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October 09 (499-515)

 THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
17 EDITIONS
(EN-2574 TO EN-2653)

499 – 1 October  [2574-2580]
• Seminar presentations to 'value-add' to training programs (499-2574).
• Tassy's 'big wet' likely to delay season start  (499-2575).
• Praise for recall of 'run out' batsman (499-2576).
• 2009 ICC 'Umpire of the Year' to be named tonight   (499-2577).
• Harper, Koertzen named for Champions League final (499-2578).
• ICC Chief Executives for two-day meeting (499-2579).
• Umpire's fifty-year contribution acknowledged by ACO (499-2580).

500 –  2 October  [2581-2588]
• Pakistan's Dar 2009 World 'Umpire of the Year' (500-2581).
• TCA delays First Grade start (500-2582).
• New Zealand wins 'Spirit of Cricket' award (500-2583).
• Three 'neutral', 'rotating', umpires for Tests, claims report (500-2584).
• Test match for Tucker in the New Year (500-2585).
• Umpires named for Champions Trophy semi finals  (500-2586).
• TCA schedules Level 1 umpires course  (500-2587).
• More time needed for tea, say county umpires (500-2588).

501 –  5 October  [2589-2594]
• Plans for day-night Test in 2010 dropped  (501-2589).
• Gould 'leap frogs' to Champions Trophy final (501-2590).
• Slow over-rate fine for Australia (501-2591).
• 'Not guilty' decision handed down on 'dissent' charge  (501-2592).
• CSA changes domestic one-day format  (501-2593).
• 'Dickie' Bird signed bat for race winner (501-2594).

502 –  6 October  [2595-2600]
• 'High-tech' presentations reinforce local training programs  (502-2595).
• Briefing on 2009 TCA By-Laws nears  (502-2596).
• Three 'Futures League ' fixtures for Hobart (502-2597).
• Bangladeshi for Zimbabwe-Kenya matches  (502-2598).
• Solid fine for Sreesanth after 'offensive language' charge  (502-2599).
• Locusts delay play (502-2600).

503 –  8 October  [2601-2603]
• Weather eats further into TCA season (503-2601 ).
• 'Ban Taufel', says Pakistani Sports Minister  (503-2602).
• WICB targets 'domestic' Elite Umpire Panel in 2011 (503-2603).

504 –  9 October  [2604-2606]
• 'I will explain' Taufel comments, says Pakistani Sports Minister (504-2604).
• Agenda for first TCUSA training meeting amended  (504-2605).
• 'Unfit' pitch leads to game's abandonment  (504-2606).

505 –  13 October  [2605-2607]
• Minister reported 'defiant' on umpiring comments (505-2605).
• Slight drop in TCA disciplinary cases in 2008-09 (505-2606).
• Harper laughs all the way to the bank (505-2607).

506 –  15 October  [2608-2612]
• Parliamentary Committee to 'write to ICC', Minister manoeuvres  (506-2608).
• Ban mid-match interviews with umpires, players, says Marks (506-2609).
• Reduced international program needed, says UK PCA (506-2610).
• 'Come in Spinner', says Cricket Tasmania (506-22611).
• BCCI gives Sreesanth a 'final warning', say reports (506-2612).

507 –  16 October  [2611-2615]
• CNW looks to season start on concrete pitches (507-2613).    
• Dar receives cheque for world award, publicly supports Taufel (507-2614).
• Appeal confirms multi-year bans for umpire assault (507-2615).

508 –  20 October  [2616-2620)
• PCB governing council censures Shah, no sign of apology  (508-2616).
• 'Extra' ball allows batsman to reach Century  (508-2617).
• Kenyan batsman fined for 'dissent'  (508-2618).
• Mid-pitch 'punch-up' sees team loose championship, promotion  (508-2619).
• Bellerive youth Test player shot dead  (508-2620).

509 –  21 October  [2621-2625)
• Five-man Tasmanian State Umpire Panel named for 2009-10  (509-2621).
• Oxenford appointed to Pakistan-NZ ODI series  (509-2622).
• Curators face challenges preparing for revised TCA start date  (509-2623).
• Manuel ICC's best RUPM for 2009, says SLC (509-2624).
• Match officials missing from NZ awards night. (509-2625).

510 –  23 October  [2626-2628)
• Kiwi umpire's rapid rise continues (510-2626).
• Team relegated after points deducted for misbehaviour (510-2627).
• Umps unsure, so reach for 'playing conditions' book (510-2628).

511 –  24 October  [2629-2634)
• Southern Tasmanian season splutters into life  (511-2629).
• ECB voted against planned UDRS format, say reports (511-2630).
• Mediation now first step after racism conflicts, says ICC Code. (511-2631).
• Player goes on TV to apologise for 'dissent' (511-2632).
• ECB-PCB resolve forfeited Test financial dispute (511-2633).

512 –  26 October  [2634-2639)
• Windies moves to reduce size of its first class panel (512-2634).
• Appointment for second phase of interstate season announced (512-2635).
• All-Indian umpire panel after Benson falls ill (512-2636).
• Is India suffering TV cricket 'fatigue'? (512-2637).
• ECB 'tweaks' youth fast bowling limits (512-2638).
• Two-ball policy could impact on one-day 'entertainment', says WA coach (512-2639).

513 –  27 October  [2640-2647)
• Wednesday's TCUSA meeting cancelled, direct contact planned re appointments  (513-2640).
• Start of TCA, STCL turf competitions again delayed (513-2641).
• CA announces pre-Christmas umpiring appointments (513-2642).
• Tucker 'goes missing', Test debut in December? (513-2643).
• Wilson named for first class umpiring debut (513-2644).
• NUP members play 'tag team' for Tasmanian appointments  (513-2645).
• EUP members to return to Shield cricket (513-2646).
• Local umpires selected for Hong Kong Sixes (513-2647).

514 –  29 October  [2648-2651)
• Cricket mourns David Shepherd, 'a great umpire' (514-2648).
• Australia's newest first class umpire prepares for debut (514-2649).
• Benson hospitalised, say media reports (514-2650).
• Leave LBW to umps, otherwise use technology, says Tendulkar (514-2651).

515 – 30 October  [2652-2653)
• Raza to return to international cricket  (515-2652.
• State Panel members for JCP weekend in Launceston  (515-2653).

 
E-NEWS NUMBER 499
THURSDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2009

SEMINAR PRESENTATIONS TO 'VALUE-ADD' 

TO TRAINING PROGRAMS

[EN499-2574]

Sessions targeting both new and returning scorers and umpires have been listed for the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) two-day Annual Seminar for match managers which is to be held at the state's cricket headquarters at Bellerive Oval in Hobart this weekend.  Umpires and scorers from Tasmania's three cricketing regions in the north, north-west and south of the state, will be present on Saturday and Sunday.  

State Director of Umpiring Richard Widows says that the focus of this year's pre-season event will on workshops aimed at providing "an overview of ideas, opportunities and strategies, especially new ones, that can add value to an individual's personal training program".  The seminar is a prerequisite to the on-going weekly and fortnightly training-appointments meetings scheduled between matches over the next six months that provide an on-going education and development opportunity for members, he says. 

National Umpires Panel member Ian Lock and Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire Educator' Denis Burns (E-News 497-2565, 28 September 2009), have been invited to present much of the weekend's content.  Their sessions will include the importance and benefits of routines, innovative approaches to reading the Laws of the game, key attributes of umpires, skill sets needed for Twenty20 matches, and CA's umpiring pathway and the essential role of umpires and scorers at all levels of the game.  The use of video analysis of umpiring performances, featuring recent clips from the International Cricket Council's library, will be of particular interest given this form of feedback is now being a part of local training (E-News 402-2131, 4 April 2009). 

TCUSA umpiring member Mark Wickham, a lecturer in the School of Management at the University of Tasmania, is to talk about factors involved in observation, evaluation and decision making, matters that play a key role in an umpire's performance.  Widows describes Wickham's session as "a demonstration of the need to understand and evaluate the cognitive processes that define how well we are able to perform as umpires".

The importance for individuals to develop personal plans and goals for the season ahead, including self evaluation processes and how best to obtain feedback on performance, are also scheduled.  

Scorer members are to attend all sessions on Saturday, however, for a period on Sunday morning they will gather separately from the main meeting for discussions about, and to obtain down loads of, the latest Duckworth-Lewis program up-date for their scoring computers.

Registration will start in the Premiership Room at Bellerive at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday with the first session both then and on the Sunday set to start at 9 a.m. TCA Chief Executive Officer David Johnston is to open the seminar on Saturday and talk about a range of issues relating to the season ahead, including progress being made with the new lights at Bellerive Oval.  The meeting will end after lunch on Sunday so as to allow north and north-west members to travel the 200-300 km to their homes before dark.

Queries about meeting content should be directed to Widows, and on scoring and general administrative matters to TCUSA President-Administraor Graeme Hamley, via e-mail or telephone as indicated on the home page of the Association's web site.  

TASSY'S 'BIG WET' LIKELY TO DELAY 

SEASON START

[EN499-2575]

Tasmania's wettest winter and early spring in over fifty years looks like delaying the start of the cricket season in the north, north-west and south of the state.  An article in yesterday's Hobart 'Mercury' says that with pitches around Hobart "resembling mud pies, ground staff can do nothing but sit and wait for the sun to dry centre-wicket areas out", a situation that equally applies in both the north and north-west of the state where record rainfalls have also occurred.  

Matches in the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association's (NTCA) roster around Launceston are currently due to start on Saturday week, while the first Cricket North West (CNW) and Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) games in the south were originally scheduled for the weekend after that (E-News 469-2433, 6 August 2009).  Another concern are Jamie Cox Plate games that have been allocated to Lindisfarne in the south and Devonport in the north-west on 25 October, and two others in Launceston just six days later on the last day of the month.

TCA Grade Cricket Manager Chris Garrett told the 'Mercury' that an assessment is currently being conducted of all grounds in the south, however, he indicated that the situation is such that the roster there will almost certainly have to be rejigged.  "It is likely we will have to make some changes", said Garrett, but to what extent "needs to [be] determined".  "Obviously we have reserve days we can use to reschedule, but we also have another couple of options we can look at", he said.  

NTCA Administrator Brad Cole and his NTCA counterpart Paul Clark each told E-News yesterday that they are facing a similar situation.  Cole said that the decision had already been taken to delay the NTCA's first round by a week and make it a one-day rather than two-day matches as originally planned.  Clark indicated that an "official decision" on Saturday week's originally planned NTCA start will not be taken until Tuesday, although indications are that there is only a "very small chance" that games around Launceston will get underway on that day.  

The wet weather is also having an impact on outdoor practice pitches with clubs resorting to indoor centres and school gymnasiums for their preparations.  However, the widespread nature of the problem means that heavy demands are being put on indoor facilities in some areas and some clubs are finding it difficult to obtain suitable places to train, which is causing difficulties as they get prepare for the season ahead. 

PRAISE FOR RECALL OF 

'RUN OUT' BATSMAN

[EN499-2576]

England captain Andrew Strauss has praised his New Zealand counterpart Daniel Vettori for recalling batsman Paul Collingwood after he had been given 'run out' during their Champions Trophy fifty-over match in Johannesburg on Tuesday.  Collingwood was on fourteen when, under the impression the end of the over had been called, he wandered out of his crease after evading a short-pitched delivery from bowler Kyle Mills and wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum threw down the stumps.

Collingwood was given out by television umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan, however, Vettori, after conferring with on-field umpires Daryl Harper (Australia) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and his team-mates, called Collingwood back.  "Paul obviously wasn't taking a run although he was probably a bit hasty to leave his crease", Strauss told reporters, but "he did say that if he had been given out he would only have had himself to blame for being a bit dozy".

Strauss said that "New Zealand were within their rights [to run Collingwood out] and I would just like to applaud Dan for the way he handled it".  "It must have been a tough decision to make when your future in the tournament is on the line", continued Strauss, as New Zealand needed to win if there were to make the Champions Trophy semi finals, England already having qualified.

Vettori said that "looking after the spirit of the game was the main reason for the decision".  "I had a little bit of time to think about it and, after deliberating with my team and the umpires, it was an easy decision in the end [for Collingwood] never had any intention of taking a run".  

Strauss was praised earlier in the tournament when he recalled Sri Lankan batsman Angelo Mathews after he was 'run out' after colliding with England bowler Graham Onions (E-News 498-2570, 29 September 2009).

2009 ICC 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

TO BE NAMED TONIGHT

[EN499-2577]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to announce the winner of its 'Umpire of the Year' award for 2009 at a function in Johannesburg in the early hours of tomorrow morning, Australian time.  Four umpires are in the running for this year's award, Pakistanis Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, Tony Hill of New Zealand, and Simon Taufel of Australia, the latter being the award's only winner in the five years since it was inaugurated in 2004 (E-News 491-2543, 16 September 2009).

The umpiring award is decided each year by votes cast by Test captains and members of the ICC's match referees panel, those in that group each basing their assessments on what the world body describes as the "performance statistics" of each umpire.

The winner of the ICC's 'Spirit of Cricket' award for 2009 will also be announced at the same event.  Four national teams have ben nominated for this year's trophy, Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.  Australia has never won the award in the time since it was established in 2004, while New Zealand has won it once, and England and the current holders Sri Lanka both twice (E-News 310-1620, 11 September 2008).

The 'Spirit' award is decided by votes cast by all international captains, the twelve members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, and its seven match referees.

HARPER, KOERTZEN NAMED FOR 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

[EN499-2578]

Australian Daryl Harper and South African Rudi Koertzen have been named to stand in the final of the Champions League Twenty20 (T20) series in India on the twenty-third of this month, together with Indians Amish Saheba as the television official and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan as the match referee.  The four are part of a group on nine umpires and three match referees from six countries who were named yesterday for on-field and third umpire duties during the twenty-three match, sixteen-day series, which is to commence a week from today. 

The Champions League tournament brings together top-ranked sides from the domestic T20 competitions of seven nations, overall prize money on offer being almost $A7m, the winner receiving close to $A3m; the latter being equivalent to the total prize money available at the World T20 nation-based Championship held in England in June.  Three teams from India, two each from Australia, England and South Africa, and one each from New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are taking part.

Apart from Harper and Koertzen, the other umpires contracted by Champions League organisers for matches are: Sanjay Hazare, Amish Saheba and Shavir Tarapore, who are all from India, Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), Brian Jerling (South Africa), and Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe).  

In addition to Venkataraghavan, Srinath Javagal of India and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka are the match referees, while four Indian umpires, Sudhir Asnani, Subrat Das, Shashank Ranade and S. Ravi, who have over 130 first class matches between them, are to work as fourth or reserve umpires.

Of the main officials named, Doctrove, Harper and Koertzen are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and Mahanama and Srinath its Match Referees Panel, while Dharmasena, Hazare, Jerling,  Saheba, Tarapore and Tiffin are on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel in their respective nations.  Harper is the only umpire who is currently taking part Champions Trophy fifty-over competition in South Africa to line up for the Champions League, Srinath and Mahanama also being part of that series.  

The umpires and match referees named for the Champions League are to work in three groups: Jerling, Srinath, Tarapore and Tiffin in Bangalore; Dharmasena, Doctrove, Hazare and Mahanama in Delhi; and Harper, Koertzen, Saheba and Venkataraghavan in Hyderabad.  Harper and Koertzen will each have nine games, seven on the field and two in the television suite (9-7-2), Saheba 9-4-5, Doctrove 8-6-2, Dharmasena and Hazare each 8-5-3, Tiffin 6-5-1, Jerling 6--4-2 and Tarapore 6-3-3.  Mahanama will work in ten matches, Venkataraghavan in eight and Srinath in five. 

Doctrove, Dhamasena, Hazare and Mahanama will manage the first semi final to be played in Delhi on 21 October and Harper, Koertzen, Saheba and Venkataraghavan the second in Hyderabad the next day.

Champions League organisers were either unable to engage, or less likely overlooked, the other nine members of the EUP, Australians Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, England's Mark Benson and Ian Gould, Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva, New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill, and Pakistan's Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf.  

Benson, Bowden, Dar, Davis, Rauf and Taufel have taken part in Indian Premier League series organised over the last two years, and Davis, Koertzen, Rauf and Taufel in last year's money-rich Stanford Twenty20 series in Antigua (E-News 342-1814, 3 November 2008).

ICC CHIEF EXECUTIVES FOR 

TWO-DAY MEETING

[EN499-2579]

The International Cricket Committee's (ICC) Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) is to meet in Johannesburg today and tomorrow to "make decisions on a range of matters relating to the playing of cricket, and formulate recommendations for consideration by the ICC Board" when it meets over two days next week, also in Johannesburg.  

According to an ICC press release, "amongst the issues that the CEC is to look at are: ways of "enhancing and promoting Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game"; plans for a Test Championship, a matter that "has been discussed and debated by both the CEC and the Board during several meetings" (E-News 495-2560, 24 September 2009); a revised draft of a international playing program beyond 2012; a review of security arrangements for all international cricket that has been conducted by the ICC's Security Task Force; and the seedings and groupings for the 2011 World Cup in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.  

This week's CEC meeting is one of the four that the group holds each year.

UMPIRE'S FIFTY-YEAR CONTRIBUTION 

ACKNOWLEDGED BY ACO

[EN499-2580]

The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) this week formally recognised the fifty-year contribution that Devon ACO umpiring member Brian Pearce has made to cricket.  Pearce has been involved with sports education in both cricket and football as an instructor, tutor and mentor.

Pearce joined the now-defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers (ACUS) in 1959 and became a fully qualified umpire soon after.  A member of the Devon Cricket Umpires Society (DCUS) on its establishment in 1962, he made the 500 km round-trip from his work place in Surrey to attend many of the early meetings, and when the North Devon branch was reformed in 1978 became its Chairman.

From 1988-92 Pearce was a ACUS Councillor and sat on the DCUS Management Committee for many years, during that time being made a Life Member.  An umpire training officer, initially in Surrey and then for over thirty years in North Devon, the majority of that time single-handedly, he continues today at the ACO's North Devon branch as its Appointments and Training Officer .

The ACO says that Pearce, who has written a history of the DCUS, has made a unique contribution to cricket in the west country, and that "it is entirely appropriate that his unstinting dedication over many years should be recognised formally by the ECB ACO".

