired why Chanderpaul was not at the crease.  

 

Media reports suggest, but do not specifically state, that Guyana fielded with only ten men when they took the field after lunch on day two for the Windward Island first innings, which if correct suggests that the umpires applied Law 2.1(b) which states that they, and not the Windward Islands manager, "shall have discretion, for wholly acceptable reasons, to allow a substitute for a fielder, or runner for a batsman, at the start of the match or at any subsequent time".

 

Tom Smith, the Laws of Cricket 'bible', says on page thirty-two that "the phrase 'wholly acceptable' is open to interpretation as it can cover any reasonable excuse offered by the player concerned", and that the "opposing captain, players or team officials cannot influence the decision in any way".

 

SECOND SOUTH AFRICAN RECOMMENDED 

FOR ICC CEO POSITION

[EN223-1243]

 

Haroon Lorgat, a former convenor of Cricket South Africa's selection committee, has been recommended as the International Cricket Council's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), says a report posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site overnight.  Lorgat is believed to have been nominated by the CEO selection panel, and an official announcement "is expected within the next forty-eight hours" after ICC Board members cast their votes on the recommendation.

 

The four-man CEO selection panel had to take up its work again this week after its initial nominee Imtiaz Patel, who had been offered the post, withdrew his interest in the position (E-News 221-1228, 1 April 2008).  If cleared, Lorgat will take over from Australia Malcolm Speed, who steps down from the position when this year's ICC annual conference ends on 4 July.

 

GIBBS AGAIN IN STRIFE, THIS TIME 

FOR MATCH ISSUES

[EN223-1244]

 

South African Herschelle Gibbs, who was arrested last Friday morning for allegedly driving under the influence, had been in trouble two days before, this time for match-related issues.  Playing for the Cape Cobras franchise in a domestic Twenty20 match, Gibbs was found guilty of breaching a section of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Code of Conduct that covers the "use crude or abusive language" to any "other participant, official or spectator in a match".  

 

What 'The Times' newspaper in South Africa called a "secretive statement" from CSA indicated that Gibbs was charged following an "incident", however, it provided no details other than to say he had been reported by match referee Barry Lambson.  South African members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel Brian Jerling and Marais Erasmus were the on-field officials for the match.

 

Reports indicate that following a hearing Gibbs received a “severe reprimand” from CSA Disciplinary Commissioner, Michael Kuper for "his action and reaction" during the "incident".

 

 'DICKIE' BIRD CHARITY BEING 

'PROBED', CLAIM REPORTS

[EN223-1245]

 

A charity set up by former English international umpire 'Dickie' Bird to help disadvantaged youngsters with a talent for sport is being probed after it allegedly "racked up huge bills but giving next to nothing to the people it was supposed to support", say media reports overnight from London.  

 

According to 'The Sun' newspaper, a tabloid that is not always known for its objectivity, accounts lodged with the UK's Charity Commission by the Dickie Bird Foundation show that it only distributed the equivalent of $A17,000  to those in need from the $A285,000  it has raised since it was established in 2004.

 

The Foundation, whose patrons include former British Prime Minister John Major, retired chat-show host Sir Michael Parkinson and ex-England football manager Sir Bobby Robson, is reported to have spent the equivalent of around $A262,000 on running costs, of which $A135,000 was used to organising fundraising events, $30,000 on consultants, and more than $A45,000 on marketing.

 

Media reports did not indicate just who is conducting the probe into the Foundation, but Bird was quoted as saying that he was certain that the issues involved would be “satisfactorily resolved”.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 224,

SUNDAY, 6 APRIL 2008

 

CHANGES TO WINDIES UMPIRE STRUCTURE 

MOOTED, BOYCOTT ENDS

[EN224-1246] 

 

Plans by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) plans to "professionalise umpiring" in the region were discussed with West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) president Hartley Reid in Barbados last Wednesday during a meeting at which the WICUA's boycott of domestic first-class matches in the Caribbean appears to have come to an end (E-News 222-1235, 3 April 2008).

 

WICB corporate secretary Tony Deyal was quoted by 'The Trinidad and Tobago Express' (TTTE) on Wednesday as saying the Board's Chief Executive Donald Peters had "discussed the possible establishment of a task force to advise on setting up a system, based on the International Cricket Council's [three-tier umpire panel] model to professionalise umpiring in the region".  That move is, added Deyal,  part of the WICB's strategic plan "which will be widely disseminated for public response in the next few days".

 

Deyal said that Peters and Reid had agreed "to facilitate an urgent meeting of the WICUA executive" and "subsequently, on a mutually convenient date, to meet with WICUA".  The discussions followed the WICUA's decision to boycott first-class matches late last month after the WICB replaced two WICUA member, Kasso Dowlath and Hayden Bruce, on the season's regional panel (E-News 207-1153, 11 March 2008).

 

Reid confirmed Deyal's comments, says the (TTTE), then continued by saying that "for all intents and purposes" the WICUA's boycott was over”,  That indicates that WICUA members will be available for this season's domestic first-class final between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in Jamaica which is scheduled to run from 24-28 April.  

 

The WICUA's President said the action in the 'domestic' series had never extended to the international matches during the current tour by Sri Lanka.  During the first two Tests, which were played while the boycott was in place, 

 

West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Goaland Greaves and Clyde Duncan, were in the third umpire's chair and fourth official positions respectively in support of on-field umpires 'Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Simon Taufel (Australia) (E-News 216-1204, 23 March 2008).

 

ARGUMENT CONTINUES OVER 

CHANDERPAUL'S ABSENCE

[EN224-1247]

 

Guyana Cricket Board president Chetram Singh says that batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul had sought permission to attend the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) awards ceremony during last week's first-class match against the Windward Islands, and had not abandoned the Guyana team (E-News 223-1241, 4 April 2008).  Chanderpaul collected the three major awards at the WIPA function but reports have suggested that his team was forced to field with only ten men because his absence was "not explained". 

 

Chanderpaul, who made an unbeaten 78 on the opening day of the match, flew to Trinidad for the WIPA ceremony, but was unable to get a flight in time to return for the start of day two, say the latest reports.  Match referee Omar Bacchus and the two umpires told local media outlets that they were never officially informed about Chanderpaul’s absence by the Guyana camp and had no other choice than to rule him 'retired out'.  

 

Singh was quoted as saying that it is the manager's responsibility "to inform all the relevant parties that [Chanderpaul] was not going to continue his innings and I would say that poor management caused all this confusion", however, Moore publicly denied that he had known Chanderpaul planned to take leave of absence.

 

Reports are suggesting Moore's "failure" to inform the match officials of Chanderpaul’s absence will be documented in the match referee’s report on the game.  Chanderpaul said he was disappointed that the lack of a proper explanation gave the impression that he just took off without anyone being informed.

 

LORGAT CONFIRMED AS 

NEXT ICC CEO

[EN224-1248]

 

South African Haroon Lorgat is to become the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) when Australian Malcolm Speed steps down in early July after seven years in the position.  Lorgat’s appointment was confirmed by the ICC on Friday (E-News 223-1243, 4 April 2008).

 

Lorgat, who will become the second South African to serve as the ICC's CEO, has been appointed less than a week after the ICC’s "preferred candidate", fellow South African Imtiaz Patel, rejected the role.  He was quoted in a press release as saying that he is "grateful to the ICC for appointing me as its new CEO and look forward to an exciting and rewarding journey in a game I have truly loved from a very young age".  “I am under no illusion about the challenges that await me but those challenges are also opportunities and I cannot wait to start work at the highest level in such a great game.”

 

Lorgat’s playing career included first-class cricket for Eastern Province and Transvaal as a left-hand batsman and right-arm medium-pacer.  Since retiring, he has served on the board of the Western Province Cricket Association and also on finance committees for the United Cricket Board of South Africa and the 2003 World Cup.  He was a national selector for South Africa from 2001 to 2003 and chaired that panel from 2004 to 2007.

 

DOUBLE-HEADER FOR ICL UMPS

[EN224-1249]

 

Three of the Indian Cricket League's panel of umpires were involved in a double-header in Chandigarh on Friday when they officiated in both the 'third versus fourth' match, and the first final of the three-game series decider, of the ICL's current Twenty20 series.  

 

The first encounter was looked after by Englishman David Brandon and Sri Lankan Ranmor Martinez out on the field and Pakistani Shakeel Khan in the third umpire's suite.  The match referee for the first game was Pakistani Mustaq Mohmad and for the second  Indian Erapalli Prasanna.  

 

There was again no sign that current English County umpires Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans and Trevor Jesty, which suggests that they have returned to the UK prior to 1 April when their contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board start in the lead up to the northern summer (E-News 222-1234, 3 April 2008).

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 225,

TUESDAY, 8 APRIL 2008

 

PCB REPORTED UNHAPPY WITH BUCKNOR, 

PROCTOR, APPOINTMENTS

[EN225-1250]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is unhappy with the appointments of Mike Procter and Steve Bucknor as officials for their One Day International (ODI) series against Bangladesh that gets underway later today, says a report published by the Press Trust of India (PTI) yesterday.  South African Proctor and West Indian Bucknor were named as the match referee and neutral umpire respectively for the five ODIs by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last week (E-News 223-1240, 4 April 2008).

 

PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf was quoted by the PTI as saying that his Board will talk to the ICC on this matter and that he has asked "our Director (Cricket Operations) speak to his counterpart in the ICC on this issue", a reference to David Richardson who has line responsibility for umpires and match referees at the world body's headquarters in Dubai.

 

The PTI says that the PCB’s reluctance to have Procter as the match referee in Pakistan matches has its origins in the infamous 2006 Oval Test against England where ball tampering allegations culminated in Pakistan forfeiting the game.  The South African was the match referee for that match, a game that later saw one of the umpires, Australian Darrell Hair, excluded from top-level cricket for over eighteen months (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).  

 

Bucknor was removed from the third match of the India-Australia Test series by the ICC last January after criticism from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).

 

Asked during the interview with the PTI whether Hair's recent reinstatement meant that "Pakistan [is] a weak member of the ICC", Ashraf reportedly said that it is wrong to draw the conclusion that his country "has no voice in the ICC", and he went of to say emphatically that "Hair will not officiate in our matches even though the ICC has reinstated him".  

 

The ICC indicated last month that Hair is unlikely to umpire any Test or One Day Internationals involving Pakistan in the near future, while Hair himself has reportedly said that he will be prepared to umpire in Pakistan if called upon (E-News 214-1187, 20 March 2008).

 

HEFTY MATCH FEE FINE FOR 

WINDIES GO SLOW

[EN225-1251]

 

West Indies captain Chris Gayle has been fined seventy per cent of his match fee, and his team mates thirty-five per cent, after their side were found to be six overs short of the required over-rate on the final day of the Second Test against Sri Lanka in Trinidad on Sunday.  

 

Gayle, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was found to have breached a section of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct for players and team officials that relates to "unfair play due to his side bowling its overs too slowly".   . 

 

ICC match referee Chris Broad from England said in an ICC statement released yesterday that during a hearing held after the match ended, "neither [Gayle, the West Indies coach John Dyson], nor [team] manager [Omar Khan], was able to persuade me that the shortfall in overs was beyond their control or that the allowances permitted to teams by the match officials were not appropriate".  

 

Broad said that he "saw very little evidence that the West Indies team, after learning of their slow over-rate predicament, actually tried to speed things up, therefore, they left me with little option but to enact this penalty".  

 

 “Teams, and captains in particular", said Broad, "have a duty to bowl a minimum number of overs in a day [as] slow over-rates are not fair to the opposition or the paying spectators and captains have a responsibility to ensure their players adhere to the regulations in that regard". 

 

The charge against the West Indian side was brought by on field umpires Simon Taufel from Australia and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand.

 

BANGLADESH ACADEMY PLAYERS 

WARNED FOR UMPIRE ABUSE

[EN225-1252]

 

Three players from the Bangladesh Cricket Board's Academy side, Nasiruddin Faruque, Dolar Mahmud and Mehrab Hossain junior, were given warnings for using abusive language towards umpires at a match against South Africa Academy in Jessore on Sunday.  

 

Match referee Raqibul Hasan found them guilty of breaching the BCB's Code of conduct by excessive appealing and using offensive language against umpires Jahangir Alam and Tanvir Ahmed.

 

Faruque, the academy captain, was given a suspended sentence of two matches while Mahmud and Mehrab received a match each.  The suspension will come in to effect if the players repeat the same offence in the Academy Cup, a three-nation series that also involves Pakistan's Academy side.

 

SECOND 'BEAMER' LEADS TO 

TEST BOWLER'S REMOVAL

[EN225-1253]

 

West Indian quick Jerome Taylor was removed from the bowling attack during the Second Test match against the Sri Lanka in Trinidad on Friday after he bowled a second beamer in the visitor’s first innings.  

 

New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden asked West Indian skipper Chris Gayle to take Taylor off after the second ball of his eighteen over, a delivery that 'The Trinidad and Tobago Express' described as "a failed attempt at a slower ball, following the one which had hit [Sri Lankan batsman Tillakarane] Dilshan on the wrist the previous day".

