MAY 2011



(Story numbers 3740-3767)

762  763  764  765  766  767  768


762 – 12 May [3740-3744]

• Lord's Test debut for Tucker  (762-3740).

• 'Tactical' use of UDRS likely to see halving of appeals  (762-3741).

• Day-night Test trials on the horizon?  (762-3742).

• Kiwis, Lankan for Windies-Pakistan tests  (762-3743).

• Aldridge retires from East Asia Pacific role  (762-3744).


763 – 16 May [3745-3748]

• First class umpire held on suspicion of betting links  (763-3745).

• BCCI reiterates its opposition to UDRS use  (763-3746).

• 'Artificial Eye' next technology for cricket?   (763-3747).

• Pair disciplined for on-field offences  (763-3748).


764 – 20 May [3749-3751]

• Umpire charged with betting links protests his innocence  (764-3749).

• UAE off-spinner's action found to be 'legal'  (764-3750).

• Caribbean Association seeking more umpire  (764-3751).


765 – 23 May [3752-3755]

• Harper, de Silva to depart EUP, claims Lankan report  (765-3752).

• ODI debut for Irish umpire (765-3753).

• 'Too busy' to focus on umpiring, says former England quick  (765-3754).

• Stones thrown after umpire changes his decision  (765-3755).

766 - 26 May [3756-3760]

• Tasmania's Boon to join ICC match referee ranks  (766-3756).

• Just twenty words mark departure of Harper, de Silva  (766-3757).

• ICC confirms EUP promotions for Dharmasena, Kettleborough  (766-3758).

• Hurst to retire from match referee panel  (766-3759).

• EUP promotions will lead to IUP changes   (766-3760).

767 - 28 May [3761-3764]

• Third-straight IPL final for Taufel  (767-3761).

• County looses championship points for 'unsuitable' pitch  (767-3762).

• PCB conducts another match-fixing inquiry  (767-3763).

• Gambir positive about UDRS, says report  (767-3764).


768 - 31 May [3765-3767]

• Umpire betting link allegations to be heard this week?  (768-3765).

• Fierce shot sees umpire loose five teeth   (768-3766).

• More work needed on Indian umpiring standards, says former player  (768-3767).





Thursday, 12 May 2011





Australian umpire Rod Tucker, who commenced his umpiring career with the TCUSA, is to stand in his first Lord's Test in early June when England plays Sri Lanka in what is the second game of a three-match series.  Tucker, Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies have been named to look after the three Test series, each having two matches on the field and another in the television suite as the Umpire Decision Review System will be in operation.


For Tucker, who has previously worked a Lord's as a third umpire in a Twenty20 International in the World Championship in June 2009, the England-Lanka series will take his Test match tally to ten in the fifteen months since his debut at that level.  Doctrove will be on the field with him at Lord's, his second Test there and 33rd overall, while Dar's Test match record will move along to 65 by the time the series ends.  The match referee for the series will be Javagal Srinath of India.


It will have been a busy three months for Tucker by the time the England-Lanka series ends for to date he has been involved in 20 matches on the sub-continent in the period since late February.  First he stood in six One day Internationals during the World Cup, plus three others as the third umpire and two as the fourth, before moving on almost straight away to his first Indian Premier League competition where he stood in seven games and was in the television suite for two others.  


Meanwhile, Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden will be the neutral umpire for the five One Day International (ODI) series England and Sri Lanka will play in June-July after the Tests end, while Australian Alan Hurst will be the match referee.  The five games will move Bowden's ODI match record on to 160, and Hurst's as a referee to 105, his century coming up in the third ODI, which is to be played at Lord's on 3 July.  Bowden is expected to travel to England from the West Indies where he is currently working in the two Tests the home side is to play against Pakistan (E-News 762-3743 below).


Bowden and Hurst will work with English members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel who were named for the one-day series earlier this year (E-News 754-3703, 7 April 2011).






Players' "tactical use" of video reviews during the recent World Cup is likely to see the International Cricket Council (ICC) restrict the number of unsuccessful appeals teams can make in limited-overs cricket to one per innings.  The ICC's Cricket Committee recommended yesterday that the world body halve the number of appeals in one-day matches in the hope that players challenge umpiring decisions only when they are convinced the original on-field decision is wrong.  


Despite evidence that umpires' on-field decisions were largely correct (E-News 754-3702, 7 April 2011), teams often asked for reviews during the WC in order to either slow their opponents' momentum or to secure an unlikely reprieve for a key player.  "They used them for tactical purposes rather than because they genuinely believed a mistake had been made", said ICC general manager cricket David Richardson.


The Cricket Committee, which is chaired by former West Indies captain and later ICC match referee Clive Lloyd and includes players, coaches and match officials, has also recommended to the ruling body's board that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) be used in all Tests - reiterating that India should lay aside a long-standing hostility to it.  The committee made a similar recommendation 12 months ago (E-News 610-3058, 24 May 2010), however, despite that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) continues to reject the system's use in Tests involving its national side (E-News 711-3481, 13 January 2011).


Richardson said umpires were happy for the system to be more widely implemented for while they "are embarrassed when they have to change one of their decisions, they are far happier to do that than to have ruined a match with a bad decision".  The UDRS has been used in 31 Tests since it was introduced to the format in 2009, with each side allowed two unsuccessful reviews per innings.






