July 08 (267-287)

 JULY 2008



(EN-1435 TO EN-1515)


267 –  2 July  [1435-1438]

• NTCUSA looking for new umpires  (267-1435).

• ACC establish ‘Umpire of the Year’ award  (267-1436).

• The 300th that wasn’t  (267-1437).

• ACO newsletter goes missing  (267-1438).


268 –  3 July  [1439-1444]

• New scorers line up for 2008-09 season  (268-1439).

• Ball tampering Test result to be changed, says BBC  (268-1440).

• NZ umpires’ chief retires  (268-1441).

• County group moves to disband, awaits ACO action  (268-1442).

• Elliott run out generates wide comment  (268-1443).

• Disillusionment leads to official’s retirement  (268-1444).


269 –  4 July  [1445-1448]

• Forfeited Test now officially ‘drawn’  (269-1445).

• ACO names majority of County Board reps  (269-1446).

• Slow over-rate penalty costs match  (269-1447).

• Deflection off last ball leads to angst  (269-1448).


270 –  5 July  [1449-1451]

• ‘Comfort break’ clamp down planned  (270-1449).

• ‘’Drawn’ Test ‘big achievement’, says PCB  (270-1450).

• Lawson’s umpire ‘issue’ rejected by ICC  (270-1451).


271 –  6 July  [1452-1454]

• Holding resigns ICC post over Test result change  (271-1452).

• Australian fined for slow over-rate  (271-1452).

• English league using ‘yellow card’ system  (271-1453).

• Former Indian ODI official dies  (271-1454).


272 –  8 July  [1455-1457]

• Dar named Asian ‘Umpire of the Year’  (272-1455).

• Naming of Umpire High Performance Managers near?  (272-1456).

• Three formats key to cricket’s future, says CA chief  (272-1456).

• ‘Persistent appealing’ leads to match abandonment  (272-1457).


273 –  10 July  [1458-1463]

• ‘Boycott’ deadline set for Malaysian umpires  (273-1458).

• ‘Beamer’ paralyses batsman  (273-1459).

• NZ yet to appoint new umpires manager  (273-1460

• IPL offers ‘threat of corruption’, says ICC body  (273-1461).

• Player admonished for expletive texts  (273-1462).

• Massive funding increase for developing nations  (273-1463).


274 –  11 July  [1464-1467]

• UHPM members named, work starts next week  (274-1464).

• Laycock out of Emerging Players Tournament  (274-1465).

• Father, son attending TCUSA Law School meetings  (274-1466).

• Long-serving NSWCUSA Secretary to retire  (274-1467).


275 –  14 July  [1468-1471]

• Forfeited Test result should stabd says MCC  (275-1468).

• Lady umpires attending EPT development training  (275-1469).

• Silva moving on  (275-1470).

• Head strike lays umpire low  (275-1471).




276 –  15 July  [1472-1477]

• Umpires’ exchange program for India, South Africa  (276-1472).

• IPL player returns ‘positive’ drug test  (276-1473).

• Give yellow cards a try says Bowden  (276-1474).

• ACO recruits 5,000th member  (276-1475).

• Beamers add to bowler’s misery  (276-1476).

• Umpires’ course run for Rwandan players  (276-1477).


277 –  16 July  [1478-1481]

• Captain instigates apology to Harper  (277-1478).

• Test result change ‘restores Pakistan’s dignity’  (277-1479).

• Umpire honoured for ECC panel work  (277-1480).

• ‘Special telephonic instruments’ planned for ICC umps  (277-1481).


278 –  17 July  [1482-1485]

• Three neutral umps for PRS trial Tests  (278-1482).

• First matches for EPT umps  (278-1483).

• Panesar confirms Harper apology  (278-1484).

• ‘Dickie’ Bird sold at auction  (278-1485).


279 –  18 July  [1486-1490]

• Computer scoring ‘guru briefs interstate colleagues  (279-1486).

• Sri Lankan umps ‘upset’ at ex-player’s promotion  (279-1487).

• Unheard ‘no ball’ call costs match  (279-1488).

• Abuse of umpire leads to three-week suspension  (279-1489).

• Rwandan umpires’ course goes well  (279-1490).


280 –  19 July  [1491-1493]

• Tucker named for international third ump debut  (280-1491).

• Double ‘beamer’ leads to penalty point reprimand  (280-1492).

• ‘Don’t put it in the toilets’!  (280-1493).


281 –  21 July  [1494-1497]

• Catches ruled ‘not out’ after referrsls  (281-1494).

• Referees’ ‘passion’praised by new ICC Manager  (281-1495).

• NSW umps to present Bangladesh courses  (281-1496).

• Lankan chief wins, looses team manager job  (281-1497).


282 –  22 July  [1498-1502]

• Twenty-two TV cameras for PRS Test trial, says report  (282-1498).

• Tas umpire’s third EPT match a ‘run feast’  (282-1499).

• Use of keeper’s gloves leads to penalty  (282-1500).

• ‘Old fat b*******s’ put player on report  (282-1501).

• PCB hires ‘character builder’ to help curb ‘indiscipline’  (282-1502).


283 –  23 July  [1503-1506]

• Umpiring ‘exciting and challenging’ says Dharmasena  (283-1503).

• Home umpires named for Lankan ODIs  (283-1504).

• Edgbaston scoreboard again stops play  (283-1505).

• Delhi Association contemplating umpires’ academy  (283-1506).


284 –  24 July  [1507-1510]

• ‘Specialist’ TV umpires for future PRS Tests?  (284-1507).

• ‘Virtual Eye’, not ‘Hawk Eye’, being used in PRS trial  (284-1508).

• NUP officials for Women’s World Cup?  (284-1509).

• Four games left in Emerging Players Tournament  (284-1510).


285 –  25 July  [1511-1515]

• First referrals made in Test match trial  (285-1511).

• Abood named for second EPT final  (285-1512).

• PRS umpire communications may go ‘live’  (285-1513).

• ‘Short notice’ given for ‘Virtual Eye’ evaluation  (285-1514).

• Umpires pair up for long-term match  (285-1515).










The Northern Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NTCUSA) is looking to recruit at least six umpires, male or female, to bolster its ranks for the coming summer, says an article published in 'The Examiner' newspaper in Launceston yesterday.


The NTCUSA is to start umpire training sessions for the new season at the NTCA ground tonight starting at 7 p.m., and the Association's President, Peter Griffin, is quoted as saying that "a new streamlined training program" has been developed and it will be "presented by experienced umpires". "There's no cost involved and anyone interested in taking up umpiring is welcome to attend", said Griffin.


Griffin is quoted as saying that cricket umpiring "offered excellent opportunities for career advancement [and that] as a bonus, local umpires earned tax-free dollars for their work".  "There's no age limit [involved], but knowledge and experience of the game is probably a necessity", said Griffin.






The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is to select an 'Umpire of the Year' as part of its newly established Asia Cricket Awards, the first of which are to be presented at a dinner in Karachi on the eve of the Asian Cup final on Saturday.  The awards have been established to commemorate the ACC's silver jubilee year.


The ACC appointed a "special committee" to select the award winners at its Annual General Meeting in Dubai yesterday.  In addition to selecting the best umpire, the outstanding batsman, bowler, and the team in men and women’s Test and one-day cricket will be recognised at the ceremony.





Australian bowler Brett Lee, who this week claimed his 300th wicket in One Day International (ODI) cricket, thought he had reached that milestone the over before he actually did when West Indian batsman Dinesh Ramdin skied a short-pitched delivery back to him during the third ODI played in Grenada on Sunday.


Unfortunately for Lee, Pakistan international umpire Asad Rauf ruled that the delivery was an above the shoulder 'noball'.  Media reports indicated that the decision led to Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who was fined for dissent last week (E-News 265-1428, 29 June 2008), engaging in what was described as an "animated exchange" with the umpire. 





The newsletter of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has gone missing over the last two months.  The publication, which is provided on the ECB's web site as a down loadable file, first appeared in March and was followed by a second edition in April, but nothing has appeared in either May or June.


ACO's April newsletter appeared to support claims at the time by the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) "that cricket officials [in the UK] feel confused, under-represented and oppressed" (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008).  The newsletter indicated that as part of a move to improve the links with its members, "regular communication is planned with members via a magazine and web site", and mention was made of there being six editions per year (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008).


Reports to E-News from grass roots level contacts in a number of areas of the UK continue to suggest that the confusion referred to by the ICUS continues as the ACO moves to establish itself as a working entity.  The ACO's interim Board is scheduled to hold its latest meeting next Monday. 








FOR 2008-09 SEASON



Ten scorers, five of them new, attended the first session of the TCUSA's five-week scorers' course which got underway at Bellerive Oval last night, says Association President-Administrator and scoring 'Guru' Graeme Hamley.  The course and the winter Laws School, which met for the second time last night, are each scheduled to run for another four weeks (E-News 262-1416, 26 June 2008) in the lead up to the Laws exam on 6 August and the Annual Seminar on the weekend of 5-6 October.


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 Hamley on 6228-2582 or 0417-386-719.






The result of the controversial 2006 'ball tampering' Oval Test between England and Pakistan that was won by the home side on forfeit, is to be changed, according to a report posted on the BBC web site last night.  Pakistani officials said earlier this week that they were confident that the result would be changed during meetings of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai this week (E-News 266-1432, 30 June 2008).


Former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan, who was at the centre of the incident in 2006, told the BBC that he "would welcome any decision to change the result", the suggestion being that the outcome of the game should now be listed as either 'drawn' or 'abandoned'. 


Khan said that he "resented claims that his side refused to come out and play", adding they were "merely delaying their decision to return to the field after being accused of ball tampering".  "We delayed coming out to play and informed the English Cricket Board [sic] and referee three times that we were ready to return to the field", said Khan.


BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, who is in Dubai, said that in his view any move to change the result would open up "an absolutely enormous can of worms".  He said that during the match the umpires went into the Pakistan's room and said "you must come out to continue the game", but the side "did not and, under the laws of any sport, if you refuse to play, you lose the game".


How can the match now be listed as "match abandoned", questioned Agnew.  "Abandoned on what grounds?  It wasn't the weather, it wasn't anything else, it was that Pakistan wouldn't come out to play for whatever reason", he said.  Suggesting that the game will be now classified as a draw, he stated that "so if you're losing, you sit in the dressing room, don't come out and you can get away with a draw".


The England and Wales Cricket Board estimated that they lost the equivalent of $A2 million as a result of the forfeit as they were forced to offer ticket refunds to patrons.  Pakistan later agreed to play a Twenty20 match in England in 2012 and waive their fee for that match by way of compensation for the loss of the fifth day's play in the Oval Test (E-News 21-124, 28 March 2007). 


The ICC is expected to make a formal announcement late this evening Australian time on whether the result of the Test will be changed.





New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) National Umpires Manager Brian Aldridge will retire tomorrow after eleven years in the role.   NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan is being quoted by media outlets across the Tasman Sea as saying that Aldridge "has made an outstanding contribution to cricket during his time with NZC, firstly as an experienced and well respected international umpire and then in his role as umpire manager".


Aldridge, who during his career stood in twenty-six Test matches and forty-five One Day Internationals, including the 1992 World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,  said that he has "thoroughly enjoyed" his time with NZC and always sought to promote umpires and umpiring. His first-class career ran from 1979-95, a period in which he stood in eighty-four such matches, forty-seven of them in NZ's domestic competition, two of those being finals.


Vaughan said that sixty-eight-year-old Aldridge "has been an exceptional manager and advocate for umpires throughout the country and his passion for the role of umpires has enriched the game in New Zealand".  






A "lengthy" "emergency" general meeting of the Cornwall Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (CCUSA) in the UK has voted by a large majority to disband itself at the end of the current northern summer, says an article in 'The Cornishman' yesterday.  The Association anticipates being replaced by a Cornwall branch of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) new Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) prior to the 2009 season.


Earlier this year the ECB instructed all of its County Cricket Boards to set up branches of the ACO, but the story claims that "disappointingly, neither the ECB ACO nor the Cornwall Cricket Board, have shown a willingness to consult or liaise" with the CCUSA on the changes ahead; a claim that echoes comments made by the non-ECB affiliated Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) earlier this year (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008). 


During the emergency meeting, concern was expressed that the CCUSA's demise would see the loss of an "independent body" that has served cricket in Cornwall for over thirty-five years.  The organisation has "more than stood the test of time in providing panel umpires to the Cornwall Cricket League and delivering umpire training programs through locally based courses" affiliated with the former Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS), says the report.  The ACUS merged with the ACO last January (E-News 177-952, 15 January 2008).


'The Cornishman' says that during the "past couple of years" the ECB has "struggled" to get its new Level 2 umpire training course off the ground, and claims that current CCUSA umpires who hold ACUS qualifications higher than that "will be down-graded to the new level", as it will become the highest [level obtainable] for recreational cricket umpires". 


With the ECB "only [having] eight tutors so far trained nationally to deliver this course and, with no other recognised alternative program now available, further delays [in its roll out] are inevitable", claims the report.


Despite those concerns the CCUSA meeting is said to have concluded that it "had no alternative but to go along with the new ECB set-up".  Had it not done so there was "a strong likelihood" that Cornish umpires would be denied opportunities to officiate in a range of important fixtures controlled by the ECB, that "funding would become more problematic", and that access to new ECB umpire training courses "that will, hopefully, materialise sometime in the future", would be "denied".  


Additionally, the fact that an ACO Cornish branch will, like other County ACOs, have an representative sitting on the local County Board (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008), was seen as a positive development. 


