TCUSA E-NEWS JUNE 2008
Number 250 – 2 June 2008 [EN1371-1373]
Number 251 – 3 June 2008 [EN1374-1378]
Number 252 – 4 June 2008 [EN1379-1381]
Number 253 – 6 June 2008 [EN1382-1384]
Number 254 – 8 June 2008 [EN1385-1386]
Number 255 – 11 June 2008 [EN1387-1390]
Number 256 – 13 June 2008 [EN1391-1394]
Number 257 – 16 June 2008 [EN1395-1398]
Number 258 – 18 June 2008 [EN1399-1408]
Number 259 – 16 June 2008 [EN1409]
Number 260 – 23 June 2008 [EN1410-1413]
Number 261 – 24 June 2008 [EN1414-1415]
Number 262 – 26 June 2008 [EN1416-1419]
Number 263 – 27 June 2008 [EN1420-1424]
Number 264 – 28 June 2008 [EN1425-1427]
Number 265 – 29 June 2008 [EN1428-1430]
Number 266 – 30 June 2008 [EN1431-1434]
E-NEWS NUMBER 250, 2 June 2008
LITTLE ROOM FOR INDIAN UMPS IN IPL FINALS
Indian umpires were largely overlooked in appointments made to the three Indian Premier League (IPL) finals matches played over the weekend, with only Krishna Hariharan securing a third umpire slot in the second semi-final on Saturday. Match referee positions did, however, go to locals, Javagal Srinath filling that role in the final and a semi-final, while his countryman Srinivas Venkataraghavan managed the other semi.
The final of the fifty-nine match series last night was looked after on the ground by 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), Australian Daryl Harper being in the third umpire's chair. On-field appointments for the semi-finals went to Bowden, Koertzen, Harper and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, while Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Hariharan were the two television officials.
Seventeen umpires were used for on-field positions during the IPL's inaugural six-week series, six being Indians, three South Africans, two each from Australia and Pakistan, and one each from England, New Zealand, the West Indies, and Zimbabwe. That group and four other Indians, the latter having only one match each, worked as third umpires, and at least eighteen locals served as fourth umpires during the tournament.
Of the Indians, Arani Jayaprakash, who announced his retirement from umpiring last week (E-News 249-1369, 30 May 2008), took part in ten matches, seven on the field and three as a third umpire (10-7-3), Ivaturi Shivram and Krishna Hariharan both 10-6-4, Amiesh Saheba and G A Pratap Kumar both 9-6-3, and Suresh Shastri 10-5-5. The latter three are India's current nominations to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, appointments that are currently up for review by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in September next year,
Bowden, with fifteen matches, topped the list of umpires awarded games from other countries, eleven on the ground and four as the third umpire (15-11-4), Koertzen was next with 14-11-3, then came Rauf 13-10-3, Doctrove 13-8-5, Harper 12-9-3, Steve Davis (Australia) 12-7-5, Ian Howell (South Africa) 8-6-2, Mark Benson (England) 8-5-3, Aleem Dar (Pakistan) 7-5-2, Brian Jerling (South Africa) 7-5-2, and Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe) 6-5-1. Harper missed a game due to illness (E-News 242-1337, 15 May 2008), Benson, Dar and Tiffin left the IPL early in order to umpire the current Tests in the West Indies (E-News 243-1340, 20 May 2008), while Jerling only appears to have joined the League half way through the series.
The IPL's second series is currently scheduled to be played in April-May next year, however, its Chairman Lalit Modi said last week that he is looking to move to two such tournaments a year in 2011, one played in that time-frame and another in September. "A Bollywood movie is three hours", said Modi, while IPL games last the same time with "a lot of good food and catering and popcorn and ice cream for the kids", available, he said.
ANALYSIS, 'REHABILITATION' FOR SUSPECT BOWLERS
A four-day "analysis and rehabilitation" program for twenty Indian first-class bowlers who were found to have doubtful actions earlier this year (E-News 193-1054, 8 February 2008), is to be held at that country's National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Banglaore from 4-7 June. The bowlers, most of whom are said to be "borderline cases", were either identified during a review of video tapes compiled to help improve umpiring standards (E-News 120-642, 19 October 2007), or via feedback from umpires and coaches around the nation.
A report in 'The Telegraph' in Kolkata says that a coaching group, led by NCA Head Coach Dav Whatmore, plans to go "through video recordings of bowlers on the opening day" of this week's meeting, the remaining days focusing on the start of each individual's rehabilitation program. Once each bowler's program is worked out, NCA coaches plan to monitor players progress with their respective State coaches once they return to their home cities.
The newspaper's story says that most of the spinners involved produced a suspect action while trying to bowl the 'doosra', and the NCA is said to believe that the actions of all of those identified can be rectified with "hard work and perseverance".
TEAMS MAY HAVE TWO INNINGS EACH IN ONE-DAY MATCHES
County teams in the UK may have the opportunity to bat twice in their forty over one-day matches from 2010 onwards, under a proposal currently being examined by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Little detail appears to have been released about the proposal, although media reports suggest that the two-innings concept effectively results in four innings of twenty overs each, and that as such they might thus become lengthened Twenty20 style games.
The ECB is also looking at reducing its first-class matches from four to three days of 120 overs each as part of a work being undertaken to try and reduce the congested fixture lists that currently make up County seasons.
E-NEWS NUMBER 251, 3 June 2008
SELECTORS SURPRISE WITH NEW NUP APPOINTMENTS
Cricket Australia (CA) has made two surprise appointments to the National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the 2008-09 season, one of the new members named having yet to stand in a first-class match, while another's career appeared on the wane as he has not stood at that level for well over two years. Overall, three new faces are on the twelve-man NUP, two of last season's group were dropped, while a third left after promotion to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) senior ranks.
Newcomers to the panel announced yesterday are Western Australians Andrew Craig and Mick Martell plus Victorian Tony Ward, the trio replacing Tim Laycock and former international umpire David Orchard, both of whom are from Queensland, and South Australian Steve Davis who is now on the ICC's expanded Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008).
Craig, Martell and Ward join last season's panelists Bruce Oxenford and Peter Parker (Queensland), Simon Fry (South Australia), Bob Parry, Paul Reiffel and John Ward (Victoria); Jeff Brookes and Ian Lock (WA), and Rod Tucker (NSW). Oxenford and Tucker also received promotions on the international scene (E-News 251-1375 immediately below).
Tony Ward's appointment and Orchard and Laycock's departure are not unexpected, and the need to replace Davis was automatic, however, the addition of Craig and Martell to the panel are both major surprises for many observers.
Martell becomes the first person to be named to the NUP without having stood in a first-class match, while Craig's first-class career appeared to peak four years ago, but the selector's interest in him tapered off until now. Both have leap-froged Norm McNamara (Queensland) and Darren Goodger (NSW) who were given one first-class match each last season (E-News 188-1018, 1 February 2008), and were thought by some observers to be in contention for promotion to the NUP.
CA's press release says that "Martell and Ward have progressed through [its] umpiring pathway after officiating at the Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland last year, [while] Martell was also cricket’s first Australia Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship Program recipient" (E-News 200-1098, 22 February 2008). The EPT and the national body's male national Under 19 series are considered by CA as key milestones on its "high performance pathway" between Grade cricket and senior national level.
Ward was first appointed to first-class cricket in 2005-06 and has gone on to stand in four such matches since then, two of them last season, as well as a total of nine domestic one-day games and three interstate Twenty20 matches.
He has been selected for a range of representative games since 2000-01, including ten Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) matches for State Second XIs, one national Under 17 and two Under 19 tournaments, plus ten Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) matches. The selector's interest in him was flagged last year by his selection to the 2007 EPT (E-News 66-360, 13 July 2008), as well as his second Under 19 tournament (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007).
Apart from Ward, Martell and Tasmanian Steven John were the only other umpires to be selected for both of those tournaments last season, and both made their debuts at one-day domestic level during the summer.
Martell stood in a single one-dayer last season while John's tally totaled three by summer’s end, and they both were on the ground in two domestic Twenty20 games. The Western Australian took part in the 2005-06 national Under 17 tournament, and both he and John in the last two Under 19 series, while they have umpired three and four CAC matches respectively, and Martel two WNCL games
While Martell has now gone on to the NUP, John has been named to take part in next month's EPT (E-News 251-1375 following), a sign that the selectors see him as having the potential to be a member of the national panel in the future. There is speculation that he will make his debut at first-class level next summer, and if that occurs he will be the first Tasmanian to stand at that level in almost three years.
In contrast to Martell and John's recent passage via CA's "high performance pathway", Craig has had relatively little exposure to the national selectors over the last two southern hemisphere summers, although he participated in key “pathway” tournaments in the first half of this decade.
In 2007-08 he was chosen for single domestic one-day, Twenty20 and CAC games, and in the season prior to that two one-day and two Twenty20 games. His debut at first-class level was in November 2000, then in the following four seasons he was appointed to a total of fifteen games at that level, his final and seventeenth such game to date being in October 2005.
That five-year period also saw him stand in both Under 17 and Under 19 tournaments, and he officiated in the grand finals of both. In the one-day sphere he has chalked up eighteen games over the last eight years, his best season being in 2002-03 when he was on the field for five matches.
The nine returnees who Craig, Martel and Ward are joining have served on the NUP for a total of forty-five seasons. According to CA’s web site the coming summer will be the sixteenth Parker (49) has been on the panel, the eighth for Parry (55), the sixth for Lock (49) and Oxenford (48), fourth for Reiffel (42), Tucker (43) and John Ward (44), and third for Brookes (35) and Fry (41).
Between them the nine have officiated in a total of 355 first-class games, ten of them being Parker's Test matches, he and Parry being well out in front with 113 and sixty-two games respectively. The group's one-day match score totals 322 games, with Parker, Parry and Oxenford having sixty-three, four and one One Day Internationals to their credit respectively.
CA's press release makes little comment about Ward's appointment or, despite his long and significant service to cricket, say anything about Orchard's departure after a sixteen-year umpiring career (E-News 251-1377 below).
However, it does say that "while Laycock is no longer on the NUP, he has been retained in its "umpire high performance pathway and will officiate at the [EPT] in Queensland" next month (E-News 251-1376 below). That suggests, given his relatively young age of thirty-three, that he may have the chance of returning to the NUP in the future if his performance warrants it. Both Orchard and Laycock's pictures continue to feature on the umpire’s section of CA's web site.
The press release says that the selection and management of umpires "will be done under a new system next season", that role being carried out by "the Umpire High Performance Panel which is currently being formed" (E-News 248-1367, 28 May 2008).
OXENFORD, TUCKER GET INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS
Queensland-based umpire Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker from New South Wales both won promotions on the international scene when Cricket Australia (CA) announced its umpiring panels for the 2008-09 season yesterday.
Oxenford, who was elevated to the third umpire slot in Australia's trio on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last year (E-News 65-356, 12 July 2007), now joins fellow Queenslander Peter Parker as an on-field official, Tucker replacing him in the IUP's television chair.
A vacancy was created in Australia's IUP ranks following the promotion of South Australian Steve Davis’ to the ICC's expanded top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in April (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008).
Oxenford, who played first-class cricket for Queensland for a short period early last decade, was first named as a member of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) in 2003-04, and now has thirty-eight first-class and twenty-eight List A games to his credit.
After his elevation to the IUP, he subsequently made his debut in the third umpire's chair and to date has officiated in that role in ten One Day Internationals (ODI), two of them at Bellerive, and in February was on the ground in Canberra in his first ODI when India played Sri Lanka (E-News 195-1064, 12 February 2008). He also stood in a Twenty20 international last season (E-News 188-1015, 1 February 2008).
Former first-class player Tucker becomes the first umpire to be elevated from CA’s Project Panel for retired players to the IUP, his move to international ranks coming after six seasons officiating at interstate level. Indications that he may be under consideration emerged in April (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008), shortly after he had stood in his second successive domestic first-class final in two years in what was only his twenty-first first-class match. He also stood in last season's one-day final, that game being just his fourteenth in that form of the game (E-News 207-1155, 11 March 2008).
CA's General Manager Cricket, Michael Brown, said in yesterday's press release that Tucker's "nomination to the [IUP], and the promotion of Mick Martell and Tony Ward to the [NUP] (E-News 1251-1374 above), illustrates the successes of CA’s umpiring pathway".
The release also contains the first public comment by CA on the promotion of Davis to the EUP seven week's ago. CA's web site ran a news story at the time that was a rewrite of the ICC's press release, but it contained no comment from anyone at CA. 'Fox Sports' posted a story on the promotion of Davis on its web site last night under the banner of "Breaking News”, its source clearly being CA's press release.
Brown said yesterday that the "elevation" of Davis is "further evidence of Australia reputation for producing high-quality umpires", and that CA's "umpires continue to lead the way in world cricket and we take great pride in their performances at first-class and international level".
UMPIRES NAMED FOR EMERGING PLAYERS TOURNAMENT
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named six umpires from around the nation, including Tasmanian Steven John, to officiate in next month's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland (E-News 241-1326, 12 May 2008). The series will this year see the Australian Institute of Sport team compete against sides of emerging players from India, New Zealand and South Africa in six Twenty20 and twelve 50-over matches, and CA sees it as a key series for umpires whose aim is to prove they have what it takes to stand in high-level senior interstate cricket in Australia.
This year's EPT umpires group is made up of Gerard Abood (NSW), Steven John (Tasmania), Geoff Joshua (Victoria), Tim Laycock and Norm McNamara (Queensland), and Paul Wilson (Western Australia).
For Laycock it will be his fourth straight EPT, McNamara will be standing in his third, while Abood and John are returning for the second year in a row (E-News 66-360, 13 July 2007). The naming of Laycock for the series, after he was dropped from the National Umpires Panel yesterday, suggests that given his relatively young age of thirty-three, he may have the chance of returning to the NUP in the future if his performance warrants it (E-News 251-1374 above).
John's presence comes as little surprise as he has progressed rapidly through Tasmanian umpiring ranks over the last five years, twice being named as TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year', and this year as the Tasmanian Cricket Association's 'Umpire of the Year' (E-News 222-1232, 3 April 2008). He broke into the one-day sphere of senior interstate cricket last season, and is seen by many observers as having the potential to be the State's next first-class umpire (E-News 251-1374 above).
