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August 08 (288-303)

 TCUSA E-NEWS AUGUST 2008

 

16 EDITIONS 

 

Number 288 –   1 August 2008 [EN1526-1530]

Number 289 –   3 August 2008 [EN1531-1536]

Number 290 –   6 August 2008 [EN1537-1542]

Number 291 –   8 August 2008 [EN1543-1544]

Number 292 – 10 August 2008 [EN1545-1548]

Number 293 – 11 August 2008 [EN1549-1552]

Number 294 – 13 August 2008 [EN1554-1556]

Number 295 – 14 August 2008 [EN1557-1559]

Number 296 – 15 August 2008 [EN1560-1562]

Number 297 – 18 August 2008 [EN1563-1568]

Number 298 – 19 August 2008 [EN1569-1572]

Number 299 – 21 August 2008 [EN1573-1578]

Number 300 – 22 August 2008 [EN1579-1582]

Number 301 – 25 August 2008 [EN1583-1584]

Number 302 – 27 August 2008 [EN1585-1588]

Number 303 – 30 August 2008 [EN1589-1593]

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 288, 1 August 2008

 

 

LOOSERS 'CONCERNED', WINNERS POSITIVE, ABOUT PRS TRIAL

[EN288-1526] 

 

India is reported to have raised "concerns" about the Player Referral System (PRS) currently being trialed in the Test series against Sri Lanka, say press reports from the island nation. During the opening Test of the trial last week, referred decisions fortuitously fell the way of Sri Lanka and played an important role in that side's comprehensive win. 

 

Reports from Galle on the eve of the Second Test on Wednesday say that Indian captain Anil Kumble met with match officials to raise "reservations" about the system, although precisely what those concerns are was not reported.  Kumble was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as only saying that that "a few [wickets that India thought it had taken] were obviously negated under the referral system", and that it "definitely requires a review but it is too early to say".    

 

Mahela Jayawardene, Kumble's opposite number in the series, was very positive about the outcomes of the trial immediately after the match (E-News 286-1511, 28 July 2008).  Jayawardene believes that the new system "definitely reduced the margin of error".

 

Another Sri Lankan, Kumar Sangakkara, said that it is too early to draw a conclusion, although his initial assessment was that it "appeared to be promising".  Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan believes the referral system is helpful to cricket as there could be "no more excuses for defeats", said the PTI report, while Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has "no qualms" with the experiment.

 

Australian bowler Brett Lee has expressed his reservations about the system, although his thoughts appear to centre on the general philosophy involved and not operational specifics (E-News 287-1523, 30 July 2008). 

 

Meanwhile, Troy McNeill, Operations Manager of the New Zealand company that developed 'Virtual Eye', the ball tracking device being used in the trial, called its use to date "a success", according to the 'Otago Times' yesterday.  In the story McNeill said the system was accurate to within 1.9mm but that he had "some reservations" about its ability to "predict the path of the ball".  

 

"Everybody knows" a cricket ball is not [perfectly] round and there are a number of variables which can go into the prediction", he said, and that it is therefore "the man in the middle was still in the best position to made a decision on whether the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps".  

 

To date India's team management has not made any official statement on the pre-match meeting Kumble is said to have had with match referee Alan Hurst (Australia), and umpires Mark Benson (England), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) and Billy Doctrove (South Africa).  Koertzen and Doctrove are on the field for the Second Test, while Benson is the third or television umpire (E-News 278-1482, 17 July 2008).

 

TEAM REFUSES TO PLAY BECAUSE OF 'INCOMPETENT UMPIRING'

[EN288-1527] 

 

What was described by a captain as "incompetent umpiring" by an official in a match played in Essex last weekend, led to his team walking away from the match, says a report published in the 'Barking and Dagenham Post' on Wednesday. Managers of the League concerned are understood to be planning to hold an inquiry into what happened in the match in the near future.

 

The side from 'Goodmayes and Blythswood' are reported to have been "incensed at poor umpiring" and the "etiquette" of their opponents 'Cosmopolitan' when they fielded in the opening innings of a forty-five over, one-day match last Saturday.  However, despite their concerns the side bowled the full set of rovers required and were in what the match report says was potentially a "good position" to win the game , when they refused to bat.

 

As quoted by the 'Post', 'Goodmayes and Blythswood' skipper Mark Embery said that when his team were in the field, the umpire concerned, who was not named, "was swayed by the opposition and it seemed that if they complained about a decision he reversed it and gave it to them".  

 

Emphasising that his side had "no problems with the other umpire", Embery continued by saying that the official concerned "is a panel [member] so should be of a good standard".  However, he was, claimed the captain, "incompetent and poor", he "didn't know the rules and what a bye or a wide were", and that "we'll be taking this to the league as [the umpire's] performance was truly awful". 

 

In addition to umpiring concerns, Embery and his side were also unhappy with the "attitude of the opposition", whom he felt "made a bad situation worse".  "They were rude and actually quite nasty out there at times", and "were determined to influence the umpire and it clearly worked".

 

For their part the Cosmopolitan side were left "confused" by their opponents' move, player John Stanley saying that he doesn't "understand why [Embery's side] bowled all their overs and then did not come out to bat".  According to him "the atmosphere [out on the ground] was not that bad, and although the umpire was not correct one hundred per cent of the time and made a few bad decisions, he was not incompetent".

 

Contacted for comment, the committee of the Essex League declined to talk about the game, however, they are understood to be planning to look into the matter in the near future.

 

KENYANS FACE REPORT FOR 'UMPIRE ABUSE', CLAIMS STORY

[EN288-1528] 

 

The Kenyan side is be reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) "for abuse of umpires" in a warm-up game played in the lead up to this weekend's World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in Northern Ireland, claims a story posted on cricket writer Charles Randall's web site overnight.  

 

Randall quotes Gordon Child, the team manager of Minor Counties, Kenya's opponents in the match, as saying that the African side "were surly and uncommunicative" and that their abuse of the umpires "was absolutely shocking".  Child had apparently "never seen anything like it", and that indicated that "on receipt of the umpires' report the matter would be taken up with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the ICC". 

 

Following Zimbabwe's withdraw from next year's tournament, the top three countries from the weekend's qualifying event will progress to next June's world championship in England (E-News 258-1404, 18 June 2008).  On the eve of the series the ICC has yet to publicly name the match referees or umpires who will manage the games in Belfast over the next three days (E-News 286-1519, 28 July 2008).

 

TWENTY STITCHES FOR SQUARE LEG UMP

[EN288-1529] 

 

An umpire in England is on the mend after suffering a serious facial injury that needed more than twenty stitches during an Under 16s match in Oxfordshire last weekend.  David Blake, who was standing at square leg at the time, was hit in the face by a ball hooked by the batsman at the crease.

 

The match had to be stopped for twenty minutes immediately after the incident so that Blake could receive treatment, then an ambulance took him to a hospital in nearby Oxford.  Blake is said to have bled "extensively" from the wound, and he had to stay in hospital overnight while doctors tried to stem the flow.

 

The umpire said later that "it was just a freak accident", as he "didn't see the ball at all".  "I know there was a lot of blood and my face is a bit of a mess", he said, before going on to thank players and officials from both of the side's involved "for their swift actions".  Despite the injury Blake has "definitely not put off umpiring", and he hopes to return to the game in the near future.

 

A Scottish umpire required six stitches and spent the night in hospital after he was struck by a ball during a game in May (E-News 246-1358, 26 May 2008).

 

BCB UMPIRE, DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEES RECONSTITUTED

[EN288-1530] 

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) last week reconstituted both its Umpires and Disciplinary committees as part of a move that included similar changes to all fifteen of its Standing Committees.  

 

The five-man Umpires Committee is now made up of Feroz Ahmed (chairman), Shafiqur Rahman (vice-chairman), AFM Akteruddin (member-secretary), and Tanjib Ahsan and AKM Abdul Hannan Akber (members).  The two senior members of the group, Feroz Ahmed and Shafiqur Rahman, are likely to be particularly busy for each has a senior position on two and four other BCB committees respectively.

 

The Disciplinary group, which is also made up of five individuals, consists of Ishtiaque Ahmad as Chairman, Gazi Ashraf Hossain Lipu as Vice-Chairman), Rashed Chowdhury (member-Secretary), members Zahandar Rashid and Mahfuzur Rahman Siddique. 

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 289, 3 August 2008

 

EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE, KEY TO SELECTION SAYS COWIE 

[EN289-1531]

 

Sri Lankan umpires have been told that experience and knowledge of the Laws of cricket are the key factors considered when selecting international umpires, and not whether an official has played at that level of the game.  International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpires and Referees manager Doug Cowie is said to have made the comments at a "specially convened" meeting of twenty-two senior umpires from the island nation in Galle last Wednesday, according to the 'Daily Mirror' newspaper in Colombo.   

 

Cowie's meeting took place a week after twenty-nine umpires who officiate at the top level of cricket within Sri Lanka, met Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge to complain about what they termed as the "injustice" and "favouritism" behind the elevation of former international player Kumar Dharmasena to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (E-News 283-1503, 23 July 2008).  The group are said to have told Lokuge that Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) had "violated accepted procedure" in appointing Dharmasena as he was not ranked in its latest top ten list of umpires.  

 

That top ten list is compiled annually by the SLC's Umpires’ Committee using observations of each umpire's on-field performance and the results of a written exam on the Laws.  The delegation told the Sports Minister that Dharmasena's promotion had meant that many "skilled, experienced and higher ranked umpires" had been overlooked by the SLC.  The 'Mirror' says the group also indicated that they had consulted their lawyers and they would "take legal action unless their grievances are adequately addressed".

 

It is not clear in the 'Mirror' article just who instigated the meeting between the local umpires and Cowie, although he is unlikely to have attended the gathering without the approval of the SLC.  New Zealander Cowie, who has stood in Test and One Day Internationals, is said to have emphasised "in no uncertain terms" that playing internationals is not a pre-requisite; giving himself as an example for he stood at that level without playing there.  In addition to his comments on experience, decision-making and knowledge of the Laws, Cowie is reported to have said that age is not a barrier to becoming a quality umpire.

 

Cowie is in Sri Lanka to monitor the Player Referral System that is being trialed during the current Test series between Sri Lanka and India (E-News 286-1511, 28 July 2008).

 

TCA ROSTERS NEARING RELEASE

[EN289-1532]

 

Rosters for 2008-09 Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) matches are in an advance stage of preparation and will be finalised and released once Cricket Australia completes all of its scheduling details for the coming season.  

 

When details of the TCA's home-and-away and finals games are formally released, the dates of the TCUSA's fourteen Training-Appointments meetings for the season ahead will be added to the schedule of activities at the bottom of this newsletter and on the web site.  

 

Only this Wednesday's Laws exam and October's Annual Seminar are currently detailed on the Association's forward events program.

 

TAUFEL REPORTED HAPPY WITH PAKISTAN SECURITY

[EN289-1533]

 

Australian international umpire Simon Taufel is said to be confident about the security situation in Pakistan and is prepared to stand in next month's Champions Trophy series if he is selected.  Taufel has been to Pakistan "half a dozen times, his most recent visit being in June for the Asia Cup in which he stood in seven games, including the final (E-News 264-1426, 28 June 2008).

 

In an article published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' today, Taufel was quoted as saying that "there are no guarantees in any area of life", but in all his "experiences there, the Pakistan people have been friendly and hospitable".  Speaking via telephone from Scotland, Taufel said that Pakistan authorities "make a huge effort in the security stakes", and that "at no stage [has he] felt worried, in danger or threatened in [that country]".  

 

Taufel's comments come in the wake of fears that members of several nations who are to take part in the series could opt out because of security concerns.  Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Nasim Ashraf last week evoked what he said were the views of international umpires while defending the International Cricket Council's decision to continue to play next month's tournament in his country (E-News 285-1522, 30 July 2008). 

 

Given the number of matches scheduled for the Champions Trophy, it appears unlikely that all twelve of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel will be selected for the tournament.  If comments senior administrators on the sub-continent have made about umpires Steve Bucknor (West Indies) and Darrell Hair (Australia) and West Indian are any guide, that pair are unlikely to be in the group finally selected. 

 

HAIR MAKES INTERNATIONAL TWENTY20 DEBUTE

[EN289-1534]

 

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair made his debute in an international Twenty20 match over the weekend in the six-team, second-tier nation, qualifying tournament that in being played in Belfast in Northern Ireland (E-News 286-1519, 28 July 2008).  Hair's only previously recorded Twenty20 fixture at any significant level was in June 2005 when Yorkshire took on Lancashire at Headingley.

 

Hair was not the only umpire to stand in his first international Twenty20 during the series.  The other three on-field officials involved, Paul Baldwin (Germany), Neils Bagh (Denmark) and Sarika Prasad (Singapore) were also standing internationally in that form of the game for the first time.  Match referee Chris Broad had managed a total of fourteen Twenty20 international before the current series, nine of them in last year's inaugural World Tewnty20 Championships in South Africa (E-News 102-562, 22 September 2007).   

