May 08 (239-249)




Number 239 – 5 May 2008 [EN1312-1318]

Number 240 – 7 May 2008 [EN1319-1321]

Number 241 – 12 May 2008 [EN1322-1327]

Number 242 – 15 May 2008 [EN1328-1337]

Number 243 – 20 May 2008 [EN1338-1342]

Number 244 – 22 May 2008 [EN1343-1345]

Number 245 – 25 May 2008 [EN1346-1351]

Number 246 – 26 May 2008 [EN1352-1358]

Number 247 – 27 May 2008 [EN1359-1366]

Number 248 – 28 May 2008 [EN1367-1368]

Number 249 – 30 May 2008 [EN1369-1370]




E-NEWS NUMBER 239, 5 May 2008






A second member of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) umpiring panel has been suspended after he referred an on-field decision to the third umpire during a match on Thursday.  Pratap Kumar, a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel who was on the field for the game, joins his colleague and countryman Amiesh Saheba on the suspension list, although his ban is for one game as opposed to Saheba's two (E-News 239-1314 below).


Kumar's suspension came after the same match in which playing opponents Sourav Ganguly and Shane Warne were fined ten per cent of their match fees for their behaviour.  All three were involved in controversy that erupted after Ganguly, who was batting, asked Kumar to refer a catch decision given against him to third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan as the batsman wasn't convinced that the catch had carried.  


Kumar did as Ganguly requested and Rauf subsequently ruled in the batsman's favour as replays weren't conclusive, a move that led to Warne criticising Ganguly's behaviour after the match and condemning his attitude towards the IPL's much vaunted 'Spirit of Cricket' agreement (E-News 235-1298, 27 April 2008).  Match referee Farokh Engineer, who was also involved in the suspension of Indian IPL player Harbhjan Singh earlier in the week (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008), found that there was no reason for Kumar to accede to Ganguly's plea to refer the decision, and imposed a one match ban on the umpire.


The IPL is being played under the ICC's Code of Conduct, and Engineer ruled that Ganguly's act of asking Kumar to refer a decision to the television umpire constituted an offence of "dissent" under that Code, while Warne was found guilty of violating a section of the Code that deals with "public criticism of, or inappropriate comment on, a match-related incident or official".  





Former Indian Test umpire Ram Gupta, who along with Pakistani Mahboob Shah officiated in the World Cup final between Australia and England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, in 1987, died in London on Thursday.  During his fifteen-year international career which commenced in 1984, Delhi-based Gupta who was seventy-two, officiated in eleven Tests and twenty-four One Day Internationals (ODI). 


Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sharad Pawar described Gupta, who is the only Indian to have stood in a World Cup final, as "one of [India's] best umpires ever".  Former Test umpire V. K. Ramaswamy remembered Gupta as a "very sincere and committed" partner, while Rajen Mehra, another Test umpire, said that "he was a very popular and competent umpire [who] was known to make few mistakes".


Gupta, who played club cricket in Delhi before taking up umpiring, served as President of the Delhi District Cricket Association and had been its Treasurer for eight years at the time of his death.  His last international appearance was in 1990 in Sharjah when he officiated in an ODI involving Australia and Pakistan.





Indian umpire Amiesh Saheba, who was suspended last Tuesday for two Indian Premier League (IPL) matches for making comments to a 'Mumbai Mirror' newspaper about fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (E-News 238-1310, 30 April 2008), has categorically denied giving an interview to the publication.  Sreesanth was involved in a post-match incident with his countryman Harbhajan Singh that later saw Harbhajan banned for eleven-match IPL games (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008).


Asked by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to show cause as to why he had not made comments about Sreesanth's on-field behaviour in his official match report, Saheba reportedly told the BCCI's Commissioner Sudhir Nanavati that "no person has spoken to me in person or on telephone, or taken any interview putting any question to me".


Saheba, who is a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel,  is reported to have said that while a reporter from the 'Ahmedabad Mirror' had visited his residence the day after the IPL game involving Sreesanth and Harbhajan to take his photograph, he "was not given to understand that the reporter wanted my photograph for the report which ultimately came to be published in [both the Ahmedabad and Mumbai papers]".  


Press reports prepared immediately after the game stated that Saheba had warned Sreesanth during the match for his behaviour after the dismissal of a rival player.


Contacted by India's Press Association, Nanavati refused to comment on his investigation saying that he is "still in the process of recording Saheba's statement and in any case, my questions to him and his statements are not for public consumption", and  he also declined to comment on the BCCI's decision to ban the umpire for two matches.  Nanavati is due to provide his report to the BCCI sometime next week. 





The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee is to hold its annual meeting at the world body's headquarters in Dubai today and tomorrow, however, no details of what is on its agenda have yet been released by the ICC.


Matters likely to be discuss include arrangements for the possible trial of a Player Referral System during the Test series between England and South Africa in July-August (E-News 227-263, 15 April 2008), the impact of Twenty20 cricket on the game and whether a "permanent slot" will be set aside in the international schedule for the Indian Premier League, and a number of umpire-related issues


CC Chairman Sunil Gavaskar is also expected to announce whether he intends to continue his work with the group, or relinquish it in favour of media work (E-News 219-1222, 29 March 2008).


Apart from Gavaskar, those attending this week's meeting are expected to include Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who is on his way to England for a Test series (E-News 237-1306, 29 April 2008), the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle,  "past players" Ian Bishop and Mark Taylor, "current players" Kumar Sangakkara and Tim May, Keith Bradshaw from the Marylebone Cricket Club, statistician David Kendix, former player Michael Holding who is representing the media, and several others.


If it follows its normal practice, the ICC will provide some details of the outcomes of the meeting later this week. 





New Zealand's first-class cricketers rate Tony Hill as their country's best umpire, a fact that is "not something that [his international colleague] 'Billy' Bowden will be thrilled to hear", says a story published in the 'Dominion Post' newspaper on Saturday.  Bowden is a member of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpiring Panel, while Hill is on its second-tier International Umpires Panel. 


What factors players took into account in making their judgements about the umpires who stand in their games were not detailed in the article by journalist Jonathan Millmow.  Both Hill and Bowden were busy with international duties during the 2007-08 season, and Hill stood in only two first-class, two one-day domestic, and six domestic Twenty20 games at home , while Bowden, who was unavailable for medical reasons for part of the summer (E-News 152-841, 11 December 2007), took part in one, five and zero domestic games respectively.


Millnow says that the assessment of Hill was one of a wide range of opinions provided by NZ's current eight-seven first-class players in response to a post-season survey conducted the Cricket Players Association.  Other feedback from the survey included such issues as the player's choice of their 'player-of-the-year', their views on grounds and pitches, and how well they believe the game is being run in their country.  


Ninety per cent of the players felt that NZ Cricket is running the game well, eight-one per cent per cent that their first-class competition should be contested over ten rounds instead of the current eight, and seventy-two per cent indicated that they were motivated to perform by the prospect of securing a contract with one of the Indian Twenty20 leagues.





Australian international umpire Daryl Harper says that following the suspension of Indian player Harbhajan Singh from the Indian Premier League last week (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008), "the man in the street" in India is "now reconsidering events [after assuming] that only one team was at fault in the Second Test in Sydney" last January.  


Following that match West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor was dropped by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the Third Test of that series after the Board of Control for Cricket in India threatened to withdraw from the tour over Harbhajan's suspension and what it saw as the standard of Bucknor's decision making during the match (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008)   


Harper, who is currently officiating in the IPL, says in a piece posted on his personal web site last Tuesday that "you can only imagine the passion" that last week's Harbhajan incident has evoked on the sub-continent, and that "the incidents in Australia [in January] during [India's] the ill tempered tour [of Australia] are now being reconsidered" by some in India.


Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after that game after being found guilty of making racist remarks, but eventually escaped 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).  


Former Australian Test umpire Lou Rowan, who stood in the very first One Day International in 1971 and clocked up a total of seventy-four first-class games, including twenty-five Tests in the period from 1958-72, was widely reported in the Australian media last week as saying that in his view Harbhajan should be banned for life following the IPL incident.  


Quotes attributed to eighty-three year old Rowan by Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' and other newspapers, indicate that he said that Harbhajan "doesn't belong to the game of cricket, he has shown he is no good, they should just get rid of him from the sport" and that he didn't think that the Indian would have been allowed to get away with what he has been allowed to get away with in any other sport".





Derek Shuttleworth, an Englishman who umpired his 1,000th match in the Bradford League in 2004, and is said to have taken charge of some 1,800 games in all forms of cricket over the past forty-four years, announced his on-field retirement last week, says an article in Bradford's 'Telegraph and Argus' newspaper.  


The seventy-eight year old, who has umpired in both weekend and mid-week games over the last four decades, is the only umpire to be awarded the league's coveted Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy.


Shuttleworth, who was made a life vice-president of the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) at its last annual meeting held at Lord's last year, still plans to be involved in cricket despite his on-field retirement and will be in the score box in the Bradford League this northern summer.  


Glyn Pearson, chairman of the Bradford Cricket League Umpires' Association (BCLUA), told the 'Telepgrph and Argus' that in his view Shuttleworth's "record of more than 1,000 games will surely never be matched".  "He has been a wonderful umpire and a great servant for our Association", said Person, and "we are delighted that we will still see him around the Bradford League scene in his new role".


Shuttleworth was paid the equivalent of $A4 a game when he started umpiring in 1964.  He became chairman of the BCLUA in 1968, a position he held for 25 years, then served as vice-chairman for four years, worked as a ACUS umpires' instructor for many years, and since 1994 has run courses for scorers.  


He is, says the report, "renowned" for taking tea with current Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in at match in Harare during England's first tour to that country in 1996-97.  "Mr Mugabe was there and he saw South African Cricket Union and Zimbabwe Cricket Union ties in my hand which I had just bought, [and] we got chatting for three or four minutes about what the colours on the Zimbabwe tie represented".



E-NEWS NUMBER 239, 5 May 2008



[EN240-1319, Wednesday, 7 May 2008]


Concern by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) that technology used in the manufacture of bats could alter "the balance between bat and ball", is behind the Club's move to amend Law 6, says a report published on the '' web site in Mumbai yesterday.  John Stephenson, the head of the MCC Laws Committee, is to present a paper on the subject to a special meeting of MCC members in London later today (E-News 227-1264, 15 April 2008).


The Mumbai report quotes Stephenson as saying that "Kookaburra produced a bat with graphite binding on it" that was used by Australian captain Ricky Ponting in 2006 which the MCC said at the time "did not conform to the Laws of the game [and] that caused a little bit of a difficulty for us". As a result the MCC undertook work to rewrite Law 6, however, last year Gray Nicolls produced a bat with a handle made with graphite and titanium.  


Gray Nicholls' move caused the Laws Committee to again revisit the issue and it has now planning to redefined bat handles in terms of rubber, cane and glue, the first time handles will be directly referred to in the Laws if the move goes ahead.  "While we do not want to discourage innovation, says Stephenson, "our job [at the MCC is] to safeguard the health of the game" so that in ten to fifteen years time we will to see a competition between bat and ball that resembles what we watch now. 


Stephenson told '' that while no significant research has been undertaken into the effects substances like graphite and titanium have on the power imparted by bats, the MCC is moving to preempt the "huge influence superior technology" could have on the way the game is played. "We have engaged scientists to look at the impact", said Stephenson, for if no action is taken "it might shift the balance down the line". 