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 226,

SUNDAY, 13 APRIL 2008

 

ELEVEN ICC UMPIRES TO STAND

 IN IPL, SAYS REPORT

[EN226-1254]

 

Eleven members of International Cricket Council’s (ICC) current top two umpiring panels will officiate in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) competition, says a report in today's edition of the Kolkata newspaper 'The Telegraph'.  The report also names six match referees for the series, only one of which is currently linked to the ICC, and states that "around six" Indian umpires "could also be used on the [IPL's] umpiring roster".

 

The eleven ICC umpires named by 'The Telegraph' are: Mark Benson (England), 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Steve Davis and Daryl Harper (Australia), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe), and Ian Howell, Brian Jerling and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa).  IPL tournament Director Dheeray Molhotra indicated last month that all eleven were being sought for the series, but that Australian Simon Taufel had declined to take part (E-News 208-1159, 13 March 2008).  Harper has indicated that his first IPL match will be on 20 April (E-News 217-1209, 25 March 2008).  

 

The involvement of Howell, Jerling and Koertzen has been confirmed in a press release issued by Cricket South Africa (CSA), which says that Koertzen "will have the honour of officiating in the [IPL's] opening match in Bangalore" next Friday.  CSA says that Howell’s turn will be on 22 April in Hyderabad and Jerling's in Chennai on 10 May.  Just how many of the IPL's scheduled fifty-nine games the three will be involved in during the six-week tournament are not known, however. 

 

CSA’s General Manager for Cricket Operations, Brian Basson could not, says the CSA statement "hide his delight at these appointments [and that] the umpires are to be commended on their high performance levels which have not gone unnoticed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India thereby resulting in their respective appointments to this inaugural prestigious tournament".  Basoon says that he is "understandably extremely proud of this enormous achievement and [is] confident that they will acquit themselves in the customary high standards associated with umpiring in South Africa", appointments that are "a clear indication that the systems, policies and procedures practiced [in South Africa] are producing umpires of stature".

 

The eleven officials with links to the ICC will be joined by just "six Indian umpires" claims today's report in 'The Telegraph', however, the latter seems a very small number given that 177 on-field and third umpire slots that need to be filled by the IPL over the next six weeks.  IPL Chairman, and Vice President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Lalit Modi, was quoted in February as saying that "seven or eight" ICC 'Elite' umpiring panel members, and "sixteen Indian umpires" will be used for the series (E-News 194-1059, 11 February 2008).

 

According to 'The Telegraph', the only current ICC match referee who will take part in the IPL's inaugural series will be Indian Jawagal Srinath.  The report says that the IPL has "roped in one-time match referees [and former high-profile players] Clive Lloyd [West Indies], Srinivas Venkataraghavan [India], Gundappa Viswanath [India], Alvin Kallicharan [West Indies] and Talat Ali [Pakistan], while Farokh Engineer [India], who has lived in England for decades, will also take part in that role".

 

Former West Indian captain Lloyd retired as a member of the ICC's match referee panel last year after working in that role in fifty-three Tests, 133 One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 internationals  (E-News 31-173, 23 April 2007).  Viswanath, has fifteen Tests and seventy-eight ODIs as a referee under his belt, Talat ten and twenty-six, and Venkataraghavan five and eight.  Neither Kallicharan or Engineer appear to have had previous experience as match referees. 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT ON ICC'S 'ELITE' 

PANEL STILL AWAITED

[EN226-1255]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to name the twelve umpires who will make up its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the next year.  An announcement on the expanded group was originally anticipated around 1 April, a date by which EUP contracts are normally thought to take affect for the year ahead (E-News 220-1224, 31 March 2008).  An ICC spokesman told E-News ten days ago that he hoped the announcement would be released by early last week.

 

 

ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT 

QUERIES PLAYERS

[EN226-1256]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has indicated that its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) carried out interviews with three Pakistan players, Danish Kaneria, Yunus Khan and Umar Gul, in Lahore on 5 and 6 April.  An ICC statement says that "the purpose of [the] interviews was to seek specific information and the ACSU has confirmed that this information was provided by the players. 

 

The interviews were "not conducted" in relation to any alleged breach of the ICC Code of Conduct, says the statement, and that "as a matter of policy", the ICC does not comment on the specific details of the ACSU’s investigations.  

 

The statement did not mention banned Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who claimed last week he was offered money to throw matches, however, some media outlets are quoting "Pakistani sources" as saying that he was also interviewed by the ACSU.

 

ICL RETAINS SAME UMPIRES 

FOR 'INTERNATIONAL' SERIES

[EN226-1257]

 

The same umpires and a match referee who support the final games of the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) recent city-based Twenty20 series, are being use for its seven-match ‘international’ series involving players from India, Pakistan and the 'Rest of the World'.  Englishmen David Brandon and Roy Palmer and Shakeel Khan from Pakistan and Ramon Martinez from Sri Lanka are sharing the on-field and third umpire slots, while Erapalli Prasanna from India has been the match referee (E-News 224-1244, 6 April 2008).

 

Playing conditions for the tournament include a Player Referral System (PRS), whereby those on the field "will have three chances in the match to appeal to the third umpire against the field umpire’s decision", says Kiran More, an ICL Executive Board member.  Precise details of how the PRS will work in practice or what technology will be available to match officials during its use have not been spelt out.  There have been no reports as to whether the PRS has been called into action during the four matches played to date.

 

The last two round-robin matches of the series are scheduled to be played later today and tomorrow, the final being listed for Tuesday.  All games in the current series are being played in Hyderabad.

 

ASIF CONCERNED AT 

HAIR'S RETURN

[EN226-1258]

 

Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal has warned that the decision to reinstate Australian umpire Darrell Hair to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel "could result in conflicts, both on and off the field", says a report in 'The Telegraph' newspaper in Kolcutta.  

 

Asif was quoted as saying that he "cannot convince myself that this decision is in any way in the best interests of the game, for it carries potential of conflict and much unpleasantness both on and off the field”.   According to the quote "Pakistan is not the only Asian side that feels less than comfortable when he is officiating [and] why must a man who makes some teams uncomfortable be forced on them?”

 

ERASMUS FOR INTERNATIONAL 

UNDER 15 TOURNAMENT

[EN226-1259]

 

South African member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, Marais Erasmus, has been appointed to officiate in a  five-nation Under-15 Championship in the West Indies later this month. The tournament will be contested by the hosts, West Indies, Bangladesh, Kenya, Zimbabwe and ICC Americas. Erasmus is to fly to the Caribbean from South Africa tomorrow.   

 

ONE-MATCH BAN HANDED 

OUT FOR DISSENT

[EN226-1260]

 

Jon Kent, a player from the Nashua Dolphins franchise in South Africa, was last week found guilty of dissent and suspended for one match following a disciplinary hearing in Johannesburg.  Kent pleaded guilty after being reported by umpires Shaun George, Dennis Smith and Karl Hurter, and the match referee, Cyril Mitchley, following an incident during the Dolphins' Twenty20 fixture against Zimbabwe Chevrons at Kingsmead on Wednesday.

 

Kent, who had a previous conviction for a similar offence, admitted to have breached clause 1.2 of Cricket South Africa's Rules and Code of Conduct which states that "players and team officials must at all times accept an umpire's decision and must not show dissent at an umpire's decision".  No details of the incident for which Kent was censured are available.

 

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR TCA 

BY-LAWS WORKING GROUP

[EN226-1261]

 

The TCUSA Management committee is seeking volunteers for a small working group that aims to assist the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) in ensuring that its By-Laws for 2008-09 are clear to all who read them.  From time-to-time during the TCUSA's regular training-appointment meetings over the season just ended, members have raised matters related to paragraphs and areas of the By Laws where they have experienced difficulties of interpretation.  

 

The work proposed for the sub-committee is not aimed at affecting any changes to the By-Laws themselves, but rather to identify words and phrases that are either not clear or appear ambiguous and open to differing interpretations.  Any recommendations that the group makes will be forwarded to the TCA for its consideration before the By-Laws for next season are printed later this year.

 

Management committee member Mark Wickham has agreed to head up the sub-committee. He told E-News he anticipates that the group may get together to discuss issues from time-to-time, however, much of the work involved should be able to be done electronically, and anyone who wishes to make contributions via e-mail would be welcome.  

 

Those interested in working on this important issue are asked to contact Mark via e-mail at: Mark.Wickham@utas.edu.au  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 227,

TUESDAY, 15 APRIL 2008

 

DECISION-MAKING BY AUSTRALIAN 

UMPS 'GOOD', SAYS PLAYER SURVEY

[EN227-1262]

 

A survey conducted by the Australian Cricketers' Association indicates that two-thirds of playing members polled rate the standard of decision-making by the country's senior umpires last season as 'good', a result that a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) last week says was a "strong endorsement" of those officials. 

 

The SMH says that the survey also showed "overwhelming support" for greater use of technology in umpiring decisions, with eight-four per cent of Cricket Australia contracted players and seventy-one per cent of state players in favour after a summer of what the newspaper says were "contentious umpiring decisions".

 

A total eighty-three per cent of players surveyed believe umpires should be able to officiate in 'home' Tests, and sixty-one per cent that the International Cricket Council's decision to stand down West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor after India "loudly complained of his performance" in [last January's] Sydney Test, "created a dangerous precedent (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).

 

PRS-RELATED TEST FOR 

'HAWK-EYE' SCHEDULED

[EN227-1263]

 

A test of Hawk-Eye's suitability for use in the Player Referrals System (PRS) trial in England's Test series against South Africa in July-August that is to be conducted at Winchester College in England on 30 April, is to be attended by "a delegation" from the International Cricket Council (ICC), says a report in the UK's 'Daily Mail' newspaper over the weekend.

 

The report says that the ICC "wants to ensure that the machine, currently used only as a guide for TV viewers, is sufficiently accurate to help third umpires adjudicate on disputed on-field decisions, including LBWs".  Results from the Winchester College test are expected to be considered by the ICC's Cricket Committee when it meets in Dubai a week later.  That group has the responsibility of drawing up the playing conditions that will govern any PRS trial conducted in Tests in England later this year.

 

Current ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed indicated last January that any match trial 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).  ICC President-Elect David Morgan said a few weeks later that in his assessment the 'Hawk Eye' program was not then ready to be used as a definitive tool (E-News 181-973, 22 January 2008), but that in his assessment other technology was "almost advanced enough" to help a third umpire adjudicate in close LBW appeals. 

 

The 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK reported last September that the ICC was at that stage considering a "joint venture" with Hawk-Eye's inventor Phil Hawkins to develop an improved system (E-News 93-505, 5 September 2007).  Hawkins told the Marylebone  Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) last year that his device is accurate to within 5 mm as to where it pitches or makes contact with the batsman.  

 

The WCC said at the time that it believes that Hawk-Eye should be used to assist tracking of deliveries for LBW decisions "up to the point of impact with the batsman, but that Hawk-Eye's predictive path, which is currently used on television to predict where the ball might have gone thereafter, should not be used by the third umpire" (E-News 115-623, 11 October 2007). 

 

Incoming ICC Chief Executive Oficer Haroon Lorgat, who takes over the position in early July (E-News  224-1248, 6 April 2008), told  Melbourne's 'The Age' newspaper in a telephone interview last week that umpires "have an incredibly difficult and important job, and they should be offered help wherever possible" including where technology is involved.  "It is important to assist the umpires, not replace them", said Lorgat.

 

MCC SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING 

TO LOOK AT LAW 6

[EN227-1264]

 

A special general meeting of the membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has been scheduled for 7 May to discuss and potentially approve a proposed change to the sixth of the Laws of Cricket that deals with 'The Bat'.  The MCC says that the "implementation of this Law will maintain the traditional balance of bat and ball within the cricket world".

 

Law 6 deals with the width and length of the bat, the thickness and type of any material that is used to cover the blade "for protection, strengthening or repair", and states that "it shall be made entirely of wood".  Earlier this year the MCC ruled that a bat with a carbon fibre handle does not comply with the Laws of Cricket (E-News 204-1128, 4 March 2008).  

 

No details of the proposed change to be voted on next month currently appears to be available.

 

WILLEY BEMOANS LACK OF ICC 

BACKING FOR UMPIRES

[EN227-1265]

 

Former England Test umpire Peter Willey believes match officials are being let down the International Cricket Council (ICC), according to UK media reports published last week.  Former England batsman and Test umpire and now County umpire Willey, believes it is a “waste of time” for officials to report players for bad behaviour in the international game because they do not face severe enough punishment from the ICC. 

 

Speaking at a pre-season get-together for top English officials at Loughborough University in central England, last week, Willey is reported to have said that “When I first started playing in the middle 1960s you respected everything the umpire did [and] here was no arguing or dissent about being given out or not out". “When I was playing in the second XI, if you didn’t walk when you nicked the ball you would get a telling off", he says.  

 

 “County cricket is still pretty good and there is respect", he says, "but I lose a bit of heart when I see what happens with the [ICC's] Elite umpires who don’t seem to get much backing from the [world body]".  

 

Willey was less concerned by ‘sledging’ or verbal abuse, saying that "if you can’t handle anyone sledging you, you shouldn’t be out there [for] you should be strong enough to give it back". "There has been talk about players being banned but nobody has been close really", so "why don’t the umpires get support?", he asked.  

