December 08 (355-362)




(EN-1892 TO EN-1934) 



355 –  1 December  [1892-1934]

• ICL explores longer-term contracts with umpires  (355-1892).

• State Panel umpires manage WNCL,CAC, matches  (355-1893).

• Dar slips to TV spot for final Zim-Lanka ODI.  (355-1894).

• Six umpires stand in Americas' Championship  (355-1895).


356 –  3 December  [1896-1900]

• Test debut for Indian umpire  (356-1896).

• Bangladeshi suspended from bowling in international cricket  (356-1897).

• Former NZ captain supports UDRS  (356-1898).

• Leadbeater tested ECB retirement policy, says report  (356-1899).

• NZ first-class player fined for dissent  (356-1900).


357 –  5 December  [1901-1910]

• IICUS education head appointed to new CA position (357-1901).

• One day matches for TCA first Grade this weekend  (357-1902).

• Spread of experience in Under 19 series umpires  (357-1903).

• UDRS strikes at game's integrity, claims former coach (357-1904).

• SA provincial award for Koertzen  (357-1905).

• US umpire trainers to conduct exams in Guyana, Canada (357-1906).

• Two week suspension handed out for racial sledge  (357-1907).

• Banned bowler aiming at speedy return  (357-1908).

• Bowler cops three (or four?) week ban for umpire abuse  (357-1909).

• One match ban for Under 19 representative  (357-1910).


358 –  8 December  [1911-1915]

• Visa problems lead to Test appointments change  (358-1911).

• Umpire plans treadmill 'marathon' for cancer research  (358-1912).

• Technology again catches umpires out  (358-1913).

• 'Over' produces thirty runs, but no legitimate deliveries  (358-1914).

• Bucknor receives JCA 'President's Award' for 2008  (358-1915).


359 –  10 December  [1916-1919]

• ICC plans tough stand on over-rates, sledging  (359-1916).

• Saheba named for both NZ-Windies Tests  (359-1917).

• NZ paper again reports on umpire's performance  (359-1918).

• More rain forecast for Hobart for the coming weekend  (359-1919).


360 –  16 December  [1920-1921]

• Concern expressed about UDRS evaluation time  (360-1920).

• De Silva to umpire his first Test in Australia  (360-1921).


361 –  18 December  [1922-1928]

• ICC chief orders over-rate, sledging, crack down  (361-1922).

• Match referee reports cockroach, sight screen, problems  (361-1923).

• ACO names regional representatives (361-1924).

• 'Wide' forgotten as 'over' called  (361-1925).

• Bowler fined for abuse of opponent  (361-1926).

• Two 'glove men' on the field  (361-1927).

• Weather shaping as 'fine' for the coming weekend (361-1928).



362 –  22 December  [1929-1934]

• Dar error supports permanent UDRS use, claims journalist  (362-1929).

• Reunion of Aussie Test umpires planned  (362-1930).

• Pitch rolling after toss leads to reminder  (362-1931).

• Ball changed before start of play  (362-1932).

• Rauf wears black arm band as tribute  (362-1933).

• Yorkshire looking for sixty women umpires  (362-1934).









Indian Cricket League (ICL) officials were exploring the establishment of longer-term contracts with the four umpires who were standing in its 'World Series' Twenty20 competition in Ahmedabad just prior to this week's Mumbai terrorist attacks.  All four, Englishmen David Brandon and Allan Jones, David Orchard of Australia and Ranmore Martinez from Sri Lanka, were sounded out regarding contracts that would cover the next two years of ICL tournaments, says a blog published on the International Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (IICUS) web site by Brandon its Chief Executive Officer. 


Brandon says that "in principle" agreement was reached in preliminary talks with an ICL representative that the establishment of longer-term contracts would provide "security" for both sides.  The umpires would thus have employment guaranteed and the league would have umpires available to them, thus "alleviating the need to find others at short notice", avoiding "the hassles that beset the opening" of the latest ICL series and allowing the umpires to be "able to arrange [their] visas in plenty of time".  


Former ICL umpires Keith Smith (Ireland) and Shakeel Khan (Pakistan), who were dumped following the round robin part of the ICL's 'Indian Championship' earlier this month (E-News 350-1872, 20 November 2008), could also be in the mix for contracts hinted Brandon. 


The unnamed ICL manager agreed to meet again with Brandon, Jones, Martinecz and Orchard "later in the week" to "finalise" initial discussions so that he could speak with ICL "bosses in Mumbai", however, the decision to cancel the last three 'World Series' matches because of the chaos in Mumbai may have precluded such a meeting being held.


Interestingly, Brandon also says in the same blog that prior to the 'World Series' getting underway last Sunday week, it had been agreed that there would be a "compulsory ball change fifteen overs" into a twenty over innings in order "to remove the problem of the dirty ball".  Under those arrangements umpires could change the ball earlier than over fifteen if they "felt it necessary but that would be it for the innings".  The only person who seems to have had a problem with such a move was Inzamam-ul-Haq the captain of 'ICL Pakistan", but Brandon writes that there was "nothing unusual" about his disagreement. 






Six members of State Umpire Panels (SUP) from two States officiated in the first four matches of the 21-game Women's National Cricket League that were played in Brisbane and Perth over the weekend.  In the west Nathan Johnstone and Todd Rann stood in both one-day games between the home side and South Australia, while in Queensland Andrew Curran and Damien Mealey then Norm McNamara and Tim Laycock were on the field for the first and second games respectively between Queensland and New South Wales.


Today at the Bankstown Oval in Sydney, Western Australian SUP and Cricket Australia Project Panel member Paul Wilson is to stand with local SUP member Mark Nickl in the four-day Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) match between the Second XIs of New South Wales and Tasmania.  Wilson's appointment to a CAC game outside his home state is the third time Cricket Australia has provided such an opportunity to a SUP member this season (E-News 339-1788, 29 October 2008). 






Pakistan international umpire Aleem Dar, who was selected as the 'neutral' official for the five match One Day International (ODI) series between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, worked as the third umpire in the final game in Harare yesterday.  Zimbabwean umpires Kevan Barbour and Russell Tiffin filled both on-field spots for the match, a move that is believed to have been the first time in many years than a 'neutral' has not been on the ground for a tier-one ODI.  

Yesterday's appointments mean that Barbour and Tiffin stood in three matches each during the series, the former also being in the television spot twice.  Zimbabwean umpire Owen Chirombe who made his ODI debut as a third umpire during the series, also worked in that role on two occasions (E-News 351-1875, 22 November 2008).  The series also farwelled match referee Mike Proctor from South Africa who will from today be the Chairman of his country's team selectors.