Information provided to the meeting indicates that over seventy Cornwall-based residents have already joined ECB ACO, a "far greater number" than the present membership of CCUSA.   'The Cornishman' says that it is hoped these new acquisitions will come forward to stand in Cornwall Cricket League Division Two matches, which have been starved of official umpires during recent seasons. 






The controversial run-out of New Zealand's Grant Elliott after a mid-pitch collision during a One Day International last week, has seen the generation of a large amount of newsprint and the devotion of considerable time by the electronic media to it over the last seven days.  England captain Paul Collingwood proceed with a run out appeal after Elliott, who when chasing a sharp single, was involved in an accidental collision with England bowler Ryan Sidebottom (E-News 263-1421, 27 June 2008). 


Former England captain David Gower told the BBC that "although [Collingwood later] apologised, the chance was missed to uphold what the Marylebone Cricket Club have been driving home for the last few years: that thing called the 'Spirit of Cricket'. The gesture by England international umpire Mark Benson of "putting his arms on the captain's shoulders and asking him are you sure about this, twice I'm sure, gave Collingwood every chance to withdraw that appeal", said Gower.


Collingwood "admitted he got it wrong, but he should have said as much at the time", former England captain Bob Willis told 'The Guardian'.  Willis disagreed with the current England captain's claim that the appeal had been made in the heat of the moment, pointing out that he had had a few minutes to change his mind while Elliott was receiving treatment after his clash with Ryan Sidebottom.


Current Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell remembered when he was captaining Notts' second-XI side in a one-day final against Surrey at The Oval when [later England batsman] Graham Thorpe was run out in identical circumstances to Elliott.  Newell agreed to withdraw the appeal but said he later got a "bollocking from our coach because Thorpe was such a good player".  He said that as a coach he'd "like to think our players would do the same, but it's easy to say when there's a tight game going on and a captain's job is on the line".


Doug Brown, the former Warwickshire and England all-rounder who is now chairman of the Professional Cricketers' Association, conceded that Collingwood's actions had "probably" not been in the 'Spirit of the Game', but pointed out that "things go on out there that we're not always aware of" and insisted the appeal had been a "split-moment decision".


Writing in his column in the 'Indian Express', commentator Harsha Bhogle says that he believes "that a lot of cricketers would have done precisely the same thing" as Collingwood.  He mused that perhaps the Laws of Cricket should be amended so "that if a player is brought down, intentionally or otherwise, and as a result of the act he cannot complete a run, the ball becomes dead; assuming of course that a catch wasn’t being taken somewhere else at the same time". 


Mike Gatting, another former England captain told 'The Guardian' that the game is "full of grey areas which some are apt to paint black and white".  "What about batsmen who get their bodies between the ball and the wicket when they take a run? Is that bad sportsmanship? Is it bad sportsmanship if a spin bowler blocks a batsman as he tries to regain his ground? If you're a batsman, you look where you're running. I think Collingwood did the right thing in apologising, but I don't think it's right that he or Sidebottom should get all the blame".


However, David Lloyd, former England coach and first-class umpire, and now member of the International Cricket Council's Umpire Selection Panel (E-News 229-1273, 17 April 2008), was quoted by 'The Guardian' as saying that the right decision had been made, even though Benson gave Collingwood the chance to withdraw his appeal, a view that echoed that of New Zealand Cricket's National Umpires Manager, Brian Aldridge (E-News 264-1425, 28 June 2008). 


"I don't believe [Collingwood] had enough time to step back from the heat of battle" [and] "you have to be out there to understand", said Lloyd.  But, "the one word that matters [in the Laws of Cricket] is 'willful'," he continued.  "Was the batsman deliberately obstructed? He wasn't. It was an accident, so he's out. It's tough luck", said the former umpire. 






A senior umpire in the Warwickshire League in England has walked away after eighteen years as the League's administrator because he has become "increasingly disillusioned with unsporting behaviour by players", says an article by journalist Nick Pullen in Tuesday's 'Birmingham Mail'.  Hartley will quit his General Manager’s (GM) post at the end of the season as a protest at unruly attitudes, which he believes are ruining the game he loves, says the story.


 “When I took the job" as the League's GM, says Hartley, it was expected that the work involved would average two days a week.  But an average week now requires much more than that, the extra work mostly being taken up "with disciplinary matters that could be avoided".  “All the indiscipline that is taking place is adding more hours to my job and it’s got to the point where I’ve had enough", he said.


Speaking about his on-field role Hartley says that “as umpires we’re not perfect and we do make mistakes, but they’re honest mistakes".  “Yet I’ve been called a cheat and verbally abused [so] is it any wonder we’re struggling to recruit umpires?", he continued.  


“We lost ten umpires this season", but despite the fact that we ran two umpiring courses over winter, "we only managed to recruit three people".  “If you went around most clubs now and picked out their elder players and asked them if they would go into umpiring, the answer would be minimal [as] people just won’t do it any more".


Hartley said that he doesn't know "whether it’s just cricket or society in general but it seems people have less respect for authority these days".  He says that unsporting behaviour is now rife, emphasising that "they’re not isolated incidents" for "it’s a win at all costs attitude” that seems to prevail.  ‘‘Much of the problem has stemmed from the fact players don’t walk when they’re out [or] alternatively, teams don’t call a batsman back if he’s got a bad decision", he says.  








The result of the controversial 2006 Oval Test between England and Pakistan has been officially changed to a draw by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  The match was originally awarded to the home side after the visitors refused to play on after being accused of ball-tampering (E-News 268-1440, 3 July 2008).


While the ICC has yet to issue a formal summary on the results of its meetings this week, a range of media reports from Dubai overnight are indicating that the decision to change the result has been made.  BBC Radio is quoting the ICC's acting Chief Executive Officer David Richardson as saying that "the circumstances were unique and the result seemed inappropriate to the board" during its current meeting. 


According to several reports, Pakistan's submission regarding the change was initially considered by the ICC's Cricket Committee at its annual meeting in May.  That approach was spurned, however, although no details of that decision were released at the time.


The BBC report appears to confirm that rejection, as it says that Richardson acknowledged the about-turn by the senior board was setting a precedent and the reversal will probably "surprise a lot of cricketers".  He is reported to have said that there would be no change to the Laws of the game and expressed the hope that "we won't be confronted by something similar again".


Pakistan's captain during the Oval Test, Inzamam-ul-Haq, is being quoted by 'Cricinfo' as saying that he is "very happy" about the change, and that the "decision and the fact that we were cleared of ball-tampering charges proves that we were correct in our stance" he said. 


The quote goes on to say that the ICC's decision "proves that what happened [at The Oval] was because of one man [Darrell Hair, and] it is sad that he is still there", a reference to Hair's recent return to Test cricket (E-News 245-1346, 25 May 2008).


In other outcomes from this week's ICC meetings announced overnight, former West Indies captain and international match referee Clive Lloyd has been named to take over from Indian Sunil Gavaskar as the Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee, winning the post from Pakistan's Majid Khan.


Also, West Indian player Marlon Samuels' two-year suspension for "receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute" was confirmed, an ICC enquiry finding the original punishment and process used by the West Indian Cricket Board's Disciplinary Committee were appropriate (E-News 243-1339, 20 May 2008).






The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) announced the names of the officials "who have been elected" to represent the ACO on thirty of the thirty-nine County Boards on Wednesday. The ACO said in its April newsletter that the names of those chosen in elections would by posted on its web site on 1 July (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008).


This week's announcement listed each County according to the 'Regional Forum' grouping that will form an important of the ACO's operational structure. Twelve of the County's are in the 'London and East' region, another twelve in the 'Midlands', six in the 'North' and nine in the 'South and West'.  The region that was to be titled 'Wales' was not mentioned in this week's ACO list. 


The ACO statement says that County Boards who do not yet have an ACO representative "will be contacted in the near future".  That will include the Cornwall Cricket Board where the current Cornwall Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association last week agreed to disband at the end of the current season pending the establishment of an ACO group in the County (E-News 268-1442, 3 July 2008).






A local side in the United Arab Emirates lost a Twenty20 match by two runs after it failed to bowl its overs in time during a match played at Sharjah's cricket stadium earlier this week. Batting first the  Solanki side posted a healthy 176 for five and in reply their opponents, the Emirates Islamic Bank, ended their innings on 173 for nine, four runs short of the victory target.  Solanki paid heavily for their failure to bowl their overs in time, says the 'Khaleej Times', when the umpires applied the competition's Playing Conditions and awarded six penalty runs to the Bank side. 






A run that resulted after a ball deflected off a batsman's pads during a run out attempt on the last ball of a game, saw the fielding side loose the match by one run and led to considerable angst between the sides involved in a Sussex League fixture in England last weekend, according to a report published in the 'Shoreham Herald'. 


Top-of-the-table Bexhill needed two runs to win off the final ball of the match and the batsman pushed the delivery to mid-off and ran.  The Worthing fielder involved gathered the ball and attempted to flick it on to the stumps at the bowler's end to run out the striker so that his team could win the game by one run.  


Unfortunately for Worthing the ball missed its target but glanced off the running striker's pads and proceeded to evade three other fielders who were attempting to back up the throw.  The two batsman completed the first run and then a second as the ball ran into the outfield from the pads and it was Bexhill who won the match by the single run.


The 'Shoreham Herald' says that Worthing "furiously claimed Bexhill had broken an unwritten cricket rule", the loosing side's captain Dominic Clapp being quoted as saying that "to take that run in cricket is something you just don't do, [and] our players were incensed afterwards that [Bexhill] did not withdraw the run and accept a tied-scores draw [sic]".


Bexhill skipper Jon Haffenden claimed he "never realised that no Law governed such a scenario", and that he "was expecting the umpires to decide on it and they said they were happy".  "It was an accident", said Haffenden, for the batsman "did nothing deliberate" and "the fielder could simply have kept the ball and walked up to the stumps to prevent a second run".


The 'Shoreham Herald' asked its readers to submit their views to three questions: "Were Bexhill guilty of sharp practice?"; "Should [Worthing] have insisted the scores stayed level?"; "Or did Worthing pay for not taking care of the ball?".









The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that it is to take a much tougher stance on the use of rolling substitutions during Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI).  Under the new arrangements agreed to by the ICC this week, substitutes will only be allowed "in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons", a definition that does not include so-called "comfort breaks".


Umpires are to be asked to "clamp down heavily" on situations such as that when fast bowlers leave the field after they have completed a spell at the crease, only to return fifteen minutes later after a quick shower and a change of clothes.


During this week's meetings, the ICC also endorsed a move to give umpires more flexibility to shorten intervals between innings during ODIs to make up for lost time.  The world body originally agreed to introduce the change on an interim basis following the abandoned ODI between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston late last month (E-News 260-1410, 23 June 2008) 


Also in ODIs, the batting team will now be allowed to choose when one of the two five-over 'Power Plays' are taken.  Previously in internationals it had been up to the fielding captain to make that decision. In addition, three fielders will be permitted outside the field restriction areas during both the second and third Power Plays, while free hits following a foot fault no-ball in ODIs and Twenty20 internationals will be retained, as will the mandatory change of the ball after thirty-five overs in one-day matches.  


International playing conditions are to be amended to enable both on-field umpires to consult by two-way radio with the third umpire as to whether there is any definitive evidence as to whether a catch was taken cleanly or not.  The final decision will be made and given by the bowler's end umpire, and should that umpire still not be able to decide, a not-out decision shall be given.


The ICC also agreed that a one-over "eliminator" arrangement will replace a bowl-out in the event of a tie in some ODIs and Twenty20 matches (E-News 226-1431, 30 June 2008). 


The ICC's Chief Executive Committee is next scheduled to meet in December and the Full Board in January 2009.






The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have hailed the decision of the International Cricket Council to declare the controversial Oval Test a draw as a "big achievement" for Pakistan, says an article prepared by the Press Association yesterday.  Some media reports are now referring to the Test as "abandoned as a draw" (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).


PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf was quoted by the BBC as saying that he "would like to specially thank the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for not resisting the PCB's proposal to change the status of the Test".  "In fact, the ECB was also not too convinced about declaring the Oval Test a win in their record [as] it was an umpire's decision and that was indeed debatable", said Ashraf.


Calling the ICC's decision "remarkable", English journalist Charles Randall says on his web site "that changing a result in hindsight had no precedent and had no real basis", and that "indeed, no reason or logic was offered for public consumption" by the world body.  He quotes an unnamed delegate to the Dubai meetings as saying privately that the decision was made in order to "maintain the dignity of Pakistan in world cricket".  "The fact that [Australian international umpire] Darrell Hair's opinion that ball-tampering had been going on, was not backed by a subsequent ICC inquiry was the twisted logic used", wrote Randall.


In his view though, "Pakistan were on their way to victory when the Oval match wheezed to a halt" and "England are now left with a 2-0 series win and not 2-1 as the moral result should have been". "The official 3-0 win after forfeiture was a travesty", he says, "so nobody should feel affronted at that".






Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson "raised an issue" over the appointment of English umpire Ian Gould to his side's matches in the current Asia Cup competition, claims a report published in the 'Times of India' (TOI) yesterday.  The International Cricket Council is said to have "rejected" the matters that the newspaper says were raised by the Pakistan coach.   


Gould, who has now stood in a total of twenty-five One Day Internationals, was on the field for six matches during the Asia Cup, three of them being Pakistan's games against Sri Lanka, India, and yesterday Bangladesh.  Pakistan won two of those matches and lost one, but did not make the final of the Asia Cup. 


No details of the alleged "issue" were provided in the TOI report, although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was said to "not [be] very pleased" with Lawson for bringing whatever the matter was to the fore.  