Bat manufacturers had been apprised of the situation at regular intervals, says Stephenson, and "the MCC and bat manufacturers have agreed to an amicable phasing out of bats" (E-News 204-1128, 4 March 2008)



[EN240-1320, Wednesday, 7 May 2008]


Farokh Engineer, the former Indian player who is starting his career as a match referee in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is "turning out to be an embarrassment" to the tournament after reportedly cheering for the Rajasthan Royals team wearing their team outfit, claims a report in the 'Gulf News' (GN) on Sunday.  In addition Engineer "has irritated" the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says the GN story, by stating that it needs to be lenient on player Harbhajan Singh.


Engineer, who last week suspended Indian Harbhajan for eleven IPL matches (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008), reportedly told the media that the BCCI disciplinary committee, which is carrying out a separate investigation into last week's incident, should not be harsh on the controversial player.  Some BCCI members are also believed to be upset that Engineer had given his verdict on Harbhajan without consulting the on-field umpires Amiesh Saheba and Aleem Dar (E-News 238-1310, 30 April 2008). 


'Gulf News' quotes IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi as indicating that action will be taken against Engineer if he is found to have been "indisciplined".  Claims about Engineer come only a few days after the IPL suspended umpires Amiesh Saheba and Pratap Kumar for two and one games respectively for separate, unrelated incidents (E-News 239-1312, 5 May 2008).



[EN240-1321, Wednesday, 7 May 2008]


Sudhir Nanavati, the Ahmedabad-based lawyer appointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BBCI) to look into the altercation between Harbhajan Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth in a recent Indian Premier League (IPL) match, has branded television footage of the incident "shocking", says a report posted on the '' web site yesterday.  


Nanavati saw the footage on Tuesday along with IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah, and joint Secretary M P Pandove, and is to interview both Harbhajan and Sreesanth later this week.  He is also said to have recorded statements provided by match referee Farokh Engineer and Amiesh Saheba one of the umpires, and is to speak to Sreesanth's coach Lalchand Rajput "soon".


During his discussion with Nanavati, Saheba denied making comments about Sreesanth's behaviour during the game in question attributed to him by a newspaper  (E-News 239-1314, 5 May 2008).  No indication was given as to whether Saheba's on-field colleague during the game, International Cricket Council Elite Umpires Panel member Aleem Dar of Pakistan, has been or will be interviewed by Nanavati, who is expected to submit his report to the BCCI in Mumbai next Monday.



E-NEWS NUMBER 241, 12 May 2008






The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) has recommended that 'Hawk-Eye' technology be used by the third umpire in any Player Referral System (PRS) trial that is conducted in international cricket later this year (E-News 213-1185, 19 March 2008).  If the use of Hawk-Eye in a PRS trial is eventually cleared, the system will only be used in a limited way to determine the actual path of the ball up until the point where it strikes a batsman, and the predicted path function of the technology will not be considered in making LBW decisions.  


PRS arrangements formulated by the CC at its annual meeting in Dubai last week will, if approved by the world body's Chief Executives Committee and then full Board when they meet at the end of June, see each side limited to a maximum of three unsuccessful referrals per innings, with players being permitted to ask the on-field umpire concerned to consult with the third umpire about a decision that has been made.  


The process is expected to take the form and order of: on-field umpire gives his decision; the affected batsman or fielding side’s captain asks the umpire to review that decision; the on-field umpire(s) and third umpire consult; the on-field umpire gives his final decision.  Umpires will still be permitted to refer line decisions or boundaries to the third umpire as at present without a player requesting them to refer that decision.


ICC communications officer James Fitzgerald told media outlets that "the umpires would prefer to occasionally overrule their own decision rather than go home that evening and see on the highlights that they have looked a bit silly".  "They'd rather spend thirty seconds or a minute getting it right than getting it wrong and it having a serious impact on the game", he says.


South African coach Mickey Arthur, who attended last week's CC meeting, is in favour of a trial in his side's Test series against England in July-August, telling a home newspaper that "we’re keen and so are Sky television, who will be covering the series".  Despite that he says he has "been in contact with [England coach] Peter Moores, who says the England team have reservations about using it".  


Former England Test umpire Peter Willey was quoted by the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK as saying that "one current England player I spoke to recently said he'd like all decisions to be left to the umpires [as] it's been accepted for over a hundred years that umpires make the decisions in the middle".  "Most of the County players I see week in and week out are happy to leave it like that", said Willey.  The ICC indicated earlier this year that a trial would only proceed if both sides involved in a series approved it.  


Australia coach Tim Nielsen is concerned that a challenge system will slow down Test matches, says a report in 'The Australian' last week.  In his view use of technology like Hawk-Eye, which is used in the challenge system in tennis and by television analysts in cricket, is prone to overused, and "we need to be a bit careful that we don't jump head first in and go gung-ho the other way and make too many calls".


A test of Hawk-Eye's suitability for use in a PRS trial, which was to be attended by "a delegation" from the ICC had been scheduled for 30 April in England  (E-News 227-1263, 15 April 2008), however, rained washed out proceedings and no evaluation was possible on that occasion say UK media reports


Arthur believes though that the decision process "won’t take much time", for "the appeal has to be lodged within eight seconds" of a decision being made by the on-field umpire, and that Australian international umpire Simon Taufel "did an exercise using video which showed a decision can be made by the television umpire within another eight to ten seconds".  


Despite Arthur's enthusiasm, and repeated indications over the last two months that the trial was being targeted for the England series, the ICC only said last week that "the Test series that will be used for the trial will be announced in due course". 


A PRS experiment was tried in English domestic one-day cricket last season, however, it was widely considered unsuccessful (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007).  South African authorities wanted to conduct a PRS trial last southern summer but were unable to for financial reasons (E-News 205-1137, 6 March 2008), New Zealand used it for a single one-day domestic match in March (E-News 204-1126, 4 March 2008), and the Indian Cricket League introduced it for its latest Twenty20 series last month (E-News 232-1289, 22 April 2008).





A Special General Meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) held at Lord's last Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of re-writing the sixth of cricket's forty-two Laws which deals with 'the bat'.  The MCC had proposed changes because of concerns it had that technology used in the manufacture of bats could alter "the balance between bat and ball" (E-News 240-1319, 5 May 2008).  


Postal voting forms were sent out from Lord's to all 18,000 of the MCC's Full and Senior Members.  A two-thirds majority was needed to pass the change but in the end 98.6 per cent of those who voted supported it.  


The new Law stipulates that ninety per cent of the volume of bat handles should consist of cane, wood and/or twine, with the other ten per cent for the purpose of reducing vibration, for example rubber.  It states that bat handles, including the splice, must not exceed fifty-two per cent of the overall length of the bat, and restricts the thickness of materials that can be used to protect and repair bats.


It also introduces a grading system for bats which ranges from Grade A to C.  Each category allows different leeway on the materials that can be used, enabling bats to still be produced cheaply for use in lower levels of the game.  All bat manufacturers will be asked to submit their designs to the MCC for grading and the Club will also carry out random tests on bats all over the world to ensure they comply with the new Law.


The MCC says that it consulted widely in examining the bat issue.  Discussions were held with the International Cricket Council, governing bodies of Test playing nations, nine different bat manufacturers, and materials scientists.  Future supplies of willow, for the blades of bats, and cane for the handles, were also investigated to ensure sufficient will be available to meet the on-going demand for bats. 


The Law change will come into effect from 1 October, but it will not apply retrospectively in amateur cricket so anyone using what will then be a non-legal bat will be able to use it for its natural lifespan.





The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) has commissioned research into the reasons why current over-rates in both Tests and One Day Internationals are so low.  No details of who is conducting the research, what its scope will be, or what the timetable for the work is have yet been released.


The CC also noted, says an ICC statement, "the research provided in respect of the volume of cricket being played by international players as compared to players from years gone by", and "the progress made on the joint-research being carried out by the ICC and the MCC in relation to bad light". 


The objectives of the bad light research, says the ICC, is to provide umpires with an effective means of measuring light, together with guidelines of what would be considered appropriate light for play at international level, and to determine appropriate artificial lighting conditions for play with red, white or pink balls. 


The CC also looked at number of other playing conditions last week, including the so-called "comfort break" which is being increasingly used in higher levels of cricket.  It has recommended that substitute fielders "should only be permitted in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons". 


Other suggestions from the CC include that in One Day Internationals, on-field umpires should be permitted to consult the third umpire as to whether a catch has been taken cleanly before making the final decision themselves, the timing of one Power Play should be decided by the batting side, and that in the event of a tie in the ICC World Twenty20 or Champions Trophy matches a one-over-per-team play-off should be introduced.


Last week's CC meeting was Chaired by former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, who announced that the meeting was his last.  Gavaskar has resigned from the ICC after conflict-of-interest issues between that role and his work as a columnist for an Indian newspaper (E-News 219-1222, 29 March 2008).  


President of the Board of Control for Cricket In India Sharad Pawar told media on the sub-continent last week that "Gavaskar is one of the most respected cricketers in the world [but] his comments pertaining to ICC umpires during the recent tour of India to Australia had created the controversy" (E-News 181-975, 22 January 2008).





The International Cricket Council (ICC) has given the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) an official warning for preparing a poor quality pitch for the Test match between India and South Africa at Kanpur last month.  India won the game after South Africa's batsmen collapsed during the third day's play on what reports at the time said was an under prepared wicket (E-News 228-1271, 16 April 2008), and the ICC launched an enquiry into the situation that prevailed (E-News 229-1275, 17 April 2008). 


An ICC statement released on Friday says that the BCCI has accepted the warning and that it will take "the necessary action" to ensure the Kanpur pitch is improved for future international matches.  “I thank the ICC for its input and decision in relation to this and I can assure everyone that we will take all steps necessary to ensure this does not happen in the future", said Niranjan Shah, the BCCI's Honorary Secretary. 


Roshan Mahanama the ICC's Sri Lankan match referee for the Test series submitted a report to the ICC at the end of the Kanpur game, expressing his concern over the quality of the playing surface and saying it was "not up to Test standard".  “My considered view is that the pitch was poor as it was too dry and had considerable turn and variable bounce from the first day", wrote Mahanama.


David Richardson, the ICC’s General Manager (Cricket) and its chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle said after considered Mahanama's report and advice provided to it by the BCCI, that "it would appear that the poor quality of the pitch prepared for this Test was due to inadequate preparation procedures".  


 “We have taken into consideration the explanations offered by the BCCI as to the reasons for the dryness of the pitch", continued Richardson, "and we have noted that there is no previous record of a sub-standard pitch being prepared in Kanpur".


Under ICC statutes Richardson and Madugalle had the power to impose a sanction ranging from a warning or a fine, up to a suspension of international status for Kanpur in the case of repeated offences, however, they decided to impose an official warning as the sanction.





Up-and-coming umpires from around the country are expected to again have the opportunity to take part in this year's Cricket Australia (CA) Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) that is to be played in Brisbane over a twelve-day period in the last half of July.  The series will see the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) team compete against sides from India, New Zealand and South Africa in six Twenty20 and twelve 50-over matches. 


The 2008 series will see the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) enter their National Academy Team for the first time.  Indian state side Karnataka has participated in the tournament over the last three years, winning the inaugural series in 2005, while South Africa has claimed the honours in the two years since. 


Details of which umpires will stand in matches in July are not yet available, however, CA has indicated over the last six months that the EPT is an important tournament for umpires whose aim is to prove they have what it takes to work at high-level senior interstate cricket in Australia. 





The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to reduce the size its Elite Umpires Panel from thirty-seven to thirty as part of moves to improve the standard of umpiring across the sub-continent.  "Video clips" and other reports of each official's performances during the 2007-08 domestic season in India will be used in redrawing the panel, according to the BCCI's Director of Umpires Srinivas Venkataraghavan.