Six umpires from three nations stood in the fifth Americas Division 1 Championship in Florida over the past week, each chalking up five games on the field by the time the fifty over one-day match tournament ended overnight Australian time.  Half-a-dozen nations from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Americas region, Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Suriname and the United States, competed in the fifty over, one-day match tournament. 


Umpires appointed by the ICC for the series were Roger Dill and Steven Douglas of Bermuda, Hubert Smythe and Courtney Young of the Cayman Islands and Karran Bayney and Ashook Brijcoomar of Canada.  Dill is the most experienced of the six officials having stood in eight first-class matches, all of them in the second-tier Intercontinental Cup (IC), twenty-five One Day Internationals and a plethora of other international games, including this year's Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia (E-News 185-999, 29 January 2008).    


Young, Smythe and Bayney have more limited experience at first-class level with four, three and one IC matches against their name at present, and together with Brijcoomar all have travelled widely with cricket, standing in a variety of international series that have been played this decade in such places as Argentina, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Suriname, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama and the US.


Suriname, the only ICC Affiliate nation in the group, earned the right to join the regions Associates by virtue of winning the Americas region Division 2 tournament earlier this year and played in the top tier of senior regional competition for the first time.  Previous winners of the tournament have been Canada in 2000 and 2004, the United States in 2002 and Bermuda in 2006.  







Indian umpire Amish Saheba will make his debut at Test level next week when he stands in the First Test between New Zealand and the West Indies in Dunedin tomorrow week, his fiftieth match at first-class level.  Whether he will stand in the Second Test in Napier the week after that is unknown at this stage as the report of his appointment came via local media in Dunedin, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to make an announcement of the umpires for the two match series.


According to a report this morning in the 'Otago Daily Times', Saheba's on-field colleague for the Dunedin Test will be South African Rudi Koertzen who will be standing in his ninety-seventh match at that level of the game, while Mark Benson of England will be the third 'neutral' official for the eighth time in a Test as the Umpire Decision Review System will be operational (E-News 356-1898 below).  Both Koertzen and Benson took part in the initial UDRS trial in Sri Lanka earlier this year (E-News 278-1482, 17 July 2008).   


Saheba is a former first-class player having appeared fifteen times for Gujurat as a batsman in the Ranji Trophy from 1983-89, his father, uncle, son and cousin also playing at that level.  He made his debut as a first-class umpire in December 1993, all such games to date being played in India, and over the last twelve years he has worked in the third umpire position in five Tests, including the First and Second Tests between India and Australia in October.


In the One Day International (ODI) sphere, however, the twenty-six One Day Internationals he has officiated in to date have also included matches in Ireland, Zimbabwe, and earlier this year, in Australia (E-News 280-1491, 19 July 2008), and he has also occupied the third umpire's chair in an ODI on eleven occasions.  Saheba's on-field record in ODIs includes all five games in the now cancelled series between India and England, and it is understood that he was also to stand in the remaining two matches if they had taken place.  


Such a run of appointments is unusual as 'home' on-field umpiring positions in ODI series are normally shared between members of a nation's representatives on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The move could have been made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in order to further hone his skills for New Zealand, and thus his chances of being appointed as a member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next April, a key aim of Indian officials as that national has not had a EUP member for nearly five years.


Saheba's Indian IUP colleague Suresh Shastri is the last Indian to stand in a Test, his debut game and second such match being in Sri Lanka eighteen months ago (E-News 60-327, 26 June 2007).






Bangladesh bowler Abdur Razzak has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after independent analysis of his bowling action revealed that the amount of elbow extension in his action exceeded the fifteen-degree level of tolerance permitted under regulations.  


Razzak was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action in late October (E-News 341-1807, 31 October 2008), and the analysis was performed by Dr Marc Portus, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Panel of Human Movement Specialists, at the Biomechanics Department of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in mid-November.


The ICC said in a statement that Portus' evaluation showed that the amount of elbow extension in Razzak’s bowling action for his stock delivery ranged from twenty-two to twenty-eight degrees and averaged twenty-five degrees, while for his quicker ball the average was twenty-four degrees and the range twenty-two to twenty-eight degrees.  


Razzak can ask the ICC's Bowling Review Group for another assessment, although to do that he has to submit a written request within two weeks of receiving Portus' report.  Otherwise he can apply for re-assessment of his bowling action after he has modified it in accordance with ICC regulations that cover the review of bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions.






Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has told the ABC's 'Grandstand' program that the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in Test cricket will help lessen umpire-related controversies in the sport.  Crowe said that umpires rather than players will be the greatest beneficiaries from the introduction of the referral decision.


Crowe, a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Committee that formally recommended the referral system to the International Cricket Council (ICC), said such a move will ease the pressure on umpires when judging appeals.  "Instead of having the umpires on the front page in the headlines, we take them off and we get the decision reversed and it's all done in a couple of minutes", he said.


After this month's Tests in New Zealand (E-News 356-1896 above), the UDRS was to have been used in India in January-February for its series against Pakistan, although there is uncertainty at this time that visit will go ahead, and then in both the Caribbean and South Africa in February-March (E-News 336-1736, 15 October 2008).    






Long-serving County umpire Barrie Leadbeater, who retired in October under the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) mandatory retirement policy at age sixty-five (E-News 314-1640, 18 September 2008), sought an extension of his time on the ECB's first-class list, says an article in the December edition of 'The Wisden Cricketer' (TWC).  However, after what TWC says was a "sympathetic" hearing he received "a polite refusal" to his request from the ECB.


TWC says that the ECB umpire's manager Chris Kelly "turned down Leadbeater's application "after due process", being quoted as saying that "we need umpires who are motivated [to stand at first-class level and above] and if people see there are obstructions their motivation takes a knock".  "The bottom line" continues the quote, "is that we have the best interests of the cricketers at heart [and] that has to be our focus [for] we are committed to getting the best umpires available".


Leadbeater, who is said to have taken "informal advice" from former Gloucestershire bowler Mike Smith who is now an employment lawyer, is quoted as saying that he "has not been pushing" the issue but allowed his "name to go forward" in order to test the reaction from the ECB for the benefit of his colleagues in the future, but was "not looking to make a big issue of it".  


TWC indicates that the issue was raised with the ECB in relation to lobbying that is being conducted within the European Union by a group called 'Age Concern', who view automatic retirement as "age discrimination".  Smith told TWC that "it looks as if the age of sixty-five is here to stay unfortunately" and he is "not expecting any change to current legislation".


Writing in 'The Independent' three months ago journalist Stephen Brenkley wrote that the ECB retirement policy "does not seem fair" (E-News 318-1661, 24 September 2008) and that in his view the ECB should find some role for Leadbeater as "an adviser or trainer".  Young umpires "are needed", said the journalist, but "so are old ones" like Leadbeater. 