A PCB "source" was quoted as saying that "Lawson's attitude and his temperament is now being scrutinised closely within the Board after recent happenings", the umpiring issue being only one of a number referred to by the TOI as occurring in the last month.  Lawson is not known for his understanding of the role of umpires in the game. 









Former West Indian bowler Michael Holding has resigned from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) in protest at last week's ICC decision to change the result of the 2006 'ball tampering' Test to a draw (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).  Pakistan were originally ruled to have forfeited the match after they refused to take the field, the first such result in Test history.


Holding, while reportedly accepting that Pakistan were not guilty of ball-tampering, said the team's refusal to play should not go unpunished.  Interviewed on Friday, Holding is quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that "when you take certain actions, you must be quite happy to suffer the consequences".  "That game should never, ever be a draw", he said.  


The West Indian, who played sixty Tests and 102 One Day Internationals and is now a television commentator, resigned because he "cannot agree with what [the ICC] have done".  "A lot of things are happening today [that] I don't want to be involved with, so I've moved on."


Holding, who has been a member of ICC committees for most of this decade, was on the thirteen-man CC as a representative of the media.  Others in that group include the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, and Tasmanian Keith Bradshaw, who is the Marylebone Cricket Club's Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (E-News 41-228, 17 May 2007).  


Holding's West Indian captain Clive Lloyd was last week appointed to head the committee (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).






The Australia team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the fourth One Day International (ODI) in the current series against the West Indies in St Kitts on Friday.  Michael Clarke’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.  


Under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations Clarke, who was in his first ODI as captain, was fined ten per cent of his match fee by match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, while each of his players received five per cent fines 


Australian captain Ricky Ponting, and his West Indian counterpart Ramnaresh Sarwan, were fined fifty per cent of their match fees, and their players twenty five per cent, for slow over rates during the First Test between the two sides in late May (E-News 251-1378, 3 Jun 2008).  The West Indies were similarly fined in the Second Test last month (E-News 253-1383, 6 June 2008).


Australia's latest fine for slow over-rates is the thirtieth handed out by the ICC since March last year, all of the current Test playing nations except New Zealand receiving such a censure (E-News 256-1394, 13 June 2008).  


The ICC's Cricket Committee has commissioned research into the reasons why current over-rates in both Tests and ODIs are so low (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008), while the Maryleborne Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee 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).   






The North Yorkshire and South Durham League (NYSDL) in England has introduced a 'yellow card' system for its matches this northern hemisphere summer, and has offered to provide the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with the benefit of its experiences as the Board considers its own system for next year.  


Last weekend's 'Sunday Times' in the UK devoted space to suggestions the ECB may introduce yellow cards for unacceptable behaviour in its club-level games in 2009, an issue that was first mentioned in a 'Guardian' article a month ago (E-News 254-1385, 8 June 2008).  


A story by journalist Mike Amos in the 'Northern Echo' this week says the NYSDL introduced on-field 'yellow card' "cautions" as it was concerned about "escalating offensive language" last year.  "It seems to have become more and more accepted that swearing is part of the background of the game, and I honestly don't believe that it has any place in it", said NYSDL President Chris West.  


West emphasised that he is "not a prude and we aren't in the business of making cricket a sterile game where everyone keeps mute, [for] there are still interpretations of sledging which can be very funny, but the nasty side is becoming more prevalent".  


"I'm old enough to remember when sledging was something kids did when it snowed", said West, and that the League agreed that "unless something drastic was done it could be downhill all the way", hence the yellow card system.  "After all" he says, "we can't expect kids to get it right if they see their dads' [behaving badly] on the village green and their heroes doing [the same] at Lord's and the Oval".


Under the NYSDL system, which the League says is a first for England, a player who is given three cautions by umpires in a season for "anything [listed in] the 'Spirit of Cricket' preamble" to the Laws of Cricket, is automatically "suspended for a week".  


That arrangement is slightly different to the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) successful three-season old arrangement whereby three 'yellow card' reports over two seasons or less results in a one match ban.  Tasmanian State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows told E-News that the TCA system “has resulted in a dramatic reduction of inappropriate on-field behaviour”. 


The 'Northern Echo' article says that the League's umpires "have been issued with laminated yellow cards", although they are not so much for waving at players but more "because the scale of offences is printed on them as a reminder".  West says that any cautions the umpires give should be verbal and they've been told "not to go flashing the cards about".  So far this season "just two cautions have been issued [by the NYDSL], neither [being] for swearing, although there have been three formal reports of serious misconduct", says West.  


While no detail is provided, West also told the 'Northern Echo' that over the last three seasons NYSDL umpires have had authority "to effectively" send a player off, a rule that was "brought in after a miscreant went on to take five wickets and hit fifty when batting".  West emphasised though that he "certainly [doesn't] think the NYSD is worse than any other League [in England] and [that it is] probably better than a lot".


Reports available suggest that an attempt to issue players with football-style cards was first raised seven years ago when the Australian Cricketers' Association lodged the idea with the International Cricket Council.  The fledging plans, which have so far not made it on to the international cricket scene, involved players having a two-hour ejection from play for bad behaviour, with a full sending off for serious breaches. 


Current indications are that the ECB's club-level system will not include a 'red card' component.  The 'Sunday Times' article quotes former England international umpire 'Dickie Bird' as saying that the card system is "not cricket, sir [and] it should be up to the umpire to control the game".


The interim management committee of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials is believed to have the yellow card issue on the agenda of its meeting tomorrow evening Australian time (E-News 236-1306, 28 April 2008).






Former Indian umpire R. Mrithyunjayan who umpired in two One Day Internationals (ODI) in the mid-1980s, died aged 75 on Thursday.  Mrithyunjayan, who stood in ten first-class matches in the Ranji and Duleep Trophy competitions, officiated in ODIs involving the home side against the West Indies at Guwahati in 1983, and England at Nagpur in 1985.









Pakistan's Aleem Dar was named as Asia's 'Umpire of the Year' at the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) inaugural Asian Cricket Awards dinner held in Kararchi on Saturday evening. The awards were established to commemorate the ACC's silver jubilee year (E-News 268-1436, 2 July 2008).


Dar, who turned forty last month, is the second-youngest member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  Highly regarded by many observers for what 'Cricinfo' calls his "sound decisions", the Pakistani has been runner-up in the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' award to Australia's Simon Taufel on three occasions, and recognition on his home continent therefore comes as little surprise. 


It has been a busy decade for the Pakistani.  He made his first-class debut in March 1999 and at One Day International (ODI) level in February 2000, stood in his first World Cup early in 2003, and his first Test match in October that year.  Dar was named to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel in April 2002, and two years later was promoted to the EUP. 


The Lahore-based umpire currently has eighty-one first-class matches to his credit, forty-eight of which are Tests, and will take the latter figure to fifty in August when he stands in the Third and Fourth Tests between England and South Africa with Australia's Steve Davis (E-News 265-1429, 29 June 2008),


In the eight-and-a-half years since his first ODI, Dar has officiated in 108 such games, and in his second World Cup in the West Indies last year he stood in the final, although it ended in controversial circumstances (E-News 34-193, 30 April 2008).  Last year he topped the ICC's ODI appointments with a total of twenty-seven matches (E-News 165-889, 1 January 2008).  


In other awards announced in Kararchi on Saturday, Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan were named as Asian Test batsman and bowler of the year respectively, India's Sachin Tendulkar and Sri Lanka's Fervez Mahroof the ODI batsman and bowler of the Year, and Mithali Raj of India women cricketer of the year: 


A lifetime achievement award was presented to India's Inderjit Singh Bindra, who last week took up the position as principal advisor at the International Cricket Council (E-News 266-1431, 30 June 2008), while "legendary cricketer" awards went to India’s Sunil Gavaskar and Pakistan’s Imran Khan (Pakistan). 






The names of Cricket Australia's (CA) new part-time Umpire High Performance Managers (UHPM) could be announced in the coming week, if the recruiting process for the four positions is running to the schedule originally targeted by the national body (E-News 248-1367, 28 May 2008).  


CA was looking to have the selection process completed in time for those chosen to attend this year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland, a series that is scheduled to get underway next Monday (E-News 241-1326, 12 May 2008).   


The UHPMs will take over interstate-related roles currently performed by the six State Umpire Coaches that CA helps fund and its National Umpire Selection Panel, including logging match data, mentoring and assessing performances, and together with the national body's Umpiring Manager Andrew Scotford, selecting umpires for CA controlled matches and programs.


Six umpires from five States have been named to stand in the EPT, which is seen by CA as a key series for officials whose aim is to prove they have what it takes to work in high-level senior interstate cricket in Australia (E-News 251-1376, 3 June 2008). 






Cricket "is in great shape" and is probably the world’s second biggest sport, but its success depends on the game's three formats, Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20, according to Cricket Australia's (CA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) James Sutherland.  Sutherland was speaking at an International Cricket Council (ICC) Members’ Forum in Dubai last Friday.


CA's CEO believes that a new 'Championship' format is needed for Test cricket and that it and the "phenomenal popularity of Twenty20 offer strong futures", but he emphasised that "world cricket should not lose sight of the fact that its prosperity has been built on fifty-over one day cricket". 


Sutherland said that in his view "there is currently too much talk of ODI cricket as the problem child or the ugly duckling", for the "financial success of the modern game has been built on [it]".  “Within this current bundle of commercial rights, our short term future includes pinnacle World Cup events in 2011 and 2015, and "we owe it to ourselves to ensure that ODI cricket continues to be a popular force in the game”. 


The Championship concept, leading to semi-finals and a final, and an unambiguous world champion in each four-year cycle, offered a chance to provide fans with context without damaging the essential character of Test cricket, which is the premier form of the game, said Sutherland. 


Meanwhile, Twenty20, and most recently the Indian Premier League, had only reinforced the cricket’s strength and popularity.  “In Twenty20, we have a vehicle that can take the game anywhere and everywhere", said Sutherland.  It was a bite-sized piece of entertainment designed to bring new and different people to the game and was achieving all that, in spades. 


According to Sutherland, “Twenty20 is a format of the game that is popular in traditional cricket markets but it may well make its biggest mark in new and emerging markets…hopefully in markets that can make a material contribution to the global interest in our game…and ultimately impact favourably on cricket’s economy".





Umpires abandoned a one-day match played in a Bradford League competition in England after incidents both on and off the field of play last week.  An article in the Yorkshire newspaper the 'Farsley Times' says that the unnamed reporter, "probably like everyone else at the ground", had "never before witnessed" anything like it at a cricket game. 


The 'Bowling Old Lane' (BOL) side made 120 in its innings and their opponents, home side Farsley, were said to be on track to win the game at 2/62 when the umpires abandoned the game.  "Over-zealous and persistent appealing" by BOL players, plus their questioning of the umpiring decisions when both batting and bowling, are believed to be behind the abandonment, says the report.


One BOL player was said to have been "seen to charge off the field in an attempt to attack a spectator", while an incident in the Farsley Club House after the match saw home team members having to "restrain a visiting player from further assault on a spectator".  


It is understood that there were no Farsley players or officials involved in any incident which resulted in the abandonment of the game.  Both umpires are believed to have recommended to the Bradford League that Farsley be awarded the match and their report on the game is expected to be considered by a disciplinary committee in the near future.


In May, Bradford League management vowed to clamp down on "unnecessary and aggressive appealing", reminding captains" that they are "responsible for the behaviour of their players" (E-News 247-1360, 27 May 2008).


Last week's abandoned match follows several incidents in cricket in England over the last two months. A Twenty20 match ended in a brawl (E-News 257-1396, 16 June 2008) and two players each received six-week suspensions for incidents directly involving umpires (E-News 256-1392, 13 June 2008).









The Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) has given national umpires until today to decide whether they intend to proceed with their threat to boycott matches involving national players.  MCA Vice President C. Sivanandan told media representatives that the umpires raised several issues pertaining to their officiating duties in a meeting with MCA officials last Saturday.


Sivanandan is quoted as saying that the MCA "listened to the issues affecting [the umpires] and will prepare a report to be forwarded to the Umpires Board chairman for further discussion by the [executive]".  The umpires "could not, however, give an undertaking they would not proceed with their boycott and attached several conditions", none of which have been made public. "We could not accept that and have given them today's deadline", said the Vice President.


A report earlier this month indicated that "several senior Malaysian umpires" had announced a "boycott of matches involving national team members" due to "the level of abuse" they have received from some of those players.  


Following that, the coach of the Malaysian cricket team is alleged to have shouted abuse at and shoved an umpire during a practice match, and the officials involved are said to have withdrawn from the game (E-News (E-News 263-1424, 27 June 2008).






An amateur cricketer has been left paralysed after he was hit on the head by a 'beamer' during a match in south-west England, according to a BBC Radio report.  Opening batsman Phil Williams, who was not wearing a helmet, remains in Poole General Hospital after misjudging a shot while playing for Dorset club Wayfarers last weekend.


Williams' son Matthew, who is also a Wayfarers member, was quoted as saying that the ball "was a full toss" and he saw it "hit my dad on the head and he fell on the stumps".  The batsman is reported to have had his skull fractured and has since been unable to move the left side of his body, and his family have called on all amateur cricketers to wear a helmet when batting. 


Williams, who is 52, has begun physiotherapy as he tries to recover from the injury, and son Matthew says that personally he will always wear a batting helmet. 


The England and Wales Cricket Board requires that all Under 18 players in its competitions wear a helmet with faceguard when playing or practising with a hard cricket ball, but the rule does not apply to adults.  The Tasmanian Cricket Association requires that all Under 15 players wear helmets.  


Wayfarers' Youth Development Manager Steve Bishop told the BBC that his club would like to see the rule extended.  "We want all our members to wear helmets because we don't want this situation to happen again", said Bishop.