Abood, Joshua and McNamara have been working up to the fringes of the NUP over the last few years. Abood has stood in five one-day senior-level interstate games and a one-day tour match between Victoria and the touring Sri Lankans over the last two years. McNamara returned to first-class ranks last season after a two-year gap (E-News 136-736, 17 November 2007), while Josua made his one-day domestic debut in January this year (E-News 180-966, 21 January 2008).
Former Test player Wilson has been on CA's 'Project Panel' since April 2006, a group that was designed to bring former players into umpiring ranks (E-News 65-355, 12 July 2007); a route followed by current NUP members Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker. Despite his placement on the Project Panel his statistics for games played outside Grade cricket in Perth appears limited. Records available suggest that in the 2007-08 season his only stint at representative level was the week-long 'Institute Challenge' series in Darwin last September (E-News 88-471, 26 August 2008).
Jason Arnberger, another former first-class cricketer, expressed an interest in becoming an umpire last year (E-News 60, 26 June 2007), however, there no mention was made of him joining the Project Panel in the CA press release.
ORCHARD'S SIXTEEN-YEAR HIGH-LEVEL CAREER ENDS
Former South African international umpire David Orchard, who has been a regular part of the Australian umpiring scene since he moved continents in 2002, has been left off the National Umpires Panel (NUP) after a sixteen-year involvement as an umpire in high-level cricket. He departs from the NUP three weeks before his sixtieth birthday following a career that saw him umpire matches in a total of fourteen countries.
Orchard comes from an enthusiastic cricket-playing family, his father, an uncle and a son all reaching first-class level in South Africa. He made his own first-class debut with Natal in January 1968 as an all-rounder, going on to play forty-three such matches and five one-day domestic games for that side over the next eleven years, and also had a stint in the Lancashire League. His 1,634 first-class runs came at an average of 24.38 and he took forty-seven wickets at an average of 29.02.
Following his retirement as a player in 1979, he took up umpiring and made his debut at first-class level in January 1992, and stood in the first of his forty-four Tests in December 1995, chalking up a total of 144 first-class matches before his last in February this year.
The were played in all ten of the nations who have taken part in Test cricket, fourteen being in South Africa, seven in England, including two at Lord's, five each in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, three each in New Zealand and Pakistan, two each in Australia, Bangladesh and the West Indies, and a single game in India. His Australian Tests came during the Ashes series of 2002-03, the games being the Boxing Day fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and New Year match a few days later at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The last of Orchard's forty-seven first-class domestic matches in South Africa as an umpire was in March 2002, and first in Australia in November 2003, although he officiated in domestic ranks here as early as October 2002 in an interstate one-day game in his adopted state of Queensland two months before the Ashes Tests. During his five-and-a-half years on the domestic scene in Australia he stood in a total of twenty-five interstate first-class matches and seventeen one-dayers.
His record in List A matches is an impressive 212 games, 107 of them being One Day Internationals (ODI). The latter figure includes seventeen matches played in the 1999 and 2003 World Cups in England and South Africa respectively, and the Champions Trophy series in Sri Lanka in 2002, and sees him lie eighth on the all-time umpires ODI list at this time (E-News 31-172, 23 April 2008).
Orchard was one of the inaugural group of eight appointed to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel when it was established in March 2002, and he served on it until February 2004, his last Test and ODI games being in the following month.
Orchard first stood in a game at Bellerive Oval in January 2003 in an ODI between Australia and England, his partner on that occasion being Australian international umpire Darrell Hair.
All up he officiated in three domestic first-class games at Bellerive, his on-field colleagues being former TCUSA member Ken McGinniss, and current NUP members Paul Reiffel (Victoria) and Simon Fry (South Australia). His last match at Bellerive was a one-day domestic match in February last year, Reiffel again being his partner on that occasion; while TCUSA members Brian Muir, Richard Widows, Janet Gainsford and Graeme Hamley were the third umpire, match referee and scorers respectively.
While Orchard has left the NUP he will continue to be involved in umpiring circles for he is Queensland Cricket 's chief umpiring coach, an appointment that was made late last year (E-News 108-596, 3 October 2007).
WINDIES, AUSTRALIA FINED FOR SLOW OVER-RATES
The West Indies and Australian teams have been fined for maintaining slow over-rates during the First Test in Kingston, Jamaica, last week. A press release issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday afternoon says that both sides were each found to be five overs short in their respective bowling stints.
The ICC says that match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka imposed fines of fifty per cent of their match fees on captains Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ricky Ponting, while the other members of their sides received twenty-five per cent fines. No innings times have been provided in score sheets available on-line for the match, therefore it is not possible to calculate what the overall over rates were.
Last month the ICC's Cricket Committee announced that it had 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). Shortly after the Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) proposed that a minimum of fifteen overs per hour should be bowled in Tests, with teams being required to complete ninety overs each day in a six-hour playing period.
The WCC said 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". If the situation has not dramatically improved within a year says the WCC, "severe run penalties [should be introduced] for slow over rates" (E-News 242-1336, 15 May 2008).
Umpires for the First Test were Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe, while West Indians Norman Malcolm and Clancy Mack, who are West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpire Panel, were the third and fourth officials respectively. Both West Indians are playing the same roles in the Second Test.
E-NEWS NUMBER 252, 4 June 2008
TIFFIN MAKES CASE FOR TECHNOLOGY, WRITES COZIER
Three decisions made by Zimbabwean international umpire Russell Tiffin in the Second Test between the West Indies and Australia on Monday help make the case for the increased use of technology, according to an article written by veteran West Indian cricket commentator Tony Cozier in the 'Trinidad and Tobago Press' yesterday.
Cozier says that "the most crippling" decisions Tiffin made "were three in the space of four balls that helped [Australian] Brett Lee's awesome spell of fast swing bowling before lunch turn a match [that was] slowly but surely heading towards a draw, into the probability of an Australian victory". Another decision late in the day by Tiffin's colleague in the match, England international umpire Mark Benson, "that denied Jerome Taylor a deserved third wicket was less significant", wrote Cozier.
Benson's decision against Taylor that "favoured [Australian] Andrew Symonds on a gloved leg-side catch, was the exact opposite to that given against [West Indian] Dwayne Bravo [earlier in the day] off his thigh pad at the start of Tiffin's triple intervention".
"Angled down the leg-side, Bravo attempted to turn it off his hip, one of his favoured strokes, wicket-keeper Brad Haddin tumbled to gather the ball, [and] Tiffin raised his finger to verify strong appeals". "Bravo threw his head back in despair before trudging off" and the reason for his reaction "was soon evident", says Cozier, for "television replays revealed the deflection was from his thigh, not his bat". He continued his article by saying that while "such decisions are difficult to detect, it is usual that batsmen get the benefit of any doubt".
Denesh Ramdin replaced Bravo and "copped an unplayable first ball [from Lee that was], fast, swerving late into his front pad and heading for off-stump" and "up went Tiffin's finger to Lee's insistent appeal for LBW". Two Lee balls later, a delivery to Darren Sammy "was a repeat of that to Ramdin" and "Tiffin once more raise his right index finger", writes Cozier. However, says the journalist, "In each case, the replay clearly indicated the pad was struck outside off-stump, [and] that should have negated any LBW decision".
"In six hours", claimed Cozier, "the case for the use of technology had been appreciably advanced".
UMPIRES NAMED FOR TRI-NATION ODI SERIES
Sri Lankan international umpire Asoka de Silva, who was reinstated to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel in April (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008), has been appointed to stand in next week's tri-nation One Day International (ODI) series in Bangladesh. The four-match series between the home side, India and Pakistan, will have New Zealander Jeff Crowe as match referee, while de Silva's on-field colleague will be shared between Bangladesh members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) Enamul Hoque Moni and Nadir Shah.
Next week's series will take de Silva's ODI record to eighty matches, Crowe's to ninety-seven as a match referee, Enamul Hoque Moni's to nine, and Nadir Shah's to eighteen.
AFM Akhtaruddin, who appears to have taken over as Bangladesh's IUP third umpire very recently, may occupy the television suite in one of the games. In November 2001 he became the first Bangladeshi official to stand in a Test match.
Currently he has two such games amongst the twenty-five he has umpired at first-class level to date, plus a further nine in the third umpires' suite during Tests. His List A matches stand at twenty-five, sixteen of them being One Day Internationals (ODI), and he has been the television official in a further twenty ODIs. All of the international matches he has participated in have been played in Bangladesh.
STATES TO PARTNER EAST ASIA PACIFIC NATIONS
Five Australian State cricket associations have again entered into partnerships with nations who are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East Asia Pacific (EAP) regional grouping. Under the arrangements State Associations provide cricket development expertise to EAP countries across a range of levels from community participation to high performance.
In 2008 the Western Australia Cricket Association and the Northern Territory Cricket will link with Indonesia, Queensland Cricket with Papua New Guinea, Cricket New South Wales with Fiji and Vanuatu, and Cricket Victoria with Japan and South Korea.
The partnership program, which also involves Provincial Associations in New Zealand, was established in 2002 and since then over 100 development activities have been undertaken, although details of umpiring and scoring activities are unknown at this stage. During the last six years participation in cricket in the EAP region has increased from 15,526 to 32,406 last year, says the ICC.
Commenting on the partnership program, ICC EAP Development Manager Matt Weisheit said that "the partnerships between EAP countries and State Associations in Australia are critical to the ongoing development of cricket throughout the EAP region while also providing a fantastic cultural and professional development experience for State Association staff".
E-NEWS NUMBER 253, 6 June 2008
NO PROBLEM WITH 'HIGH-TECH' TROUSERS SAYS MCC
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has no problem with the new trousers some New Zealand players were wearing when the Third Test against England got underway at Trent Bridge overnight Australian time. The so-called "micro-shine" trousers have a special patch that makes it easier to polish the ball, according to a report on the BBC web site this week.
It is illegal to use substances such as wax to shine cricket balls and having a patch on the trousers to make the ball rougher would not be allowed, but trousers can be made out of different materials. An MCC spokesman was quoted by BBC Sport as saying that the new trousers do not break laws on artificial aides and that "we believe they conform to Law 42.3, so we don't see a problem with them".
The “micro-shine" trousers are not due to be officially adopted by New Zealand until October, but several pairs were used for odd sessions of the Second Test at Old Trafford and are expected to make further appearances at Trent Bridge, says the BBC.
Inventor of the trousers Dipal Patel, said that when he "came into cricket [he] was surprised to find there are no regulations about what materials you can and can't use". Therefore "to start with we looked at putting two patches on the bowlers' trousers, one to shine the ball, and one to scuff it up, in case you wanted to produce reverse-swing, but we have since dropped the abrasive patch", he said. He also claimed that the "trousers make sliding across the ground" to field balls "easier".
ANOTHER SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR WINDIES
The West Indies Test side has again been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate, this time during the second Test against Australia in Antigua on Wednesday. Both sides were censured for the same offence during the First Test last week (E-News 251-1738, 3 June 2008).
Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama imposed the fine after Ramnaresh Sarwan’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. Sarwan lost ten per cent of his match fee while each of his players received five per cent fines.
Also during the Second Test, Mahanama is reported to have warned skippers Sarwan and Ricky Ponting to "cool" their players, after what media reports claim were "hostilities" that erupted after Australian "Andrew Symonds "refused to walk" after appearing to glove a ball to the wicketkeeper", a 'not out' decision by the umpire that replays indicate was wrong (E-News 252-1379, 4 June 2008).
Mahanama did not issue an official warning, say the reports, but spoke to both skippers after play in a bid to stamp out any lingering tensions between the teams. The Sri Lankan was reported as saying that "the skippers were told that we wanted to finish the Test without having any problems". " It was a preventative thing", said Mahanama.
Speaking after the Second Test ended, Ponting reportedly indicated to the press that criticism leveled at the umpires during the match was unfair, and that the level of scrutiny on umpires' decisions is making their job harder. He was quoted as saying that "one thing I'd like to see is less replays, [as] I think all that does is put more pressure on the umpires and alert them to the fact that they may have made a mistake".
"I mean they don't replay the one's that are good decisions so with the naked eye if you have a look at those two LB's that Brett Lee got early [on Monday] morning, I think most people would be giving them out with the naked eye", he said. "So there was some mistakes in the game but there were some very good decisions as well I think".
NSW ANNOUNCES 2008-09 COUNTRY PANEL
The New South Wales Country Cricket Association (NSWCCA) named its twelve-man Country Umpires Panel for the coming season on Monday. Those involved face a busy season with carnivals to be played in the NSW Country Championships, Country Colts, the Country Cup and Country Plate competitions .
CUP members are: Paul Dilley and Steve Hackett (North Coast); Adam Marshall and Rick Field (Central North); Neil Findlay (Illawarra); Don Maisey (Central Coast); Kim Norris (Newcastle); Glen Crew and Sam Rees (Central North); Lachlan Walker and Bruce Whiteman (Southern); and Tony Wilds (Western). Wilds is the only new member of the Panel.
Panel members will take part in a professional development seminar that will be conducted by Association Accredited Trainers in Scone on 12-13 July as part of their preparation for the coming season. Country Umpire Advisor Keith Griffiths and Liaison Officer Dr Stephen Poole will also be in attend that gathering.
E-NEWS NUMBER 254, 8 June 2008
'YELLOW CARD' SYSTEM ON TRIAL FOR UK CLUB CRICKET
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) "is so worried" about player behaviour in club cricket in England that it is "secretly trialing" a yellow card system at three private schools this northern summer, according to a report published in 'The Guardian' newspaper yesterday. The ECB's Mike Gatting, who has direct responsibility for the club game, is reported by journalist David Hopps as saying that he is determined to clamp down on the "near anarchy" that sometimes prevails in the recreational game in the UK.