 

Six matches are being played in the qualifiying tournament over the weekend.  The five remaining games of the series, including the final, are to be played on Monday and Tuesday, the two finalists and the winner of the third and fourth place game going on to take part in next year's World Twenty20 Championship in England.  

 

KOERTZEN 'INDISPOSED', FOURTH UMPIRE MOVES TO TV CHAIR

[EN289-1535]

 

South African umpire Rudi Keortzen fell ill on the second day of the Second Test between Sri Lanka and India in Galle on Friday and had to be replaced on the field by third official Mark Benson of England.  Benson was in turn replaced by Gamini Silva, the fourth umpire for the Test and Sri Lanka's television umpire on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel.

 

Silva had a busy day on Friday with six decisions made on the field being referred to him as part of the Player Referral System trial that is being conducted by the ICC during the three-Test series (E-News 286-1511, 28 July 2008).  After examining the replays of a number of those incidents, two of them LBWs and the others a stumping and a run out, several Indian media outlets, including the 'Hindustan Times', were not happy with the final rulings made.  The 'Times' asked whether "a mis-communication between the third umpire and the on-field umpire resulted in the wrong decision being made?"

 

The last time a fourth umpire had to occupy the television chair in a Test match was in Hobart last November.  Australian Peter Parker had to replace ill Pakistani Aleem Dar on the field, and the fourth umpire, TCUSA member Steven John, became third umpire for a number of hours (E-News 136-737, 17 November 2007). 

 

RESIGNATION FOLLOWS SCORE SHEET 'FAKE' 

[EN289-1536]

 

A "fake match report" that claimed a bowler had taken all ten wickets in a village match in Cambridgeshire has led to the resignation of a club Chairman, says a story in last week's 'Wisbech Standard'.  The doctoring of the score card was only discovered several days after considerable publicity had been given in the region to Wimblington's Ahmed Anver's reported perfect haul.

 

Fenstanton, the side against which Anvers was said to have taken the ten wickets, played the game with only ten men and eventually lost by 109 runs.  While the bowler took all of the nine wickets that were available to him, after the match someone from his side added a 'T. Mason' to the number eleven slot and credited his 'dismissal' to Anvers so that he had ten wickets against his name. 

 

Richard Corbert, the Secretary of Fenstanton and who played in the game, told the 'Wisbech Standard' that he has been involved with his club for many years and "we don't have a 'T Mason' [and] indeed have never had a 'T Mason' play for us".  Corbet was apparently not aware of the addition until he saw the score sheet in his local paper.   

 

Bill Anderson, Wimblington's Chairman, was said to have been "furious" at his side's dishonesty, saying that what was done was "a blatant lie".  After his club's committee opted for what was described as "only a verbal caution against the bowler and a written reprimand to the captain", Anderson resigned his position in protest.  He has now moved to another club coaching juniors and is "not going to take up a [club] Chairmanship again".

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 290, 6 August 2008

 

CSA SHUFFLES IUP MEMBERS, ERASMUS PROMOTED 

[EN290-1537]

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has shuffled two of its members on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and dropped another, however, despite that the membership of its national umpire and match referee panels remains unchanged for the year ahead.  The most significant move announced by CSA on Monday was the promotion of up-and-coming umpire Marais Erasmus from South Africa's third umpire slot on the IUP to an on field position alongside long-serving official Brian Jerling. 

 

CSA said in a statement released on Monday that Erasmus' promotion follows "outstanding" performances in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia earlier this year.  Reports at the time indicated that he would have been appointed to stand in the main final of that competition had South Africa not been one of the teams involved (E-News 203-1119, 2 March 2008).  

 

A former player, who appeared in fifty-three first-class matches for Boland, he made his One Day International debut late last year, chalking up three such games to date, and has worked as the third official in seven Tests.  Earlier this year he traveled to the West Indies to officiate in an international Under-15 Championship (E-News 227-1266, 15 April 2008).

 

The elevation of Erasmus, who is 44, comes at the expense of Ian Howell who has been on the IUP as an on-field umpire since the panel was first established by the ICC in April 2002.  Howell has been moved into the third umpires slot previously occupied by both Erasmus and Karl Hurter, the latter having been dropped from the IUP altogether after three years as a television official.  

 

CSA Manager of Operations, Mike Gajjar said in the statement that "we are delighted with the progress our umpires are making in world cricket [and that] in retaining the same panels we feel that transfer of skills initiative put in place last season will sustain us for the future".  

 

"The overall performance of the umpires was of a very high standard during the past season" and that enables "the players to enjoy the game", he said.  Despite the success, however, CSA's umpire development work and "is an ongoing process and will continue", said Gajjar. 

 

MATCH OFFICIALS ABANDON TWENTY20 QUALIFIER FINAL

[EN290-1538]

 

Match officials assigned to the final of the World Twenty20 qualifying competition in Belfast, Northern Ireland yesterday, were forced to abandon the match without a ball being bowled when persistent rain and heavy clouds prevented play.  Australian international umpire Darrell Hair and Germany's Paul Baldwin were appointed to the final and also handled the critical game for third and fourth place which was fortuitously played in better weather the day before.

 

The washout mean that during the four-day, eleven match tournament Baldwin and Hair were appointed to a total of six games and their colleagues Neils Bagh (Denmark) and Sarika Prasad (Singapore) five each (E-News 289-1534, 3 August 2008).  Of Hair's six matches, Baldwin was his partner in four of them and Bagh and Prasad once each, while the latter two stood with each other three times.

 

Both teams involved in the final, Ireland and the Netherlands, now advance to next year's tournament in England, as does Scotland who finished in third place.

 

FATHER-SON LINK UNDERMINES CREDIBILITY, CLAIMS SKIPPER

[EN290-1539]

 

Scotland's cricket administrators have been criticised for allowing one of its umpires to stand in a match in the country's top-flight competition in which his son was a participant.  The matter came to a head when the son appealed for an LBW decision off his own bowling, a request that was upheld by his father who was at the bowler's end. 

 

Skipper of the Carlton side Cedric English, whose batsman was given out by umpire Mac Wylie off the bowling of his son Doug, called on the game's administrators in his country to get their "house in order" by removing an anomaly that "threatens to undermine the game's credibility", says a story in the Monday edition of the Edinburugh's 'Evening News'.

 

While refusing to criticise the dismissal that brought the issue into the public domain, English insists that such a scenario reflects badly on only one source, the game's administrators.  "To have a situation where a father is umpiring his son in a top-flight area of Scottish sport, the best the game is played at domestically, is pretty unique", said English.  

 

The former Scotland all-rounder "made it clear", says the newspaper, that "the image of cricket north of the border was at stake, at least compared to other sports".  "It is something that should have been dealt with at a high level so people are not put in this kind of position", said English.  "We wouldn't have been allowed to play with our club umpire, Martin Flynn, standing, so why is this allowed?", as "it is just not fair on anyone, particularly the umpire or any player".

 

Referring to how cricket stood to be mocked in some quarters, English said "it's not right because afterwards people are talking about this and they shouldn't be".  "When I saw Mac Wylie walk through the door of our club before the start of play I thought 'this is interesting'", said Carlton's skipper, whose side went on to loose a fifty over match by 111 runs.

 

COMPLAINTS OF SIGHT-SCREEN HEIGHT REPORTED DISMISSED

[EN290-1540]

 

South African batsmen complained to the umpires during last week's Second Test between England and South Africa that the sight screen at one end of the ground at Edgbaston was not high enough to provide full cover for England player Andrew Flintoff's bowling action.  

 

Media reports say that the batsmens' concerns, which occurred on day two of the match during a time Flintoff "was rampant" and took a series of key wickets, were said to have been "dismissed for four overs" by umpires Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Steve Davis (Australia) "until bad ended play for the day".  

 

UNSAFE SURFACE LEADS TO MATCH ABANDONMENT 

[EN290-1541]

 

A match was abandoned in Liverpool, England, last Saturday after turf relayed on the ground was considered unsafe for play by the umpires and both captains.  Southport and Birkdale's (SAB) ground had been used as a car park for the week of the British Open Golf Championship, a move that raised around $A150,000 for the local club, but attempts to repair problem areas in time for a scheduled match were thwarted by bad weather.

 

Following its use as a car park, a three metre wide strip of turf had to be relaid along the whole of the square where bowlers approach the pitch to deliver the ball.  The terms of the contract between SAB and the hirees committed the latter to repair any damage caused by vehicles going on to the ground, however, the work was well underway when a violent storm turned the ground into a lake.  That meant that turf laying was not completed until the morning of the match.

 

Umpires Ray Rigby and David Jones inspected the ground and judged that the relaid area was not safe to play on for either the bowlers or fielders, for "parts of it [were] extremely unstable".  Their particular concern was that the area included the region where bowlers "gather themselves before their delivery stride", a location where "a bowler is entitled to a firm surface when he is running in, otherwise he runs the risk of serious injury", said Rigby.  The two captains involved agreed with the umpires' assessment. 

 

SAB Chairman Peter Thomas, was unapologetic about his decision to rent out the ground as the "chance [for the club] to earn that sort of money will only come around once every ten years if that", he said.  The money raised will benefit all sports played by the club over the next decade.

 

As yet it is not clear whether SAB will suffer any penalty as a result of the abandonment.  The umpires' report is said to have contained no criticism of the club whatsoever, but a final decision has yet to be reached by the Liverpool competition's Management Committee.

 

NEXT ACO NEWSLETTER IMMINENT, SAYS ECB

[EN290-1542]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) says that the next edition of its Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) newsletter is "at the printers" and will be released via the post office in paper form and on its web site in the "very near future".  What is anticipated as the August edition will be the third produced by the Association since it was formed last January, and the first since the last issue was circulated in April (E-News 268-1438, 2 July 2008).

 

Paul Bedford, the ECB's Operations Manager for non first-class cricket, told E-News during a meeting at Lord's on Monday that the newsletter will detail some of the outcomes of the latest meeting of the ACO's interim Board held on 7 July.  Bedford said that issue content was finalised last Friday, but although the web version is "ready to go", it will not be posted until the printed version is available for distribution to the ACO's 5,000 plus members, as to do so "would be unfair to those without the internet".

 

Among the matters the interim Board was due to consider last month, and which may be reported on in the next newsletter, were the establishment of County-based umpiring and scoring groups, ACO staffing issues, and terms of references for its planned 'Education', 'Member Services' and 'Audit' sub-committees.

 

The April 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).

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 291, 8 August 2008

 

 

DECISION TIMES IN PRS TRIAL AN ISSUE, SAY REPORTS

[EN291-1543]

 

The time taken to review decisions during the Player Referral System (PRS) trial in the Test series between Sri Lanka and India needs addressing, say recent media reports.  "Too many reviews can get tiresome and create major interruptions in the game", says 'Cricinfo', while 'The Hindu' newspaper quotes an International Cricket Council (ICC) "advisor" as well as Indian captain Anil Kumble as saying that there is a need to address adjudication delays.

 

The current trial, which has already highlighted a number of system issues that need consideration (E-News 288-1526, 1 August 2008), will conclude with the Third and final Test match of the series which gets underway in Colombo this afternoon Australian time.  Mark Benson (England) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa) are the on-field umpires for that game, with Billy Doctrove (West Indies) in the third umpires' chair (E-News 278-1482, 17 July 2008).  

 

In the latest edition of the 'Cricinfo Magazine', editor Sambit Bal focused on the morning session of the fourth day of the Second Test in Galle late last week.  Four reviews, each of which took between four to five minutes to resolve, meant that over a quarter-of-an-hour was taken out of a session that had been extended by half an hour as a result of weather delays the previous day.  

 

Bal points out that under current PRS rules a total of twenty four unsuccessful reviews are allowed in a Test, and more if successful referrals are included (E-News 258-1400, 18 June 2008).  If it took three to five minutes to resolve each one of them says Bal, anything between one-and-a-quarter and two hours of play could be lost over the five days of a Test.  

 

He asks whether Test cricket, which its already challenged by slow over rates (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008), "can afford to slow itself down even further?", especially as in his view "it's clear [from the two Tests to date] that teams will ask for reviews simply because they have a few pending". 

 

Sangakarra's captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is positive about the trial, added a further twist to the time issue when he apparently told Reuters News Agency that a fielding captain who is successful in a referral, "should be able to ask the umpire why he said 'not out'"; a move that could add to further delays.

 

Senaka Weeraratana, a former consultant to the Sri Lankan Law Commission who the Press Trust of India indicates has submitted a report on the PRS to ICC General Manager (Cricket) David Richardson, is also concerned about delays in play associated with referrals. 

 

 Quotes attributed to him say that "if the umpires believe that a request has not been made promptly they may at their discretion decline to review the decision", for players "cannot take longer than a few seconds to seek an umpire referral". 