 

Player "fines don't mean a lot because players get paid that much money, but suspension is different", says Willey, however, “if you think it is a waste of time telling someone off or reporting them because nothing is going to happen, you just don't bother".

 

Willey went on to back the restoration of Australian Darrell Hair to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, telling the BBC that he "hope he does well and he has a long future in cricket".  "I've always found Darrell a very honest man and I've always stuck with him", said Willey, and that "everyone felt for Darryl as an umpire [for] he did what he felt was right, but he wasn't backed up and he paid the price".

 

JERLING, HURTER FOR SAF 

TWENTY20 SEMIS

[EN227-1266]

 

Two of South Africa's most experienced first-class umpires Brian Jerling and Karl Hurter are to officiate in both semifinals of that nation's domestic Twenty20 series on Friday and Sunday. 

 

Jerling, a veteran of 120 first-class, 197 one-day and 25 domestic Twenty20 games, began his umpiring career in the 1988-89 season, while Hurter, who debuted in 1997-98, has 61 first-class, 86 one-day and twenty domestic Twenty20 games matches to his credit.

 

Meanwhile, another South African, Murray Brown has been appointed to join Marais Erasmus at the International Under-15 Championship in the West Indies that is due to get underway on Saturday (E-News 226-1259,13 April 2008).  

 

Zimbabwean umpire Tinaye Matare, who with Brown and Erasmus is said to be "one of the three International Cricket Council appointed officials" for the tournament, may now not be able to take part after he was refused a visa to travel to the Caribbean via London, says a report in Trinidad and Tobago's 'News Day' newspaper.  

 

Cricket authorities in the West Indies are said to be seeking a re-consideration of Matare's visa application.  Other umpires for the series are expected to come from the West Indies. 

 

'News Day' says that a team from Malaysia has now replaced Zimbabwe "after the Zimbabwe Cricket Union failed to acquire  [London-linked] visas for the team". 

 

PINK BALL FOR TRIAL 

AT LORD’S

[EN227-1267]

 

A pink match ball is to use when the Marylebone  Cricket Club (MCC) plays Scotland in a one-day match at Lords on 21 April, the first time the colour will be put on trial on the main ground at the home of cricket.  Feedback from the game will help in the International Cricket Council's search for an alternative colour to white, which tends to become grey and difficult to see with age in fifty over one-day cricket.

 

The MCC, which announced that it was investigating the use of pink balls last November, hopes that the work will enable use "a flourescent ball could be adopted for full County cricket by 2009, and then cross to the international game" (E-News 133-726, 14 November 2007).  

 

Pink balls were trialed for the first time in a match during a women's Twenty20 game in Brisbane in January, initial reports from that game being positive (E-News 174-932, 11 January 2008).  

 

HARPER FOR FILM ROLE

[EN227-1268]

 

Australian international umpire Daryl Harper will be seen on the silver screen later this year in the Indian film 'Victory', a fictional story that is described as "cricket-centric".   Harper and Australian players Brett Lee and Brad Hogg will "play themselves" in the tale of a young Indian cricketer who "makes good". 

 

Harper is currently in India and will stand in the third match of the Indian Premier League's inaugural Twenty20 series on Sunday (E-News 217-1209, 25 March 2008).

 

'OLD UMPIRE' FOR UK PUBS 

IN JUNE

[EN227-1269]

 

England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) umpires have had a new beer, the "Old Umpire" ale, named in their honour by the brewer Marstons.  Several ECB umpires sampled the beer during a tour of the Marston's brewery in Burton-on-Trent last week and described it as a "blend of biscuity malt, floral hops, vanilla and toffee, with hints of citrus fruit". 

 

Marstons will be the "official beer" in the ECB's domestic Twenty20 competition over the next two years, however, the ECB, which experienced problems with management of crowds during last year's series, says that it plans to "marry" the sponsorship with its ‘Drink within your Boundaries’ campaign at matches (E-News 189-1021, 4 Februrary 2008).  

 

The 2008 domestic Twenty20 series is scheduled to run from 11-26 June and 'Old Umpire' is due for release in pubs in the UK during that month

E-NEWS NUMBER 228WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2008

 

DAVIS APPOINTED TO 'ELITE' PANEL, 

CLAIMS WEB SITE

[EN228-1270]

 

Australian umpire Steve Davis has been appointed as a member of the International Cricket Council's  (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), claims a report published on the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) web site yesterday.  Site editor Michael Drew says that his "mole", who he does not name, has assured him that Davis is one of two additions to the Panel, a report which if correct, would mean that four members of the expanded twelve-man panel are likely to be Australian.

 

The NSWCUSA web site story goes on to say that "speculation continues about the other umpire to be promoted from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) to the EUP", and New Zealander Tony Hill is mentioned as one contender.  

 

At fifty-five and fifty-six respectively, Davis and Hill are the oldest members of the IUP who are thought to be in the running for the two new EUP positions (E-News 220-1224, 31 March 2008). Hill stood in two Tests in India late last month (E-News 216-1204, 23 March 2008). 

 

Despite Drew's claim regarding Davis, however, the ICC is yet to make a formal announcement on EUP membership for the twelve months ahead, and it is now over two weeks since a statement was anticipated.  Despite that he correctly named the twelve members of Australia's current National Umpires Panel last June (E-News 50-276, 1 June 2007), a month before the list was formally released by Cricket Australia (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007). 

 

If Davis has been promoted, it would free up one of Australia's slots on the IUP, and Drew says that NSWCUSA member Rod Tucker "is the obvious choice for that position", for he "has of course been appointed to back-to-back to [domestic first-class] finals and the final of the Ford Ranger Cup this season" (E-News 207-1155, 11 March 2008).  This year he also officiated in his fifth Sydney First Grade Final in a row.  

 

Davis and Peter Parker from Queensland are Australia's current on-field members of the IUP, while Parker's Sunshine state colleague Bruce Oxenford is the third umpire nominee.

 

The ICC did not change the membership of its EUP at this time last year, but in the five years before that its annual announcement of its top-level panel was made on 7 April 2006, 12 May 2005, 6 February 2004, 4 April 2003 and 12 March 2002.  

 

In addition to EUP membership, the ICC is also expected to appoint five new regional umpire managers, plus a new Umpires and Referees Manager, in the near future (E-News 218-1219, 27 March 2008).

 

PLAYER, UMPIRE, 'DONATIONS' TO 

GROUND STAFF "TRADITION"

[EN228-1271]

 

Payments made by players and umpires to ground staff in India are a "traditional" practice, and should not be misconstrued, says veteran Delhi curator Radhey Shyam.  Shyman was quoted in media reports from the sub-continent as saying that Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's $A270 payment to the curator in Kanpur after his side's win over South Africa last Sunday was a normal part of the game in his country.

 

Shyman said that he "felt sad when [he] heard that people are finding ulterior motives in Dhoni giving money to [Kanpur's] Green Park Stadium pitch curator Shiv Kumar, as he gave the money to him and the rest of the ground staff as his appreciation". 

 

 “Ground staff at every venue [in India] waits eagerly for an international match", said Shyman, who reportedly prepared the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch on which Anil Kumble took all ten Test wickets against Pakistan in 1999.  Even umpires, presumably in top-level domestic cricket in India, give some money to ground staff just for measuring the pitch, the boundary line, the inner circle and the stumps’ width and height, claimed Shyam.

 

Media reports say that the Indian side, led last week for the first time in a Test by Dhoni, defeated South Africa inside three days in the third five-day Test on a pitch that assisted slow bowlers and later provided uneven bounce.  According to the reports the pitch was "prepared under specific instructions from the Indian team after it had lost the second Test in Ahmedabad and trailed the series 0-1 going into the final match".

 

An article posted on the 'Cricket365.com. web site on Monday says that "curator Shiv Kumar made no attempt to produce a pitch that would last anywhere near the full five days, thus robbing the spectators of entertainment and sponsors of expensive airtime".  

 

"The basis of a pitch that will produce a result late on the fifth day is an equal contest between bat and ball", says the web site, but "that was never going to be the case on a track that was intentionally under prepared".

 

An organiser of the Kanpur Test was quoted as saying that Dohni's money "was not meant only for [curator] Shiv Kumar".  “The money was meant to be shared by four or five people who are part of the ground staff, and [that] if you divide [$A270 by four or five] it comes to [about $A50] per head".  "Is [that] big money?” asked the "organiser".

 

Despite the claims curator Kumar denied that he received any money from Dhoni.  “I have not received any money from anyone, [and if] someone else has received money, I do not know about it", said Kumar. 

 

'Cricket365.com' says that "perhaps it is time for the International Cricket Council to install minimum requirements for pitches at Test level, and allow the umpires and match referee to decide whether the surface is up to scratch".  

 

"Because there are no guidelines in place", it says "it's impossible to say where you draw the line", but pitches "should all perform to a minimum standard so as to provide fans with the entertainment they deserve".

 

KENYAN UMPS STANDING IN 

ACL TOURNAMENT 

[EN228-1272]

 

Four Kenya Umpires, three from Nairobi and one from Mombasa, are taking part in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Africa Cricket League (ACL) tournament in Johannesburg this week.  The series, which involves teams from Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland, commenced on Monday and is due to conclude on Friday.

 

The 'East African Standard' in Nairobi says that the four are Subbash Modi, Kutub Gulamabbas, Rocky D'mello and David Odhiambo.  Speaking on behalf of the four, Modi said that "we are grateful to Cricket Kenya, the Africa Cricket Association and ICC for giving us an opportunity to officiate in South Africa".

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 229,

THURSDAY, 17 APRIL 2008

 

MEMBERSHIP OF NEW ICC UMPIRES 

SELECTION PANEL CONFIRMED

[EN229-1273]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) talked publicly about the make-up of its new umpire selection panel for the first time yesterday.  Those named are the same as indicated in a story published on the 'Cricket365.com' web site over seven weeks ago (E-News 201-1108, 26 February 2008), and reports before that suggest membership of the panel might have been finalised during the ICC Chief Executives Committee's meeting in Malaysia in late January, although that cannot be confirmed (E-News 192-1051, 7 February 2008).

 

Chairman of the new panel is David Richardson, the ICC's current General Manger (Cricket), his colleagues being Ranjan Madugalle, the world body's chief match referee, Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan India's Director of Umpires, and Englishman David Lloyd.  The quartet bring a strong cricket playing pedigree to the selection table, for between them they have played in a total of 128 Tests and exactly 900 other first-class games, as well as 208 One Day Internationals (ODI).  

 

Since their retirement as players the four have had considerable experience in match management issues.  Madugalle has worked as a match referee and currently holds the record for working in that role in the most number of Tests (102) and ODIs (215), Venkataraghavan has officiated as both an umpire and match referee in a total of 78 Tests and 60 ODIs, and was a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for several years, Lloyd has umpired 35 first-class games and was the England side's coach for a time, and in addition to his high-level work with the ICC Richardson has acted as a match referee in women's international matches.

 

The 'Cricinfo' web site says that ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed, who confirmed the names of the panel members yesterday, indicated that one of the panel's early tasks is to expand  membership of the EUP from the current ten to twelve.  It will also evaluated EUP members and those on its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and choose 'neutral' umpires and presumably match referees for Tests, ODIs, and Twenty20 internationals from the two groups and the ICC’s referee's list.  

 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the new panel may have been working on the EUP expansion issue for a month or perhaps more, however, just when an announcement will be made on the new list is not clear.  A claim was made this week that Australian IUP member Steve Davis is one of the new appointments (E-News 28-1270, 16 April 2008). 

 

'Cricinfo' says that Speed indicated "that the new system will give equal opportunities to umpires from various member countries", but why it will be different in that regard from the current system was not spelt out.  Interviewed in Mumbai, ICC's CEO was quoted by 'Cricinfo.com' as saying that "the two Indian umpires who come on to the [IUP] will be considered along with the rest for inclusion in the [EUP]".   

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been concerned for some time that there has been no Indian on the EUP since Venkataraghavan retired in 2003 (E-News 198-1096, 19 February 2008).  Umpires from Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were dropped from the EUP in 2003, and like India neither country has had any of their nationals on the EUP either since then, while Bangladesh has never had an umpire at the op-level of the game (E-News 220-1224, 31 March 2008).  

 

Speed's comment states the obvious and given that he was interviewed in India it was probably tailored for consumption on the sub-continent, however, it does not necessarily mean anything concrete in terms of this year's expanded panel.   

 

The Cricinfo report says that the ICC appointed the new panel because umpiring standards have come "under the scanner" in several countries of late, but in fact establishment of the group was one of the outcomes of the ICC's six-month review of international umpiring announced last October.  The new selection arrangement replaces the previous system that saw umpires picked for international duty by Speed, who is Australian, and the Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC), Sunil Gavaskar from India, whose future with the CC is currently uncertain (E-News 219-1222, 29 March 2008).