The TWC article says that the ECB "probably found a request from a non-international umpire easy to reject", however, it claims that "the story might have been different if [former England international umpire] David Shepherd had applied when he retired in 2005" when he was on the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel.  Shepherd umpired his final first-class match in September 2005 and turned sixty-five the following December.






Northern Districts batsman Cameron Merchant has been fined over an incident in the game against Central Districts in Hamilton, New Zealand, last week, according to media reports from across the Tasman Sea.  Merchant raised his bat, delayed leaving the crease and shook his head as he walked off after being given out LBW by umpire Derek Walker in the forty-fifth over of his side's first innings. 


Walker, who was standing in his twenty-third first-class match, and his on-field colleague 'Billy' Bowden in his 112th, filed a report on the incident under a section of the New Zealand Cricket Code of Conduct that deals with "unacceptable behaviour".  Association Commissioner Gerald Bailey convened a hearing on the alleged breach and in his decision he described Merchant's actions as momentary, unaccompanied by any verbal comment and an instinctive reaction, and both he and the umpires regarded the incident as offending at what media reports say was the "lower end of the scale".  



Noting that Merchant had not been previously reported and had apologised for his actions, Bailey imposed a fine equivalent to just over $A300.









Englishman Denis Burns, who played a key role in the development of the International Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (IICUS) high-tech training material, has been appointed to Cricket Australia's (CA) new 'Umpire Educator' position (E-News 348-1853, 12 November 2008).  Burns, who is currently the IICUS' Director of Education and Development, plans to immigrate to Australia and is expected to take on the new role in Melbourne in mid-January.  


CA Umpires Manager Andrew Scotford said in an e-mail sent to umpiring stakeholders around the nation to inform them of the appointment, that Burns "will be an excellent asset to umpiring in Australia, and [to CA's] Global Development Program" (GDP), and that the move "will help further the umpire education and training support to umpires at all levels".  


Burns, who will fill a position first agreed to by the CA Board almost two years ago (E-News 9-50, 25 February 2007), will have dual responsibilities, reporting to Scotford on the development and delivery of umpiring programs within Australia and working "closely with States and Territory Associations to ensure a seamless approach to umpire education", and to GDP head Ross Turner for overseas work.  Burns led CA's six-day umpire program for sixteen people in Kathmandu, Nepal, in October  (E-News 322-1688, 3 October 2008), a course that used IICUS materials.


Burns, who has umpired on a regular basis in England, has a background in education, teaching in schools, and further and adult education colleges in England, and for most of the last twenty years has been a university lecturer in education and information technology at Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Cumbria.  He has also worked with a range of businesses on the development and use of business presentation software.


In addition to Nepal, he has lectured to umpires, scorers and players on the Laws of Cricket in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway and Switzerland.  Burns has also visited Sydney to discuss umpire training resources with the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, whose Executive Officer and Education and Training Manager are both IICUS "tutors", the Cricket NSW Auditorium having been formally "inspected and approved" as an accredited centre for IICUS "operations in Australasia" (E-News 297-1585, 18 August 2008).  


A story posted on the IICUS web site indicates that Burns will continue with his development work for the Institute on a consultative basis after he starts work with CA. 






All of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) First Grade matches this weekend will be played under the fifty over, one-day format, a result that flows from the wash out of all four games in the competition last Saturday.  In contrast, games in all other Grades will continue as two-day games, with a number that could not get underway last weekend or were effected by rain last weekend having 10.30 a.m. starts and potential 6.30 p.m. finishes. 


Rain and showers forecast for today in the Hobart area could result in damp grounds first thing on Saturday morning and later in the day a quickly moving cold front is expected to cross the State, and its influence could be felt in Hobart sometime during afternoon.  By Sunday a High pressure system will start to push in the State from the west, but showers can be expected in the south-west stream that will be established across the island in the wake of Saturday's cold front.


Sunday's forecast suggests that the domestic one-day match at Bellerive that day between Tasmania and New South Wales shouldn't have too much of a problem with weather.  TCUSA umpiring member Steven John and Bob Parry a Victorian member of the National Umpires Panel will be standing in that match, local Brian Muir working in the third umpire's suite.


Ultra-violet conditions over the weekend are expected to be very high and those standing in matches in the Hobart area should ensure that apply an appropriate sunscreen before venturing out for their games.






Eight umpires from around Australia have been selected to stand in this year's men's Under 19 (MU19) national championship over the next two weeks in New South Wales, a tournament that is seen by Cricket Australia (CA) as a key milestone in its umpiring development pathway.  Those chosen vary considerably in experience, one already having stood at first-class level, some in other CA umpiring milestone competitions, while others have only limited experience outside Grade cricket circles.


Four of the eight, Yohan Ramasundara (Australian Capital Territory), Andrew Curran (Queensland), Peter Tate (New South Wales) and Stuart Rudd (Northern Territory), will be officiating in an Under 19 series for the fourth, third, second and second time respectively.  Ramasundara was in Perth in 2005, Adelaide in 2006 and Hobart last year (E-News 151-836, 10 December 2007), Curran in Melbourne in 2004 and Perth the following year, while Tate and Rudd were in Adelaide in 2006.  Others chosen are Ash Barrow (Victoria), Shane Hicks (South Australia), Nathan Johnstone (Western Australia) and Sam Nogajski (Tasmania).


Curran, who is thirty-two, is the most experienced of the eight having a single first-class match to his credit, as well as three Twenty 20 domestic games, two one-day matches as a third umpire, two Emerging Players Tournaments (EPT), three Cricket Australia Cup (CAC) games, two men's Under 17 national Championships, and eleven Womens' National Cricket League (WNCL) matches.  CA's umpiring pathway runs from WNCL, through to MU19, CAC and then EPT series, and over the next fortnight the eight will be assessed for possible selection to next year's EPT competition and beyond.


Others with WNCL experience include forty-six year old Barrow with nine games, and Johnstone, twenty-eight, with six.  The former has also stood in seven CAC matches and two Under 17 national men's championship series, the latest in Melbourne in January this year.  In addition to his three Under 19 tournaments Ramasundara has four CAC games to his credit as has Hicks, while the former took part in the Institute Challenge series in Darwin in 2006 and the latter last January's Under 17 men's national tournament in Melbourne.  Tate, who was also in Melbourne in January, has worked in two CAC matches, and twice been selected for third umpire spots in the one-day domestic competition.  


Nogajski, who stood in the national men's Under 17 championships in Brisbane in 2007 (E-News 2-006, 8 December 2006), took part in the preseason competition that involved the Tasmanian, NSW, Victorian and South Australian sides in south-east Queensland in late September and early October.  Rudd officiated in the men’s Under 17 national tournament in Sydney in 2006 and has also stood in a number of matches involving visiting State and National teams in Darwin. 