The International Cricket Council (ICC) hopes to announce dates and venues for the first day-night Test matches next year.  The fixtures, which will be conducted "as trials", could be played at either Lord's, the Sydney Cricket Ground or in Abu Dhabi because of "their powerful floodlights", says the ICC's general manager cricket, David Richardson.


Reports say that the switch to nighttime is designed to help promote Test cricket by allowing fans to attend after work, and that the "only obstacle to overcome" is now determining whether a new pink ball used in a match between the Marylebone Cricket Club and last year's county champion in Abu Dhabi in March is suitably durable for the conditions.


While reports from that match were positive about the ball (E-News 753-3694, 5 April 2011), the ICC says that it plans to ask its members to test it in one multi-day domestic competitions to discover more about how it performs.  "The ICC remains determined to explore the possibility of day-night test cricket but at the same time we have to ensure the integrity of that format is also protected", said Richardson.  He also said that the ICC's Cricket Committee still needed proof the ball it would retain its color and condition "in less benign conditions".


Teams bowling second in day-night matches at the World Cup on the sub-continent were sometimes disadvantaged by dew settling on the ground and making the ball slippery and the ICC wants to see how the pink ball performs in similar circumstances.  "We were also worried about the dew factor and whether, if a team has to bowl at night, they have to bowl with a bar of soap", said CC Chairman Clive Lloyd yesterday.  England spinner Graeme Swann used the same phrase after he experienced problems in a WC match in March (E-News 740-3634, 15 March 2011).






New Zealanders 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill, plus Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva are to take part in the two Test series between the West Indies and Pakistan, the first match of which is due to get underway in Guyana tomorrow evening Australian time.  Bowden is to stand in both Tests, the first with Hill and the second with de Silva in St Kitts towards the end of the month, another Sri Lankan, Ranjan Madugalle, being the match referee for both games.


With the Umpire Decision Review System expected to be in operation, de Silva and Hill will be in the third umpire's suite in the First and Second tests respectively.  The series will take Madugalle's tally as a referee in Tests to 126, Bowden's as a on-field umpire to 67, de Silva's to 49 and Hill's to 23.  Following the Tests, Bowden is to travel to England for the five One Day Internationals that side is to play against Sri Lanka (E-News 762-3740 above).






Former New Zealand umpire Brian Aldridge, who stood in 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne, has retired as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Coordinator and Regional Referee for the East Asia-Pacific (EAP) region.  Aldridge joined the ICC's Regional Referee panel in 2007 after standing in 26 Test matches and 45 One Day Internationals in the period from 1986-95.


Christchurch-born Aldridge, 70, was New Zealand Cricket's Umpire Manager from 1996 to 2009, during that time becoming involved with the EAP umpire development program, and from 2004 working as a referee for tournaments within that region.  Despite his retirement he will remain on the ICC committee that selects the the world body's Associate and Affiliate Umpires panel each year.


Aldridge was quoted in an ICC press release as saying he has always had "a great passion for cricket development beyond the traditional cricket playing countries" and it has been a privilege "to be involved in [EAP] development work". Cricket has gone "through a remarkable growth [over the last decade] and it has been very exciting to look back on how the game has improved in the way it has been managed, played and umpired".


"I have had a very long and enjoyable relationship with the game of cricket, and will leave with many fond memories and fantastic friendships", continued Aldridge, but "with the recent earthquake in Christchurch it is now time that I focus my energy on being with family and helping the local community in the recovery process".


ICC Umpires and Referees' manager Vince van der Bijl paid tribute to Aldridge saying that "Brian has been a tremendous servant to the game as a former umpire, administrator and more recently with his work in cricket development".  His "work has helped laid the foundations for umpiring to be able to flourish within the [EAP] region. We are very grateful for his contribution and he receives our support and well wishes for his work to aid the recovery process in his hometown of Christchurch".



Monday, 16 May 2011






Current Pakistani first class umpire Akram Raza was amongst a group of seven men who were arrested in a busy shopping centre in Lahore on Saturday on suspicion that they were taking bets on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.  The 46-year-old, who played nine Tests and 49 one-day internationals for Pakistan, is presently on the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) first class umpires panel.


A senior police officer at the Gulberg police station was quoted by local media as saying that "we arrested seven men from a plaza in Liberty area in Gulberg today and one of them has been identified as Akram Raza a former Pakistan player".  He indicated that the police had been tipped off that "a gang of known bookmakers was taking bets on the IPL" and during a subsequent raid "cash, mobile phones and many telephone numbers in India" were recovered.  The men are being held pending investigations into the matter. 


Raza retired as a player in 2004 sfter a 24-year career that saw him play in 215 first class and xx List A games.  Just when he took up umpiring is not clear, however, he stood in an Under-19 Test in November 2007 and made his debut at first class level in January 2009.  A month after that debut was the fourth umpire in what was the last Test played in Pakistan before the terrorist attack in Lahore halted all internationals there two years ago (E-News 380-2021, 5 March 2009).  In the time since has stood in 23 first class and 14 List A matches for the PCB, the latest at first class level being in February this year.  


xxx-born Raza, who played for his country as an off-spinner from 1989-95, was named in the match-fixing scandal that erupted in 1995, and along with six other players was eventually fined five years later by the Justice Malik Qayyum inquiry commission. Raza is being described in the media on the sub-continent as "a close friend" of former Pakistan captain Salim Malik who was one of two men who were banned for life by the same match-fixing commission.  Pakistan's government ordered that inquiry after Australian players Shane Warne, Mark Waugh and Tim May accused Malik of offering them bribes during Australia's 1995 tour to Pakistan.