 

Last year's review also led to the ICC agreeing to an improved pay structure, including a merit-based increment, for EUP members, the establishment of five regional umpire coaches-mentor positions around the world, and the development of an accreditation process for umpires who are working to gain entry to the IUP (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  

 

The five regional positions have been advertised and the ICC anticipated completing the recruitment for them plus a new Umpires and Referees Manager by the end of this month (E-News 218-1219, 27 March 2008), however, no publicity has yet been given to either the pay or the accreditation program issues.

 

The ICC's Speed said following the release of the review's report last November that the improvements planned to the way umpires are trained, managed and selected for international duties as a result of the review were expected to cost his organisation in excess of $A1m a year (E-News 128-697, 5 November 2007).

 

BY LAWS GROUP STILL 

NEEDS MEMBERS

[EN229-1274]

 

TCUSA members are still being sought for a working group that aims to assist the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) in ensuring that its 2008-09 playing By-Laws for 2008-09 are clear to all who read them (E-News 226-1261, 13 April 2008).  The group's convenor, Mark Wickham, told E-News yesterday that while he had some interest from members he would like to encourage others to put their hand up so that his group can commence its work in the near future.  

 

The task proposed for the group by the TCUSA's Management Committee is not aimed at affecting any changes to the By-Laws themselves, but rather to identify words and phrases that are either not clear or appear ambiguous and open to differing interpretations.  Any recommendations that the group makes will be forwarded to the TCA for its consideration before the By-Laws are printed later this year.

 

Those interested in working on this important issue are asked to contact Mark via e-mail at: Mark.Wickham@utas.edu.au 

 

ICC SEEKS "EXPLANATION" 

ON KANPUR PITCH

[EN229-1275]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed says a letter has been sent to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeking an explanation on the condition of the pitch used in Kanpur for the Third and final Test match between the home side and South Africa last week.  India won game after South Africa's batsmen collapsed on the third day on what some reports say was an under prepared wicket (E-News 228-1271, 16 April 2008). 

 

South African coach Mickey Arthur is reported to have called the pitch a "poor cricket wicket", however, the BCCI have played down the importance of the ICC's letter, which came as a result of a report prepared for the ICC by match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka.  

 

BCCI Chief Executive Officer Ratnakar Shetty is being quoted by Indian media outlets as saying that "it's a normal process where the match referee submits a pitch report to the ICC at the end of the match, a copy of which is also given to the board".  "This is not the first time that a match ended in three days", said Shetty.  

 

South Africa had in fact beaten India in three days during the Second Test of the series in Ahmedabad on a bouncy pitch, but the crumbling surface in Kanpur was too much for their side.

 

India's South African coach Gary Kirtsen believes that there is nothing wrong in home teams playing to their advantage by preparing wickets to suit their bowlers during a Test series, according to a report on the 'CricketWorld.com' web site.  

 

 “If the Indians want to take advantage of their opponents by preparing a spinner-friendly wicket, like they did in Kanpur, there is nothing wrong in it [and that] likewise if the Aussies or the South Africans think they can do the same to other teams while playing at home, it should not be made into a big issue", he said.

 

Shetty hinted that the ICC's letter contained suggestions "for some corrective measures", but he didn't think it was what he called "a notice to the BCCI". 

 

COMPLAINTS ABOUT UMPIRING IN 

NW AFRICAN TOURNAMENT

[EN229-1276]

 

"Poor officiating" resulted in Sierra Leone loosing the final of the second North-West Africa Cricket Championship in Lagos, Nigeria, by one wicket last weekend, according to their coach Cyril Panda.  Panda called for "foreign umpires" to be used at future tournaments to forestall what he described as biased officiating, says the Lagos newspaper 'The Tide'.  

 

The Sierra Leonean coach was quoted by 'The Tide' as saying that the standard of umpires "is affecting the development of cricket in [north-west Africa] as "there was a clean stumping [in the final] and the umpires from Ghana and Gambia overturned the decision in favour of [eventual winners] Nigeria".  He said, however, that the Sierra Leone Cricket Association would not be making a protest to the continental body. 

 

Ewa Henshaw, Nigeria’s coach, said that he would "not comment on the officiating", however, George Wiltshire, Chairman of the Lagos Cricket Association told 'The Tide' that as far as he was concerned "the officiating was very fair". 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 230,

FRIDAY, 18 APRIL 2008

 

'FAIR PLAY' AWARD, COWBOY 

HATS, FOR IPL

[EN230-1277]

 

The Indian Premier League has announced the establishment of a 'Fair Play Award', the winner being the side that, in the eyes of the umpires, has played fairest across the fifty matches that make up the competition's regular league season.  

 

Kingfisher Airlines, which is sponsoring IPL umpires (E-News 216-1208, 23 March 2008), says that each member of the winning team will be presented with a "glittering precious trophy", however, no mention was made of any remuneration being involved.

 

Kingfisher Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Malya is being quoted by various media outlets as saying at a press conference held in India on Thursday that his company is "proud to be leading this revolutionary new concept, which would reward the team that plays fairest".  IPL umpires will be responsible for marking teams in each of the matches they manage "on the basis of their respect for the laws of the game and their opponents", and "the award will involve a league-table running over the course of the season", says Malya.  

 

The IPL said last month that they planned to take a stand to reinforce the spirit and laws of the game, and that the captains of the eight teams involved in the inaugural tournament that gets underway later today will sign a pledge to embrace the 'Spirit of Cricket' prior to the opening match (E-News 216-1205, 23 March 2008).

 

IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi, welcomed the introduction of the award and said that "as we prepare for 44 days of intense cricket, we must not lose sight of the fact that, however, hard cricket is played, it must be played fairly and in the spirit that characterises our great game".

 

After announcing the 'Fair Play Award', Malya launched the uniform that umpires will wear during the IPL's inaugural season.  It consists of what one report says is "an attractive looking red shirt and white cowboy hat" that has been designed by "noted fashion designer Manoviraj Khosla".

 

A full list of the umpires who will stand in the IPL this year, or their appointments, have not yet been released.  Seven are members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, and four from its second-tier International Umpires Panel, and the remainder are expected to come from the ranks of Indian first-class officials (E-News 226-1254, 13 April 2008).

 

ICC RECEIVE KANPUR EXPLANATION, 

JUDGEMENT AWAITED

[EN230-1278]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has received a response from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to its query on the condition of the pitch used for the Test match against South Africa in Kanpur last week (E-News 229-1275, 17 April 2008).  David Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket) and its Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle will now use the BCCI's advice, together with a copy of the match video, to evaluate the situation and decide on whether any further action is required.

 

India won the match by eight wickets, 32 wickets falling in less than three days' play.  Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, who was the match referee for the Test, gave the pitch a "poor" rating says the ICC, and that led the world body to automatically ask the home authority, in this case the BCCI, to comment on the report. 

 

Under current ICC rules Richardson and Madugalle have the power to impose a sanction that can range from, at one end of the scale, a warning to the BCCI along with details of any corrective action required, through a fine imposed on that Board, up to, in the case of repeated offences, a withdrawal of international status for the venue for a period of time.  

 

Should the ICC decide that a sanction is required, the BCCI would have the right of appeal, with any hearing being conducted by a member of the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission. The decision of that appeal would then be final and binding on both sides. 

 

The ICC says that "an announcement following the completion of this process will be made in due course", although whether that means after Richardson and Madugalle have reached their decision, or after any appeal, if held, is completed, is not clear. 

 

PROPOSED LAW CHANGE TO 

ALLOW LONGER BATS?

[EN230-1279]

 

Media reports from the UK are indicating that the change the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plans to make to the sixth Law of Cricket entails allowing bats to be longer than currently permitted.  The MCC said on its web site this week that the proposed change is to be considered by a special general meeting of its members on 7 May (E-News 227-1264, 15 April 2008).   

 

John Stephenson, the MCC's Head of Cricket is being quoted as saying that the new law "will come into force from September 2008".  Just what has caused the MCC, who have been the guardians of cricket's laws since it was formed in 1787, to initiate the change in bat length is not known.

 

The section of Law 6 that deals with bat length currently states that they can be no longer than 38 inches or 86.5 cm.

 

SLOW RATE, KICK DAMAGE FINES 

HANDED TO BANGLADESH

[EN230-1280]  

 

Bangladeshi players were collectively fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during their third One Day International against Pakistan in Lahore last Sunday, and their opener Shahriar Nafees was also reprimanded for breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (COC). 

 

Match referee Mike Procter of South Africa imposed the fine after Mohammad Ashraful’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. As a result the captain was fined ten per cent of his match fee and his players each five per cent.

 

In a separate incident, Shahriar was found to have breached a clause of the COC which relates to “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings".  An ICC statement issued on Thursday says that "the incident in question took place in the 21st over of Pakistan’s innings when, after misfielding, Shahriar kicked and damaged an advertising hoarding". The Bangladeshi pleaded guilty to the charge at a subsequent hearing. 

 

Procter is quoted in the statement as saying that "it was Shahriar’s third misfield in the innings and he was obviously frustrated as it was a crucial game because Bangladesh was playing to stay alive in the series".  “But it is not the sort of example that players should be setting at any time, [however], Shahriar pleaded guilty, apologised for the incident and promised not to repeat it again", continued Proctor.

 

The charge against Shahriar was brought by the two on-field umpires, West Indian Steve Bucknor and Nadeem Ghauri of Pakistan, plus third and fourth umpires Zameer Haider and Ahsan Raza who are also from Pakistan.

 

TEAM CONCEDES NINETY-TWO 

EXTRAS AND STILL WINS

[EN230-1281]

 

The Trinidad and Tobago (TT) women's development XI bowled 81 wides, and conceded 92 extras overall, in a forty-over one-day game against the touring Canadians in the West Indies this week but still won by three wickets.  When the Canadians went into the field their wides count was just 48, taking the number for such deliveries in the game to a massive 129.

 

A total of 78 actual overs were bowled in the match, 40 by TT and 38 by Canada, but the extras means that the home side delivered the equivalent of an extra fifteen overs and the visitors eight.  The next highest scorer in the Canadian innings to extras was just 42, however, when TT batted, two of their players scored fifties. 

 

Reports indicate that not only did the batsmen and umpires have to deal with the extra balls on what is reported to have been a "blazing hot day", but the TT side wore white shirts and used a white ball in front of white sightscreens.

 

BIRD CRITICISES LOSS OF 

‘TRADITIONAL’ SWEATERS

[EN230-1282]

 

Former England international umpire `Dickie' Bird has criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to do away with players’ traditional woollen V-neck sweater.  Writing in 'The Times' yesterday, Bird said that he still is a big believer in the old-style woollen sweaters, which he described as magnificent, and "made you look like a proper cricketer and were very warm and comfortable as well". 

 

Bird says that the tradition of a young cricketer being given his County sweater was important, "like being given your County cap".  "As an umpire, I valued the warmth that sweaters gave me", he said, as "players would give them to me to hold while they bowled and sometimes I would look after them for a while".  "It's sad that such traditions are going out of the game", said Bird.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 231,

SUNDAY, 20 APRIL 2008

 

RAUF, KOERTZEN GET IPL 

UNDERWAY

[EN231-1283]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa got the Indian Premier League's (IPL) inaugural fifty-nine match Twenty20 competition underway in Bangalore last Friday.  India's ICC International Umpires Panel (IUP) member Amiesh Saheba was in the television suite for the opening match while his countryman, ICC match referee Javagal Srinath, had overall control of the game.  

 

During the forty-five minute opening ceremony for the new series, the captains of the eight franchised teams involved gathered mid-pitch and read out a pledge reaffirming the IPL’s faith in the 'Spirit of Cricket.  The IPL said last month that they planned to take a stand to reinforce the importance of such issues in the game (E-News 216-1205, 23 March 2008), and a 'Fair Play' award was instituted for the series last week (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008).

 

The two IPL matches played on the second day of competition yesterday saw Mark Benson (England) and Suresh Shastri (India) umpire one, with Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin and Srinivas Venkataraghavan of India the third umpire and match referee respectively, and Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and G A Pratapkumar (India) the other game, their colleagues being third umpire Ian Howell (South Africa) and match referee Gundappa Viswanath (India).  

 

All of the nine on-field or television umpires used in the first three games of the series to date are members of the world body's EUP or IUP, although they are believed to have been contracted directly to the IPL for the new series.  Benson and Dar are from the EUP, and Howell, Pratapkumar, Shastri, Tiffin the IUP, although Pratapkumar is listed by the ICC as a third umpire member of that squad.  

 

Indian first-class officials Vinayak Kulkarni and MSS Ranawat were the fourth umpires for games one and two respectively, no one being named on the scorecard for the third match.  Both were amongst the forty-nine umpires used in India's recently completed domestic first-class season this year (E-News 183-983, 25 January 2008).

 

While use of IUP members Pratapkumar, Saheba, Shastri in the IPL was anticipated, neither they or Kulkarni and Ranawat, had been publicly named umpires by the new league prior to the competition getting underway (E-News 226-1254, 13 April 2008).  Other members of India's first-class umpires will be used during the remaining five weeks of the tournament, although how many will stand on the field in matches remains to be seen.

 

Match referee Venkataraghavan is India's current Director of Umpires, and is also a member of the ICC's new international umpire selection panel (E-News 29-1273, 17 April 2008).