Over the next two weeks the eight umpires will stand in two-day, one-day and Twenty20 matches involving sides from the six Australian states and two mainland Territories.






Former Australia coach John Buchanan has described the plan to allow umpires' decisions to be challenged via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) as a "a joke" that will undermine the game's integrity, says an article by journalist Robert Craddock that was published widely in Australia yesterday.


Buchanan, who is said to be stridently opposed to the move, is concerned by ramifications at junior level and in wider society.  Craddock quotes him as asking "what message does [the UDRS] send to young people in our society about challenging authority?", for "they need to be taught that all the umpire is doing is policing the laws and you need to abide by those laws".  "It is as simple and that", continued Buchanan, and the UDRS "is the last thing the sport needs".


The former national coach is said to be of the view that "if we are unhappy with the people's competence to administer the law, then spend money and resources to get the right people, get sufficient number of them, get them properly trained and have them properly assessed and supported".


The UDRS, which was first trialed in the Test series between Sri Lanka and India earlier this year, is to be used again in the two Tests that are to be played between New Zealand and the West Indies this month (E-News 356-1896, 3 December 2008), and again in the New Year on the sub-continent and in the West Indies.   


Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has a totally different perspective than Buchannan, for he belives that the UDRS will help lessen umpire-related controversies and that umpires rather than players will be the greatest beneficiaries of the system (E-News 356-1898, 3 December 2008).






South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen was named as the Eastern Province's sports official of year at an awards ceremony held in Port Elizabeth this week.  Koertzen who has to date stood in ninety-six Tests and 204 first-class games overall, 190 One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 internationals, was up against officials from soccer, athletics and several other sports. 







Two umpires from the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association (USACUA) are being used by the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) as external accessors for umpire 'oral examinations' that are scheduled to be held in Guyana and Canada this Sunday.  The WICUA has responsibility for providing training and certification of umpires in the International Cricket Council's Americas Region, says a story on the US-based 'Dream Cricket' website this week.


According to 'Dream Cricket', the oral exams that the pair are to conduct form the second part of the final phase of WICUA umpire qualification, the first stage involving on-field assessments as candidates perform their duties during matches.


Hayles, who will conduct the Canadian examinations and Baksh those in Guyana, are WICUA qualified umpire assessors who have been heavily involved with training and certification of umpires within the United States, and in advising cricket associations there on regulations and playing conditions.  Hayles is the Vice President of the USACUA and coordinates all matters pertaining to training and the assignment of its umpires, while Baksh is the Chairman of its Training and Examinations Committee (TEC).  In their working lives both men are professional educators.


Baksh and Hayles, along with other members of USACUA's TEC have to date conducted training in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Washington.  Requests for training and certification of umpires have also been received from California, Illinois, Minnesota and Texas, as well as some regions of Canada, says 'Dream Cricket'.






A player in the Highlands District Cricket Association (HDCA) in southern New South Wales was this week handed a two-week, one-game, suspension for a racial sledge he made during a match played last month.  The ban was handed down despite a letter of apology that the now suspended player wrote to the subject of his remarks.


The player from the Robertson-Burrawang club's First Grade side, which the HDCA declined to name, is reported to have told a Hill Top player of Indian descent to “go back to Bangalore”, however, while the player to whom the remark was directed didn’t hear it a team mate "relayed" it to him, says a story in the 'Southern Highlands News' (SHN).


An official from the Hill Top club also appeared before the HDCA disciplinary committee for comments he is said to have made to umpire Ian Mein after the game, but the judiciary dismissed the case.  The nature of the charge against him was not detailed.






Bangladesh spinner Abdur Razzak has vowed to make a speedy return to international cricket as soon as he has rectified his suspect bowling action, says a story prepared by the Press Association (PA) yesterday.  Razzak was suspended by the International Cricket Council this week after an independent analysis on his bowling action showed that his elbow extension exceeded the fifteen degree level of tolerance (E-News 356-1897, 3 December 2008).


PA quotes Razzak as saying that he believes it is possible for him to rectify his action, and that while he may miss this month's two Test series against Sri Lanka he may be able to feature in the triangular one-day series after that between those two sides and Zimbabwe.  Bangladesh's chief selector Rafiqul Alam said Razzak's suspension was a big blow and that "hopefully we will find a solution to this vexing problem".








South Barwon, a club in the Geelong Cricket Association (GCA), is to appeal  three-match suspension handed down to fast bowler Brett Anderton for abusive language, claiming the GCA tribunal had not taken into account a club-imposed ban that came into effect before the Association's censure was handed down this week.


Anderton was reported after he abused an umpire two weeks ago, but his initial tribunal hearing was adjourned until Wednesday after the club claimed the GCA had not lodged the correct paperwork.  South Barwon left what the 'Geelong Advertiser' says this morning was its "top fast bowler" out of the team for the current two Saturday match while it waited for the rescheduled hearing.


South president Darren Hauenstein told the 'Advertiser' that the club's ban should now serve as the first week of the suspension.  Anderton "could have played" in the current game "but we suspended him knowing the hearing was adjourned [but it] now appears that hasn't been taken into account", said Hauenstein, according to the newspaper's report.  As a result said Hauenstein, "it's turned into four matches [suspended] instead of three".


Anderton pleaded guilty to the charge of abusive language at the hearing.  In addition to the suspension itself, he was also handed a three-match suspended sentence, active until season's end.


GCA president Robert Agg told the 'Advertiser' yesterday that he had not seen the appeal but acknowledged the club's right to protest the suspension.






Tyron Isitt, a member of the North West Under 19 representative side in South Africa, has been banned from his side's next match after being found guilty of offences under Cricket South Africa's (CSA) Code of Conduct (COC) arrangements.  CSA says that Isitt was charged under sections of the COC that requires that players not show dissent at an umpire's decision or use crude or abusive language nor make offensive gestures to any other participant, official or spectator.   


Isitt was reported by the match officials Adri Crafford, Rudi Birkenstock and Godwin Von Willigh for incidents that arose during the CSA Under 19 Competition match between Northerns and North West in late November.  Isitt admitted guilt and apologised for his behaviour but was suspended by CSA Disciplinary Commissioner, Michael Kuper from participating in the last Under 19 Competition match between North West and Easterns that is scheduled for Potchefstroom from 7-9 December.









New Zealand international umpire Billy Bowden will now officiate in the First Test in Chennai between India and England this week in place of Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf who has had to withdrawn because of problems in obtaining an Indian visa.  Bowden will stand with Australian Daryl Harper with New Zealand's Jeff Crowe as the match referee (E-News 347-1845, 11 November 2008), however, the International Cricket Council (ICC) says that it anticipates Rauf will be available for the second match of the series on 18 December.  