While reports available on the BCCI's umpiring plans are difficult to interpret, it appears that its umpiring committee also decided at its meeting last week that the performance of its umpire coaches, will themselves have their activities monitored, although by whom and by what means was not spelt out.  That group was formed formed around the country last year to monitor and mentor the performance of its first-class umpires.


The BCCI's umpiring committee, which is headed by Venkataraghavan, is also believed to be planning to conduct an examination in July to select a group of umpires below Elite level who have the potential to work towards Elite panel status.  State Cricket Associations from around India are each being asked to recommend four candidates for the exam, two of whom must be former first-class players who have played a minimum of fifteen matches.  



E-NEWS NUMBER 242, 15 May 2008






The Maryleborne Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) believes that with the use of technology in decision making on the increase, the International Cricket Council (ICC) should move away from its 'neutral' umpire policy, and appoint the best officials available when it selects umpires for Test matches.  


The WCC, whose fifth meeting was held at Lord's on Monday and Tuesday, feels that with "greater transparency of decision making already in evidence, and the possible introduction of a [Player Referral System]", the case for "host country umpires" is becoming stronger.  Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who is a member of the ICC's Cricket Committee, is believed to be considering his future in the game, in part, suggest reports, because he is currently unable to stand in Tests in Australia (E-News 242-1329 below).


A statement issued on behalf of the WCC by the MCC yesterday says that if the International Cricket Council (ICC) had the ability to use 'home' officials it would encourage "younger umpires, particularly those with families, [to] feel more encouraged to join or stay on the ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) as they would be able to pursue their career closer to home".  What the WCC describes as "well-regarded umpires" who do not wish to travel all-year round would "thus be encouraged to stand in a limited number of matches overseas and help to maintain [their] high standards".  


The MCC Committee also recommended that EUP members "be well remunerated for their work and suggested that the panel be enlarged, with umpires serving on a part-time basis".  The ICC agreed last year to improve pay and conditions for EUP members as well as enlarge the size of the panel, however, while no details of the former have been made public as yet, the increase in panel members occurred late last month (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008).  It is not clear therefore whether the WCC is referring to that expansion or promoting a further increase in size, while just what the term "part-time" means in the EUP's case was not spelt out. 


Established in April 2006, the WCC is an independent body comprised of current and former international cricketers and umpires from around the world and acts as a complimentary body to International Cricket Council and its constituent nations.  


The group, which includes former England international umpire David Shepherd, is empowered and supported by the MCC to conduct research, particularly into technological advances and bio-mechanical elements of the game and its players, its aims being: to debate all matters in the interests of cricket and cricketers; to consider at all times the balance of the contest between bat and ball and to assist MCC's custodianship of the Laws of the Game; to protect the 'Spirit of Cricket'; and to be sure that governing body decisions never put cash or country interests before the good of the game".





The future of Australian international umpire Simon Taufel in cricket remains unclear, for the man rated as the world's best umpire over the last four years is yet to sign a new deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC), claims a report in the 'Herald-Sun' newspaper in Melbourne this morning.  Journalist Jon Pierik writes that Taufel "was hoping to hear from the ICC this week", some three weeks after the ICC announced in Elite Umpires Panel for the next year (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008). 


Pierik says that Taufel, who later today will take the field for the First Test between England and New Zealand at Lord's, writes that the umpire told the 'Herald Sun' in February that he was growing tired of the constant travel because he was not allowed to stand in home Tests.  Taufel is quoted as saying at the time that "it's important to spend time with my family", he is "always looking for new opportunities, not necessarily [in] umpiring", and that from the end of March he would be "on the open market," and "taking it year-by-year" (E-News 195-1066, 12 February 2008).


Last year Taufel was reported to have expressed the view that the best umpires available should be appointed to "important matches" and the neutral umpires policy rescinded (E-News 42, 20 May 2007).  Shortly after that Cricket Australia confirmed its support for neutral umpires (E-News 45, 24 May 2007), as has Taufel's fellow Australian and member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 'Elite' umpiring panel Daryl Harper twice in the last year (E-News 236-1304, 28 April 2008), and the then Chairman of its Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar (E-News 41, 17 May 2007).  


The question of 'neutral' umpires was one of a number of issues examined by the ICC's umpiring 'Task Force' last year, but in October the world body opted to maintain the system that is now in place (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), although this week's recommendation by the Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee that the ICC should move away from its 'neutral' umpire policy adds yet another dimension to the debate (E-News 242-1328 above).


Today's 'Herald Sun' story by Pierik goes on to discuss Taufel's colleague Darrell Hair's return to Test cricket next week (E-News 237-1306, 29 April 2008).  Hair is quoted as saying this week that he "wants to stay" on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel.  "I take pride in my decision-making out on the field", said Hair.  "I don't know if I will be able to do it better" thank in the past, said Hair, "but one thing's for certain, I'll be out there giving it my best shot".


Hair said that he supposes "one of the things that you really focus on too much when you're in the limelight is trying to get things right and how other people are going to perceive your decisions if you make a mistake," he said, and "getting back to basics is the best thing you can do".





West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels has been banned for two years by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) after being found guilty of breaking rules designed to stop players betting on matches.  The WICB said in a statement that Samuels had "received money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game into disrepute".


The WICB disciplinary committee looked into charges that the Jamaican had passed on team information to a bookmaker during a One Day International series in India in January last year, although the player is reported to have denied the charge.  A second charge that Samuels had "directly or indirectly... engaged in conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game" was dismissed.  


Media reports in the Caribbean are suggesting that the WICB's committee, made up of Justice Adrian Saunders and including Dr Lloyd Barnett, Professor Aubrey Bishop and former West Indies captain Richie Richardson, would have preferred that Samuels not have to face a ban, and recommending a suspended sentence because of what was described as his "good behaviour".  


Those reports say though that the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to enforce the suspension, its acting Chief Executive Officer David Richardson saying in a statement that "corruption is a serious matter, dealing with it effectively is fundamental to the integrity of our sport and this matter is a demonstration that its threat has not gone away".  “It is never pleasant when a player is banned", said the ICC's Richardson, "but the process in arriving at this point has been an extremely thorough one and we hope the case serves as a reminder to players and officials to remain vigilant". 


Samuels' ban encompasses all forms of cricket, including Tests, ODIs, Twenty20, first-class and List A matches organised by or under the auspices of the ICC or its Members, plus other games conducted by either the ICC or the relevant national board that do not fall into the above categories.  Under present arrangements that would appear to leave Samuel's participation in the Indian Cricket League a possibility.


WICB Chief Executive Officer Donald Peters was quoted by the 'Trinidad and Tobago Express" as indicating that he has written to Mr Samuels and offered him all the help needed to get his life in order".


In a separate issue, Samuels was suspended from bowling in January after independent analysis of his action revealed his off-break and faster deliveries exceeded the fifteen degrees level of tolerance permitted under regulations (E-News 201-1110, 26 February 2008). 





The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday banned player Harbhajan Singh for five One Day Internationals (ODI) for slapping his national team-mate Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at the conclusion of an Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 match last month.  Harbhajan, who was suspended for eleven IPL matches as a result of the incident (E-News 237-1307, 29 April 2008), will now miss India's forthcoming tri-series in Bangladesh against the home side and Pakistan, and probably half the games in the Asia Cup in Pakistan in June-July.


The BCCI's disciplinary committee, which comprises its President Sharad Pawar, President-elect Shashank Manohar and Vice-President Chirayu Amin, said in a press statement that under the Board's regulations "the maximum punishment that can be meted out to a player [for the offence Harbhajan committed was] a ban of up to five ODIs and-or three Test matches".  The trio also stated that "any further instance of misconduct" by Harbhajan] will invoke a life-ban".


Explaining why Harbhajan was charged for a 'Level 3' offence while the IPL's had punished him for a 'Level 4' misdemeanour, Shah said that the League had "adopted the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Spirit of Conduct' policy so match referee" Farok Engineer applied their regulations to the case, whereas the BCCI "decided to punish" Harbhajan, who is a BCCI contracted player, "under BCCI regulations".  


Prior to the announcement of Harbhajan's latest ban yesterday, there were widespread media reports on the sub-continent that suggested he would, in their words, "be treated leniently".  Those stories claim the report on the incident prepared by Ahmedabad lawyer Sudhir Nanavati for the disciplinary committee, said that "while slapping a colleague is totally unacceptable Nanavati feels the off-spinner has already been punished [by the IPL] and should be given one more chance".  Nanavati said last week that he was "shocked" after seeing the video clip of the incident, but was also quoted as saying that Harbhajan was "extremely repentant" over the incident. 


Nanavati's fourteen-page report is said to have gone on to say that match referee Farokh Engineer "echoed the same sentiments" when interviewed by Nanavati, "saying what Harbhajan did is indefensible but has been punished heavily for it already", while Sreesanth told the investigator that "he knows Harbahajan's actions weren't intentional and wants to forgive and forget".  According to press reports last week Engineer embarrassed the BCCI by stating publicly that the Board needs to be lenient on Harbhajan (E-News 240-1320, 7 May 2008).


In addition to its censure of Harbhajan, Sreesanth has been instructed by the BCCI to mend his ways on the field.  A letter written to him by BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah is said to state that if "you do not improve your behavior, the Board would be constrained to take appropriate decision".





England coach Peter Moores is said to be "uncomfortable" with plans to trial a Player Referral System (PRS) during his side's Test series against South Africa in July-August, according to a report published in 'The Guardian' newspaper in the UK yesterday.   Journalist Lawrence Booth quotes Moores as saying that he thinks "TV referrals should be controlled by the umpires", and by implication that players should not have the right to ask for referrals.


Moores is said to have stressed that his was "no more than a personal view", but that "it's a team sport, and if you put the players in there, it causes confusion".  Former England player and international umpire Peter Willey, who is still officiating in County Cricket, said last week that "one current England player I spoke to recently said he'd like all decisions to be left to the umpires [as] it's been accepted for over a hundred years that umpires make the decisions in the middle" (E-News 241-1322, 12 May 2008).


The Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC), which pushed for a trial of a PRS in a Test match at its meeting last year, said following its latest gathering which concluded at Lord's on Tuesday, that it "remains fully supportive" and ready to help the ICC in a trial conducted "anywhere in the world", although it hopes that it will go ahead in England-South Africa series in two months time.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to announce just which Test series the PRS trial will be conducted in.


The WCC says that "it accepts that trialling this system may place increased pressure on the players initially and so it is important that players are consulted fully about the system and its implications".  It also supports the use of 'Hawk-Eye' in the decision-making process, saying that "to date [it] has proved very positive for stating where the ball pitched and where it struck the batsman", a move that the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC) recommended at its meeting earlier this month (E-News 241-1332, 12 May 2008). 


Meanwhile, writing about the ICC's PRS trial plans in 'The Age' in Melbourne on Tuesday, journalist Greg Baum writes that the "technology will not be resisted, and nor should it" and that in his view the experience of other sports is "instructive".  "Tennis", has taught "that players used their limited referrals wisely [and] experience teaches that the pause in play, as long as it is not protracted, adds an agreeable tension", says Baum.  However, he says that the ICC's CC "was wise to exclude from consideration the more speculative aspects of [Hawk-Eye] technology, such as what would have happened to the ball after it had hit a batsman's pad".


Baum believes that "umpires ought to welcome the initiative, since, to a point, it will indemnify them as they have not been since the dawn of technology".  For players though it will be "new ground", as they "must understand the new psychology [and] when challenging a decision, [must] take responsibility for the outcome".  "Technology [though] is a tool, not a panacea [for] it is only as good as its operators, and there will still be mistakes and not only by umpires", he says, referring to the time when English bowler Steve Harmison had Steve Waugh caught behind during the Fourth Test at the MCG in December 2002, however, neither he nor any of his fielding colleagues appealed.