A person who was described by 'The News' as ”a top [Pakistani] international umpire" is reported to have claimed that "Raza’s induction into the PCB Umpire’s panel four years ago raised several eyebrows with a number of former players, umpires and referees having their reservations". When contacted about the issue, an unnamed PCB official was quoted as saying that "nothing has been proved against [Raza] yet", but "If he gets charged, then his fate will be decided" at that time.


A report from India in March claimed that an umpire with the Board of Control for Cricket in India had been caught, along with five others, on camera allegedly agreeing to "fix umpiring in a proposed limited over corporate cricket match" (E-News 744-3651, 21 March 2011).  The outcome of that case does not appear to have been made public. 






The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reiterated its opposition to the mandatory use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and will argue against the proposal at meetings of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) two senior committees late next month.  Last Wednesday, for the second time in twelve months, the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC) recommended that the UDRS be used in all Tests and limited over matches (E-News 762-3741, 12 May 2011).


BCCI secretary N Srinivasan told the 'Times of India' (TOI) by phone on Sunday that his Board "would make sure the proposal did not get the green light".  Srinivasan, who was described by the TOI as being "peeved" about the matter, asked its reporter "What is this Cricket Committee?", answering his own question by saying that "It's just a small sub-committee of the ICC which can only make recommendations. It's for the [ICC's] Chief Executives Committee [CEC] and Executive Board to decide", on such things, he said.


Srinivasan sent "an angry letter to ICC in March", which claimed that current UDRS technology is "inadequate", and that its flaws had been exposed in this year's 50-over World Cup, the main controversy then being about the 2.5 m rule for assessing LBW decisions (E-News 734-3607, 3 March 2011).  "We are just not convinced of the accuracy of this technology", he added, "we are going to oppose [the CC's recommendation]", and "I just don't understand why they keep raising the issue time and again".  


ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat described the BCCI's World Cup concerns at the time as "a difference of opinion" (E-News 736-3615, 7 March 2011), however the Indians have been steadfast in their opposition for several years now (E-News 711-3481, 8 January 2011).


Over the next 10 months India is to play three Tests in the Caribbean against West Indies starting later this month, another four in England in July-August, three more against England at home in November-December, then Australia in another four in December-January 2011-12.  With the BCCI maintaining its position, spectators watching those 14 Tests at home or in the stadium are likely to have access to the technology, however, the match officials out on the field will not. 

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's (CA) chief executive told local media outlets that his "personal view is strongly in support of the UDRS".  “At this stage in spite of the [CC's] recommendation it does need to go through other bodies within the ICC in order for that to become an absolute requirement. I’m conscious of that, but certainly from a CA perspective we would be very keen for UDRS to be in place for all international cricket".


The CEC and Executive Board are scheduled to meeting in Hong Kong over five days starting on 26 June.






'Artificial Eye' (or A-Eye), the latest technological advance to be looked at for possible introduction to the cricketing world, is reported to be able to deliver a verdict in a matter of seconds, but only in regard to run-outs.  The system has been developed by  three Pakistani scientists, the aim being to try and cut down the time it takes to come to a decision on run-out appeals.


The system is the brainchild of Pakistani researchers Tariq Mahmood, Syed Mazher Kamal and Syed Obaid Ahmed, from the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Karachi.  "If there is a run-out situation, particularly in a Twenty20- match, [with current technology] the game could be stopped for a minute of so and that can disrupt the flow of the game", says Mahmood who spoke to the 'Cricket365' web site recently.


The trio had "limited resources" at their disposal when developing the system, which consists of "an intricate software package" and a basic recording camera.  "We took a simple camera and installed it at ground level very close to the crease and then filmed several run-outs", says Mahmood.  "We fed those run-outs to our software and then used basic imaging techniques before applying a motion detector algorithm in order to detect the simultaneous motion of the bat as well as the stumps".  


According to Mahmood, tests have shown that A-Eye is "only three per cent less accurate" than current referrals for run-outs, although he acknowledges that at the moment the system "has its limitations".  For example there is presently no way of determining whether the stumps are broken by either the ball or by another source such as the fielder without the ball, however, he apparently believes such problems can be ironed out.  


Only "minor adjustments" are needed to to make A-Eye complete", claims Mahmood, however, the key issue is to attract investment in the system.  That could though prove to be a stumbling block and the three men have been forced to look outside Pakistan to attract sponsors.  If the developers are successful in attracting funds, the first step will be a trial of the system in domestic games in Karachi. 






The England and Wales Cricket Board has disciplined two county players as a result of incidents in matches in England last month.  Somerset's Arul Suppiah was reprimanded "for showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action in the match against Lancashire", while Mahmood lost three penalty points for bowling an accidental high full-pitched delivery that saw him removed from  in him being disallowed from bowling in an innings innings.  Both were level one offences, however, Mahmood lost points because he had previously received a reprimand.