Former New Zealand international umpire Brian Aldridge, who last week retired as New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) National Umpires Manager after eleven years in the role, is to continue in the position until his replacement is recruited (E-News 268-1441, 3 July 2008).  Aldridge told E-News that NZC have yet to advertise for his replacement, but that they are aiming to have the new appointee in place by September in time for the forthcoming southern hemisphere summer.






The head of the International Cricket Committee's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), warned an ICC board meeting last week that the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) offers the greatest threat of corruption since the "bad old days of match-fixing in the 1990s", says a report in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Monday.


Sir Paul Condon is believed to have told the ICC that "the IPL brings with it the biggest threat in terms of corruption in the game since the days of cricket in Sharjah", say journaslists Nick Hoult and Simon Briggs.  The Sharjah tournaments, which reached their peak in the mid-Nineties, were the subject of many rumours of match-fixing.  


More recently West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels was banned for two years after being found guilty by the West Indian Cricket Board of breaking rules designed to stop players betting on matches (E-News 242-1330, 15 May 2008), a decision that was confirmed by the ICC last week (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).      


The 'Daily Telegraph' says that the ACSU believes that "the explosion of Twenty20 has set back their campaign to clean up cricket", and that "at international level, there is no ranking system, and the games are still not treated with the same seriousness as Tests or 50-over matches, making them a natural target for racketeers".  


The unit's officers were said by the newspaper's article to have been "unable to attend IPL matches in India because it is a domestic tournament that falls outside the remit of the ICC".  That statement does not fit with reports in late May that 'Bollywood' film star and owner of the IPL's Kolkata franchise, Shah Rukh Khan, was banned from going to his team's dug out and dressing room by the ACSU (E-News 243-1339, 20 May 2008).






New Zealand player Scott Styris will not be disciplined for sending two expletive-laced text messages to former teammate-turned-commentator Mark Richardson, say media reports.  Styris twice texted Richardson over what he believed to have been a negative newspaper article written by the former player. 


Styris sent the texts after an article based on Richardson's opinions was published after NZ's fourth One Day International against England late last month, the game in which all-rounder Grant Elliott was controversially run out after colliding with England bowler Ryan Sidebottom (E-News 268-1443, 3 July 2008).  Richardson is said to have "informally complained" to New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Vaughan about the texts. 


The first text reportedly sarcastically thanked Richardson for the article before describing him as a "geriatric ****head".  It is then understood to have added that "we hope you die choking on your own *** that you speak."  Styris is said to have then used more expletives in a second text and described Richardson as a "scribe/hack/journo/wannabe journo". 


An NZC spokesman is reported to have said no formal action would be taken against Styris, although he "would be reminded his behaviour was inappropriate". CEO "Vaughan will talk to the Players' Association and to Scott Styris and [the latter] will be left in no doubt that that was not appropriate behaviour, but we will not take any formal action against [the player]", said the spokesman. 






The International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to pump almost $AS300 million into the development of cricket in the ninety-four nations outside its ten Full Member countries over the next seven years.  The ICC's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Haroon Lorgat has hailed the move as the “biggest investment in global development by any sport outside football” and "the most significant funding package for the development of cricket in the history of the game".  


Lorgat, who took over as ICC CEO last Friday, said that the world body wants "to see results that challenge world cricket’s existing order, to develop better players and better structures on and off the field, [and give] everyone the chance to be the best they can be".  The ICC's CEO says that the funding boost is "thanks to agreements with our commercial partners, foremost among them the one we signed in December 2006 with ESPN STAR Sports".


The ICC's plan will see "at least $A40 million" available for distribution to the ninety-four nations each year up until 2015, which is a 120 per cent increase on the $A18 million allocated in 2008.  Lorgat says that "this fresh cash injection highlights [that the ICC] is a not-for-profit organisation with all the revenue [generated] from our events, broadcast and commercial agreements [being] ploughed back into the game". 


Lorgat express his thanks to his predessesor, Australian Malcolm Speed, during a presentation to the ICC's Members' Forum last Friday, saying that during the latter's seven years in the position, the world body had grown considerably and that "its influence and value across the cricket world" had increased.  


Speed departed in controversial circumstances in April after a "fundamental breakdown in the relationship" between himself and "a number of Board Members over a variety of issues that include Zimbabwe" (E-News 235-1297, 27 April 2008). 









Cricket Australia's (CA) new four-man Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPM) are all experienced in sports education, three have umpired first-class cricket, two of them in Tests, one has no previous record as a cricket umpire, while two will undertake their new role concurrently with contracts they have with the International Cricket Council (ICC).  The four panel members named by CA yesterday, who are all expected to start work next week, are Australian international umpire Darrell Hair from New South Wales, Western Australian Ric Evans, and Victorians Bob Stratford and David Levens.


CA's Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland, said in a statement that role of the new group is to "facilitate the development and performance improvement of umpires identified in [its] high performance pathway".  In May, CA indicated that the tasks UHPM personnel will perform in the job would include logging match video data, mentoring and assessing performances, and together with the national body's Umpiring Manager Andrew Scotford, select umpires for CA controlled matches and programs (E-News 248-1367, 28 May 2008).    


Hair is the best known of the group, having twenty years of experience as a first-class umpire, and seventeen in international cricket, his current tally being seventy-eight Tests and 131 One Day Internationals (ODI).  

Over that time he has developed umpire education programs for New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), was a Laws consultant to the Marylebone Cricket Club, and assisted in the establishment of the ICC's third-tier Affiliates and Associates Umpiring Panel.  He currently has an Elite Umpires contract with the ICC, and may also take up an umpire coaching role with the NSWCUSA in the near future (E-News 274-1467 below).  


Stratford was Victoria's State Umpiring Manager for seven years until he resigned earlier this month to take up one of the world body's five new Regional Umpire Performance Manager (RUPM) positions (E-News 262-1417, 26 June 2008).  Since umpiring twelve first-class matches in the mid-1990s, he has been a CA Umpire Coach, served on the national Technical Committee, and worked as an Umpire Educator for CA in Bahrain, Malaysia, China and Bangladesh.  


Evans, a current member of the Western Australian Cricket Association's Umpire Appointments Board, has been WA's State Umpiring Manager since 1999, and a CA Umpire Coach since 2002.  His high-level on-field umpiring career covered the decade centred on 1990, and included forty-seven first-class games, three of which were Tests, and seventeen ODIs.  CA says that he has thirty-nine years experience as a primary school teacher, all except ten of which were as a deputy principal.


CA makes no reference in its press release to Levens having any direct experience as a cricket umpire, although it says he has "extensive experience in officiating education in numerous sports".  A former Umpires Coach for the Australian Football League (AFL), he has "developed and implements the AFL Umpire Coach Professional Development Program".  Leven's key cricket connection appears to be as a writer for CA's Level One Umpire Program for school teachers and lower-level coaches, a methodology that E-News understands is approaching roll out.


The quartet, who are understood to have attended a meeting at CA's headquarters in Melbourne on Wednesday, will be present during the Emerging Players' Tournament (EPT) in Brisbane next week (E-News 272-1456, 8 July 2008).  The EPT is seen by CA as a key series for umpires whose aim is to prove they have what it takes to work in high-level senior interstate cricket in Australia (E-News 272-1456, 8 July 2008), and the UHPM are expected to closely watch the six officials chosen for the series (E-News 274-1465 below).


While the panel is now in place, it is likely that considerable work lies ahead before CA's new system is fully bedded down.  A key interest will be in how Hair and Stratford are able to satisfactorally integrate their international roles with their national responsibilities, both in terms of time and principles.  


In Hair's case his potential State-based role could be a further complication, while the tasks the ICC has set for Stratford and his RUPM colleagues have, publicly at least, been limited to little more than 'motherhood' statements; although all five RUPM members are believed have attended a four-day meeting in Dubai late last month which may have defined their roles more precisely. 






Former National Umpires Panel (NUP) member Tim Laycock, who was to have stood in his fourth Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland over the next two weeks, will no longer be involved in the series.   Laycock, who was dropped from the NUP this year (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008), is being replaced by South Australian umpire Andrew Collins, according to a Cricket Australia (CA) press release issued yesterday.


CA indicated last month 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]" (E-News 251-1376 3 June 2008).  Given his relatively young age of thirty-three, that suggested that he may have the chance of returning to the NUP in the future if his performance warrants it.  The reason behind Laycock's absence from the EPT is not known. 


Born in England, Collins has stood twice at first-class level in his adopted country, ten times in domestic interstate one-day matches, and four times in interstate Twenty20 games.  He has officiated once each in both the national Under 17 and 19 men's championships, stood in six CA Cup matches for State Second XI, as well as a women's Test and six Womens' National Cricket League games.


Besides Collins, the five other EPT umpires are: Gerard Abood (NSW); Steven John (Tasmania); Geoff Joshua (Victoria); Norm McNamara (Queensland); and Paul Wilson (Western Australia) (E-News 251-1376, 3 June 2008).  Apart from Collins, McNamara is the only one to have umpired at first-class level (E-News 136-736, 17 November 2007), but other than that all six appear to have had a similar range of experiences as umpires.


CA sees the EPT as a key competition for umpires whose aim is to progress to the highest level of senior interstate cricket in Australia, and its new Umpire High Performance Managers will be present to observe this year's officials (E-News 274-1464 above).  Two of CA's current twelve-member NUP, Mick Martell (Western Australia) and Tony Ward (Victoria), have reached the panel via the EPT (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008).


The EPT, which this year will 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, is scheduled to get underway next Monday and run for twelve days.  






Cameron Lee, son of long-serving TCUSA member Mike (E-News 13-66, 9 March 2007), is showing a keen interest in proceedings at this year's winter Laws School, and is looking forward to standing in the middle in the coming season.  While his playing days were somewhat limited, mainly due to the demands associated with completing a Law degree, he found time to open the bowling and batting in the middle order at his father’s old club South Hobart Sandy Bay.


During the winter months the younger Lee coaches and still enjoys a run with local Australian Rules Football boundary umpires, and acts in an advisory capacity on the performance of umpires when the Tassie Devils side plays at home.  He has been impressed with the friendliness of TCUSA members that he has been introduced to, and is looking forward to meeting others when they come on board in the coming months.






Peter Hughes, the long-serving Secretary of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), is expected to retire from the position before the start of the coming season after sixteen years in the chair.  Despite his departure from the Secretary's role he will not be lost to cricket, for he plans to continue working with the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers and maintain his link with the NSWCUSA.


Hughes, who turned sixty-five in April, commenced his umpiring career in the mid-1980s in a competition just outside Sydney, and joined the NSWCUSA in 1988, standing as high as Second Grade level over the next decade.  In 1997 he officiated in two women's One Day Internationals and served as a match referee in a third, also working in the latter position in three Women's National Cricket League games.  He commenced working as NSWCUSA Secretary on a part-time basis in 1992, looking after the job for six years until Cricket NSW provided funding in 1998 for the position to become full-time. 


Cricket NSW Chief Executive Officer Dave Gilbert confirmed yesterday that his Board recently approved the splitting of Hughes current role into two separate positions, one to look after administration and the other to manage umpire coaching and high performance issues.  Hughes indicated that the Board hopes that Australian international umpire Darrell Hair, who was yesterday named as one of Cricket Australia's four new Umpire High Performance Managers (E-News 274-1464 above), will fill the coaching role.  


If Hair takes up the position he will join NSW umpires Education and Training Manager Darren Goodger (E-News 255-1388, 11 June 2008), and a yet-to-be-selected administrator, in the NSWCUSA’s office.



SUNDAY, 14 JULY 2008






The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is to ask the International Cricket Council (ICC) to rescind its recent decision to change the result of the 2006 Test match between England and Pakistan from a forfeit to a draw, according to media reports from the UK late last week (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).  The Test was originally awarded to the home side after the visitors refused to play on after being accused of ball-tampering (E-News 268-1440, 3 July 2008).  


Despite the ICC's role in managing international cricket, the MCC remains responsible for the Laws of Cricket, and its Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith Bradshaw was quoted by 'The Times' as saying that "cricket is the worse for [the world body's] decision".  


Bradshaw indicated that the move contravenes both the spirit of the game and its Laws, and the newspaper says that the MCC's Cricket Committee is against any moves to alter Law 21 (10) which states that once the umpires have agreed on correctness of the scores, the result of a match cannot be changed.  


In announcing the change two weeks ago, the ICC's then acting Chief Executive Officer David Richardson is reported to have said that there would be no change to the Laws of the game, and expressed the hope that "we won't be confronted by something similar again".


In a separate article published in 'The Times' last week, barristers Robert Griffiths, QC, who represented Australian umpire Darrell Hair in his case against the ICC (E-News 114-620, 10 October 2008), and Stephen Whale, wrote that under the Laws of Cricket the ICC "had no power" to change the match result and that their "decision is a nullity".  


The two lawyers say that it is "deeply troubling that the ICC should take this unprecedented and dangerous step, [for] it is historical revisionism of the worst kind", especially as an "ICC board member admitted under oath that the umpires' decisions [regarding the forfeiture] were in accordance with the Laws" (E-News 110-607, 5 October 2008).  In Griffiths' and Whale's view the change was clearly "connected to the negotiations and posturing over Zimbabwe" during the ICC Board meeting at which the draw result was agreed to.


Bradshaw, a member of the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC) in his capacity as the MCC's Secretary and CEO, reportedly told 'The Times' that that the change had been "opposed unanimously" when it was considered at the ICC group's meeting in May.  In announcing the draw earlier this month the ICC's then acting Chief Executive Officer David Richardson acknowledged that the about-turn, which later led to the resignation of CC member Michael Holding (E-News 271-1452, 6 July 2008), would probably "surprise a lot of cricketers".