Former England international umpire Nigel Plews has championed the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) umpiring course, says a report posted on the ICUS web site this week.  Plews' comments appear to be a further rebuttal of the view expressed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in its Association of Cricket Official's (ACO) April newsletter that the ICUS course has not been approved at an appropriate level by an independent quality assurance body as the Institute claims (E-News 23-1291, 23 April 2008).


Plews, who stood in 301 first-class matches, a figure that includes eleven Tests, and sixteen One Day Internationals from 1981-99, is quoted by the ICUS as saying that he "applauds" the initiative to develop a course "that, for the first time [has] achieved a much-needed worldwide consistency in both umpire training and on-field performance standards"  (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).  


What has impressed him about the ICUS is its "continuing determination to remain independent" from cricket's governing bodies, including the ECB.  The ICUS policy of independence is "an important safeguard against the appalling prospect of a Zimbabwe-like situation arising in cricket officiating where individuals are ostracised and discriminated against simply for exercising their right to a freedom of choice".  


In a slap at the ECB, the ICUS said in a statement late last month that "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" (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008).  The ACO's April newsletter suggests by its content that the organisation has considerable work to do in a number of significant areas before it becomes fully operational (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008).   





An annual meeting of the captains of Test and One Day International sides would help over come some of the on-field behavioural problems that have been on display in international cricket recently, according to the Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC).  


While the WCC "feels that player conduct is good in the vast majority of international matches, it recognises that the knock-on effects of this public perception are such that standards of behaviour in the amateur game are often unacceptable".  The Committee says that "action must therefore be taken now to ensure that international cricketers set the best example, with captains taking the lead".


The Committee also says that it supports the concept of day-night Test matches and believes that their introduction could encourage spectators to return to that form of the game.  While it believes that there are "challenges to overcome", such as dew and the colour of the ball and clothing used, "efforts should be made to research and develop this option" with a view to conducting a trial sometime in the future.  


The WCC says that "with the exception of England", attendances at Test matches around the world are "thought to be in decline", and countries such as Australia, the West Indies and South Africa could use afternoon and evening playing times " to encourage families and the public to attend Tests after work".


The Committee says it is also "concerned with the recent trend of the bat dominating the ball", and as a result it is "happy" about the changes the MCC is making to limit the type of materials that will be permitted in making bats (E-News 241-1323, 12 May 2008), a move that coincides with claims by the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK yesterday that Texas billionaire Allen Stanford plans to introduce "shiny black bats to the English game" that are "coated with graphite on the back".  


The report by Simon Briggs and Derek Pringle says that the "revised version of Law 6 [demands] that nothing should be done to "materially alter the colour of the blade", and that the MCC have "consulted their lawyers over the past week and believe that the new regulations are water-tight".


Despite the planned change to the bat Law, the WCC "wonders if more could be done to maintain the equilibrium between bat and ball", and indicates that Lord's "will allocate significant resources into researching this issue".  Areas to be investigated are said to include the weight and thickness of cricket bats, the potential for extra stitching on the seam of the ball, the speed of outfields and the positioning of boundary ropes.





Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Hashan Tillekeratne will be opposed by Justice Minister Dilan Perera for the top post in Sri Lanka's Association of Cricket Umpires (SACU) when it conducts its annual election of office-bearers on Saturday week.  Current SACU President Saman Amarasinghe is to stand down from that position and instead will be vying for the post of Secretary. 


Tillekaratne was recently awarded honorary membership by the Maryleborne Cricket Club, but the entry of a politician with no known cricketing background has raised several eyebrows, says a report in Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper on Tuesday.  Tillekaratne has not held any major post in cricket administration since his retirement from playing, but functioned as the executive director of Cricket Aid, a humanitarian project set up after the Asian tsunami.


Perera is currently the President of the Volleyball Federation of Sri Lanka and just why he has decided to contest to take up a post in another controlling body is baffling according to observers, says journalist T. B. Rahaman, however, he goes on to say that the Minister has been persuaded to contest the post by "some members of the Umpires Association".  


A dozen candidates will be looking to fill the SACU's five Vice President positions.





The Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) has proposed that a minimum of fifteen overs per hour should be bowled in Test match cricket, with teams being required to complete ninety overs each day in a six hour playing period.  The Committee says that the "declining over rates in the modern game" which sees the current average rate as 13.8 overs an hour, "is unacceptable, particularly for the paying public". 


While allowances should be made in extraordinary circumstances, the Committee feels that time wasting is prevalent in Test cricket and must be eradicated.  At its meeting at Lord's on Tuesday and Wednesday, the WCC recommended that the International Cricket Council implement its proposed fifteen over minimum requirement in Test cricket "as soon as possible.  If the situation has not dramatically improved within a year says the WCC, "severe run penalties [should be introduced] for slow over rates.


The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) said last week that it has commissioned research into the reasons why current over-rates in both Tests and One Day Internationals are so low (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008). 





A "stomach complaint" prevented Australian international umpire Daryl Harper from taking the field in an Indian Premier League match in Mohali on Monday.  Harper says  on his personal web site that while he will spare his readers "the sordid details", the fact that he didn't eat "for thirty-six hours" will help them "understand his dilemma".  Harper's next match is in Mumbai on Friday, then he moves to Hyderabad in time for a game on Sunday.



E-NEWS NUMBER 243, 20 May 2008






Former England player and now BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew has praised two decisions made by umpires Steve Bucknor (West Indies) and Simon Taufel (Australia) in the First Test between England and New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday.  Writing in his BBC blog, Agnew says that "since all we usually read about is criticism of umpiring decisions, it is time to highlight two brilliant decisions" they each made.


"First" writes Agnew, "Taufel judged to the inch that Andrew Strauss was LBW to Jacob Oram, despite the ball not coming back into the left hander from over the wicket".  "That is always a difficult call because it usually means the ball would have pitched outside leg stump [but] this one did not", says the broadcaster.  He continues by saying that "while Kevin Pietersen will not have been thrilled by Bucknor's decision to despatch him LBW off Vettori, replays showed that, although he was well forward, the ball would have hit middle and leg stump".


Earlier in the match, however, considerable controversy was generated by the media over lengthy delays caused by bad light, there being five stoppages that resulted in forty-three overs being lost on the first day of the game last Friday, and difficult conditions were again experienced over the weekend that eventually led to the match being drawn overnight Australian time.


Former England international and coach David Lloyd, and now a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) umpire selection panel (E-News 229-1273, 17 April 2008), was quoted by the 'Cricinfo' web site as saying that Friday was "an absolute shocker for everybody concerned".  He is said to have remarked that "I think that there should be better communication from the umpires out in the middle and from the announcements just so that everybody knows exactly what is happening and what the light meter readings are".  "If the umpire was microphoned-up he could then tell everybody" at the ground, said Lloyd.  


Former England captain David Gower wrote in 'The Times' that Bucknor and Taufel had been "entirely and scrupulously efficient in administering the law and their interpretation of it", but that the low light limits "established at Lord's could be further lowered without necessarily spoiling the contest". 


That comment "is by no means a criticism of [the umpires]" said Gower, and he pointed to the joint research being carried out by the ICC and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) that aims to provide umpires with an effective means of measuring light conditions, plus more precise guidelines as to what would be considered appropriate light for play at international level (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008).


Gower says that Taufel, "a rightly much-respected umpire", explained during one of the breaks that in the past floodlights have not made much of a difference in daytime conditions [and that] whenever that option has been used, it has maybe given spectators an extra ten minutes or so but not much more, so it is hardly a solution".  "All that happens is that even with the extra light, there comes a time when the red ball is hard to track and off they go", wrote Gower.  The ICC-MCC research is also looking to determine what are the appropriate artificial lighting conditions for play with red, white or pink balls. 


Bucknor, who is thought to be in his last year on the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, was standing in his 123rd Test, a world record, eight of which have been played at Lords.  For Taufel its was his 52nd Test and third at Lords.  





West Indian player Marlon Samuels has announced that he plans to challenge the two-year ban handed to him last week for breaking International Cricket Council (ICC) rules by reportedly dealing with a bookmaker before a One Day International against India in Nagpur in January 200 (E-News 242-1330, 15 May 2008).  


The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) disciplinary committee found that Samuels did not do "anything dishonestly or for a corrupt purpose" and recommended a suspended sentence, however, the ICC imposed the two-year ban.  Press reports in the Caribbean are saying that the WICB believes that the ICC's decision is "unfair".


Meanwhile, 'Bollywood' film star and owner of the Indian Premier League's Kolkata franchise team Shah Rukh Khan, is reported to have been banned by an ICC Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) from going to his team's dug out and dressing room for the remainder of its matches.  


ACU officials apparently cautioned the actor about mixing with players during a match last Sunday, but he is quoted as saying that he was "very disappointed that the ICC has stopped me [and he doesn't] know the ICC rules". 





Six Indian umpires, who are currently serving, or have served, on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), have been allocated on-field and third umpire positions by the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the forty-three matches played to date.  


The IPL's core umpiring panel consists of those six plus eleven ICC-level colleagues from seven other countries, that seventeen-man group being supported by another seventeen city-based Indian officials who work primarily as fourth umpires.  


Lalit Modi, IPL Chairman, and Vice President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), indicated prior to the series getting under way that "around six" Indian umpires would used (E-News-226-1254, 13 April 2008), however, he did not name them.  Earlier in the year he was quoted as saying that "sixteen Indian umpires" will be involved (E-News 194-1059, 11 February 2008).   


The IPL panel's Indians are the BCCI's current on-field nominees to the IUP, Amiesh Saheba, Suresh Shastri and third umpire G A Pratap Kumar, and former IUP members Krishna Hariharan, Ivaturi Shivram and Arani Jayaprakash.  With nearly three-quarters of this year's series now completed, their overall appointments have closely reflected the one-third, two-thirds, proportion of Indian to overseas umpires on the IPL panel, however, as yet none of the locals have been selected as a pair to manage a match on the field of play.


One month into the competition and with two weeks to go the six have between them been allocated twenty-five on-field, and seventeen third umpire, slots.  Shivram leads the way in the group for as of last night he had stood in a  total of eight matches, four on the field and another four as the third umpire (8-4-4), Jayaprskash and Saheba have 7-5-2, the latter despite suffering a two-match suspension (News 239-1314, 5 May 2008), Shastri is next with 7-4-3, while Prata Kumar, who was banned for one-game for referring a decision to the third official (E-News 239-1312, 5 May 2008), has 6-5-1 to his credit, and Hariharan 5-3-2. 


Of the overseas umpires, Pakistani Asad Rauf stands at 10-7-3, South African Rudi Koertzen 9-7-2, 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) 9-5-4, Steve Davis (Australia) 9-4-5, Daryl Harper (Australia) 8-7-1, Ian Howell (South Africa) 8-6-2, Mark Benson (England) 8-5-3, Billy Doctrove (West Indies) 8-7-1, Aleem Dar (Pakistan) 7-5-2, Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe) 6-5-1 and Brian Jerling (South Africa) 3-2-1.   Harper missed a game due to illness last week (E-News 242-1337, 15 May 2008), while Jerling only appears to have joined the League a little over a week ago. 


The IPL panel appears likely to be limited to fourteen for the last two weeks of the series as Benson, Dar and Tiffin umpired their last games over a week ago.  Dar and Tiffin stood together in their last match in Delhi on 8 May, while Benson's finale was in Jaipur the following day.  