 

Weeraratana believes though that "a system that enhances a greater degree of accuracy in decision making is innately better than a system that merely rests on tradition" with umpires making their own judgements, for "the notion of justice is infinitely superior to that of tradition".

 

However, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakarra, writing in his column in the 'Daily Telegraph' in the UK, says that the PRS "has added a new tactical dimension [and that] you need to use your referrals selectively [according to] which batsmen you want to use them against" and "the stage the game is at".  "Fritter them away and it could cost you dearly".  In his assessment a "pattern has started to emerge whereby the overturning of decisions will be rare", a view that suggests fewer referrals will occur if the system comes into more routine use 

 

The ICC will undoubtedly look into the lessons of the PRS trial once the current Test series ends, however, as yet what the timetable for that evaluation, and just who will carry it out have not ben made public.

 

 

TWENTY FIVE MATCH BAN FOR DISSENT, ABUSE

[EN291-1544]

 

A player in Scotland who "reacted with fury" when given out LBW in a top club level match last month was handed a twenty-five match ban on Tuesday by his league's disciplinary committee, according the 'Daily Record' web site.  Saleem Sajjad tossed away his gloves, called umpires Les Redford and Alex Dowdalls "old fat b*******"s" and, when near the boundary, hurled his bat towards the pavilion near to where a group of children were playing (E-News 280-1501, 22 July 2008). 

 

Initial media reports after the incident said that Sajjad was expected to be charged under Cricket Scotland's Code of Conduct system with a Level 2 offence, the maximum penalty under that statute being a five-game ban.  If that report is correct it is not clear why an extra twenty games were added to that penalty, although an article in 'The Scotsman' two weeks ago said that Sajjad had been suspended for eight games several years ago for manhandling an umpire, and that may have been taken into account.

 

Scottish National Cricket League spokesman Stewart Oliver was quoted by the 'Daily Record' on Wednesday as saying that "Mr Sajjad has seven days to lodge an appeal".  Oliver indicated that "under the terms of his ban Sajjad can play for his club this [coming] weekend".

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 292, 8 August 2008

 

FORMER SPEEDSTER MAKES UMPIRING 'DEBUTE'

[EN292-1545]

 

Former South African bowler Allan Donald stood in first-class cricket as an umpire for the first time last Thursday on day one of Warwickshire's four-day match against Northamptonshire  at Edgbaston.  Donald, who is Warwickshire's bowling coach, spent the first ninety-minutes of the game at square leg after umpire Vanburn Holder was forced to pull out of the game before the start of play with a bad back.   

 

Holder's colleague Graham Burgess, who was officiating in his 258th first-class match in what to date has been a nineteen year career at that level, looked after duties at both bowling ends until Jeremy Lloyds arrived at the ground just before lunch to relieve the South African.  Lloyds is standing in his 139th first-class game, five of which have been in Tests in Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and the West Indies.

 

Northamptonshire, which won the toss and decided to bat, did not loose any wickets while their opponent's Bowling Coach was on the field.

 

NSW TRAINERS TO PRESENT COURSES FOR INDIAN UMPIRES

[EN292-1546]

 

Two umpire trainers from the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) are to travel to India to present training courses in Mumbai and Bangalore before the end of September, says an article posted on the Association's web site on Friday.  NSWCUSA members Graham Chudleigh and Nick Fowler, who had previously been chosen to run a series of courses in Bangladesh for Cricket Australia's Global Development Program (GDP) next month (E-News 281-1496, 21 July 2008), are to add their Indian visits to that trip. 

 

The NSWCUSA says that Chudleigh is to present a Level 1 Umpire Educator Course in Mumbai for the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) from 26 August to 1 September.  Last month the web site said that he and Fowler were to present separate Level 1 programs for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) during the first half of September in Dhaka.  

 

It is not clear whether those programs are still scheduled, but the pair will, says the latest information, work together to present a Level 2 Umpire Course in Dhaka for the BCB from 13-18 September.  After that Fowler is to travel to Banglaore to present "three courses to India’s representative umpire panels" from 21-28 September for the BCCI.

 

Chudleigh and Fowler are the second and third NSWCUSA members who have worked in education and training programs in India, says the Association. 

 

NSWCUSA Life Member, and International Cricket Council Elite Umpires Panel member Simon Taufel presented several courses there as part of CA's GDP last August and October (E-News 117-632, 15 October 2007), but since then there has been no publicity given to the BBCI-GDP connection (E-News 283-1506, 23 July 2008).

 

'INJURED' BATSMAN'S RETURN REFUSED, UMPIRES NOT INFORMED

[EN292-1547]

 

Umpires in a match in the Thames Valley League in England last week did not allow a batsman to resume his innings after he left the field during play because he had not informed them that he was injured, says a report in the 'Maidenhead Advertiser' on Friday.  

 

Maidenhead and Bray player Karen Kumar was injured while batting early on in his side's run chase against Datchet and had to leave the field of play for treatment.  It appears from the newspaper's report, however, that neither he, his batting partner, or any of his team mates, thought to inform the umpires.  

 

Given that Kumar was batting at number three, it is difficult to fathom why the umpires did not notice he was leaving the field and seek an explanation, but the 'Advertiser' story does not provide any detail in that regard.  Law 2.9 says in part that while a batsman "may retire at any time during his innings", the umpires "shall be informed of the reason" before they allow play to proceed.  

 

Kumar made his way to the crease to resume his innings after a wicket fell later in the innings, and it was then that the umpires made their ruling. They did, however, offer fielding captain Nick Tilley the opportunity to call Kumar back, but he decided against it and play resumed, therefore the batsman was recorded as 'Retired - out' in the score book. 

 

Law 2.9(b) states that a batsman who retires for any other reason but "illness, injury or any other unavoidable cause", "may only resume his innings with the consent of the opposing captain". 

 

Tilley was quoted by the 'Advertiser" as saying that Kumar "went off the pitch and didn’t tell the umpires so when he returned [they] made the decision that he couldn’t play on".  That’s why they are paid [the equivalent of $A70] a week", he said.  

 

Despite Kumar's absence his side still managed to win the match. 

 

TWO BATSMAN RULED 'OUT' OFF A SINGLE BALL

[EN292-1548]

 

A team in Barbados won the final of a lucrative club 'Thirty30' competition despite loosing two batsmen off a single ball in controversial circumstances at the 'Three Ws' Oval in Bridgetown last Wednesday.  Media reports are suggesting that after lengthy consultation and significant pressure from players and officials, the two umpires involved, one of whom is very experienced, ruled both batsmen 'out'.   

 

Batting first, the UWI Pelicans side were going well against Christ Church Dolphins in their quest for the $A5,500 winner's prize when their captain Omar Phillips hit the ball to short mid wicket.  Phillips remained firmly in his crease, but non-striker Floyd Reifer, who the 'Nation News' indicates was "the much better batsman" of the two, set off for a sharp single and eventually joined Phillips at the striker's end.  The pair were together there when the wicket Reifer had left was put down after the ball was returned from the field.

 

Journalist Wayne Holder says in his report in the 'News' that "after hesitating briefly, Phillips proceeded to walk back to the pavillion, [thus] allowing his senior partner to carry on".  Christ Church players immediately protested to umpires Dalton Holder and Ricardo Harrison, pointing out that non-striker Reifer "should have been the one dismissed as neither batsmen had crossed when the run-out was effected".

 

After what appears to have been a longish consultation, the umpires ruled that Reifer was in fact the batsman out, but by that time Phillips had already left the field of play.  That led unnamed "officials from both sides" to go on to the field of play and "enter into further discussions with [both] umpires and players", and play was "held up for close to ten minutes before order was restored".

 

The 'Nation News' report goes on to say that "the final decision" after all that discussion took place was that  "both batsman were ruled out", "Reifer 'run out' and Phillips 'Retired - out', [for] he had left the playing area on his own volition". What reasoning the umpires used to reach that conclusion was not mentioned in the report, but the pair were obviously under considerable pressure during the time they were resolving the situation that prevailed.

 

Umpire Holder is a very experienced official having forty-three first-class and twenty-nine List A matches to his credit.  Records available indicate that Harrison has not officiated above club level, although he appears to have stood in local games over a considerable period of time.

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 293, 11 August 2008

 

 

USE 'HOTSPOT' TECHNOLOGY, SAYS BENSON

[EN293-1549]

 

'HotSpot' should be added to the range of technology available to umpires in any future use of a Player Referral System (PRS), says England international umpire Mark Benson.  Benson was speaking to broadcaster Ten Sports on Saturday evening after a total of seven separate calls for reviews of decisions by were made by the two sides during the second day's play in the Third and final Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo (E-News 291-1543, 8 August 2008). 

 

Three of the seven on-field umpires' decisions were referred to the third umpire Billy Doctrove of the West Indies on Saturday were overturned after review.  Benson admitted that it had "been a tough day for the umpires", with many bat-pad decisions occurring while the Sri Lankan spinners were in action, but "at the end of the day the correct decisions [were reached] and we have to live with it". 

 

EIGHT BOWLERS REPORTED FOR 'SUSPECT ACTIONS'

[EN293-1550]

 

Eight bowlers from five nations were reported by umpires for having "suspect actions" in the recently concluded Asian Cricket Coumcil (ACC) 'Trophy Elite' tournament.  The series, which was played over ten days in Malaysia and ended early last week, involved teams from the home nation, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Nepal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

The ACC says that Development Officers from the countries involved will now conduct their own assessments using "the naked eye and video analysis", however, the players involved are free to continue in the game "until the results of the examinations are comprehensively assessed". 

If necessary, the relevant bowler will be evaluated by a Human Movement Specialist provided by the International Cricket Counci prior to final recommendations being made, according to the 'Trophy Elite' Tournament Director Charlie Chelliah.

 

WASHOUT 'JUSTICE' FOR BANNED PLAYER, SAYS COLUMNIST

[EN293-1551]

 

A columnist from 'The Herald' newspaper in Scotland believes that while disappointing for the players in general, the 'washout' of last Saturday's round of matches "at least ensured that Poloc batsman Saleem Sajjad was unable to participate" in what would have been his last game before starting a twenty-five game ban today.  Sajjad was found guilty last week of abusing umpires and bringing the game into disrepute (E-News 291-1544, 8 August 2008).

 

Writing in yesterday's edition of his newspaper, journalist Neil Drysdale, was concerned that Poloc "used a loophole" in Scottish National Cricket League rules to pick Sajjad for last Saturday's game.  In his view, while the club "legally had the right to [choose the player], morally, the move sent out entirely the wrong message to Scotland's small band of umpires, who endure derision and abuse without earning anything like the considerable sums paid to football referees". 

  

ICL LOOKING FOR PLAYERS, UMPIRES

[EN293-1552]

 

Organisers of the non-official Indian Cricket League (ICL) are hard at work recruiting players, umpires and other personnel for its next series in October.  The ICL, which is a rival for the International Cricket Council (ICC) sanctioned Indian Premier League, claims that players and officials "are still lining up to appear" with it, despite facing bans from their national Boards.

 

During the ICL's initial series, umpires were recruited from England, India and Pakistan.  Several senior County umpires who have contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were employed out of their normal season earlier this year.  They had to return to England early under their ECB contract arrangements, however, and missed the final games of one series (E-News 223-1241, 4 April 2008), and the whole of the ICL's 'international' tournament (E-News 226-1257, 13 April 2008).  Unconfirmed reports indicate that recently retired umpires from several nations have been approached by the ICL for its October series.

 

An ICC committee is currently assessing the status of the ICL as the League lobbies to have their status changed to “approved unofficial”.  If successful such a move would free players and officials to take part in the competition without the fear of a ban hanging over their heads.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 294, 13 August 2008

 

MADUGALLE, TAUFEL ON PRS TRIAL ASSESSMENT PANEL

[EN294-1553]

 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and Australian international umpire Simon Taufel are amongst an ICC "panel of experts" that has been established to review the Player Referral System (PRS) trial conducted during the recent Test series between Sri Lanka and India.  The 'Cricinfo' web site is reporting that the group "will meet soon" to assess whether the system should be used in next month's Champions Trophy tournament and future international series.

 

'Cricinfo' journalist Ajay Shankar says that the panel, which has been formed as a sub-committee of the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC), will be chaired by Dave Richardson the world body's General Manager (Cricket), and that as well as Madugalle and Taufel, its other members will be Tim May, the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's vice-captain, and Anil Kumble India's captain.  All except Kumble are current CC members (E-News 41-228, 17 May 2007).

 

Shankar says that Taufel "will represent the umpires' views on the system", presenting feedback from PRS trial umpires Mark Benson (England), Billy Doctrove (West Indies) and Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), while Madugalle "will bring in a match official's perspective", no doubt using observations made by PRS trial match referee Alan Hurst of Australia.  May is said to be there to "present the views of cricketers worldwide on the system". Sangakkara and Kumble played in the three-Test trial series and have different perspectives on the system’s effectiveness (E-News 288-1526, 1 August 2008). 