Lady umpires from Tasmania and Queensland are believed to be taking part in development training being provided to umpires during the Emerging Players' Tournament (EPT) in Brisbane.  The two-week long series commences today, and during their time in Queensland the six male umpires chosen are to spend nine days officiating in matches and another four attending training programs organised for them by Cricket Australia (CA).


The females thought to be joining their male counterparts on training days are TCUSA member Caroline McGregor and Brisbane-based Rebecca Gruenfeld, both of whom stood in this year's national female Under 19 Championship in Brisbane (E-News 169-907, 5 January 2008).  Given that the four training days are spread over a twelve-day period, it is not clear at this stage as to whether McGregor in particular will take part in all of them.


While games start today, the first of the development program sessions was held yesterday and involved sessions on 'goal setting' for the EPT series, 'effective communication', 'preparing for and using net sessions', a net session itself, 'nutrition and hydration', 'giving and receiving feedback', and a pre-EPT series meeting.  On Wednesday umpires will have their vision and overall fitness tested, and presentations will include 'dealing with conflict' and 'physical and mental recovery'.


Male umpires for the tournament are: Gerard Abood (NSW); Andrew Collins (South Australia); Steven John (Tasmania); Geoff Joshua (Victoria); Norm McNamara (Queensland); and Paul Wilson (Western Australia) (E-News 274-1465, 11 July 2008).  


In addition to CA's Umpire Manager Andrew Scotford, the four newly-appointed Umpire High Performance Managers Ric Evans, Darrell Hair, Bob Stratford and David Levens (E-News 274-1464, 11 July 2008), as well as at least some State Directors of Umpiring, such as Tasmania's Richard Widows, will be in attendance.





Cricket Australia's (CA) Brent Silva, who has been responsible for supporting senior umpires and introducing systems to improve the management of umpiring at the national level over the last seven seasons, is to leave CA in three weeks to take up a position at a sports sponsorship and marketing company.


CA's Umpire Manager Andrew Scotford said in an E-mail late last week that Silva "has made an extraordinary contribution to umpiring, the Cricket Operations Department and Cricket in general" in his time with the national body, and that "his commitment to umpires was unyielding as evidenced by his close working relationship with all umpires and state association staff".






Bill Brown, a seventy-eight year old umpire who was hit on the head by a ball while standing in a Chesire League match in England last week, hopes to be back on the field in the near future.  The ball, which deflected from the bowler's hand after being driven hard down the pitch by the batsman, produced a wound that exposed Brown's skull.


The umpire was quoted by the Manchester 'Evening News' as saying that he saw the ball "as big as a football and then everything went black".  A player was quick to step in and staunch the wound before an ambulance took Brown to hospital.  Brown said later that "the young man who caused the damage apologised and even shook my hand after I promised to give him out first ball next time!".


Cheshire County league competition secretary Mike Talbot-Butler told the newspaper that "it was a horrific injury but Bill is an indefatigable character", and that he "wouldn't be surprised to see him return in two or three weeks".



MONDAY, 15 JULY 2008






The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India and Cricket South Africa have agreed to establish an umpires' exchange program.  Two Indian umpires are to stand in two four-day matches in South Africa's domestic competition this austral summer, and two South African's will oversee two Duleep Trophy games in India.


The agreement is the latest move by the BCCI to improve the standard of umpiring in India, work that last year involved input from Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program.  Reports at the time said that CA and the BCCI had signed a contract for on-going work in the umpiring area (E-News 87-464, 23 August 2007), and later the home board established thirteen umpire coach positions (E-News 94-511, 6 September 2007), introduced video recording of their on-field performances, and an on-line appointments system (E-News 137-741, 19 November 2007).


Reports two months ago said that the BCCI's umpiring committee, which is headed by former player and Test umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan, is planning to reduce the size of its Elite Umpires Panel from thirty-seven to thirty.  It is also believed to be working towards conducting an examination this month to select new officials who have the potential to work towards Elite panel status (E-News 241-1327, 12 May 2008).  


No Indian has a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel since Venkatraghavan retired in 2004, and the BCCI is keen to see one of its officials chosen for that group.  






Drug testing carried out during the inaugural Indian Premier League (IP) tournament has led to a positive sample being recorded, according to testing carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory in Switzerland.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that is has been advised of an "adverse analytical finding".


The player concerned, Pakistan's Mohammed Asif, has expressed his shock at the news, say media reports from the sub-continent.  No details about nature of the substance that might have been involved have been disclosed, however, media reports say that Asif had not asked for any drug exemption when he registered with the IPL.  Asif said that he will "decide the next course of action only after consultation with the [Pakistan Cricket Board].


The ICC said in a statement that it was aware of the developments and that it is "proud of its status as a WADA signatory and will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure the correct action is taken by the [Board of Control for Cricket in India]".  "The ICC retains a right of appeal if any penalty that may be imposed is inconsistent with the WADA Code", says the statement. 


If Asif takes up the offer of a B sample test the case will be referred to the IPL's three-member Drugs Tribunal that includes former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, once the results are known.  Asif, who was detained at Dubai airport for three weeks for possessing opium in June, faces a ban from future editions of the IPL and possible punishment from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) if all tests go against him, say reports.


In 2006, Asif and countrman Shoaib Akhtar were withdrawn from the Champions Trophy in India after they both tested positive for nandrolone in a private tests carried out by the PCB.  Both escaped punishment after they appealed. Dubai public prosecutors dropped last month's opium case citing "insignificance" and deported Asif to Pakistan. 






New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden is concerned about sledging and would like to see the use of yellow and red cards tried in cricket, says an article published in 'The Times' on the eve of his first Test match at Lord's last week (E-News 265-1429, 29 June 2008).  Bowden was quoted as saying that "the spirit of the game is just as important as the Laws, and penalising players in that way would put pressure on their team-mates and captain. "If we do not give it a go, we shall never know if it will work", continued the quote.


'The Times' says that Bowden prepares "meticulously" for games in which he is involved, attending team net practice sessions to familiarise himself with each bowler's style, and making sure he gets at least seven hours sleep in a hotel room away from the traffic before and during a match.  He dislikes the taste of alcohol and eschews coffee, cola or any other form of caffeine, drinking up to five 300 ml bottles of water during a day's play, says journalist Ivo Tennant.  


Once on the field of play, Tennant says that the New Zealander glances at the large screens around the ground if he is unaware of the length of a fast bowler's run-up.  “There are certain tricks of the trade", says Bowden, and while umpires "may appear as if they are scratching their necks or picking up something from the ground", they are in fact "looking at the screen".   


Bowden's first Lord's Test ended overnight Australian time in a draw.






The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) welcomed its 5,000th member last week, according to an announcement posted on its web site yesterday.  The ACO was established seven months ago following a merger between the ECB's former Officials Association and the long-serving Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (E-News 177-952, 15 January 2008).  


No details have been provided by the ACO about Michael Sharp, the 5000th member, but he was says the web site treated to "a dream day at Lord's" during the First Test between England and South Africa last week, meeting on-field officials Daryl Harper from Australia and 'Billy' Bowden' from New Zealand.


No details are yet available about the outcomes of the ACO's latest interim Board meeting held on 7 July, but they may be released soon in what will be the first edition of the ACO newsletter since April (E-News 268-1438, 2 July 2008).






A bowler was removed from the attack in the nineteenth over of a quarter final match in the England and Wales Cricket Board's Twenty20 series for bowling two 'beamers' last week.  Kent player Chris Woakes was called back into the attack to deliver the penultimate over but was penalised after delivering two balls above waist height.


Early in the over Woakes had conceded two fours and a six off consecutive balls, and one of the 'beamer' no-balls was also swung over mid-wicket for six, for a total of twenty-two off just three legitimate deliveries.  Despite that Kent beat Warwickshire by forty-two runs. 






Fifteen Rwandan cricketers took part in a four-day umpiring course last week, says the Africa nation's 'New Times' newspaper.  The training, which was organised by the Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) and the International Cricket Council, was conducted by Kenyan umpire Subhash Modi.


Modi, who received the ‘Best Umpire award’ during this year’s World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 tournament in South Africa, has stood in six first-class matches and ten One Day Internationals, the latter being played in Kenya, Scotland and South Africa.  He has also officiated in warm up matches in England for the 1999 World Cup and the African, East Asia-Pacific Under 19 tournament held in South Africa three years ago. 


Rwanda reached the semi-finals during the WCL series, losing to Sierra Leone for the third and fourth place play-off.  A RCA "source" was quoted by the 'New Times' as saying that "it is an honor to have [Modi visit], as umpiring is one area that has been lagging behind" in our competitions.









England spinner Monty Panesar was asked by his captain to apologise to Australian international umpire Daryl Harper on the last day of the First Test between the home side and South Africa at Lord's on Monday, says a report published in 'The Independent' yesterday.  


The paper says that "endless appealing" by Panesar on what was a "frustrating day" for him, led to what was described as "an exchange" with Harper.  England skipper Michael Vaughan is said to have acted on situation "immediately", and Panesar apparently apologised before shaking hands with Harper.






The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to change the Oval forfeiture to a draw is "heartening" and "justice has after all prevailed", says former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rafi Nasim.  Writing in his column in Pakistan's 'Daily Times' newspaper yesterday, Nasim says that the move has "restored Pakistan’s dignity in world cricket".


Nasim says that "although the decision [by the ICC to change the result] has been hailed by most lovers of the game, surprisingly three great cricketers of the past seem displeased with it". In his view the resignation of former West Indian bowler Michael Holding from an ICC position over the change (E-News 271-1452, 6 July 2008), was not warranted as "Pakistan were in a winning position when the game was halted by the umpire on a flimsy excuse".  "Depriving Pakistan of victory was enough punishment for their late resumption of the game after the incident", says Nasim. 


The former PCB CEO mentions former Australian captain Ian Chappell as a "second icon" who "has lashed out at the ICC for bending rules to placate Pakistan", but says that "the biggest surprise has come from our own good old skipper Mushtaq Mohammad who thinks that the game’s governing body had set an unpleasant precedent".  Nasim ends his column by asking "where were these stalwarts when an incompetent umpire like Darrel Hair was reinstated to Test cricket?" (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008). 


Nasim's comments further underline the strong feeling in Pakistan about the so-called ball tampering Test match (E-News 214-1187, 20 March 2008).  That outlook and the equally strong views held by those on the other side of the argument, including the Marylebone Cricket Club who reportedly want the ICC to change the match result back to the original 'forfeit' (E-News 275-1468, 14 July 2008), suggests that the matter is likely to remain an argumentative discussion point for many years to come.






Indian-born Israeli umpire, Naor Gudker has been honoured by Israel's Sports Authority for his outstanding contribution to the game in that country, says a report issued by the Press Trust of India (PTI) yesterday.  Gudker was presented with the award on Tuesday by Rajeb Majdale, Isreal's Minister of Science, Culture and Sport, for serving "with distinction" as an umpire on the European Cricket Council (ECC) panel.


Gudker, whose parents immigrated from Mumbai to Israel in 1963, has officiated in twenty-five international matches over the last ten years.  After standing in five games in the ICC Trophy series in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, he went on to look after European Championship matches in The Netherlands in 1998, Scotland in 2000, Ireland in 2002, and Belgium in 2004.  Last year he took part in the European Under 19 Championship series in the Channel Islands.


In addition to his umpiring duties, Gudker is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Israel Cricket Association (ICA).  He said that he is "honoured at the recognition bestowed" on him, but as the CEO of the ICA his goal is to bring Israeli cricket to the forefront and provide international exposure to the youth.  He told the PTI that "the current tour of the India A team has given a big boost to efforts to attract young talent in [Israel]".


The ICA has been an Associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1974 and was a founding member of the ECC in 1996.  Eighteen teams currently make up the ICA's senior league, and weather conditions are such that cricket can be being played "throughout the year".






International electronics company LG's Indian subsidiary plans to "design special telephonic instruments" so that umpires can "be in contact" their television colleague, says a report published yesterday on the sub-continent.  The new instruments are expected to carry the "LG logo and in the case of a third umpire consultation", television cameras will "zoom in on it to make the brand more visible", however, reports do not say how the new devices will differ from currently used systems.


The move is part of a new eight-year contract that the company is said to have signed with the International Cricket Council (ICC) this week, although the contract amount was not disclosed.  LG's association with the ICC goes back to 1999 when it signed an eight-year contract with the world body as part of the company's sports marketing campaign.  However, the contract ended in April last year and the company is said to have decided not to renew the contract immediately and take time to evaluate the options. 


LG Electronics India's Managing Director Moon B Shin told India's 'Business Standard' that for his company "cricket is not only about ads and sponsorships but a wish to contribute to the development of the overall quality of the game in the long run".









Three neutral umpires from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel are to be used during the Player Referral System (PRS) trial that is to be conducted during the Test series between Sri Lanka and India over the next three weeks (E-News 258-1400, 18 June 2008).  The move is believed to be the first time the ICC has adopted such an approach, for normally a home country member of its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) fills the television official's slot. 


The three-Test series, which gets underway in Colombo next Wednesday, will be overseen by Australia-based match referee Alan Hurst, while the umpires are Mark Benson (England), Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa).  


Each of the three umpires will have a Test in the television chair during the series, Koertzen in the first and Benson and Doctrove in the second and third Tests respectively.  Those matches will not be the first time the trio have worked in the television suite during a Test, Benson having six, and Doctrove and Koertzen fifteen each to date, however, it will be the first time they have worked in that capacity outside their home nation in a Test. 