E-NEWS NUMBER 500

FRIDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2009

PAKISTAN'S DAR 2009 WORLD 

'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'

[EN500-2581]

Pakistan's Aleem Dar was named as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Umpire of the Year' at the world body's annual awards ceremony in Johannesburg overnight.  Dar, forty-one, won the award from votes cast by the ICC's ten Full-Member captains and its seven-man match referees panel, becoming the first person other than Australia's Simon Taufel to receive the trophy since it was first presented in 2004 (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2009).

Former first class cricketer Dar made his international umpiring debut in a One Day International (ODI) in February 2000 at the age of thirty-one, stood in his first Test in October 2003 just after turning thirty-five, and was appointed to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) early in 2004 aged thirty-six.  The EUP's second-youngest member behind Taufel, he has gone on to stand in a total of fifty-seven Tests out of a total of ninety first class games, while of his 159 List A matches 119 are ODIs; the ratio of internationals to domestic matches in those two figures being unusually high.

Over the voting period between 13 August 2008 and 24 August 2009, Dar was on the field in a total of twenty international matches played under ICC auspices, seven Tests, eight ODIs and five T20Is, all of the latter being during this year's World Championship series in England in June.  The Tests he was involved in were played in Australia, England, India and the West Indies, and the ODIs in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Dar, who reports describe as "unobstrusive" and "less demonstrative" in his on-field work than some of his EUP colleagues, said last night that "normally I am quite calm and so the pressure is not big for me".  "It is important to stay cool and if you make a mistake you can't let it get to you", he said, for "you have to concentrate all the time".  He said that he was "very pleased to get this award", and thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board and the ICC, his friends and family and "of course my wife, who I have to leave for long periods of time" for umpiring duties.

The Pakistani won this year's award from three fellow EUP members, his countryman Asad Rauf, New Zealand's Tony Hill, and Taufel (E-News 491-2543, 16 September 2009). 

TCA DELAYS FIRST GRADE START

[EN500-2582]

The Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) yesterday decided to delay the start of its First Grade competition for the 2009-10 season by a week because of the difficulties of preparing grounds and pitches caused by record rainfalls over winter and early spring (E-News 499-2575, 1 October 2009).  The move means that all TCA Grade matches are now scheduled to start on the weekend of 24-25 October, although TCA Grade Cricket Manager Chris Garrett yesterday that "further changes may be needed in coming weeks [if] ground conditions" dictate it.

Garrett said that TCA First Grade games that were originally scheduled for 17 October (E-News 469-2433, 6 August 2009), have now been moved to two weeks later, and that the reserve day originally allocated to matches on the seventeenth has been shifted as cover for the now planned opening day's matches on Saturday the twenty-fourth.

Earlier this week Cricket North West decided to delay the start of its competition by one week, while the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association is to decide next Tuesday whether its start, which is currently listed for the seventeenth, will also be delayed.    

NEW ZEALAND WINS 'SPIRIT 

OF CRICKET' AWARD

[EN500-2583]

New Zealand won the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Spirit of Cricket' award for the second time since the award was introduced six years ago at the ICC's annual ceremony in Johannesburg overnight.  The award is presented to the team that, in the opinion of both the ICC's Elite Umpires and Match Referees Panels, has conducted itself the best on the field of play over the past year.

Upon receiving the award on behalf of his team New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said that he "thinks most teams within world cricket aspire to the intangible notion of the 'Spirit of Cricket'". "It’s not easy to define but I think when you get out on the field of play most guys know where that line is and most play the game in the right way", he said (E-News 499-2576, 1 October 2009), and that if his side can couple the award with winning the Champions Trophy this weekend "we will be very happy indeed".

The ‘Spirit of Cricket’ is contained in a preamble to the Laws of the game, as says that: “Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself".

New Zealand took out the inaugural award in 2004 and England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and again last year (E-News 310-1620, 11 September 2009).  The ICC said in a statement that New Zealand was "one of several teams that demonstrated the Spirit of Cricket to great effect over the past year and [that] it narrowly defeated Australia, England and Sri Lanka to win this award". 

THREE 'NEUTRAL', 'ROTATING', UMPIRES FOR 

TESTS, CLAIMS REPORT

[EN500-2584]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is all set to adopt a new policy of nominating three "neutral" umpires for all Test matches who will 'rotate' between on-field and television position roles during matches, according to a story posted on the ESPNStar.com web site overnight.  

The three neutrals concept applied during trails of the the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) over the last fifteen months, but the rotation policy that journalist Bipin Dani says is planned was not. 

ESPNStar Sports has close links with the ICC via television contracts, and Dani's story says that the ICC's annual match officials meeting this month, which normally sees all its match referees, Elite Umpire Panel and second-tier International Umpire Panel members present, will focus heavily on UDRS issues as all Test matches from now on will have the system in operation. However, arrangements for this year's annual seminar will be different from those in the past says ESPNStart.com.

Dani says that the first meeting is to be held over three days at the ICC's Dubai headquarters commencing next Thursday, with a repeat with a second separate set of officials at the same location starting on the twenty-sixth of the month.  That move, which again illustrates the hectic pace of top-level cricket schedules, has been necessary because nine ICC umpires and two match referees will be working under contract to the Champions League Twenty20 competition, not the ICC, in India at the time of the first meeting (E-News 499-2578, 1 October 2009).

The first Test series to be played under this on-going UDRS system will be between Pakistan and New Zealand late next month, with the next those involving home side Australia and the West Indian tourists soon after.

TEST MATCH FOR TUCKER 

IN THE NEW YEAR

[EN500-2585]

Reports circulating in main land cricket circles suggest that former TCUSA member Rod Tucker has been appointed to stand in a Test match in the New Year, possibly in New Zealand.  Former first class player Tucker, who was one of a quartet identified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) six months ago as an 'emerging' umpire on the world scene (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009), has made a remarkably rapid rise in umpiring circles since his first match at Under 17 level in the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) in Hobart seven years ago.

Tucker, forty-five, was born in Sydney and now lives there, however, by far the bulk of his playing career was in matches for Tasmania. In a thirteen-year first class career from 1988-99 he played 100 such matches for the state, two of them Sheffield Shield finals, as well as three others for New South Wales and Australia B.  There were also sixty-five List A games for NSW, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Australia B, his last representative match being for the ACT in March 2001.  Eighteen months later he attended his first TCUSA meeting.  

After his start in that Under 17 TCA match in October 2002, Tucker was quickly promoted through the Grades, half his games in that first season of umpiring being at TCA First Grade level.  After moving back to Sydney his rapid rise continued and he made his debut at first class level at the Sydney Cricket Ground in December 2004, just twenty-six months after that first youth match in Hobart.

He received support as a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) Project Panel, a group the national body set up to 'fast-track' former first class players into umpiring, and was appointed to the National Umpires Panel for the 2005-06 season after just two first class games.  In March 2007, he stood in his first Sheffield Shield final, a game that was only his fifteenth at first class level, then worked in his second at year later in his twenty-first, the same season in which he also officiated in the final of the national domestic one-day competition.  

Tucker's move to the next level came a few months later for in June 2008 he was elevated on to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel as a third umpire (E-News 251-1375, 3 June 2008), then into an on-field position four months later following the sudden resignation of Australian international umpire Peter Parker (E-News 336-1770, 25 October 2008).  

He made his debut in international cricket as a third umpire in September last year and on the field in January this year, the ICC then appointing him to a World Cup Qualifying tournament in South Africa, where he also worked during a CA, Cricket South Africa, umpiring exchange (E-News 368-1956, 6 February 2009), and to the World Twenty20 Championship in England last June.

The ICC's approach in recent years has generally been to 'blood' new Test umpires in matches that involve lower-ranked nations.  If that tendency is adhered to then Tucker's debut at Test level could be in New Zealand's one-off match against Bangladesh which is scheduled for Hamilton in mid-February.  

Tucker looks like being the third of the four officials in the ICC's 'emerging' group to stand at Test level.  Amish Saheba (India) did so in two games before being named to that group but not since, Nigel Llong (England) had four before and two since, while Marais Erasmus (South Africa) is yet to score an on-field position at the highest level of the game, although the choice of Tucker suggests it may not be long before he does.

UMPIRES NAMED FOR CHAMPIONS 

TROPHY SEMI FINALS

[EN500-2586]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) last night named the six umpires and two match referees who are to manage the semi finals of the Champions Trophy that are to be played in South Africa today and tomorrow.  The ICC's 'neutral' match officials policy means that the decision on just who will manage Sunday's final will have to wait until after the second semi final on Saturday.

Australia's game against England at Centurion later today will be looked after by match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, the on-field umpires being 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Bowden's countryman Tony Hill being the third umpire and Dar's colleague Asad Rauf the fourth.

Tomorrow, when New Zealand takes on Pakistan at the Wanderers, Indian Javagal Srinath will be the match referee, Simon Taufel of Australia and Ian Gould of England on the field, and Australians Daryl Harper and Steve Davis the third and fourth officials respectively.

Four permutations are possible for Sunday's final and one of them could see the ICC facing a clear appointments choice given its current 'neutral' umpiring policy.  Should, as many pundits are suggesting, that game be between Australia and Pakistan, then only three of the eight umpires chosen for the Champions Trophy would be eligible, New Zealanders Bowden and Hill and Englishman Gould, although either Crowe, Srinath or Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka could be the match referee.

TCA SCHEDULES LEVEL 1 

UMPIRING COURSE

[EN500-2587]

Cricket Tasmania, the new marketing name for the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA), plans to conduct a Level 1 Umpiring Course at Bellerive Oval on Monday, 19 October.  The course, which will run from 6-8.30 p.m., is made up of two modules, the first covering: "The Umpire: The role and qualities, Spirit of Cricket, Code of Conduct and Playing Conditions"; and the second "The Cricket Match: How to manage a match, the basic rules of cricket and scoring" (E-News 307-1606, 7 September 2009).

The course is to be facilitated by Richard Allanby, the TCA's Youth Pathways Coordinator, Tasmanian State Umpiring Director Richard Widows, and other support staff.  The TCA says that the course "is ideal for club coaches and volunteers who may be required to umpire Junior or Youth League matches".  The cost of participation is $30 and successful candidates will be nationally accredited by Cricket Australia.

Places for this course can be reserved by completing the form available on the TCA web site.  Forms should be posted to Shane Holland, Cricket Tasmania, P.O. Box 495, Rosny Park, 7018, or be emailed to sholland@tascricket.com.au.  The closing date for applications is Thursday, 15 October.

MORE TIME NEEDED FOR TEA, 

SAY COUNTY UMPIRES

[EN500-2588]

English county umpires want the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Cricket Committee to increase the length of the tea break between innings in the ECB's one-day, forty-over, competition next season, say reports published in 'The Times' in London yesterday.  Their cause is said to be supported by Jack Simmons, the former chairman of Lancashire, who heads up the Cricket Committee. 

An article by 'Times' journalist Ivo Tennant says that the umpires "have been tipped into voicing their concerns" because current plans call for a twenty-minute break between innings in one-day games in 2010.  The ECB's twenty-five first-class umpires say that by the time they reach their own room in the pavilion, having, through tradition, gone up the steps after the batsmen and fielders, their tea intervals are shortened by about five minutes because they then have to return to the field first. 

Barry Dudleston, the umpires’ spokesman, is said to have told the ECB’s head of operations Alan Fordham at their annual end-of-season meeting last Monday, that the planned break is too short.  Fordham, although sympathetic to their concerns which he is said to have known about for some time, apparently feels umpires have to continue to work within their existing time frame so as not to prolong the day’s play, says 'The Times'.  He will, however, raise the issue at the Cricket Committee's meeting next week.

Dudleston is understood to argue that an umpire's job at the top level has become too demanding with the growth of the one-day game and stoppages for television replays.  Tennant writes that "given that [umpires] arrived at the ground two hours before the start of play and that they do not sit on shooting sticks when at square leg, theirs is a long day by the time they depart half an hour after the close" of play.

Simmons told the 'Times' that personally he is "very sympathetic to [the concern expressed by the umpires] and of course we [will] have to consider their concerns". “[They] have never asked for anything in the past to my knowledge and I am aware that they have less time off the field than the players", he said.  “Extending the intervals by five or [at the most] ten minutes would not go amiss and it would also suit the county chief executives as spectators would have more time to eat at their bars and restaurants and be less inclined to bring sandwiches", said Simmons.

The 'Times' journalist concludes by saying that the ECB's first class umpires "now have their own, non-militant association", which he describes as "more a club", who are "assessed by former officials on occasion and do not retire until they are sixty-five".  The group are "virtually all former players, are supportive of each other and earn upwards of £30,000 ($A60,000), depending on seniority, plus overnight and travelling expenses for the season", and that "the few who are selected to join the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel will gain double that sum".

E-NEWS NUMBER 501

FRIDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2009

 

PLANS FOR DAY-NIGHT 

TEST IN 2010 DROPPED

[EN501-2589]

Plans to hold the first floodlit Test at Lord's in May next year have been dropped after two county sides, Worcestershire and Durham, declined to experiment with a pink ball in their final County Championship match of the northern summer last week, says a story posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) had yet to give its approval for a day-night Test pending on-going evaluations of suitable balls, although Bangladesh, who is to play England in May, has agreed in-principle to playing in such a match (E-News 488-2531, 12 September 2009).

Durham's coach, Geoff Cook, was quoted as saying that he "was not keen" about the suggested experiment, as "it was a first-class match and I thought we should retain the game's integrity".  England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman Giles Clarke told the web site that it is now too late for the match next May to be made a day-nighter as "it needs a proper series of trials and that cannot now be done in time", and that "playing a Test in anything but white clothing is also an issue".

John Stephenson, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) assistant secretary, said that "there's always resistance to change" but "we have got to find a ball that's durable and that really is the sticking point" at the moment".  "Until we've trialled it in a three or four-day match, we won't know for sure", he continued.  

Despite trials that have been conducted over the last two years (E-News 266-1434, 30 June 2008), concern continues to remain as to whether a pink ball will retain its colour or if it needs to be changed frequently due to discolouration or wear and tear, as well as to what extent its use would impact on conditions for batting, bowling, fielding and other issues.

'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne quoted Cricket Australia's (CA) operations manager Michael Brown in June as saying that "we're still a fair way away [from a day-night Test] but we're moving forward", a far cry from remarks made by senior officials from both CA and the ICC late last year that a day-night Test in 2009 was a possibility (E-News 343-1817, 5 November 2008).

Brown said in June that CA proposed to hold a "mock match" trial of a variety of coloured balls at either the Melbourne or Sydney Cricket Grounds during the forthcoming austral summer, and that "ideally, we would like to get some players along, get the cameras [from Australia's Channel Nine] along, turn on the lights and see if we can have a game of cricket for an hour" (E-News 442-2301, 21 June 2009).  No publicity has been given to plans for such a trial in the three months since.

GOULD 'LEAP-FROGS' TO 

CHAMPIONS TROPHY FINAL

[EN501-2590]

English umpire Ian Gould, who only joined the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel six months ago (E-News 395-2093, 24 March 2009), has leap-frogged Pakistan's Asad Rauf to gain an on-field spot for the final of the Champions Trophy tournament between Australia and New Zealand in Johannesburg later today.  Gould stood with Australian Simon Taufel in the second semi-final of the competition on Saturday between New Zealand and Pakistan (E-News 500-2586, 2 October 2009).  

The match referee for today's game will be Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka, Gould's on-field partner 2009 ICC 'Umpire of the Year' Aleem Dar of Pakistan (E-News 500-2581, 2 October 2009), Rauf the third or television umpire, and Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden the fourth. 

Mahanama will be looking after his 132nd One Day International (ODI), Dar his 121st and second Champions Trophy final in a row, and Gould his thirty-eighth.  Rauf, who has been on the field for sixty-eight ODIs, will be in the television suite for the thirty-second time in a ODI for today's game.  All three are former first class players, Mahanama playing Test and ODI cricket for his country and Gould in ODIs for England. 

Bowden has to date officiated in 178 ODIs, 136 on the field and forty-two as the third umpire, plus eleven as the fourth, however, the ICC's current 'neutral' umpire policy for internationals meant that he was not considered for the three active spots for the final.  

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE 

FOR AUSTRALIA

[EN501-2591]

The Australian team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its Champions Trophy semi final One Day International (ODI) against England on Friday.  Match referee Jeff Crowe from New Zealand imposed the fines after ruling that, after time allowances were taken into consideration, Ricky Ponting’s side was two overs short of its target at the end of the match. 

 

In accordance with the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  As such, Ponting has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee while his players each lost ten-per-cent.

 

Australia is the third side to be fined for slow over rates during the Champions Trophy, England and Sri Lanka receiving similar fines last week (E-News 497-2567, 28 September 2009). 

The ICC decided last June to double the fines for slow over-rates, however, no announcement has yet been made as to when the new arrangement will come into force (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).  Since the June decision Pakistan in a Test, the West Indies twice in the two shorter forms of the game, England twice in a Test (E-News 473-2454, 13 August 2009) and now Australia, England and Sri Lanka in a Champions Trophy ODI, have been handed slow over-rate fines.

'NOT GUILTY' DECISION HANDED 

DOWN ON 'DISSENT' CHARGE

[EN501-2592]

Pakistan’s Umar Akmal was found not guilty for breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct during his side’s Champions Trophy semi-final against New Zealand in Johannesburg yesterday.  Akmal pleaded 'not guilty' to a charge of "showing dissent at an umpire's decision" after being given out LBW by Australian umpire Simon Taufel in the forty-first over of his side's innings.

Match referee Javagal Srinath of India said in an ICC statement that “Umar’s reaction at being dismissed at such a crucial phase of the innings in the all-important match of a global tournament was more of a disappointment than anything else". "Having been in these situations in the past", said the former Indian pace bowler, he "understands how a player reacts or can express himself but I don’t think there was anything other than disappointment in this incident".

The ICC says that the charge against Akmal was brought by third and fourth umpires Daryl Harper and Steve Davis, who are both from Australia, as well as on-field umpires Taufel and Ian Gould of England (E-News 500-2586, 2 October 2009).  

No reference is made in the ICC statement to the fact that Taufel was mistaken in giving Akmal out, television replays showing immediately after the umpire's decision that the ball hit the bat on the way to his pad, although under 'Spirit of Cricket' requirements that should have not been a factor in the conclusion that Srinath reached about the charge.

CSA CHANGES DOMESTIC 

ONE-DAY FORMAT

[EN501-2593]

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has made changes to the playing conditions for its domestic one-day competition for the coming season, moves including reducing what was formally a forty-five over format to forty overs per side, allowing twelve players per team, although only eleven can bat and bowl, and giving batting sides the right to pick just when the two 'Power Plays' in their innings will apply.  