 

With the Champions Trophy currently due to get underway in Pakistan in just over three weeks, the review panel has a tight timetable on its hands.  The Cricinfo story says that "an ICC spokesperson has confirmed" that the panel is to meet via a phone hook up so that it can "arrive at a decision in time".  

 

Taufel is to stand in the five-match One Day International series between England and South Africa over a fifteen-day period which commences on Friday week (E-News 265-1429, 29 June 2008), and that and the need to arrive at a decision in time for preparations to be completed before the Champions Trophy gets underway, suggests the group will be looking to complete its examination sometime in the next seven to ten days.

 

ICUS GOES 'INTERNATIONAL', CHANGES TITLE 

[EN294-1554]

 

The UK-based Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ICUS) signaled its plans to become a world-wide body when it changed the name of its web site over the last few days to the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS).  Despite the name change, which was announced without publicity, the content of the now IICUS web site suggests that it is currently primarily operational in the UK and Ireland, although a chapter may be established in Sydney in the near future.

 

The now former ICUS was originally established as the result of a break away from the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers in 2006, one of its key planks being that umpires and scorers should be 'independent' of the game's administrators.  Since its formation it has developed training programs for umpires and scorers that have been formally accepted by an independent quality assurance body for umpires and scorers (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).

 

Despite that acceptance the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has disputed the Institute's accreditation status and has formally discouraged clubs that fall under its jurisdiction from utilising IICUS courses (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008), although an ECB official indicated to E-News last week that discussions between the two groups were occurring "at the working level".  

 

Reports two months ago suggested that ICUS course material was to be trialed during training programs that Cricket Australia's Global Development Program was to present in Bangladesh two months ago (E-News 244-1345, 22 May 2008).  However, E-News has been unable to establish whether that actually occurred, and if so what the outcomes and its future use may be. 

 

SEMINARS START FOR PROSPECTIVE INDIAN UMPS

[EN294-1555]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is organising seminars for all the candidates who have been recommended by their State associations to take part in the examination for BCCI panel umpires. Each State was asked two months ago to recommend four candidates for the exam, two of who must be former first-class players who have played a minimum of fifteen matches (E-News 241-1327, 12 May 2008).  

 

Media reports from the sub-continent suggest that the meetings will be three-day affairs that will see umpiring "candidates" receiving presentations on the Laws of Cricket, playing conditions, and on-field techniques; however, no publicity has been given to just who will be running the courses.

 

The seminars, which are being arranged on a zonal basis, got underway last week with the northern region meeting being awarded to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA).  Northern Zone State associations include in addition to the PCA, the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and the Haryana Cricket Association.  

 

BCCI Joint Secretary MP Pandove is quoted as telling those attending last week's opening seminar that ''to be a good umpire, a person needs a good analytical mind, sharp decision making qualities in addition to the thorough knowledge of the rules''.  ''Umpires are one of the most important constituents for any successful cricket match in addition to the good pitch and ground conditions",' he said.  

 

The BCCI has been working to raise the standard of umpiring in India over the past year, and in May it announced that as part of that objective the size its Elite Umpires Panel are to be reduced from thirty-seven to thirty (E-News 241-1327, 12 May 2008).  Cricket Australia is to provide a series of courses there next month (E-News 292-1546, 8 August 2008), although it is not clear just who the target audience for those presentations are.  

 

UMPIRE'S MATCH 'BEHAVIOUR' LEADS TO AXING 

[EN294-1556]

 

An umpire in Oxfordshire has been formally removed from his league's official's panel as a result of his "behaviour" during a match in mid-July.  No details were released about the reasons for Chris Howgill's axing, but it apparently resulted after both sides and his fellow umpire all submitted reports to Cherwell League administrators following the game.

 

League secretary Peter Tomlin was quoted in yesterday's edition of the 'Oxford Mail' as saying that "because of complaints we had from clubs, players and fellow umpires we had no other option" but to withdraw Howgill's accreditation.  Howgill, who was "unavailable for comment", was the nominated umpire from the Bledlow Ridge club and they must now find another official to take his place on the panel.

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 295, 14 August 2008

 

CSA PRAISES LIFT IN DOMESTIC UMPIRING STANDARDS 

[EN295-1557]

 

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) 2007-08 Annual Report says that umpiring standards in its senior domestic competitions last season were "very high", and a significant improvement on the previous season when the general performance level is said to have been "of concern".  In announcing its umpires and referees panel for the coming season last week, CSA Manager of Operations, Mike Gajjar said that his organisation is "delighted with the progress [its] umpires are making in world cricket" (E-News 290-1537, 6 August 2008).  

 

According to the Annual Report, CSA's policy of "pairing senior [umpires] with juniors where ever possible" in its senior level matches during the 2007-08 season, proved to be "beneficial in addressing" whatever the undefined "concerns" were it had twelve months ago.  It says that such an approach "has assisted in broadening [its umpiring] base to sustain [it] in the future", although no changes were made to its senior domestic umpiring panel members for the 2008-09 season.

 

CSA's six-man domestic Match Referees' Panel (MRP) is credited with being "successful in bridging the gap between players and officials".  While it does not go into any detail, the Annual Report says that the MRP, one member of which is appointed to every match in CSA's domestic competitions, has resulted in "more holistic and less emotional" assessments being available on the performance of umpires. 

 

CSA's Annual Report also makes reference to scorers who it says "again acquitted themselves in their usual efficient manner". 

 

Despite those successes, CSA says that it concedes what it calls its "set transformation objectives at the top echelon of umpiring in South Africa have not been achieved".  Just what that statement actually means is difficult to fathom, although it may be a reference to an aim of having more South Africans on the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, which if correct was not successful (E-News 228-1270, 16 April 2008).   Whatever it is CSA says that "policies and procedures" have now been introduced "to ensure steady progress" is made in that area.  

 

Another concern for the national body in the umpiring area are budgetary constraints that have meant that the "appointment of umpires to certain national tournaments were based on regionalisation".  CSA believes that is a situation which "will have an adverse effect" on the identification of umpires who have the ability to move through the ranks to the highest levels of national and international cricket.

 

HAIR 'TOO GOOD' AN UMPIRE TO LOOSE SAYS MALI

[EN295-1558]

 

Ray Mali, the recently retired President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), told the South African newspaper 'The Dispatch' yesterday that he welcomed the return of Australian international umpire Darrell Hair to Test cricket.   Mali is reported to have said that he considers Hair to be one of the best umpires in the world and is "too good an umpire for cricket to lose his services".

 

'The Dispatch' quotes Mali as indicating that he was personally able to persuade Hair to resume Test umpiring despite his resignation after the controversial England-Pakistan 'ball-tampering' Test at the Oval two years ago this month.  Mali was reported to have told Hair's tribunal hearing last October that the standing down of the Australian was "a corrective measure" and that he didn't "see any reason why Mr Hair should not return to the Elite panel and umpire Test matches" (E-News 112-614, 8 October 2007).

 

The ICC reinstated Hair to Test status last March (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008), and he has since gone on to stand in two Tests in England and five Twenty20 Internationals (E-News 290-1538, 6 August 2008).

 

ANOTHER NSW UMPIRE CHOSEN FOR ASIAN TRAINING

[EN295-1559]

 

A third member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) has been engaged by Cricket Australia (CA) to deliver training programs in Asia, says a story posted on the Association's web site yesterday.  Accredited Umpire Trainer Peter Tate has been invited by CA's Global Development Program (GDP) to deliver a Level 1 Umpire Program in Bangladesh next month.

 

Tate, 43, who has been Chair of the NSWCUSA's Examination Committee for the last five years, is to run what is said to be a five-day program at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur commencing on 7 September.  Two other NSWCUSA members, Graham Chudleigh and Nick Fowler, are to present umpiring courses in Bangladesh, as well as India, over the next month (E-News 292-1546, 8 August 2008), but whether they and Tate will work together in Mirpur is not clear.

 

The NSWCUSA story describes Tate, who is a Director of the NSW Sports Federation and Chair of the Federation’s Officials Committee, as "an umpire on the rise in NSW".  He is said to have officiated in forty-five first grade matches in Sydney, including last season's Sydney Cricket Association Limited Overs Cup First Grade Final.

 

On the wider scene he has stood in a National Country Cricket Championship series, two Cricket Australia Cup matches, and a men's national Under 19 and Under 17 tournament (E-News 168-903, 4 January 2008).  Tate was named as the third umpire for an interstate domestic one-day match last season, however, wet conditions prevented play.  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 296, 15 August 2008

 

FIVE AUSSIES SET FOR INDIAN UMPIRE TRAINING, SAY REPORTS 

[EN296-1560]

 

Five Australians now appear to be set to conduct umpire training programs in India in late August and September, according to press reports published on the sub-continent yesterday.  If those reports are correct, an official from Cricket Australia's (CA) Global Development Program (GDP), three trainers from the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), and possibly Australian international umpire Steve Davis will present the courses.

 

Stories posted on the NSWCUSA web site earlier this week stated that two of its members, Graham Chudleigh and Nick Fowler, were to conduct training programs in India, the former in Mumbai from 26 August to 1 September. and the latter in Banglaore from 21-26 September (E-News 292-1546, 10 August 2008).  They and another NSWCUSA member, Peter Tate, are also to run programs in Bangladesh (E-News 295-1559, 14 August 2008).

 

The India-based 'cricketnext.com' web site is now reporting that "sources close to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)" have indicated that CA's GDP Manager Ross Turner and NSWCUSA Education and Training Manager Darren Goodger will also be in Mumbai with Chudleigh for the course.  Turner, Goodger, Fowler and, says the web site, "Australian umpire Peter Parker, who recently officiated in the Test series between England and South Africa", are to run the Banglaore course.  

 

Parker did not officiate in the England series therefore it is possible that Davis, who did, will travel to Bangalore, although it could also be Parker as he will have completed international duties in Darwin by the end of the first week of September (E-News 280-1491, 19 July 2008). 

 

Turner, who 'cricketnext' says it interviewed by telephone from Australia, is quoted as saying that the late August course in Mumbai, which will involve a "seven-day trip", "will interact with State cricket associations' beginner umpires, future perspectives and an educational program on umpiring will be discussed at length with them".  

 

CA's GDP manager went on to say that the second course in Banglaore, which will be held at India's National Cricket Academy, will involve "interactions with more than 100 Indian umpires [who] will be divided into three groups and sessions", with each group being "addressed by these experts", an apparent reference to Davis (or Parker), Goodger and Fowler. 

 

While it is not clear, the description of that course may be a reference, or perhaps a link, to the seminars the BCCI has previously indicated it is running for prospective senior umpires across the country (E-News 294-1555, 13 August 2008). 

 

UNCHANGED MATCH REFEREES PANEL IN SOUTH AFRICA 

[EN295-1561]

 

The inclusion of former first-class umpires Barry Lambson and Shahid Wadvalla on Cricket South Africa's (CSA) Match Referees' Panel (MRP) last season "has been met with general approval by the players" and was a move that "is consistent with [its] policy of “life after umpiring”.  In its Annual Report this week, CSA credited the six-man MRP with bridging the gap between players and officials and allowing more objective assessments to be made of umpiring performances (E-News 295-1557, 14 August 2008).

 

Lambson and Wadvalla were last week named in an unchanged MRP for the 2008-09 season, along with their colleagues Abdullatief Barnes, Devdas Govindjee, Enver Mall and Cyril Mitchley (E-News 290-1537, 6 August 2008).  Of the six, all except Lambson have played first-class cricket, while if Barnes, Govindjee and Mall have worked as umpires, they have not done so at any significant level. 

 

Lambson and Mitchley have officiated in Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) and Wadvalla at ODI level.  Between them the trio have stood in 369 first-class games, a figure that includes Mitchley's twenty-six Tests and Lambson's five.  The three have also stood in a total of 550 List A games, with Mitchley having sixty ODIs under his belt, Lambson thirty-five and Wadvalla three.

 

In terms of first-class matches played, Govindjee and Mall lead the way with forty-five and forty-four games respectively, Barnes featured in twenty-eight, Mitchley eight and Wadvalla two.  None of them appeared as players at international level.  

 

HIGH WINDS MEAN 'BAD LIGHT' STOPS PLAY

[EN296-1562]

 

High winds that prevented floodlights being raised led to a day-night forty over match between Kent and Leicestershire being abandoned due to bad light on Wednesday evening.  Prior to play winds were gusting above the allowable limit for the full erection of the mobile floodlight towers used for many evening games in England, however, somewhat surprisingly reports from Canterbury state that there was "nothing in the playing conditions" to cover the situation that prevailed. 

 

While Kent, who batted first, received their forty overs without any difficulties, the light was already starting to fade as their opponents commenced their innings following a full-length tea interval.  Leicestershire's openers immediately had problems picking up the ball, say reports, but their aim was to try and reach the ten over mark, a point where the Duckworth-Lewis system would have allowed a result.