 

ICC NAMES EAST ASIA-PACIFIC 

UMPIRE PANELS

[EN231-1284]

 

Seven officials from four nations have been named as members of the East Asia-Pacific (EAP) Umpires Panel (EUP) for 2008 by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and another seven from seven nations were appointed to the region's second-tier Supplementary Umpires Panel (SUP).

 

Members of the EUP named are Geoff Clelland and Grant Johnston (Vanuatu), Clive Elly and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea), Shahul Hameed (Indonesia), and Neil Harrison and Anton McCloy (Japan).  SUP appointees are S. Gopalakrishnan (Indonesia), Ioane Henry (Cook Islands), Raka Ipi (PNG), Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu), Peter Poulos (Samoa), Walesi Soqoiwasa (Fiji) and Chris Thurgate (Japan). 

 

Hameed is the most experienced of the seven EUP members, having stood in ten One Day Internationals and three first-class matches, all of them involving national sides from the second-level of international cricket.  Oala and Elly have both previously played for PNG, Elly in the Under 19s, and like Clelland, Hameed, Harrison, Johnston and McCloy, they have also umpired a range of international matches in the EAP and nearby regions.

 

Both EUP and SUP members are normally expected to officiate in EAP regional tournaments and take a lead role in the development of umpires within their home countries, says the ICC.  However, no EAP tournaments are scheduled for 2008 and the world body says that members of both squads will be considered for other tournaments including "ICC World Cricket League events and domestic competitions in Australia and New Zealand".  

 

Commenting on the announcement of the panels, ICC EAP Development Manager Matt Weisheit said in a ICC release that “the panels recognise the importance of umpiring in the cricket development process, provide a pathway for leading EAP umpires, and have raised the standard of umpiring at EAP regional tournaments over the past two years".  

 

Both panels were first established in 2006 and feed into the ICC’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).  Hameed has been a member of the AAIUP since it was formed in April 2005.

 

BIRD'S 75TH BIRTHDAY SEES 

DONATION TO OWN CHARITY

[EN231-1285]

 

Former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird has given the foundation he set up to help youngsters follow their sporting dreams a donation equivalent to $A21,400 in celebration of his seventy-fifth birthday yesterday.  The Foundation made the news last month when it was revealed accounts showed more than $A262,000 had been spent on running costs and it had handed out grants to deprived youngsters of only $A17,000 from the $285,000 it had raised (E-News 223-1245, 4 April 2008).

 

Bird made the presentation at the birthday dinner at which his long-time friend and fellow Barnsley man Sir Michael Parkinson hailed him as a "national treasure", says the South Yorkshire newspaper 'The Star'.  Admitting that the Foundation "has had its difficulties", he indicated that three out of four charity cricket matches organised during the 2007 northern hemisphere summer had been washed out, but that he "should have known as a former umpire [for] bad weather used to follow me around".  

 

"That's why [the Foundation is now] sticking to indoor events, but I'd also like people to know that this gift is a huge vote of confidence in my current set of trustees", said Bird.  "Hand on heart, making this gift to the Foundation couldn't make me prouder and I couldn't think of a better way to mark my 75th birthday", he concluded.

 

Problems at the Foundation also occurred off the field of play, say reports, and its trustees are now looking at taking legal advice to have around $A110,000 returned by former Foundation chief executive Keith Harrison who resigned two years ago.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 232,

TUESDAY, 22 APRIL 2008

 

'ENCOURAGING RESULTS' FROM 

LORD’S PINK BALL TRIAL

[EN232-1286]

 

Two people charged with developing a pink-coloured cricket ball that can last an entire one-day fifty over innings have reported encouraging results following its use in a trial match at Lord’s yesterday.  The ball was put through its paces as part of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) investigation to find a more durable ball than the existing white one used in limited-overs cricket (E-News 227-1276, 15 April 2008).

 

MCC head of cricket John Stephenson, who captained the MCC side and is also one of those responsible for overseeing the pink ball’s development, said that he was pleased with how it came through a "serious examination" of its potential.  Dr Anthony Bull from the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College, London, who is part of the team helping to develop the ball, also spoke positively, although he emphasised that further work is needed on the technology involved.

 

 “Having bowled with the ball [today I] can say it behaved normally, and in terms of durability, [it] lasted the distance", said Stephenson, although "some of the dye on the ball did come away, which revealed part of the white underneath", but he thinks that "everyone who used it would agree that it is progress". A ball manufactured by 'Kookaburra' was used when Scotland batted and by 'Dukes' for the MCC's innings.  

 

Despite his positive comments, Stephenson also said that "the real test will be seeing how the ball performs in harsher conditions".  “We need to see how the ball reacts to more abrasive pitches in say the heat of the sub-continent than just on a lush green Lord’s ground in April, [and] of course it is hugely important to see how the ball reacts under floodlights and how it is picked on up television screens".

 

Bull said that "there should be no huge difference between how the pink ball reacts to normal cricket conditions [although] it will be probably be closer to how the white ball behaves than the red".  "One of the challenges the pink ball faces, because of its colour", said Bull, "is batsman being able to determine the seam position during flight".  “We will continue to work with MCC and test in the laboratory to see how the ball reacts to different surfaces and the ideal thing from a cricket point of view would be to have one ball for all formats of the game.”

 

Stephenson told reporters that regular introduction of the ball into first-class and international cricket is “some way off", but did not rule out a pink revolution in the near future.  

 

 “If we find a ball [that works and] is durable then there is no reason why it could even be used in the longer format, [but] we still have a way to go with it, [with] a lot more tests and trials" being needed.  “Taking things forward", said Stephenson, "we plan to use the ball in a number of other MCC matches, university games and County second-team“ contests.

 

FIREWORKS DELAY IPL PLAY, 

UMPIRE IN CLEAN-UP

[EN232-1287]

 

A five-minute long fireworks display arranged by the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise owners that was held just prior to their openers walking out to bat, led to an eight minute delay in the start of play of their Twenty20 game against Bangalore on Sunday.  Debris from the display lay strewn around the outfield, forcing ball boys, some Bangalore players, and even Australian umpire Steve Davis, to join forces in clearing the ground before play could start, says a report in yesterday's 'Hindustani Times'.

 

Davis, who normally works internationally as a member of the International Cricket Committee's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), stood in Sunday's game with his countryman Daryl Harper from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  Yesterday, Pakistan EUP member Aleem Dar became the first umpire to stand in two IPL matches, his colleague being Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin an IUP member.

 

Krishna Hariharan, an Indian first-class umpire, became the first official who is not a current EUP or IUP member to be given an on-field role in an IPL game on Sunday.  Hariharan has stood in a total of forty-eight first-class matches, two Tests and thirty-four One Day Internationals.  His partner was New Zealand EUP member 'Billy' Bowden.  Seventy-year-old former Indian player Farokh Engineer made his debut as a match referee during the game. 

 

Indian first-class umpires continue to be used as fourth officials during IPL matches, Francis Gomes, Sameer Bandekar and MSS Ranawat filling those positions over the last two days.  Gomes has thirty-eight first-class matches and two One Day Internationals to his credit, Bandekar forty-four and one, and Ranawat who was working in his second IPL game, forty-two first-class matches over the last twenty-five years.

 

IPL CONTRACTS TO IMPACT 

ON TEST SELECTIONS?

[EN232-1288]

 

At least one of the seven members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) current Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) working in the Indian Premier League (IPL) may have to leave that competition early if a 'neutral' from the EUP is to stand in the first two Tests between the West Indies and Australia next month.  The competing demands on those panel members may be eased, however, by just who the ICC appoints as new members of the EUP, although an announcement on those promotions continues to be awaited (E-News 229-1773, 17 April 2008).

 

The fifty-nine match IPL series is due to conclude on 2 June, while the first two Caribbean Tests are scheduled for the period from 22 May to 3 June.  The ICC has has only selected two members of its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for on-field duties in a Test twice in the last 150 such games, both matches involving Bangladesh, but it has not done so for a high-profile series such as that between the West Indies and Australia.

 

West Indian Steve Bucknor and Australians Darrell Hair and Simon Taufel are the only current EUP members who are not in India for the IPL, but none of them are 'neutrals' for the Caribbean series.  They appear therefore to be in contention for a rotational appointment to the three-Tests between England and New Zealand which will be played between 15 May and 7 June, each of them possibly standing in two matches each.  The ICC hinted last month that Hair, who was reinstated to the EUP last month after a nineteen-month absence, could be involved in the series (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).

 

EUP members currently umpiring in the IPL who would be eligible in a neutral sense for the West Indies Tests are Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf from Pakistan, 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Mark Benson (England) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa).  IUP members not currently in India who have stood in a Test in the last two years, and who could be chosen to stand in the Caribbean next month, include Asoka De Silva (Sri Lanka), Tony Hill (New Zealand), Brian Jerling (South Africa) and Nigel Llong (England).   

 

IUP members have been increasingly used in Tests this calendar year.  In 2006 and 2007, sixteen and eighteen per cent of overall on-field umpiring slots respectively went to officials from the IUP, but so far in 2008 that figure has risen to twenty-seven per cent.  Concern about the pressure on EUP members led to the ICC's decision to expand membership of its top panel from the current ten to twelve (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).

 

Given the logistics involved it is likely that the ICC has already chosen its officials for both the Tests in England and the West Indies, and that if umpires need to be released from the IPL any such agreements will have already been agreed to.  

 

The world body's umpires and match referee's appointments page currently lists officials who have stood in the last eight Tests, sixteen One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 internationals, however, the last of those games, the Twenty20 between Pakistan and Bangladesh, was played last Sunday.

 

REPORTS PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO 

ICL'S PLAYER REFERRAL SYSTEM

[EN232-1289]

 

Limited media reports of on-field incidents that led to the Player Referral System (PRS) being brought into action during the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) recent three-team, seven-match, 'international' Twenty20 tournament, provide some insight into how the system worked.  A key issue that comes to the fore in brief reports is the time taken on some occasions before decisions referred to the television umpire were finalised. 

 

Under arrangements that the ICL appears to have put together quickly just prior to the 'international' series getting underway, sides were allowed to challenge three decisions during each of the two innings of a match.  Precise details of the technology used by the umpires to support the PRS are unavailable, however, there has been no indication that equipment superior to that currently available for televised matches world-wide was used.  

 

Trials of a PRS in England last year were not generally regarded very positively by platers(E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007), and the outcome of use of the system for a one-day domestic final in New Zealand in March is not known (E-News 204-1126, 4 March 2007).  The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, which has been charged with drawing up playing conditions for a PRS that could be used in the Test series between England and South Africa in July-August, is expected to disuss the issue when it holds its annual meeting in Dubai on 5-6 May.

 

The system the ICL established was called upon in the first over of the opening game when 'ICL India' opener Abhishek Jhunjunwala challenged the on-field umpire's LBW decision against him, however, after what one report said was "an anxious wait for three minutes", the batsman lost the contest as the third umpire supported his colleagues decision. 

 

In another match reports says that Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinez gave the 'Pakistan' side's captain Inzamam Ul-haq  ‘not out’ LBW as he believed the batsman had got a bottom edge on it before it hit the pad, a fact that was confirmed by third umpire Roy Palmer after he reviewed television footage following a referral request.  

 

English umpire David Brandon, who was on the field with Martinez, said in his blog that after "Inzi" edged a fine one to the keeper a few overs later and 'walked', he wondered if Inzamam would have done so "if we didn't have the referral system available?" 

 

Brandon says that he found "a major flaw" in the ICL's system after a batsman scrambled through for a leg bye as an appeal for LBW rang out.  He eventually raised his finger but a referral was requested and third umpire Roy Palmer ruled it 'not out' as the ball was "just sliding down [leg] by a hair’s breadth". 

 

Brandon says that had, in normal circumstances, the batsman been 'out', the run that was completed would, under the Laws of Cricket, not have counted as the ball would have been 'dead'.  However, the fielding side had stopped and did not try to retrieve the ball or run the batsman out for "they considered the ball dead", he says, even though if a 'not out' decision had been made, the leg bye would have counted.  

 

The batsman concerned then asked Brandon "is that a single then?", and as a result he says "we had a problem that had not been foreseen by the organisers when they set this up". After discussing the situation with his on-field colleague Martinez, they decided on the spot "that to be fair to both sides, and also taking into account that we had no rule from the organisers, [we] had to go with the Laws of Cricket", therefore they decided that it was a dead ball, the run didn’t count and the batsman had to return to their original positions.  Brandon says that such a situation shows "how tight some of these things are and how technology can help to get things right". 

 

The ICL used four umpires and two match referees during its seven-match 'international' series which ran from 9-15 April (E-News 226-1257, 13 April 2008).  

 

Martinez and Palmer (England) each stood in four matches, and Brandon and Shakeel Khan (Pakistan) three each, while match referees Erapalli Prasanna  and Ajit Wadekar, who are both from India, looked after four and three games respectively.  Brandon also had three matches as the third umpire, and Martinez and Palmer two each.  Martinez and Khan were on the field for the final match of the series, Palmer was in the television suite, and Wadekar worked as the match referee.