Gatting is quoted as saying that "the 'Spirit of Cricket' gives umpires all the authority they need and leagues must support them in cleaning up the game", that he'd "like to see Codes of Conduct displayed in every dressing room in the country [and that the ECB will] print as many as the clubs will display". The former England skipper says that "professional cricketers normally know where to draw the line, even if an occasional flashpoint grabs the attention of the media, but there is a deep-rooted problem in the amateur game and we intend to deal with it".
Hopps says that an option to a yellow card approach would be to introduce the system used at County level under which transgressors receive penalty points for misbehaviour, with automatic suspension applying once they reach a designated number. However, the bureaucracy involved in a points-based system is likely to make it impossible to manage at club level, and that "instant suspensions are more likely", he says.
'The Times' reported in April that a trial was also underway in which umpires can "invite" the teacher in charge of a school side that misbehaves on the field of play to remove his captain for ten minutes without substitute" (E-News 236-1305, 28 April 2008), however, whether it is linked with the yellow card approach is not known.
The so-called 'Sin Bin' method was described as "a bold step" that was aimed at curtailing "the appalling behaviour [that is] all too often seen on school cricket fields [in England] and has even led to the cancellation of future fixtures". In that trial the ten-minute rule only comes into play after a side have had two warnings in their time on the field.
'The Guardian' says that the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials will discuss the yellow card trial, which is similar to that used in soccer, at its next Board meeting on 7 July. According to the article, County cricket boards have been assured that leagues can inflict punishments more easily, and with less fear of the consequences, because they can now be enforced under civil not criminal law, making the burden of proof less onerous.
FOURTH LORD'S TEST FOR HARPER
Australian international umpire Daryl Harper will stand in his fourth Test match at Lord's, and seventy-second overall, next month, when England takes on South Africa in the first game of a four-Test series. Harper indicated in a new item posted on his personal web site on Friday that he will be standing at Lord's as well as in the Second Test at Headingley in Leeds, however, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has not yet announced who is colleagues for those matches will be.
Harper made his debut in a Lord's Test in May 2002 when the home side played Sri Lanka, his second being in July 2004 when the West Indies were the opponents, then May the following year when Bangladesh visited. Of his current Australian colleagues on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, Darrell Hair has five Lord's Tests amongst the seventy-eight he has stood in to date, Simon Taufel three of his fifty-three, while none of Steve Davis' eleven Tests have been at Lord's.
In a reference to the last days of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in his latest blog, Harper says that the radios used by the umpires in the final of the competition "were next to useless". While no decisions about appeals were directed to him during that evening, Harper says that he was "asked about two boundaries" and that he conveyed his "answers by standing up and using sign language". He also indicated that due to stadium noise during most of the IPL matches he was involved in, umpires had "to officiate without any sense of hearing...and that takes considerable adjustment".
Harper appears to have known about his appointment to the Test series in England for several months (E-News 236-1304, 28 April 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 255, 11 June 2008
TWO WEEKS TO 'LAWS SCHOOL' START
Members of Tasmania's State Youth Squad and Tasmanian Institute of Sport cricket scholars are being encouraged by the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) to attend this year's TCUSA winter 'Laws School' as part of their professional development. This year's School' is scheduled to commence two weeks from tonight, and the Scorers' School one week later, and TCUSA members are encouraged to recruit and bring along anyone who is interested in becoming an umpire or scorer.
While the primary focus of the Laws School is to prepare individuals for the examination that is the first step in them becoming a qualified cricket umpire, the TCA's Chief Executive Officer, David Johnston, Cricket Operations Manager David Boon, Game Development Manager Ben Smith, and State Director of Umpiring, Richard Widows, have all agreed that players, coaches and administrators would benefit from attending the course.
The four say all those involved with the game would gain from a better understanding and appreciation of the Laws of Cricket, as well as the philosophy that underpins them. They stress the importance of the 'Spirit of Cricket' and how each and every individual involved in matches can contribute to the positive experience a game of cricket can and should be. Whether playing at a social level or aspiring to represent your country, they believe that the manner in which you play the game is of paramount importance.
The Laws School, which will run for a total of six Wednesday evenings and end prior to the Olympic Games getting underway, will cover the forty-two Laws of Cricket in the run up to an examination on night seven on 6 August (E-News 192-1045, 7 February 2008). The Scorers' course will commence the week after the Laws School and consist of five sessions, its focus being on computer scoring techniques, a special emphasis this year being on the Duckworth-Lewis system (E-News 233-1293, 23 April 2008).
Application forms for the courses and details of where to apply can be down-loaded by going to the 'Laws School' button on the TCUSA web site. The complete list of dates, locations and starting times for both schools are provided in the schedule of Association activities provided in the ‘Events’ section of this web site above.
Queries about the Laws School can be directed to Richard Widows on 6282-0444 or 0414-912-591, and the Scorers' School to Graeme Hamley on 6228-2582 or 0417-386-719.
GOODGER TO CONCENTRATE ON TRAINING ROLES
Darren Goodger, the New South Wales umpire who made his debut at first-class level last season (E-News 188-1018, 1 February 2008), is to stand down from all umpiring during the coming summer to concentrate on his training roles with Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia (CA). Goodger, who was thought by some observers to be in contention for appointment to the National Umpires Panel, apparently made his decision well prior to the announcement of the panel for 2008-09 last week (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008).
A teacher by profession, Goodger recently took up a twelve-month contract as the Education and Development Manager at the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, as well as a three-month agreement to work with CA's Global Development Program (E-News 243-1342, 20 May 2008). He was recently in Bangladesh as part of CA's two-year, $510,000 contract with the Bangladesh Cricket Board that aims 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).
Apart from his first-class match, Goodger has stood in six domestic one-day games and another six in the television suite, three interstate Twenty20 matches, a women's and an Under 19 One Day International, national Under 17 and Under 19 men's tournaments, eight Cricket Australia Cup matches for State Second XIs, and tour matches involving sides from England, India and New Zealand.
PROFESSIONALS NEED 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' LESSONS TOO, SAY REPORTS
Nottinghamshire fast bowler Charlie Shreck could find himself "in hot water" after clashing with a Lancashire batsman during what the 'The Times' says was "an ill-tempered passage of play" in a County match last Saturday. The incident, in which Shreck "may have obstructed [the batsman] deliberately", led the two umpires involved to review "video evidence of the contretemps", which in turn could lead to disciplinary action against the bowler for a breach of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Code of Conduct.
'The Times' article says that Shreck "had been chirping away" at the batsman for most of the morning when "he seemed to block the batsman’s path [during a run] in the fourteenth over". Umpire Tim Robinson, who was at the bowler’s end, "immediately issued a stern rebuke", says the report, then together with his umpiring colleague Ian Gould he had a "prolonged chat" with Shreck's captain at the end of the over.
The incident occurred one day after Mike Gatting, the ECB's managing director of cricket partnerships, expressed concern about player behaviour in the amateur game (E-News 254-1385, 8 June 2008). 'The Times' story says that "Shreck’s snarling performance suggests professionals could do with a refresher course on the 'Spirit of the Game' too".
Meanwhile, writing in 'The Guardian' on Tuesday, journalist Richard Williams focused on England bowler Ryan Sidebottom's "confrontation with Jamie How, the New Zealand batsman" during the Third Test on the same day as the Shreck incident, describing it as "a thing of snarls and sneers that seemed to go on for ever". "Since England were already well on top in a match they were destined to win by an innings", says Williams, "such a rancorous outburst seemed so out of place as to be faintly ludicrous".
Williams claims that there "is evidence to suggest that Peter Moores, England's head coach, likes his players to have a bit of dog in them", but that "Gatting should make Moores aware of the responsibility he and his players bear for the future of a game in which the reality now seems dismayingly at odds with the image".
THREE-DAY TRAINING SESSIONS FOR PCB UMPIRES
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is conducting two three-day "orientation sessions" for all of its panel umpires in Faisalabad and Karachi over the next week. A PCB press release issued yesterday says that the courses will provide details of "modern umpiring techniques, Code of Conduct [issues] and latest amendments in the Laws".
Seventy-eight umpires from locations such as Abbottabad, Azad Kashmir, Buner Charsadda, Faisalabad, Kasur, Kohat Lahore, Mardan Muridke, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Islamabad and Jhang shall will attend the first course which starts in Faisalabad today and ends on Friday. Former umpires Mahboob Shah, Said Shah, Azhar Hussain and Khizar Hayat will present that course.
The second course will get underway next Monday and involve thirty-nine umpires from such places as Dadu, Hyderabad, Karachi, Loralai, Quetta, Lodhran, Shikarpur, Sibi, Thatta, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, and Multan. Mahboob Shah, Said Shah and Khizar Hayat will also run that course and will be joined by Ferozuddin Butt.
Former Pakistani first-class cricketer and Lahore Cricket Council member Tahir Shahlast month called on the PCB to improve the standards of its domestic umpires and the structure of its umpiring arrangements (E-News 247-1363, 27 May 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 256, 13 June 2008
ENGLAND AND LORD'S DEBUTS FOR DAVIS
Australian international umpire Steve Davis will make his debut in England this weekend when the first of the five One Day Internationals (ODI) between the home side and New Zealand gets underway at Chester-le-Street. Davis, who was elevated to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel in April (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), will also stand in a match at Lord's for the first time later this month in the final ODI of the series.
In addition to Chester-le-Street and Lord's, the England-NZ tournament also features games at Edgbaston in Birmingham, the County Ground in Bristol, and Kennington Oval in London, and will take the South Australian's ODI tally to seventy-six since his first in December 1992 at the Adelaide Oval (E-News 237-1306, 29 April 2008).
Davis, who umpired in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, has to date officiated in ODIs in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, as well as other competitions in Fiji and Malaysia, including two Under 19 World Cups (E-News 203-1119, 2 March 2008).
Davis made his debut in a Test five years and five ODIs after arriving on the international stage, that game being the Third Test between Australia and New Zealand at Bellerive in November 1997, and currently he has eleven Tests to his credit. His first-class tally currently stands at ninety-two games, including five of the last nine finals of the Australian domestic competition, the four that he missed coinciding with his involvement in three Test matches and last year's World Cup. He was one of eleven non-Indian umpires who took part in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) series earlier this year (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).
Davis' umpiring colleagues during the England-NZ series are expected come from the three England members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ian Gould, Nigel Llong and third umpire Peter Hartley. Gould has umpired in twenty-five ODIs, eighteen on the field and seven in the television suite, Llong twenty-seven (thirteen/fourteen), and Hartley seven (one/six). The match referee for that series will be Javagal Srinath of India, who like Davis was also involved in the IPL.
PRO 'RELEASED' AFTER UMPIRE BARGE
A team in northern England have parted company with their professional player following accusations that he barged into an umpire during a match in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League (NSSCL) last Saturday, says a report in 'The Sentinal' newspaper yesterday. Sri Lankan, Ruchira Perera, who was recruited by Checkley this season after having played eight Test matches and nineteen One Day Internationals for his country, lost his position prior to a NSSCL disciplinary hearing next week, at which he could also be charged with using abusive language.
Checkley captain John Pickles confirmed to 'The Sentinel' that his club has released Perera, saying that "his conduct on the field of play [last] Saturday was totally unacceptable [as] he made contact with umpire [Graham Ferneyhough] on his run-up". "We have spoken to him about his conduct on the field several times before", said Pickles. "I knew when we signed him that he was fiery, [but] we made it clear to him that his conduct had to change otherwise there would be repercussions".
Pickles said he was sorry Perera's stay at the club had ended this way for "in terms of his performances, friendship and attitude, every member of the club is sorry to see him go". Perera's representative, Rob Ashwell, issued a statement on the player's behalf that said the Sri Lankan accepted he had behaved badly. Ashwell said that Pearera "is disappointed by his actions on Saturday, that he feels he has let down his team-mates and the club, and that he has written a letter to the league apologising to the umpires".
'The Sentinel' is reporting that the NSSCL intends to press on with the disciplinary hearing next Thursday, even though Perera's contract with Checkley has ended. League chairman Chris Hopkin said that "Checkley have pre-empted the situation by taking the stance they have, which slightly surprised me, [but] that's a matter for them at the end of the day". Any censure the NSSCL hands out to Perera would apply even if he joins another league says the newspaper report, however, Checkley themselves are unlikely to be disciplined.
LONG WALK AND TENSION OVER CATCH THAT WASN'T
Advice from off the field that television replays showed Indian batsman Virender Sehwag had not been caught in a One Day International (ODI) against Pakistan on Tuesday, saw him return from the boundary to resume his innings, according to a report on the 'Cricinfo' web site on Wednesday. Allegations of "unsporting behaviour" were later directed at a Pakistan player involved in the 'catch' by his country's senior cricket official, say reports from the sub-continent.
Calling it "the catch that wasn't", Crininfo's report on the match said that “Sehwag edged [to Pakistani wicketkeeper] Kamran Akmal, who dived low to his right and held the catch with one glove". After Akmal had thrown the ball up in celebration, "Sehwag walked all the way to the boundary before a team-mate came out to tell him that replays showed the ball had touched the ground as Akmal completed his dive", says Cricinfo.
The story does not say that the umpires had actually given the batsman out, and after being told of the replay situation, Sehwag was said to have "walked slowly back to the middle". "After referring the decision to the third umpire, on-field officials allowed him to continue batting", says Cricinfo. Asoka de Silva from Sri Lanka and Bangladeshi Enamul Haque were the on-field umpires while the latter's countryman, AFM Akhtaruddin, was in the television suite (E-News 253, 6 June 2008).
Yesterday's edition of the Pakistani newspaper 'The Nation' states that "one [unnamed] Pakistan team official went berserk on the notice taken by referees of the unclear catch of Virendar Sehwag", and he is said to have approach the fourth umpire Anisur Rahman "and exchanged hot words with him". Rahman, who played thirty-five first-class games in Bangladesh and two ODIs for his country, took up umpiring last year and has seven first-class matches to his credit.
Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, who is believed to have watched the match at home, criticised his side after their loss, and is said to have talked about wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal's "unsporting behaviour" after he claimed a catch that "he hadn't taken cleanly". "I do not want such behaviour from any Pakistani player", said Ashraf, according to media reports published on the sub-continent, although some observers stated that in their view Akmal may not have realised it was not a clean catch.