Friday, 20 May 2011






Former Pakistan player and now first class umpire Akram Raza has been charged, along with six other men, of running an illegal betting ring that was taking bets on Indian Premier League matches.  Raza and his companions, who were arrested by police in Lahore last Saturday (E-News 763-3745, 16 May 2011), were charged two days later and he has since been released on bail and is due to appear in court next week to face the allegations laid against him.


Raza told the Reuters News Agency on Wednesday that he was "innocent", that the situation he finds himself in "was a set up", and that he has "hired a lawyer to fight these ridiculous charges against me".  “I don’t know who is behind this and why but I will prove my innocence", he continued, and indicated that he planned to write to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to inform them that he is not guilty of the changes laid against him.


Sultan Rana, the head of the PCB’s domestic cricket department, told Reuters that "we have still not got any official report on the incident but [the situation] warrants an inquiry to find out the truth".  Raza, who  was one of six players fined in 2000 by a Pakistani judicial commission into match-fixing in cricket in that country, also said "I have already suffered enough in the past and now I don’t want my umpiring career damaged".



Pakistan's 'Express Tribune' newspaper reported yesterday that the PCB has more than 100 umpires divided into a number of different categories on its books, with thirty, including Raza, being on its elite panel. 


Former Pakistan Test umpire Mian Aslam was quoted by the 'Tribune' as saying that the PCB has "a rich management system but when we talk about the umpiring standards, everything is based on nepotism".  Most of the umpires on the elite panel of Pakistan cricket are relatives of someone and this has degraded the whole profession", he reportedly claimed.


“Despite being a full-time profession, the umpiring system is doing very poorly in Pakistan", continued Aslam, who added that the fact that the PCB does not offer central contracts to umpires makes made it difficult for the standards to rise there.






Tests conducted by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has found the bowling action of United Arab Emirates (UAE) off-spin bowler Nasir Aziz to be legal.  Aziz was reported for a suspect action during the final of the World Cricket League's Division 2 tournament in Dubai last month (E-News 760-3734, 21 April 2011). 


Following the report, the ECB arranged for Aziz's action to be closely examined by Dayle Hadlee and Mudassar Nazar of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Global Cricket Academy in Dubai, plus UAE head coach Kabir Khan, and their report clearing him was forwarded to the ICC earlier this week.


The ICC said yesterday that if Aziz's action is reported by umpires within two years of last month's report he will then be required to submit to an examination conducted by experts independent of the ECB.  Should that analysis confirm his action is legal he will be permitted to continue bowling in international cricket, but if not he would be suspended from bowling at that level of the game for a period of twelve months.






The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Umpires Association (ABCUA) in the West Indies is, like many of its counterparts around the world, starting a recruitment drive to solicit new members.  Kenrick Lawrence of the ABCUA told local media outlets this week that the association is "very short of umpires and desperately in need of new members, both male and female".


The ABCUA was established over 40 years ago and Antigua's 'Observer' newspaper says it has produced a number of top quality officials who have gone on to officiate in 'domestic' first class matches in the Caribbean.  No one from the Association has yet made it to Test level, however, some have officiated in One Day Internationals, while others have held executive positions in the Leeward Islands Cricket Umpires Association and beyond that the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association.


Lawrence told the 'Observer' that "the game of cricket that we love so much needs umpires [for they] play a major role in the development and success of the game".  “You don’t have to possess any umpiring skills since you will be trained when you join", he continued", and that "there is no age limit and there are a lot of benefits of being an umpire". 



Monday, 23 May 2011






Long-serving Australian Daryl Harper and Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva are to step down from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next month, says a report published in Colombo's 'Sunday Times' newspaper yesterday.  The Time's article, which quotes "a reliable source", also states that the pair are to be replaced on the panel by de Silva's countryman Kumar Dharmasena, a former Test off spinner, and England's Richard Kettleborough, a former first class player in his home country. 


The ICC, which normally announces EUP membership details for the year ahead at the end of June each year, has so far given no indication that the Mirror's claims are correct.  Despite that there is a ring of truth about the report, for Dharmasena, 41, and Kettleborough, 38, have been in the running for a EUP spot for the past twelve months along with the latter's countryman Nigel Llong and Bruce Oxenford of Australia (E-News 672-3296, 24 September 2010).  


On the other side of the ledger, the performances of de Silva, 55, and Harper, 59, who are the last of the group of umpires who were named as members of the inaugural EUP in 2002, have come under particular scrutiny in some quarters over the last year.  The Lankan was dropped from the EUP in 2004 then spent four years on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel before being reinstated to the top group in 2008 (E-News 234-1296, 24 April 2008). 


Harper, who made his international debut in January 1994, is third in the all-time list of Test and One Day International (ODI) umpires, having stood in 94 Tests, 174 ODIs; and has also stood in 10 Twenty20 Internationals.  de Silva is currently standing in his forty-ninth, and possibly last Test in the West Indies (E-News 762-3743, 12 May 2011), and has also chalked up 119 ODIs since his debut in August 1999. 


If the 'Sunday Times' report is correct, the 2011-12 EUP will consist of three Australians (Steve Davis, Rod Tucker, and Simon Taufel), two each from New Zealand ('Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill), Pakistan (Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf) and England (Kettleborough and Ian Gould), plus Dharmasena, South African Marais Erasmus, West Indian Billy Doctrove.