 

In the five weeks since the start of the ICL's latest city-based Twenty20 competition on 9 March (E-News 204-1132, 4 March 2008), until the end of its 'international' series last week, Brandon officiated in a total of nineteen matches either on the field or in the television, Palmer and Martinez seventeen each, and Khan thirteen.

 

While their most recent series was underway, the ICL wrote to the ICC seeking recognition for their competition.  ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed was quoted in reports from in Mumbai last week as saying that ICC lawyers were studying the ICL's application and the world body's position will probably become clearer this week.  The ICL is a rival to the Indian Premier League, which is the brain-child of ICC member the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

 

'PITCH EXPERT' NEEDED FOR KOLKATA 

WICKET, SAYS IPL FRANCHISE

[EN232-1290]

 

The Kolkata franchise in the Indian Premier League has asked the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to hire an Australian pitch consultant after the "crumbling pitch" at Eden Gardens came in for sharp criticism from players and officials alike.  Deliveries during an IPL  match  last Sunday "regularly took a puff of dust from the pitch” reports the 'Cricinfo' web site.

 

Curator, Kalyan Mitra, apologised to both teams after the game.  Late last year he was criticised for a flat pitch when the second Test between India and Pakistan ended in a dull draw.  'Cricinfo' quoted a senior official s saying that Mitra "will be in charge till the end of his contract in July [and] we have no plans to replace him, and that "we are taking the necessary steps" to address the issues involved.

 

The pitch used in Kanpur for this month's final Test between India and South Africa is currently being assessed by the International Cricket Council (E-News 230-1278, 18 April 2008).

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 233,

WEDNESDAY, 23 APRIL 2008

 

COUNTY REPS "CONFUSED, UNDER-REPRESENTED, 

AND OPPRESSED", SAYS IICUS 

[EN233-1291]

 

"Feedback" from County umpiring representatives in the UK indicates "that cricket officials [there] feel confused, under-represented and oppressed", and have a "real fear of being ostracised and discriminated against in the game they love", says a statement issued by the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) on Monday.  The Institute believes that such feelings "follow in the wake of a recently announced further loss of umpire and scorer independence", a reference to the establishment by the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) of its Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) early this year (E-New 177-952, 15 January 2008).

 

The ICUS makes its claims in a press release that appears to have been produced as a result of comments made in the ACO's April newsletter.  The ACO publication raises doubts that training courses the Institute has developed over the past year for umpires and scorers have been approved at an appropriate level by an independent quality assurance body as it says the Institute claims (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).      

 

The Institute's web site, whose whole front page was yesterday given over the its press release, and includes photos of Keith Pont the Chairman of ICUS's parent body the Community Cricket Trust, and its Vice Chairman, Australian international umpire Darrell Hair, refutes the ACO's allegation.  Its statement says that the ICUS has "has secured a “World First” by becoming the only independent umpiring body to receive accreditation to deliver courses that have been subjected to exceptionally rigorous Quality Assurance standards", and it provides answers to a series of 'Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) about its training and accreditation programs.

 

According to the ICUS, growing support for its activities, coupled with the "groundbreaking success" of its training program", ensures a "genuinely independent and influential voice for umpires and scorers that they have not [previously] had the benefit of".  As a result the Institute "has strengthened [its] resolve to remain fully independent, accountable and transparent, providing freedom of choice, not exclusivity, in umpire and scorer education, development and appointments".

 

The FAQ section on the ICUS web site asked the question as to whether the Institute has "approached ECB with view to working alongside them?  The answer given says that "meetings [have been held with the ECB] at Lords over the past six months during which the ICUS has offered its experienced Tutor teams to deliver training courses to umpires and scorers nationwide on behalf of the ECB".  'Unfortunately", says the text, such offers have 'been rejected out of hand".

 

The ICUS says that the "ICUS team [is] full of vibrancy, enthusiasm and tireless commitment", and has "some truly sensational future developments being readied for implementation over the coming months".  Details of just what those activities involve were not provided.

 

IPL 'FAIR PLAY' AWARD LINKED TO 

'BIG PAY CHEQUES’, CLAIMS REPORT 

[EN233-1292]

 

Players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) can win "millions of dollars of prize money" via the competition's 'Fair Play' Award, according to a report published in 'The Australian' newspaper on Monday.  The winner of the Award will be the IPL side that, in the eyes of the umpires, has played fairest across the fifty matches that make up the competition's regular league season (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008). 

 

'The Australian' report says that the scheme, which is backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, involves on-field and third umpires awarding points on a sliding scale ranging up to four for upholding the 'Spirit of Cricket', up to two points for "showing respect to the opposition", up to two points for "respecting the laws of the game", and up to two points for respecting the umpires' decisions.  

 

A team can therefore earn up to ten points in each match they play in, the opening match last Friday for example seeing both sides given a score of 8.5.  When the award was announced last week there were indications that "a league-table" of team scores will run "over the course of the season", but that table does not appear to have surfaced as yet.   

 

'The Australian' quotes one commentator as saying that the awards scheme resulted from "the tremors of the acrimonious India-Australia series (that) are still being felt across the world of cricket", although thus far it says there has been not a hint of that animosity.  On the contrary, says the report, the first weekend of the competition has shown "displays of backslapping bonhomie that has surprised many".

 

The story claims that "pay cheques so big that no-one wants to jeopardise them by any outburst of bad behaviour" are responsible for the change in player attitude, however, it does not give any indication of just how much money is linked to the 'Fair Play' scheme.

 

TCUSA WINTER SCORERS' SCHOOL 

DATES ANNOUNCED

[EN233-1293]

 

This year's TCUSA winter school for scorers is to commence on Wednesday, 2 July and run every week for five weeks.  The school, which is being organised by TCUSA President-Administrator Graeme Hamley, will focus on computer scoring techniques, a special emphasis this year being the Duckworth-Lewis system.

 

The Scorers' School will commence at 6.30 p.m. each evening, in the conference area above the Premiership Room at Bellerive Oval.  Members should note that scorers will commence their course one week later than the Laws School and finish the week before the Laws examination on 6 August (E-News 192-1045, 7 February 2008).  

 

Overall dates for the Scorers' School are listed in the Association's events schedule at the base of this newsletter.  Queries about the course should be directed to Graeme Hamley at yelmah@tassie.net.au.

 

DETAILS OF KUALA LUMPUR 

TRAINING COURSE OUTLINED

[EN233-1294]

 

Members of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) assisted in running a Level 2 course for umpires and scorers from the Asian region in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 21-26 March.  The Association's first-class umpiring members Nick Fowler and Darren Goodger provided presentations to attendees from Bhutan, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

According to an article posted on the NSWCUSA's web site the course, which was described as "very practical in nature", covered such issues as self assessment, developing annual plans, what makes an outstanding umpire, the value of net practice, pre match procedures, and the fundamentals of scoring.  Fowler was assisted in the latter presentation by Baanumathi Suppiah an international scorer from Malaysia.  Other course segments were presented by Kandiah Francis (Sri Lanka), Mahboob Shah (Pakistan) and Partha Saradhi (India), all of whom are former Test and One Day International umpires.

 

"Classroom” sessions were complemented by two intensive days of on-field assessment as "participants took turns umpiring out in the middle, where it really counts, being observed and having their performances assessed".  Late in the week they sat a theory exam prepared by the NSWCUSA's Examination Committee, eleven of those who took the exam achieving a mark of eighty-five percent or higher.  

 

NSWCUSA Executive Officer Peter Hughes and Denis Burns, the UK-based Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers' (ICUS) Director of Education, attended day two of the course.  Ross Turner, Cricket Australia’s General Manager for Global Development, has been involved in coordinated training programs in the Asian region and has used NSWCUSA members in courses conducted in Bangkok in March 2006 ,Guangzhou in China a month later, and Dhaka in July 2007 (E-News 66-362, 13 July 2007).  Turner has also been responsible for organising umpire training in India (E-News 84-851, 17 August 2007).

 

UMPIRES "CONFUSED" BY RICHOCHETING 

BALL, CLAIMS 'BEARDERS'

[EN233-1295]

 

Bill Frindall, or "Bearders" as he is known to BBC Radio listeners, says that "confused umpires" in a One Day International (ODI) between England and the West Indies at Scarborough in 1976 gave neither batsman out, after a "return broke both wickets as a result of a ricochet from one set of stumps to another while both batsmen were stranded mid-pitch".

 

Frindall was replying to a query from a listener on the BBC's web site that asked "when there is a run out and both batsmen are stranded at one end of the wicket, and assuming they are level with each other relative to the wicket), are they allowed to decide between themselves who will sacrifice himself?".

 

The BBC man mentioned the "freak incident" after providing an answer to the question.  He does not mention who the umpires were or what the exact circumstances were involved, but records indicate that the two sides have only played a single ODI at Scarborough.  The umpires for that game were David Constant and the late Arthur Jepson.

 

During his twenty-seven year umpiring career from 1969-2006, Constant umpired a total of 657 first-class matches, a figure that included thirty-six Tests, plus thirty-three ODIs.  The Scarborough game was his eighth ODI, and by that stage he had ten Tests and almost 200 other first-class games under his belt.  For Jepson the ODI was the last of the five that he stood in, and prior to that he had also umpired in four Tests.  He stood in a total of 528 first-class matches over a twenty-four year period that started in 1960.

 

Both Constant and Jepson played first-class cricket prior to taking up umpiring.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 234,

THURSDAY, 24 APRIL 2008

 

SRI LANKAN, AUSTRALIAN 

PROMOTED TO EUP

[EN234-1296]

 

Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka and Steve Davis of Australia were promoted the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) yesterday, thus expanding the group's membership from ten to twelve, a move recommended by the ICC's Umpiring Task Force last year (E-News 126-686,  1 November 2007).  The appointment of Davis brings to four the number of Australians on the EUP, Pakistan and the West Indies each have two, and England, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka one each.

 

De Silva, 52, has stood in thirty-three Tests and seventy-six One Day International (ODI) since making his debut in 1999, and was one of the original members of the EUP when it was formed in 2002, but was dropped to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) two years later.  Prior to taking up umpiring he played in ten Tests and twenty-eight ODIs for his country between 1985 and 1992.  Davis, 56, whose international umpiring career commenced in 1992, has stood in eleven Tests, seventy-one ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, and has been a member of the IUP since 2003. 

 

The ICC's General Manager (Cricket) says in an ICC statement that the promotion of De Silva and Davis is the "result of [their] perseverance, hard work and commitment".  “Asoka brings with him a combination of playing and umpiring skills that we believe will serve him well in the months and years to come", says Richardson, while “Steve has served an apprenticeship on the fringes of the [EUP] and his elevation reflects not only his consistency during recent years but also his excellence over the past year in particular". 

 

De Silva is quoted as saying that he "is delighted to be back on the [EUP but that the return journey] has not been easy". "It has required a lot of hard work leading to good decision-making on a consistent basis, I am glad my efforts have been recognised [and] I am now keen to ensure I maintain the high standards I have set myself".  

 

Davis, whose appointment was forecast last week (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008), says that he "is thrilled to be appointed to the [EUP] as it has to be the aim of every umpire to be appointed to this select group".  “I have worked hard for this", says Davis, and "I now look forward to concentrating on umpiring on a full-time basis". 

 

The ICC says that the expansion of EUP to twelve "is one example of the enhanced management of officials" that it is "rolling out".  The addition of two new members to the EUP "will allow top umpires to get more rest away from international action while, at the same time, allowing them time to work on their skills and mentor umpires at domestic level", says the world body. 

 

According to the ICC statement "top level umpires will also be assisted by five regional umpire managers who will work with those umpires to ensure peak performance", and that "the remuneration of officials at the highest level has also been improved to reflect their value to the game".  No details of either move were provided in the press release, however (E-News 218-1219, 27 March 2008).

 

De Silva and Davis were elevated by the ICC's new Umpires Selection Panel consisting of Richardson, Ranjan Madugalle the ICC'S Chief Match Referee, former England player, coach and former first-class umpire David Lloyd, and former India captain and international umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 235,

SUNDAY, 27 APRIL 2008

 

SPEED DEPARTS AS ICC TENSIONS 

AGAIN SURFACE

[EN235-1297]

 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed is to step down from his position on Wednesday, several months earlier than scheduled, after a "fundamental breakdown in the relationship" between himself and "a number of Board Members over a variety of issues that include Zimbabwe", says a statement issued by the world body on Friday.

 

What the media is calling an "extraordinary development" is said to have been initially prompted by Speed's unhappiness at the ICC board's failure, following its March meeting, to take any significant action against Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) about the state of its finances.  

 

More recently the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly been pushing for Speed's removal after he indicated that the BCCI had not yet officially requested the ICC to ban the one-year-old Indian Cricket League (ICL), something the Indian Board denies.  The ICL approached the ICC a few weeks ago seeking recognition of its competition (E-News 232-1289, 22 April 2008).

 

The 'Cricinfo' web site is reporting that the decision to remove Speed was "finalised informally" during a meeting of "some senior ICC Board members, including a senior Indian official", on the eve of the Indian Premier League launch in Bangalore on 18 April.  A BCCI official, who Cricinfo says did not wish to be named, is quoted as saying that "there were many [on the ICC Board] who were not happy with Malcolm's confrontational style of functioning".