YET ANOTHER FINE FOR SLOW OVER-RATES
The International Cricket Council (ICC) handed out yet more fines for slow over-rates on Wednesday, the twenty-ninth such censure it has handed out to international sides over the last fifteen months. Veteran English journalist and broadcaster Christopher Martin-Jenkins said last year that in his view monetary fines for slow over-rates in Test cricket "have not worked" and "penalty runs are the only answer" to solving the problem (E-News 70-382, 19 July 2008).
In the latest transgression, Pakistan was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its 140-run defeat to India in the tri-series One Day International (ODI) in Bangladesh on Tuesday. Match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand imposed the fine after Shoaib Malik’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.
Under ICC Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount. As such, Shoaib was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while each of his players received ten per cent fines. Such fines are believed to be small when compared to player's overall incomes.
Crowe was quoted in an ICC press release as saying that "although there was a rain interruption late in the [Indian] innings, which always makes it difficult to keep the overs flowing, Pakistan [had] only bowled thirteen overs by the first drinks break and never managed to recover that deficit".
Since March last year the West Indies have been fined six times for slow over-rates, five times in Tests and once in a Twenty20, England five times (two Tests and three ODIs), India five (four ODIs and a Twenty20), South Africa four (three Tests and one ODI), Australia three (two Tests and one ODI), Pakistan three times (all ODIs), Si Lanka twice (two ODIs), and Bangladesh in a single ODI.
Last month the ICC's Cricket Committee announced that it had 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). Shortly after the Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) proposed that a minimum of fifteen overs per hour should be bowled in Tests, with teams being required to complete ninety overs each day in a six-hour playing period (E-News 242-1336, 15 May 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 257, 16 June 2008
AUSTRALIANS SHOULD IMPROVE BEHAVIOUR, SAYS HARVEY
Former Australian player Neil Harvey has again urged the Australian team to start rebuilding its "battered reputation" before it is too late, says an article in yesterday's 'Herald Sun' newspaper in Melbourne. Harvey is reported as saying that he hoped that Australian captain Ricky Ponting would "finally do something about his team's on-field behaviour".
"All of this sledging garbage started in [Ian] Chappell's era and it has got progressively worse as the years have gone by", said Harvey. "I disliked [the current side's] behaviour in [last summer's] Indian series and I told them via the press", he continued, and he blames "the captain because he is in charge". Ponting "should get [his players] together and say, "we got an image [problem], and we have got to [do something about it], but they don't", said Harvey. He finds it "very strange that [Ponting] sometimes comes out and says that they do have to improve their behaviour, so why don't they do it?"
Australia's Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery said at the height of the controversies that erupted during the Australian-India Test series in January that he was concerned about the "reduction in the grace and the courtesies" shown on the cricket field over the last few years, and lamented what he saw as a lack of sportsmanship at the game's highest level (E-News 187-1008, 31 January 2008).
Ponting reacted by saying that Major General Jeffrey's views were outdated and that modern cricket has no room for niceties (E-News 188-1017, 1 February 2008), but one cricket official in England has blamed bad behaviour in club-level competitions during the current northern summer as partly stemming from the attitude of a number of "high profile Test players" seen on television in his country (E-News 257-1397 below).
Harvey said he hoped that the Australians could start mending their reputations at home during the next summer against New Zealand and South Africa. His playing colleague Sam Loxton was also said by the 'Herald Sun' to believe that Ponting "needed to do something immediately".
Loxton pointed to the last two lines of the late Sir Don Bradman's book 'Farewell to Cricket", which state that "without doubt the Laws of Cricket and the conduct of the game are a great example to the world [and that] we should be proud of this heritage, which I trust will forever stand as a beacon light guiding man's footsteps towards happy and peaceful days".
Loxton is quoted as saying that he "wished some cricketers in [Australia] would read" those words.
BRAWL, SECOND PRO DEPARTURE, ADD TO LEAGUE'S WOES
A brawl at the end of a Twenty20 match, and the termination of a second club professional's contact because of his on-field behaviour, have added to the problems the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League (NSSCL) has had to deal with this month. Last week Ruchira Perera, the then professional at NSSCL side Checkley, lost his position after he barged into an umpire and used abusive language (E-News 256-1392, 13 June 2008).
The Stoke newspaper 'The Sentinel' reported on Friday that "as many as twenty to thirty people" were involved in a brawl at Betley's Church Lane ground following a Twenty20 game last Thursday between the home side and Wood Lane. The latter's skipper, former West Indies all-rounder Mahendra Nagamootoo, confirmed the brawl had taken place, but said he was unaware of the reasons behind it, according to the newspaper's report. A separate report suggested that a player's refusal "to walk" was one of the issues involved.
"When the game finished [with Wood Lane as the winners], I went straight into the dressing room, but when I looked outside I saw a big fight", said Nagamootoo. "I couldn't see exactly what was happening or why it was happening, but I could see there were players and spectators involved". "Afterwards, the captain of Betley came in to me and apologised, and that was the end of it [for] everyone was fine afterwards and the players had a beer together".
'The Sentinel' says that Betley captain Neil Harrison was unavailable for comment, and that his Club's chairman John Machin refused to discuss the incident for he "was not at the game [and is] awaiting official reports", however, he said that "we will obviously take the necessary action if it is needed".
NSSCL Chairman Chris Hopkin said he would also await the umpires' report on the match before making an official comment, but admitted the recent spate of controversies in the League, which also includes the suspension of Checkley's South African paceman Justin Grainger amid allegations he was being paid while an amateur, were unacceptable and that "local cricket doesn't need it, no sport needs it". "It has been an extremely disappointing week, and I can only remind players that they have a duty to uphold the Spirit of the Game”, said Hopkin.
NSSCL side Leek's West Indies professional Tino Best had his contract terminated last Monday after being reported for allegedly "racially abusing umpires and players" during his side's game against Longton on 7 June. Hopkin told 'The Sentinel' that he was "aware that there have been previous allegations of very poor behaviour on [Best's] part, although no formal complaint has been received".
Best was accused of verbally abusing a Burslem player in Leek's match on 17 May. Burslem won, but their captain, Chris Lowndes, claimed Best issued a threatening remark. Lowndes explained that Best "bowled a bouncer at me and the ball hit me on the arm, which was fair enough, but then he came out with the comment "I hope I broke your arm". "His comments and attitude weren't within the Spirit of the Game", said Lowndes' and "you wouldn't expect that attitude from a former Test bowler". Best played twelve Tests and eleven One Day Internationals for the West Indies.
One club official said that he was loathe to criticise umpires as he'd been one and it is a very difficult job, however, he believes that some are "not taking their responsibilities fully". "It is common knowledge there have been incidents in some games that have not been reported", he said. "Players are human beings and have been pushing things as far as they can, [but] they've been allowed to go too far". "Having said that", he continued, "umpires have a thankless task [for] they don't get much money, and without them the League couldn't exist".
The NSSCL is reported to be planning to discuss the behaviour of Best and Perera at a disciplinary hearing that has been scheduled for next Thursday. If the hearing highlights any wrongdoing, the League may pass that information on to the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) so that any sanction applied could be considered by other competitions around England and Wales. Another northern England League have also experienced difficulties with disciplinary issues during the current UK season (E-News 257-1397 below).
Earlier this month the ECB expressed concern about player behaviour "in the amateur game" (E-News 254-1385, 8 June 2008 and 257-1397 below), but more recent reports have suggested that similar problems also exist in the professional sphere (E-News 255-1389, 11 June 2008).
ANOTHER UK LEAGUE EXPERIENCES DISCIPLINARY PROBLEMS
Officials in charge of the Drakes League in northern England have appealed to its clubs to clamp down on back chat, sledging and the constant questioning of umpires decisions which have "crept into" their games, says a report in Saturday's Huddersfield 'Daily Examiner" newspaper. The move comes after the umpires involved gave one side zero points out of ten for the League's 'Spirit of Cricket' award in a recent fixture, and another League in England is experiencing similar problems (E-News 257-1396 above).
Drakes League chairman Roger France and new Executive Secretary Trevor Atkinson blame dissent as one of the "contributory factors" that has led to the decline in umpires’ numbers in recent years. “When I joined the Huddersfield Umpires Association in 2000, we had over sixty members listed in the handbook, but now we are down to forty-six", explained Atkinson.
"If the downward trend continues we will be looking at single [umpire] staffing of first team games", he said. That "is both bad for the League’s image and for the players, [and it puts] an unnecessary strain on umpires [as they would have] to officiate 100 overs per day at first team level".
Atkinson stressed that "it is still only a minority of players and clubs where there is a problem, and that the top clubs in the Premiership are without doubt the best behaved of any in the League". He added that “perhaps that is because they have the better players who understand the need to have a good relationship with umpires". “Much of it is also down to the respective captains, who have a big say in their players’ attitudes, [while] officials involved in those clubs also have a big influence", said Atkinson. Umpires Association secretary Ron Tindall said that "it’s time people realised that players do not have the right to repeatedly question umpires' decisions”.
“Years ago, umpires were very much like schoolteachers and policemen in that all of them commanded respect, whether they deserved it or not", said Atkinson. “I think now that anyone taking up umpiring must realise they need to earn respect, firstly by learning the Laws of the game and by knowing how to apply them properly, [but] they also need to have exceptionally good man-management skills".
“Unfortunately, the game at local level is not helped by the attitude of a number of high profile [English] Test players, highlighted in recent Test series when bowlers are seen running down the pitch after they have delivered the ball, usually verbally abusing the batsmen, which has then actually been ‘applauded’ by certain television pundits". According to Atkinson, "the problem for local umpires is trying to balance traditional cricket values against modern trends, and be aware that if a batsman reacts badly, you’ve got a potential flare-up on your hands".
Atkinson says that "the challenge for the Drakes League is how we stop that sort of thing, [as well as] how we can attract more umpires". "Umpiring these days has gone further than being merely a hobby, or simply just putting something back into the game", he says. “You are often in action every Saturday and most Sundays, leaving home around noon and getting home [in mid-evening] each night, which is a very big commitment and a strain on family life". “There is also the responsibility of [having a Police check], being responsible for young players with regards to helmets and fielding positions and limited over regulations; the fear of litigation if allowing games to go ahead in poor conditions; having your decisions challenged; and the sledging which goes on", said Atkinson.
“It’s all very well holding courses annually with the hope of picking up the odd newcomer, but I think if we are seriously to attract new umpires, which is now a matter of extreme urgency, we perhaps need to look at the whole financial package", he said. “Although it may be unpalatable to many, we perhaps need to be looking on a more semi-professional basis and we really should be seeking to recruit at least four new umpires every year". Current pay rates for umpires in the Drakes League are not available.
LAWSON DISAGREES WITH REPLAY RESULT
Indian batsman Virender Sehwag was caught by Pakistani wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal in the One Day International between the two sides last Tuesday, says Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson, according to press reports on the sub-continent late last week. Sehwag returned from the boundary to resume his innings after television replays indicated that Akmal has not taken the ball cleanly, according to a report on the 'Cricinfo' web site last Wednesday (E-News 256-1393, 13 June 2008).
After the match allegations of "unsporting behaviour" were directed at Akmal by his country's senior cricket official because he claimed the catch. Lawson, who is not known for a particular appreciation of the role of umpires, is said to have disagreed that Akmal had been dishonest, and was quoted as saying that his "umpires’ report reflected that I thought the catch was out".
E-NEWS NUMBER 258, 18 June 2008
FEE FOR 'LAWS SCHOOL' ATTENDANCE WAIVED
The nominal thirty-dollar fee that is normally charged to attend the TCUSA's six-week winter Laws School has been waived in order to encourage all who are interested to attend, says Tasmania's Director of Umpiring Richard Widows. The School is scheduled to get underway at Bellerive Oval next Wednesday (E-News 255-1387, 11 June 2008), and Widows and most of his State Umpiring Squad members are to meet tonight as part of preparations for the presentations involved.
Application forms for both the 'Laws School', and the Scorers' course which starts one week later, can be down-loaded by going to the 'Laws School' button on the TCUSA web site, the address of which is provided above. The down-loadable form mentions the thirty-dollar fee but it will be amended as soon as possible, and in the mean time those using the form should ignore the financial reference.
The complete list of dates, locations and starting times for both schools are provided in the schedule of Association activities provided at the bottom of this newsletter and on the web site. Queries about the Laws School can be directed to Richard Widows on 6267-1985 or 0414-912-591, and the Scorers' School to Graeme Hamley on 6228-2582 or 0417-386-719.
PRS TEST TRIAL SET FOR LANKAN SERIES, SAYS BCCI
A trial of a Player Referral System (PRS) will take place at Test level next month when Sri Lanka takes on India in a three-match series, according to a statement issued by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday. The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee recommended last month that such a trial go ahead, and a final formal decision on the proposal was to have been made by world body's Chief Executives Committee and full Board in two weeks time (E-News 241-1322, 12 May 2008).
Discussions about the trial over the last twelve months have generally referred to the possibility of it taking place during the four-Test series between England and South Africa in July-August, however, while the visitors appeared keen on the idea the home side was less enthusiastic and agreement could not be reached. A trial of the system in domestic cricket in England last year was not well received by players, umpires or the media (E-News 86-460, 22 August 2007).
Cricket Sri Lanka chief executive Duleep Mendis was quoted by media outlets on the sub-continent as indicating that his board had proposed the challenge system trial to India. BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah was quoted as saying that the ICC "wants to try out the umpiring decisions review rule and we're ready to play our part". Last night the ICC moved to endorse the PRS trial (E-News 258-1401 below). The three Tests involved will be played at two separate grounds in Colombo and at Galle in the period from 23 July to 12 August.
Reports available indicate that as currently envisaged the PRS will allow a side's batsman in the middle, or the fielding captain, to ask the on-field umpires to confer with the television umpire if they feels a wrong decision has been made; although 'Timed Out' appeals will not be included in the process.
Each team will be allowed three unsuccessful review requests per innings, but if an umpire reverses his original decision after a review appeal, the team involved will be allowed an additional appeal. On-field umpires will still be responsible for referring line calls such as run outs or stumping decisions.