The PRS trial will see the fielding and batting sides allowed three unsuccessful appeals to the umpire per innings to change a decision if it is perceived to have been incorrect.  Such appeals can be made only by the batsman in receipt of the umpire’s original decision or the captain of the fielding side, in both cases by the player making a “T” sign with both forearms at shoulder height (E-News 258-1400, 18 June 2008).


The on-field umpire will consult with the television umpire, who will review available television coverage of the incident before relaying fact-based information back to his colleague.  The on-field umpire will then deliver his decision either by raising his finger to indicate “out” or by crossing his hands in a horizontal position side to side in front and above his waist three times, similar to the “safe” decision signal used by an official in baseball.


Reports over the last few months have indicated 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.  Whether all of those systems will be available for the Sri Lankan series has not yet been made clear by the ICC.   


Koertzen will take his Test match record to ninety-two games as he pushes towards the 100 mark in that form of the game, a figure he indicated last year that he aspires to before retirement (E-News 33-186, 27 April 2007).  The Third and final Test will be Benson's 100th first-class match and his twenty-fifth Test, while Doctrove, who will be standing in his first Tests in Sri Lanka, will take his Test tally to nineteen games.


At the conclusion of the Test series Hurst will hand over to Chris Board from England for the One Day International (ODI) series between the two sides which runs from 18-29 August.  Doctrove will stand in all five games and Sri Lanka Cricket will select the other on-field umpire and the television official from its members who are on the ICC's IUP.  The series will take Doctrove's ODI tally to seventy-nine.  The PRS trial will not continue into the ODI series.






All six umpires involved in this year's Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane had the opportunity to stand in games played over the first two days of the competition on Monday and Tuesday.  After a full day of presentations yesterday as part of their development program (E-News 275-1469, 14 July 2008), the umpires will be back on the ground today and tomorrow for a total of four fifty over matches before all involved get a rest day on Saturday.


Gerald Abood (NSW) and Andrew Collins (South Australia) have so far officiated in two games each, a Twenty20 game on Monday and a fifty over match the following day.  Geoff Joshua (Victoria) and Paul Wilson looked after the second Twenty20 played on Monday, then Tasmania's Steven John and Queenslander Norm McNamara officiated in the fifty over match between the emerging sides from South Africa and New Zealand on Tuesday.






England spinner Monty Panesar has confirmed that he apologised to Australian international umpire Daryl Harper for what has been described as his "endless appealing" during the First Test between England and South Africa on Monday (E-News 277-1478, 16 July 2008).  


Writing in his column in London's 'Daily Mail' newspaper yesterday, Panesar said that the fact that he appeals "so much is just part of how enthusiastic I am about my cricket and I think umpires and crowds appreciate that enthusiasm, [for] if I appeal it is because I honestly have the feeling that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps". 


Panesar ackowledged that he was "doing a lot of appealing and umpire Daryl Harper had a word with me about it", saying that he knew the bowler was "excited" but asking that he "control it a bit" and "not to get too excited all the time".  The bowler says that he has "a lot of respect for umpires so a few minutes later", after being counseled by his captain Michael Vaughan, he "apologised to Daryl, we shook hands and he said he understood".  


"It is just my excitement coming through", wrote Panesar, "although there was some frustration too" as the spinner worked unsuccessfully for sixty overs to dismiss his opponents.  





Former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird has, along with other sports "personalities", contributed to raising "hundreds of thousands of pounds" for the British Labour party.  Prizes on auction at a function held at Wembley stadium last week included the chance to play tennis with Tony Blair, lunch with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, or spending a day with Bird. 


Sports stars and more than 600 guests, the latter paying up to $A2,000 to be present, attended the function.  Labour, which some media reports claim is more than $A40m in debt, will use the money to help fight the next General Election in the UK. 









TCUSA President-Administrator and computer scoring 'Guru' Graeme Hamley is spending this week at the Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Brisbane briefing his interstate colleagues on the intracracies of the 'Total Cricket Scorer' (TCS) program.  Hamley was invited to attend the first week of the EPT by Cricket Australia's National Umpires Manager Andrew Scotford, as the national body is said to be "very interested" in electronic scoring systems.


Hamley's first task last Sunday, the day before the EPT got underway, was to run through the UK-manufactured TCS program with the four Queensland scorers appointed to the series.  The Tasmanian Cricket Association introduced computer scoring to its First and Second Grade matches two seasons ago, and Hamley has been at the forefront in shaking down the system, and training personnel, for its on going use in the State.


The four Queensland scorers were all experienced in using score books to record match details, but three of them quickly became converts to the TCS system on Sunday.  In fact Hamley told E-News by phone from Brisbane yesterday that the trio were "to put it mildly, going swimmingly" with the program, so much so that two have already bought copies of it for themselves.


Hamley is due to return to Hobart on Sunday, however, before then he is to run another course on the program on Saturday, which is a second rest day in the EPT.  Other Queensland scorers are to attend what is scheduled to be a six-hour course, plus at least one of their colleagues from New South Wales who are to fly up to Brisbane for the day.


Computer scoring systems are believed to be in use in Grade cricket in Adelaide, but little details of the program used is available at this time.






Sri Lanka's cricket umpires "are preparing for a rebellion" over what they term the "unjustified" promotion of former Test and One Day International (ODI) player Kumar Dharmasena ahead of "some of the more senior, skilled and experienced men in the trade", according to Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' yesterday.  Sri Lanka Cricket’s Umpires' Committee recently decided to elevate Dharmasena to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) next year, says the newspaper.


'Mirror' journalist Channaka de Silva indicates in his story that "the decision makers have justified their move" on the basis that "the ICC has requested priority be given to umpires who have the experience of playing international and first-class cricket".  A vacancy was created in the nation's three positions on the IUP when Asoka de Silva was elevated to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in April (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), a move that left Tyronne Wijewardena and third umpire Gamini Silva as Sri Lanka's only current IUP members.


Records available indicate that Dharmasena has been umpiring for no more than two years and a little over six months at senior level.  He played 155 first-class games, thirty-one of them Tests, and 141 ODIs, from 1989 until he retired in 2006.  The nine first-class matches he has stood in to date were all played in the first three months of this year, and his six List A games in November-December last year.  In comparison, Australia's recent promotee to its third umpires slot on the IUP, former first-class player Rod Tucker, took six seasons umpiring before reaching international level (E-News 251-1375, 3 June 2008). 


While local umpires were "frustrated" by Dharmasena's promotion, their mood is said to have "reached boiling point" after the Umpires' Committee released details of its top ten officials for the coming year and his name was not amongst them.  


The ten, who were rated using a grading and point system, were in order from one to ten: de Silva, who as an ICC EUP member was "automatically" at the top; Wijewardena (91.18 points); Silva (87.53); Rohitha Kottachchi (85.40); Gamini Dissanayake (85.14); Sagara Gallage (84.86); Athula Senanayake (83.25); Gratien Liyanage (83.14); Sena Nandiweera (81.95); and Lalith Nandana (77.96).  


The 'Mirror' says that Dharmasena has been appointed to an on-field position for India's three-day warm up game which starts later today, and as the fourth umpire for the first and fourth ODIs Sri Lanka is to play against the visitors next month (E-News 278-1482, 17 July 2008).  de Silva, Wijewardene and Silva are each to work as the fourth umpire during one game of the three Test series.


No details were released about just how Sri Lankan Cricket's umpire points system actually works.  Cricket Australia rates the dozen umpires it selects for its National Umpires Panel from first to last each year, but no details of that system, or unlike Sri Lanka the actual ratings list, have been released. 






A batsman who didn't hear a 'no ball' call on what he thought was the last ball of a forty overs match in Leicestershire last weekend cost his side the game.  Needing three runs to win the match with nine wickets down, Melton skipper Andy Keightley struck the ball into the outfield and set off with his batting partner Brian Frost, however, Keightley was run out as the pair were attempting a second run.  


Had they taken only a single, the scores would have been tied and just one run would have been needed when the 'last' delivery was rebowled.  Keightley told the 'Leicester Mercury' that he "just swung the bat and didn't hear the no-ball call".  "It was just a heat-of-the-moment thing", said the captain, and he and Frost "just legged it when [he] realised the shot [he] made wasn't going to reach the boundary”.


Keightley "couldn't believe it" when he saw "the umpire at the bowler's end signaling the 'no-ball' to the scorers", realising straight away that "we needn't have taken that third run".  Why Frost, who was adjacent to the umpire, did not realise the implications when the call was made, was not mentioned in the 'Mercury' story.  






A player in the West Norfolk Cricket League (WNCL) in England has been suspended for three weeks after being found guilty of using "foul or abusive language" to an umpire in a match last month.  Grimston's Robert Belcher apologised to the WNCL about the matter and has accepted his suspension, while his club does not plan to appeal,


In addition to Belcher, says a story in the 'North Eastern Daily Press', his captain Shaun Felgate was also warned of his responsibility to ensure players act within the Laws and Spirit of the game.  Despite that the WNCL said in a statement that its disciplinary "committee concluded that Mr Felgate had done everything in his power to defuse the situation by gathering his players together to speak to them about their behaviour and by moving Mr Belcher away from the umpires".






Kenyan umpire Subhash Modi was "all praise" for the fifteen people who took part the three-day umpire's course he ran in Rwanda late last week (E-News 276-1477, 15 July 2008)).  Modi said before he flew out of Kigala on Sunday that he "was delighted" at the way the course had gone and how those who attended actively took part in the event.


Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) President Charles Haba was quoted by the 'New Times' newspaper on Wednesday as saying he is sure those involved "will put the knowledge [they gained] to good use", and that the RCA wants "to see these guys umpiring in future league games".



FRIDAY, 19 JULY 2008






Rod Tucker, who last month was named to Australia's third umpire slot on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) International Umpires Panel (IUP) (E-News 251-1375, 3 June 2008), will make his debut in the television chair at that level during the One Day International (ODI) series between Australia and Bangladesh in Darwin in early September. 


Indian umpire Amiesh Shaheba and his match referee colleague Javagal Srinath will be the neutral officials for the series and will be involved in all three ODIs, Shaheba's on-field partner in two of them being Peter Parker and in other Bruce Oxenford, the pair who with Tucker make up Australia's IUP group.  Oxenford will be third umpire for the first match and Tucker the remaining two.


Oxenford and Tucker will stand together in the Bangladesh side's first two one-day warm up games against an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) side prior to the ODIs getting underway, and then in a similar game when the Australian squad take on the AIS.  Parker and an umpire from the Northern Territory will stand in Bangladesh's third and final warm up game against a NT Chief Minister's XI.


The ODI series will take Saheba's tally in that form of the game to twenty-one matches, Srinath's to forty-three, Parker's to sixty-five and Oxenford's to two.







Kent bowler Chris Woakes, who last week was taken off by the umpires after delivering two balls above waist height in a Twenty20 match against Warwickshire (E-News 276-1476, 15 July 2008), has been given a three penalty point reprimand by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  Under the ECB's disciplinary system the points will remain on Woakes' record for a period of two years, and an automatic suspension will come into play should he accumulate nine or more penalty points over that time.


In contrast to Woakes' three point penalty, Worcestershire’s Chris Whelan received a "reprimand" for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during his County's Second XI match against their Gloucestershire equivalents earlier in the month.  Whelan, who was reported by umpires Terry Urben and John Harper, will automatically receive a three point penalty should he be cited for any similar offence over the next two years.





Former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird opened a new cricket complex for the Indian Muslim Welfare Society in Yorkshire on Wednesday.  Speaking to more than 100 people before formally opening the new facility, he shared his favourite memories from his umpiring career.


Bird said that he has "wonderful memories of cricket in all the Asian nations that [he will] always treasure", and was always impressed with the dedication of the Asian community in Yorkshire to cricket.  Asked if he had ever made a bad decision as an umpire, Bird replied that "in any business, whatever job you do" you will make mistakes".  However, he continued, the "man who makes the least [errors] will go the top of their profession and stay there, as its as simple as that".


At the end of the ceremony Bird presented the Society with a framed picture of himself, jesting: "Don't put it in the toilets!"



SUNDAY, 21 JULY 2008






Two "controversial" catches on the opening day of the Second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley on Friday were referred to the third umpire by the on-field officials, evaluation of replays on both occasions leading to the batsman at the crease being ruled 'not out'.  It is not clear if a recent ruling by the International Cricket Council (ICC) regarding referrals is in place for the current Test series, for media reports are suggesting that both sides rejected a proposal for such an approach prior to the First Test last week.


In the first incident early on day one, England opener Andrew Strauss edged South African bowler Morne Morkel to AB de Villiers at third slip where he claimed the catch.  When Strauss stood his ground the decision was referred to television umpire Richard Kettleborough by umpires 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand) and Daryl Harper (Australia), however, the batsman was ruled 'not out' as replays indicated that de Villiers had grounded the chance.


Later in the day England captain Michael Vaughan claimed a diving catch off batsman Hashim Amla.  Amla left his crease, apparently believing that he was out, and had almost reached to the boundary when South African coach Mickey Arthur, who had been watching replays on television, instructed him not to leave the field of play.  Bowden and Harper again referred the decision to Kettleborough, who was working in the third umpires' chair for the first time in a Test match, and Amla was subsequently given 'not out' for it was not clear that the catch had been taken cleanly.  


Arthur later told a news conference he felt the right decision had been made both times and defended his actions in instigating a referral of Amla's dismissal.  England coach Peter Moores said that his side "didn't mind referrals" but they "wanted the umpires to be doing the referring, not the players", or by implication the coach. 