Irish umpire Mark Hawthorne is to make his One Day International (ODI) debut next Sunday when Ireland takes on Pakistan in Belfast in what is the first match of a two-game series.  Hawthorne, who is to stand with Ian Gould of England, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, is a member of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel, who has been standing at representative level since 1999.  


Gould's countryman Chris Broad will be the match referee for the two games, and the two Englishmen will have taken their ODI records as match officials to 57 and 191 respectively by the time the series ends on Tuesday.  Gould and New Zealand's Jeff Crowe have also been named as the neutral officials for the five ODIs the West Indies is to play against India in the Caribbean in the first half of June, the former as an on-field umpire and latter as match referee.  The last game of that series will see Crowe notch up 150 ODIs as a match referee.






Former England fast bowler Devon Malcolm has again talked of becoming a first-class umpire, but he is apparently finding it hard to fit cricket into his schedule.  Malcolm announced his interest in umpiring eighteen months ago, talking then of being 'fast-tracked on to the England and Wales Cricket Boards's (ECB) second-tier umpires Reserve List in 2011 (E-News 557-2831, 26 January 2010), 


Malcolm, 47, told the London web site this week that he "had a bit of a window in my schedule last [northern] winter and took the [umpiring] exam", but he's "been doing other stuff and hasn't had much time to get out there [and stand at Premier] League" level.  "I have to umpire quite a few games before I can move up", continued Malcolm, and "if I get a bit more time I'll take the next stage of the exams".


Most of the umpires on the ECB's top-level Full List are former first class players, however, ECB Umpires' Manager Chris Kelly wrote in the Board's Association of Cricket Officials' March 2009 newsletter that all umpires, whether they be former players or not, will "enjoy the same conditions and opportunities" and that "for the first time" individuals will be able to "officiate at any level" provided they have the "ability and desire" (E-News 398-2111, 28 March 2009).






A dispute over an umpiring decision in a match near Vadodara in India on Saturday led to communal rioting that later saw twenty-eight people being cited by police, says a report published in the 'Times of india' yesterday.  Local police were quoted as saying that the ruckus broke out when the umpire ruled a batsman 'not out' and then changed his decision after the fielding side protested about the decision.  Two of those accused of rioting by police are said to have thrown stones at the umpire and that that led to a general fight between players and supporters breaking out.  Police were called to the ground and eventually managed to restore order.


Thursday, 26 May 2011





Former Australia batsman David Boon, Cricket Tasmania's (CT) current General Manager Cricket, is to join the International Cricket Council's (ICC) match referee panel.  After learning the ropes with Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee, during two Tests of the England-India series this August, Boon’s first series in charge will be Zimbabwe’s home matches against Pakistan in September.


Boon, 50, played 107 Tests and 181 ODIs in the thirteen years from 1984-96.  He started his administrative career with CT in 1999 and has been head of its cricket department over the last seven years, a time during which the State side has won two Sheffield Shields and two one-day titles; and has been an Australian selector since 2000.  Boon will relinquish both roles before starting work as a match referee, and in early July, prior to the Tests in England, he is to spend a week at ICC headquarters in Dubai where the intricacies of his new role will be explained in detail.


The Tasmanian was quoted in an ICC statement as saying that he is "excited [about the match referee] appointment as it provides me with another opportunity to stay involved with this great sport".  “Having played first-class cricket for nearly two decades and [also] been involved in marketing, cricket administration and national selection matters, I think I bring a lot of experience to the [match referee's] group which includes some of the most respected names in the sport".


In an interview with the Cricinfo web site, Boon said that his new role "is one that typifies a lot of the things I believe in and the traditions of the game". Cricket "has to be portrayed to the cricketing public in the right light for it to advance and grow, and [the match referee] position has a role in achieving that".  The game "crosses over cultures and joins countries", he says, "but the bottom line is that everybody plays cricket [as its] really important for world cricket that there’s strength among nations and among players in continuing to grow the game".


Vince Van Der Bijl, the ICC’s Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager said that Boon "has already served the game so well as an international cricketer of repute and standing, a national vice-captain, a national selector and administrator".  "We look forward to working with David and have no doubt that he will make a strong and important contribution to ensuring that the game is played and officiated in a manner befitting to great spirit".


Boon's six colleagues on the match referees panel will be: Chris Broad, 53, England; Jeff Crowe, 53, New Zealand; Madugalle, 52; Roshan Mahanama, 44, Sri Lanka; Andy Pycroft, 54, Zimbabwe; and Javagal Srinath, 41, India.  Madugalle has been an ICC match referee since 1993, and head of the group for the past ten years.  Broad joined the panel in 2002, Crowe and Mahanama in 2004, Srinath in 2006 and Pycroft in 2009.  All had significant international playing careers prior to taking up their referee roles. 


Boon will replace his fellow countryman Alan Hurst who is to retire from the match referee panel at the conclusion of next month's One Day International (ODI) series between England and Sri Lanka (E-News 766-3758 below).