Under the new arrangements the first 'Power Play' will last for ten overs and the second for five, the key requirement being that both must be completed by the time the thirty-fifth over begins.  For the longer period four fielders will be allowed outside the ring, and for the other three.  In addition, matches will be played over a set period of time regardless of the weather, any rain delay resulting in the "immediate deduction" of the number of overs that apply for the period of time play is lost.

  

CSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gerald Majola told local media outlets that the changes would "revolutionise" cricket in his country. "CSA believes the new format will be a dynamic alternative to the dull periods that have crept into the forty-five over version by providing added excitement and playing intensity", he said, and that the changes are "part of CSA's vision of giving fans the excitement and action they want without losing any of the basic skills that are an integral part of the game".

Majola also said that despite the changes CSA will also be preparing its players "for the fifty-over international version if that does not change, and if it does become shorter, then we will have a head start".  The CEO also said there would be substantial prize money and bonuses for players and franchises under overall arrangements for the new domestic format.

CSA's change comes a few weeks after the England and Wales Cricket Board decided to replace their fifty-over one-day competition with a forty-over format to compliment its the first-class and Twenty20 championships next northern summer, although the Professional Player Association there says its members were "overwhelmingly unhappy" about the move (E-News 491-2546, 16 September 2009).

Calls were made late last month for changes to be made to fifty-over games, the key suggestion at that time being for the number of overs involved to be split into two equal innings for each side (E-News 489-2536, 13 September 2009).

'DICKIE' BIRD SIGNED BAT 

FOR RACE WINNER 

[EN501-2594]

A cricket bat signed by former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird is one of the prizes being awarded to participants in the Bradford City Run in Yorkshire on 18 October, says the city's 'Telegraph and Argus' newspaper.  Bird is supporting Bradford Council's race which will see runners opting to take part in either a five or ten mile course.

Councillor Kris Hopkins told the paper that “it’s great to have Dickie’s backing for this race which is a taster for our marathon next year".  Bird said that he "cannot think of a more enjoyable way to meet old friends, make new friends and raise money for [the] causes" those involved will be running to support.

E-NEWS NUMBER 502

TUESDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2009

 

'HIGH-TECH' PRESENTATIONS REINFORCE 

LOCAL TRAINING PROGRAMS

[EN502-2595]

'High-tech' presentations given to match officials from around the state during last weekend's Annual Seminar at Bellerive, underlined and complimented on-going, locally-generated, training programs provided to TCUSA members over recent years.  Feedback on the seminar obtained by E-News was positive, talks on the umpire skills matrix, approaches to self assessment, decision-making, Twenty20 match management, as well as the "enthusiasm and professionalism" of presenters, being among the issues identified by many who were present as particular highlights.  

Reports suggest that it was Cricket Australia's (CA) umpiring skills matrix, the basic format of which has been around since 2002 and used by Tasmanian State Umpire Panel members for some time, that generated the most discussion.  Several attendees said that the recently-developed high-tech presentation on the subject by CA 'Umpire Educator' Denis Burns (E-News 499-2574, 1 October 2009), had encouraged them to use the matrix to develop focussed plans for the coming season, rather than what one called the "very broad and vague" ones they had personally produced in the past.

Considerable emphasis was given over the two days to the philosophies CA believes should be brought to umpiring by those whose aim is to advance along its national umpiring pathway, core factors identified being: personal presentation; commitment; preparation; contribution to umpiring and cricket; self awareness; and effective communication.  

While many who were present will never be part of CA's high performance program, the general concepts mentioned were acknowledged ass being equally applicable to those whose aim is to improve their performance at Grade level.  One umpire told E-News that the presentation on that subject helped him to again focus on the key question as to “how can I advance each attribute of my game?”, although he was quick to say that the tenants contained in CA's list had been emphasised time and again at the TCUSA's frequent training-appointments meetings held over many years.

TCUSA member Mark Wickham’s presentation on "Observation, Evaluation and Decision Making" detailed many of the inbuilt and automatic mechanisms all humans have that actually hinder their ability to make "excellent observations" and, that as a result, "detract" from their decision making processes.  In the words of one attendee and thoughts provided by others Wickam, a lecturer in the School of Management at the University of Tasmania, "challenged" his audience to think more deeply about, and apply the lessons that are available from studies in this area, in order to further lift umpiring standards across the state.  

The session on routines specific to umpiring Twenty20 games, a "format that is here to stay" and has different demands on umpires, generated a number of thoughts, particularly the need to be "proactive", a word that has been Tasmanian State Director of Umpires Richard Widows catch cry for several seasons about a number of umpiring areas, in keeping captains informed about over-rates.  There was also discussion about not meeting, as often applies in the longer forms of the game, your on-field colleague at the fall of wickets, and more obvious points such as moving into position quicker between overs. 

Burns and National Umpire Panel member Ian Lock, who travelled to Hobart from Melbourne and Perth respectively to present much of the weekend's content, both have backgrounds in wider educational fields, and were praised by many attendees for the "refreshing and motivating" way in which they provided information; one long-time observer saying they gave the seminar "a lift that had perhaps been missing for several years".  

In addition to 'high-tech' visuals, the pair used exercises, "interesting stories and anecdotes" about well-known umpiring figures, and interaction with the audience to get their points across, and in the words of one person who was present, "seemed to genuinely enjoy being at our seminar and wanted to make a worthy contribution".  Widows said afterwards that he "very much appreciate Denis and Ian coming and sharing their skills and experience" and believes "the weekend was of great benefit to all who attended, not the least being [himself]".   

Burns' is to next talk about umpiring issues at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) annual match officials seminar which is to be held in two separate sessions in Dubai this month, the first starting on Thursday and the second in three weeks time (E-News 500-2584, 2 October 2009).  

Members of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel and match referee's group, its second-tier International Umpire Panel, and third-tier Affiliates and Associates Umpires Panel, are expected to see presentations from Burns that are similar to those he provided to last weekend's Tasmanian, as well as other seminars held in other states over the last month. 

BRIEFING ON 2009 TCA 

BY-LAWS NEARS

[EN502-2596]

The Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) annual briefing on the By Laws that will apply its Grade cricket competition over the 2009-10 season, Spirit of Cricket issues, Code of Conduct forms and other related information, is to be held at Bellerive Oval tomorrow night starting at 6 p.m.  The TCA has requested that all TCUSA umpires, club coaches and their captains from all Grades, together with at least one delegate of each club's management committee, take part.

A number of changes have been made to TCA playing conditions for the season ahead.  They centre on allowances for extra time and minimum overs required to achieve a result in one-day matches; the bowling of High Full Pitched Balls; the extension of the requirement to wear helmets in the respective club colour or white down to Third Grade level; replacement players in TCA Twenty20 matches; and matters related to the completion of 'Game Day Checklists' provided through the National Cricket Insurance Program.

Code of Conduct forms for Coaches, Captains and Umpires for the coming season need to be returned to the TCA prior to opening matches being played later this month (E-News 500-2582, 2 October 2009).  Umpire forms should be returned via TCUSA President-Administrator Graeme Hamley.

THREE 'FUTURES LEAGUE' 

FIXTURES FOR HOBART

[EN502-2597]

Three of the twenty-one matches scheduled for Cricket Australia's (CA) new three-day 'Futures League' competition are to be played at Hobart grounds this season providing representative opportunities for members of Tasmania's State Umpire Panel and scorers.  The three games are to be played at Bellerive, Lindisfarne and the TCA Ground late this month and in November and February respectively, TCUSA members Nick McGann and Sam Nogajksi already having been appointed for the headquarters match (E-News 495-2561, 24 September 2009).

The new competition, which is to get underway today in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, plus its sister 'Futures League Twenty20' (T20) series, replaces the long-running Cricket Australia Cup four-day program, and has been designed following CA's High Performance Pathway Review "to revitalise the second-tier competition" and give "increasing opportunities for rookie and emerging players in a competitive format".  

CA says that Futures' T20 series will be played ahead of the equivalent first team competition in late December and January, however, dates and grounds for those matches were not provided in the national body's press release about the new league.   However, it will obvious be conducted prior to Christmas but how many games will be played in Hobart is not known at this stage.

Playing conditions for the league's three-day format limit each side to only three players who are older than twenty-three, a move designed to provide increased opportunities for emerging players.  Three-day games will follow the traditional two innings per team model, however each side will be will be restricted to 96 overs in the first innings and a maximum of 144 for the match, a move CA says is aimed at encouraging "aggressive declarations and innovative tactics".

 

BANGLADESHI FOR ZIMBABWE-KENYA MATCHES

[EN502-2598]

Bangladeshi umpire Nadir Shah is to stand in this week's four-day Intercontinental Cup match between a Zimbabwe XI and Kenya which is to start tomorrow, as well as the five-match One Day International (ODI) series the two sides are to play in Harare next week, says the Dhaka newspaper 'The New Nation'. 

For Shah, forty-five, it will be his second visit to Africa as an International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire, his first being for a World Cricket League (WCL) Division 1 tournament held in Nairobi in January 2007.  The Intercontinental Cup match will be his thirty-seventh at first class level but first overseas, and he currently has twenty-three ODIs to his credit, six of them the WCL games in Nairobi.

The ICC has not announced who will be on the ground with Shah for the Cup match, however, Zimbabwean members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel are likely to work with him in the ODIs. 

SOLID FINE FOR SREESANTH AFTER 

'OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE' CHARGE

[EN502-2599]

'Rest of India' fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was fined sixty per cent of his match fee for using offensive language towards an opponent on the third day of his side's Irani Cup match against Mumbai in Nagpur on Saturday.  Mumbai seamer Dhawal Kulkarni was giving an official warning for his part in contributing to Sreesanth's outburst.

The incident occurred when Kulkarni took a single off Sreesanth and "words were exchanged" as he reached the bowler's end. Kulkarni said "a few words" and what was described as "an animated Sreesanth" then engaged "in a verbal tiff" with him, say reports.  Umpires Shavir Tarapore and Amiesh Sahiba, who are both members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, quickly hosed down the situation but they later reported both players to match referee Krishnan Bhaskar.

Bhaskar held a hearing after play ended on Saturday, and after deciding to fine Sreenath he issued "a strict warning" that next time the bowler breached the Board of Control for Cricket in India's Code of Conduct he could be banned from "some games", although that would be "at the discretion of the match referee" involved.

LOCUSTS DELAY PLAY

[EN502-2600]

A swarm of locusts descended on the Champions Trophy semi-final between Australia and England in Johannesburg on Saturday, delaying play in a day that was filled with several infestations by insects.  The locust swarm, which was attracted by the artificial nights in the day-night fifty-over game, delayed the start of play after the break between innings.  Their visit followed an incident earlier in the day where a swarm of bees took over a television camera, requiring a beekeeper in full gear to blow smoke over them in an effort to move them on. 

E-NEWS NUMBER 503

THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2009

 

WEATHER EATS FURTHER 

INTO TCA SEASON

[EN503-2601]

On-going wet weather has forced the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) to put back the start of its 2009-10 season a further week.  Last week the planned start to the First Grade competition was delayed until 24-25 October, the same weekend all other Grades were to get underway (E-News 500-2582, 2 October 2009), but the opening round is now scheduled for the weekend of 31 October and 1 November, although even that remains under somewhat of a rain cloud at the present time. 

In addition to Grade cricket, both intra and interstate representative games listed for the last half of this month also look likely to be affected.  Three matches in the intrastate Jamie Cox Plate one-day competition at Lindisfarne in the south, Devonport Oval in the north-west and Launceston in the north, plus the new Futures League three-day fixture at Bellerive Oval between Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (E-News 495-2561, 24 September 2009), are under question.

At last night's briefing at Bellerive on TCA By Laws for the coming season, Grade Cricket manager Chris Garrett canvassed club representatives present for their ideas as to how the 2009-10 roster could be adjusted later in the season to allow a catch up of games.  He made clear, however, that there were no plans to try and play on the weekend of 2-3 January or during the Saturday-Sunday of the Australia-Pakistan Test match later that month.   

A number of ideas were floated, although an underlining theme from those who spoke was the difficulty of fitting in additional days of cricket around university and school exam times in November, and during the main holiday season in January.  Several club presidents indicated that in the words of one that their preference was for "twelve good rounds" rather than fourteen contrived" contests.  Others suggested that Third and Under 17 Grade rosters could take the brunt of changes, thus allowing the top two Grades to play the maximum number of rounds possible.   

With the now-planned 31 October season start still under question and a further slip to 7-8 November a clear possibility, the TCA's Grade Cricket Committee currently has the difficult task of looking at the options it has for Grade competitions this season. 

'BAN TAUFEL', SAYS PAKISTANI 

SPORTS MINISTER

[EN503-2602]

Pakistan's Minister for Sports Muhammad Ali Shah, who is also a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) governing council, has called for the Board to press the International Cricket Council (ICC) to impose a "one-year ban" on Australian umpire Simon Taufel, according to media reports distributed on the sub-continent this week.  Taufel mistakenly adjudged Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal LBW at a crucial stage of the Champions Trophy semi final game against New Zealand last Saturday (E-News 501-2592, 5 October 2009), and Shah blames him for his side's defeat.  

A report distributed by Geo Television on the sub-continent early this morning claims that ICC has in turn sent a "show cause" notice to the PCB seeking an explanation about Shah's comments about Taufel.  ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat was quoted as saying that the world body "has full faith in their umpires and will not tolerate such accusations" against its match officials.  

The targeting of Taufel by Shah and others in Pakistan is not dissimilar to reaction in India early last year when umpires Mark Benson of England and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies were blamed their side's defeat by Australia in a Test in Sydney (E-News 170-909, 7 January 2008).  Bucknor was later dropped from standing in the following Test after strong pressure from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the ICC back-flipping on earlier assurances that it would stand firm on the issue (E-News 172-919, 9 January 2008).  

Comments attributed to Shah include the somewhat bizarre accusation that India had a part in influencing what was described as "the sub-standard umpiring" of Taufel and Englishman Ian Gould in the semi final that he says caused Pakistan's defeat.  Shah told reporters that "it is clear that India were miffed at not qualifying for the semi-finals after Pakistan lost to Australia [in the lead up matches] and they took their revenge in their own way [by influencing] the umpires to favour New Zealand" in the semi final.

The 'Times of India' reacted to the Pakistani' Minister's comments by saying that it "only highlights Pakistan's typical attitude of blaming India for everything that goes wrong across the border".  "Taufel's record", it says "is enviable" and it points to the fact that the Australian was named as the world's best umpire for "five consecutive years from 2004 to 2008".

In a related controversy, Jamshed Dasti, the head of Pakistan's National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports, has summoned national captain Younis Khan, who dropped what appeared to be a straight-forward catch in the semi final, coach Intikhab Alam and PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt, to a meeting at the Parliament House in Islamabad next Tuesday.  The committee is said to be "suspicious" that Pakistan's semifinal loss to New Zealand and the earlier one to Australia "could have been fixed", the implication being by players in league with what one report called the "Indian mafia".

Despite that the 'Sindh Today' newspaper said yesterday that "Pakistan’s cricket chiefs and the national team have come under constant criticism from parliamentary committees in the past but so far nothing has happened on the recommendations of those committees".  Despite that Dasti "made it clear" that this time their recommendations will get due consideration.

However, PCB "sources" are said to have ruled out any "foul play" from its players, "top officials" instead blaming "poor umpiring" for the team’s semi final loss. The same sources claimed that Taufel had "apologised" to Akmal about his decision to give him out, but both the 'Cricketnext' and 'ESPNStar' web sites later quoted an "ICC spokesman" in Dubai as denying that that had occurred.

'Cricketnext' quotes "Pakistan team sources" as saying that coach Alam "had a heated argument with Taufel and Gould" at the disciplinary hearing convened by match referee Javagal Srinath of India into Akmal's reaction following his dismissal.  The batsman was later cleared of showing dissent at the decision, Srinath saying after finding Akmal "not guilty" that he "understands how a player reacts or can express himself but I don’t think there was anything other than disappointment in this incident" (E-News 501-2592, 5 October 2009).

Meanwhile, a report from Karachi yesterday claims that the PCB is "likely to push for the Umpire Decision Referral System to be implemented in One Day Internationals in a bid to avoid what were described as the 'appalling decisions' like the ones "that blew their team's chances of reaching [the Champions Trophy final] last weekend".

WICB TARGETS 'DOMESTIC' 

ELITE UMPIRE PANEL IN 2011

[EN503-2603]

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has appointed twelve umpires for its seventeen-match, one-day President's Cup series that is to be played in Guyana over nine-days commencing on 28 October.  The umpires named, two each from the WICB's six regions, are likely to be in contention for the 'domestic' Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) of twelve that the Board plans to establish in 2011, a significant reduction on the forty-man first class panel that operated last season in the Caribbean (E-News 425-2239, 18 May 2009).

Umpires named for the forthcoming series are: Vince Bullen and Dalton Holder (Barbados); Clyde Duncan and Dhirendranauth Somwaru (Guyana); Vivian Johnson and Norman Malcolm (Jamaica); Lennox Abraham and Clancy Mack (Leeward Islands); Peter Nero and  Khemraj Barrsigha (Trinidad and Tobago), Goaland Greaves and Luther Kelly (Windward Islands).  

This year's series is being played by eight teams from Barbados, Combined Campuses and Colleges,  Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Windward Islands and the West Indies Under-19 side.  In 2008 the tournament, which consisted of twenty-one games over eleven days, was contested by nine sides, two of them being Canada and the United States, the Windies U19 team being added to the list of sides this year.

In addition to the planned establishment of the domestic EUP in a year's time, the WICB Umpires Sub-Committee also recommended, and the WICB has accepted, that umpires older than sixty will no longer be appointed to first class matches in the Caribbean.  There is also believed to be a move to have at least one umpire on the WICB's initial EUP group to be under the age of thirty-five, and that by 2015 that age target will increase to at least half of the twelve-man panel meeting that criteria.

Last season's first class panel in the Caribbean had eight umpires each from Barbados and the Leeward Islands, while Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands all had six.  The majority of umpires on the list only received two or three appointments at first class level during the season.  Whether a similar  arrangement will apply this season it not yet known.