 

Despite that attempt, by the end of the sixth over umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth came together to discuss the situation and decided to abandon the game, to the chagrin of a "good crowd".  Jon Fordham, Kent’s commercial manager, offered refunds to ticket holders and his club's "sincere apologies", and both teams indicated that in their view a reworking of the playing conditions that apply to games where mobile light towers are in use is needed.  

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 297, 18 August 2008

 

ANOTHER SENIOR UMPIRING POSITION FOR HAIR

[EN297-1563]

 

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair's appointment as the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's (NSWCUSA) new Executive Officer (EO) last Friday further expands number of the senior positions he holds in the umpiring fraternity.  Starting next month, Hair will head up an expanded three-man NSWCUSA office, as the EO position occupied by Peter Hughes over the last sixteen years has been split into two separate jobs by Cricket NSW who fund the office (E-News 274-1467, 11 July 2008).    

 

In addition to his NSW work, Hair is also an official of the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (E-News 297-1565 below), the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), and as of last month, Cricket Australia's new national Umpire High Performance Manager's (UHPM) group (E-News 274-1464, 11 July 2008).  Another UHPM member, Melbourne-based Bob Strafford, also has to manage across several levels in the game, for he is also the ICC's new Pacific Regional Umpire Performance Manager (E-News 262-1417, 26 June 2008).  

 

While full details are awaited, Hair's NSW task is understood to be to manage umpire coaching and high performance issues in his home State, while Royce McCormack another new appointee, is to look after NSWCUSA administrative matters.  The third office member is the Association's existing Education and Training Manager, Darren Goodger (E-News 255-1388, 11 June 2008), although he is likely to be in India when his two colleagues start work in early September after Hughes departs on Friday week (E-News 296-1560, 15 August 2008). 

 

Hair himself is traveling at the moment, for he is in Toronto, Canada officiating with Bermudan Roger Gill, in the four-match One Day International (ODI) series involving the home side, Bermuda and the West Indies which starts today and runs to Sunday.  That follows the Australian's debut in Twenty20 internationals in Northern Ireland two weeks ago (E-News 290-1538, 6 August 2008).  

 

Former ICC President Ray Mali spoke positively of Hair's abilities last week (E-News 295-1558, 14 August 2008), however, comments by a number of senior Asian administrators over the last two years suggest that he is unlikely to be selected for the Champions Trophy ODI tournament currently scheduled for Pakistan next month.  

 

Should that be the case Hair would thus be able to focus on the work required in both the NSW and UHPM positions as preparations are finalised for the new Australian season.  

 

The ICC's future tours program shows that if it chooses to do so, the world body has a number of opportunities to appoint Hair to Test or ODI matches at various locations around the planet in the period in which the Australian domestic season will be underway. 

 

NO DOMESTIC ON-FIELD ACTION FOR BENSON

[EN297-1564]

 

England international umpire Mark Benson has not been on the field in a domestic match in his home country during the current northern summer, according to match records available to E-News.  In the five months since April, Benson has stood in internationals in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and England as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL), a domestic competition on the sub-continent, but as of last weekend he has not been seen at Country cricket grounds as an umpire. 

 

In announcing its plans to expand the membership of its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) from ten to twelve late last year, the ICC said that the reasons behind that move included allowing EUP members such as Benson to spend less time away from home and more time mentoring up-and-coming officials and working on their own skills in their nation's domestic competitions (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  

 

Benson is the only EUP member whose home country has played a domestic season since the ICC announced its expanded panel.  While it may be too early to judge whether the ICC stated intentions will come to fruition, there has been no publicity to date that indicates Benson has been involved in home "mentoring" of officials.

 

He has though officiated in five Tests, one as the third official, across the West Indies and Sri Lanka, a single One Day International in England's series against New Zealand, and eight games, five of them on the field, in the IPL (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).  The recently completed Test series in Sri Lanka included the trial of the Player Referral System that the ICC is currently assessing (E-News 294-1552, 13 August 2008). 

 

In addition to expansion of the EUP, last year's ICC umpiring 'Task Force' recommended the establishment of an umpire selection panel, setting up five regional umpire coaches-mentor positions, an improved pay structure with a merit-based increment, and an "accreditation process" for umpires who are aiming to gain entry into its second-tier International Umpires Panel.  

 

While no announcement has been made regarding pay increases, the selection panel and regional managers have been set up and the positions filled, however, as yet no publicity has been given to the accreditation process.

 

CNSW AUDITORIUM WINS IICUS 'ACCREDITATION'

[EN297-1565]

 

The International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS) announced last week that the Cricket NSW (CNSW) Auditorium in Sydney has been formally "inspected and approved" as an accredited centre for its "operations in Australasia". The IICUS lists new NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) Executive Officer Darrell Hair, and Darren Goodger the Education and Training Manager there, as both being IICUS "tutors" (E-News 297-1563 above), and the new international group appears to have Asia as one of its target areas. 

 

Since its formation two years ago, the recently revamped IICUS, which started its life without the international prefix (E-News 294-1554, 13 August 2008), has developed training programs for umpires and scorers that have been formally accepted by Edexcel, a UK-based independent quality assurance body (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).  It was an Edexcel party that formally examined and approved the Sydney Auditorium for IICUS operations.

 

IICUS says on its web site that it is "working to provide an international qualification for cricket umpires which includes a solid grounding in man management and field craft". The group, which last week released its  'Umpiring Techniques' manual (E-News 297-1568 below), goes on to say that "the plan is to go further and provide basic training to developing cricket countries so that they will be able to train their own trainers to pass on the skills to new umpires".  

 

There was an indication that IICUS materials were to be trialed during programs run in Bangladesh by Cricket Australia's Global Development Program in late May (E-News 244-1345, 22 May 2008).  Goodger was one of the presenters who travelled to Dhaka at that time, however, it has not been possible as yet to confirm whether the trial actually happened, or if CA's forthcoming programs in Bangladesh and India will utilise IICUS material.

 

An undated image on the current IICUS web site shows two officials from Edexcel, who may have undertaken the Sydney evaluation, Denis Burns IICUS Director of Education and Development, and Peter Hughes, Deputy Director of the IICUS Board and until Friday week Executive Officer at the NSWCUSA.  Hair, who is Deputy Chairman the Community Cricket Trust, IICUS' parent body (E-News 72-396, 26 July 2007), and Goodger, also feature in the image.

 

Indications are that in his retirement Hughes, who has had close links with the ICUS over the last eighteen months (E-News 118-634, 16 October 2007), will head up IICUS operations in Sydney.  

 

CALL FOR CRACK DOWN ON 'UNSPORTING BEHAVIOUR'

[EN297-1566]

 

A "leading official" in the South Yorkshire Cricket League (SYCL), Richard Tong, is said to have been "so disgusted" by reports he has received from umpires and players about conduct in matches this northern summer, that he has penned an open letter in a bid to address the situation, says the 'South Yorkshire Times'.  SYCL Chairman Terry Bentham, who is an experienced umpire, concurs with Tong's concerns and believes the league needs to crack down on "unsporting behaviour".

 

In his letter, Tong attacked the increasing number of incidents of sledging and player confrontations, and expresses concerns that the hard work the league has done to recruit and train new umpires will be undone.  "We have worked very hard behind the scenes to bring on board new umpires and we have bucked the national trend in our achievements", says the letter, but "we need to retain these umpires [and] must encourage them not discourage them".

 

Tong continued by saying that "one former player who is now umpiring is very disillusioned with the way the game is drifting".  "He was a tough competitor in his days but always played hard and fair and that's what we want to see now, [but] that umpire is considering spending his summer Saturdays doing something else". 

 

Bentham has promised to improve the SYCL's disciplinary procedure, but has called on clubs to use common sense in their approach to such matters.  "The one thing that concerns me more than anything is clubs who try to defend the indefensible and it ends up with a hearing and in some cases the umpires [themselves are] on trial. Those same umpires are generally the only impartial people at the game. 

 

Tong believes that some officials will put up with bad behaviour because they would rather avoid the hassle of disciplinary hearings, but says that matters must be reported if bad behaviour is to be eradicated.  While Tong acknowledges umpires may perform poorly, he encourages teams to use currently available league systems to provide constructive reports on those who officiate at games.

 

The 'South Yorkshire Times' story says that "sledging, or verbally harassing opposition players, has become an unfortunate feature of first-class cricket, with the Australian national side the most notorious users of the tactic which has filtered down to local level".

 

CLUB CLAIMS PLAYING CONDITIONS ERROR

[EN297-1567]

 

The Bamford Fieldhouse side in the Central Lancashire Cricket League (CLCL) is claiming that the umpire’s misinterpretation of playing conditions in a recent match has cost them in what is a tight race for the league championship.  Their main rivals Heyside played and won the only game possible last weekend in a match that was reduced to just twenty-one overs a side, but Bamford told the 'Rochdale Observer' that CLCL playing conditions "clearly state" that a minimum of twenty-two overs constitute a match.

 

Bamford’s Andy Barton told the 'Observer' that his club has “been advised” that the umpires in Heyfield's game against Uppermill indicated to "both captains before play started that it was going to be a match of twenty-one overs per team".

 

The aggrieved club, who trail Heyside by the number of points the latter won in the Uppermill game, appealed about the situation, but the league said they would rather wait to conduct a hearing until after [the current] weekend’s match against Heyside, "so as not to inflame the situation".  Bamford also wrote to both the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Lancashire Cricket Board but they referred the issue back to the CLCL, who have yet to set a date for the hearing.  .  

 

Bamford have also been complaining to the 'Observer' about the umpire's decision in a recent Cockspur Cup match that they lost.  The match was at a crucial stage when one of their batsmen hit the ball towards the boundary where a catch was taken, but Bamford claimed the fielder had stepped over the boundary rope with the ball in his hand.  That view was said to have been backed up by an opposition supporter.

 

After consultation the umpires decided that the catch had been clean and that Bamford's batsman was out.  The club is said to have approached the ECB about the matter but were told that nothing could be done about the issue.  Barton told the newspaper, however, that he understands "that action has been taken against the umpires".  No details are available about the views of the umpires on either matter. 

 

IICUS LAUNCHES 'UMPIRING TECHNIQUES' MANUAL

[EN297-1568]

 

An 'Umpiring Techniques' manual was released by the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS) on the internet late last week.  IICUS says that the manual "gives advice on the art of umpiring, [and] how the umpire should handle himself and others in dealing with the multitude of varying situations which can arise during a cricket match". 

 

The twenty-four page document, which was published by IICUS "in London and Sydney", is a "complete rewrite and revision" of material originally prepared by the New South Wales Cricket Unpires and Scorers Association in January 2001.  

 

The manual, which has a forward by Australian international umpire Darrell Hair, is divided into twelve sections, most of which will be familiar to those who have undertaken Cricket Australia's National Umpiring Accreditation Scheme Level two (NUAS-2) program, for like the new IICUS manual it was developed to a large degree from materials that were written in NSW in the late 1990s by Hair and others. 

 

Amongst the chapters in the up-dated Manual are ones titled 'Before the Match', 'Signals and Calls', 'Decision Making', 'Positioning', 'Ground, Weather and Light', 'Answering Questions [from players]', 'Conflict Situations', 'Concentration', 'After the Match', 'Coping with Pressure', and 'Teamwork and Support'.

 

The Manual is available on line at: http://www.umpires.tv/publications/080814Umpiring_Technique_Manual.pdf

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 298, 19 August 2008

 

HAIR RESIGNS FROM EUP, 

REPLACED ON UHPM PANEL

[EN298-1569]

 

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair has given the International Cricket Council (ICC) notice that he intends to resign as a member of its Elite Umpires Panel as of 1 November, and in a separate development has been replaced on Cricket Australia's (CA) new Umpires High Performance Panel (UHPM).  Both moves appear to have come in the lead up to his appointment to the News South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's (NSWCUSA) Executive Officer position last week (E-News 297-1563, 18 August 2008), but only came to light yesterday.

 

A source close to Hair told E-News that the Australian gave three-month's notice of his pending departure to the ICC "commencing 1 August", which suggests that the world body have now had a month to react to the move.  The same source claimed that the "ICC have not announced it because they are unsure how the public will react", however, just how the Dubai-based organisation sees the situation is not clear for a request for a comment by E-News has not yet been answered.

 

According to the source Hair "will fulfill any appointments given to him over the next two months by the ICC".  However, given the locations of matches and the sides involved in international series scheduled between now and the end of October, it would appear that next Sunday's final game of the tri-nations series in Canada will be the Australian's last game for the ICC (E-News 298-1570 below).  Hair's selection for the current Canadian series and another in Northern Ireland two weeks ago, are likely to have been made prior to his letter of resignation being sent to the ICC. 

 

CA's Umpire Manager Andrew Scotford yesterday confirmed that Hair had left the national body's UHPM panel.  Hair's departure less than six weeks after he was appointed to the job was due to his desire to focus on umpiring issues in NSW, said Scotford.  There were indications that the Board of Cricket NSW wanted Hair as its EO prior to his appointment to the UHPM (E-News 274-1467, 11 July 2008), but allegations have been made to E-News that CA "reneged on [Hair's] appointment" due to what was said to be a "conflict of interest" between his national role with CA and State task with the NSWCUSA.  