The International Cricket Council (ICC) has removed Australian Daryl Harper and Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva from its top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), their replacements being the latter's countryman Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough of England (E-News 766-3758 below).  Last weekend's edition of Colombo's 'Sunday Times' newspaper indicated that the changes were imminent (E-News 765-3752, 23 May 2011), and the ICC confirmed that report when it announced the panel for 2011-12 yesterday.  


Despite their long service to international cricket, the ICC's 445 word press release on EUP membership for the next year devotes just 20 words to Harper and de Silva's departure, the reference to the pair saying simply that "[Dharmasena and Kettleborough] will replace Daryl Harper, whose existing contract expires in July, and Asoka de Silva on the panel".  The ICC usually has two-year contracts with its umpires, and the wording used in the press release suggests that the Sri Lankan has been let go half-way through his current tenure.


Harper, who made his international debut in January 1994, is currently the most experienced umpire Australia has produced and is third on the all-time lists of both Test and One Day International (ODI) umpires, to date having stood in 94 Tests, 174 ODIs, plus 10 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).  E-News understands that he will add two more Tests to his tally in late June and early July in the series between the West Indies and India before he leaves the international scene.


de Silva, who played for his country before taking up umpiring, worked on the field in his forty-ninth and possibly last Test in the West Indies earlier this week (E-News 762-3743, 12 May 2011).   Twice a member of the EUP, his previous stint being from 2002-04, he has also chalked up 119 ODIs and nine T20Is since his international debut as a match official in August 1999.  


Both Harper and de Silva have both had controversial umpiring histories in recent times, particularly in relation to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), their performances in regard to technology being the worst during this year's World Cup (E-News 754-3702, 7 April 2011).  Harper was also had a number of issues in the Caribbean in early 2009 and again in South Africa early last year, although he was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing in both cases (E-News 628-3135, 2 July 2010).  Soon after that he was not chosen for the World Twenty20 in West Indies, reportedly for "general performance reasons" (E-News 583-2939, 11 March 2010).


Despite those controversies the brevity with which the ICC dismissed the pair has surprised many observers given their long service.  However, the world body has a history of ignoring the contributions of some of its officials when they leave the international scene, whilst going out of its way to lavish praise on others when their time with the organisation ends.  Cricket Australia and Sri Lanka Cricket have also yet to acknowledge the contributions of their respective countrymen.






The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed yesterday that Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough of England have been promoted to its top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  A report in last weekend's 'Sunday Times' newspaper in Colombo suggested the elevation of the pair to the EUP was imminent (E-News 765-3752, 23 May 2011), and that they would replace Daryl Harper of Australia and Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka on the panel (E-News 766-3757 above). 


At 38, Kettleborough is now the youngest umpire on the EUP.  The Yorkshireman played 33 first-class matches for Middlesex and Yorkshire from 1994-99 and joined the England and Wales Cricket Boards panel of umpires in 2006. He made his international umpiring debut in the Twenty20 International (T20I) between England and Australia at Old Trafford in 2009 and stood in his first two two Tests (E-News 697-3418, 15 November 2010), 16 One Day Internationals (ODI) and two international T20Is. 


Dharmasena, 40, played 31 Tests and 141 ODIs for Sri Lanka from 1993-2004 and was part of Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning squad in 1996.  He made his debut as an umpire at first class level in January 2008 and at international level the following year, around the same time as Kettleborough.  He has since gone on the stand intwo Tests, 25 ODIs and three T20Is. 


The Sri Lankan was quoted in an ICC press release as saying that he is "honoured and delighted to have been selected" on the EUP.  "To umpire alongside the most respected names in this noble profession and be included on the [EUP] is something I wanted to achieve ever since I started umpiring [and] my next target is to continue to work hard, make good decisions and justify my inclusion".  Kettleborough said he is "delighted to have been chosen for the [EUP] and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead".


Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager cricket and convener of selection panel said that the pair's "promotions are a result of hard work and impressive performances and will act as an inspiration to other umpires".  The ICC Umpires Selection Panel is made up of Richardson, the ICC's Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, David Lloyd an ex-England player, coach and former first-class umpire, and India's Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, a former India captain and international umpire.






Australian Alan Hurst, who has been a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) match referees panel for the the past seven years, is to retire from the group at the conclusion of next month's One Day International (ODI) series between England and Sri Lanka (E-News 762-3740, 12 May 2011).  Hurst, who played 12 Tests and eight ODIs in the period from 1974-79, will be replaced on the panel by fellow Australian David Boon (E-News 766-3756 above).


Melbourne-based Hurst is currently refereeing the West Indies and Pakistan Test series in the Caribbean.  He said in an ICC statement that he has had "seven wonderful years as an ICC match referee" a time during which he has seen "some exceptional cricket matches, champion players and outstanding performances".  “I have been privileged to work with a group of highly skilled and dedicated referees and umpires and have made a lot of friends in the international cricket community", however, he now "look forward to moving on to the next phase in my life, spending more time with family and pursuing a range of interests and hobbies.”


Hurst, who joined the panel in April 2004, will retire six days before his 61st birthday on 9 July after officiating in the fifth and final ODI between England and Sri Lanka in Manchester, his 102nd in that role.  If all goes to schedule his Century of games will occur at Lord's on 3 July, when he will become the tenth match referee to reach 100 games.  His forty-fifth and last Test as a match referee will be the third and final game of the series between the same two teams in Southampton in mid-June.