Media reports say that Pakistani nationals require city-specific visas when travelling to India, but while  Rauf had a valid visa for Ahmedabad and Mumbai where the two Tests were to be played, the Mumbai attacks resulted in the match venues being changed to Chennai and Mohali.  As a result Rauf had to apply for visas a second time, but as the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is shut for five days because of the weekend and a Pakistani national holiday, it was not possible to process his latest application in time for him to arrive in Ahmedabad before the start of the First Test this Thursday.


Harper said on his web site on Saturday that in Australia "we take visas for granted and we are rarely inconvenienced", and he recently acquired a five year multi entry visa for India that will allow him to enter that country at any time up until his "use by date as an umpire", although he goes on to say that some would say that his "use by date has already passed".


Rauf made it clear to the Indian media that he hopes to stand in the Second Test and is not concerned in any way with officiating in India, the 'cricinfo' web site quoting him as saying last week that "it is important to go there because we go as peace ambassadors".  'Cricinfo' says that Vince van der Bijl, the ICC's umpires' and referees' manager, had asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India for security measures for match officials to be on a par with that of the players. 


The last four of Rauf's twenty-one Tests to date have been played in India, all of them this year, the first two being in the series between the home side and South Africa in March-April and the latter two the first two Tests India played against Australia in October.  In March-April 2006 he stood in three One Day Internationals between the home side and England.  






Tasmanian State Umpires Panel (SUOP) member Brian Muir plans to walk on a treadmill for eight hours in order to raise money to assist cancer research.  Muir, who is looking for sponsors for his marathon, is working to assist the 6,000 km fund raising walk being undertaken by the brother of his SUP colleague Jamie Mitchell from Cape York at the 'top' of Australia to Wilsons Promontory at 'the bottom' of the mainland (E-News 330-1741, 15 October 2008).


If you feel you can assist this important cause which few of us would have not encountered either directly or via family or friends, you can contact Muir at  His employer 'Vodafone', has agreed to match what he raises from donations from his eight hours on the treadmill.  All funds will be passed on to 'The Great Cancer Walk', details of which can be found at:    






The Sydney Morning Herald's 'The Tonk' column said last week that technicians at Channel 9, the prime broadcast of cricket in Australia, claim that 'Hot Spot' technology is so sensitive that it has captured "match officials breaking wind on several occasions", however, just who the "guilty parties" were was not revealed.  'Hot Spot', which uses infra-red imaging technology, is normally used to detect the heat emitted when, for example, the ball strikes the edge of the bat, pads or other surfaces.


The same column also mentioned what it said was the "dash" that South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen had to make to officiate in the recent Test series between Australia and New Zealand.  Koertzen, a resident of Port Elizabeth on the south east coast of his country, was asked to "board the next flight" to Australia after Steve Bucknor of the West Indies "encountered visa problems in the United States" (E-News 350-1867, 20 November 2008).


As it turns out, however, Koertzen was at the time in Pretoria hundreds of kilometres from Port Elizabeth, and arrived in Australia "with nothing but an overnight bag", claims 'The Tonk'.  It says that "he survived on borrowed clothing throughout the recent series, and will require similar assistance to get through the upcoming Test between New Zealand and the West Indies".


Media reports have indicated that Koertzen will stand in the First Test of that series (E-News 356-1896, 3 December 2008), however, whether he will also be on the ground for the Second Test is not known as the International Cricket Council is yet to formally announce who will be standing in that series.  The world body is also yet to announce the umpires for the three Test series between Australia and South Africa which begins next week.






A fast bowler in Pakistan "set a record of sorts" in a Twenty20 domestic cricket match last week when he conceded thirty runs in a over without bowling a single legal delivery, according to a story posted on the '' web site yesterday.  

Playing in a match at the Karachi Gymkhana ground, Port Qasim bowler Zaid Mir evoked ten straight 'no ball' calls from umpire Saleem Badr which resulted in ten free hits to the batsmen at the crease, who scored another twenty runs from the total of twenty deliveries he sent down.  The web site says that "umpire Badr allowed Zaid to be taken out of the [attack] after he officially said he had suffered a leg strain and couldn't bowl", and his over was completed by another bowler.






West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor was named as this year's winner of the Jamaica Cricket Association's (JCA) 'President's Award' during a ceremony held in Kingston last Wednesday.  Media reports do not indicate just what areas the award covers and no details are currently available on the JCA's web site.  This calendar year to date Bucknor has stood in five Tests and seven One Day Internationals, however, records available indicate that he has not officiated in first-class of any other higher level 'domestic' competition in the West Indies in that time.









The International Cricket Council (ICC) has indicated that it plans to take a tough stance on teams that maintain slow over-rates in Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) and to introduce more stringent punishment to players guilty of verbal abuse.  Both moves were announced at the end of a two-day meeting of the world body's Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) in Cape Town on Monday.


The ICC said in a statement that "members of the CEC called for stronger action against teams bowling their overs too slowly in Tests and ODIs".  As a result, ICC management are to review the relevant sections of its Code of Conduct (COC) regulations with a view to encouraging better over-rates and strengthening sanctions against offending teams".  No mention was made in the statement of the "research" into slow over-rates that was commissioned by the ICC's Cricket Committee last May (E-News 241-1324, 12 May 2008).


"There was also a feeling among CEC members that a stronger stance needed to be taken against players guilty of verbal abuse", the statement added.  Just what changes are envisaged by the committee were not spelt out, although it did indicate that it agreed that an anti-racism code separate from its current COC document should be formulated.  Plans call for a draft code to be developed after written comments and suggestions are provided by ICC Members, however, no timetable for the project was announced.


In the statement the ICC's Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat emphasised the need for member countries to work closely together to overcome the problems that cropped up from time to time.  "As a sport, cricket faces challenges and tensions at international level, but it also enjoys wonderful strengths [and] it is vital that we work together for the good of the game around the world", he said.


The CEC comprises the Chief Executives of the Boards of the ICC's ten full member nations, nine of which currently play Test cricket, and three representatives from ICC Associate Members. This week's meeting was chaired by Lorgat, while ICC President David Morgan and the Chairman of its Cricket Committee, Clive Lloyd, also attended.






Indian umpire Amish Saheba will stand in both Test matches New Zealand and the West Indies are to play this month, according to appointment details released by the International Cricket Council yesterday.  Saheba, who will make his debut in the First Test in Dunedin tomorrow, will be accompanied on to the field by South African Rudi Koertzen (E-News 356-1896, 3 December 2008), and in the Second Test in Napier next week by Englishman Mark Benson.