 

If either of those situations is in fact the case, just why CA selected him as a UHPM member is far from clear.  Two other UHPM members, Bob Stratford (Victoria) and Ric Evans (Western Australia), headed up their respective State umpiring bodies for many seasons.  While they continue to live in their home States they each left their local positions prior to selection to the UHPM group. 

 

Hair has been replaced on the UHPM panel by fomer Test umpire Tony Crafter.  A South Australian, Crafter umpired thirty-three Tests and eight-four One Day Internationals over a thirteen-year international career from 1978-92.  When he retired after standing in the 1992 Sheffield Shield final, he held the Australian record for umpiring in the most Test matches.  

 

Since then he has worked for the CA's predecessor, the Australian Cricket Board, as its national umpire's manager, then for the ICC, primarily, it is believed, in assessing umpires standing at the highest levels of the game.  He served on CA's National Umpires Selection Panel last season (E-News 89-477, 28 August 2007).

 

 

RESIGNATION ENDS 20 YEAR, HIGH-LEVEL CAREER 

[EN298-1570]

 

Australian international umpire Darrell Hair is expected to end his on-field career at the highest levels of the game this weekend after twenty years in the first-class game (E-News 298-1569 above).  Described as "a quiet no-nonsense individual" by 'Cricinfo', he has stood in matches in over a dozen countries, was at the centre of a number of controversies that raised the ire of cricket administrators in several nations, and made significant contributions in the umpire education and training area that are expected to continue.

 

In his youth Hair played for North Sydney and Mosman in the Sydney Grade competition, however, a knee injury cut short his career as a bowler.  After taking up umpiring, he made his debut at first-class level at the age of thirty-six in a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in February 1989.  Twenty years on he has accumulated a total of 146 first-class matches, seventy-eight of them Tests and fifty-two in the Sheffield Shield; his work in the latter competition including eight finals in a row from 1992-2000.  He also officiated in several County Championship matches in England.

 

Hair was selected for Test duty after just ten first-class games six months short of his fortieth birthday, his first at that level being at the Adelaide Oval in January 1992 and last this June at Trent Bridge.  Of his Tests, twenty-three were played in Australia, sixteen in England, nine in the West Indies, eight in South Africa, seven in Pakistan, five each in New Zealand and Zimbabwe, four in India and one in Sharjah.  Hair stood in games that featured all ten Test playing countries, two matches being at Bellerive, two Boxing day Tests in Melbourne and another two in the same fixture in Durban, and five at Lord's, the home of cricket. 

 

His first List A match was an Australian interstate domestic game in October 1990, and just fourteen months and five games later he was standing in a One Day International (ODI), one month before his first Test.  If as expected he stands in all four ODIs in Canada this week, the fifty-six year old will finish with 139 such games to his credit.  In addition to Canada and at home, he has officiated in ODIs in England, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Scotland, Sharjah, Singapore, South Africa, the West Indies, and Zimbabwe.  

 

Those ODI competitions include the World Cup of 1999 and the Champions Trophy of 2004, both of which were played in England, and the Commonwealh Games of 1998 in Malaysia.  His forty-four, non-international one-day List A games include thirty interstate domestic matches in Australia, and he looked after that competition's final in eight of the ten seasons from 1992-2002.

 

Following the controversy after he called Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in the 1995 Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Hair was overlooked when the International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed its first Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in May 2002.  One year later, however, both Hair and Simon Taufel were added to that group after twelve months on the ICC's second tier International Umpires Panel.

 

Hair's second major controversy followed what has become known as the 'ball tampering' Test at the Oval in August 2006.  The Australian and his colleague Billy Doctrove of the West Indies penalised Pakistan five runs a move that eventually led it to forfeiting the match, a result that the ICC overturned last month (E-News 269-1445, 4 July 2008).  Following that game Hair, but not Doctrove, was suspended from the EUP by the ICC and he was not reinstated until March this year after a court case and a period of "rehabilitation" that saw him out of the game for over fifteen months (E-News 213-1186, 19 March 2008).

 

Off the field of play, Hair has made significant contributions to umpire education and training as a member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), producing a range of materials that are reflected at the present time in aspects of CA's National Umpires Accreditation Level 2 program, and the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring's (IICUS) recently released 'Umpiring Techniques' manual (E-News 297-1568, 18 August 2008).

 

As the NSWCUSA's new Executive Officer Hair is expected to make further contributions to the game in a role that involves managing umpire coaching and high performance issues in his home State (E-News 297-1563, 18 August 2008).  It is also anticipated that he will continue to work with the IICUS, and if past reports of his alleged intentions are any guide, write his memoirs (E-News 149-815, 6 December 2007).

 

SCOTTISH UMPIRING APPOINTMENT DRAWS CRITICISM

[EN298-1571]

 

The appointment of the Secretary of a Scottish Premier League club as an umpire to his team's main rival for this season's championship in the penultimate game of the season, has added further controversy to the way officials there are appointed to matches, says a story published in last night's edition of the Edinburgh 'Evening News'.  The latest complaint follows concerns that the father of one of the players in a recent top-level match in Scotland was appointed to stand in the game (E-News 290-1539, 6 August 2008).

 

Journalist Bill Lothian says that the Grange side's skipper Sanjay Patel, who was speaking on Saturday evening "in constructive and measured tones" that ignored "the fact that his side had just lost" their second-last game of the season against Carlton, "poured scorn on officialdom" for selecting Brian Papworth, the Secretary of the Greenock side, as one of the two umpires for the game.

 

According to the 'Evening News' there was an LBW decision "given by Papworth and thankfully innuendo was a conspicuous absentee both at the time and afterwards".  But why, it asks, "put an individual in the situation where decisions can be questioned for all the wrong reasons especially when another Premiership game was taking place [close by and when] a switch of assignment makes common-sense".

 

Lothian writes that like "Mac Wyllie, his unfortunate predecessor [in the father-son case], Papworth emerged with his reputation unscarred as was only ever going to be the case".  According to him Patel, who is the son of former Cricket Scotland president, "was justified" in making his remarks and quoted the captain as saying that he hopes the issue "is something [Cricket Scotland] will look at over the winter".

 

Patel says that while Papworth has umpired Grange previously this season, he believes "it was slightly strange having the secretary of Greenock umpiring in a game of this nature", and it was "another crass display of insensitivity from HQ [with the umpire being] left in a potentially no-win situation".  But "at the end of the day we just got on with it and didn't complain", said the Grange captain.

PUBLICATION OF 2008-09 TCUSA MEETING DATES NEARS 

[EN298-1572]

 

Dates of TCUSA meetings for the 2008-09 season are expected to be released later this week.  Rosters for next summer's Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Grade matches are in an advance stage of preparation but are believed to be waiting final clearance on matters related to the club Twenty20 competition.  Those issues will not now have an impact on the Association's meeting dates, therefore a draft of those gatherings has been prepared and is awaiting final checking.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 299, 21 August 2008

 

2008-09 TCUSA MEETING DATES RELEASED 

[EN299-1573]

 

Dates of TCUSA meetings for the 2008-09 season have been finalised and are available in the 'Schedule of Events' section at the end of this newsletter and in the 'Events' page on the Association's web site.  A total of seventeen member's meetings are scheduled over the eight months from early October.

 

The next event is the Annual seminar on the first weekend of October, followed by a double-barrel start to the season with First Grade getting under way on 18 October and all other Grades the following weekend.  A total of fourteen appointments-training meetings are scheduled for the Wednesday prior to the start of each round, although not in the week before First Grade commences.

 

Tentative dates have been set for the Association's Annual Dinner and the 2009 Annual General Meeting.  Those dates will be confirmed later in the year.       

 

PLAYER FINED FOR UMPIRE ABUSE IN ODI

[EN299-1574]

 

Indian fast bowler Munaf Patel has been censured after being found guilty of breaching a clause of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (COC) that refers to the use of "language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator".  The incident occurred during the Second One Day International between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo yesterday and involved Sri Lankan umpire Gamini Silva. 

 

Patel made "remarks" to Silva after he turned down an LBW appeal during the home side's innings in the umpire's sixteenth ODI since his first nine years ago.  Following an inquiry at which Patel pleaded not guilty to the charge but admitted that he spoke aggressively to the umpire, ICC match referee Chris Broad found the player guilty and fined him seventy-five percent of his match fee. 

 

Broad was quoted as saying in an ICC statement, that uses phrases frequently utilised by the world body for a range of on-field incidents, that he accepts "that in international cricket there is a lot of passion but that does not excuse players talking back to umpires in an aggressive manner, as happened in this case",  "That is unacceptable and I hope this decision and the fine imposed demonstrates that fact", concluded Broad.

 

The charge was laid by the four umpires on duty, on-field officials Silva and West Indian Billy Doctrove, third official Tyron Wijewardena and fourth umpire Rohitha  Kottahachchi. The hearing was attended by Silva, Doctrove and Wijewardena, the player, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's captain, and Indian team manager Sanjay Desai.

 

CONFUSION REIGNS OVER SUBSTITUTE RULING

[EN299-1575]

 

Confusion reigned during a match in Oxfordshire last weekend when the side from Kidlington, who only named ten players on their team sheet, were ordered to withdraw a substitute who was fielding for them.  Kidlington batted first and then, after match umpires Keith Thompson and Graham Watkins cleared his participation, used Mike Taylor to make up their numbers when their opponents Buckingham began their innings.

 

All reportedly went well until Peter Tomlin, the umpires' appointments secretary for the local League, arrived at the ground after the match he was umpiring finished early.  The 'Oxford Mail' said yesterday that Tomlin was asked by the Buckingham side if it was correct for Kidlington to have a substitute fielder, and he is said to have then "ordered" Taylor's withdrawl from the field.

 

The 'Mail' quoted Tomlin as saying that "you can only have a substitute fielder for somebody who was named in the original team".  "[Kidlington] named ten players", said Tomlin, and "when they went out to field, they asked the umpires if they could use him, and they said yes".  But, continues the quote attributed to Tomlin, "what you can't do is name ten people, bat ten people, and then field with eleven".

 

Kidlington are said to have been "confused" by what happened and have referred the matter to the League.

 

COUNTY PLAYERS IN MID-PITCH CONFRONTATION

[EN299-1576]

 

Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash could find himself in trouble after a mid-pitch confrontation with Murray Goodwin of Sussex during the first day of a County match at the Oval yesterday.  Reports say that during the argument between the two players, Ramprakash had to be restrained by umpires Rob Bailey and John Steele.  Despite the incident Ramprakash went on to finish the day on 133 not out, his 101st Century at first-class level.

 

UMPIRE SOURCING PLANS FOR CHAMPIONS TROPHY AWAITED 

[EN299-1577]

 

While basic details of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 tournament have been released, including that it will contested from 3-10 December, just where it will be played and how umpires will be selected for it, have yet to be publicised.  The International Cricket Council's current match schedule indicates that at least six and possibly eight of its contracted officials will be required for Tests and One Day Internationals in Australia, South Africa and India on the days immediately before and after the new tournament.

 

The Champions League is being jointly organised by Cricket Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and  Cricket South Africa (CSA).  Eight teams, consisting of the reigning winners and runners-up from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in India, Australia and South Africa, plus the reigning champions from Pakistan and England, have been invited to take part in the series.  Prize money close to $A6m, half of which will go to the winning team, will be shared between the teams and their players, the largest sum available for national domestic teams. 

 

Analysis suggests that up to fifteen games could be scheduled over the eight days of the series, with perhaps three matches being played in a single day during the opening phase. That suggests six to eight officials, which includes umpires and a match referee, will need to be gathered together wherever it is the tournament is to be played. 

 

Before that tournament, the Stanford 'Super Series' which is to involve England, Middlesex, Trinidad and Tobago and a 'Stanford Superstars' side, is listed for the week commencing 25 October in Antigua.  West Indian first-class umpires have officiated in Stanford's last two 'home-based' series in the West Indies, but with sides from across the Atlantic also involved the selection policy for umpires in the series may be different.

 

ICC UMPIRES APPOINTMENTS PAGE AGAIN LAGS

[EN299-1577]

 

The umpires appointments page on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) web site is again lagging badly with all but five of the twenty-eight matches listed having been played, some of them up to three months ago.  The page has been out-of-date several times over the past twelve months, and appointments for matches at second-tier international level rarely rate a mention (E-News 188-1012, 1 February 2008).  