A player who wants to query an umpire’s decision will make a ‘T’ sign with his hands at head height, and then the on-field umpires will review their decision with the third umpire. Reports over the last few days indicate that the television official will be able to use slow motion replays from all available cameras, the wicket-to-wicket “mat”, sounds from stump microphones, and the 'Hawk-Eye' system for tracking a ball's trajectory up to where it strikes the batsman, to review his on-field colleague's decision. Snick-detecting devices and “hot-spot” technology will not be used in the trial. If the television umpire rules in a player's favour the on-field umpire will then have to reconsider their original decision.
The BCCI statement says that if after a review an on-field umpire decides that the batsman is 'out' he will indicate that by raising his finger in the normal manner. If the player is 'not out' the umpire will cross his hands in a horizontal position side-to-side in front and above his waist three times. Where the decision is a reversal of the on-field umpire's original decision, the official will use the 'revoke last signal' indication immediately prior to using either of those signals.
A review of decisions made in the First Test match between England and New Zealand last month raised questions about a PRS (E-News 246-1356, 26 May 2008). Another aspect of the trial that will be followed with particular interest is the time it will take for the third umpire to make any decision referred to him, and the effect it will have on the number of overs a fielding team bowls each hour. Low over-rates in Tests have been a problem over the last year and the ICC is currently looking closely at the issues involved (E-News 256-1394, 13 June 2008).
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 in April (E-News 232-1289, 22 April 2008).
Full details of the arrangements that will apply during next month's Test trial are not expected to be known until after the ICC's annual meeting in Dubai. It is scheduled to get underway on 30 June and run until 4 July.
ICC PLAYS CATCH-UP ON PRS ANNOUNCEMENT
The International Cricket Council (ICC) moved late last night to endorse Monday's announcement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that a Player Referral System (PRS) will be trialled in next month's Test series between Sri Lanka and India (E-News 258-1400 above). David Richardson, the ICC's acting Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement the world body's 'Elite' and 'International' Panel umpires "already ensure the vast majority of decisions made in any Test or ODI are correct but we want to see if we can enhance the game further by reducing or removing the few clearly incorrect ones".
Richardson says that "by seeking to reduce these potentially contentious decisions we believe we can help remove a source of tension and frustration among players and spectators as well as any resultant pressure on umpires". “At the same time", he continued, "we have sought to ensure the continued primacy of the on-field umpire, [with] the man on the field’s role [being] to consult with his colleague, not to refer the decision away, and he still decides whether or not to change his original decision".
Detailed playing conditions explaining the process for players and officials involved in the review system, and the umpires who will be involved in the trial (E-News 258-1404 below), will "be released in due course", says the ICC. Richardson says that once the series is over "we will conduct a thorough review of the process before deciding whether the trial was successful and worth persevering with".
MCC TO EXAMINE 'LEGALITY' OF PIETERSEN'S 'SWITCH-HITTING'
England player Kevin Pietersen's use of a "switch-hitting" technique, whereby he changed his stance from right to left-handed to hit two sixes in last Sunday's One Day International win over New Zealand, is to be reviewed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). A report on the BBC web site last night said that the MCC was to conduct discussions on the matter yesterday London time, however, it claims that no definitive decision on its legality or fairness is likely until mid-August.
Unlike bowlers, a batsman does not have to notify the umpires and opposing team if they opt to reverse their batting style after the bowler brings the ball into play, however, Pietersen's shots raise a number of questions for umpires, including the LBW and leg-side 'no-ball' Laws.
Despite the controversy, Pietersen believes he has broken new ground with his stroke, saying that "reverse sweeps have been part of the game for however long [and] I am just fortunate that I can hit it a bit further". However, in making the two shots on Sunday, Pietersen changed not only his grip but also his stance, whereas a reverse-sweep involves no change to either a batsman's grip nor stance. Despite that New Zealand had no complaints about Pietersen's "innovation", say press reports.
Pietersen was criticised for his "change of stance" during a World Twenty20 Championship match last September by journalist Raju Mukherji (E-News 102-561, 22 September 2008). Mukherji wrote at the time that "Pietersen took his stance with the normal right-handed grip of the bat, but with the delivery on the way he changed his stance to a left-handed grip and swatted the ball repeatedly to the fence". According to Mukherji "it was not reverse sweep, but a change of grip [and] I do not know how the international umpires [involved] allowed him to get away with it" as it " was a travesty of cricket's Laws".
The BBC quoted an MCC spokesman as saying that the issue "affects cricket across the world at all levels" but "you cannot redraft the Laws of Cricket overnight". Reports say that the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee made a recommendation at its annual meeting in Dubai last month that the MCC, as the custodian of cricket's Laws, review the switch hit, although that request was not publicised at the time (E-News 241, 12 May 2008).
The MCC's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Tasmanian Keith Bradshaw, and its Head of Cricket John Stephenson, a former England Test player, were among those who were to attend yesterday's meeting, says the BBC's report.
BUCKNOR, HAIR SET NEW RECORD
West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor and his Australian colleague Darrell Hair set a new record during the Third Test match between England and New Zealand last week, according to the 'Cricinfo' web site. Prior to the game commencing Bucknor had officiated in 123 Tests and Hair 77, giving them a total of 200 such matches, the Trent Bridge match taking their combined tally to 202.
Cricinfo's Steven Lynch says that the previous record for a Test umpiring pair of 191 was set during the Second Test between Australia and England at the Adelaide Oval in December 2006. That was Bucknor's 114th Test, his partner on that occasion being South African Rudi Koertzen who was standing in his 77th Test.
BUSY THREE MONTHS FOR INTERNATIONAL UMPIRES
Umpires on the International Cricket Council's 'Elite' and 'International' umpiring panels will be in demand over the next three months with seven Tests and thirty-eight One Day Internationals (ODI) to be played in Australia, England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While umpiring and match referee appointments for most of the series involved are likely to have already been made, the International Cricket Council is yet to publicly announce allocations to the matches involved.
The seven Tests will be played in late July and early August in England and Sri Lanka, the visiting teams being South Africa and India respectively, and as many as seven umpires and two match referees are likely be needed for those games. Australian international umpire Daryl Harper has announced that he is to stand in two of the four Tests in England (E-News 254-1386, 8 June 2008), but just who else will be involved in those games is not yet known. Officials for the Sri Lankan series, which will involve a Player Referral System (E-News 258-1400 above), have also not been named.
On the ODI scene, the first of the thirteen matches that are to be played in the six-team Asian Cup in Pakistan gets underway next Tuesday, although concerns about security in that country continue to be expressed in some quarters. Another sixteen ODIs are listed for the last half of August and early in September, five in England, five in Sri Lanka, three in Pakistan when New Zealand visits, and another three when Bangladesh visits Darwin to take on Australia. In September the eight-team, nine-match, Champions Trophy will be contested in Pakistan. All-up around a dozen international umpires and half as many match referees appear likely to be called upon to support the ODI program.
Australian international umpire Simon Taufel and match referee Alan Hurst have been selected for next week's Asian Cup, according to a report in yesterday's edition of 'The Australian' newspaper. The story says that the pair are "expect to leave for Pakistan later this week", although Taufel is quoted as saying that he has asked for, but is yet to receive, a report on safety and security issues. The security situation would have to be of an "extreme nature" for Taufel to stay at home, says 'The Australian', who went on to quote him as saying that he has "never felt threatened or unsafe umpiring anywhere in the world but [wants] to make sure all the security arrangements are in place".
In addition to Tests and ODIs, the ICC has also scheduled a six-team World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament in Ireland for the period from 2-4 August. Two groups of three teams will play a total of nine matches over three days. Ireland, Scotland and Bermuda make up Group A while Kenya, the Netherlands and Canada will be in Group B. The series will be first tournament of its kind for second-tier cricketing nations, two of whom will go on to take part in next year's World Cup in England.
UMPIRE'S POSITIONING CAUSES PROBLEMS
What is suggested was poor positioning by an umpire allowed a batsman to survive a clear run out chance in a Twenty20 match between Durham and Leicestershire at Grace Road last Friday, according to a report in the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK on Saturday. Journalist Charles Randall indicated that in moving into position for a 'run out' decision as the batsman ran, County umpire George Sharp "back-pedaled in front of [a Durham fielder] and thus allowed the [Leicestershire batsman] to make his ground" as he blocked the fielder's view of the stumps.
What Sharp's view of the situation is was not reported, however, the umpire who is fifty-eight, is a very experienced and long-serving member of the England and Wales Cricket Board's umpiring panel. A former player, he took part in 306 first-class matches and 285 one-day games from 1968-85. Since taking up umpiring in 1992, he has to date stood in 243 first-class games, including fifteen Tests played in Australia, England, India, Pakistan, Sharjah, South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. Other matches in which he has officiated in include thirty-one One Day Internationals, those games being played in England, Kenya, Sharjah and Singapore.
Last Friday's match was Sharp's thirty-third in the ECB's County Twenty20 competition and his reported error is one that most umpires, even experienced ones, make from time-to-time. Training and instruction on that and other issues of on-field technique will be covered during the TCUSA's six-week winter Laws School which gets underway next week (E-News 255-1387, 11 June 2008), the Association's weekend Annual Seminar in early October, and in on-going training meetings, the dates of which will be announced once the 2008-09 season's Tasmanian Cricket Association fixtures are released.
ACO APPOINT EDUCATION MANAGER
The England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has appointed Nick Cousins to act as its Education Manager. Cousins, who is currently operating on a consultancy basis with a contract that runs until 31 December, will be responsible for shaping and planning the delivery of 'Officials Education Programs' whilst advising the ACO Interim Board upon developments and priorities.
Cousins is believed to have played one Second XI match for Glocestershire in 1972 but there is no record of him having umpired at any significant level. The ACO says in a statement, however, that he brings a "great level of expertise in the training of Officials from his work in Rugby Football Union and as a Referees Trainer with London Rugby".
In his work with the ACO he will be "in charge of the development of effective strategies to build a widespread workforce of field-based trainers, tutors, internal verifiers and assessors to support education programs. There appears to have been widespread confusion in England and Wales about how former trainers from the now-defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) will be integrated into ECB systems and how education of new ones will be managed (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008).
ACO County Boards have been asked to submit lists of existing training personnel on their books to the ACO headquarters by 1 July. All ACUS qualifications were to be recognised by the ACO until the end of last April, although what it calls "other qualifications will be considered for recognition on request". Next month's meeting of the ACO's Interim Board is to consider Terms of References for what it calls its 'Education' sub-committee, a group with whom Cousins is likely to work closely.
SOURCE OF UMPIRES FOR $A20M STANFORD SERIES NOT CLEAR
Just where umpires for billionaire Texas businessman Sir Allen Stanford's $A20m "winner-takes-all" five-match Twenty20 series between his side and England in November will be sourced from was not made clear when the new competition was announced last Thursday. The so-called "Twenty20 for twenty" [million] tournament, which will be played as Stanford's own cricket ground in Antigua in the West Indies, has been endorsed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as "authorised matches".
In February this year Stanford ran a twenty match knock out Twenty20 series that saw a total of twenty-one sides from around the Caribbean competing for a $US1m prize, a similar inaugural event taking place in August 2006. Umpires used in this year's series came primarily from the West Indies Cricket Board's first-class panel, international officials Billy Doctrove and Goaland Greave standing in the final. Whether they and others involved took part via their WICB contracts or were directly employed by Standford's organisation in a similar way to Indian Premier League umpires is not known.
QUESTIONS TO TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
The New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's Education and Development Manager Darren Goodger has posted five questions on the Laws of Cricket on the Association's web site that TCUSA members may like to test their cricket knowledge on. The questions can be found at the following web address: http://www.cricketnsw.com.au/nswcua/
E-NEWS NUMBER 259, 18 June 2008
MCC GIVES 'SWITCH-HIT' THE ALL-CLEAR
England batsman Kevin Pietersen's controversial 'switch-hitting' stroke will be allowed to stand in all forms of cricket after the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) decided at a meeting at Lord's yesterday that it would not legislate against it. The controversy was sparked after Pietersen used the shot to hit two sixes during his side's One Day International against New Zealand last Sunday (E-News 258-1402, 18 June 2008).
The MCC said in a statement issued early this morning Australian time that "the 'switch-hit' stroke is exciting for the game of cricket", and that "the stroke conforms to the Laws of Cricket and will not be legislated against". The guardians of the Laws of Cricket believe that it "is a difficult shot to execute and that it incurs a great deal of risk for the batsman" and that as such it "offers bowlers a good chance of taking a wicket and therefore is fair to both batsman and bowlers".
The MCC's "acknowledges that while bowlers must inform umpires and batsmen of their mode of delivery, they do not provide a warning of the type of delivery that they will bowl [such as] an off-cutter or a slower ball". "It therefore concludes that the batsman should have the opportunity, should they wish, of executing the 'switch-hit' stroke". It points to the fact that Law 36.3 already deals with "matters relating to the stance of a batsman".
While Pietersen's shot has now been legalised, the MCC have agreed to look into how it relates to the Laws regarding both Wides and LBW, both of which can be affected by a batsman changing his stance, and will "continue to research and discuss these implications".
Pietersen is being quoted by UK media as saying that he is "delighted" with the ruling. "It's important that we as players are innovative and if this shot helps make cricket more exciting and entertaining for spectators then that has to be good for the sport". "I've spent many hours in the nets working on it", said the England batsman, and "I'm pleased that all the hard work is not going to go to waste". "I don't agree with the argument that it is unfair on the bowlers [as] it's an extremely high risk shot and there will be plenty of bowlers out there who will think that it gives them a great opportunity to get me out".
Those present at yesterday's meeting at Lord's were said to be Keith Bradshaw, the MCC's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, who is from Tasmania, John Stephenson its Head of Cricket, and Mike Griffith, Chairman its Cricket Committee.