E-NEWS NUMBER 504

FRIDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2009

 

'I WILL EXPLAIN' TAUFEL COMMENTS,

SAYS PAKISTANI SPORTS MINISTER

[EN504-2604]

Pakistan Sports Minister Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, who is also a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) governing council, said yesterday he was prepared to explain his criticism of Australian umpire Simon Taufel’s performance in the Champions Trophy semi-final between Pakistan and New Zealand last Saturday.  The PCB sent a 'please explain' to Shah after what media reports suggest has been heavy pressure from the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the matter over the last few days.

Earlier this week Shah called for the PCB to press the ICC to impose a "one-year ban" on Taufel, blaming him for the Pakistan side's loss in Saturday's match.  He also suggested that "the Indian mafia" had a part in influencing what was described as "the sub-standard umpiring" of Taufel and Englishman Ian Gould during the game (E-News 503-2602, 8 October 2009).  Under the ICC’s Code of Conduct, players and officials are not allowed to publicly criticise umpires, match referees, or the world body itself.

PCB general manager media Nadeem Sarwar was quoted by the 'Daily Times' yesterday as saying that "after a complaint from the ICC regarding the statement of [Shah] on a television network in which he questioned the creditability of umpires in [the semi final]", the Board has asked the member to clarify the basis of his statement".  Sarwar said that Shah's comments had "compromised the PCB's relations with the ICC".

In indicating his willingness to explain his views, Shah said he would respond to the PCB's notice only when its Chairman Ijaz Butt called a meeting of the governing council. “I am a governing council member and will explain why I [made] the statement [about Taufel] only at a council meeting, not outside it", he said.

Pakistan's 'International News' publication reported this morning that Shah told the Pakistani parliament yesterday that the umpiring in last Saturday's match "was not up to the mark".  After he talked about "unilateral decisions" made by "the umpire", some legislators are said to have called out “shame, shame”, and Shah then repeated his call, this time under parliamentary privilege, for a ban "of at least one year".  

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, who was a member of parliament from 2002-07 and is now a political activist, has made similar comments to those of Shah about umpires and what he called the "Indian lobby", according to a press report from Karachi on Wednesday, although he did not mention a ban on any umpire.

Butt, who returned home from South Africa yesterday after watching the Champions Trophy and attending ICC Board meetings, scotched suggestions his national side had fixed matches and also "scolded" Shah for his attack on Taufel, says a report in today's 'Times of India' (TOI).

The newspaper quotes Butt as making the interesting statement that "there were a number of questionable [umpiring] decisions made during the Champions Trophy but we cannot agitate [against the ICC]".  "The ICC has its own procedure to evaluate the performance of an umpire and they follow that", he said, but it "has taken strong notice of [Shah's] comments and we [the PCB] have also asked him to explain on what grounds he had said such a thing". 

A parliamentarian in Pakistan has accused the national team of throwing games in the Champions Trophy and has asked Butt, coach Intikhab Alam and captain Younis Khan to appear before a sports committee of the lower house next week. "We have no problem in appearing before them [and] will definitely go and explain our position", Butt said, for "there was no match-fixing in the Champions Trophy". 

Reports from the sub-continent in the last twenty-four hours indicate that the ICC is also not happy with the statements by Javed Miandad, the PCB's Director-General (Cricket), who has apparently suggested that pitches prepared for the Champions Trophy were "dangerous and unfit for one-dayers". 

AGENDA FOR FIRST TCUSA TRAINING 

MEETING AMENDED

[EN504-2605]

The TCUSA still plans to hold a meeting at Bellerive on the evening of Wednesday, 21 October, even though no Tasmanian Cricket Association matches will be played on the following weekend because of prolonged wet weather (E-News 503-2601, 8 October 2009).  

Graeme Hamley, the Association's President-Administrator, said today that during the meeting the new on-field uniforms for umpires will be distributed, general association business will be conducted and training issues will be covered for both new and returning members.

The current list of meetings scheduled by the TCUSA for the season is provided below in the coming events section of this newsletter. 

'UNFIT' PITCH LEADS TO 

GAME'S ABANDONMENT

[EN504-2606]

The first class match between the Titans and the Warriors in South Africa was abandoned after just seven overs on day one in Benoni yesterday because of an 'unfit' pitch, say newspaper reports published there overnight.  The crease at the southern end of the ground was said to have been "moist" around the point where bowlers enter their delivery stride.

The South African Press Association is reporting this morning that "the problem was evident from the first ball of the second over of the day" when Titans' bowler Ethi Mbhalati found that his front foot dug several centimetres into a soft crease.  During subsequent overs, the ground staff tried, unsuccessfully, to tackle the problem with sawdust and other equipment, say reports.

As a result of the problem players had to leave the field after half-an-hour's play and just 5.5 overs in the hope that the ground staff and the sun could repair the damage.  However, when they returned at 3 p.m. local time it became obvious that play was impossible, and after seven more deliveries the game was called off for the day.  Peter Muzzell, a South African expert on pitches, was flown in from East London to inspect the situation.

After further discussions between umpires Karl Hurter and Dennis Smoth, match referee Tiffie Barnes, the captains and Muzzell, it was decided the match had to be abandoned.  Barnes said that "Muzzell [indicated] there was a lot of moisture underneath [and] it probably [would] not have improved by tomorrow [Friday], but might be better by Saturday".  

"We dug a section [of the pitch] out, and it was damp on the top, but wet underneath [and] even though we have had a hot sunny day, it hasn't done much to dry it up", said the match referee.  Cricket South Africa (CSA) general manager for cricket operations Brian Basson said that "the umpires were of the opinion that the pitch would get worse even if it dried out and that it would not be suitable for a first-class match".  

Muzzell, the umpires and captains are to submit reports as a part of an investigation CSA is conducting into the matter.  Depending on the findings, as the home side the Titans franchise could loose championship points or face a maximum fine of R150,000 (equivalent to $A25,000).  

E-NEWS NUMBER 505

TUESDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2009

 

MINISTER REPORTED 'DEFIANT' ON 

UMPIRING COMMENTS

[EN505-2605]

Pakistan's Sports Minister Dr Muhammad Ali Shah moved a resolution in Parliament on Friday against what he termed the "biased umpiring against Pakistan" in their Champions Trophy semifinal against New Zealand in Johannesburg ten days ago.  A report published in Pakistan's 'International News' on Sunday says that Shah's resolution received "overwhelming support" from members, while senior ministers from both the Pakistan Peoples Party and Mattahida Quami Movement also "voiced their concerns". 

The 'News' describes the resolution as "a show of defiance from Shah" after he was sent a "show cause notice" by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last week over his comments against umpiring decisions in the New Zealand game, a request that followed pressure on the PCB from the International Cricket Council (E-News 503-2602, 8 October 2009).  In addition to being Sports Minister, Shah is also the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association and a member of the PCB's Governing Board.

According to the 'News' story, Shah will "not back track" over his comments about the umpires in the semi final, apparently claiming that "the footage of the match" will prove his point.  "Almost all the poor calls during that match went against Pakistan" (E-News 501-2592, 5 October 2009), he said, stressing the point further by asking "how can anybody explain that? 

Shah last week indicated his willingness to explain his views, but that he would only respond to the PCB's notice when its Chairman Ijaz Butt called a meeting of the governing council (E-News 504-2604, 9 October 2009).  However, last Saturday he is reported to have adjusted that requirement to saying that he would only respond to a PCB notice "if it came from [chairman] Ijaz Butt".  Wasim Bari, the PCB's chief executive officer is said to have signed the 'please explain' sent to Shah, but the Minister's latest position is said to be that "only the Board chairman can ask me for any explanation".

Shah is said to have taken "serious notice" of what he says is "the fact" that an unnamed PCB official sent text messages to all newspapers and telvision channels in the country informing them about the explanation sought from him by the PCB.  "It is against all rules and regulations and as a governing board member I'm unhappy over that action, I've discussed the issue with my lawyer and reserve the right to take legal action against it", he said

Pakistan were media favourites to beat New Zealand in the Champions Trophy semi final, however, they lost badly and controversy has since raged in that country with "umpiring decisions" and talk of "match rigging" being blamed by some for the team's exit from the series.

SLIGHT DROP IN TCA DISCIPLINARY 

CASES IN 2008-09

[EN505-2606]

Six players were reported in Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) competitions during the 2008-09 season, two less than the year before, according to the latest TCA's Annual Report which was distributed to members recently.  In addition, thirty 'Yellow Cards' were issued as a warning for various offences, a drop from thirty-four the year before, but still up from the twenty-two in 2006-07 (E-News 310, 1622, 11 September 2008).

Three of the six players reported last season pleaded guilty and accepted the set penalty offered them while the other three attended a judiciary hearing.  The TCA does not say what the reports were for or what the outcomes of the contested cases was, nor how many, if any, of those who received yellow cards ended up being suspended for the required one match for notching up three such censures in two seasons.

HARPER LAUGHS ALL THE 

WAY TO THE BANK

[EN505-2607]

Australian umpire Daryl Harper laughed and joked with commentators while standing in back-to-back Champions League matches in Hyderabad last Saturday.  Harper, who some reports say is on an "attractive salary" for the current series in India, wore a microphone and earpiece and sometimes talked even as the ball was being delivered, although that occurred mostly when he was at square leg say reports.

At one point commentators asked Harper if the pitch was offering the spinners some grip, to which he cautiously replied "a little", before indicating that he'd better not say too much or the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACUSA) "will be after me".  Earlier this year the ACUSA warned the ICC Board that cricket was "under the gravest threat [from illegal bookmakers] since Sharjah in the 1990s" (E-News 475-2461, 17 August 2009), and it is 'on duty' during the current series which has prize money totalling close to $A7m.

Harper, a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) who is believed to be working under a separate contract for the Champions League series, has been named to stand in the final of the competition with South African EUP member Rudi Koertzen on Friday week, one of nine matches he will be involved in during the series (E-News 499-2578, 1 October 2009).

 

E-NEWS NUMBER 506

THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2009

 

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE TO 'WRITE TO ICC',

MINISTER MANOEUVRES

[EN506-2608]

The Pakistani parliament's Standing Committee on Sports decided on Tuesday to write to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ask it to "take appropriate action against the umpire for giving wrong decisions" during its national side's loss in the semi final of the Champions Trophy tournament nearly two weeks ago, says a story published in Pakistan's 'Daily Times' yesterday.  Last week the ICC asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to explain comments that Pakistan's Sports Minister Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, a member of the PCB's governing council, made about "banning" Australian umpire Simon Taufel as a result of his role in that match (E-News 503-2602, 8 October 2009).

Tuesday's meeting of the Standing Committee, which was attended by Shah, followed the passing of a resolution in parliament four days earlier that condemed what was described as "biased umpiring against Pakistan" in the semi final (E-News 505-2605, 13 October 2009).  Shah, who was behind that resolution, has following the ICC's approach been asked in turn by the PCB to explain his remarks about Taufel.   

Pinning the Minister down is, however, proving difficult.  Shah said originally that he would only explain his comments at a meeting of the PCB's governing council, but he now refuses to respond to a letter sent to him about the matter by the PCB's Chief Operating Officer Wasim Bari.  

Shah is reported to have said after Tuesday's meeting that he "sent a four-line reply to the board [which stated] that Bari is not authorised to ask any explanation from me", adding that "the governing council appoints the Chief Operating Officer so he cannot issue notices to any member [and] only the Chairman [Ejaz Butt] is authorised to seek any explanation from me".

Butt, along with Champions Trophy team captain Younis Khan, manager Yawar Saeed and other PCB officials, attended Tuesday's Standing Committee as witnesses, for the parliamentary group's main focus was centred on allegations that the national side lost games in the Trophy series as a result of match-fixing; however, the committee concluded that there was "no authenticity" behind such suggestions.  

Whether Butt plans to discuss the Taufel matter directly with Shah, or call a special meeting of the governing council to formulate a response to the ICC, is not known at this stage.  Reports say that the council's next scheduled meeting is currently listed for next Wednesday.

Yesterday's 'Daily Times' story stated that "there is no doubt that this entire exercise" by the parliamentarians "has not only demoralised national team members but also ridiculed the country around the globe".  The 'Sindh Today' newspaper said last week that the Standing Committee has levelled "constant criticism" against "Pakistan’s cricket chiefs and the national team" in recent years, "but so far nothing has happened [with regard to its] recommendations".

The verbal attack on Taufel has so far been ignored by media outlets outside the sub-continent, and to date neither the ICC or Cricket Australia have made any public comments about the matter.

BAN MID-MATCH INTERVIEWS WITH 

UMPIRES, PLAYERS, SAYS MARKS

[EN506-2609]

Journalist Vic Marks of 'The Guardian' has attacked what he calls the "intrusive, preposterous interview[s]" that television commentators are conducting with umpires, captains and players during the Champions League Twenty20 series in India.  Writing in the newspaper's 'Sports Blog' yesterday, Marks said that "we are supposed to be watching a life and death struggle out there and yet key participants are expected to fiddle with their earpieces, answer inane questions [and] chuckle at limp jokes while play is going on around them".

The Blog says that "overseas broadcasters" cannot be blamed for the situation as "like Twenty20 itself this process was instigated in the UK [in] Sky's coverage" of the twenty over game.  Marks queries how a player on the field can focus on questions when he is "wired up at slip, awaiting a crucial catch", or an umpire concentrate properly on his job "in the middle".

Mention is made of Australian umpire Daryl Harper "who sounded [during such interviews] as if he had been practising a few one-liners before the game" (E-News 505-2607, 13 October 2009).  Marks says that "Harper and [commentator Harsha] Bhogle soon indulged in a 'hilarious' bout of repartee about their contrasting tonsorial qualities, Harper [having] no hair [while] Bogle, it seems, has recently invested in some more".

Mark pleads to be allowed to "watch the cricket and let Harper concentrate on his job in the middle [as an] umpire should not be distracted".  Leave those involved alone until the match is over, he says, for "after such a promising start" the Champions League, in his view, "does not need such cheap gimmicks".

REDUCED INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM 

NEEDED, SAYS UK PCA

[EN506-2610]

Sean Morris, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) for England and Wales, has warned that swift action is needed to protect international cricket from what he calls "unsustainable" fixture scheduling.  Writing in this month's edition of 'The Wisden Cricketer', Morris expresses the view that “A remodelled Future Tours Program with less cricket will create more recovery time and, importantly, preparation time for the players, so creating the chance to protect, then enhance the status of the internationals". 

 

Morris writes that "for years players’ associations have been telling the administrators that the schedules were unsustainable and I fear we are seeing the initial cracks of what will be a major challenge to the game, one which those in charge could have averted if they had heeded the words from the players".  "If they take swift action [now] across the international game, they can still avert these troubles", he says.

 

Morris says urgent action is needed to ensure that the international ‘product’ remains the pinnacle of the game: “Until now there has not been a rival to the international game and arguably this has seen complacency creep in, with the [national] Boards squeezing out every last drop of revenue regardless of the impact on quality, not to mention the players themselves".

 

“But with the rise of the Indian Premier League and other domestic competitions, which now have the backing to attract the top players, there is a real threat to internationals [and] it is time that administrators heed our warnings and understand that less is, in fact, more", he says.

 

According to Morris, replacing some fifty-over One Day Internationals (ODI) with Twenty20 fixtures could be part of the answer: “The solution has to lie in scheduling fewer matches, ensuring the product is [of] the highest quality, which will [in turn] make marketing and selling the matches more successful".  In his view the International Cricket Council (ICC) should refine the sheer volume of fifty-over internationals while looking into opportunities to schedule the more popular Twenty20 cricket in place of part of the ODI schedule".

'COME IN SPINNER', SAYS 

CRICKET TASMANIA

[EN506-2611]

 

'Betasport', an arm of the Tasmanian government's sports betting business, has signed a sponsorship deal with Cricket Tasmania (CT) that will provide it with Grade cricket naming rights to the Tasmanian Cricket Association, Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association and Cricket North West competitions over the next three years.  CT said yesterday that its newest sponsor will have "sole and exclusive" "branding rights" on the clothing of players "who are eighteen-years of age or older" in all games except the Kookaburra Cup, however, there was no mention about umpires, who have another sponsor, sporting such advertising. 

CT Chairman Tony Harrison said in a statement that the sponsorship is "a great partnership for the sport that will support grass roots cricket throughout the state" for it "will enable us to maintain our funding to [all] twenty Grade cricket clubs", eight of which are in the south and six each in the north and north-west; although just how much money is involved was not mentioned.  Harrison does "not view the sponsorship as promoting wagering" but says that if cricket's supporters "are going to have a wager" they should "do it with a Tasmanian business that supports Tasmanian sport and the Tasmanian community".

Craig Coleman, the Chief Executive Officer of Betasport's parent body, said that "we are obviously very pleased to be able to align our sports betting business with cricket", and that it is "important to get [Betasport's] name out into the broader Tasmanian community, and specifically the sporting community".  “There is no better way to do that during the summer months than via cricket", he said, and in "this case the sport of cricket benefits through the financial contribution we are providing and [we in turn benefit] through business growth".

Last austral summer Cricket Australia (CA) established what it called "a commercial partnership" with 'Betfair' which it described at the time as "one of the world’s most innovative and responsible wagering companies".  CA said then that "a key focus for Betfair over the summer will be [on] the education of punters and the cricketing public about the benefits of Betfair’s unique betting exchange".  Betfair's odds were regularly available on CA's web site during the season.  

 

BCCI GIVES SREESANTH A 

'FINAL WARNING', SAY REPORTS

[EN502-2612]

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has issued a "final warning" to fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth about his "on-ground belligerence", say reports from New Delhi yesterday.   The BCCI is said to have written to Sreesanth as a result of his behaviour in a recent game that saw him fined sixty per cent of his match fee (E-News 502-2599, 6 October 2009).

Newspaper reports state that the letter said in part that “You are hereby given a final warning to ensure that you do not violate the BCCI Code of Conduct". "Any repetition of such behaviour", continues the letter, "will be dealt with severely by the BCCI including suspension from domestic cricket matches".  It concluded by saying that “as an international cricketer, you have to set a good example for the youngsters who watch and follow the game".

E-NEWS NUMBER 507

FRIDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2009

 

CNW LOOKS TO SEASON START 

ON CONCRETE PITCHES

[EN507-2613]

Cricket North West (CNW) has moved the Twenty20 'Gala Days' competition it originally scheduled for December forward to this weekend in an effort to get its 2009-10 season underway.  However, with curators of grounds there and in Cricket Tasmania's other two regional turf-based competitions in the north and south still struggling to prepare venues for the season ahead, this weekend's north-west coast games will have to be played on artificial pitches.