 

Of the twenty-eight games for whom umpires are listed on the site yesterday, ten are Tests, fifteen One Day Internationals (ODI), and three Twenty20 internationals.  All of the Tests and Twenty20 internationals, and ten of the ODIs have been completed, the only outstanding matches listed being the ODI series between England and South Africa which gets underway this Friday. 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 300, 22 August 2008

 

TIME ZONE, OTHER DISTRACTIONS FOR PRS REVIEW GROUP 

[EN300-1579]

 

Members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) "panel of experts" who are currently reviewing the recent Test-based Player Referral System (PRS) trial, are having to deal with time zone issues and other work requiring considerable focus as they move to complete their evaluation via telephone and e-mail links (E-News 294-1553, 13 August 2008). Given their current commitments and that their evaluation reportedly has to be completed well-prior to the scheduled start of the Champions Trophy three weeks this Friday, the six involved face a range of distractions in completing the task set for them (E-News 300-1580 below).

 

PRS review panel members are working as the International Cricket Council (ICC) struggles to deal with whether or not the Champions Trophy will be played in Pakistan, with security issues of key concern for some teams and officials, although not, if his recently reported comments still hold, for Australian international umpire Simon Taufel (E-News 289-1553, 3 August 2008).   The resignation of Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf this week has, however, added another dimension to the situation, according to numerous media reports over the last few days.

 

Taufel, who is a member of the review group, has been in the UK for most of this month and will remain there until early September umpiring the One Day International (ODI) series between the home nation and South Africa which starts today (E-News 265-1429, 29 June 2008).  His ICC colleague, senior match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, is in Canada for the four match tri-nations ODI tournament until at least early next week (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008).  

 

Half-a-world, and eleven time zones to the east of Madugalle, the two current players taking part in the review, Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka and Anil Kumble of India, are currently almost half way through a five-match ODI series between their two nations; a tournament that is not scheduled to end until today week, just two weeks out from the Champions Trophy's currently scheduled start.

 

The final two members of the panel, ICC General Manager (Cricket) David Richardson and Tim May, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, if they are at their home bases, will be in Dubai and Australia respectively. 

 

Both are likely to be heavily involved in issues relating to Champions Trophy security, which are expected to come to a head over the coming weekend.  If May is in Australia the time stretch between PRS review panel members would total around sixteen hours.  

 

REQUESTS FOR LBW REVIEWS DOMINATE PRS TEST TRIAL 

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Requests for reviews of LBW decisions dominated during the recent Player Referral System (PRS) trial in the three-match Test series between Sri Lanka and India, according to an analysis of media reports of the those games over the past month.  Overall, statistics available indicate that of the forty-seven referrals made to the television umpire during the series, one-third of them resulted in the reversal of the on-field umpires' original instant assessment at the stumps.

 

Thirty-nine, or a hefty eighty-three percent of the referrals made were LBW related, with reviews overturning the original leg before decision made on the field of play on an average of one in five occasions.  Apart from LBW, all of the remaining eight referrals covered close-in catches, either to the wicket keeper or of a bat pad variety, but their appears to have been a general concensus that cameras don't always tell the full story where low catches are taken.

 

Of the bowlers involved in referrals, spinners from both sides delivered eight-five per cent of the balls on which they were requested, with Sri Lankans Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan between them accounting for almost half of that figure.  English international umpire Mark Benson was quoted during the series as saying how difficult his work was when "mystery spinners" such as Mendis were operating.

 

As is to be expected from such a trial the results, as described in media reports, were mixed. Some felt that obvious umpiring mistakes were corrected and the quality of decision-making high, and that any concerns technology would undermine the role of the on-field umpire was misplaced.  Several articles written put forward the view that conducting the trial in a Test match, rather than as was suggested earlier in the year in the forthcoming Champions Trophy series (E-News 169-908, 5 January 2008), meant that the positives and negatives were highlighted to a greater degree.

 

The time taken for referrals was widely thought to have been of concern, although that appears to have mainly been when a less experienced official was in the television chair (E-News 289-1535, 3 August 2008), which suggests the case for "specialist" television umpires  may have been enhanced (E-News 284-1507, 24 July 2008).   

 

Of the technology itself the 'Virtual Eye' ball-tracking system was questioned during the series, as was its application by third officials in the early stages of the evaluation (E-News 286-1511, 28 July 2008).  Super-slow cameras are said to have picked up the thick edges but one report claimed that they were not good enough for the thin ones, while there were calls from an umpire and others that 'Hot Spot' technology be used as it appears to have been "foolproof" in detecting the impact of the ball (E-News 293-1549, 11 August 2008).  

 

On the other hand both players and umpires were said to have had concerns about 'Snicko' because it picks noises from bat, pad or boot and there are technological problems in matching that noise to the television images, both of which leaves too much room for error.  

 

Cricinfo journalist Sambit Bal summed up the situation for many when he wrote that even with increased technology there remains an element of ambiguity about the final decision's made, and that if technology cannot provide an absolute answer, it is more likely to muddle the situation even further.  

 

However, he continued, cricket "made its call about technology years ago", and "it is now impossible to imagine run-outs and stumpings being ruled on without a replay".   He concludes though that "with a bit of fine-tuning and common sense, the [PRS] can be made to work".

 

RAIN FRUSTRATES, TESTS PLAYING CONDITIONS KNOWLEDGE 

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Rain has been a persistent problem for those involved in games across the UK over the last month, with many grounds waterlogged at club, first-class and international level.  Numerous matches that have been played have involved marginal conditions that test official's judgements as to the suitability of grounds for play, and when rain intervenes, also their knowledge of playing conditions for the competition in which they are standing. 

 

In some areas, more particularly in the west and north of the British Isles, frequent torrential downpours and cloudy skies have seen games cancelled for a number of weekends in a row, and some groundsmen are describing the conditions as "even worse" than the wet summer of 2007.  With the season in the UK only a few weeks away from completion and no 'final series' used to decide premierships as is the case in Australia, close races for league titles are being seriously affected by the weather.    

 

Included in the cancellations was this week's single Twenty20 international between England and South Africa at Chester-le-Street, where the conditions were so bad that the match was called off twenty-four hours before it was due to start.  Umpires for that game would have been Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong and the match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka.  Previously they have officiated in three, ten and two Twenty20 internationals respectively.

 

HARPER WEB SITE UNCHANGED FOR THREE MONTHS 

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The personal web site of Australian international umpire Daryl Harper has remained unchanged for nearly three months, the last entry in early June covering the finals of the Indian Premier League.  Since that time Harper has officiated in two Test matches in England, his seventy-second and third, the last of which ended on 21 July.

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 301, 25 August 2008

 

ECB MOVES TO CUT OFF UMPIRE’S ICL OPTION

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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is working to set up year-round contracts for its first-class umpires in an attempt to stop them standing in "non official" tournments such as those run by the Indian Cricket League (ICL).  What have been described as "lucrative" contracts are currently believed to be on offer from the ICL for its next series in October (E-News 292-1552, 11 August 2008).

 

In the past, ECB umpiring contracts have run from 1 April to 30 September each year, and the officials concerned generally found other employment over the northern hemisphere winter.  That was why three members of the ECB's first-class umpires panel, Trevor Jesty, Nigel Cowley and Jeff Evans, were able to sign on for several earlier ICL tournaments, however, they had to leave their last one early due to their ECB contract commitments (E-News 222-1224, 3 April 2008).

 

According to a report in the latest edition of 'Wisden Cricketer' magazine, the ECB now wants umpires to agree to year-round contracts with payments being phased over a full twelve months.  In return for that change, an increase of their basic salary from the equivalent of around $A70,000 to $A80,000 is said to have been proposed, but the umpires will also have to agree not to stand in so-called unauthorised cricket such as the ICL.

 

The magazine says that discussions between David Collier, the ECB's Chief Executive Officer, and an umpire's negotiating team comprising of Peter Willey, chairman of first-class umpires, George Sharp and Barry Duddlestone, are continuing "but are at an advanced stage".  Should it eventually be agreed to, the new arrangement is likely start from 1 January, although additional payments could be made to cover the period from this October to December in order to forestall the ECB's umpires standing in the ICL's forthcoming tournament.

 

TAKE REVIEW TECHNOLOGY AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, SAYS LEWIS

[EN301-1584]

 

Umpires' decision review technology should be taken "as far as possible", says former England Test skipper Tony Lewis (E-News 284-1508, 24 July 2008).  His view, which was published in the September edition of 'Wisden Cricketer', comes as a International Cricket Council (ICC) "expert panel" works through the results of the recent Player Referral System trial in Sri Lanka (E-News 300-1579, 22 August 2008). 

 

Lewis, who is Chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC), a group that has been pushing the increased use of technology (E-News 242-1328, 15 May 2008), says that in his view "searching for the perfect decision-making process" may be "as loopy as searching for the Holy Grail, but we must not sit back and judge the incorrect decisions merely as rub-of-the-green".  According to him "cricketers and umpires who have worked in the game at high level [should be allowed] to make the ultimate refinements".

 

Other comments made by Lewis in a column titled "If I ran the world', include his view that Test cricket needs a "shake up", as the current over rate of 13.8 overs per hour "is unacceptable", something the International Cricket Council is examining (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008).  "A wicket falls and bag-boys run on the field with refreshments", says Lewis, and that should be banned, and "bad light is only bad when its physically dangerous" to play on.

 

Lewis would also like to see "a better balance between bat and ball" as the "whole spice of the contest depends on this".  The standardisation of bat handles, as planned under a revised Law 6 (E-News 241-1323, 12 May 2008) is a good move he says, "but more investigation is needed into the weight and thickness of the bat".  

 

The "ball dominates" says Lewis, and therefore manufacturers should be encouraged "to construct a cricket ball that has a seam of thicker thread, for the more prominent the seam, the more movement for the bowler, the more wickets to be taken, and the firmer the break on big hitting".  

 

"We live in a world that specialises in six-hits and little or no spin bowling" says Lewis, and he asks the question as to "how sad is that?"

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 302, 27 August 2008

 

ACO TRAINING PROGRAM HIATUS TO CONTINUE 

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A core training program planned by the Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) for its umpire and scorer members will not be available until well into next year, according to details provided in the ACO's latest newsletter.  The first of the Association's Level 2 training programs, a standard for the majority of umpires and scorers involved in serious cricket organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), will not commence until March and April next year, seven months away and fifteen months after the ACO was established (E-News 157-866, 18 December 2007). 

 

As did its April predecessor, ACO's August newsletter acknowledges that the organisation needs "to communicate with [its] members more clearly and effectively", an issue that was criticised by the then Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scorers (ICUS) in April (E-News 233-1291, 23 April 2008), and recognised by the Association itself soon after (E-News 236-1303, 28 April 2008).  The four months break in newsletter publication and lack of follow-up reporting on a number of key matters mentioned in April's issue appear to have done little to as yet address that concern. 

 

The August's newsletter's lead story provides a summary of the Association's plans to develop Level 1, 2 and 3 programs, produce "regular DVDs for in-season training programs", and increase the visibility of the ACO web site.  It also proposes to ask the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws Working Party "to review 'Tom Smith' "with a view to producing an up-dated and accurate book as soon as possible".  Copyright for Smith's book passed from the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) to the MCC when the ACUS was subsumed by the ACO on 1 January (E-News 193-1056, 8 February 2008).

 

Structually, the ACO's planned qualification system appears, in terminology at least, to be similar to that in Australia, a heirachy that is presumably designed to feed into the International Cricket Council's (ICC) accreditation system for umpires who are nominated for possible promotion from national towards international levels.  What might be termed a 'Level 4' program is the only recommendation from last year's ICC umpires 'Task Force' that the world body has not yet to implement (E-News 126-686, 1 November 2007).  

 

ACO "task forces" are to be set up to develop separate "coherent" Level 1 courses for umpires and scorers as well as the Level 3 program, the former "immediately" and the latter "by October".  The Level 1 scorer’s course is available now, but no timetable for the completion of that standard's umpire program or the Level 3 qualification for first-class officials, has been announced.  The Level 1 course is said to be only "a slightly amended" version of the ACUS's well-established basic-level GL6 course, and is probably similar to the Level 1 course Cricket Australia is currently developing (E-News 287-1520, 30 July 2008).

 

It is not clear from material published in the ACO's newsletter or on its web site to date just what the precise range and scope of the Level 2 program will be.  However, it appears that it may not be dissimilar to Cricket Australia's National Umpire Accreditation Scheme Level 2 (NUAS-2) program or the training programs the now International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (IICUS) released last year.  Like the latter course the ACO's Level 2 program is to be "formally accredited" by a certified training body in the UK, a path the then ICUS followed (E-News 47-256, 27 May 2007).  

 

Experienced, long-serving umpires at the "grass roots" level in a number of Counties, some of whom are ACO members, have told E-News that they are yet to see anything definitive about the program.  ACO's Education Manager Nick Cousins (E-News 258-1406, 18 June 2008), states in their latest newsletter that there is a need "to engage with County ACOs at grass roots level" for there is a "clear perception that those responsible [for training] at that level have been sidelined".  His aim is to develop a training regime that is "evolutionary not a revolutionary process", an approach that was approved at the Association's interim Board meeting on 3 July.  