E-NEWS NUMBER 260, 23 June 2008
ICC MOVES QUICKLY ON ODI INNINGS INTERVAL
Umpires officiating in the current One Day International (ODI) series between England and New Zealand have been given the power to reduce the length of the interval between innings for the rest of the series after the second game ended in controversy at Edgbaston last Tuesday. That game was abandoned when rain ended play just one over short of the minimum required for a result with NZ needing to score seven runs without further loss to win by the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The decision by umpires Steve Davis (Australia) and Ian Gould (England) to persist with a thirty-minute interval after England's innings despite the poor weather conditions that existed came in for widespread criticism in the UK media, however, that time was the minimum then allowed under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) original playing regulations.
Match referee Javagal Srinath from India defended the umpires and cleared England of time-wasting after NZ captain Daniel Vettori accused his opponents of slowing their over-rate once rain started to fall. Srinath told reporters that "the umpires did a commendable job under pressure and they had to be consistent with the way they interpreted the regulations".
The ICC has since moved quickly to deal with the issue and reports indicate that it has already amended the playing conditions for the rest of the series to say that "where the innings of the side batting first is delayed or interrupted, the umpires will reduce the length of the interval".
The change continues by stating that "in the event of time being lost up to and including sixty minutes in aggregate, the length of the interval shall be reduced from forty-five to thirty minutes", but for losses greater than an hour "the duration of the interval shall be agreed mutually by the umpires and both captains subject to no interval being of more than thirty minutes' duration or less than ten minutes' duration". "In the event of disagreement, the length of the interval shall be determined by the ICC match referee", says the change.
Indications are that the ICC Chief Executives' Committee will examine the matter when it meets in Dubai next week with what reports are suggesting is a view to securing the best longer-term result for the playing conditions relating to this matter.
POLLOCK CONCERNED ABOUT 'SWITCH HIT' GREEN LIGHT
Former South Africa player Graeme Pollock believes the game has swung too far in favour of batsmen now that the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has given the green light to the use of the 'switch-hit' shot (E-News 259-1409, 18 June 2008). England batsman Kevin Pietersen hit two 'switch-hit" sixes in which he changed his batting stance from right to left-handed as the ball approached him in his side's opening game of the current five-match One Day International series against New Zealand last Tuesday (E-News 258-1402, 18 June 2008).
Pollock, thought by some to be the best left-handed batsman the game has ever seen, told the 'Cape Times' that he enjoyed the spectacle, but called on the MCC to rethink their decision to allow Pietersen's unique stroke play. The newspaper quoted Pollock as saying that Pietersen's strokes were "quality" and "one hell of an effort", for "it's one thing playing a reverse sweep, but to hit the ball over mid-wicket takes some doing".
Despite that Pollock believes that "it definitely needs to be looked at", for while "the MCC have condoned it, that's probably the easiest thing to do right now". "I know it also adds excitement to the game, but if a bowler has to say which side or hand he is bowling from or with before he delivers the ball, surely a batsman has to do the same", he said.
Pollock, whose first-class batting average was 60.97, feels bowlers are getting a raw deal in the Twenty20 era. "My one problem with all the rules changes coming into the game is that they always favour the batsmen" and "isn't it the entire point of cricket to be a fair contest between bat and ball?" "I know the public would rather see runs than wickets, so maybe administrators have consciously decided to take the game that way, especially with all the fielding restrictions, leg-side rules and bouncer limitations", said the South African.
"Who wants to be a bowler in Twenty20 cricket?", said Pollock, and at the current rate "we'll probably see batsmen facing up to a bowling machine in [such] matches" one day.
UMPIRES FROM FIVE NATIONS NAMED FOR INTERNATIONALS
Five international umpires from Australia, Bermuda, Germany, Indonesia and New Zealand have been named for six One Day Internationals (ODI) and three first-class Intercontinental Cup (IC) matches that are to be played in Bermuda, Canada and Scotland over the next three weeks. One of the officials named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) comes from its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), another from the second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), while the other three are members of its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).
Australian EUP member Steve Davis, who is currently officiating in the ODI series between England and New Zealand, is to stand in three ODIs that are to be played in Aberdeen between the home side, Ireland and NZ over the first three days of July. His partner for those games is Paul Baldwin from Germany who is on the AAIUP. Javagal Srinath from India will be the match referee for that series.
New Zealander Gary Baxter from the IUP will travel to Canada this week to officiate in three ODIs between Canada and Bermuda that are to be played next weekend and on the following Tuesday, the match referee being Chris Broad of England.
Baxter's on-field colleague for the ODIs will be Roger Dill of Bermuda, who is to fly home to Bermuda immediately after that series ends in order to stand with Indonesia's Shahul Hameed in the four-day IC match between Bermuda and Scotland from 10-13 July. After that Hameed will move to Canada where he and Baxter will look after the third IC match, this time involving the home side and Scotland. Both Dill and Hameed are members of the ICC's AAIUP.
The ICC is yet to announce umpire and match referee appointments for the thirteen ODIs that are to be played in the six-team Asian Cup in Pakistan that is scheduled to get underway tomorrow, although Australians Simon Taufel and Alan Hurst were reported in the media last week as having been appointed (E-News 258-140, 18 June 2008).
'HAWK-EYE' ERROR SHOULD BE FLAGGED, SAY RESEARCHERS
Researchers at the University of Cardiff say that the measurements 'Hawk-Eye' makes of a ball's position can be in error by a margin greater than the average inaccuracy of 3.6 mm claimed by its makers, according to a paper to be published in the journal 'Public Understanding of Science' next month. Professor Harry Collins and Dr Robert Evans say that the public may be mislead into believing the system has no capacity for error, and that the size of possible discrepencies should be provided in television presentations, says an article in the 'Western Mail' in the UK last week.
Talking about its use by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Collins is quoted by the 'Western Mail' as saying that "technologies such as Hawk-Eye are meant to relegate line call controversies to the past", but "our analysis has shown that [it] does not always get it right and should not be relied on as the definitive decision maker". The Cardiff report claims that such devices "should be used to reduce human errors from lapses of concentration, an obscured view or very fast action, but not to give a definite verdict on line calls".
The 'Western Mail' report says that Dr Paul Hawkins, Hawk-Eye's inventor and managing director, stressed that Hawk-Eye had been tested thousands of times by experts and that tennis and cricket officials, players and fans were all happy with its accuracy. The ITF decided that five millimetres was "an acceptable margin of error", said Hawkins, and Hawk-Eye’s "level of accuracy is well under that", although he conceded that 'cricket is more complicated [than Tennis]".
Collins and Evans' research paper says that viewers could “overestimate the ability” of any technological device to resolve disagreement. They "believe that Hawk-Eye’s conclusion [as presented on television] should be accompanied by statements and or displays of the size of the possible errors, as is normal in science". If such an approach was adopted, says the paper, “commentators could interpret and explain levels of uncertainty for the viewing public", and that in turn could "ensure that the public is much better informed as to the limits and possibilities of technology".
'Hawk-Eye' is to be used in the Player Referral System trial that has been scheduled for the three-match Test series between Sri Lanka and India in July-August. During those games the system will be used to track a ball's trajectory up to where it strikes the batsman, however, a decision on where it is headed after that will be left to the judgement of the third umpire when he views television replays, according to reports (E-News 258-1400, 18 June 2008).
E-NEWS NUMBER 261, 24 June 2008
STRATFORD APPOINTED ICC REGIONAL UMPIRE MANAGER SAY CV
Former Australian first-class umpire Bob Stratford has been appointed to one of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) five new Regional Umpire Manager (RUM) positions, according to a report posted on Cricket Victoria's (CV) web site. Stratford, who has worked as CV's Umpire Manager for the past seven years, will finish up with his present employer on Friday week and be replaced by his deputy and current first-class umpire Bob Parry.
While CV's report rings true, for it is unlikely to have moved to promote Parry unless Stratford was leaving his current position, the ICC has yet to make an announcement on just who has been chosen to fill the five RUM slots, one each of which will cover 'UK and the West Indies', 'Asia West', 'Asia East', 'Africa' and 'Australia-NZ-Pacific'. CV says that Stratford will look after the latter region, but just when he will formally commence in that role is not known.
Occupants of the new positions, whose establishment flowed from last year's review of international umpiring arrangements by the ICC (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007), will according to the world body's original advertisement work with its 'Elite' and second-tier 'International' umpire panels from their region as well as all visiting umpires "to ensure [their] peak performance" (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008).
The ICC's acting Chief Executive Oficer David Richardson said in an ICC statement in April that "the [RUMs] 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". England-borne Stratford, who is fifty-eight, stood in twelve domestic first-class matches and five List A games over a three-year period in his adopted country from 1995-97.
Indications are that Stratford will continue to work from somewhere in Melbourne, and like his four regional colleagues report to the ICC's Umpires' Manager Doug Cowie at its headquarters in Dubai. Cowie will in turn report to South African Vintcent van der Bijl who was appointed to the ICC's new Umpires and Referees Manager late last month (E-News 245-1347, 25 May 2008).
Parry, who is fifty-five, has been on Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the last seven seasons and is currently preparing for an eighth (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008). To date he has stood in sixty-two first-class games and forty-seven List A matches, the latter including four One Day Internationals, and he has been the third umpire in seven Tests.
Tasmania's State Director or Umpires Richard Widows, who holds a position equivalent to that currently held by Stratford in Victoria, told E-News yesterday that he has "enjoyed working with [Stratford] over the past six years and very much appreciates and values his contribution and support, [and he] looks forward to him now having a positive influence on umpiring at the international level".
Widows says the fact that Parry will continue as a member of the NUP has "some interesting and potentially valuable outcomes", and that he holds him "in the highest regard and very much looks forward to working with him in his new capacity".
TOUGH NZ REGULATION CAPS QUESTIONING OF UMPIRES
The introduction of a clause in New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Code of Conduct (CoC) four years ago that severely limits the ability of players or team officials to ask umpires the reasons for decisions they make, has improved the game across the Tasman and helped stem the loss of umpires, says NZC's National Umpires Manager, Brian Aldridge. Aldridge was responding to a number of stories in E-News last week that outlined problems being experienced in one League in England this northern summer (E-News 257-1397, 16 June 2008).
Aldridge, whose high-level umpiring career included twenty-six Tests and forty-five One Day Internationals, including a World Cup final, told E-News that NZC was "having similar problems" earlier this decade to those recently reported from the England, "with constant questioning of decisions by players, especially bowlers". "Some of these questions were becoming ‘hands on hips’ demands to know why a decision was not given in the bowler’s favour", and "often bowlers or captains would continue to debate what happened even after they received an explanation", he says.
That "questioning was not really aimed at trying to get that particular decision changed but an attempt to influence the next decision the umpire would make", says Aldridge, and that as a result it was "a straight out attempt at intimidation". Such an approach by players "almost become an accepted method of ‘umpire intimidation’ and the challenge for the umpires was to ‘handle it’ on the field". As a result NZC found that umpires, especially at club level, were resigning from their Associations, making comments as they left such as “I don’t need this hassle every Saturday and I would rather go and play golf or bowls where I can enjoy my weekends".
Aldridge says that as NZC's umpires' head he was concerned that "we could not continue to lose umpires at the rate we were". As a result he lobbied for and had introduced into his country's CoC a clause that stated that "it is an offence for a Player or Team Official to ask an umpire the reasons for a decision", the exception being an attempt to seek a "legitimate clarification as to the reason for a dismissal, such as whether a batsman has been dismissed LBW or caught at the wicket".
That move resulted in "quite a debate", says Aldridge, with "many players and team officials claiming that umpires should be accountable for their decisions and [they] therefore should have to give explanations and clarifications when asked". In addition to players, "some umpires did not agree with it as they maintained that this explanation process formed part of their man management and communication techniques". Despite that he "managed to convince" his colleagues to trial the approach.
Four years on many players "do not like it but they do accept it which to my mind is the important thing", says Aldridge. Players "now understand that they must accept decisions, right or wrong, and that they cannot demand explanations", he says. No player has been reported for aggressive questioning since the change, and "that in itself is testament to an acceptance by the players that the regulation supports the spirit of the game". A key result, says Aldridge, is that at club level "the exodus of umpires has stopped".
Aldridge told E-News that "many umpires will not agree with the process [NZC] used, but at the end of the day it achieved what we wanted". He believes that "the game in NZ, whilst still no where near perfect as far as the spirit in which it is played is concerned, is a much more pleasant experience for umpires".
E-NEWS NUMBER 262, 26 June 2008
LAWS SCHOOL KICK-STARTS PREPARATIONS FOR NEW SEASON
Thirty people, six of them prospective new TCUSA umpiring members, attended the first night of the Association's winter Laws School at Bellerive Oval last night. The School, which is scheduled to run for another five Wednesdays, is the first of a number of activities as umpires and scorers prepare for the start of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's 2008-09 season in October.
Next Wednesday will see the start of the five-week school for Scorers that will run in parallel with the Laws School, there will be an exam on the Laws of Cricket on 6 August, and the Annual Seminar, which is expected to again be attended by umpires and scorers from around Tasmania, is to be held over the weekend of 4-5 October. The opportunity will also be available for umpires to obtain valuable practical training during net practice sessions that TCA clubs will be running on a regular basis over the next three months.
The complete list of dates, locations and starting times for Association activities between now and the start of the season are provided at the bottom of this newsletter and on the web site. Queries about the Laws School can be directed to Richard Widows on 6267-1985 or 0414-912-591, and the Scorers' School to Graeme Hamley on 6228-2582 or 0417-386-719.
ICC NAMES REGIONAL UMPIRE MANAGERS
In a move that the International Cricket Council (ICC) says is "another of its initiatives to increase the level of support to the world’s top match officials", the world body yesterday announced the names of the five men who will fill its new Regional Umpires' Performance Managers (RUPM) positions. Their role will, says the ICC, be to "coach, mentor and assist [its international] umpires as they strive for on-field excellence".
The five named and their regions of responsibility are: John Holder ('Americas and Europe', which includes England and the West Indies); Arani Jayaprakash ('Asia', including Bangladesh and India); Peter Manuel ('Asia', including Pakistan and Sri Lanka); Ian Robinson ('Africa', which includes South Africa and Zimbabwe); and Bob Stratford ('Pacific', which includes Australia and New Zealand).