The ICC decided at its annual meeting earlier this month that it would amend international playing conditions to enable both on-field umpires to consult the third umpire via radio as to whether there is any definitive evidence as to whether a catch was taken cleanly or not (E-News 270-1449, 5 July 2008).  


Thirteen months earlier the world body's Cricket Committee recommended that a similar proposal be rejected (E-News 51-279, 4 June 2007), however, a range of on-field incidents that followed over the next six months prompted the ICC to introduce the change.    


Controversies arose when replays available to the public showed umpires were in error during England's series against India in July and August last year (E-News 75-411, 31 July and 80-436, 10 August 2007), when Australia played Sri Lanka in Hobart in November (E-News 139-753, 21 November 2007, in England's Tests with Sri Lanka in December (E-News 150-826, 7 December and 151-834, 10 December 2007), and during Australia's series with India in the New Year (E-News 172-916, 9 January 2008). 


In October the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee called for improved technology to be used in matches (E-News 115-623, 11 October 2007), then following incidents in the December series in Sri Lanka, match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand was quoted by media outlets as saying that the ICC "might" call for a revision of the way technology is used (E-News 152-843, 11 December 2007).  


The following month a report surfaced that claimed "a number" of ICC Elite Umpires Panel members wanted more technology used (E-News 166-893, 2 January 2008), and several national, and a senior ICC official, expressed their preference for third umpire referrals (E-News 181-973, 22 January 2008). 






Vincent van der Bijl, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager, says he is impressed with the "passion" the world body's match referees have for the game and with the job they are entrusted to do.  The South African, who takes up the newly created position next month, was speaking after attending the referees' annual two-day seminar held at Lord's earlier this month.


 “The role of the match referee has changed in recent years and he is now very much the chief executive of the match", said van der Bijl in an ICC media release.  Now that he has "been exposed" to the work that referees are responsible for behind the scenes, he appreciates better the "great deal of responsibility involved', and is "heartened by the referee group’s desire to excel in their roles". 


van der Bijl, who played first-class cricket for both Natal and Middlesex, said that “having all seven referees in one room in an environment where they can share information on best practice and the various issues that face them as officials of the modern game" is very important.  "It’s not an easy job being a match referee", he said, however, the "key to it is probably preparation [for games] and the annual seminar is a vital part of that process".


According to the ICC statement, discussion during the two-day event covered topics such as Code of Conduct hearings, playing regulations, media protocols, over-rates, comfort breaks, use of runners, and the trialing of the Player Referral System which will be used in a Test for the first time this Wednesday in Colombo (E-News 278-1482, 17 July 2008). 


Referees at the meeting were Ranjan Madugalle (the ICC's chief match referee) and Roshan Mahanama (both Sri Lankans), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand), Alan Hurst (Australia), Mike Procter (South Africa) and Javagal Srinath (India).  Also present in addition to van der Bijl was David Richardson, the ICC’s General Manager Cricket. 


van der Bijl, who is sixty, was appointed to the newly established Umpires and Referees Manager position two months ago (E-News 245-1374, 25 May 2008), however, he will not take up the role on a full time basis until next month.






Two umpire members of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) are to deliver umpiring courses in Bangladesh in September, says an article posted on the Association's web site last week.  NSWCUSA Life Member Graham Chudleigh and former first-class Umpire Nick Fowler, both of whom are Accredited Umpire Trainers in NSW, are to present courses on behalf of Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program (GDP).


Fowler and Chudleigh will both deliver separate Level 1 courses during the first half of September, after which Chudleigh will go on to run a Level 2 program later in the month.  Their work is believed to be part of CA's two-year, $510,000 contract with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (E-News 66-362, 13 July 2007), and follows similar work conducted there in May by Darren Goodger from NSW and Bob Stratford from Victoria (E-News 243-1342, 20 May 2008).     


Chudleigh is a former first grade cricketer in the Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) who turned his hand to umpiring in 1986.  He went on to stand in 107 matches at first grade level and also a State second XI three-day match.  The NSWCUSA web site says that he is "widely respected for his knowledge and interpretation of cricket Law and his ability to train and mentor umpires in match management and umpiring technique".


Fowler will be presenting a course for the GDP for the second time, as he has previously been involved in delivering a Level 2 program for Asian Cricket Council officials in Kuala Lumpur.  He is an experienced umpire, having stood three first grade finals in the SCA, ten first-class matches, the inaugural final of the interstate domestic Twenty20 competition in January 2006, and a limited over match between NSW and England in December 2002.


This will be the seventh occasion that NSWCUSA Accredited Trainers have been used by CA in its GDP courses in Asia over the last two-and-a-half years, previous ones being in Thailand, China, Bangladesh and Malaysia.





Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillekeratne, who was elected as President of his nation's Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers in late May (E-News 247-1359, 27 May 2008), was appointed then fired as manager of the Sri Lankan side within twenty-four hours last week.  Media reports from Colombo indicate that his dismissal came after Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge refused to endorse his appointment.



MONDAY, 22 July 2008






Twenty-two television cameras have been installed at Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club as part of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) preparation for its trail of a Player Referral System (PRS) during the Test series between Sri Lanka and India, according to a "top Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official" who was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) yesterday.  The First Test of the three-match series is due to get under way in Colombo tomorrow.  


Reports from the island nation also say that the ICC's General Manager (Cricket), David Richardson, was due in Colombo yesterday "to inspect the infrastructure" involved and that he and "other officials, including those from [the SLC], will be briefed by experts on the overall system" to be used for the trial. 


Under the PRS the captain of the fielding side and the batsman will be able to challenge a decision an umpire makes following an appeal on which they do not agree.  Reports last month indicated that the third umpire 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 and advise on his on-field colleague's decision (E-News 258-1400, 18 June 2008).   


Each team will be allowed three unsuccessful review requests per innings, but if an umpire reverses his original decision after third umpire a review, the team involved will be allowed an additional appeal.  Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara was quoted by the PTI as  saying that the new system will help "to improve" decision making by umpires”, although he also emphasised that players will have to "show responsibility when challenging a decision".


Three neutral umpires are being used by the ICC during the trial.  Mark Benson (England) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies) will be on the ground in the First Test tomorrow, while Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) will be in the third umpire's chair (E-News 278-1482, 18 June 2008).  





TCUSA umpiring member Steven John's third match in the Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane on Sunday turned out to be quite a run feast, with the Australian and Indian sides scoring 723 runs between them in just over ninety-six overs.  In his other games to date, the Tasmanian officiated in the New Zealand side's matches against both South Africa and Australia. 


Matches in the tournament got under way on Monday last week and in the succeeding eight days the six umpires involved have officiated in a total of ten games over five playing days.   So far in the series John, Andrew Collins (South Australia), Geoff Joshua (Victoria) and Norm McNamara (Queensland) have all stood in three fifty over games, and Gerard Abood (NSW) and Paul Wilson (Western Australia) in two.  Abood, Collins, Joshua and Wilson also stood in one of the two Twenty20 games played on the first day of the tournament (E-News 278-1483, 16 July 2008).  


In addition to standing in games since arriving in Brisbane on Saturday week, the six have also spent three days undergoing professional development programs (E-News 275-1469, 14 July 2008), the latest yesterday focusing on the roles of third and fourth umpires; last Saturday being their only rest day during the series.  A further development program day is listed for Thursday.


Starting today, four more match days involving a total of eight games remain in the series.  The finals, which feature matches involving first versus second and third versus fourth, are scheduled for Saturday, with the tournament dinner to be held that evening.  With four umpiring slots available in those two games, just who is chosen for them is likely to be a pointer towards how each of the umpires are viewed by the selectors.


On the final day of last year's tournament Abood and Mick Martell of Western Australia stood in the final, while John and Victorian John Ward were in charge of the third-fourth place game (E-News 74-407, 30 July 2007).  Both Martel and Ward later went on to win selection to Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel this year (E-News 251-1374, 3 June 2008).






Umpires standing in a match in the South Wales Cricket League (SWCL) last week did not react when a fielder from the opposing side picked up his wicketkeeper's discarded glove and took a return from the outfield.  However, a veteran playing in his fortieth season of senior cricket who was waiting to bat for Tondu, quickly pointed out that the Laws of Cricket had been broken, and five penalty runs were eventually awarded to Tondu, says an article in the 'Glamorgan Gazette'. 


The incident occurred when a Tondu batsman played the ball to third leg and Pentyrch's wicket keeper removed his gloves and gave chase.  One of his team mates moved to cover the stumps and picked up the keeper’s gloves and put them on.  Tondu player Clive Holmes pointed out to the umpires that the fieldsman concerned had committed an offence when he received the ball and "quoted the Law chapter and verse", says the 'Gazette' story.  


It is not clear from the article whether players were acting as umpires in the game or if SWCL officials were standing in the match.  Despite the penalty Tondu were, however, well beaten on the day.


'OLD FAT B******S' PUT 




A player in Scotland "reacted with fury" when given out LBW on the weekend, "throwing his bat, tossing away his gloves and calling both umpires "old fat b*******"s", according to a report published in 'The Scotsman' newspaper yesterday.  When he eventually left the field, Poloc batsman Saleem Sajjad compounded the situation by "hurling his bat twenty feet through the air towards the pavilion near to where a group of children were playing". 


Carlton skipper Cedric English, who took Sajjad's wicket, claimed he was astonished by his rival's outburst.  English was quoted as saying that the batsman's "reaction was totally over the top and was really quite scary", and that "he was nowhere close to getting an inside edge and, even if he had, you just can't react like that on a cricket field".  


Scotland National Cricket League (SNCL) umpires Les Redford and Alex Dowdalls subsequently filed a report on the incident, which 'The Scotsman' called a "shameful outburst", with League administrators.  A SNCL spokesman said that they "will await the umpires' report before making any comment".  Sajjad is expected to be charged under Cricket Scotland's Code of Conduct system with a Level 2 offence that carries a maximum five-game ban.


The newspaper's account says that Sajjad was "suspended for eight games two seasons ago for manhandling an umpire".






Former batsman Moin-ul Atiq has been hired by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to help "build the character" of younger players who are enrolled at its national and regional cricket academies.  A report from Karachi yesterday says that the PCB decided to engage him as "indiscipline among players" has become "a major headache" for the Board.


Moin, who played five One Day Internationals for Pakistan and has a Masters degree in sports management, told local reporters that his job "is to basically give lectures to the players [on] how to be positive about the game and their future plans".  He said that the PCB had initiated the program as it was felt there was a need to better educate and groom young players in that area of the game.



TUESDAY, 23 July 2008






Former Sri Lankan off spinner Kumar Dharmasena, who took up umpiring on his retirement two years ago, did so because the role "sounded really exciting and challenging", says a report posted on the 'Cricinfo' blog page on Sunday.  Dharmasena's pending appointment to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second tier International Umpires Panel reportedly caused consternation among Sri Lankan umpires last week (E-News 279-1487, 18 July 2008).


Dharmasena was not keen to talk about the controversy when interviewed by Cricinfo's Jamie Alter during a break in India's single warm up game on the weekend.  Talking more generally, however, he said that during the latter part of his cricketing career he thought about coaching, "but umpiring was also an ambition so [he] umpired in a few [low level] matches" and enjoyed it so he "figured, why not pursue [it] after retirement?"


Alter says that "very few" former senior Sri Lankan cricketers have taken to umpiring after retirement, however, after his initial officiating stints, Dharmasena was encouraged by his former national and club team-mate, and now ICC match referee, Roshan Mahanama, to stand in the island nation's Premier competition.  "Apart from [Mahanama]", said Dharmasena, "the main reason" he continued to work at umpiring was that he "was really backed by the ICC, [as it] wants more former cricketers to come on as umpires".


The story quotes the former bowler as saying that "umpiring came very easily" to him. "If you've played cricket at the higher level, especially as a bowler, you adapt easily [for] you just know where the bowler is coming from, you know what his tricks are", he said. 


Asked by Alter how he now feels, as a bowler who used to appeal "vociferously", when bowlers "vehemently appeal repeatedly" for a decision in their favour, Dharmasena said that he "enjoys being asked questions [as] it tests you".  No one has yet made remarks about his umpiring, especially after he's turned down an appeal, he says, and he is "thoroughly enjoying [his] life as an umpire" and wants to make a name for himself in his latest cricketing role.






The three home umpires for the One Day International (ODI) series between Sri Lanka and India next month have been named.  Asoka de Silva, a member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and Tyron Wijawardena from the world body's second tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) are to stand with West Indian Billy Doctrove in two matches each, while Gamini Silva, Sri Lanka's third umpire IUP member, has a single game. 


The series will bring de Silva's ODI tally to eighty-two matches, Wijawardena to forty-two, and Silva's to sixteen, the latter's game being his first ODI since August 2004.  Silva has been in the third umpire's suite in an ODI eight times since that August game, the latest being in the Asia Cup last month (E-News 263-1423, 27 June 2008).  He will be there again for two of next month's games, EUP member de Silva for two, and Wijawardena for one. 


Kumar Dharmesena, whose pending apppintment for the IUP caused disquiet in Sri Lankan umpiring circles last week (E-News 283-1503 above), will be the fourth umpire for two of the ODIs and Rohitha Kottachchi, Athula Senanayake and Sena Nandiweera one each.  The latter three rated fourth, seventh and ninth on Sri Lankan cricket's top ten officials list, while Dharmesena did not make that grouping (E-News 279-1487, 18 July 2008).  






Play was stopped for five minutes by the umpires in a forty over match played at Edgbaston in Birmingham last weekend so that the scoreboard could "catch up with play", says a match report published in 'The Times' in London yesterday. The call by umpires Graham Burgess and Nick Cook in a game between Warwickshire and Kent, which was greeted with slow hand-clapping by the crowd, is the second such decision made by match officials at Edgbaston inside a month.   