The trio are likely to have left India soon after to prepare for the Test series between the West Indies and Australia in the Caribbean.  Dar and Tiffin are to officiate in the First Test that gets underway in Jamaica this Thursday, while Benson will join Tiffin for the Second Test which starts in Antigua on Friday week (E-News 237-1308, 29 April 2008). 


Dar's three weeks with the IPL involved at least five travel periods between matches, although his movement within India was restricted to a distance of around just 1,500 km.  Benson and Tiffin had a similar number of moves, but they each clocked up around 8,000 km, while most of the fourteen umpires still involved in the IPL series have moved cities 7-8 times over the last month, many so far travelling a distance in excess of 10,000 km in the process.  


What can be described as the IPL's fourth umpires panel is also made up of BCCI officials, although full details are not known for in over a quarter of the games played to date no fourth official was named on score sheets.  With a couple of exceptions where short distances are involved all have come from the city in which the match is being played.  Fourth umpire positions in cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Jaipur are consistently being filled by the same local, but in the other five cities the job has been shared around. 





The imposition of a five-run penalty in a tight fifty over one-day match because a side's innings had run over the allotted time, led to a controversial finish to a Bolton League game in the UK on the weekend that saw three players reported, says a story in yesterday's 'Bolton News'


In what is said to have been an evenly-contested game the side from Tonge, who had made 182, had the upper hand over their neighbour's Bradshaw who with just two wickets left, needed ten runs off the final over.  The report indicates that prior to that over commencing the umpires "got together" and announced that they were awarding five runs to the visitors as the allowable innings time of three hours and five minutes had been reached.


That, says the 'Bolton News', put the visitors "in the driving seat" and they subsequently reached 183 without loosing another wicket to win the game.  The umpire's decision is said to have "amazed" Tonge captain Nigel Partington and left him disappointed it had affected the outcome of the game, his players asking as to "where has that [the penalty] come from", the suggestion being that Partington had not been aware of the timing situation.  "Words were said", stated Partington, "and three players have been reported and it left a bad taste".


Partington told the 'Bolton News" that "the innings had gone over time but that was down to an injury to [a player from the batting side], who pulled a calf muscle and had to have a runner, which cost a lot of time".  We understand that "the umpires allowed eight minutes extra for the injury but nothing for the runner, who we had to wait for after every run", claimed the Tonge skipper.  "Wasting time was of no advantage to us but at least we made them fight for every run in the last over", he said.





The New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's Education and Development Manager Darren Goodger, is in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a month working for Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program.  CA has a two-year, $510,000 contract with the Bangladesh Cricket Board to lift the standard of cricket operations in that country, the deal covering issues such as administration, player coaching and umpiring (E-News 66-362, 13 July 2007).  


Goodger, who made his debut at first-class level last November (E-News 138-748, 20 November 2007), was also in Asia on cricket business in March when he assisted in running a Level 2 course for umpires and scorers from the Asian region in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (E-News 233-1294, 23 April 2008).  



E-NEWS NUMBER 244, 22 May 2008






Australian international umpire Darrell Hair is set to return to Test cricket on Friday evening Australian time after a twenty-one month absence that began after the controversial 'ball tampering' Test at the Oval in August 2006 (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2008).  Weather forecasters are predicting heavy showers in the Manchester area on Friday, and if that outlook proves to be correct, Hair's first day back at the highest level of the game might be an interrupted one.   


Despite the game being his seventy-seventh Test, media reports quote Hair as admitting to being nervous while at the same time insisting he is now a better man-manager than before.  The Australian, who will be standing in the match with his countryman Simon Taufel (E-News 237-1306, 29 April 2008), was quoted in an 'Inside Australian Cricket' article as saying that he thinks his "decision-making ability is still there, [and that] the only thing that could change that is a lack of confidence because I haven't done a Test match recently".


Hair, who took part in a man-management course in Sydney earlier this year as part of what the International Cricket Council titled his "rehabilitation" program, has been at pains to stress to the media how his communication skills have improved.  On radio in Sydney late last year (E-News 140-758, 22 November 2007) he said that "I think I have picked up a few things... making sure that what you say and what you want is understood by the other people".  


Described as having a "somewhat austere manner" by one journalist, Hair has said that he's "always been a little bit ... stand-offish in that [he's] always preferred to let [players] play the game themselves and only get involved when things go overboard, but maybe there's a case to be made for a little bit more work in that area".


But despite his return Hair, who is 55, while saying he'd "love" to stay involved in on-field umpiring, is also said to be "contemplating life away from the middle".  Reuters news agency quotes him as saying that "if [my return] doesn't work and I'm not up to it, and let's face it, every year you get older and your hearing and eyesight get worse, then maybe a coaching or mentoring role is a preferred option".   





The three-day tour match between Tasmania and South Africa at Bellerive in late December appears to be the only opportunity for Tasmanian umpires to be on the field with an overseas side in 2008-09, if the season's international program announced by Cricket Australia (CA) on Tuesday is any guide.  CA has tended to appoint 'home' umpires for the limited number of such games that have been played around the country in recent years (E-News 188-1019, 1 February 2008).   


International umpires, one from a 'neutral' country and the other one of the five on-field Australian officials who are on the International Cricket Council's Elite or International Umpire Panels (IUP), are expected to be on the ground at Bellerive when Australia plays South Africa in the second game of a five-match One Day International (ODI) series on Sunday, 18 January.  


The television umpire for that game will probably be Australia's then third umpire on the IUP, currently Bruce Oxenford of Queensland but said by some as likely by then to be a new appointee.  The fourth official will, if recent practice holds, be drawn from Tasmania's State Umpires Squad (TSUS), while the scorers, as in December's three-day tour game, will come from the ranks of the TCUSA.


Under CA's international arrangements for next season, which will see New Zealand as well as South Africa tour, Sydney has been allocated one Test, two ODIs, a Twenty20 and a tour match (1-2-1-1), while Melbourne has 1-2-1-0, Perth 1-2-0-1, Adelaide 1-2-0-0, Brisbane 1-1-1-0, and Hobart 0-1-0-1.


The domestic schedule for 2008-09 is expected to be released by CA in the next few weeks.  It should see Bellerive host five first-class interstate matches, perhaps four one-day games with the other possibly in the north of the State, and a number of Twenty20 contests.  


TCUSA members will score for those games and TSUS members will be in contention for on-field and other appointments, the key question being as to when a Tasmanian will again be given the opportunity to stand in first-class cricket and thus break what by then will be an almost three year drought since the last occasion.   


It is possible, now that that the International Cricket Council has increased the size of its top level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), that the Australians on it, Steve Davis, Daryl Harper, Darrell Hair, and Simon Taufel, will stand in a number of domestic matches played around the nation in 2008-09.  


The expansion of the EUP was designed in part to try and ensure that its members spend less time away from home and more mentoring up-and-coming officials in their own country, as well as working on their own skills in their nation's domestic competitions (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  


Harper, Hair and Taufel had only limited involvement in domestic matches in Australia during the 2007 calendar year (E-News 165-888, 1 January 2008).    






Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program (GDP) is to trial training material produced by the UK-based Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) when its latest series of programs for umpires in Bangladesh get underway in Dakha early next week.  The ICUS said last month that CA's UK counterpart, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), "rejected out of hand" its attempts to provide it or its affiliates with training services (E-News 223-1291, 23 April 2008), but GDP manager Ross Turner is said to be "comfortable" with looking at how their programs work in practice.  


The GDP is currently believed to have multi-year contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with cricket authorities in Bangladesh, India and China.  Those programs are aimed in whole or in part at lifting umpiring standards in those nations (E-News 66-362, 13 July 2007), and Turner is known to be keen extend his unit's services to other nations who make up the Asian Cricket Council.


While the courses that the GDP has run in Asia over the last year have been what Tim Donahoo, the Chairman of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), described to E-News today as "good", they have been put together on what he said was an "ad hoc basis", and he indicated that if the ICUS program shakes down well in Bangladesh it might become a key tool in the courses the GDP runs in Asia in the future.  


CA itself does not actually have a full set of presentations and as a result training program material developed over a number of years in Victoria and NSW have been rebadged for use in Asia over the last year.  That move led to people like Donahoo, Darren Goodger, NSWCUSA's recently appointed Umpire Education and Development Manager, and Victorian Director of Umpiring Bob Stratford, being involved in presenting the courses (E-News 66-362, 13 July 2008).  The latter pair are understood to have left for Bangladesh again earlier today and are expected to be there for three weeks (E-News 243-1342, 20 May 2008). 


According to the NSWCUSA web site, Turner met with ICUS Director and their head of Information Technology, Denis Burns, in Sydney earlier this month to discuss the Bangladesh training course.  Burns, along with the NSWCUSA's Executive Officer Peter Hughes, attended one day of the umpiring course the Asian Cricket Council held in Malaysia in late March (E-News 233-1294, 23 April 2008), and prior to that Hughes was present for a weekend course for ICUS Tutors held in England last September (E-News 118-634, 16 October 2007).  


ICUS and the NSWCUSA have had close links for several years, primarily as a result of Australian international umpire Darrell Hair's involvement with both bodies (E-News 72-396, 26 July 2007), and the NSW group is believed to be hoping to have the Cricket NSW Auditorium appointed as an accredited centre of ICUS-related training operations in Australasia.    


The NSWCUSA web site also says that Burns was also to have had talks with Andrew Scotford, the head of CA's Umpiring Department, while he was in Australia, however, Scotford told E-News yesterday that his schedule meant that he had not been able to meet with Burns.  CA's  Public Affairs section told E-News that they were not aware of any involvement with ICUS, and referred the editor to Scotford, however, he does not appear to have any significant knowledge of the GDP's international umpiring initiatives. 


According to the web site, Burns wanted to meet with Scotford "to discuss joint operations between [the] ICUS and NSWCUSA and [the latter's] partnership in the proposed formation of an International Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (IICUS)".


In UK-terms such an approach would be akin to the ICUS having a formal linkage with one of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials' County umpires and scorer Associations but not the national body (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008), something the ECB is apparently not willing to consider.  As far as can be determined plans for the establishment of the IICUS have not been publicised previously and nothing is known about it.     


The NSWCUSA web site article also states that Burns was to meet "Cricket Australia's new Senior Umpire Educator and our [NSW] Education and Development Manager, Darren Goodger, to discuss our course material".  The latter appears to be a reference to training materials developed by the NSWCUSA, many facets of which were originally prepared by Hair, that are believed to have been provided to the ICUS over a year ago for use in the development of its courses.   


The description of Goodger as CA's "new Senior Umpire Educator" seems likely to be a reference to his selection by the GDP to present courses in Asia, and not to his being elevated to the long-mooted CA umpire education and training position that was to have been filled by 1 January this year.  Its establishment has been delayed by budgetary constraints (E-News 236-1302, 28 April 2008), and Scotford said that he hopes that the position will be filled later this year.



E-NEWS NUMBER 245, 25 May 2008






Australian international umpire Darrell Hair made what the press is calling a "low-key" return to Test cricket Friday almost two years after presiding over the first forfeited Test and being banned from the top-level of the game by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Hair, who was reinstated by the ICC in March, took the field at Old Trafford in the Second Test between England and New Zealand to be greeted by a scrum of photographers who 'The Times' says did not stay to capture the entrance of the players. 