 

Cousins says that there is a need to "fill the vacuum" that currently exists in the Training program, but there is no 'quick fix' solution for rolling out the courses nationally".  Interested members have been asked to apply to attend the scorer's Level 2 "pilot" or draft course at Lord's over two days in mid-September.  However, the Level 2 umpires equivalent will not be ready until late October, plans calling for it to be attended by "fifteen prospective Level 2 tutors" who will assist with delivery of the initial courses.       

 

After those trials, the final Level 2 courses for members are not scheduled to be "delivered" to ten candidates in each of the ACO's five regions until "March and April" next year, a wording that could be taken to mean that the required instruction will be completed in that eight week time-frame.  That is significantly less than, for example, the much longer eighteen-month time frame of CA's Level 2 NUAS-2 course.  After that, says the ACO, the program will be made available on a wider basis over the northern winter of 2009-10.

 

The current hiatus comes over twelve months after the ACO indicated to the ACUS during pre-merger discussions that it was then working on training program development, and eighteen months after the independent IICUS released its own umpires course 'on the market' in the UK.  

 

For reasons that are far from clear, the ACO warned off clubs from participating in the independent group's programs four months ago, and ran a similar suggestion in the current newsletter, pointing out the funding advantages of working via the ECB's "regulated and officially sanctioned environment".

 

KENYAN REPRIMANDED FOR 'EQUIPMENT ABUSE'

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Kenya wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma has been reprimanded for breaching part of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct that deals with “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings”, during the One Day International against Ireland in Belfast last Sunday.  Ouma slapped his bat against his pad and then kicked the bat a few metres in disappointment as he walked towards the pavilion after being given out caught and bowled. 

 

Ouma was found guilty by match referee Mike Procter from South Africa after being charged by umpires Peter Hartley from England and Ian Ramage of Scotland.  Procter reached his conclusion after a hearing attended by the player, the two on-field umpires, third umpire Alan Neill from Ireland, Kenya manager Davinder Singh and captain Steve Tikolo. 

 

Claims in the media last month that the Kenyan side was to be reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) "for abuse of umpires" in a warm-up game to his month's World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in Northern Ireland, either were not correct or no action has yet been taken against the side (E-News 288-1528, 1 August 2008).

 

PRESSURE OFF ON PRS REVIEW COMPLETION? 

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Postponement of next month's Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan could mean that the International Cricket Council's (ICC) "expert group" reviewing the recent Test match based Player Review System (PRS) trial may now have more time to complete their work.  The six individuals involved in the assessment have been separated by widely-spaced time zones in recent weeks as they focus on match-related and other cricket issues (E-News 300-1579, 22 August 2008).   

 

While the ICC has not made a statement on the panel's timetable, media reports quoting well-connected sources earlier this month indicated that the assessment was to have been completed in time for a decision to be made as to whether the system should be used in the Trophy series (E-News 294-1553, 13 August 2008).  

 

Should a decision be taken that use of the system be continued, a large number of Test and One Day Internationals are scheduled between now and the end of the 2008-09 season.  They include the visit of New Zealand to Bangladesh, England to India, Bangladesh to South Africa, both New Zealand and South Africa to Australia, England to the West Indies, and Australia to South Africa. 

 

BREATH FRESHENERS HELPED GENERATE 'REVERSE SWING' 

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Reverse swing generated by bowlers Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff during the 2005 Ashes series may have been aided by peppermint sweets, according to former England batsman Marcus Trescothick's recently published autobiography.  Law 42.3 says in part that a "fielder may polish the ball provided no artificial substance is used", but Trescothick says that he shone the ball after sucking on "breath fresheners" as "the man in charge of looking after the ball" while England were in the field in that series.

 

In an extract from the book published last weekend in the tabloid 'News of the World' in the UK, Trescothick says that he settled on the "best type of spit for the task at hand through trial and error".  According to him "it had been common knowledge in County cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing".

 

The impact of using mints was discovered by accident, says the story.  Trescothick credits. Warwickshire's Dermot Reeve for noticing that his bowlers had the ability to keep the ball swinging far longer than any team they faced, but no one knew why.  

 

Reeve "realised the player in charge of polishing and keeping the ball clean was his top-order batsman Asif Din, and what he did to keep his concentration up was to chew extra strong mints".  "It took a while for word to get around, but once it did sales of sweets went through the roof", claims Trescothick.  He "tried Asif's confection of choice but couldn't get on with them [as they were] too dry", but after changing to another manufacturer's mints, he "found [that] they worked a treat".

 

Trescothick says he also used the mints during the 2001 Ashes, and writes about what he calls "a comical moment during the Headingley Test in that series":  As he "dived to gather the ball at square leg, [he] landed on [his] side and a shower of the mints spewed out of [his] trouser pocket all over the grass right in front of the umpire" who was not named. 

 

"Fortunately", continues the former England player, "neither [the umpire] nor the two batsmen seemed to take much notice as I scrambled around on all fours trying desperately to gather in the sweets before they started asking awkward questions".  The umpires for that Test were David Shepherd of England, who was standing in the fifty-seventh of his ninety-two Tests, and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan of India in the forty-seventh of his seventy-three.

 

India's Rahul Dravid was fined half his match fee for rubbing a cough lozenge on the ball during a One Day International against Zimbabwe in Brisbane in January 2004.   The umpires for that game were Steve Davis of Australia and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, while Davis' compatriot Peter Parker was the third official and Clive Lloyd of the West Indies the match referee.

 

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 303, 30 August 2008

 

'FOOTBALL-STYLE' CARD SYSTEM FOR GOLD COAST

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What is described as a "football-style" disciplinary card system is to be used in Gold Coast cricket in south-east Queensland this southern summer.   John Fitzgerald, an official from the region, was quoted in a number of Fairfax papers this week as saying the system is being introduced in order 'to crack down on the behavioural problems" that have been experienced over the last few seasons on the Gold Coast.

 

While full details are not yet available, media reports say that "an immediate red card" will be issued for any racist comments made on the field, while "threats of violence" would draw a yellow card.  The implication of reports is that the issuing of such cards, a direct 'red' or double 'yellow', would lead to 'send offs' as is the case in soccer, but that was not specifically spelt out.  

 

Fitzgerald is quoted as saying that the system, which has been approved by Queensland's umpiring coach David Orchard, would only be used in the Gold Coast's first- and second-grade competition and would affect about twenty-six teams.  He said sledging held a place in the sport, and in Australian life, but a level of acceptable conduct had to be achieved on the pitch, and the program was expected to curb sledging within the first few weeks of implementation.

 

The story goes on to report that the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association has criticised the implementation of behaviour cards, which are "also being considered [for] Sydney grade cricket".  Peter Hughes, who was until yesterday the Association's Chief Executive Officer (E-News 298-1569, 19 August 2008), is quoted as saying that strong leadership from captains was the real answer to poor conduct.  "Where the problem lies is that clubs don't pick the right captains" for they are "at all times" responsible for ensuring play is conducted within the 'Spirit of the Game' as well as within the Laws". 

 

"The reality is a breach of the code is a breach of the code", said Hughes, and "its not for the umpire to become judge and jury [for] he is a witness, but by issuing a yellow card he is also prosecutor".  In his view a system of cumulative yellow cards denies a player due process and could lead to cricketers being unfairly banned from matches without avenue for review.

 

The Tasmanian Cricket Association has successfully operated a 'yellow card' system over the last three years, although it does not provide umpires with the ability to dismiss players during a match.  That system is for lesser misdemeanors that warrant a sanction but not a full report, three yellows over two seasons automatically leading to a one-match ban.

 

The North Yorkshire and South Durham League in England introduced a 'yellow card' system for its matches this northern hemisphere summer (E-News 271-1453, 6 July 2008).  

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board' Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) was to have addressed the introduction of a 'yellow card' system at the 7 July meting of its interim Board (E-News 254-1385, 8 June 2008), but no details were mentioned about in it the ACO's latest newsletter (E-News 302-1583, 27 August 2008). 

 

'LOYALTY' BONUS PAYMENT FOR ECB UMPS  

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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is to give all twenty-five of its first-class officials an "interim loyalty bonus payment" equivalent to close to $A16,000, as part of moves to prevent them standing in the Indian Cricket League's (ICL) forthcoming tournament, says an article in 'The Times' newspaper in London this week (E-News 301-1583, 25 August 2008).  Despite that at least one ECB official who is close to retirement is said to be planning to join the ICL on a short-term contract thought to be worth around $A60,000.

 

The 'Times' says that the ECB were "so keen" not to offend the Board of Control for Cricket in India, that it declined to appoint any of the umpires who took part in the ICL's initial tournaments to stand in domestic televised cricket or as a fourth official at Tests or One Day Internationals in England this northern summer. 

 

One of three, Trevor Jesty, stood in one domestic televised match, but only because 'Sky-TV' made a late switch, says the story.  It goes on to indicate that solicitors for the Professional Cricketers' Association's have sent a letter to the ECB saying that the umpires in question had been discriminated against.

 

Once the ECB's contracts, which are said to involve basic annual salaries of $A70,000 come on line, any of its umpires who stand in an "unauthorised tournament" without special dispensation from the ECB would be liable to dismissal for gross misconduct, says 'The Times'.  From 2009 umpires will also receive an additional fee for standing in televised County matches.

 

ECB umpire Allan Jones, who is 60 and Chairman of the First-Class Cricket Umpires Association, has reportedly decided to take early retirement from the umpiring panel "for a variety of reasons", one of them being said to be the prospect of standing in the ICL this winter.

 

'UMPIRE', PLAYER ARRESTED AFTER MATCH VIOLENCE

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An umpire and a player were both arrested, and another player was taken to hospital, after a “friendly” match between two sides in Birmingham turned violent following a controversial run-out decision last Sunday.  A West Midlands Police spokesman told local news media that investigations were continuing into the fracas, however, it is known that "the batting teams provided the umpires, which may not have been the best approach as things turned out". 

 

Reports indicate that the incident occurred after bowler Khurram Choudhary challenged the umpire’s ‘not out’ decision and was allegedly set upon by up to half a dozen opposition players and a number of spectators, one wielding a stump.  Things “turned very ugly” and the match had to be abandoned in a hurry after Police were called to the scene, however, the spokesman for West Midlands Police said that "there are conflicting reports of what sparked the violence". 

 

Choudhary, who later declined to comment when approached by the media, was taken to hospital with head injuries, and the umpire and a player were taken in for questioning by Police, but they were later bailed pending further inquiries.

 

DATE FOR 2008 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' AWARD SET

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to conduct its fifth annual awards night in Dubai on 10 September, a ceremony that will include the presentation to the world body's 2008 'Umpire of the Year' for the period up until 12 August.   It will be the first time the ceremony has been staged in Dubai, previous ones held in London (2004), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006) and Johannesburg (2007) all seeing Australian international umpire Simon Taufel winner of the Umpire's award (E-News 97-524, 11 September 2007).   

 

In addition to the award that Taufel has so far dominated and one for teams covering the 'Spirit of Cricket', other categories are players of the year in the Test, One Day International, and Twenty20 international arenas, the overall men's and women's cricketer of the year, and the emerging player and ICC Associates' nations player of the year. 

 

Nominations for the Umpire of the Year and six other awards, none of which have yet been released, have been drawn up by a selection panel chaired by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd that includes former Australia captain Greg Chappell, recently retired South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock, former Sri Lanka opener Sidath Wettimuny and former Bangladesh batsman Athar Ali Khan.  

 

Final selection of the Umpire's award is to be made after a twenty-five person panel made up of "renowned former players, respected members of the media, and an Elite umpire and Elite match referee" vote to select the category winners from those nominated by Lloyd's panel.  However, the 'Spirit of Cricket Award' will be based on a votes cast by a group that includes "all international captains" as well as all members of the ICC's Elite Umpires and Match Referees panels. 

 

The awards night was to have been staged in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy but with that tournament being postponed it has now been moved to Dubai where the ICC has its headquarters.

 

COUNTY PLAYERS LOOSE DISCIPLINARY POINTS

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Middlesex batsman Billy Godleman and Surrey seamer Stuart Meaker have been penalised under the England and Wales Cricket Board's disciplinary code.  Both men have been issued with three penalty points which will remain on their records for two years, with nine points resulting in an automatic playing ban.

 

Godleman was guilty of "using language or gestures that are obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator" during a second XI fixture against Gloucestershire in July.  Meaker, meanwhile, was reported by umpires Michael Gough and Andy Bullock for bowling a high full-pitched delivery that resulted in the bowler being taken off in an innings in the match against Yorkshire two weeks ago.

 

Meanwhile in club cricket, Shropshire captain James Ralph has been handed a two-game suspension for "misconduct towards the umpires" in his side's six wicket Birmingham League match last Saturday.  Under league rules the offence automatically triggered the two-game ban about which he has no right of appeal.  His side's team manager Chris Cadman told local media that he had "spoken to James and he said that it is a fair cop and [he] takes it on the chin".

 

 

END OF AUGUST 2008 E-NEWS FILE