In a Twenty20 between Warwickshire and Somerset played late last month, 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".  One newspaper report at the time said that "the [score]board has become a consistent embarrassment to the club and simply must go" (E-News 263-1420, 27 June 2008).


Yesterday's report by 'The Times' talked about "the infamous Edgbaston scoreboard", and called it "the worst on the circuit". 






The Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) in India is contemplating the establishment of an academy for umpires as part of the State Cricket Academy (SCA) it plans to open in the first half of next year, says a report by the Press Trust of India.  


The new Academy, which is being set up along similar lines to India's Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy in order to "nurture young talents" in the Deli region, will have former Australian spinner Terry Jenner as its coach, says the report.  In commenting on the SCA, DDCA General Secretary Shyam Bansal, who stood in six Tests and thirty One Day Internationals in his umpiring career, told reporters that while plans for the players’ section of the new body are well advanced, there is still a "lot to be done" in regard to the umpiring concept.


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the country's national administrator, has been working to improve the standard of umpiring on the sub-continent.  New arrangements put into place over the last year have included a video assessment system (E-News 97-521, 11 September 2007), the appointment of umpire coaches (E-News 94-511, 6 September 2007), and more recently an agreement to introduce an umpires' exchange program with South Africa (E-News 276-1472, 15 July 2008).  


The BCCI announced last August that it had signed a three-year contract for the training and development of its umpires with Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program (GDP) (E-News 87-464, 23 August 2007).  Two training programs that featured Australian international umpire Simon Taufel were held in August and October (E-News 117-632, 15 October 2007), but since then there has been no publicity about the BBCI-GDP connection.  Despite that CA has had an active training program in Bangladesh (E-News 281-1496, 21 July 2008).





WEDNESDAY, 24 July 2008






The appointment of three neutral umpires for any future Test series that uses the Player Referral System (PRS) would be the norm, according to comments attributed by several media outlets to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) General Manager (Cricket), David Richardson, yesterday.  Richardson, who was speaking just prior to the first PRS Test getting under way in Colombo (E-News 2282-1498, 22 July 2008), is being quoted by the 'Cricinfo' web site today as saying that there may even be the case of recalling some "more experienced umpires" to be specialist television officials. 


Richardson told the media that he is confident that the PRS will would work well on a long-term basis, although he indicated that it will probably take time to satisfactorily bed the system down.  In his view "most umpires", presumably a reference to the twelve on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, are in favour of the system, for its prime purpose is to "eradicate obvious mistakes".


"A lot of people will say [the PRS is] contradictory to the spirit of the game and that players are challenging the umpires", said Richardson.  He feels, however, that it is better for the game to review decisions rather than have umpires being accused of cheating, and he referred to the reaction in India last January when West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor was burnt in effigy, and that the Board of Control for Cricket in India threaten to fly its team home (E-News 171-915, 8 January 2008).  


The biggest challenge in Richardson's view is going to be for batsman.  In situations where caught behinds and bat pads are concerned he has "no doubt that every batsman, if he is honest with himself, will know he's got the finest edge".  However, he can understand if a batsman is uncertain as to whether the ball pitches on leg stump or slightly outside in an LBW decision, and that it "might be tricky" when he gets back to the dressing room and his coach asks why the umpire's decision was not challenged. 


The biggest feature of the first day's play in the First Test between Sri Lanka and India yesterday was the weather, and no requests for a review of a decision were made.  Scheduling pressures in what is a tight international playing calendar have meant that the PRS series is being played during the island nation's Monsoon season.






'Virtual Eye', a New Zealand developed product that is similar to the 'Hawk-Eye' system used for ball-tracking in televised English cricket and disputed line calls in Grand Slam tennis, is being used during the current Player Referral System (PRS) Test trial in Sri Lanka (E-News 284-1506 above).  The NZ system is being used because of its pre-existing contract with the television broadcaster of the three-match series. 


Three officials from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which has been the official consultant to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the use of independent testing of technology, travelled to Colombo to take part in tests of the 'Virtual Eye' system.  Tony Lewis, MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) Chairman, Mike Griffith Chair of its Cricket Committee, and Fraser Stewart, the MCC’s Laws and Universities Manager, together with Simon Normington, an independent television expert, were involved in the evaluation.


Under the scrutiny of Doug Cowie, the ICC’s Umpires and Referees Manager, and the officials for the match, Mark Benson (England), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Alan Hurst (Australia), they measured Virtual Eye’s accuracy.  An MCC press release says that Indian player Rahul Dravid, who is a member of the WCC, saw the technology for himself during the testing and was “impressed by its accuracy”.


'Virtual Eye' will be used to confirm what actually happened, where the ball pitched and where it struck the batsman, but the predictive element, suggesting whether or not the ball would have hit the stumps, will not be used under ICC's playing regulations.


Lewis said that it was "important that 'Virtual Eye' was tested independently and objectively.  In his view "the standard of umpiring at Test level is so high we feel confident referrals will be few and far between, but it is right that, if a player does want to ask a question, the third umpire can have maximum confidence in the technology he has to make the decision"'.  Lewis and his colleagues "look forward to watching the match and gauging players’ and officials’ responses to the PRS".






Members of Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel (NUP) may officiate in the Women's World Cup (WWC) next March if the last such series in 2005 is any guide.  However, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) taking over the event for the first time, it is not yet clear what umpiring arrangements will be as recent publicity about the tournament made no reference to who will be officiating.


Eight teams, Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will play at six venues in New South Wales over the sixteen days from 7-22 March.  The sides will be divided into two Groups, and the top three from each will move on to the 'Super Six' stage, with the top two sides from that playing in the final. 


Umpires from South Africa's first-class panel were used during the last WWC which was held in that country two years ago, current members Shaun Geogre and Zed Ndamane standing in the final with senior Cricket South Africa match referee Cyril Mitchley overseeing the game.  


With at least six of the twenty-five games scheduled to be broadcast world-wide by the ICC's television partner ESPN Star Sports, and given the world body's apparent strong financial position (E-News 273-1463, 10 July 2008) and track record in assigning officials to its tournaments (E-News 185-999, 29 January 2008), the use of umpires from around the world next March appears possible.


Eight umpires, and possibly more if third umpires are used in televised matches, will be needed each day in the first week of the World Cup.  


Should Australian-based umpires be used, however, and if Cricket Australia (CA) wished to use NUP members, as the World Cup gets under way, six of the twelve member panel are likely to be engaged in games in the last home-and-away round of the Sheffield Shield in Hobart, Perth and Sydney.  In addition, three of them are likely to be appointed to the final of that competition from 13-17 March.  In those circumstances, early games in the WWC might therefore offer opportunities for CA's up-and-coming umpires to participate, including possibly women officials (E-News 275-1469, 14 July 2008).  


Next year's WWC, which started two years earlier that the men's version of the World Cup, will be the eighth of its kind and second played in Australia.  To date it has been played twice in England (1973 and 1993), India (1978 and 1997) and New Zealand (1982 and 2000), and once each in Australia (1988) and South Africa (2005).  Those tournaments were run by the International Women's Cricket Council, however, it has since merged with the ICC.






This year's Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane is nearing its climax with only four matches, two of them finals, left to play in the series on Friday-Saturday.  Today is a rest day for players, but for the six umpires involved it is their last full day of development training, the focus being on officiating in first-class matches.


Over the last two days, four fifty over games have been played, each of the six umpires getting at least one match.  Gerald Abood (NSW) and Paul Wilson (Western Australia) stood in two matches and Andrew Collins (South Australia), Steven John (Tasmania), Geoff Joshua (Victoria) and Norm McNamara (Queensland) one each.  


Since the series began ten days ago, all six umpires have stood in four fifty over matches each, with Abood, Collins, Joshua and Wilson also having a single Twenty20 game each under their belt in the tournament (E-News 282-1499, 22 July 2008).




THURSDAY, 25 July 2008






The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Player Referral System (PRS) was utilised for the first time in a Test match yesterday, one referral initiated by the fielding side going with the on-field umpire's decision, while another by a batsman saw him win a reprieve at the crease.  Both referrals occurred on day two of the Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo after most of the opening day had been affected by monsoonal rain (E-News 284-1507, 24 July 2008). 


The first referral in Test cricket history, which turned out to be unsuccessful, occurred in the forty-sixth over the match and twenty-fourth of the day, when Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh struck Sri Lanka's Malinda Warnapura on the pads with a delivery that pitched on middle stump and seemed to most observers to be drifting down leg.  


The subsequent LBW appeal was turned down by England international umpire Mark Benson, but Harbhajan's skipper Anil Kumble challenged the decision.  After reviewing the situation, third umpire Rudi Koertzen from South Africa also ruled it not out as 'Virtual Eye' (E-News 285-1514 below) showed the ball hadn't straightened enough to hit the stumps.  Warnapura, who was then on 86, went on to make a century.


Later in the day the first referral by a batsman took place after Tillakaratne Dilshan stood his ground after Benson gave him 'out' caught behind to Zaheer Khan.  To the naked eye a plume of dust erupted as the ball passed the bat but there was a sound as well, however, despite a number of replays Koertzen was not sure if Dilshan had hit the ball, and he was therefore given 'not out'; eventually going on to make 125 without being beaten. Neither 'Snickometer' or 'Hotspot' were available to Koertzen as the ICC is not yet satisfied as to their accuracy.


Media reports from Colombo yesterday say that a side effect of the PRS to date has been that there were, in Cricinfo's words, "far fewer nonsensical" appeals, and the distinct lack of "the distasteful recent habit of fielders crowding the umpire and pressuring him into mistakes".






New South Wales based umpire Gerald Abood is to stand in his second Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) final tomorrow when teams from Australia and New Zealand meet at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.  Abood, who partnered the now new National Umpires Panel member Mick Martell of Western Australia in last year's final (E-News 74-407, 30 July 2007), will officiate with Geoff Joshua of Victoria in Saturday's match.


Umpires for the other game tomorrow between the third and fourth place getters in the series, India and South Africa, will be Andrew Collins (South Australia) and Paul Wilson (Western Australia).  Norm McNamara (Queensland) and Steven John (Tasmania) have been named as the reserve umpires for the final and third-fourth games respectively, while Brett Silva who is to leave Cricket Australia next week, is the tournament referee (E-News 275-1470, 14 July 2008).   


Today's EPT matches were washed out and it is not known which umpires were assigned to those games.  The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting fine weather in Brisbane tomorrow with a maximum temperature of twenty degrees Celsius for the last EPT matches.






The International Cricket Council (ICC) may allow communications between the on-field and third umpires when the Player Referral System (PRS) is in operation to be broadcast 'live' if the current Test-based trial works satisfactorily, says Dave Richardson, the ICC's General Manager (Cricket).  Should that be the case such discussions would go to air in 'real time' as is the case in rugby today.


Richardson told the media in Colombo where the first of the PRS trial Tests between the home side and India is underway (E-News 285-1511 above), that for the time being the world body "will be recording the conversation between the [umpires so that it can] check whether they are communicating properly".  "For now, it won't be live, as sometimes a good decision can also be spoilt due to poor communication", said Richardson.  


Despite that there is no prohibition on showing 'visuals' of the third umpire making the decision on television. 






New Zealand company Animation Research was only given "short notice" to prepare for an on-site examination of its 'Virtual Eye' technology prior to the Test-based Player Referral System (PRS) trial, says its Managing Director Ian Taylor.  The NZ system was "only officially tested by International Cricket Council (ICC) delegates on Monday", two days before the Test began", says an article in Thursday's 'Otago Times'.


'Virtual Eye', which has been developed at a cost of around $A1m by the Dunedin-based company over the last eighteen months, is a combined ball-tracking system and animated graphic display package that was originally targeted at the Indian market.  It is being used in the PRS ahead of the more well-known 'Hawk Eye' system because Animation Research has a pre-existing contract with the television broadcaster who has the rights to the current three Test series (E-News 284-1508, 24 July 2008), 


Taylor was quoted by the 'Otago Times' as saying that his company "had toyed with the idea of turning [the opportunity to demonstrate their technology] down because [the] feeling was it was going to be real tough".  "A lot of people [outside the company] doubted it and questioned whether it was accurate or not", and "so did we", said the Managing Director, however, 'Virtual Eye' was "given an emphatic pass mark and is accurate to within 1.9 mm". 


"We'd never been to the ground [where the First Test is being played] and had no experience of the conditions there [so] it was a nerve-racking experience", but to have those official numbers after independent analysis, "you know you can deliver with real confidence", said Taylor.  He hopes that "the vote of confidence" from the ICC will help 'Virtual Eye' break Hawk-Eye's 'stranglehold' on the market.






Two umpires who met when they were appointed to stand together in a tour match in Sri Lanka nearly two years ago, have continued their pairing off the field of play by getting married, says a report in Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper.  


West Indian born Englishman Jerry Seevaram, who was visiting the island nation as an umpire with a local team from England in October 2005, and Sri Lanka's most senior women umpire Kanthi Doolwela, struck up a friendship during the match that eventually led to matrimony.


Doolwela, who will now live in England with Seevaram, joined Sri Lanka's Association of Cricket Umpires in 1999 and has since moved on to qualify as a Grade 2 level umpire in that country.  A former player and Level 1 qualified coach, Doolwela represented Sri Lanka on a tour of India and was her country's vice captain when the side traveled to Malaysia earlier this year.  


During a visit to England last year Doolwela joined the England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials and officiated in several League fixtures in Essex, and she plans to continue her umpiring and coaching career in her adopted country.