Writing in 'The Guardian' yesterday, David Hobbs says that the Australian made "two excellent 'not out' decisions before lunch, so banishing the slight fears that he had harboured that, at 55, he might have lost his touch".  Hair, who is officiating in his seventy-seventh Test, even offered [England bowler Stuart] Broad a brief explanation for the second of those decisions, says Hobbs, something the journalist claims he "has rarely done in the past and which he doubtless regarded as an irritating consequence of political correctness".  After those appeals Hobbs says that "as befits a good umpire everybody pretty much forgot that he was out there and got on with watching the cricket".


According to Hobbs "Hair had spent the previous evening at a Chinese restaurant with the legal team that had brought the case against the ICC for racial discrimination after his ban from the international umpiring panel" (E-News 114-820, 10 October 2008).  One of that group, Solicitor Paul Gilbert, who helped to negotiate his return to the international panel, is quoted as saying that he didn't "mind admitting that [he] had a lump in [his] throat when Darrell walked out [and] we're all very, very proud that he is here".


Richard Sydenham of Reuters, wrote that England skipper Michael Vaughan said prior to the Test getting underway, that he has "always felt that [Hair] is one of the best umpires on the circuit so it is good to see him back", while his New Zealand counterpart, Daniel Vettori, also welcomed his appointment.  When Vettori looks back "on the games where [he has] been involved with [Hair] he has always been a good decision maker, for "that is the first thing you look for in an umpire and if they can do that job well they are considered a good umpire". 


Hobbs says that "one Lancastrian" at the ground "rushed out of the toilets when he heard that New Zealand had just lost a second wicket".  He asked "was it Darrell?", one of the "rare occasions in cricket history when the identity of the umpire was more interesting than that of the batsman".  When told that it wasn't, says Hobbs, the spectator was quite disappointed.  "Oh, that's a shame", he said, as "he's been out a long time [and] I'd have liked him to get one".


'The Guardian' journalist says that Hair's return was arguably the tensest umpiring comeback since Edgbaston 1973 when Englishman Arthur Fagg briefly refused to take the field in protest at the behaviour of West Indies.  The catalyst in what was the fourteen of Fagg's eighteen Tests, was when he turned down an appeal for a catch against England batsman Geoffrey Boycott who Hobbs says "claims to this day that he did not hit it".


Fagg and Hair are from very different traditions, says Hobbs, for the Englishman "who never really recovered from his ordeal, came from the English school of umpiring where umpires were almost invariably former players who maintained an air of clubbiness, however, eccentric".  "Hair, who has been pilloried whereas Fagg received only sympathy", says Hobbs, "exemplifies the Australian tradition whereby an umpire is there to officiate, not to socialise".  


"However misguided their approach", says Hobbs, "in their own ways both umpires were fighting an important battle: the right of the umpire to run the game as he sees fit".






Former Natal, Transvaal and Middlesex fast bowler Vintcent van der Bijl was appointed to fill the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpires and Referees Manager (URM) position on Friday.  The new role, which was recommended by the ICC's umpiring 'Task Force' last year (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), is designed to bolster the world body's umpiring department and improve the overall standard at the top-level of international umpiring (E-News 218-1219, 27 March 2008).


David Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket) and current acting Chief Executive Officer, indicated that the Task Force's recommendation for a URM came as a result of a survey it undertook of "top umpires and the results showed us that we needed to provide speedier feedback and ongoing mentoring to them".  There have been indications for some time that problems have been experienced by senior umpires in obtaining timely feedback of their decision-making.


In announcing van der Bijl's appointment, Richardson said of his South African countryman, that he "was a fine player who later became a successful businessman [and that] more recently he has been working with Cricket South Africa (CSA) helping to develop the next generation of players.  Gerald Majola, CSA’s Chief Executive Officer, paid tribute Van der Bijl and said that his appointment "highlighted the high reputation that South African cricket administrators enjoy generally at the world headquarters of the game".  During his on-field career van der Bijl played 156 first-class and 92 one-day matches, but there is no record of having stood as an umpire at any significant level of the game.  


The sixty-year-old will work in the ICC's Cricket Operations Department under Richardson.  Current ICC umpires’ manager Doug Cowie, who commenced in that role just over two years ago, will report to Van der Bijl and oversee the direct development, mentoring and coaching of the umpires as well as feeding back performance-related information.  New Zealander Cowie officiated at first-class level for more than two decades and internationally for ten years, the latter a time during which he stood in twenty-two Tests and seventy-one One Day Internationals.


A further increase in the level of support for international umpires is expected "very soon" with the appointment of five Regional Umpires’ Managers (RUM) by the ICC (E-News 229-1273, 17 April 2008).  The RUMs, who will report direct to Cowie, will work with the world body's 'Elite' and second-tier 'International' umpire panels from their region as well as all visiting international umpires.  The five regions involved are 'UK and the West Indies', 'Australia-NZ-Pacific', 'Asia West', 'Asia East' and 'Africa'.


It appears that the RUMs have been selected but just when their names will be announced is unknown.  Richardson said in an ICC statement that "the five Regional Umpires’ Managers all have first-hand experience with the trials, challenges and rewards of umpiring at a high level". "They all have credibility and respect in the cricket world and they know the issues that face umpires these days [and] I have no doubt these appointments will be good for the umpires and the game".





Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne says he is ready to take up the challenges faced by the umpires when he contests for the top post in that nation's Association of Cricket Umpires (SACU) this weekend, says a report published in Columbo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper yesterday.  Tillakaratne's opponent for the SACU’s President position is Sri Lanka's Minister of Justice Dilan Perera (E-News 242-1335, 15 May 2008).


Thillakaratne, who has no record as an umpire, said during a press conference on Thursday that "umpires and scorers encounter great difficulties due to lack of facilities and encouragement to continue with their honourable work".  In his view the SACU "was still backward in gaining updated knowledge and facilities" and if elected as its President he will "promote regular seminars to maintain a higher quality of umpiring and endeavour, and send a few umpires to foreign umpiring seminars".


In a further pitch for the votes of the SACU's 500 umpires and scorer members, Tillakaratne said that all umpires who "meet a set standard" will get "the chance to stand at the highest level", and efforts will be made to look after retired umpires by way of "an insurance scheme" that "will help them to look after themselves during their old age after having served the sport for a long period".


Perera, who is head of Sri Lanka's Volleyball Association, was quoted by 'The Island' newsletter yesterday as saying that he "raised volleyball to the current standard out of nothing [and that to him] looking after (SACU) affairs is no big deal”.  He hopes that "the decision makers of the gentleman’s game would keep up to their reputation in conducting a lawful Annual General Meeting as per the [SCUA] constitution".  


Perera said that a segment of the [Association) "who were well aware that he dose not fancy contesting elections for the posts of sports bodies", had promoted Thillakaratne for the President's position in a bid to stop him being elected.


The Minister says that he "didn’t have a strong volleyball background when [he] was given the top position of the Volleyball Federation", but he "called a convention and gathered information and listened to the grievances of the spikers and past players".  "I began from there", says Perera, and "I will do the same with the [CUSA]".


Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is yet to announce who will replace Asoka de Silva on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  De Silva was reinstated to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel last month after a four year absence (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008).





New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden has "great 'stand-out' value" and "showmanship" that would make him an ideal "model", according to Navroze Dhondy the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Indian company Creatigies Communications, says a report from the sub-continent.  "Brands who are progressive and open to innovation would happily find a great brand fit with Billy", says Dhony, as he "is easily recognisable".


Bowden "threw out the rule-book, which states that the best cricket officials are the ones that go unnoticed", states Dhondy, "and he added a whole host of innovations to his daily routine", moves that brought "a special brand of creative flair to the game".  The CEO believes that despite his "showmanship", Bowden's "decision-making skills are almost without equal among the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel".


Dhondy points to the New Zealander's "bit to promote awareness of arthritis" in his home country (E-News 91-491, 1 September 2008), and that "with more than 124 Tests, 46 One Day Internationals (ODI) and five [international] Twenty20 matches" to his credit, "Bowden is one of the most experienced umpires on the ground today, and at just 45, he has many years to go".  The Kiwi has in fact stood in 46 Tests and 124 ODIs. 


The press statement that detailed Dhondy's views of Bowden is titled "Cricket umpire Billy Bowden dons a new hat with Creatigies Communications", a wording that suggests Bowden is available for whatever marketing opportunities that might come his way.  However, whether that is actually correct is not entirely clear.






English County umpires Graham Burgess and Nigel Cowley "appear to have little choice" but to report Surrey and former England bowler Usman Afzaal following the player's show of petulance at Kennington Oval in London on Friday, says an article in 'The Guardian' yesterday.  


Bowling the last over of the day to Yorkshire batsman Jacques Rudolph, Afzaal "made a strong appeal for a catch at short leg and immediately went into a celebration jig with a number of Surrey players, however, Cowley said 'not out', and the bowler "then flung the ball to the ground".  Afzaal may have been unlucky, says the article, "as the ball appeared to come off the face of the bat, but that did not excuse his behaviour".


There is no indication as yet that Burgess and Cowley have, or plan to, report Afzaal. 





Fifteen umpires from seven nations are officiating in the twelve-nation International Cricket Council's World Cricket League (WCL) Division 5 tournament which got underway on the island of Jersey on the Channel Islands on Friday.  


Five of the umpires are from Ireland (Louis Fourie, Mark Hawthorne, Connie McAllister, Charlie McElwee and Trevor Magee), three from The Netherlands (Bart Hartong, Erno Ruchtie and Steve Tovey), two from Guernsey (Martin Gray and John Mountford), two from Germany (Paul Baldwin and Lee Goldsmith), and single officials from Jersey (Mike Carpenter), Finland (Sanjeev Kad), and Scotland (Brian Papworth). 


The tournament, which is a 50 over one-day series, involves national sides from Germany, Mozambique, Nepal, Norway, the United States and Vanuatu in Group A, and Afganistan, the Bahamas, Botswana, Japan, Jersey and Singapore in Group B.  A total of thirty games make up the preliminary phase of the competition, and a further twelve matches in the finals next Friday and Saturday.



E-NEWS NUMBER 246, 26 May 2008






The number of members who made up the TCUSA umpiring ranks in 2007-08 increased slightly on the previous season and their overall quality has improved, however, further recruits are needed for the summer ahead and more work remains to be done to lift standards, according to reports tabled at the Association's Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Wednesday evening.


A total of forty-seven umpires, three up on the previous season, were active with the TCUSA in 2007-08, 776 individual appointments being made to over a dozen separate competitions.  A record twelve umpires were recruited, a short-term visitor from Lancashire (E-News 146-796, 30 November 2007) making a total of thirteen who were new to the TCUSA, while nine umpires who stood in the 2006-07 season, including three who served for only one summer, did not return in 2007-08.  


TCUSA Umpires' Advisor Richard Widows' report to the AGM said that he was impressed by the commitment of the Association's umpires "across all levels of the game", and praised members for their "contribution to the growth and development of cricket", and their efforts to "uphold the integrity and enjoyment of the game".        


Statistics tabled at the AGM by TCUSA President Graeme Hamley show that total umpiring membership continued to rise from the low of forty-one in 2005-06, but were still well below the mid-fifties high of 2001-04, and in his report he urged members to continue to work hard to secure additional recruits.  The Association has achieved its goal "of having at least sixteen umpires trained to a level whereby any one of them [can] officiate at [Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA)] First or Second Grade level" at any given time, says Hamley, but further work is needed to create an "excess" in those numbers so as to create further competition for the slots available each week.


Sixteen umpires were used for the 59 matches played in the TCA's First Grade competition in 2007-08, three members making their debut at that level during the summer.  TCA Second Grade saw 25 umpires in action, Third Grade 32, the Under 17s 34, Under 15s 23 and the Southern Tasmania Cricket League (STCL) 30.  Other competitions supported were the Jamie Cox Plate (6 umpires), Kookaburra Cup (3), TCA Twenty20 (16), Independent Schools (21), the Derwent Valley Association (8) and Oatlands Association (6).  Eight umpires were also provided to several other competitions.