Brad Cole, CNW's Administrator, told E-News yesterday that his Association is currently hoping that their Second Grade competition might be able to get underway in eight days time, however, those matches will also have to be played on artificial pitches, but only provided outfields are satisfactory by that time.  

Cole said that the current outlook for a start to CNW First Grade games on turf is "at best" two weeks away on the weekend of 31 October-1 November, however, that depends on just how the weather behaves over the next fortnight.  Given the current situation, the decision has been taken to move Sunday week's Jamie Cox Plate (JCP) intra-state representative match between CNW and the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) from the Devonport Oval to Launceston in the north.

Asked how Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) side Glenorchy were able to play NTCA side Westbury on the latter's turf pitch in a practice match two weekends ago, Cole said that the north-west side had the advantage of having a ground that has no football played on during the year.  As a result the club was able to cover the square over a larger part of the winter than is normally the case, a move that has helped considerably in the preparation of that ground.  

In Launceston, the NTCA has postponed the start of its season from tomorrow to the following Saturday, what was to have been a two-day game now being made into a one-day fixture next week.  Paul Clark, the NTCA's Administrator, said yesterday that pitch preparation in the north wasn't as much as a problem as that of getting outfields there ready for matches.

In the south the TCA is still, as reported previously (E-News 503-2601, 8 October 2009), hoping to make a start to its Grade rosters on the weekend that commences on 31 October, although the ground situation around Hobart varies considerably in relation to geography, a factor that adds considerable complexity to the TCA's efforts to make plans.  

Being on the eastern side of the Derwent River and further away from rain generated by Mount Wellington behind Hobart, both the Bellerive and Lindisfarne Ovals are reported to be "OK" at this time.  Despite concerns a week ago that it might not be possible to hold the three-day Cricket Australia Futures League game listed for Bellerive late this month, current plans call for it to proceed as scheduled; however, the JCP game between the TCA and the state Under 19 sides that was scheduled for this Sunday at Lindisfarne has been slipped a week in the hope that conditions there will improve further. 

Closer to the mountain the University Oval was described this week as "average" while a report in 'The Mercury' newspaper on Wednesday about the Newtown Oval said that the curator there was "actually digging up parts of the ground" which are waterlogged and "replacing it with dry soil" to try and speed preparations.  Reports from Kingston suggest that the ground there, which never responds well to wet weather, may not be ready for matches until well into November.

Chris Garrett, the TCA's Grade Cricket Manager, indicated yesterday that the state of grounds is being very closely watched and that a further review of the situation in the south will be held towards the end of next week.

DAR RECEIVES CHEQUE FOR WORLD AWARD,

PUBLICLY SUPPORTS TAUFEL

[EN507-2614]

Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar was presented with a cheque for 500,000 Rupees ($A6,600) by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in Lahore yesterday in recognition of winning the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2009 'Umpire of the Year' award earlier this month (E-News 500-2581, 2 October 2009).  Dar received the money and a "souvenir" to commemorate his accomplishment at a ceremony held in his honor at the National Cricket Academy that reports say was attended by the PCB's "top brass".

The Umpire, who is one of twelve members of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), said that it was an "honor to be named as top umpire", says a story posted on the cricdb.com web site overnight.  He went on to thank the PCB for its support during his umpiring career, especially when it promoted him "despite having some other senior umpires in the hierarchy", and said that he will continue to work to maintain high standards so as "not to let down the PCB".

A report in 'The Times of India' today says that following the presentation ceremony Dar "dismissed" suggestions that umpiring in the Champions Trophy semi-final between Pakistan and New Zealand had been biased, a controversy that has been raging with considerable heat on the sub-continent over the last week (E-News 506-2608, 15 October 2009).  

Dar publicly supported his EUP colleague Simon Taufel of Australia, who has been the target of most of the criticism, telling reporters that he doesn't "think Simon Taufel gave a wrong decision on purpose [as] anyone can make mistakes", including himself (E-News 501-2592, 5 October 2009).  "Mistakes are bound to happen", for despite their best efforts "match officials [are] human beings" like everyone else, he said.

Asked if he was in favour of the increased use of modern technology in decision-making, Dar is reported to have said that "umpires will always be central figures [in the game of cricket], but where modern technology is available [to] assist them it should be used".  He also went on to urge PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt Chairman "to facilitate the umpiring department in Pakistan and [work to] introduced more umpires [from Pakistan] to international level".

'Cricdb.com' is also reporting this morning that Dar has been appointed to the five-match One Day International series between Bangladesh and the visiting Zimbabwean side that is due to get underway in ten days time.

APPEAL CONFIRMS MULTI-YEARS BANS 

AFTER UMPIRE ASSAULT

[EN507-2615]

Three players from the Bradford League in England have received lengthy bans after the hearing of an appeal into an incident in May in which an umpire was reported to have been assaulted, says a story in yesterday's 'Telegraph and Argus' newspaper in Bradford.  As a resut of the appeal two players have been banned for five years, another for three years, two years of which has been suspended, and a fourth for two weeks.

The incident that led to the suspensions occurred in a Sunday league game at the end of May when umpire Matthew Lowson was verbally abused and allegedly hit by a player and struck with a stump (E-News 432-2268, 3 June 2009), although the side accused of violent conduct refuted that claim at the time (E-News 433-2271, 6 June 2009).  

Of the four players, Naeem Ashraf and Waleed Ditta were given five-year suspensions and Kez Ahmed an effective one-year ban, while Adam Patel, who was found guilty of a lower-grade offence and will miss the first two weeks of next season in England.  Earlier this year organsiers of the Sunday League competition concerned banned one player for life, two for five years and another for three years, and later threw the club concerned out of the competition (E-News 434-2277, 8 June 2009).  The 'Telegraph and Argus' report says that  "all the bans will take affect from 1 April next year.

Mohammed Amir Majid, the vice-chairman of the Sunday League, told the newspaper that his committee is "pleased that the League’s full council have backed our decisions".  Consideration of the appeals was "going on for so long that we were getting worried about what was happening but they were just getting all the facts together". 

E-NEWS NUMBER 508

  TUESDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2009

 

PCB GOVERNING COUNCIL CENSURES 

SHAH, NO SIGN OF APOLOGY

[EN508-2616]

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) "has asked" members of its governing council "not to make irresponsible statements" such as those made by Dr Muhammad Ali Shah in the wake of its side's loss in a semi final of the Champions Trophy two weeks ago, say news agency reports from Karachi overnight.  Shah, who is also the country's Sports Minister, specifically targeted Australian umpire Simon Taufel, calling on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to "impose a one-year ban" on him (E-News 503-2602, 8 October 2009).

Shah, who is a member of the PCB governing council, had alleged that India had influenced umpires to make decisions against Pakistan, said that he would "explain" his comments (E-News 504-2604, 9 October 2009), and went on to orchestrate a parliamentary resolution about the matter (E-News 505-2605, 13 October 2009).  In addition the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports (SCS) resolved to write to the ICC to ask it to "take appropriate action against the umpire for giving wrong decisions" (E-News 506-2608, 15 October 2009).  

PCB chairman Ejaz Butt is said to have told members yesterday that there is "a proper way to raise issues" and they should not say anything that amounts to violation of the ICC's Code of Conduct.  Reports over the last fortnight indicate consistently that the ICC has pressured the PCB to "take action" against Shah. 

Pakistan's 'International News’ reported on Sunday prior to the meeting that council members were "fuming over a ['please explain'] notice issued to Shah" by PCB Chief Operating Officer Wasim Bari.  "All members stand behind Shah as we think that is no way to deal with members of the Board", says an individual quote by the 'News' . He and others were said to have wanted "an unconditional apology" from Bari or they would "approve a vote of no-confidence" him, but if that report is accurate then they changed their approach during the meeting.

Butt reportedly told Shah "to be careful in future" as Pakistan was a member of the ICC community and "could not afford to offend them with irresponsible statements".  An unnamed Pakistan "official" was quoted as saying that "the matter related to Shah`s statement was now closed".  Whether the PCB plans to respond to the ICC's request for an explanation of Shah's remarks is not known at this stage.  The tenures of all members of the council are due to end tomorrow week and what is described as a "new look body" is set to take over.  

Meanwhile, a report from Lahore says that former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has asked chairman of the National Assembly’s SCS, Jamshed Dasti, "to apologise to the nation for accusing the team of match-fixing" in the Champions Trophy, but does not appear to have mentioned the committee's resolution on umpiring issues.  Dasti's committee concluded last week that there was "no authenticity" behind match-fixing suggestions made by its chairman and others in Pakistan.  

'EXTRA' BALL ALLOWS BATSMAN 

TO REACH CENTURY

[EN508-2617]

A 'no ball' helped win the match for the Merewether side in the Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA) last Saturday leaving its captain Simon Moore on ninety-nine not out, but his opposite number insisted on bowling an extra ball so that he could bring up his Century, says a report in yesterday's 'Newcastle Herald'.  Moore went on to notch up what was a 111-ball "ton" with a single off the following delivery.

University captain Josh Emerton told the 'Herald' that prior to the 'no ball' being bowled "a few of the Merewether boys were yelling out that [Moore] needed three more [to reach his hundred but] he hit a two" which with the 'no ball' won the game. Emerton said that he "told [Moore] to stay there" and face another ball for "he deserved [the hundred and] it made no difference to us".  

Newcastle District Cricket Umpires Association secretary Joe Thomson was quoted by the 'Herald' as saying that "technically, yes, the match is over" when the target score is reached.  "If the scores are tied and the bowler bowls a 'no-ball' that the batsman hits to the boundary the four runs do not count, because the game was already over with the 'no-ball' [as] the moment the team batting is in front then technically the game is over", said Thomson.

What the umpires thought of the bowling of an extra ball, or whether the NDCA will allow the Century to stand, was not reported by the 'Herald'.

KENYAN BATSMAN FINED 

FOR 'DISSENT'

[EN508-2618]

Kenya batsman Alex Obanda has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for "showing dissent at an umpire's decision" during the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) of this month's series against Zimbabwe in Harare last Saturday.  Obanda was adjudged to have been caught at the wicket, but instead of leaving immediately he stood and shook his head for what reports say was "a substantial period of time".

 

The Kenyan was charged under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (CoC) by on-field umpires Nadir Shah from Bangladesh (E-News 502-2598, 6 October 2009) and Zimbabwean Kevan Barbour, as well as third umpire Owen Chirombe, another local.  The matter was then taken up by match referee Alan Hurst from Australia.  

Obanda is said to have "pleaded guilty at an early stage" and, under the provisions of the new version of the CoC, which is believed to have come into force on 1 October, the matter was determined by Hurst without a full hearing. 

Shah and Barbour stood in all five ODIs while Chirombe, who is believed to be Zimbabwe's third umpire on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, served as the "reserve" rather than "third" umpire in all fixtures.  Hurst was the match referee in matches three to five inclusive, with South African Devdas Govindjee working in that role in the first two games, his first such appointment by the ICC.  The series took Shah's ODI tally to twenty-eight, Barbour's to fifty-one and Hurst's to seventy-eight.

Immediately prior to the ODI series Chirombe stood with Shah in the Intercontinental Cup (IC) first class match between a Zimbabwe XI and Kenya, while Ishtiaq Ahmed, a former first class player from Pakistan, was the match referee.  Ahmed was making his second visit to Zimbabwe in two months, having played the same role in the IC match between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, the latter's debut at first class level, and the Pakistani's first ICC appointment above youth level.

MID-PITCH 'PUNCH-UP' SEES TEAM 

LOOSE CHAMPIONSHIP, PROMOTION

[EN508-2619]

 

A twenty-five premiership point penalty handed down to the Aston Rowant side following a mid-pitch fight in a Home Counties League (HCL) match in England in August has been confirmed, costing the team both the Division 2 championship and promotion to the league above, says a report in the 'Oxford Mail' on the weekend.  A second hearing into the matter was conducted last week because the original investigation six weeks ago contained "procedural errors" (E-News 488-2532, 12 September 2009).

During the match against Basingstoke, Aston Rowant's Australian seam-bowler Tim Miles became involved in a "fully fledged fight" with batsman Dean Nurse after the latter apparently believed a 'beamer' that he received had been bowled at him deliberately (E-News 480-2492, 25 August 2009).  The incident was captured by a photographer, the images being available on line at: http://www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/search/4561102.CRICKET__Brawl_mars_Rowant_victory/

Aston Rowant issued a statement at the time saying it "condemns without qualification the actions of those involved and wish to make it very clear that what happened in no way reflects the attitude or beliefs of Aston Rowant Cricket Club [and that it] and Timothy Miles sincerely apologise to the HCL, Basingstoke and all other relevant parties for his involvement in this incident".

The HCL disciplinary panel initially banned Miles for five years and deducted the twenty-five points, at the same time docking Basingstoke five points and suspending Nurse for a year.  The Aston Rowant club revoked Miles' membership as a result of the incident, and in the words of the 'Oxford Mail', sent "him packing" back to his club in Perth.  Miles, who plays for Fremantle in the Western Australia Cricket Association, was selected for all seven matches his state played in last December's Australian Under 19 Championships in Newcastle.   

Last week's second hearing found both Miles and Nurse guilty of a Level 4 breach of discipline involving an assault of another player.  It reduced Miles' HCL ban to one year with a second suspended and confirmed Nurse's twelve-month censure but added a second suspended, then decided that both teams should loose twenty-five points each.  The panel also reprimanded the captains of both sides.

Confirmation of the points penalty meant that Reading won the league and thus gained promotion to the HCL's first Division.  Following its loss of twenty-five points Ashton Rowant finished third, eleven points behind Reading.

BELLERIVE YOUTH TEST 

PLAYER SHOT DEAD

[EN508-2620]

 

Indian Under-19 left-arm spinner Gagandeep Singh, who played in a youth Test against Australia at Bellerive last April, was killed by a stray bullet during a shooting in a kebab shop in the city of Meerut, eighty kilometres north of New Delhi, last week. Police said that the shop owner was also killed and another bystander hurt before the alleged gunman was arrested and a revolver recovered.

During the Indian youth side's tour to Hobart and Perth in April, the eighteen-year-old spinner played in the Test at Bellerive and a One Day International at the WACA ground in Perth.  He took one wicket in Hobart and scored twelve not out, claimed a second wicket in Perth and made twenty-nine.  The umpires for the Hobart match were TCUSA members Steven John and Sam Nogajski and the scorers Graeme Hamley and Janet Gainsford (E-News 403- 2137, 7 April 2009), while Todd Rann and Paul Wilson were on the field for Perth match.   

 

Gagandeep, who was in Meerut to play representative cricket, was on the verge of being selected for Uttar Pradesh, say reports from the sub-continent.

E-NEWS NUMBER 509

  WEDNESDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2009

 

FIVE-MAN TASMANIAN STATE UMPIRE 

PANEL NAMED FOR 2009-10

[EN509-2621]

 

Five umpires, one less than last year, were named as members of Tasmania's State Umpires Panel (SUP) for the 2009-10 season by Cricket Tasmania yesterday.  Those appointed, who will be eligible for selection to both intra and interstate representative games during the season ahead, include last year's members Steven John, Nick McGann, Jamie Mitchell and Sam Nogajski (E-News 309-1617, 10 September 2008), that quartet being joined by newcomer Mike Graham-Smith.

Graham-Smith and Mitchell will be in action in Launceston this weekend, first in opening matches in the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association's (NTCA) Grade season on Saturday, and then on Sunday in the Jamie Cox Plate (JCP) one-day game between the NTCA and Cricket North West (CNW) representative sides. The latter fixture will see the pair teamed with scorers Nathan Bester of the NTCA and Alan Dendle from CNW.  

On Saturday, Graham-Smith will be on the field with northern umpire Peter Griffin for the game between last season's NTCA Grand Finalists Launceston and Mowbray, while Mitchell will be at Westbury with Roy James when the home side takes on South Launceston.  

NTCA Administrator Paul Clark told E-News yesterday that despite recent wet weather grounds were now ready for play in the north (E-News 509-2623 below).  An Under 19 state trial match is scheduled for Launceston on Thursday, and with the forecast for that day and the weekend currently being for good weather, it looks as if turf-based cricket in the north will get underway after just a single week's delay.   

Things are not quite so clear-cut in the south where the only scheduled game is the JCP match between the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) and the state Under 19 sides at Lindisfarne on Sunday.  With all TCA Grade games for the weekend cancelled several weeks ago, work continues apace at Lindisfarne to try and ensure the ground there is ready for play (E-News 509-2623 below).  If the match goes ahead McGann and Nogajski will be the umpires while Graeme Hamley and Janet Gainsford will work with them from the score box.

The same umpiring pair are to stand in the Cricket Australia (CA) Futures League three-day match between the Tasmanian and Australian Capital Territory sides at Bellerive which is due to start on Tuesday (E-News 502-2597, 6 October 2009), with Hamley again one of the scorers and Robert Godfrey his colleague for that game.

John, the only SUP member not standing in a scheduled match next weekend has had a solid pre-season in CA's Emerging Players Tournament in Queensland in July, the 'Festival of Cricket' series in Lismore New South Wales, and pre-season matches played by a number of senior state squads again in Queensland last month.  McGann together with National Umpire Panel member Tony Ward of Victoria worked with John in Lismore (E-News 497-2568, 28 September 2009).  

John appears to be the only member of the state panel with a chance of being appointed by CA to a first class match this season, with such a move if it occurs probably coming in one of the two Sheffield Shield matches that are scheduled for Bellerive before Christmas.  Whether he receives such recognition by national selectors and thereby ends Tasmania's now nearly four-year 'drought' at that level (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009), remains a  matter of considerable interest.

Missing from this year's Tasmanian SUP are Brian Muir, who has had to step aside due to illness, and Caroline McGregor. 

 

OXENFORD APPOINTED TO 

PAKISTAN-NZ ODI SERIES

[EN509-2622]

 

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was yesterday appointed as the neutral umpire for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) that Pakistan and New Zealand are to play in the United Arab Emirates between 3-9 November.  The Queenslander, who will be standing in his first international match overseas, will work with umpires nominated by the Pakistan Cricket Board plus Zimbabwean match referee Andy Pycroft.

The ICC also announced yesterday that Englishman Mark Benson will be the neutral umpire in the first four of the seven ODIs between India and Australia that are to start on Sunday, his ICC Elite Umpire Panel colleague Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka playing the same role in the last three matches.  Chris Broad of England will be the match referee for the entire series while Indian IUP members will work with Benson and de Silva on the field as an third umpires.