The ICC says that the new "appointments are effective immediately and [that each man] will be based in their respective regions". As far as it is known Holder, who was born in Barbados but has lived in the UK for many years, will work from England, Jayaprakash from India, Robinson from Zimbabwe, and Stratford, whose selection was flagged earlier this week (E-News 261-1414, 24 June 2008), from Australia.
The ICC's press release suggests that Manuel and Stratford have the most experience in umpire training and development. The former is said to have "been deeply involved with the training and development of match officials in [Sri Lanka], and throughout the members of the Asia Cricket Council". Stratford has been Cricket Victoria's Umpires’ Manager for the last seven years, and has worked as an educator for Cricket Australia in delivering training programs in Bahrain, Malaysia, China and Bangladesh.
In terms of umpiring experience Holder leads the way with 402 first-class games from 1982 to the present, while Robinson has ninety-one (1978-2007), Manuel eighty-three (1989-2006), Jayaprakash who retired last month (E-News 249-1369, 30 May 2008), seventy-two (1990-2008), and Stratford twelve (1995-97).
All except Stratford have officiated in internationals. Robinson, who is currently Zimbabwe's third umpire on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires' Panel, leads the way with twenty-eight Tests and ninety One Day Internationals (1992-2004), Manuel 11-45 (1992-2004), Jayaprakash 13-38 (1993-2006), and Holder 11-19 (1998-2001).
Two of the five, Holder and Jayaprakash, have played first-class cricket, the former forty-eight matches for Hampshire in his adopted country from 1968-75, and the latter seventy-nine games for Mysore and Karnataka from 1971-85.
The new RUPM positions were established as a result of last year's review by the ICC of international umpiring arrangements (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007). Other changes made in recent months include the appointment of South African Vintcent van der Bijl to the new Umpires and Referees Manager position at the ICC (E-News 245-1347, 25 May 2008), and the expansion of the world body's 'Elite Umpires Panel from ten to twelve members (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008).
BRAVO FINED FOR DISSENT
West Indies’ all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision” during the first One Day International between his side and Australia in St Vincent on Tuesday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement yesterday that after Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf judged Bravo to be LBW to Australian bowler Michael Clarke, the batsman "openly showed dissent at the decision by standing his ground before leaving the field while shaking his head". Bravo is said to have pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The match was halted for ten minutes during the West Indies innings after bottles were thrown on to the ground. One media report said that "whether Bravo played a role in inciting the crowd is debatable", before going on to state that in the reporter's view, his colleagues Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy "could consider themselves fortunate not to have joined Bravo". Gayle is said to have "stood his ground after Rauf ruled him LBW to Nathan Bracken, and Sammy was also slow to walk after being bowled by Bracken".
Rauf and his on-field colleague and fellow Elite Umpires Panel member Billy Doctrove of the West Indies, as well as third umpire Clyde Duncan and fourth umpire Goaland Greaves, are said to have laid the charges against Bravo.
Bravo was found guilty at a hearing held after the game by match referee Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka. Explaining his decision Mahanama said that Bravo failed to adhere “to the principle that when the umpire’s finger goes up, the batsman must go without delay regardless what he thinks of the decision". "The message his action sends out to the millions of people watching both at the ground and on television, merited some form of action", said Mahanama.
An offence of the kind committed by Bravo can carry a censure ranging from an official reprimand and/or a fine of up to the equivalent of fifty per cent of a player’s match fee.
HONG KONG FINED FOR SLOW OVER-RATE
The Hong Kong side was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Karachi on Tuesday. Match referee Alan Hurst from Australia imposed the fine after Tabarak Dar’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. As a result Dar was fined ten per cent of his match fee while each of his players received five per cent fines.
E-NEWS NUMBER 263, 27 June 2008
'GOOD LIGHT', THEN 'BAD LIGHT', STOPS PLAY
'Good light' stopped play during a Twenty20 match between Derbyshire and Durham on Wednesday, forcing the umpires to reduce the game to an eighteen-over contest. Somewhat ironically, fifteen overs into the second innings of the match bad light intervened and the game had to be decided by the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Play got underway as scheduled at 7 p.m. at the County Ground in Derby in "hot, sunny conditions". Twenty-seven minutes and eight overs later, however, County umpires Jeff Evans and Steve Garratt decided that the sun was blinding the batsman facing at the eastern end of the east-west facing pitch. They therefore halted play and it was not possible to restart the match for eighty-five minutes say reports.
In England they have long summer evenings and play can continue until quite late, especially around the solstice, but by the time the first innings was completed, the second did not get underway until well after 9 p.m. With almost three overs still to bowl and the clock past 10 p.m., Evans and Garratt judged that the light was too poor to continue.
UK reports claim that the only ground in England that Derby shares the distinction of having an east-west pitch and a 'dazzle-problem' is Old Trafford. The latter will, however, be unique in the next few years as Derby’s pitch is to be relaid to face north-south by 2010.
Meanwhile in a Twenty20 between Warwickshire and Somerset played at Edgbaston on Tuesday, umpires Peter Willey and Rob Bailey, stopped play because of what one report says was "the failure of the scoreboard, or its operator, to keep up with on-field events".
Willey and Bailey suspend play as the match approach its climax until the board was brought up-to-date, insisting that the players needed to know exactly what was required of them. One newspaper report said that "the [score] board has become a consistent embarrassment to the club and simply must go".
BAD DAY FOR SKIPPER COLLINGWOOD
England's One Day International (ODI) captain Paul Collingwood had a bad day at the office on Wednesday when his side took on New Zealand in the fourth and second-last match in the current series. At the end of the day he was being criticised over a 'Spirit of Cricket' issue, facing a ban as a result of his side's slow over-rate, and had lost the match by one run after an overthrow on the last ball of the game.
The 'Spirit' issue arose after NZ batsman Grant Elliott and England bowler Ryan Sidebottom accidentally collided mid-pitch as Elliott was attempting a run, the fielding side lifting the bales with the batsman lying "flattened" well short of his ground. As a result English international umpire Mark Benson, who was officiating with Australian Steve Davis, asked Collingwood whether in the circumstances he wanted to withdraw his side's appeal.
Media reports quote the captain as saying that he "asked Sidebottom [whether he was going] for the ball?" or not. Sidebottom apparently said he was and in what was a "split second decision in a tight game, with emotions running high", Collingwood told Benson that he "was still appealing". As a result Elliot was given out.
Another concern for Collingwood is the possibility that he might miss a number of internationals.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement yesterday that Collingwood's side were three overs behind the required over-rate at the end of Wednesday's match, a situation that normally would see the skipper loose thirty per cent of his match fee and his players fifteen per cent. However, as England has now exceeded a two-over deficit for the second time within twelve months, the last time being in August (E-News 89-474, 28 August 2007), ICC regulations mean that the captain now faces a possible playing ban.
Collingwood's team mates will loose their fifteen per cent, but he himself could be handed "a minimum tariff of a ban of four ODIs or two Test matches, or a combination of the two forms of the game", says the ICC. Match referee Javagal Srinath of India was to decide Collingwood's fate yesterday afternoon UK time, however, the outcome had not been announced by the time E-News was distributed early this morning.
The final indignity for the skipper came on the last ball of the game. With two runs needed off that delivery the ball was hit into the outfield for what reports say should have only been one run, however, while three fielders converged on the stumps, an unnecessary aggressive return was launched at the base of the stumps, but it skidded through for overthrows and a win for the visitors resulted.
JERLING SOUTH AFRICA'S 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'
Eastern Cape umpire Brian Jerling is the recipient of South Africa's 'Umpire of the Year' award for the 2007-08 southern summer. Jerling received the trophy for the second time during his career at a national cricket awards night held in Johannesberg on Tuesday.
During the twelve months to the end of May, Jerling, who is currently standing in the Asian Cup in Pakistan (E-News 263-1423 below), has been the third umpire in a Test, taken the field in eleven One Day Internationals played in his home country, England and Zimbabwe, and fifteen domestic one-dayers at home, looked after seven first-class matches, and officiated in the Indian Premier League's inaugural Twenty20 tournament (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).
In another section of the South African awards night, the Gauteng Scorers’ Association won the 'Scorers’ Association of the Year' award for the fourth time in five years.
TEN-MAN PANEL MANAGING ASIAN CUP?
Eight umpires and two match referees appear to have been appointed to manage the six-team, thirteen-game, One Day International (ODI) Asian Cup competition that got underway in Pakistan on Tuesday. Somewhat unusually, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has not yet formally announced who will look after the series, therefore other officials may also be involved in the lead up to the final on Sunday week.
Only four umpires have been used for the twelve on-field slots available in the six games played up until yesterday. Australian Elite Umpire Panel member Simon Taufel, and Ian Gould of England who is on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), have officiated in the three games played in Lahore, while two other IUP members, Brian Jerling (South Africa) and Tony Hill (New Zealand) have looked after the other three matches in Karachi.
As of yesterday Taufel had taken his ODI record to 127 games, Jerling to 65, Hill to 55 and Gould to 22.
All the third umpire positions have been filled by four IUP members from Asia. So far Amiesh Saheba (India) and Zameer Haider (Pakistan) have each looked after two games, and AFM Akhtaruddin (Bangladesh) and Gamini Silva (Sri Lanka) one each. The latter two are third umpire members of the IUP.
Alan Hurst (Australia) has been the match referee for all of the games played in Kararchi, and Mike Proctor (South Africa) in Lahore.
It is a very busy few months for international officials, and the ICC has to provide umpires and match referees to seven Tests, a further sixteen ODIs and a World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament over the next ten weeks (E-News 258-1404, 18 June 2008).
COACH ABUSES, SHOVES UMPIRE, CLAIMS REPORT
The coach of the Malaysian cricket team is alleged to have shouted abuse at, and shoved, an umpire, after the latter suspended a bowler for "frequently bowling beamers and bouncers" in a practice match last weekend, says a report in 'The Straits Times' (TST) yesterday. The newspaper claims that the incident comes after "several senior Malaysian umpires" recently announced a "boycott of matches involving national team members" due to "the level of abuse" they have received from some players.
As part of their preparation for the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Trophy tournament that is to be played in Kuala Lumpur from 25 July until 3 August, the Malaysian team were playing a side made up of Sri Lankan expatriates. Somewhat surprisingly TST says that following the suspension of the expatriate team's captain from bowling, Malaysia's national coach, former Sri Lankan Test player Romesh Kaluwitharana, entered the field of play and initiated the incident with the umpire.
Another Malaysian media report says that trouble "had been brewing" before Kaluwitharana's alleged outburst, for "an umpire had a verbal clash in the field over a 'run out' decision. A "senior player" is said to have "contested the decision by throwing his cap on the ground", and there then were "some unnecessary verbal comments" from both sides, "including vulgarity from an umpire".
Following his confrontation with the umpire, Kaluwitharana is alleged to have called for both teams to leave the field. Soon after Malaysia's team manager, Ramesh Menon, is said to have requested that the match continue without the umpires. Apparently both umpires agreed to that proposal.
The umpire directly involved, Sri Murigak Madhavan, and his on-field colleague Poobalan Loganathan, have submitted a report to the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) about the incident, says TST. In addition to Kaluwitharana the pair are said to have cited the conduct of Malaysia's captain Rohan Visnu Suppiah for contesting the run out decision, plus national team player Priyankara Wickramasinghe and one of the expat side's players for directing abuse towards them.
MCA vice-president C. Sivanandan told TST that he has received the report and that "we may form a panel or hold an inquiry to investigate the matter". "There have been a number of accusations and a lot of people were involved so we have to listen to everyone's side of the story before reaching a conclusion", said Sivanandan. He added that the issue would not affect the national team's preparations for the ACC Trophy and that Kaluwitharana "will continue to coach the side".
E-NEWS NUMBER 264, 28 June 2008
COLLINGWOOD HANDED FOUR-MATCH BAN
England one-day captain Paul Collingwood was banned for four one-day international matches on Thursday because his side's failure to bowl its overs in the required time during Wednesday's One Day International (ODI) against New Zealand in London. Slow over-rate breaches, which have occurred frequently over the last year (E-News 256-1394, 13 June 2008), normally lead to minor financial inconveniences for players, however, this was the England's side's second two-over plus misdemeanor inside a year (E-News 263-1421, 27 June 2008).
The minimum punishment for the offence is a ban for either four ODIs or two Test matches says the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the fact that Collingwood's censure only applies to the one-day game means that will be able to participate in the four Tests England has scheduled against South Africa in July-August.
The ICC says that Collingwood will miss today's fifth and final ODI against NZ at Lord's, a one-off ODI against Scotland on 18 August, the Twenty20 International against South Africa on 20 August, and the opening ODI of the seven-match series against the Proteas on 22 August at Leeds.
Collingwood was quoted by several UK media outlets as saying that "obviously I'm disappointed to be missing England's next four limited overs matches but as a team we are aware of the rules and regulations in place and it's my responsibility to bear the penalties for such a breach". "Clearly we'll look to address the problem so it doesn't happen again", he said. England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been named to lead England during Collingwood's absence.
In addition to the ban, Collingwood was widely criticised for his decision to proceed with a run out appeal after NZ batsman Grant Elliott, who when chasing a sharp single was involved in an accidental collision with England bowler Ryan Sidebottom during last Wednesday's ODI. Collingwood was offered the chance to withdraw the appeal by England international umpire Mark Benson but he turned it down, however, he later apologised for his actions.
Queried by local media after the event, New Zealand Cricket's National Umpires Manager, Brian Aldridge was quoted as saying that Benson ruled correctly on Elliot's run out.
Some press reports in the UK claimed that Benson and his Australian colleague Steve Davis should have called 'dead ball' when Elliott was knocked over. Aldridge said that only when serious injury occurred did the umpires have the option of calling 'dead ball', and "because Elliott was able to get going again and scrambled to [try and] make his ground, the umpires interpreted the situation was not that serious".
Aldridge said it was good that when Collingwood had calmed down he had thought things over and showed some respect for the ‘Spirit of the Game’.