On an individual basis TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year' Steve Maxwell (E-News 215-1191, 21 March 2008) led the way with 30 matches overall, Steve Gibson was next with 29, then came Brian Muir 28, Mark Gillard 27, Steven John and Jamie Mitchell both 26, Brian Pollard and Wade Stewart 25, Damien Daniels, Ian Quaggin and Mark Wickham all 24, Nick McGann 23, Mike Lee, Greg Luck, David Matthews and John Muir 22 each, Mike Graham-Smith and David Gainsford 21 and Sonny Azzopardi 20.


McGann topped First Grade appointments with 14, while in Second Grade Heapy and Pollard received 11 each, Third Grade saw Gillard stand in 10, while Daniels and Mark Ferris topped the Under 17s with 9 matches apiece.  Under 15 appointments were headed by new recruits Jack Bucher and Zac Duggan plus veteran Joe Hewitt with 11 each, while Gillard and Matthews headed the STCL list with 9.


Long-time TCUSA servants Heapy and Pollard took their overall game total to 381 and 436 respectively, Gillard being the only other member to pass 300, his total matches now being 355.  Those still active who have exceeded 200 matches are Mike Lee (287) and Chris Williams (239), but the latter was limited to just two games last season due to illness and is unlikely to add to that number in the near future as he has moved to Sydney.  As a result of their activities last season another four members have more than 100 games to their credit, and six over 150       


At higher levels of the game increased funding enabled senior umpires to undertake an unprecedented pre-season training program in locations at home and in the Northern Territory and Queensland.  


Later, Steven John made his debut in one-day interstate cricket and went on to officiate on the field in two more such games, and was the fourth umpire for the Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka in November.  Brian Muir officiated in two other domestic one-dayers and stood with Luck in the one-day tour game between Tasmania and Sri Lanka.  Muir took his overall List 'A' total to ten matches and he also supported the One Day Interntional between Sri Lanka and India as the fourth umpire.  John also took part in the men's national Under 19 tournament in Hobart, and Jamie Mitchell in the Under 17s in Melbourne. 


Widows pointed out in his AGM report that Tasmania's eight-man State Umpires Squad, which was formed as a result of a rearrangement of Cricket Australia's umpire management arrangements in February last year, is the largest in the nation, a fact that he believes reflects the quality of umpires who stand in the TCA. 





"Acceptance" of the computer scoring system introduced into Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) matches in 2006-07 "is extremely gratifying", and all sixteen TCA First and Second Grade teams now have scorers who are "competent" operators, according to a report tabled by TCUSA President Graeme Hamley at the Association's Annual General Meeting last Wednesday.


Hamley says that the 2007-08 season saw "great improvements" after a challenging first year, but that further work is needed if the "distant dream" of "having computer trained and appointed scorers in all [TCA] Grades" is to eventually be reached.  TCUSA members were asked to place special emphasis on the recruitment of new scorers for the Association.


This year's winter Score's School is scheduled to commence on Wednesday, 2 July and run for five weeks (E-News 233-1239, 23 April 2008).





Three members were voted on to the TCUSA’s Management Committee at the Association’s Annual General Meeting last Wednesday evening.  Vice President (VP) Don Heapy, who was President for two years at the turn of the Century and has served as VP for the last four years, was again elected to that position, while Mark Wickham was reelected, and Brian Muir and Ian Quaggin elected, as general committee members.


TCUSA Umpires' Advisor Richard Widows who was a committee member has stepped down, but under the Association's Constitution he will continue to attend Management Committee meetings in an 'ex officio' capacity.  Honorary Secretary Penny Paterson is not able to continue at present due to ill health, and that role will now be added to the Administrator's position which President Graeme Hamley holds in tandem. 


Details of the Managment Comittmee for the 2008-09 season, including contact details, are available on the TCUSA web site by clicking on the 'Committee' tab.





The Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise is reported to have launched an official complaint against Indian umpire Suresh Shastri, who was in the television suite, over two so-called "contentious" run-out decisions that went against them in their match against their Punjab opponents  on Wednesday.  Mumbai lost the crucial encounter by one run in the last over and they now face a tough task qualifying for the semi-finals of the competition.


Some media reports say that replays of the first run-out appeal, which occurred in Punjab's innings, were inconclusive as to whether the ball had dislodged the bails or if the player at the stumps had himself made contact with them without the ball, therefore the batsman, who was then on 21 and went on to make 79, was given the benefit of the doubt.   


The second incident, which took place in Mumbai's innings, was not dissimilar, as the fieldsman concerned appeared to knock off the bails with his arm, although with the ball in hand, but again "the replays weren't entirely convincing".  Other media reports suggest that both batsmen were 'out'.


Mumbai's coach Lalchand Rajput was quoted by a number of media outlets on the sub-continent as saying that the "owners of his franchise have filed an official complaint" with the IPL.  His captain, Sachin Tendulkar, told a post-match press conference that "everyone has seen what happened and in whose favour the decisions eventually went [and that] had we got those two run-out decisions our way, we would have added two more runs to the tally and won the match".


Shastri defended his decisions, saying he acted by "Law 28.1" and that he didn't "want to make any [other] comments".  Law 28.1 (The wicket is down) states that a dismissal is made if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground by (i) the ball, (ii) the striker's bat, whether he is holding it or has let go of it, (iii) the striker's person or by any part of his clothing or equipment becoming detached from his person, (iv) a fielder, with his hand or arm, providing that the ball is held in the hand or hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used.


Prior to the IPL getting underway the League made much of its plans to adhere to 'The Spirit of Cricket' philosophy.  IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi, welcomed the introduction of the award at the time 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" (E-News 230-1277, 18 April 2008).  


Part of that Code states that it is against the spirit of the game "to dispute an umpire's decision by word, action or gesture".  





Cricket Australia (CA) is looking to revamp its domestic Twenty20 competition for the 2009-10 season, according to its Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland, although it will not be on the same scale as the Indian Premier League (IPL).  Sutherland says in an audio clip posted on CA's web site that its current review will consider the tournament's structure, a salary cap and the ability of teams to import stars.  


“Obviously”, says Sutherland, "there's lots of challenges but we're absolutely committed to revamping our Twenty20 competition in a positive fashion [for] we need to tailor our product to our market, but we still see tremendous benefits being able to flow from Twenty20 cricket that will bring new people to the game".  "We're under no illusions as to the contrast in size of the economy [that drives the IPL] and even the huge level of interest in cricket that the Board of Control for Cricket in India have been able to reap the benefits from", he says.  


CA's current domestic Twenty20 series will include more games in 2008-09, including three matches at Bellerive, which will give further opportunities to Tasmanian umpires for in the past 'home' officials have been used for such games.  No announcement has yet been made as to whether third umpires will be used during that series.  There was controversy in the final of last year's competition and players complained about the lack of a third official, Victorian captain Cameron White saying at the time that "there is a lot at stake and [the availability of technology] would solve all the dramas"  (E-News 177-948, 15 January 2008).  





Despite claims by Dr Paul Hawkins the creator of Hawk-Eye about the system's accuracy, the "predictive" side of the technology remains a problem, according to former England captain and now columnist for 'The Times', Michael Atherton.  Writing in last Thursday's edition of the newspaper, Atherton used an example from last week’s First Test between England and New Zealand at Lord's to illustrate his point of view. 


In his column Atherton reports on a review conducted at Lord's last Tuesday by an "assortment of umpires, match referees, eggheads with their gadgets and one spying columnist" of the "more contentious decisions" given during the First Test between England and New Zealand at Lord's, and to "wonder what might have been had 'Hawk-Eye', video replays and a Player Referral System (PRS)" been in place for the match. The names of who was involved in that gathering were not given. 


Atherton says that the "most obvious result" of the meeting "was to confirm how outstanding [umpires] Simon Taufel, Steve Bucknor and, by extension, the [International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel officials] are".  Of the "thirteen horrendously difficult decisions under review, ten [of them] leg-befores and three caught behinds, [Bucknor and Taufel] got ten spot on with the naked eye, two that they agreed would have been overturned on appeal, and one on which no one, except Hawk-Eye's predictive path [said was out]".


According to 'The Times' article there was a leg-before that hit front and back pads, producing a double, woody sound that everyone would have taken for an inside edge, everyone [that is] except Taufel, "who called it spot on".  There was an "inswinger from Ryan Sidebottom to James Marshall given 'not out' by Bucknor that, to judge from the expressions on the faces of Michael Vaughan and Sidebottom, would have resulted in the PRS being used".  However, on examination "it pitched about a nanometre outside leg stump", and Atheron asked "who said Bucknor was too old?"


On the other hand two decisions that would have been overturned had they been referred concerned a batsman from each side who "to a large extent shaped the course of the match", they being New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and England's Vaughan.  After video analysis those present believe that both would have been given out leg-before [fairly early in their innings] on referral, although in Atherton's view neither decision at the time was a “howler”. 


However, the potential dangers of the “over-use” of 'Hawk-Eye' in any PRS was demonstrated by a leg-before appeal by England spinner Monty Panesar in the Lord's Test.  The batsman was hit above the knee-roll of the pad to a ball turning from about off stump and Taufel "understandably could not be sure whether the ball would have hit off stump, or whether it would have gone over the top", says Atherton's article.  The Australian "therefore gave it 'not out' in the match, as did everyone in the room after numerous replays, but Hawk-Eye's predictive technology had it hitting comfortably inside and below the top of the off stump".


While the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee (CC) recommended earlier this month that 'Hawk-Eye' technology used by the third umpire in any PRS trial, it ruled out the use of the predictive path function of the system in making LBW decisions (E-News 241-1322, 12 May 2008).  The Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee, of which Atherton is a member, reached a similar view a week later (E-News 242-133, 15 May 2008).  A test of Hawk-Eye's suitability for the PRS that was scheduled to be held in England prior to the CC's meeting was washed out (E-News 227-1263, 15 April 2008).


Atherton appears to be "uneasy" about current PRS plans and that at this time its “protocols threaten to become an unsatisfactory muddle".  Apart from the obvious reduction of the on-field umpire's authority, there are other potential problems, he says.  In his view "some umpires do not speak English as their first language and, under pressure, may struggle to elucidate their questions to the third umpire, while some umpiring decisions are so instinctive that by trying logically to deconstruct decisions to ask for information from the third umpire, on-field umpires may become confused and open to ridicule".  He concluded his Thursday column by asking "how comfortable are we with the challenge coming from players rather than the umpires?"


A PRS trial has been mooted for the Test series between England and South Africa in July-August but the home side is believed to not be in favour of it occurring in the three match series (E-News 242-1332, 15 May 2008).  Atherton appears to concede this and suggests in his article that the series between Sri Lanka and India in July "is the likeliest first opportunity” to examine the merits of a PRS in Tests.





Scottish umpire Sandy Scotland suffered a deep wound above his right eye, and spent the night in hospital, after he was struck by a ball hit by a batsman while standing in a match last week, says a report published in 'The Scotsman' on Wednesday.  


Batsman Gordon Drummond had advanced down the pitch in the last over of his side's innings and driven a delivery which glanced off the head of the unfortunate Scotland, the umpire's view of the on-coming ball apparently being accidentally obstructed by the non-striker, says the article.


Scotland was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where six stitches were administered and was kept in overnight and examined the next day by an opthalmologist.  Drummond told journalist Bill Lothian that it was "horrible [to see] an umpire struck by the ball like that [and that] hopefully he'll be able to take up his duties again soon".  