Benson's last Test match was in December last year and last ODI in mid-January.  Since then he has been involved in a total of twenty-two Twenty20 (T20) matches in South Africa and England.  Eleven were in the Indian Premier League's 2009 series in South Africa in April-May, and eight in the men's World T20 Championship and three in its women's counterpart in June.  After that he went 'domestic' in July and August, standing in seven county first class games and six forty-over matches, a total of thirty-four days of cricket in sixty-seven days.

As reported last week (E-News 507-2614, 16 October 2009), Pakistan's Aleem Dar is the neutral umpire for Bangladesh's five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe which starts on Tuesday, Rajan Madugalle being the match referee and IUP members from the host nation working with Dar on the field and in the television suite.

 

CURATORS FACE CHALLENGE PREPARING 

FOR REVISED TCA START DATE

[EN509-2623]

 

Curators working on the western side of the Derwent River are facing what appear to be unsurmountable challenges as they try to prepare grounds for the already delayed start of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) 2009-10 season on turf around Hobart in ten days time.  East of the river, groundsmen at Lindisfarne face a tight timetable in readying that ground for a Jamie Cox Plate (JCP) game on Sunday, while at Bellerive, where a Cricket Australia Futures League game is to start on Tuesday, things look a little better; however, weather in the next few days will be a key to both those matches starting.

Reports yesterday from ground managers at the Hobart City Council (HCC), Glenorchy City Council (GCC), Kingborough Municipality, and the University of Tasmania, indicate that because of prolonged wet weather their respective curators are still well behind in their preparations at nine grounds with turf pitches used by the TCA (E-News 507-2613, 16 October 2009).  Their comments suggest that the TCA's hoped for a start of turf-based Grade matches on Saturday week is doubtful, although the Association plans to re-evaluate that target date by the end of this week.

The HCC, which looks after Clare Street, New Town Oval, Queenborough, Soldiers Memorial Oval, and the TCA Ground, say they are "still hoping" those venues will be ready for games on Saturday fortnight, but significant work still needs to be undertaken, the GCC's assessment of KGV and Eady Street being similar, while Kingborough is more pessimistic about Kingston Beach where a start in mid-November is seen as a possibility.  

However, in providing those outlooks the respective spokesman emphasised to E-News that their estimates were "very much dependent" on how the weather shapes up over the next two to three weeks, for if the rain persists the TCA's season could be delayed even later into November.

Difficulties in preparing KGV for cricket illustrate some of that factors that are causing curators there and elsewhere significant headaches at the present time.  The square was seeded in late September but heavy persistent rain then proceeded to wash the seed away and the procedure had to be repeated in early October.  

The grass is now said to be growing well, but it is too "immature" and "not sufficiently strong to allow mowing" at this stage even if work on the square was possible.  A minimum of ten days is needed to prepare a pitch for a game and such work needed to start yesterday if games on Saturday-week are to be possible, but conditions meant that it did not; however, at Kingston Beach the situation is said to be such that an additional four to five days preparation work on top of that is needed. 

At Lindisfarne the Clarence City Council says that work will continue over the Show Day Public Holiday tomorrow and what is normally a Rostered Day Off for ground staff on Friday and on into Saturday in the lead up to Sunday's game.  The Council's main concern is said not to be the "wicket block", although little rolling had been possible there as of yesterday morning, but rather the wet outfield, which needs work itself, has made it difficult to get the roller on to the centre square area without causing damage.

The Bureau of Meteorology is currently forecasting showers for Hobart on both Saturday and Sunday, although while the cold front that is projected to cross the city on the first day could see rain fall on the eastern shore, the synoptic situation for Sunday suggests by that time that both Lindisfarne and Bellerive may be spared any further precipitation on that day.

In the north of the state, Paul Clark the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association's Administrator, says that all is in readiness for a start to their Grade season plus the JCP match scheduled for the Launceston region this weekend, the season having only been delayed for a single week by the west conditions (E-News 509-2621 above).  

Meanwhile, Cricket North West's Brad Cole says that they are still aiming to start their Second Grade and Sunday League competitions on the weekend, but those games will be played on synthetic pitches, with First Grade games on turf currently anticipated as getting underway on Saturday week.

Current weather forecasts for both those regions are suggesting that fine conditions will prevail on Saturday and Sunday with top temperatures in the high teens Centigrade.

 

MANUEL ICC'S BEST RUPM 

FOR 2009, SAYS SLC

[EN509-2624]

Peter Manuel, a former Sri Lankan international umpire who was appointed as one of five Regional Umpires Performance Managers (RUPM) by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June last year (E-News 262-1417, 26 June 2008), was judged as the best of the five for 2009, says a report posted on Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) web site last Thursday.

Manuel's award, which was not publicised by the ICC itself, apparently came as a result of votes cast by the world body's seven match referees and twelve members of its top-level Elite Umpires Panel, the SLC saying that he has "performed exceptionally well" over the last fifteen months. No details were given about the criteria used in the voting process and the actual role of RUPM's is yet to be made entirely clear.

Apart from Manuel, who covers Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the other current RUPMs are: John Holder ('Americas and Europe', which includes England and the West Indies); Arani Jayaprakash ('Asia', including Bangladesh and India); Ian Robinson ('Africa', which includes South Africa and Zimbabwe); and Bob Stratford ('Pacific', which includes Australia and New Zealand). 

MATCH OFFICIALS MISSING FROM 

NZ AWARDS NIGHT

[EN509-2625]

Both male and female players are to be recognised with a plethora of awards during New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) annual awards dinner in Auckland tomorrow night, however, as was the case last year someone appears to have again forgotten to include a category for match officials in the evening's schedule (EN346-1839, 10 November 2008). 

NZC says that trophies will be presented to those who are judged to be the best batsman, bowlers and all-rounders during the 2008-09 season, the outstanding junior cricket administrator and other deserving recipients, but ones that recognised the contribution match officials make to the game are not on the published list.

E-NEWS NUMBER 510

    FRIDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2009

KIWI UMPIRE'S RAPID 

RISE CONTINUES

[EN510-2626]

Former New Zealand first class player Chris Gaffaney, who made his umpiring debut at that level twenty months ago and now has seven such games to his credit, has been promoted to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The rapid elevation of the thirty-three year old by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) suggests he is seen as having the potential to compete for a spot on the ICC's top-flight Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) sometime in the next decade.

Gaffaney, who was only appointed to New Zealand's domestic EUP last month (E-News 491-2544, 15 September 2009),  will fill the vacancy created on the IUP six months ago when the ICC appointed Tony Hill to its EUP (E-News 395-2093, 24 March 2009).  Hill's departure left Gary Baxter as an on-field member of the IUP and Evan Watkin in the third umpire spot.  Gaffaney has now leap-frogged Watkin to join Baxter and the three will work together on the panel over the next twelve months.  

The newest member of the IUP played eighty-three first class and 113 List A matches for Otago over a twelve-year career, the last of the latter games being in February 2007.  By December of that year he was standing in lower-level representative matches, having been placed on an umpiring ‘fast-track’ program by NZC, and two months after that he had umpired three women's One Day Internationals (ODI).  

Last austral summer he was the reserve umpire in a NZ-India Test when he had to take over the third umpire duties as Watkin had to go on to the field after West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove fell ill (E-News 398-2120, 30 March 2009).  Last April he was selected to stand in the final of NZ's domestic first class competition in what was just his seventh match at that level (E-News 403-2139, 7 April 2009).  

Baxter, who is fifty-seven, debut in first class cricket in 1999 and now has fifty-nine such games plus eighty List A matches to his credit.  He has worked as the television umpire in seven Tests, stood in twenty-seven ODIs, five Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), and worked in the Indian Premier League's second season in South Africa this year.  Watkin has stood in three Tests, one of them when Doctrove became ill, and 105 first class matches overall since his first in December 1989.  His 143 List A games include twenty-two ODIs and he also has stood in three T20Is.  

Neither Baxter or Watkin played first class cricket and given their ages, fifty-seven and fifty-eight respectively, NZC will be looking to bring a new generation on to the IUP over the next few years.  Gaffaney appears to be the first move, while former NZ Test and ODI player Evan Gray, fifty-four, who is also on a 'fast track' program and joined NZ's domestic EUP last month, appears to be another contender (E-News 491-2544, 16 September 2009).  

Derek Walker, forty-nine, is the only other former first class player on the top domestic panel at this time, having played forty first class and thirty-one List A matches for Otago.

TEAM RELEGATED AFTER POINTS 

DEDUCTED FOR MISBEHAVIOUR

[EN510-2627]

Misbehaviour by a side in its last match of the season in the Craven League in Yorkshire in mid-September has seen it relegated to a lower Division after a disciplinary hearing deducted fifteen championship points from it, says the 'Keighley News'.  The Sandy Lane team, who were also fined £100 ($A160), were found guilty at a hearing last Monday of failing to control their players and having "prejudiced the good name and interests of the league", says the newspaper.

At the end of the Craven League's Division one season, Sandy Lane finished third from bottom above the Cononley and Thornton sides who under league rules were relegated, but the decision of the disciplinary committee changed that.  Thornton went down but it was Sandy Lane rather than Cononley that eventually joined them.

The loss of Championship points and the fine came about as a result of incidents that occurred during Sandy Lane's match against Thornton on 12 September, the latter's captain telling the tribunal that his team had been subjected "to a barrage of abuse from the moment they arrived at the ground".  What were described as "derogatory remarks" continued to be made by Sandy Lane players from the boundary as their opponents fielded in the first innings of the one-day game, but the situation "got worse" when Thornton occupied the crease.  

"Fearing that matters might get out of hand because of Lane’s sledging", Thornton's captain asked the umpire, David Shepherd, to intervene and he apparently did so, but the abuse is said to have continued.  As a result the captain decided to "refuse to continue the match rather than risk losing his temper and doing something he would later regret" and he and his batting colleague left the field of play.  When questioned during the tribunal hearing Shepherd indicated "that the banter was unsavoury and unacceptable but was nothing worse than the usual standard in the league".

Following their investigation, a vote of disciplinary committee members was taken, three wanting Sandy Lane expelled from the league altogether and five opting for the lesser punishment of a fifteen-point deduction.  The latter sanction means Sandy Lane slipped below Cononley in final standings for the season and were thus relegated.  

While Thornton were represented at the hearing by its secretary and four players, only John Hird, Thornton's secretary, attended, even though other club officials, the captain, vice-captain and players had been invited by the League.  Hird said that his club do not plan to appeal against the decision for they will "accept their punishment and are just grateful that we are playing again next season".

UMPS UNSURE, SO REACH FOR 

'PLAYING CONDITIONS' BOOK

[EN510-2628]

Umpires in a Geelong Cricket Association's Twenty20 match had to reach for a copy of the playing conditions after a game ended in a tie in mid-week, says a story in today's 'Geelong Advertiser'.  Players thought that the side that lost the most wickets in the game would be the winners and the umpires seem to have been unsure, according to the report.

The Manifold Heights side drew level with the Geelong City team's score with three balls and one wicket remaining.  The batsman at the crease then blocked two balls before being caught off the final delivery.  Manifold captain Craig Booley was quoted by the 'Advertiser' as saying that he thought his opponents "had won because they were eight down and we were all out but the umpire grabbed the book, had a read and told us we had to have a bowl off".

Each side then chose five bowlers to bowl two balls each at the stumps to break the deadlock, the City side winning 3-2 when one of their bowlers hit the stumps on the last ball of the day.

E-NEWS NUMBER 511

    SATURDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2009

SOUTHERN TASMANIAN SEASON 

SPLUTTERS INTO LIFE

[EN511-2630]

Cricket in the south of Tasmania looks like spluttering into life for the season tomorrow with a handful of games scheduled on both turf and artificial pitches that will be supported by fourteen TCUSA members.  Groundsmen worked hard this week to prepare the playing areas concerned after weeks of persistent rain in the Hobart region (E-News 509-2623, 21 October 2009), no more so than at Lindisfarne where the only game on turf is to be played.  

The current weather forecast for Sunday suggests that play will be possible when the Jamie Cox Plate match between representative sides from the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) and the state Under 19 squad at Anzac Park gets underway in the morning, although it will be cold, while TCA Under 15 club games are to be played on synthetic pitches at four grounds in the afternoon.  The junior games are the only TCA fixtures that will be played, twenty-five in its First, Second, Third, Under 17 Grade and South Tasmania Cricket Association competitions having been either cancelled or deferred several weeks ago (E-News 503-2601, 8 October 2009).

State Umpire Panel members Sam Nogajski and Nick McGann will be on the field at Lindisfarne while Graeme Hamley and Janet Gainsford will be the scorers.  At Under 15 level new member Peter Lynch will stand in his first match with senior umpire Steve Maxwell at Shoobridge Park, Mark Gillard and Wade Stewart at Cornelian Bay, Cameron Lee and David Gainsford at Kangaroo Bay, while Don Heapy and Steve Jewell, who is returning to TCUSA ranks for the first time in six years, will be at Lower Queenborough.

Tomorrow's Lindisfarne game will not, however, be the first on turf in the south of the state this season.  Two fifty-over one-day matches were played at Bell Street on Thursday and Friday involving players from The Friends' School and a touring side from India.  The pitch was firm and green but played well and the outfield was in excellent condition, however, organisers had a nervous few days earlier this week as the ground's availability was only confirmed on the eve of the game.  TCUSA members Wade Stewart and Mark Gillard stood in the first game and Ross Carlson and Martin Betts in the second.

TCUSA umpires and scorers taking part in games tomorrow can keep a close eye on the weather forecast for the day by going to the 'yellow box' at the top right of the Association's web site at any time.

ECB VOTED AGAINST PLANNED 

UDRS FORMAT, SAY REPORTS

[EN511-2630]

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reported to have expressed "serious misgivings" about the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) during International Cricket Council (ICC) discussions on the subject earlier this year, say newspaper reports from the UK.  The ICC decided in June that the system should be used in all Tests played after the first of this month (E-News 442-2300, 28 June 2009).

England were reportedly the only country to vote against the introduction, their view being that it should be up to the umpires to refer decisions in case of uncertainty, not the players.  ECB Chairman Giles Clark said in February that the UDRS "undermines the authority of on-field officials" and that he favoured the approach used in last year's multi-million dollar Stanford series in which the third umpire was able to intervene on his own initiative with players uninvolved (E-News 370-1971, 12 February 2009).  

ICC cricket manager Dave Richardson told media representatives that "England still don’t like the [UDRS] idea [for] in their

domestic game they use umpires who are former county cricketers and maybe they don’t like putting them in embarrassing situations". "We’re saying to England, when an umpire makes a mistake and it’s not rectified he might be burned as an effigy in the streets [and] it can be a major controversy, [something] that’s far worse than just embarrassing someone".

Despite being outvoted, an ECB spokesman told the media that "now [the UDRS] is in the ICC playing conditions, we’ll abide by the decision and get on with it".

MEDIATION NOW FIRST STEP AFTER 

RACISM CONFLICTS, SAYS ICC CODE

[EN511-2631]

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has included a mediation process in its new anti-racism code to try and help cricketers settle such conflicts amicably between themselves. The process planned, which will be the first step towards any resolution provided it is agreed upon within forty-eight hours of an incident being reported, could lead to voluntary suspensions and a public apology.

The conciliation procedure is being introduced in order to prevent "confusion, misunderstanding, ignorance or language and translation barriers" that could lead to such disputes.  What news agency reports are calling the "enhanced [racism] code" has been supported by the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, the players' union, which termed it a "superior process" and one that "promotes a better understanding of the whole issue of racism".

The need to revise the ICC's racism code came about after significant controversy erupted in a Test match between Australia and India in January last year (E-News 187-1009, 31 January 2009).  Media reports suggest that it was Cricket Australia that subsequently pushed for the inclusion of mediation as an intermediate step in such cases before the disciplinary process proper begins.  However, the ICC says that it would be misleading to imply that the improved code is a direct response to one specific incident; rather, it's the result of a full and comprehensive review.

ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald was quoted by the Cricinfo web site as saying that "it was felt that alleged issues of racism across the wide range of cultures that make up cricket's group of stakeholders could arise out of confusion, misunderstanding, ignorance or language and translation barriers".  "In those cases, provided both parties agreed, it was felt that the best way to resolve them was through a non-adversarial process such as a conciliation with an expert in the field. [but] if that fails to resolve the matter satisfactorily for all parties, then we go back to the disciplinary process", he said.

The revised code states that: "The ICC shall appoint one independent conciliator who will oversee the conciliation sitting alone".  "For the avoidance of doubt, the appointed conciliator may be from a country participating in the international match during, or in relation to which, the alleged offence was committed, provided that the conciliator remains independent of the relevant parties and the ICC at all times".

Apart from the conciliator the process will also include a representative of the ICC's legal department and either the captain, vice captain or manager of both sides to provide support and assistance.  If the process fails, disciplinary procedures will begin and that could lead to various sanctions ranging from suspension from a single game right up to a lifetime ban. 

PLAYER GOES ON TV TO 

APOLOGISE FOR 'DISSENT'

[EN511-2632]

A player in the Caribbean last week asked a television station on his home island to video and broadcast his apology after he reacted poorly after being given out in a match against St Kitts in a one-day tournament being played on the island of Saint Maarten.  On receiving the umpire's decision Nevis player Trevier Smithen smashed his bat into the pitch and then walked off the ground without it.

Smithen said during his requested interview with Nevis Television that the incident occurred during "a tense" period in the game when victory was in sight for his side, but that he "did not snick the ball bowled to him" and he "also knew that his back foot was firmly grounded".  As a result he was "very shocked" when he looked up and realised that the umpire had raised his finger in response to the loud appeal by the fielders.  

Despite that Smithen says that that was "no reason to have lost my cool and I want to really apologise to the Nevisian public, my team mates, the people who have helped and supported me and to everyone for my bad behaviour", before adding that "it won’t happen again”.

Reports available do not indicate if Smithen is facing any disciplinary action as a result of the incident.

ECB-PCB RESOLVE FORFEITED 

TEST FINANCIAL DISPUTE

[EN511-2633]

The cricket boards of Pakistan and England have resolved the financial dispute that arose after the forfeited Test match at The Oval during Pakistan's tour of England in August 2006. Umpires Darrell Hair of Australia and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies ruled the visitors had forfeited the match because they refused to continue play after tea on the fourth day in protest at being penalised five runs for ball tampering.