The ICC’s Umpires’ and Referees’ Manager Vince Van Der Bijl said in a statement that: “Alan is an outstanding and consummate referee [who] has raised the level of professionalism in refereeing".  "His leadership qualities, integrity and passion for cricket will be missed [and] it is fitting that he will reach his ODI century at Lords".






The elevation of Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena and Englishman Richard Kettleborough to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) leaves vacancies on each country's membership of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Filling the positions is the prerogative of the respective home boards and just remains to be seen just who will be promoted  


It is possible that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) could move de Silva into the IUP on-field vacancy left as a result of Dharmasena's promotion. in a similar fashion to when he was dropped from the EUP in 2004.  Ranmore Martinez currently holds Sri Lanka's second on-field spot on the IUP, while Tyrone Wijewardene holds the third umpire position, SLC having swapped the roles of the pair late last year (E-News 749-3680, 30 March 2011).   


Kettleborough's promotion leaves Nigel Llong as the only on-field umpire on England's section of the IUP, Richard Illingworth and Rob Bailey currently being third umpires.  Illingworth has been in that position for several years now and would appear to be in line for an on-field spot as Bailey was only promoted into that role earlier this year.


Saturday, 28 May 2011






Australian umpire Simon Taufel will stand in his third Indian Premier League (IPL) final in three years tonight, his on-field partner in the match in Mumbai being Asad Rauf of Pakistan, Sri Lankans Kumar Dharmasena and Roshan Mahanama working as the third umpire and match referee respectively.  Rauf will be working in his eighteenth IPL game in six weeks, more than any of the other seventeen umpires used for on-field duties during what will have been a 74-match series (E-News 755-3707, 9 April 2011).


In addition to Rauf, Australian Paul Reiffel worked in 17 games either on-field or in the third umpire's suite, Dharmasena 16, Indians Sudhir Asnani, Krishna Hariharan, Sanjay Hazare, S. Ravi, Amish Saheba, Suresh Shastri and Shavir Tarapore all 14 matches, Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe also 14, Taufel 13, Rod Tucker of Australia 12, Aleem Dar of Pakistan 11, South African Rudi Koertzen 10, Tony Hill of New Zealand 8, and Billy Doctrove from the West Indies 6. 


Rauf stood out in terms of on-field appointments, receiving a total of 17, well ahead of Reiffel with 11, Dharmasena, Koertzen, Saheba, Tarapore, Taufel, Tiffin and Tucker all 10 each, Dar  9, Asnani, Hariharan, Hazare, Hill, Ravi, Shastri each 6, and Doctrove 5. 


Six of the 17 on-field umpires contracted by the IPL for what has been its fourth Twenty20 tournament, Dar, Doctrove, Hill, Rauf, Taufel, and Tucker, are current members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), while seven, Asnani, Dharmasena, Hazare, Reiffel, Saheba, Tarapore and Tiffin, are on the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Of the others Hariharan, Ravi and Shastri are members of India's first class panel, while Koertzen is a former long-serving member of the EUP and current ICC Regional Umpire Performance Manager for Africa.


Of the seven match referees used for the 2011 event, South African Devdas Govindjee and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe looked after 14 games each, Raju Mukherjee of India 13, India's Javagal Srinath 11, Mahanama 10 and his countryman Graeme Labrooy 9, and Indian Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan 3 matches.  Mahanama, Pycroft and Srinath are current members of the ICC's top match referees panel, while Govindjee and Labrooy are on its second-tier panel.  Venkataraghavan, who is head of umpiring in India, is a former EUP member and before that captained his national side.


Taufel stood with Koertzen in both the 2009 and 2010 IPL finals (E-News 585-2950, 15 March 2010), and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Koertzen in the inaugural decider in 2008 (E-News 250-1371, 2 June 2008).






Warwickshire has lost its appeal against the decision of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Pitch Panel to dock them eight championship points for providing a 'poor' pitch for their first class match against Worcestershire two weeks ago.  While the home side won the match easily, the track provided at Edgbaston for the game was judged by the panel to be unsuitable for first-class cricket.


Reports in the British media indicate that umpires Martin Bodenham and his international colleague Ian Gould did not express any concerns to the ECB about the pitch, however, an un-named member of the media apparently did just that.   Warwickshire didn't deny the poor pitch charge but felt the procedure whereby the ECB heard about the situation from a journalist rather than the umpires could offer ground for appeal.  They also reportedly felt there were extenuating circumstances relating to new stands, outfield and drainage at the ground.


A three-man Appeals Panel heard submissions from both Warwickshire and the ECB this week and decided the original eight-point fine given to the County should stand.  In addition the club was ordered to pay £3,000 ($A4,600) in costs.






The Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) has conducted an inquiry into allegations that match-fixing occurred in a domestic match in Karachi last month, claims a story published in the 'Pakistan Tribune' yesterday.  The investigation is said to have centred on claims the manager of the Omar Associates side, which was seeking a win to reach the semi finals of the Patron`s Trophy Grade-II competition, pressured the captain of the Candyland team to loose on the first innings.


The 'Tribune' story states that the inquiry was conducted by Wasim Bari, the PCB's director of education and training, who was quoted by the newspaper as saying that he would send the report to his superiors "in a day or two", although he reportedly avoided comment on the findings of his investigation.