 

David Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket), will serve as interim CEO until his countryman Haroon Lorgat, who was selected as the next CEO earlier this month (E-News 224-1248, 6 April 2008), takes over as planned at the ICC's annual conference in July. That meeting, which has been held at Lord's for the ICC's entire 99 year-history, is to be held at the world body's headquarters in Dubai, because of doubts that ZC Chairman Peter Chingoka will be issued a visa to enter Britain to attend the conference.

 

Speed, who has served as CEO since July 2001, is only the second person to have filled the role in the organisation’s history, succeeding David Richards, who was CEO from 1993 to 2001.  He is to commence leave this Wednesday and will be paid until the end of his contract on 4 July.

 

IPL 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' PUSH 

TAKES A SLAP

[EN235-1298]

 

The push by the Indian Premier League (IPL) for its players to adhere to 'Spirit of Cricket' principles took a blow on Friday when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was accused of slapping national team-mate Shanthakumaran Sreesanth soon after a IPL Twenty20 match.  The incident reportedly left Sreesanth, who was Harbhajan's opponent on this occasion, "weeping inconsolably" in full view of television cameras, says a report published by Agence France-Presse (AFP) today.

 

While the IPL is a domestic competition, the IPL says that Harbhajan will be charged under a section of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct that deals with assaulting a fellow player, and if found guilty, he could be banned for life, or five Test matches, or ten One Day Internationals.  A hearing into the incident is to be held in New Delhi tomorrow, a move that means Harbhajan will miss his team's next IPL match later tonight night.  

 

AFP says that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed it will take separate action to whatever the IPL decides against Harbhajan under International Cricket Council rules.  BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement that Harbhajan, who is on its payroll as a centrally contracted player, had been "called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him".  

 

Harbhajan was banned for three Tests earlier this year after being found guilty of making racist remarks, but was let off with a fine following an appeal at which the ICC failed to provide full details of his previous misdemeanors (E-News 187-1009, 31 January 2008). 

 

Sreesanth, who has also faced disciplinary action in the past for misbehaviour on the field (E-News 109-599, 4 October 2007), was also mentioned by the BCCI in comments made yesterday.  "We have warned Sreesanth in the past to behave himself and will do so again", said BCCI official Ratnakar Shetty, but "we want to first find out what transpired on Friday night".  

 

Harbhajan was quoted a saying that the media was trying to sensationalise the issue.  "It is not such a big issue the way people are making it out to be", he said on Indian television. "It is between me and Sree [and] what you're showing on TV, it is between us".

 

At the announcement of the IPL's 'Fair Play' award prior to the current tournamanet getting underway earlier this month, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi emphasised the importance the new league is placing on 'Spirit of Cricket' issues (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008).  "We must not lose sight of the fact that, however, hard cricket is played, it must be played fairly and in the spirit that characterises our great game", said Modi.  

 

A later report, which has yet to be confirmed, suggested that "millions of dollars" are on offer to the IPL side that wins the 'Fair Play' award (E-News 233-1292, 23 April 2008).  

 

'FACE PROTECTOR' USE 

IS LEGAL, SAYS MCC

[EN235-1299]

 

The use of face protectors by wicket-keepers and fielders is quite legal under the Laws of Cricket, says the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).  A number of manufacturers are now reported to be offering such goods, which are not dissimilar to those worn by baseball catchers, and the MCC says that their use in the game should be treated in the same way to protective helmets, and provided a number of examples in a press release issued on Thursday. 

 

The first covers the case of a wicket-keeper or fielder removing their face protector and placing it behind the keeper's position, and that the ball, while in play, subsequently strikes the protector.  As is the case with protective helmets the ball would become 'dead' and five penalty runs will be awarded to the batting side (Law 41.3).   

 

In another example given, if the ball, having been hit by the batsman, touches the face protector while being worn and is then caught by any member of the fielding side, the batsman, as outlined in Law 32.3(e), would not be out caught although the ball would still be in play.  Similarly, if the ball, having been hit by the batsman, becomes lodged in a face protector while it is being worn, then he cannot be out caught under Law 32.2[b], and the ball becomes 'dead'.  

 

A batsman cannot be out stumped if the ball touches a wicket-keeper’s face protector before the stumping is made (Law 39.2[b]), although the batsman can still be run out in these circumstances, provided that there is subsequent contact between the ball and any member of the fielding side before the wicket is put down (Law 39.2[b]).  

 

Like-wise a batsman cannot be out run out if the ball, having been played by the striker, or having come off his person, directly strikes a face protector worn by a fielder and without further contact with him or any other fielder rebounds directly on to the wicket (Law 38.2[c]).

 

The MCC stresses that its interpretation of the Laws does not extend to any directives at local levels that deal with the wearing of protective equipment by young players, and that helmets must continue to be worn as prescribed unless local authorities decide otherwise.  It says that it is "not suggesting or endorsing the use of face protectors, but only confirming that they conform to the Laws of Cricket", and that the Laws will be updated to recognise face protectors when they are next rewritten.

 

'CASH PRIZE' ON OFFER FOR 

GOOD BEHAVIOUR 

[EN235-1300]

 

A local competition in Liverpool, England, plans to provide sides that score the most points in its 'Spirit of Cricket' awards scheme this northern summer with "a cash prize", says an article published in Liverpool's 'Daily Post' newspaper on Friday.  No mention was made in the report as to just how much money will be handed over to the winners. 

 

Under the new scheme all sides in matches at which Merseyside Cricket Umpires Association members officiate will be awarded points.  Teams that exhibit “totally unacceptable behaviour” will receive no points, while those who “epitomise the spirit of Cricket” will be awarded five points, the scores then being added up and averaged over the number of games played.  

 

The award aims to recognise those teams who, regardless of results, play the game “in a correct and traditional manner”.  Former Chairman of the league, Malcolm Barber, who instigated the scheme and who this year celebrates a quarter-of-a-century’s involvement with the competition, is quoted by the 'Daily Post' as saying that he "wanted to see it introduced because cricket is special and such a scheme is in existence in the first-class game".

 

"The maintenance of the 'Spirit of Cricket' has improved in the Liverpool Competition over the last six or seven years, even if that is the result of umpires reporting more players and the clubs knowing what to expect", said Barber. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 236,

MONDAY, 28 APRIL 2008

 

CA CHAIR REGRETS MANNER 

OF SPEED'S ICC DEPARTURE 

[EN236-1301]

 

The unexpected early departure of International Cricket Council's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed from his position is a regretful way to end a distinguished career in international cricket, says Cricket Australia's (CA) Chairman Creagh O'Connor (E-News 235-1297, 27 April 2008).  Commenting on the situation via a CA press release, O'Connor said yesterday that he knows "first-hand of the dispassionate, professional and diligent manner in which [Speed] has sought for cricket to achieve high standards of administrative excellence".

 

CA's Chairman worked with Speed "for many years" during his time as CEO of the then Australian Cricket Board, CA's predecessor, and, for the last seven years, as ICC's CEO.  He says in the CA statement that "administering the ICC, which features a diverse global constituency, is a challenging task", and that the game "will only have a long-term, sustainable future if the diverse interests within the game can put the game's interests ahead of any other interests".

 

Former ICC chairman Malcolm Gray, who recruited Speed, is being quoted in Fairfax newspapers in Australia today as saying that he condemns Speed's replacement as disgraceful and a sign that "power, money and race are interfering with the running of the game".  

 

During a press conference held at Lord's on Saturday, ICC President-elect, David Morgan, said that issues related to the Indian Cricket League were not factors in Speed's dismissal as reported by many media outlets over the weekend.  The breakdown had come about over a number of issues, including Zimbabwe Cricket's handling of financial matters, said Morgan, who emphasised that Speed's departure had "not been imposed on him" but had followed discussions the Australian had with ICC's current President RayMali and himself,

 

"It's a very unfortunate ending to what has been a very successful term of office", said Morgan.  He reportedly agreed with journalists that the image of the ICC was "not good" and it was "something we need to address". 

 

UMPIRE PANEL SELECTION, SEASON 

REVIEW, MEETINGS THIS WEEK  

[EN236-1302]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is preparing for a busy three days of key umpire-related meetings involving officials from around the country at its headquarters in Melbourne this week.  CA's Umpire Selection Panel (USP) is to convene on Thursday to determine membership of the National Umpires Panel (NUP), Emerging Umpires Panel, and nominees to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpire Panel (IUP), that gathering being preceded on Tuesday and Wednesday by an end-of-season review of a range of planning and other issues involving State Directors of Umpiring, Umpire Coaches and the USP.

 

South Australian NUP member Steve Davis' promotion to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel last week (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), means that one place is automatically vacant on the twelve-man NUP, whose membership has not changed for two years, and in Australia's three slots on the IUP.  Appointment patterns of NUP members last season led to suggestions in February that at least three of its current members might be replaced for 2008-09 (E-News 188-1014, 1 February 2008), while NUP member Rod Tucker has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the IUP (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008).

 

Responsibility for those decisions rests with USP members Andrew Scotford, Dick French and Tony Crafter.  Scotford, who is the group's Convenor, is CA's Umpires Manager, while French and Crafter are both former Test umpires.  They will not be starting in their deliberations from scratch, however, for they will be using their own observations of umpires made at various levels and events around the country in 2007-08, as well as reports and other inputs received from state umpiring heads and coaches, as well as other relevant officials. 

 

Tasmania is the only state without a NUP member at the present time, but most observers appear to feel that drought is likely continue for another season.  Appointment of a Tasmanian to a first-class match at Bellerive next southern summer would be one precursor to any promotion to the NUP in 2009-10.  TCUSA member Steven John's ambition to umpire at that level and become a member of the NUP is outlined in the latest edition of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's 'Cover Point' newsletter.  The article detailed John's appointment as the TCA's 'Umpire of the Year' last month (E-News 222-1232, 3 April 2008).

 

Scotford told E-News that announcements about the NUP for the forthcoming season will not be made until all contracts have been confirmed and annual performance reviews are completed.  CA umpiring contracts normally commence on 1 July and an announcement on panel membership for next season is expected sometime prior to that date.

 

CA is still yet to announce an appointment to what was to have been its new Umpire Education and Training Officer position.  The national body indicated a year ago that the position would be filled on 1 January this year (E-News 204-1127, 4 March 2008), but recent reports have suggested that budgetary issues have led to the need to revisit just what the scope and responsibilities of that job will actually be.

 

FULL PLATE OF WORK FOR 

NEW ECB OFFICIALS GROUP

[EN236-1303]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) new Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has its plate full as it works to develop into a coherent nation-wide unit, if the content of the ACO's April newsletter is any guide.  Issues ranging from governance structures, elections, budgets, communications, staffing and education are just a few of the matters currently 'in work', and many key matters are listed for resolution over the next six months.

 

The newsletter says that the ACO's objectives are to bring together the memberships and function of the former long-serving Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) and the ECB's Officials Association via an "independent democratic structure" that will be "inclusive of umpires and scorers at all levels".  The two bodies merged in January this year (E-News 177-952, 15 January 2008). 

 

Structually the ACO will be based on individual County umpires and scorer Associations (CUSA) and what are called Regional Forums that will be "fully integrated into County [Cricket] Board (CCB) strategies and funding schemes".  The ACO will have "close links to the Marylebone Cricket Club" and will provide a "comprehensive education structure [that will meet] National Standards".  Regular communication is planned with members via a "magazine and web site", and the "best available insurance cover [will be available to] members.

 

In a comment that reflects claims by the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) last week "that cricket officials [at CUSA level] feel confused, under-represented and oppressed", the ACO newsletter says that a priority is to ensure that communication to members "improves significantly" (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008).  Reports to E-News from grass roots level contacts in a number of areas of the UK have confirmed that there is general concern and confusion as to where the ACO is headed. 

 

A meeting involving a ACO representative and a senior Board member from each County was scheduled for Edgbaston last Tuesday.  It was to discuss communication with members, to explain how retention of existing trainers and education of new ones will be managed, and how processes that will govern the election of representatives on CCBs will operate.  Several of the ACO's Interim Board members have also "been in the field meeting officials", and to date are said to have visited Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and the newly-named 'ICC Europe' group. 

 

Under a timetable agreed to by the Interim Board last month, members of individual CUSAs will vote next month to elect a representative to sit on their respective CCBs.  The newsletter says that "some [CCBs] already have a [CUSA] member in place and [others] have a process that will require managing", the latter being a reference to elections, the results of which are to be "posted on the ECB CAO web site [by] noon on 1 July". 

 

Establishment of the ACO's Regional Forums is anticipated in the last quarter of this year, the five areas envisaged being  named as 'London and East', 'Midlands', 'North', 'South and West', and 'Wales'.  Individual CUSAs have been asked to nominate "one or more candidates" as potential forum members by 1 September.  The Interim Board is to consider the names put forward in October and will draw up "a short list of Officials for each region" that will then be voted on by ACO members in each area.  

 

Before then though, but after nominations have closed, Regional Forums are to be held in each region in September, those meetings being attended by CCB officials and ACO CUSA members in each area.  From 2009 onwards it is anticipated that CUSAs and Regional Forums will, at a minimum, meet twice each year.