Following the match the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) made a claim for the loss of revenue due to the early finish to the match.  The Reuters newsagency reported this week that ECB and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently signed an agreement under which Pakistan will forfeit revenue from a Twenty20 International (T20I) on their tour of England next year "as a full and final settlement of the dispute".

Pakistan is scheduled to play four Tests, five One Day Internationals and two T20I matches against England in the period from July to September 2010, activities that the ECB has agreed to pay them a "participation fee" of close to $A4M.  Under the agreement, the PCB also received around $120,000 "to settle all outstanding amounts from the 2006 tour".

In addition to playing England, Pakistan will also be playing a 'home' series against Australia in England next year for which the ECB has guaranteed a minimum payment of $A2M against ticket sales, corporate hospitality and ground advertising rights for the two Tests and two T20I matches that have been scheduled.

The International Cricket Council changed the result of the August 2006 Oval Test from a forfeit to a draw, but under pressure from the Marylebone Cricket Club the world body reversed that decision last January and the game is now listed on score sheets as an England win as "opposition refused to play" (E-News 365-1945, 3 February 2009).

E-NEWS NUMBER 512

    MONDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2009

WINDIES MOVE TO REDUCE SIZE 

OF ITS FIRST CLASS PANEL

[EN512-2634]

The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) appears to have moved to reduce its first class umpiring panel from last year's forty to just over thirty this season in the lead up to forming a twelve-person 'domestic' Elite Umpires Panel in 2011 (E-News 503-2603, 8 October 2009).  A Radio Jamaica (RJ) report last week stated that the WICB's six regions have been requested to select six umpires each, five of whom must below the age of sixty, with one being younger than thirty-five.

RJ mentions six umpires it says the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association has nominated for the panel for the coming season's regional four-day championship series.  Those mentioned were: Patrick Gustard; Vivian Johnson; Norman Malcolm; Melville Noble; Lebert Thompson; and Verdane Smith.  Maurice Chung and Cecil Fletcher were taken off last season's list because they will both be over sixty once the competition gets underway, while Gustard and Smith are the new members.

Of the six, Malcolm, fifty-four, is by far the most experienced, being a member of the InternationaL Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpire Panel.  He has stood in fifty-four first class matches since his first nearly sixteen years ago, plus sixty-nine List A matches, seven of them One Day Internationals.  

The other five have had only limited opportunities at first class level to date.  Johnston has stood in nine first class and four List A matches since his debut in 1996, Noble six and five respectively since September 2000, and Thompson two and one since February 2007.  No record is available on data bases of either Gustard or Smith as umpires, although the latter is a former youth international.

Over in Trinidad and Tobago (TT), that country's 'Guardian' newspaper is reporting that Khemraj Barrasingha, Stuart Gopaul, Peter Nero, Rawl Richards, Tony Sanowar and Joel Wilson has been selected by their Board for Windies ''domestic' cricket next season.  Sanowar and Gopaul have joined the panel this year, the latter being TT's Under-35 choice..  Bashi Ali was dropped from last season's squad while Terrence Birbal has reportedly retired from high-level cricket, says 'The Guardian'.

Barrasingha is the most experienced of the six having stood in ten first class matches since March 2002, but there is no record of him working in a List A game as yet.  Next comes Nero who has chalked up six first class games since February last year, two of them in England while on an exchange (E-News 449-2342, 6 July 2009), plus one List A game.   Richards has worked in two first class and a single List A match in the period since January 2007, while Wilson has just one first class game to his credit, it being played in January this year.  Neither Gopaul or Sanowar have as yet stood at first class of List A level.   

Jamaica's Johnson and Malcolm and TT's Barrasingha and Nero are to stand in the WICB's one-day tournament which starts this Wednesday in Guyana  (E-News 503-2603, 8 October 2009).

Nominations for the first class panel from Barbados, Guyana and the Leeward and Windward Islands do not appear to have been announced as yet.

APPOINTMENTS FOR SECOND PHASE OF 

INTERSTATE SEASON ANNOUNCED

[EN512-2635]

Australian National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Bruce Oxenford is the only member of that panel not appointed to the five Sheffield Shield and six one-day interstate matches that are to be played in four states during the first three weeks of November.  During that period Oxenford will be busy in the United Arab Emirates as the 'neutral' umpire in the three-match One Day International series between Pakistan and New Zealand (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009).

Of the Sheffield Shield games, Bob Parry of Victoria is to stand in two, both of which will be in Sydney, while Western Australians Jeff Brookes, Ian Lock and Mick Martell, Victorians Paul Reiffel, Geoff Joshua and John and Tony Ward, and South Australian Simon Fry, will all work in one each.  Brookes and Fry's matches will be in Sydney, Reiffel and Tony Ward's in Brisbane, Joshua and Lock in Melbourne, and Martell and John Ward in Adelaide.

The two NUP members who did not receive a first class game in the latest round of appointments, New South Welshmen Gerard Abood and Rod Tucker, were named to two one-day matches; Tucker's both being on the field while one of Abood's is as a third umpire.  Of the others Reiffel and Joshua have two games, and Brookes, Lock, Martell, Parry and John Ward one each.  

Tony Ward's single one-dayer is as a third umpire, a role that non-NUP members Ash Barrow (Victoria), Peter Tate (NSW) and Andrew Willoughby (South Australia), will also play in one game each in their respective home cities.  Barrow, whose performance in this year's Emerging Players Tournament appears to have seen him rated third behind Joshua and former first class player Paul Wilson of Western Australia (E-News 466-2419, 1 August 2009), will be working as a third umpire at senior interstate level for the first time.

Cricket Australia's (CA) latest appointments mean that Parry will have had eleven days work in senior interstate matches played over the first six weeks of the season, Joshua and Martell ten, Fry, Reiffel and Lock nine, Abood and John Ward seven, Brookes, Tucker and Tony Ward six each, and Oxenford two.

All twelve NUP members were named for the three Sheffield Shield and five one-day interstate matches scheduled for the first three weeks of the season this month (E-News 486-2521, 8 September 2009).

ALL-INDIAN UMPIRE PANEL 

AFTER BENSON FALLS ILL

[EN512-2636]

Yesterday's opening One Day International (ODI) between India and Australia in Vadodara was an all-Indian umpiring affair after English umpire Mark Benson, the 'neutral' umpire for the series, could not take the field (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009).  Benson is reported to have "reported ill" on Saturday night and Amish Saheba, who was to have been the third umpire in the game, joined Shavir Tarapore on the field, while Sudhir Asnani moved into the television spot.

The match is Saheba's thirty-fifth ODI but for Tarapore it was only his fourth on the field and first since March 2002.  Asnani has had an even longer break away from ODIs, the last of his two games in the television booth being ten years ago in November 1999, while his two on the field were in May 1998 and March 1999 respectively.  Chris Broad from England was the match referee for the game. 

Prior to the match former Indian international umpire Arani Jayaprakash, who is now one of the International Cricket Council's Regional Umpires Performance Managers, was barred by security personnel from entering the hotel where both sides and match officials are staying.  

Jayaprakash’s accreditation card was not considered authentic and he was forced to wait at the entrance for four-five minutes until an official from the Baroda Cricket Association intervened.  Once through the entrance though he was reportedly "frisked twice" within five metres by a policemen and then a private security guard.  Media reports say that security arrangements for the teams and officials has been upgraded "to quite another level" for the tour.

IS INDIA SUFFERING TV

CRICKET 'FATIGUE'?

[EN512-2637]

There are fears that Indian fans may be losing interest in what is their national game on television, according to journalist Rhys Blakely of 'The Times' of London.  Blakely said in an article published on Friday that "a mere 0.8 per cent" of the nation’s television audience tuned in to watch the recent Champions League Twenty20 series, a tournament that "television bean-counters" had expected to see at least three per cent watching.

The 'Times' article says that according to one Indian news magazine, which it does not name, "the conclusion seems inescapable for Indians are bored with [watching] cricket".  Blakely says the list of possible culprits includes match-fixing scandals, the threat of terrorism at big stadiums, the growing popularity of football, rampant commercialism, and even the routines of imported, American-style cheerleaders.  However, many suggest, he says, that the problem is, quite simply, "cricket fatigue".

In the past year the Indian national side has played nine five-day Tests, twenty-seven One Day Internationals and eight Twenty20 Internationals, plus there has been the Indian Premier League (IPL), which was played in South Africa, and this month's Champions League.  At club level there is also a growing number of matches and competitions. 

 

Blakely says that the same complaint is heard everywhere, from taxi drivers to professionals and those in the sport’s highest positions, that there is just too much cricket to watch and they have simply stopped trying to keep up,  The sentiment is recognised by some at the top with Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which runs the IPL, telling the 'Times' that "money has been dangled in front of the best players and cricket has fallen prey to an overstuffed schedule".

However, it may not be quite time to write the sport’s obituary, says Blakely. Indian teams have "played terribly in recent months", but "there’s definitely fatigue, a feeling the Indian side has been playing non-stop", said Bobilli Vijay Kumar, sports editor of 'The Times of India'. “Let’s see what happens if [India] starts winning", he says.

ECB 'TWEAKS' YOUTH FAST 

BOWLING LIMITS

[EN512-2638]

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has 'tweaked' the number of overs young fast bowlers are allowed to bowl in a spell and during a day's play, the new guidelines basically allowing under-15 players more, and their older counterparts who are under-19, less.  The changes have been introduced following "a two-year consultation process" that involved input from clubs, county boards and other groups.

Kevin Shine, the ECB's lead fast bowling coach, said in a statement that "The Elite Fast Bowling Group has been researching injury prevention, performance enhancement and workloads for the past four years". "It is clear that our young bowlers need to bowl more so that they can develop match winning abilities and habits, and I look forward to the revised directives giving individual fast bowlers and teams more of a chance to play match winning cricket".

Under the new guidelines bowlers at under-17 level, whose spell and daily limits were until this year 6/18, will now be allowed an extra over per spell but the overall limit will be the same (7/18), the Australian figure for that age group being 6/16.  In the under-19s where the figures were previously 7/21, the maximum for the day has been reduced to eighteen but the spell limit remains the same (7/18), Australian figures being 8/20.  In the younger age groups the under-15 limits which were 5/10 the same as Australia, will become 6/12, while for the under-13s what was 4/8 like Australia will now be 5/10.

The ECB says that for the purpose of the guidelines a fast bowler should be defined "as a bowler to whom a wicketkeeper in the same age group would in normal circumstances stand back to take the ball".  The revised guidelines will come into effect for the start of the 2010 northern summer season next April. 

TWO-BALL POLICY COULD IMPACT ON ONE-DAY 

'ENTERTAINMENT VALUE', SAYS WA COACH 

[EN512-2639]

West Australian coach Tom Moody has warned that fans may be robbed of the "entertainment value" of interstate one-day cricket this season due to the reintroduction of an extra ball.  The competition has gone back to the approach that applied in the late 1980s by using a new white ball at both ends to ensure it keeps its colour and hardness for the entire batting innings (E-News 449-2340, 6 July 2009).

Moody told the Australian Associated Press on Friday that he was concerned the extra advantage given to pacemen would "limit the batting fireworks which excite crowds".  He pointed to the Queensland attack's dismantling of South Australia's top-order in Wednesday's one-sided encounter as an example of the ball dominating bat in helpful conditions.  "For some venues it's going to be hard work for the top-order, and for others it will probably be beneficial to have harder balls for the whole game," said Moody.

However, in his view "one-day cricket is based around scoring runs and it will be interesting to see if teams have the firepower come the thirtieth over to post the sort of scores we want to see".  "It's a pretty good time to be a bowler now, whereas it hasn't been so much in previous years", he said.

E-NEWS NUMBER 513

    TUESDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2009

WEDNESDAY'S TCUSA MEETING CANCELLED, 

DIRECT CONTACT PLANNED RE APPOINTMENTS 

[EN513-2640]

Given the problems currently being experienced with the start of the Tasmanian Cricket Association's (TCA) turf-based competitions (E-News 513-2641 below), this Wednesday's TCUSA Training-Appointments meeting at Bellerive has been cancelled.    Members need to note, however, that a number of TCA and other games, including practice matches, are to be played next Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and that scoring and umpiring members will be contacted directly regarding any appointments they may have over that period.

The TCA's Women's Twenty20 series is to commence at Shoobridge Park and the Mount Nelson Oval on Friday starting at 5.15 p.m.; there will be two Jamies Cox Plate intrastate games in Launceston on the weekend, which members of the State Umpires Panel are expected to officiate in; on Sunday four TCA Under 15 one-day matches are to be played on artificial pitches; and Brighton's Twenty20 series is to start next Monday evening at Pontville.  

START OF TCA, STCL TURF 

COMPETITIONS AGAIN DELAYED

[EN513-2641]

The start of this season's Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) and South Tasmania Cricket League (STCL) turf-based competitions for 2009-10 has been deferred again, the target for the first games now being the weekend of 7-8 November, three weeks later than the originally planned start.  Curators responsible for grounds on the western side of the Derwent River indicated a week ago that the hoped for start this coming weekend looked unlikely, and their assessment has now become a reality (E-News 509-2623, 21 October 2009). 

Under changes decided by the TCA yesterday afternoon, its First Grade matches listed for this Saturday have been moved to Hobart Regatta Day on 8 February, while scheduled games in the Second, Third and Under 17 Grades have been declared 'wash outs', the second lot in two weeks, and will not now be played.  STCL games will also not be played this coming weekend.

Curators responsible for grounds with turf pitches stretching from Glenorchy in the north, down through New Town, on the Domain, to Sandy Bay and south to Kingston, told E-News yesterday that as of yet they had still been unable to start cutting their first pitches of the season.  Several hoped conditions will be such, especially given yesterday and today's sunny conditions, that they will be able to start the ten-day preparation period needed to ready a pitch for the first games.  

Provided that occurs and all then goes well weather-wise over the ten days up until Saturday week, the turf-based season will be able to get underway then, although there are several locations such as Eady Street and the Kingston Beach Oval that may still not be ready until the middle of November, caution the groundsmen concerned.

On a more positive note, the Jamie Cox Plate intrastate game at Lindisfarne on the eastern shore last Sunday achieved a result, showers generated by Mount Wellington on the western shore of the river somewhat magically parting as they approached the ground.  

In addition, the first Cricket Australia Futures League match to be played in Hobart, between Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, is expected to get underway at Bellerive this morning, the weather forecast for the next three days being for generally fine, but sometimes cool, conditions.  Tasmanian State Umpire Panel members Sam Nogajski and Nick McGann will be on the field for the game, while Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey will be in the score box.  

CA ANNOUNCES PRE-CHRISTMAS 

UMPIRING APPOINTMENTS

[EN513-2642]

Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named seventeen umpires for the nine Sheffield Shield, nine one-day domestic, and two tour matches that are to be played around the country from 18 November to 23 December.  Eleven of the umpires are from the twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP), two are Australian members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel, while four are on CA's high performance umpiring pathway whose target is to eventually win promotion to the NUP. 

The latest appointments bring to twenty the number of umpire that CA has nominated for senior interstate and tour matches  that are scheduled over the first two-and-a-half months of the 2009-10 season.  Of the NUP members, Mick Martell from Western Australia and Paul Reiffel of Victoria will have worked in games over a total of twenty days, Martell in four Sheffield Shield, three one-day, and one one-day third umpire role (4-3-1) and Reiffel (4-4-0 plus a tour match).  

Victorian Bob Parry's tally will be sixteen days (3-4-0), Ian Lock of WA fifteen (3-3-0), Geoff Joshua of Victoria fifteen (2-3-1 plus a tour match), South Australian Simon Fry fourteen (3-0-2), Gerard Abood of NSW, Victorian John Ward  and Queenslander Bruce Oxenford all twelve (2-3-1), Jeff Brookes WA eleven (2-3-0), Victorian Tony Ward also eleven (2-2-1). and Rod Tucker NSW six (1-2-0); the latter figure being low because he may be out of the country on international duty (E-News 513-2643 below).  Brookes, Joshua, Lock, Martell, John and Tony Ward are to all fly into Tasmania over the four-week period late this year for matches (E-News 513-2645 below).

ICC members Steve Davis and Daryl Harper's appointments are 1-2-1 and 1-0-0 respectively, both returning to domestic first class games for the first time in a while (E-News 513-2646 below).  Of the others Steven John of Tasmania figures are 0-2-1 plus a tour match (E-News 513-2645 below); Norm McNamara of Queensland 1-1-1, the first class match being a tour game; Ash Barrow of Victoria who is stand in his initial one-day domestic match 0-1-2 (E-News 513-2646 below); Paul Wilson, who will be making his first class debut as an umpire (E-News 513-2644 below), 1-1-2; and Peter Tate of NSW and Andrew Willoughby of South Australia who each will have 0-0-1.

TUCKER 'GOES MISSING', TEST 

DEBUT IN DECEMBER?

[EN513-2643]

National Umpire Panel member Rod Tucker is missing from Cricket Australia's list of domestic appointments for the seven weeks from mid-November until Christmas, a situation that suggests his debut at Test level could come as early as December, rather than in the new year as previously appeared to be the case (E-News 500-2585, 2 October 2009).  

Tucker is a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel and is one of four men identified by the world body as having the potential to eventually join its top-level Elite Umpires Panel (E-News 395-2094, 24 March 2009).

Reports that Tucker had been appointed to Test started to circulate late last month, and there was speculation that he may have been assigned to the single game between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Hamilton in mid-February next year.  The ICC has tended to 'blood' its new Test umpires in matches involving lower-ranked sides, Bangladesh often being featured in recent years.

While that may still be on the cards, Tucker's absence in December coincides with NZ's three Tests against Pakistan between 24 November and 15 December, and South Africa's five-match One Day International series against England between 20 November and 4 December.  

The ICC is not expected to make an announcement on umpiring appointments to either of those series for several weeks, while officials who will take part in the three ODIs and single Test between NZ and Bangladesh over the first half of February would not normally be made public until late January.

WILSON NAMED FOR FIRST CLASS 

UMPIRING DEBUT

[EN513-2644]

Former Australian player Paul Wilson. who is now on Cricket Australia's (CA) Project Panel for fast-tracking retired first class players into umpiring ranks, was yesterday named to make his first class debut in the Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and New South Wales in Perth late next month.  Appointments at this year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) suggest that Wilson was rated second by selectors behind Victorian umpire Geoff Joshua who was later promoted to the National Umpires Panel (E-News 474-2441, 10 August 2009).