Match referee Javagal Srinath from India will manage both Tests, with Benson being the third umpire in the First and Koertzen in the Second.  The series will form part of ongoing trials of the Umpire Decision Review System, which was first tested in July-August in September and saw both Benson and Koertzen involved both on and off the field.


After the Test matches New Zealand and West Indies are to play five One Day Internationals (ODI) over a two week period that starts on New Year's eve.  Srinath will again be the match referee and Benson the neutral umpire for that series, with other umpires expected to come from the ranks of New Zealand's contingent on the ICC's second tier International Umpires Panel.  The five games will take Benson's ODI record to seventy-two matches, and Srinath's to fifty-one.






New Zealand club-level umpire Elle Abel has again made the news in Wellington, the 'Dominion Post' yesterday running another story about her alleged performance in a match.  The newspaper's latest report comes just over a month after it ran controversial story on Abel's on field judgement that was later labelled as "factually incorrect" by Cricket Wellington's (CW) umpire's chairman Evan Watkin (E-News 341-1802, 31 October 2008). 


Describing Abel's appointment to a match between North City and Taita as "a second life", journalist Sam Worthington quotes Taita captain Dave Scott, who he says has played senior cricket for fifteen years, as saying that Abel gave two Norths batsmen out caught behind, but that both were recalled by the fielding side.  Scott is reported to have said that it was a shame but that the umpire "heard people appeal, heard a noise and I think the finger just probably followed suit".


CW Chief Executive Gavin Larsen is reported by Worthington to have said that it was unfortunate but Abel had "let herself down" and had probably stood in her last senior game.  Given that the North-Taita match was "a second episode, it's clearly time that she has to spend some time out in the pasture and reassess whether she actually wants to continue to be an umpire", ran the quote attributed to Larsen, but "at the moment certainly the feedback that we're getting from the umpires is no, that's probably it".


North City chairman Rodney Moore who the article says is a former CW Chief Executive, is reported to have said that his club had serious concerns regarding Abel's performance.  Moore said Norths had been assured by Watkin that Abel had undergone training in the three weeks leading up to the Norths-Taita game, however, he apparently indicated that whatever crash course Abel had been given hadn't worked.  "We felt that some of the issues that had been commented on in the first game had resurfaced again in the second game", he said, "which just drew into question, just the extent of the training that had taken place".


Moore stressed he didn't blame Abel for struggling to come to grips with the senior game, saying she shouldn't have been put in that position the first time, let alone reappointed.  "It's not fair on her", said Scott who is said to have "nothing but admiration for Abel's tenacity", however, he is said to have telephoned Watkin the day after the game to voice his concerns.  The 'Post' states that he told Watkin the he didn't think Abel "should be going out and umpiring until she's turned up to some practices and she maybe does some time at square leg'.


Approached by the 'Post', former Test umpire Watkin is said to have stated that he had no comment to make but would reply to paper's questions via e-mail "when I get time".  Worthington says that the questions he has include "the nature of Abel's training and whether Watkin regretted reintroducing her to senior cricket".






Current Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for Hobart for the coming weekend indicate that rain could again be an issue for those managing Tasmanian Cricket Association matches.  


Saturday is expected to see rain periods in the south of the State as a Low pressure system develops in Bass Strait, a situation that will see a moist south-east air flow present across the Hobart region.  Indications are that the rain situation will ease a little on Sunday as the Low moves away to the east.  Maximum temperatures on both days are expected to be around seventeen degrees Celsius.


Umpires and scorers involved in the management of games next weekend can stay up-to-date with the latest weather information by going to the yellow weather box at the top right of the Association's web site at any time (E-News 28-152, 16 April 2007), but particularly on the morning of their matches.  








West Indies captain Chris Gayle and his New Zealand counterpart Daniel Vettori both expressed reservations about the Umpire Decision Referral  System (UDRS) at the end of the First Test between the two sides in Dunedin yesterday, say press reports from across the Tasman.  New stories indicate that the time taken to make a decision after a referral was requested was a key concern, with one review of a leg-before decision taking close to five minutes.


Gayle is quoted as saying that he is "not a big fan [of the system] but we just have to get on and deal with it".   A key issue said Gayle is the time taken to reach a decision and that "with three chances [for referrals] per innings, that can take a while", he said.  "I know it can help the umpires, but with some 50-50 calls just leave it to the men in the middle, that's what they are there for, let them get on with it", runs the quote.


Vettori is said to have felt that the system of three unsuccessful challenges per innings took away from the umpires the decision-making for which they were empowered.  He apparently suggested that only one unsuccessful referral an innings might be better in order "to eliminate obvious mistakes".  The Dunedin Test saw seven referrals made, third umpire Rudi Koertzen of South Africa spending a total of thirty minutes on deliberation during the match, according to reports. 


Doug Cowie, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Dubai-based umpires manager indicated to journalists that in his view the umpires will get quicker at making referral decisions.  "You have to remember the system is new to us as well, and we are trying to get familiar with it, said Cowie, but "I'm sure the time it takes to make decisions will improve as we become more used to it".  For two of the three umpires in the Test, Mark Benson of England and Koertzen, it was their fourth such match in which the UDRS has been in operation.


Cowie said the general feedback he had received from players, umpires and the media had been positive, says a story published in Christcurch this morning by journalist Geoff Longley. Longley says that Cowie is building a dossier on all referrals, their outcome and the time taken to reach a decision.  "We probably need the third umpire to only look at a few replays for any clear evidence of a wrong decision [for it] is not the third umpire's decision it is the men in the middle's job and we don't want to detract from that".


Cowie said that, though there was a school of thought that the on-field umpires' rulings were sacrosanct and would even out over time, it was not a view shared by batsmen whose careers could be jeopardised by a bad decision.


Koertzen and Indian Amish Saheba will work with the UDRS in the Second Test between the two sides which begins this Friday in Napier, with Benson being in the third umpire's chair.  After that the next series that is scheduled to use the system will be that between Pakistan and India next month, then the West Indies will use it in the Caribbean against England in February, before Australia and South Africa try it in March.  After that a report on the system is to be taken to the ICC's Cricket Committee in April-May for consideration.






Sri Lankan international umpire Asoka de Silva played in two Test matches in Australia in the late 1980s, including one at Bellerive, but tomorrow he will stand in a Test in this country for the first time when he takes the field in Perth for the opening game between Australia and South Africa.  The match, one of two that de Silva will officiate in during three Test series over the next three weeks, is his thirty-sixth overall, and means that he will now have stood in Tests in every nation that has played the game at that level. 