Omar Associates eventually won the match by 83 runs but failed to get a first innings lead.  They scored 166 in their first innings, while in their initial reply Candyland, who at one stage were 9/73, ended up with 210.  Candyland skipper Faheem Ahmed told his manager about the alleged approach from Omar manager Azam Khan, then reportedly informed the PCB about the matter in a written report.


The 'Tribune' also says that after advising the PCB, Ahmed made the matter public by talking about the situation on a Pakistan television channel.  Khan told the 'newspaper' that the charge laid against him by the Candyland skipper were "baseless".  






The Board of control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and a number of its senior players may have repeatedly made clear their concerns about the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) (E-News 743-3607, 3 March 2011), however, Indian player Gautam Gambhir says that he is in favour of the use of technology as it can reduce human errors. 


The UDRS, which received a mixed response during the World Cup, was not used in the recently completed Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but Gambhir is reported to be of the view that there is no harm in using technology.  Gambir said after a recent IPL game that the UDRS "is part and parcel of the game [and] it is good to have [the system] when you don't get a plumb LBW".  "In tight games, if you have technology use it", he says.



Tuesday, 31 May 2011






Former Pakistan spinner and now first class umpire Akram Raza, who was charged with being involved in an illegal betting syndicate last week, now says he will only provide the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with details of the police case against him after the court hands down its verdict on his case, probably later this week.  Raza indicated last week he planned to write to the PCB to inform them that he is not guilty of the changes laid against him (E-News 764-3749, 20 May 2011). 


A Press Trust of India report from Lahore yesterday said that Raza has told the PCB he "was apprehended by the police even before I entered the room where the police supposedly busted the bookmakers racket".  He continued by saying that he has told the PCB that he had "just gone to meet with an old friend who owns the [area] where the arrest took place", and reiterated that he is "confident of proving my innocence in court".


Raza was fined eleven years ago for not co-operating with a judicial commission into match-fixing allegations laid against some Pakistan players.






Lancashire League umpire Clifford Ashworth lost five teeth when he was struck in the mouth by a ball whilst officiating in a Twenty20 match last Friday evening, says a story in yesterday's 'Lancashire Telegraph' newspaper.  Ashworth, who collapsed after being struck, was rushed to hospital with a gash in the corner of his mouth and ended up with "three types of stitching" and significant swelling in his mouth. 


Ashworth, an umpire for the last 30 years, told the 'Telegraph' that the only thing he remembers is "being on his knees spitting out blood and some of my front teeth".  Kevin Whitehead his on-field colleague said the shot by Edenfield batsman Paul Gallagher was the "hardest he’d ever seen in his life".


The day after the match Ashworth admitted to feeling "pretty rough" such that he had decided to pull out of a Lancashire League second-team match at Rawtenstall he was scheduled to stand in on Sunday.  “I’ve spoken to the dentist because that’s the major problem", however, despite his injuries he hopes that he will be able to return to matches as early as next weekend.






Kiran More, a former India vice-captain and chairman of selectors has asked why India, as "the superpower of world cricket", does not have "a single umpire on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP)?".  Only one Indian has been on the EUP since it was formed in 2002, says More, and despite the fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been working on the issue for the last four years (E-News 94-511, 6 September 2007), it needs to address that situation as a matter of urgency.


More, who was speaking in an interview with the 'Daily News Analysis' (DNA) web site, says that despite the "positive steps that have been taken [by the BCCI] in terms of having an umpire academy and better salaries", the Board also needs to ensure the "academy inducts and encourages more former cricketers to opt for, what I would term as, a noble cricketing profession".  He believes that "umpiring is a critical area that plays a pivotal role in determining the overall quality of a cricket match". 


Former wicket keeper More wants former first class players, "who understand the intricacies of the game better than any one else", encouraged and supported to join umpiring ranks on the subcontinent.  "We need many more former players of integrity and high stature to take up umpiring", while "Administrators have to step in and make umpiring a rewarding career option for a former top-level cricketer".  


More points to now retired Indian players Maninder Singh and Yashpal Sharma and claims that they "did not umpire at the highest level because of lack of a favourable system that encouraged or assisted them in taking their umpiring careers forward".  In addition "the rapid growth of media has [provided] a lot of former cricketers with that as a lucrative career option". 


The BCCI needs to "lay equal importance" to finding "the next Dickie Bird, David Shepherd and Srinivasraghavan Venkataraghavan [Venkat]" as it does to scouting for the likes of "Tendulkar, Gavaskar and Kapil Dev".  More says he rests his "case of encouraging former cricketers to take up the job on the simple fact that all the three mentioned illustrious [umpiring] personalities were first class cricketers, who took up umpiring".


More acknowledges that the "recent incident where a television channel carried out a sting operation that showed umpires who had compromised their morality puts a shadow over domestic matches [in India]" (E-News 7445-3651, 21 March 2011).  This is one reason why "transparency in [the] selection process and [the quality of] evaluations of [umpire] performances becomes critical", he says.


"Today, India is an economic powerhouse in global cricket" for it has improved the performances of its national side, and its "stadiums, grounds, player salaries and training academies have all seen an upward swing in terms of quality", says More, however, India lags "shockingly" in terms of the "quality of our home-grown umpires".