Fortuitously another qualified umpire was in the crowd and able to step in when Drummond's team took the field.



E-NEWS NUMBER 247, 27 May 2008






Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillekeratne was elected unopposed as President of his nation's Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUSSL) after his rival for the position, Justice Minister Dilan Perera, pulled out of the election held over the weekend at the organisation's sixty-fourth Annual General Meeting.  


Although elected unopposed, forty-year-old Tillakaratne did not have it easy as there were moves at first to reject his nomination and then to postpone the elections, say reports from Columbo, but the meeting eventually got underway after "a rather belated start".


A report in the Sri Lankan capital's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper says that Tillekaratne indicated that he will keep his pledge to set up a fund for umpires, pave the way for them to improve their career prospects, and organise workshops that will help umpires enhance their scope and knowledge (E-News 245-1348, 25 May 2008).  The new President is the second Sri Lankan Test captain after Bandula Warnapura to be appointed to the ACUSSL's top post. 


Outgoing president Saman Amerasinghe was elected as General Secretary, while JWK Boteju retained the Assignment Secretary’s post.





The Management Board of the Bradford League in the UK have vowed to clamp down on "unnecessary and aggressive appealing", according to an article published in the 'Bradford Telegraph and Argus" yesterday.  


League president Keith Moss, who travels around the grounds each weekend, told last week's Management Board meeting that he had "come across a number of games where appealing was incessant, frivolous and against the 'Spirit of the Game'.  Moss told the newspaper that "there are even players yelling at the tops of their voices from the boundary when clearly they cannot have a clue about what has happened".


The League has moved to "reminded captains" that they are "responsible for the behaviour of their players", a requirement that includes ensuring that appeals made are appropriate and do not include "moving aggressively towards an umpire".





Players and club officials involved in Division 1 match in the Liverpool Competition in the UK last week were left "fuming" after their one-day match was abandoned by the umpires due to what was claimed by "an experienced observer" as "the lightest of light rain" six overs into the second innings of the game.


The first innings of the match had commenced after an hour's delay because of what a report in the 'Ormskirk Advertiser says "was caused by the umpires' reluctance to start".   After that innings concluded and their opponents went in to bat, "both sides are said to "have watched in amazement as the two umpires removed the bails and walked off the square in conditions no different, and probably better, than those in which the first innings had been played".


The captains of both sides were "nonplussed by the umpires' actions", one being quoted by the newspaper as saying that "it was very, very frustrating [as] the umpires seemed reluctant to play all afternoon and have robbed two teams of a sporting afternoon's cricket".  The report says that both skippers agreed with each other that "there were no safety issues whatsoever" involved in the abandonment of the match, but if the umpires said anything to the captains either they did not mention it to the newspaper or it was not included in 'Ormskirk Advertiser' article.  


No attempts appear to have been made by the newspaper to determine just what the umpires themselves thought about the situation that prevailed.  


Section 3.9(d) of the Laws of Cricket says that "if at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then notwithstanding the provisions [of other sections of 3.9], they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart".  "The decision as to whether conditions are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires along to take". The second paragraph of 3.9(d) goes on to provide a description of what is and isn't "dangerous" in wet conditions.





Middlesex all-rounder Vernon Philander could face disciplinary action from the England and Wales Cricket Board for a double offence against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last Saturday.  


A report in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday says that the South African pointed to his bat after he was given out LBW by umpire Peter Willey and then smashed a ball into an advertising board in a temper tantrum as he returned to the pavilion.  


Charges of dissent and abuse of equipment are expected to follow says the newspaper.





Former Pakistani first-class cricketer and Lahore Cricket Council member Tahir Shah has called on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to improve the standards of its domestic umpires and the structure of its umpiring arrangements, according to 'The Post' newspaper. Tahir is reported as saying last week that while the PCB's Umpiring Department has had considerable success in increasing the umpiring numbers by over 100, the overall quality of their performance had decreased.


During the Patron's Trophy Grade-II tournament earlier this month the umpiring was such that it "may damage the career of some of the talented players who could decide to discontinue playing cricket just because of some of the decisions given against them".  "There are no match referees to watch the proceedings in [those games] and the PCB has "promoted some immature umpires to conduct some of the matches and they give decisions just to please their bosses, which is devastating", claimed Tahir.





Australian international umpire Darrell Harper is to officiate in the second match of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) three-game final series in Mumbai on Saturday, according to his web site.  Prior to that Harper is to stand in the IPL's fifty-sixth and last home-and-away match of the tournament in Mohali tomorrow night.  


As of yesterday Harper has stood in ten IPL games, only one of which was in the third umpires' chair, and travelled almost 15,000 km within India during the five-and-a-half weeks since the competition got underway on 18 April.  With the finals only a few days away the IPL has yet to allocate two Indian umpires to stand together during one of its matches (E-News 243-1340, 20 May 2008). 





Gloucestershire's Anthony Ireland has received a three penalty point penalty after he "accidently" bowled two 'beamers' in a limited over match against Somset on 11 May, according to a statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board late last week.  


Ireland was taken off after the second such ball and reported by umpires Nigel Llong and Barrie Leadbeater for a level two breach of the ECB's discipline code.  The penalty points will remain on Ireland’s record for two years and should he accumulated nine or more penalty points in any two-year period he will be automatically suspended.





Nepal’s left-arm seamer Mahaboob Alam took all ten Mozambique wickets in a World Cricket League Division 5 fifty-over match played in the Channel Islands over the weekend (E-News 245-1351, 25 May 2008).  In a dismal batting display nine of the Mozambique batsmen were dismissed for a duck, five were bowled, four LBW and one caught, the bowler being on a hat-trick three times in the course of his 7.5 overs.



E-NEWS NUMBER 248, 28 May 2008






Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday moved to revamp its national umpire management and selection arrangements when it called for applications for four new part-time Umpire High Performance Manager (UHPM) positions.  Those chosen will take over interstate-related roles currently performed by the six State Umpire Coaches (SUC) that CA funds and its National Umpire Selection Panel (NUSP), including logging match data, mentoring and assessing performances, and together with the national body's Umpiring Manager Andrew Scotford, selecting umpires for CA controlled matches and programs.


CA tightened its umpire management arrangements after a six-month review that concluded in February last year (E-News 9-50, 25 February 2008), however, a recent assessment of how the resulting changes worked during the 2007-08 season, and discussions involving senior umpiring officials from around the country late last month (E-News 236-1302, 28 April 2008), are understood to have highlighted a number of areas where CA considered further refinement was needed.  


Scotford told E-News today that the move to UHPMs came as a result of "feedback from umpiring stakeholders [around the country and is designed] to ensure a national focus for the support of umpires in the high performance pathway" from Grade cricket to first-class level and beyond.  In calling for applications, CA said that the new "roles have been created to ensure a clear, transparent pathway for high-performance umpires".  


Denying suggestions that the changes came about because of an inconsistency of standards in managing umpires across the six States, or concerns about selection strategies, Scotford said that the revised system will ensure that the role of individuals within the new structure complement one another.  As a result, he says, the UHPMs will work closely with State Umpiring Managers to ensure the smooth transition of umpires who are good enough from State to National level, and provide State-based coaches, assessors, mentors, and related personnel, direct access to the information CA provides to high performance umpires.


CA says in its advertisement that applicants for the four positions "should possess: management skills, particularly design and delivery of personal and professional development activities; excellent empathy and listening skills and cross cultural experience; a team oriented and co-operative attitude; an understanding of the unique perspective of officials in sport; demonstrated self-management and organisational skills; and excellent verbal and written communication skills and an ability to interact with a variety of stake holders".


E-News understands that the UHPMs, who will report directly to Scotford, will be employed for seven months each year on a salary said to be around $A30,000.  Despite the overall expense involved, which is also likely to include significant interstate travel and accommodation costs for the quartet to attend matches and other umpire related activities, the move is believed to be "budget neutral" as CA funds that previously went to SUCs and the NUP are to be ploughed straight back into the new system.  


Despite the partial withdrawl of funds from the States, local state cricket associations will still maintain their own State Umpiring Manager positions, although it is possible that some of the current individuals in those slots, as well as last season's NUSP members Tony Crafter and Dick French, both of whom are former Test umpires, could apply for the UHPM positions. 


UHPM applications are due to close on Tuesday, 10 June.  Reports indicate that CA is hoping to finalise appointments in time for those chosen to be present at this year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland one month after that.  Details of which umpires will stand in EPT matches are not yet available, however, CA has indicated over the last six months that that series is an important tournament for umpires whose aim is to prove they have what it takes to move up to high-level senior interstate cricket in Australia (E-News 241-1326, 12 May 2008).


CA's announcement yesterday came as it prepared to release the names of the National Umpires Panel for the 2008-09 season.  Scotford told E-News today that he anticipates details of the panel to be released sometime in the next seven days.





English County players Usman Afzaal, Vernon Philander and Jonathan Trott have all been disciplined for their on-field behaviour by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).


Philander, who plays for Middlesex, was reported by umpires Peter Willey and George Sharp for two separate breaches of the ECB's disciplinary code during a game against Warwickshire last weekend (E-News 247-1362, 27 May 2008), for which he received a total of three penalty points.  It was an eventful match as Warwickshire's Trott was reprimanded for "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during the course of the game.


Surrey batsman Afzaal received three penalty points for showing dissent at an umpiring decision during the County Championship match against Yorkshire last week (E-News 245-1350, 25 May 2008). 



E-NEWS NUMBER 249, 30 May 2008






Indian international umpire Arani Jayaprakash, who umpired thirteen Tests and thirty-eight One Day Internationals (ODI) during an eighteen year career, announced his retirement at the end of the final home-and-away Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Wednesday.  Jayaprakash has spent the last six weeks standing in the IPL (E-News 243-1340, 20 May 2008), and says he now plans to work as a mentor with up and coming umpires. 


Jayaprakash played seventy-nine first-class and fifteen domestic one-day matches, most of them for Karnataka, from 1971-85, then made his debut as a first-class umpire in November 1990, the last of his seventy-two games in that role being in February this year.  The Tests he stood in were played in India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and the ODIs in Bangladesh, India, Sharjah, and South Africa during the 2003 World Cup.


The 58-year-old was nominated for several years as a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, but was dropped by the Board of Control  for Cricket in India in September 2006 after what media reports on the sub-continent at the time suggested was because he was overlooked for elevation to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel.


Last night the Association of Cricket Umpires of Karnataka in a message lauded his services as a player, umpire and administrator.





German player Graham Sommer has been reprimanded after being found guilty of two breaches of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (COC) during his side’s match against the United States during a World Cricket League Division 5 match played in Jersey in the Channel Islands on Tuesday.


After an LBW appeal was turned down by umpire Sanjeev Kad of Finland, the ICC says that German captain Sommer showed dissent and was charged for that and under sections of the COC that deal with "language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or the making of an obscene gesture”.  The charges were laid by Kad and his on-field colleague Mike Carpenter of Jersey.


Explaining his decision after a hearing into the incident, Match Referee David Jukes said that "on the basis of the evidence put before me, it was proved beyond doubt that Mr Sommer showed dissent and also used language that was obscene after his appeal was turned down".  “Even though it is not the sort of example that players should be setting at any time, I decided to reprimand and warn Mr Sommer of his future conduct for a period of twelve months after he showed a degree of remorse and apologised for his actions".


The hearing was attended by the two on-field umpires, Sommer, Tournament Director Andrew Faichney, German coach Keith Thompson and its side's manager Dhushyanta Ekanayake.