Aleem Dar from Pakistan will work with de Silva in the First Test, and then with West Indian Billy Doctrove in the Second which starts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.  Doctrove will only work in one Test during the series, New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden joining de Silva for the third match of the series in Sydney early in the New Year.   de Silva's countryman, Ranjan Madugalle, will be the match referee for the series, the three matches taking his record in that role in Tests to 110.








International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has told Test match referees and umpires to come down hard on slow over-rates and verbal abuse.  South African Lorgat said in a statement that "verbal abuse and slow over-rates have the potential to impact negatively on the way the game is perceived", and he  wanted to see a continuation of the "feel-good factor" he'd witnessed at first hand in Chennai last week during the First Test between India and England.  


In the statement Lorgat said that he has written to all of the world body's match referees and 'Elite' umpires and asked them to be "assertive and proactive" in dealing with the problem areas, and also stressed the key role of captains in ensuring the game was played in the correct spirit and at the right pace.  The move comes shortly after the ICC's Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) called for a tough stand on both issues at its meeting in Cape Town last week (E-News 359-1916, 10 October 2008).


Last week's Indian-England Test, which was played following the terrorists attacks in Mumbai, was widely hailed as a triumph for cricket, say media reports from the sub-continent.  Lorgat wants to see similar standards of sportsmanship maintained around the world.  "After the recent Test match in Chennai there is a real feel-good factor about the game, and rightly so [for] it's great that the game is in the news for all the right reasons and I want that to carry on", continued Lorgat.


At present, sides guilty of slow over-rates do not suffer a direct penalty during the match for their transgression but Lorgat warned that the ICC is now looking at options that could cost teams more than a percentage of their match fees.  Critics argue that current penalties are not tough enough to deal with a widespread problem and that censures such as deduction of runs or wickets should be introduced.


Media reports from the UK claim that slow over rates are partly to blame for the refusal of British terrestrial broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel Four to enter bids earlier this year to show England home Tests.  They are apparently concerned because the lack of certainty regarding playing hours causes too many knock-on problems with the rest of their schedules.






Cockroaches in the umpire's food trolley and delays caused by people moving in front of sight screens were some of the problems England-based match referee Chris Broad is said to have complained about during the India-Australia Test match in Mohali last October, says a story published in the 'Hindustan Times' yesterday.  Journalist Anand Vasu, who the newspaper says has obtained a copy of Broad's report, writes that cockroaches were found in the umpires’ food trolley on the first morning of the match and what food was provided was not hot.  


Cockroaches were in still present on day two but the caterers made "a better effort" on the third day, however, the selection of food provided was said to be "poor", made worse by the fact that Broad had requested "a couple of westernised dishes" but they "didn't turn up!"  Broad's umpiring colleagues for the game were Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa while Indian Amiesh Saheba was the television official.  The "westernised dishes" that Broad had asked for were said to include "fresh boiled vegetables, boneless chicken and plain fish".


The other aspect that Vasu reports Broad was exasperated about were the delays caused by people moving in front of the sightscreens. "This is the biggest headache in moving the game forward as no sooner do we get the game flowing does somebody gets up and either walks in front of the screens or stands up over the screens when the bowling is from that end", wrote Broad according to the 'Hindustan Times' story.  "No matter what is said to the ground authorities, it seems impossible to stop people moving! I am at my wit's end!!!" ran the report.


While this problem was not specific to Mohali, it was exacerbated there by the sightscreen motor breaking down, causing a “big delay”. What bothered Broad was that there was no option but to wait until the cogs of the motor were released and that the absence of a manual option to move the screen meant a delay of seven minutes.


Writing on his web site in the lead up to the First Test between India and England in Chennai last week, Australian international umpire Daryl Harper said that "security is tight" and "there will be a huge police presence" at the ground, something "that guarantees one absolute certainty [that] several times each day, play will be halted as policemen wander about in front of the sight screens behind the bowler's arm".  Harper describes such events as "a subcontinent specialty that happens without fail", but that "as annoying as this distraction becomes, it is reassuring to know that the police will be on duty if the need for their services arises".


In his report Broad also found fault with the location of the match referee's room, apparently saying that he rejected the first two options as they were “not ideal given that they were in front of the umpire's change-rooms, were small and had restricted views".






The England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) has announced the names of the five people who will represent its regions on the ACO Board in 2009.  The new Board is next month scheduled to take over from the Interim Board that was established last January when the ACO was formed.


A ballot for the new positions was not held in and 'Midlands' or 'Wales' regions as those who were nominated from there stood unopposed, however, in the 'North', 'South and West' and 'London and East' areas, sixty-two per cent of the members eligible there cast votes, according to an ACO statement.  Those chosen are: Peter Mitchell (Midlands); David Carter (Wales); Philip Radcliffe (North); Lorraine Elgar (London and East); and Anthony Leadbetter (South and West). 


ACO's web site says that its latest newsletter, the first since August and third for 2008, is currently being distributed by post, however, as yet an on-line edition is not available.






Pakistan international umpire Alem Dar judged a delivery by South African Dale Steyn that flew over Australian batsman Simon Katich's head during the First Test in Perth yesterday to be a 'wide', but then forgot that decision and called 'over'.  


Steyn's team mates started to move into position for the next over when the umpire, who is on the field in his fifty-third Test and eight-sixth first-class match overall,  remembered the wide  and asked the players to return to their positions for the bowler's sixth delivery.






Bangladesh fast bowler Shahadat Hossain has been found guilty of verbally abusing an opponent during a National Cricket League match played in Khulna last Monday.  Match referee Akhtar Ahmed fined the player fifty per cent of his match fee for a breach of both the Bangladesh Cricket Board and International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct, says a report published by the 'Cricinfo' web site on Tuesday.






Queensland wicketkeeper Chris Hartley wasn't the only person wearing gloves on the field during the one day match between his side and the Tasmanians at Bellerive last Sunday.  Fellow Queenslander Bruce Oxenford, a member of both the National Umpires Panel and the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, must have been feeling the cold on what was a windy day that saw the maximum temperature in Hobart reach fifteen degrees Celsius, for he wore black gloves whilst on the field.






After a month of inclement weather that has impacted significantly on Tasmanian Cricket Association matches, the weather outlook for the coming weekend is much more positive with 'fine' weather predicted to prevail on both Saturday and Sunday.  While rain is forecast for later today it should clear on Friday as a small High pressure system moves across the state.  Those managing matches on the weekend can stay up-to-date on the weather outlook by clicking on the yellow 'weather' box at the top of the Association's web site.



     MONDAY, 22 DECEMBER 2008






A decision given against Australian batsman Matthew Hayden by Pakistani international umpire Aleem Dar during the First Test between Australia and South Africa in Perth on Friday has drawn considerable criticism from local media outlets, led to Dar saying he plans to apologise to Hayden, and to a journalist's prediction that such a "horrendous decision" will lead to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) being introduced on a permanent basis.