TAUFEL, HILL FOR ASIAN CUP FINAL
Australian international umpire Simon Taufel and Tony Hill from New Zealand were named yesterday as the on-field umpires for the Asian Cup final in Karachi on 6 July. The first six-match phase of the thirteen-game series in which two of the six teams competing were eliminated was completed on Thursday, and the remaining four teams will now play each other over the next week for a place in the final.
The International Cricket Councl (ICC) press release that announced Taufel and Hill's appointment to the final also indicated that they, Ian Gould (England) and Brian Jerling (South Africa) will share the on-field slots in the next six matches. That means that those four will have taken all the twenty-six on-field positions available during the tournament (E-News 263-1423, 27 June 2008).
Australian match referee Alan Hurst will oversee all seven of the remaining Asian Cup matches, all of which are to be played in Karachi, the first of which will get underway later today. South African match referee Mike Proctor looked after the three preliminary round games that were played in Lahore.
WICB 'CONCERNED' OVER UMPIRING 'QUALITY'
A report on Radio Jamaica yesterday says that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) plans to "express its concern to the International Cricket Council (ICC), about the quality of umpiring" during its side's recent internationals against Sri Lanka and Australia. The broadcaster's story stated that "throughout the Test series against Australia, especially in the Second Test in Antigua, and in the earlier series against Sri Lanka, television replays showed the West Indies at the wrong end of a few erroneous decisions" (E-News 252-1379, 4 June 2008).
Umpires for the Sri Lankan Tests were 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) and Simon Taufel (Australia), and for the Australian Tests Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe) and Mark Benson (England). The three Sri Lankan One Day Internationals saw Taufel and West Indian member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) Clyde Duncan officiating, while in the Australian ODI series to date the on-field umpires have been Pakistan's Asad Rauf, and West Indians Billy Doctrove and Norman Malcolm.
E-NEWS NUMBER 265, 29 June 2008
PONTING FINED FOR 'DISSENT' IN HIS 300TH ODI
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been fined thirty per cent of his match fee for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision” during his side’s One Day International against (ODI) the West Indies in Grenada on Friday. West Indian umpire Clyde Malcolm turned down a caught behind appeal and Ponting, who was playing his 300th ODI, "appeared dismayed" by the decision and "appeared to make a comment to the official", says an International Cricket Council (ICC) statement issued yesterday.
Video evidence was used at the post-match hearing convened by Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama. The 'Cricinfo' web site is reporting that while "there was a noise as the ball went through to the wicketkeeper, replays appeared to suggest it came off the batsman's back leg".
Mahanama indicated that Ponting pleaded not guilty to the charge laid against him, but "after scrutinising the video footage and taking into consideration the evidence submitted by the umpires" the match referee found him guilty and imposed the fine. Under the ICC's Code of Conduct the offence "carries a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and/or a fine of up to the equivalent of fifty per cent of a player’s match fee".
According to the ICC's release, Mahanama said that "a captain needs to set the example and it’s not acceptable for any player, let alone a captain, to show dissent at an umpire’s decision". He continued by pointing out that "the preamble to the Laws of Cricket [state that] captains are expected to set the tone of a cricket match and a captain must set that tone for the rest of his team".
The charge was laid by on-field umpires Asad Rauf (Pakistan) of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and Malcolm, who is a West Indian member of the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), plus third umpire and West Indian EUP member Billy Doctrove, and fourth umpire Clyde Duncan, another Caribbean member of the IUP.
The hearing was attended by the four umpires Australian vice-captain Michael Clarkethat side's manager Steve Bernard.
UMPS NAMED FOR ENGLAND, SOUTH AFRICA TEST-ODI SERIES
Four members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel have been named to stand in the four-match Test series between England and South Africa in July-August. Australian international umpire Daryl Harper, who indicated earlier this month that he would be standing in the first two Tests (E-News 254-1386, 8 June 2008), will have New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden as his partner, while the other two games will see Australian Steve Davis and Pakistan's Aleem Dar out on the field of play.
Harper's two matches will take his Test tally to seventy-three games, and the First Test at Lord's will be his fourth such game at that ground, while the Second at Headingley will be his first there.
Somewhat surprisingly Bowden, who will be on the field in his forty-seventh and forty-eighth Tests, will be standing at Lord's in a Test for the first time, his only previous game there being a One Day International (ODI) between England and Australia in July 2005. The game at Headingley will be his second Test on that ground.
For Dar, who turned forty this month, the two games he is involved in will take his Test record to fifty matches. The Third Test will be his second Test at Edgbaston, but the last match of the series at The Oval will be the first time he has umpired in the highest form of the game at that ground.
Davis will be standing in a Test in England, and as a EUP member, for the first time, and will chalk up his twelve and thirteenth such games. By the time he comes into the series he will have officiated in eight ODIs in the UK over a three-week period in late June and early July (E-News 260-1412, 23 June 2008).
Australian Simon Taufel has been named by the ICC as the 'neutral' umpire for the five-match ODI series between England and South Africa in late August. His on-field colleagues for those games are expected to come from England's three representatives on the ICC' second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ian Gould, Nigel Llong and Peter Harley.
The England series, and the current Asian Cup competition (E-News 264-1426, 28 June 2008), will take Taufel's ODI record to 137 games.
New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe will oversee the first two Tests of the England series while the final two will be overseen by match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka, who will also fill the same role in the ODI series.
ILL DISCIPLINE LEADS TO SUSPENSIONS
Two professional players who were cited by umpires for ill discipline during recent matches in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League (NSSCL) in England, each received six-week suspensions at hearings held last week. One of the sides involved was also in trouble for making payments to an amateur player, and subject to appeal could have seventy points deducted from their league record.
Checkley's Ruchira Perera and Leek's Tino Best are no longer under contract to their respective sides (E-News 256-1392, 13 June 2008), however, whether they are now playing elsewhere in the UK is not known. Perera was banned for verbally abusing umpires, and Best for similar reasons, although his comments were said to also involve racial connotations.
Both could be hit by a wider ban as the NSSCL is required to report their findings to the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and the League says it expects the bans will be applied to all ECB leagues across the country.
League manager Keith Tunnicliffe was quoted as saying that "these are strong punishments, but we are trying to send out the message that we want ill-discipline or bad behaviour stamped out and to get back to how cricket should be played".
In addition to Perera's ban, Checkley was also in trouble for breaching NSSCL rules regarding amateur players. The points deduction will not come into force until any appeal has been heard, but if it is it would see the side moved from its current position at the top of the table to third from bottom. However, the team was expelled from a knock-out cup competiton because the player in question had played for the club in early rounds of the series.
Tunnicliffe, who sat on the disciplinary board, was quoted by the local newspaper 'The Sentinel' as saying that "after taking legal advice, we found that, on the balance of probabilities, [the player] was being paid somehow, and from somewhere, and is therefore ineligible to play as an amateur". The severity of the sanction was said to have been based on the player's influence on Checkley's results this northern summer.
Leek and Checkley now have seven days to lodge an appeal against their respective punishments. Both sides are believed to be seriously considering lodging an appeal against the findings.
E-NEWS NUMBER 266, 30 June 2008
ZIMBABWE TOPS ISSUES ON ICC CONFERENCE AGENDA
While discussions on Zimbabwe will dominate reports from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Annual Conference week in Dubai over the next few days, meetings of the world body's Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) and Full Board are also expected to make decisions on a range of business, financial and operational cricket matters. The CEC's meeting opened yesterday and concludes today, and it will submit its recommendations to the Board for consideration on Wednesday-Thursday, the week ending on Friday with the ICC's Annual Conference.
The ICC's press release about the meetings says simply that "the worsening situation within [Zimbabwe] has prompted ICC President, Ray Mali, to place the issue on the Board meeting". The statement gives no hint of the difficult nature of the discussions that appear likely to ensue. Media reports are suggesting that the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India will continue to support Zimbabwe, and if that is indeed the case then reaching the two-thirds voting majority needed at Board level to change the status quo on the issue is unlikely.
In more general matters, the CEC is to consider a revised disciplinary process for "the more serious offences" that occur during international matches. If accepted, the proposal would see "a suitably qualified lawyer" from the ICC's list of Appeals Commissioners, rather than the match referee, conduct hearings into Level three and four disciplinary matters. It would also allow match referees as well as umpires to make reports on such high-level offences. Problems experienced during a number of disciplinary hearings in Australia last summer appear to be behind the proposed changes (E-News 168-904, 4 January 2008).
In another aspect of the disciplinary area, Michael Beloff QC, the Chairman of the ICC's Code of Conduct Commission is to provide a report to the Board on his group's examination of the West Indian Cricket Board's Disciplinary Committee (WICBDC) finding on Marlon Samuels. Samuels was banned for two years by the WICBDC after being found guilty of breaking rules designed to stop players betting on matches (E-News 242-1330, 15 May 2008), but he vowed to fight the charge (E-News 243-1339, 20 May 2008).
Playing conditions for this September's eight-team Champions Trophy (CT) series in Pakistan and the second World Twenty20 (WT20) Championship in England next year are to be reviewed by the CEC. Draft conditions to be tabled include that provision for a one-over "eliminator" to replace a bowl-out in the event of a tie. If needed, the "eliminator" will be used in the final of the Asia Cup in Pakistan next Sunday (E-News 264-1426, 28 June 2008), the semi-finals and final of the CT and in all matches in the WT20 tournament.
Each team will nominate three batsmen and one bowler for the two eliminator overs, with an "innings" being declared closed if two wickets are lost. If at the end of each team's six eliminator balls the two sides are still tied, then the eleven that has hit the most sixes in its innings and the one-over eliminator will be declared the winner. If the two sides are still tied at that point then they will be separated by determining which of them scored the most fours and sixes in both its innings and the eliminator.
Both the CEC and Board are to continue consideration of how the international Future Tours Program (FTP) might look beyond 2012. The ICC's Cricket Committee held discussions on the subject at its annual meeting in May, suggesting that the Test, one-day and Twenty20 game formats should be protected and promoted with Test cricket identified as the pinnacle of the sport. The recent explosion of the Twenty20 game, particularly the Indian Premier League, has led to calls from some that more time be allowed in the FTP for the shortened form of the game.
The Board will be asked to select a replacement for ICC Cricket Committee Chairman Sunil Gavaskar, who relinquished the post in May after eight years (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008). Gavaskar resigned 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). ICC members have nominated two potential candidates, former international captains Majid Khan of Pakistan and Clive Lloyd of the West Indies.
The CEC comprises the Chief Executive Officers of the ICC's ten Test-playing members and three representatives from ICC Associate Members. It will be chaired by the ICC’s acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Richardson. The Board consists of the Chairman or President of the ten Full Members plus three Associate member representatives, its meetings being chaired by the ICC's President.
David Morgan from England will take over as ICC President from Mali at the end of this week, while South African Haroon Lorgat will move into the world body's CEO position (E-News 224-1248, 6 April 2008) with Indian Inderjit Singh Bindra as his principal advisor (E-News 212-1182, 18 March 2008).
PAKISTAN SEEK CHANGE TO 'BALL TAMPERING' TEST RESULT
Pakistani cricket officials are confident that they will get the result of their forfeited Oval Test against England two years ago changed during the International Cricket Council's (ICC) meetings in Dubai this week, according to a report published in 'The News' newspaper yesterday. What was termed "a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official is quoted as saying that the PCB’s request on the agenda of the ICC’s Chief Executives Meeting (E-News 266-1431 above).
An unidentified PCB official indicated last January that his Board had approached the ICC on the matter (E-News 176-947, 14 January 2008). Speaking to 'The News' by telephone from Dubai late last week, Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer, confirmed the move, saying that Pakistan want the ICC to change the result to either 'drawn' or 'abandoned'.
Pakistan forfeited the match on the fourth day in protest over Australian umpire Darrell Hair and his West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove's decision to penalise them for alleged ball tampering. The issue escalated into a major row, with the ICC eventually dropping the ball tampering charges against Pakistan but suspending the then captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for four matches for misconduct. The ICC later also removed Hair from its top-level Elite Umpires Panel, but he was reinstated in March (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).
Naghmi said that he is optimistic of getting a positive response from the ICC. “We want the result to be changed on the basis of the fact that the ball tampering charges were not proved", he said. “Our case is even backed by England", said Naghmi, who is said to have pointed out that the England and Wales Cricket Board "has made it clear that they would support Pakistan’s demand".
“England were declared winners in that Test but they’ve told us that they don’t believe it was fair", said Naghmi, and "they would rather have the Test declared drawn or abandoned", he added.
SCOTS EYE INCREASED ICC FUNDING
Cricket Scotland (CS) Chief Executive Officer Roddy Smith is anticipating increased funding from the International Cricket Council (ICC) if a series of funding packages is approved by the world body at its meetings in Dubai this week (E-News 266-1431 above), says a story published in 'Scotland on Sunday' yesterday.
Smith, who flew to Dubai yesterday, was quoted as saying that funding issues are "looking very promising" as the equivalent of $A312,000 that CS currently receives from the ICC "could virtually treble", along with the budgets of other ICC Associate nations.
"The ICC has put together a series of increased funding packages in response to new TV and other commercial revenue streams" and Smith's "understanding is that the new funding will go through unchallenged"' "If it does it will, for example, enable us to vastly increase our coaching and youth programs and to undertake more matches at all levels", said Smith.
Smith also hinted that the cash injection could lead to an increase in CS's pool of contracted players, says the report.
PINK BALLS USED IN TWENTY20 TOURNAMENT
Pink balls were used when eight universities from around England competed against each other in the inaugural Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Universities Twenty20 tournament which as held in Durham over two days last week. The University series is the latest of the MCC's pink ball trials, in which the sight screens used are black, that are gathering data on how balls produced by several manufacturers react to match conditions.
The MCC, which announced that it was investigating the use of pink balls last November, hopes that the work will enable use "a flourescent ball could be adopted for full County cricket by 2009, and then cross to the international game" (E-News 133-726, 14 November 2007).
Pink balls were trialed for the first time in a match during a women's Twenty20 game in Brisbane in January, initial reports from that game (E-News 174-932, 11 January 2008), and one held at Lord's in April (E-News 232-1286, 22 April 2008), being positive.
END OF JUNE 2008 E-NEWS FILE