Wilson played fifty-one first class matches, including one Test, from 1997-2004, a period in which he also took part in eighty-four List A games, eleven of them One Day Internationals (ODI).  The last of his representative games as a player was in February 2004, and his first in such matches as an umpire came in November 2006 when a Western Australian XI played the touring National Academy side from England in Perth.

In August the following year Wilson was sent to Darwin to stand in the now-defunct Cricket Institute Challenge series, and in 2008 and again this year was selected for the EPT, a key event in CA's umpiring pathway.  Over the last two years Wilson has worked in three domestic one-day matches, one of them in the television suite, as well as a domestic Twenty20 game, single Women's National Cricket League one-day and Twenty20 games, three Cricket Australia Cup fixtures and both a Youth Test and Youth ODI.

Wilson, who will be standing with National Umpire Panel member Bruce Oxenford in the Shield match, will have worked as the third umpire in two more domestic one-day games this season prior to his first class debut, while he has also been appointed as an on-field umpire for another one-dayer after that (E-News 513-2642 above).

NUP  MEMBERS PLAY 'TAG-TEAM' FOR 

TASMANIAN APPOINTMENTS

[EN513-2645]

Cricket Australia (CA) will fly half the members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP) to Tasmania over a four-week period from late November to stand in the two Sheffield Shield, three one-day domestic, and single tour match that are to be played in the state in the lead up to Christmas.  TCUSA member Steven John will work in all three one-dayers, one as the television umpire, plus the three-day tour match between Tasmania and the visiting Pakistan side for what will be their last hit-out prior to the Boxing Day Test.

Three of the NUP visitors will travel from Perth and the other three from Victoria.  Mick Martell (WA) will together with John Ward (Victoria) look after the Sheffield Shield match between Tasmania and South Australia which will commence at Bellerive on 24 November, Ward staying on afterwards to stand with John at the same ground in the one-day match featuring those two sides on 29 November.  No third umpire has been named for the latter game.

Less than a week later, on 5 December, John will be up in Launceston where he will be joined by another Perth-based NUP member, Ian Lock, for a one-dayer between the home side and New South Wales; no third umpire again being needed.  Lock will then travel down to Hobart and together with another fly-in, West Australian Jeff Brookes, will officiate in the Shield match at Bellerive between Tasmania and their home state commencing on 8 December.

CA's NUP 'tag-team' approach then continues, Lock departing and Brookes, in an interesting move that suggests the national body's travel budget is not under too much pressure, will be joined by Tony Ward of Victoria for another one-dayer on 13 December, Tasmania and Western Australia being the opponents.  John will work as the third umpire in that match. 

The final CA-sponsored match before Christmas will be the three-day game between Tasmania and Pakistan commencing on 19 December.  John will be joined on the field at Bellerive for that game by Victorian Geoff Joshua.

The appointments will take John's one-day domestic tally of matches to twelve, eight of them being on the field and the other four in the television suite.  The tour match will his first such match on the field at senior level, although he has worked as the fourth official in a Test and two One Day Internationals.  He has also stood four domestic interstate Twenty20 games, three Emerging Player Tournaments, two men's and one women's Under 19 series, three Cricket Australia Cup matches, and over the last two years in numerous winter-period senior squad matches in Queensland.

Three other Sheffield Shield matches will be played at Bellerive after Christmas, in late January, early February and early March.  If a Tasmanian is not appointed to one of those matches the states' "drought" of first class appointments will have stretched into a fifth year.  Former TCUSA member Ken McGinniss was the last Tasmanian to have officiated in a first class game, that four-day match ending on 4 February 2006 (E-News 367-1951, 5 February 2009).  

EUP MEMBERS TO RETURN TO 

SHIELD CRICKET

[EN513-2646]

Australian umpires Daryl Harper and Steve Davis, who are both members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and reside in South Australia, were each named yesterday to stand in a Sheffield Shield match in November-December.  For Harper it will be his first game back after an absence of five years, while Davis last stood in a domestic first class match just over two years ago.

Harper, whose first class match tally currently stands at 155, last stood in a Sheffield Shield match in December 2004. He chalked up forty-two Shield games before being selected for the first of his now eighty-five Tests, and when he goes out on to the Adelaide Oval on 18 December, it will be his fifty-fifth Shield match overall; two of them being the finals of 1998 and 1999.  Victorian National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Paul Reiffel will be working with him for the match between his home state and Western Australia, 

Davis' match is at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and is between Victoria and Queensland starting on 27 November, his on-field colleague being Victorian NUP member Tony Ward.  The South Australian currently has 101 first class matches to his credit, seventy-one of them in domestic games, five of the latter being in all but one of the finals from 2000-05.  Appointed to the EUP eighteen months ago (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008), he has now stood in nineteen Tests.  Prior to his first he had worked in thirty Sheffield Shield games.

Davis has already stood in a one-day domestic match this season (E-News 486-2521, 8 September 2009), and was yesterday also appointed to another match straight after the Shield match at the MCG between the same two sides. His partner for that game will be Victorian Ash Barrow, who recently stood in Youth Internationals in Darwin (E-News 481-2495,  28 August 2009), and for whom the MCG game will be his debut in a senior interstate one-day match

LOCAL UMPIRES SELECTED FOR 

HONG KONG SIXES

[EN513-2647]

Four home-base umpires have been selected to stand in next weekend's Hong Kong Sixes (HK6) tournament at the Kowloon Cricket Ground.  First played in 1992, the competition is the longest-running international tournament of its kind and will be celebrating its fifteenth edition, but this year funding has not allowed a high-profile international umpire to be flown in for the event (E-News 338-1787, 28 October 2009).

Umpires appointed for on-field duties are: Kevin Bishop, Anoop Gidwani, Clive Howard and Mike Walsh; the third umpire being Ian Thomson and the reserve Gidwani's twin brother Sudhir.  Tournament referee will be Glyn Davies a former Hong Kong representative player. 

Walsh is no stranger to HK6 tournaments having to date chalked up eight-four games in nine of the series played since 1997.  Bishop, who worked in the World Cricket League Division 6 tournament in Singapore in August-September (E-News     486-2523, 8 September 2009), stood in eight HK6 matches last year, Anoop Gidwani in one in 2005 and twelve last year, while Howard, a former Chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Association, will be making his debut in the competition this year.  Thomson stood in four matches last year and Sudhir one game in 2006. 

Teams taking part in the tournament will represent Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and hosts Hong Kong.  Profits from the weekend, which will be played at the skyscraper-surrounded Kowloon Cricket Club, will be ploughed directly back into cricket development in Hong Kong. 

E-NEWS NUMBER 514

    THURSDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2009

CRICKET MOURNS DAVID 

SHEPHERD, 'A GREAT UMPIRE'

[EN514-2648]

Former English international umpire David Shepherd, one of the most respected and liked umpires in the game, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer.  During a twenty-five year umpiring career, the sixty-eight year old stood in 412 first class matches, ninety-two of them Tests, plus 505 List A games, 172 of which were One Day Internationals (ODI), as well as women and youth internationals.

Shepherd started playing cricket in the 1950s for the North Devon club of which he remained a member right up to his death.  After representing England at youth level, he joined Gloucestershire in 1965 at the relatively advanced age of twenty-five, going on to play 282 first class, and 183 List A, games, over the next fourteen years.  During that time he scored over 10,000 first class runs and made twelve Centuries and fifty-five fifties, and has been described as a "determined" batsman" whose personal approach to life "contributed greatly to the character of the Gloucestershire side at that time.

Following his retirement he took up umpiring and made his debut at first class level in 1981, from there moving quickly to the highest levels of the profession.  Within two years he was standing in his first ODI, that being during the 1983 World Cup, then after over seventy matches in the first class game, Shepherd stood in his first Test in 1985. He went on to stand in a total of six World Cups, and was appointed to the final of both the 1996, 1999 and 2003 events; something he also did in the Champions Trophy series in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2002.

At the end of his final Test, between Pakistan and West Indies in Jamaica in 2005, he was embraced by the players and presented with a bat by Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, on which he had written: "Thank you for the service, the memories and the professionalism".

David Morgan, President of the International Cricket Council, said in a statement issued last night that "the example [Shepherd] set as someone who took the art of umpiring very seriously while also enjoying what he did immensely will leave a lasting legacy for the game".  "We have lost someone whose positive influence on our great sport has been immense", he said.

Australian international umpire Simon Taufel says in a piece written for the Cricinfo web site that "Shep's umpiring style convinced me that in order to be a good umpire, you needed to be a good person first".  "Even as his junior in terms of age and experience, Shep always treated me with respect [early in my career] and was prepared to give me the benefit of his experience", said Taufel, for "he owed me nothing yet he gave freely" of his knowledge.

 

Players had "enormous respect" for Shepherd, says Taufel, something that was "earned over many years of top-class umpiring and match management".  "I could never fault Shep's fairness, integrity or desire to umpire well, [for] he took enormous pride in his work and in his performance, and if he ever made an error, he took it personally, which showed me that he truly cared about what he was doing".  

"Shep's umpiring record speaks for itself" and he was "a great umpire", says Taufel, but an "even greater man". 

AUSTRALIA'S NEWEST FIRST CLASS 

UMPIRE PREPARES FOR DEBUT

[EN514-2649]

Geoff Joshua, the newest of four Victorians on the National Umpires Panel (NUP), will make his first class debut tomorrow in the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and Victoria at the Adelaide Oval.  Australia's next first class umpire, who is aged thirty-nine, has been managing matches at District, lower representative and international level around the country over the last fourteen years, a career that follows thirteen seasons as a player in the Melbourne area.

An opening batsman and part time keeper, whose full-time job is as a Senior Sergaent in Victoria Police, he started playing at the age of twelve, and over the following thirteen seasons was involved with the Richmond Union side in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association, but also had a stint at the Victorian Cricket Association's Grade level cricket in Melbourne, mainly in the thirds.  

In 1995, aged twenty-five, he decided he "wasn't good enough" to play at the level he wanted to, and thought he "would have a crack at something [he] may be better at".  In the intervening fourteen years he has stood in 233 District matches in Melbourne, 129 of them at First XI level.  During that time, he says he has "been very fortunate" to stand in more than sixty matches with thirteen current or former first class umpires, experience that "has been invaluable to [his] development" that "simply cannot be bought".  

His first higher-level representative match came eight years into his umpiring career, it being in the men's Under 17 national championship series in January 2003 in Perth.  After that he moved on to another Under 17 men's series, its Under 19 equivalent, five Cricket Australia Cup games for state second XIs, eighteen Womens National Cricket League matches, as well as the last two Emerging Players Tournaments (E-News 466-2419, 1 August 2009).  

Joshua's first interstate appointment at senior level was to a one-day match in January 2008, and he has since gone on to stand in three other such games and two domestic Twenty20, matches.  Over the past two years he has also been exposed to international matches, standing in a single women's Twenty20 International (T20I), five Youth One Day Internationals (ODI), and serving as the fourth official in two senior men's ODIs and one men's T20I.  

The Victorian was this week appointed to a second Shield match, four one-day domestic games, one as a third umpire, plus a three-day tour match between Tasmania and Pakistan at Bellerive in the lead up to Christmas with TCUSA member Steven John (E-News 513-2642, 27 October 2009).

Joshua's colleague in this week's Shield match will be fellow NUP member Rod Tucker from New South Wales, who will also, if reports are correct, be making his own higher-level debut in the near future, his being at Test level (E-News 513-2643, 27 October 2009.  

BENSON HOSPITALISED, 

SAY MEDIA REPORTS

[EN514-2650]

English umpire Mark Benson was unable to stand in the second One Day International (ODI) between India and Australia in Nagpur overnight and media reports say that he has been hospitalised.  Benson was reported to have taken ill on the weekend on the eve of the opening match of the series in Vadodara on Sunday, leaving an all-Indian umpiring panel to stand in the match (E-News 512-2636, 26 October 2009).

One media report states that Benson, fifty-one, couldn't stand in Vadodara because of "a severe bout of migraine", although another claimed that he was admitted to a hospital in Nagpur on Tuesday because of a "viral infection".  A Vidarbha Cricket Association official was quoted as saying yesterday that the Englishman "hasn’t recovered from the illness and we decided to get him admitted for a thorough checkup" but his condition "is stable". 

As a result of Benson's absence, two Indian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Amish Saheba and Shavir Tarapore, stood in last night's ODI as they did in Vadodara.  Former first class player turned umpire, Sanjay Hazare, was brought in to work as the third umpire in the match, his debut in an ODI; while Sudhir Asnani who moved into the television spot in the first ODI was the fourth umpire last night. 

Hazare, forty-eight, played forty-eight first class games for Baroda from 1991-98, and has the distinction of playing his last seven games with that side after he commenced his first class umpiring career in December 1995.  Over the fourteen years since he has stood in twenty-five first class matches, although his work as a television umpire is more limited, it being in one first class, one List A and six Twenty20 games; three of the latter being in this year's Indian Premier League series, and the other three in the recently completed Champions League (E-News 499-2578, 1 October 2009).

In December 2006, Benson was taken to hospital for tests after suffering heart palpitations while standing in the second Test between South Africa and India in Durban.  He had to leave the field one ball into the fourth over of the third day and was replaced by South African Ian Howell who joined Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf on the ground, Marais Erasmus taking over the third umpire position. 

LEAVE LBW TO UMPS, OTHERWISE USE 

TECHNOLOGY, SAYS TENDULKAR

[EN514-2651]

Indian player Sachin Tendulkar wants video replays to be used to decide every contentious decision in Test cricket except LBW appeals, and has also suggested that the three umpires involved in such matches should rotate their positions throughout each day, says a story published in 'India Today' magazine this week.

Tendulkar, who will next month mark twenty years as an international cricketer, believes it is time that the game's administrators "reduced the demands" being made on Elite umpires, saying it was "unreasonable" to expect on-field umpires to continue making decisions considering the greater availability of video replays and ''hot spot'' technology, which add to the scrutiny on their decisions.  

In Tendulkar's view, ''its tough for umpires to watch for [overstepping] 'no-balls' and what's happening [with the batsman at the other end of the pitch]".  For such "basic line decisions, [including 'run out' and 'stumped'], you have to have a laser or something like tennis [line calls] and they can be made by a machine", he said.

"For caught behind, close-in catches, bat-pad decisions and the like, 'Hot Spot' should be used", says Tendulkar, as he is "quite happy" with that piece of technology "because it establishes whether or not contact has been made with the bat" or not.  "You don't need a machine for bowled, so that", says Tendulkar rather boldly, leaves LBW decisions as "all the umpire has to concentrate on".

Despite his comments Tendulkar also told 'India Today' that he is "not particularly happy with the [current Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS)] because I'm not convinced of the angles [on television]".  "I was not happy when we first went through it", in the opening UDRS trial in July last year during India's Test series in Sri Lanka", he said.  The long-serving international player did not provide any detail about his concerns.

During the interview Tendulkar also suggested that umpires could officiate one session at a time, with three appointed to each match, thus allowing each individual to "get some time off".  Earlier this month the ESPNStar.com web site reported that the International Cricket Council is all set to adopt a new policy of nominating three "neutral" umpires for all Test matches who will 'rotate' between on-field and television position roles during matches (E-News 500-2584, 2 October 2009). 

There has been no confirmation in the time since as to whether that report was accurate or not.

E-NEWS NUMBER 515

     FRIDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2009

RAZA TO RETURN TO 

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

[EN515-2652]

Pakistan umpire Ahsan Raza, who was critically injured in the terrorist attack while serving as the fourth official during a Test match in Lahore last March (E-News 380-2021, 4 March 2009), is to return to international cricket next month.  Media reports from the sub-continent yesterday quote "a top" Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official as saying that "Raza will work as the fourth umpire in the third and last One Day International (ODI) [between Pakistan and] New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday week, and as the third official in the two Twenty20 International (T20I) matches between the two sides" shortly after that.

Raza, who is currently officiating in Pakistan domestic first class game in Karachi, told local media that he "underwent some horrible moments in the six months after the attack in Lahore", and that his "dream" to establish himself at international level, "which at one stage looked shattered, is now coming true" (E-News 492-2547, 18 September 2009).  "It was through sheer luck and perseverance that I am seeing this miracle of returning back to international cricket", added Raza.

The ODI in Abu Dhabi will be Raza's third as a television umpire in that form of the international game.  He has also worked in that role in one domestic one-dayer and four domestic T20 matches, however, the T20Is next month will be his first.  

Australian Bruce Oxenford, the International Cricket Council's neutral umpire for the ODIs (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009), will be joined on the field in the first Pakistan-NZ One Day International on Tuesday by International Cricket Coulcil (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Asad Rauf of Pakistan, with Zameer Haider a Pakistani member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) being the television official, and his IUP colleague Nadeem Ghauri the fourth umpire.

Haider will stand with Oxenford in the second ODI with Rauf as the third umpire and Ghauri again the fourth.  Ghauri moves up to accompany the Australian on to the field in match three, Haider being in the television suite and Raza the fourth umpire.  The only senior Pakistani umpire missing for the series in the UAE is Aleem Dar, Rauf's EUP colleague.

Both T20Is will see Ghauri and Haider on the field, Raza in the television suite and UAE-based umpire Iftikhar Ali the fourth umpire.  Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft will be the match referee for the ODIs and T20I games (E-News 509-2622, 21 October 2009).

STATE PANEL MEMBERS FOR 

JCP WEEKEND IN LAUNCESTON

[EN515-2653]

Four members of Tasmania's State Umpires Panel (SUP) will be in Launceston this weekend to officiate in four Jamie Cox Plate (JCP) intrastate matches.  Mike Graham-Smith, who will be returning north for the second week in a row (E-News 511-2630,  24 October 2009), will be joined by SUP colleagues Steven John, Nick McGann and Sam Nogajski, for the matches involving the state Under 19 squad, Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA), Northern Tasmania Cricket Association and Cricket North West representative sides.

This weekend's cricket in the south kicks off tonight when the opening two games in the TCA's Women's Twenty20 series are played on artificial pitches at Shoobridge Park and Mount Nelson; a Southern Tasmania Cricket League game will be played on concrete at Comelian Bay on Saturday; there will be four TCA Under 15 games on Sunday; then on Monday evening the first three matches in this season's Brighton's T20 series are to be played at Wylie Park, the synthetic pitch at Eady Street, and at Old Beach,. 

Twenty-one TCUSA umpiring members will be on the field in the weekend's matches.

END OF OCTOBER E-NEWS FILE