Dar gave Hayden out caught and bowled, but television replays clearly showed that the ball lobbed off his pad and back to bowler Dale Steyn. The umpire felt Hayden had hit it but was later quoted by Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' as saying that he "got it wrong".  "I thought it was an inside edge but it wasn't", continued Dar, but "I thought Matthew was very good about it [at the time and] I plan to speak to him".  


Writing in the 'Herald Sun yesterday, journalist Robert Craddock said that the incident means that "it is inevitable cricket will use [the UDRS] on a full-time basis".  Craddock says that there is a tendency "to wax on about the romantic human element in sport, but there are twenty-two humans involved in the game as it is and they all make enough mistakes to keep us up to our eyeballs in discussion points.  But says the journalist, "anyone who thinks it is romantic when an umpire sees an inside edge from a ball so far away from the bat you could drive a truck through the gap is kidding themselves".  "That's not romance", he said, "it's a farce".


Craddock says that it "is true that there are several downsides to the referral system" for "it does slow the game down, it can only be introduced at the game's top level, and it's costly" (E-News 360-1920, 16 December 2008).  He says that it "also sets a bad example to emerging cricketers that you should be able to challenge authority, which is not the best look in the world".  In addition "there is no doubt it makes umpires who get decisions overruled feel so small they could hide under the fielding helmets left behind the keeper".


Despite that Craddock says that there are "counter arguments" to all of those issues.  According to him "it's OK to slow the game down if you brighten it up [for] third umpire referrals can produce some of the game's most dramatic moments [as] they raise people from seats in offices and create vibrant discussion points".  "Umpires may feel embarrassed" continued Craddock, "but no more red-faced than Dar after the worst decision of his umpiring life and one he will always be remembered for".


In Craddock's view had the decision been corrected via the UDRS "it would already be all but forgotten, a small historical footnote rather than a back-page scene stealer".  "It's not as if not having the system means mistakes are not detected", continued Craddock, for "an umpire's every false move is exposed anyway, so being embarrassed occasionally is already part of the job".  He asks the question as to whether "an umpire who has been overruled suffers that much indignity?", and answers it himself by stating that "surely no more than a batsman who plays a wild shot or a fieldsman who drops a catch". "Big stages demand big temperaments" says Craddock "so let's just get on with it and accept the game has to change".  


The International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee is to examine reports from on-going UDRS trials in April-May.  It is currently being used in the two-Test series between New Zealand and the West Indies, then the latter will use it in the Caribbean for the series against England in February, before Australia and South Africa try it in March.  After that a report on the system is to be taken to the ICC's Cricket Committee in April-May for consideration.






Twenty of Australia's twenty-eight surviving Test umpires are to be "feted by Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria and the Melbourne Cricket Club" during a "reunion" the Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper said yesterday is to be held at the MCG later this week during the Boxing Day Test between the home side and South Africa.  


Plans apparently call for those attending to be presented with Australian shirts bearing their personal sequence number as Australian Test officials in a similar manner that national players from a range of countries currently have on their shirts.  Eighty-three Australians have stood in Tests over the past 130 years.         






Rolling of the pitch after the toss took place in a recent one-day match in the Sydney Cricket Association's First Grade competition has led the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) to remind its members of the what the Laws of Cricket say about such an action.  While little detail is available about the precise circumstances involved, a note posted on the NSWCUSA web site last week states that use of the roller "is not permitted following the toss and prior to play starting unless something unusual occurs". 


NSWCUSA Education and Development Manager Darren Goodger says in the note that "the captain of the batting side has the right to ask that the pitch be rolled again prior to the innings starting, but only if the start of the first innings is delayed after the toss".  He goes on to say that "the captain can only request the pitch be rolled again [and that it is up to] the umpires [to] decide whether [or not] to grant that request".  "The umpires will only uphold this request if they consider that the state of the pitch has been significantly altered as a result of the delay", writes Goodger.






The ball that England was to use for India's first innings on the opening day of the First Test in Mohali on Friday, had to be changed before play got underway, say media reports from the sub-continent.  The problem is said to be the latest of a range of difficulties that have been experienced with the Indian-produced 'SG Test' brand of balls in recent times.


Indian opener Gautam Gambhir had taken his guard, his opening partner Virender Sehwag was ready at the other end, and England James Anderson was standing at top of his run-up when he noticed a problem with the ball's seam.  Anderson brought the problem to the notice of Pakistan international umpire Asad Rauf, and that led, claim the reports, to a Test match first, a change of ball without a single delivery being sent down.


Indian media reports say that many of their state teams have complained about the poor quality of the 'SG Test' balls provided for domestic games, and that there have been cases when the ball has had to be changed as many as "twenty-five times in a [first-class] four-day game". Several match referees are said to have made comments in the reports but as yet the Board of Control for Cricket in India has not addressed the problem.


The '' web site says that "manufacturers blame [the problems] on the severe demand in the market [for balls], especially given the number of matches and the practice balls required, and say there's not enough time for the balls to dry properly before use".  Junior cricket in India is said to have already made a switch from SG to another sub-continental brand.






Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf wore a black arm band during the first day's play of the Second Test between Indian and England in Mohali in condemnation of last month’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai and as a mark of respect to the victims.  Rauf’s gesture came later than he originally intended as he couldn’t obtain a visa in time to officiate in the First Test in Chennai ten days ago (E-News 358-1911, 8 December 2008).


Rauf, who was standing with Australian Daryl Harper, told Indian media representatives that had he officiated in Chennai he would have worn the arm band there.  "I’m equally saddened by the turn of events as any Indian" said Raud, and "this is a tribute to all the victims and their families". 






Cricket officials in Yorkshire are said to be looking to recruit up to sixty women umpires as part of a $A80,000 UK government scheme that is targeted at overcoming what the 'Yorkshire Post' last week described as a dearth of women umpires and football referees in north-east England.  It is hoped that the program will encourage more women to become involved in grassroots sport in their communities, but it could also pave the way for them to pursue a career as a professional official by gaining accredited qualifications.


A spokeswoman for SkillsActive, the group that is responsible for boosting training in the sports and recreation sector, told the 'Post' that "every sport from grassroots to professional level needs a judge, a referee, an umpire, and without a qualified official many matches and competitions cannot take place".  "What makes this program exciting is that it is aimed specifically at Yorkshire's women, to not only offer them a qualification in a role that has been traditionally dominated by men, but also in two high profile sports", said the spokeswomen.


If the Yorkshire pilot, which is thought to be the first scheme of its kind in the country, proves a success, indications are that it is could then be rolled out in other regions of the UK.