 

Budgets and future forecasts for the ACO's operation are being developed by the ECB's Finance department and will be considered by the Interim Board at its next meeting in early July.  According to the newsletter the current forecast income in 2008 is put at the equivalent of $A280,000, and expenditure at around $A470,000.  The excess of expenditure over income is "not a result of a poor mathematics" says the ACO, "but rather an agreement for the balance to be funded out of central ECB income".  

 

The ACUS is believed to have handed the ACO a surplus of around $A90,000 after it as wound up earlier this year (E-News 217-1211, 25 March 2008), but an ECB press release in February that detailed "record funding for cricket" in the UK made no mention of funds for the ACO (E-News 191-1039, 6 February 2008).    

 

July's Interim Board meeting will also consider ACO staffing and Terms of References for the three sub-committees covering 'Education', 'Member Services' and 'Audit' that are to be established.  The ECB already funds one full time ACO employee, other ECB staffers being utilised when needed.

 

All ACUS qualifications are to be recognised by the ECB ACO until the end of this month, although what it calls "other qualifications will be considered for recognition on request".  From 1 May CCBs will be able to access ECB Level 1 courses that are "run by ECB ACO approved trainers", although they will not come from the ICUS.  ACO County Boards have been asked to submit lists of existing training personnel on their books to the ACO headquarters by 1 July. 

 

Two addition members of the ACO's Interim Board, Mike Gatting the ECB's Managing Director (Cricket Partnerships) and Dan Abbott its Finance Manager, were named in the April newsletter.  They were not mentioned in the list of members who attended the Interim Board's first meeting last month (E-News 217-1211, 25 March 2008).

 

UMPIRING TWENTY20 GAMES 

'EASIER', SAYS HARPER

[EN236-1304]

 

Australian international umpire Daryl Harper, who is currently officiating in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believes that umpiring in Twenty20 matches is "much easier" than other forms of the game, according to remarks attributed to him by 'The Times of India' (TOI) last week.  Describing the IPL in the latest entry on his web site as the  "biggest innovation" during his twenty-five year umpiring career, Harper told the TOI that in Twenty20 "batsmen go hard at the ball and if there are nicks, those are generally loud and clear, [and] there aren't any bat pad decisions to make either”.  

 

"Another good thing about Twenty20 cricket is that the commentators don't get too much time to dwell on a wrong decision, [for in] Test cricket, they go on and on and one fault gets magnified too much".  "It's a relief that the umpire's name is generally not there in the newspapers the next day", he said, although in an interview late last year he indicated that he no longer takes much notice of press comments on games (E-News 147-802, 4 December 2007). 

 

The TOI story says that Harper, who was speaking prior to the incident involving Indian players Harbhajan Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth on Friday (E-News 235-1297, 27 April 2008), believes that the current IPL tournament will go a long way in easing the tensions among the different cricketing nations around the world.  He says that had this series "been played in November last year, there wouldn't have been the Sydney controversy". "Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting, having shared the same dressing-room for a more than a month, would have known each other far better and wouldn't have behaved the way they did during the Test", according to Harper.

 

Repeating a view he expressed twelve months ago, Harper indicated that he is very much against the idea of having a "home" umpires in Test matches (E-News 34-190, 30 April 2007), a plan that has been pushed by a number of people who believe that the best officials should adjudicate in such games. "I believe that [home umpires] will be a step in the wrong direction [for] I don't see FIFA allowing an English referee to host an England-France game, so why should it be any different in cricket?", he asked. 

 

Asked about the Player Referral System (PRS) that the International Cricket Council is looking to trial in a Test series in England in July-August (E-News 227-1263, 15 April 2008), Harper said that he doesn't "mind [it] at all, [for] the friction between the players will lessen, they won't hold the umpires [up] as villains, and the game will have purer results". 

 

Harper, who will be seen in a soon to be released Bollywood movie (E-News 227-1268, 15 April 2008), apparently feels that his current stint in the IPL will freshen him up before his next international commitment. He said that he "officiated in an international match in March, [and] my next commitment is in July, so, what better than this fabulous Twenty20 tournament in between".  

 

His last match was the Third Test between New Zealand and England in late March, and his comment about July suggests he may be set to in stand in England's Test and One Day International (ODI) series against South Africa, which may feature a PRS, a similar series of matches when India visits Sri Lanka, or perhaps the ODI-based Asian Cup tournament in Pakistan involving the host country plus Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates. 

 

'SIN BIN' APPROACH FOR ON-FIELD 

MISDEMEANORS PROPOSED

[EN236-1305]

 

Umpires can "invite" the teacher in charge of a school side that misbehaves on the field of play to remove his captain for ten minutes without substitute, under guidelines introduced in some competitions in England this northern summer, says an article in 'The Times' last week.  The ten-minute 'sin bin' approach only applies after a side have had two warnings in their time on the field.  

 

What is described as "a bold step" is aimed at trying to curtail "the appalling behaviour [that is] all too often seen on school cricket fields [in England] and has even led to the cancellation of future fixtures", says the report.  Umpires standing in matches will be handed a written request that asks them to enforce the provisions of the 'Spirit of Cricket' during games. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 237,

TUESDAY, 29 APRIL 2008

 

HAIR NAMED FOR OLD 

TRAFFORD TEST

[EN237-1306]

 

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair will make his return to top-level cricket when he stands in the Second Test between England and New Zealand at Old Trafford in late May.  Hair was removed from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in the aftermath of the so-called 'ball tampering' Test between England and Pakistan in August 2006, but was reinstated last month after a period of what the ICC called "rehabilitation".

 

Hair, whose participation in England's series against New Zealand was flagged by the ICC last month (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008), will be taking the field with compatriot Simon Taufel on 23 May, then will stand in the Third Test in early June with West Indian Steve Bucknor.  Taufel and Bucknor will officiate in the First Test at Lords in mid-May, the match referee for the three games being the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, who will take his record in that role to 105 Tests. 

 

The trio are the only EUP members who are not currently officiating in the Indian Premier League and their selection for the Tests in England seemed likely even prior to the ICC's announcement yesterday (E-News 232-1288, 22 April 2008).  The series will take Hair's Test match record to seventy-eight, although it will be the first time he has stood in a Test at Old Trafford, Taufel's to fifty-three, and Bucknor's to a record 124 in what he has indicated will be his last year on the EUP (E-News 232-1288, 2 April 2008).

 

Australian umpire Steve Davis, who was promoted to the EUP last week (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), has been named as the neutral official for the five One Day International (ODI) matches England and New Zealand will play over a two-week period that starts in mid-June.  The match referee for that series will be Javagal Srinath of India, and Davis' umpiring colleagues are expected come from the three England members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ian Gould, Nigel Llong and Peter Hartley.

 

The series will take Davis’ ODI record to seventy-six games and Srinath’s to thirty-seven.

 

ELEVEN-MATCH BAN FOR HARBHAJAN, 

BCCI INQUIRY UNDERWAY 

[EN237-1307]

 

Indian player Harbhajan Singh has been banned for eleven matches and fined his entire match fee after he was found guilty of slapping opponent Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at the end of a Indian Premier League (IPL) match last Friday (E-News 237-1298, 27 April 2008).  The suspension will see Harbhajan miss the remainder of the inaugural IPL campaign and he would only return to the series should his side reach the semi-finals, which is unlikely given their present league position.

 

Harbhajan, who was captaining his side in the absence of injured Sachin Tendulkar, expressed his regret over the altercation following the hearing conducted by match referee Farokh Engineer last night.  Harbhajan's role in the incident is now being probed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), to whom he is contracted, and a report on its investigation is expected to go to the BCCI's disciplinary panel by mid-May.

 

Lalit Modi, IPL Chairman and Commissioner, said that "while we [do] appreciate Harbhajan for taking responsibility of his actions, the fact remained that his action against a fellow cricketer was unprovoked".  "More importantly", continued Modi, "it was a conduct completely against the 'Spirit of Cricket'", a philosophy that the IPL has been pushing strongly (E-News 233-1292, 23 April 2008).  "All the cricketers playing in the inaugural season of the IPL are role models for an entire generation of youth, and it is crucial for youngsters all over the world to learn the values of this great game and the spirit in which it should be played", said Modi.

 

Harbhajan's team coach Lalchand Rajput was fined fifty per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of at the same hearing of not doing enough to stop the altercation.  Modi is quoted as saying that the coach "was right behind Harbhajan when the incident took place [and] didn't take any step to restrain him".

 

Sreesanth was let off with a warning for his part in the incident. During the match itself, Indian umpire Amiesh Saheba, who is a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, warned Sreesanth for his behaviour after the dismissal of a rival player.

 

TIFFIN APPOINTED TO 

WINDIES-AUSTRALIA TESTS

[EN237-1308]

 

Zimbabwean international umpire Russell Tiffin, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has been appointed to the first two Tests of Australia's series against the West Indies in the Caribbean next month.  Tiffin's colleagues in those two matches will be ICC Elite Umpire Panel members Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Mark Benson (England), the latter two standing in the Third Test in mid-June.

 

All three umpires are currently standing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and will have to leave India prior to the finish of its inaugural season (E-News 232-1288, 22 April 2008).  IPL's home-and-away games end on 28 May and its three-match final series on 1 June, whereas the First Test in Jamaica will run from 22-26 May and the Second in Antigua from 30 May to 3 June. 

 

Benson, who has not previously stood in a Test in the West Indies, will take his record in that form of the game to twenty-three, Tiffin's Test match record to forty-two, and Dar's to forty-eight.  

 

Dar's Pakistan and EUP colleague Asad Rauf is the neutral umpire for the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between the two sides in late June and early July.  Rauf's umpiring colleagues are expected come from West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Clyde Duncan, Norman Malcolm, Clancy Mack and Goalande Greaves.  

 

Roshan Mahanam from India will be the match referee for both the Test and ODI series, which will take his record in that role to twenty-four and eight-eight matches respectively.   

 

ICC CONFIRMS ANNUAL CONFERENCE 

MOVE TO DUBAI 

[EN237-1309]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed yesterday that its 2008 annual conference week will be held in Dubai.  The conference which was originally scheduled to be held at Lord’s in London, has been moved says the ICC "on the basis that all delegates required to attend would be permitted entry", a reference to the British government's refusal to provide a visa for Zimbabwean ICC member Peter Chingoka (E-News 235-1297, 27 April 2008). 

 

ICC's annual gathering, which will run from 29 June to 4 July, will see meetings of the world body's Chief Executives' Committee and its Board.  David Morgan of England will take over as ICC President and South African Haroon Lorgat as Chief Executive Officer at the end of the conference.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 238,

WEDNESDAY, 30 APRIL 2008

 

UMPIRE'S NEWSPAPER COMMENTS 

LEAD TO SUSPENSION

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Indian umpire Amish Saheba was suspended by the Indian Premier League (IPL) for two matches yesterday for comments he made in a newspaper interview about Indian fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.  Saheba, along with Aleem Dar of Pakistan, was on the field for last Friday's IPL match which saw another Indian player, Harbhajan Singh, slap Sreesanth shortly after the match ended, an act that led to Harbhajan receiving an eleven-match suspension from the IPL (E-News 237-1307, 20 April 2008). 

 

In an interview he gave to the 'Mumbai Mirror' newspaper on Monday, Saheba said that Sreesanth indulged in sledging right through the match.  "He  was acting like a petulant schoolboy", said Saheba, and that "my colleague Aleem Dar and I warned him twice and we warned [opposing captain] Yuvraj [Singh] too".  

 

Despite the fact that his side's win in the match "was a mere formality Sreesanth kept sledging", continued Saheba, and "during the post-match handshake between the two teams, Sreesanth said something to Harbhajan, who was in a foul mood, [and] what happened next, everybody knows".  Sreesanth was let off with a warning for his part in the incident.

 

Neither Saheba or Dar were asked to be present at Harbhjan's hearing on Monday, and Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) Secretary Niranjan Shah, has been quoted by a range of media outlets as saying that umpire Saheba should have informed match referee Farokh Engineeer about Sreesanth's conduct instead of going to the press.  

 

According to IPL Board member Inderjit Singh  Bindra, who was recently appointed to the new Principal Advisor position at the International Cricket Council (E-News  212-1182, 18 March 2008), no mention was made in the umpire's match report about Sreesanth's actions, and "there is a set procedure through which they can report to the match referee or IPL".  

 

Apart from being suspended for two matches, Saheba has also been asked to explain to the BCCI his remarks to the newspaper.

 

NEL PENALISED FOR ‘CODE 

OF CONDUCT’ BREACHES 

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Essex's South African bowler Andre Nel has been given a six-point penalty by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as a result of incidents that occurred during his side's match against Derbyshire last week.  

 

The ECB said in a statement that Nel received the points for "using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator", and for "throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner".

 

Nel was reported by umpires Tim Robinson and Richard Illingworth for two separate breaches of ECB's Code of Conduct, each of which attracts a penalty of three points.  The penalty points will remain on Nel's record for a period of two years and should he accumulate of nine or more penalty points in any two-year period he will be automatically suspended.

 

 

END OF APRIL 2008 E-NEWS FILE