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  DECEMBER 2011
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES

TOTAL OF 14 EDITIONS PUBLISHED

(Story numbers 4232-4295)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below


866  867  868  869  870  871  872  873  874  875  876  877  878  879

866 - 1 December [4232-4237] 

• ECB elevates former England bowler to Full List   (866-4232).

• Former Aussie team manager new EAP Regional Referee  (866-4233).

• Tiffin named Zimbabwe's 'Umpire of the Year'   (866-4234).

• NSWCUSA members advised of Hair's departure   (866-4235).

• Counties should return to 50-over game, says Essex coach   (866-4236).

• Pitch damage accused acquitted almost three decades on   (866-4237).
 

867 - 2 December [4238-4240]
• Player looses half of match fee for 'inappropriate', 'deliberate' contact   (867-4238).

• Mid-round By Laws change bemuses disadvantaged sides   (867-4239).

• On-line campaign hopes to avert club's eviction   (867-4240).


868 - 3 December [4241-4243]

• BDCA alters match format decision, reverts to all one-dayers   (868-4241).

• Decision to abandon match supported six months on   (868-4242).

• Council to look again at proposal to evict club from ground   (868-4243).


869 - 6 December [4244-4248]

• Hair 'mystery' continues   (869-4244).

• Long-serving score board operator dies   (869-4245).

• Over 300 attend second ACO National Conference   (869-4246).

• Boon, Hill talk to Gujurat Umpires' Academy   (869-4247).

• Remarkable draw after four days of play   (869-4248).

870 - 9 December [4249-4254]

• CA looks to Board-level restructure   (870-4249).

• One change to ICC third-tier panel for 2012   (870-4250). 

• Batsman denied runner in Ranji Trophy game   (870-4251).

• Improvement needed in Test over rates, says ECB chairman   (870-4252).

• Reprimand handed out for LBW dissent   (870-4253).

• Stone thrown at umpire's car   (870-4254).

871 - 11 December [4255-4258]

• ICC gives umpire Test status ten years on  (871-4255).

• '22 million umpires in Australia' thanks to new 'app', says CA   (871-4256).

• 'Hawk-Eye' but no 'Hot Spot' for Pakistan-England Test-ODI series   (871-4257).

• Northland's umpire 'cupboard is bare'   (871-4258).

872 - 13 December [4259-4263]

• Emerging CA umpire awarded high-profile ASC scholarship   (872-4259).

• Aussie, English officials for SAf-Lanka Tests   (872-4260).

• 'Cramped' BCCI match schedule leads to umpire shortage   (872-4261).

• UK blind cricket panel seeking new members   (872-4262).

• Another English umpire to be cast in bronze?   (872-4263).

873 - 15 December [4264-4269]

• Reduce the number of 'meaningless' ODI matches, says Dravid   (873-4264).

• Bucknor criticises WICB, Windies players   (873-4265).

• CA third umpire revokes on-field decision for first time   (873-4266).

• Manuscript may shed light on former Test umpire's life, career   (873-4267).

• 'MOTM' voting system 'app' scrapped, umpire decision assessment remains   (873-4268).

• Confusion over winner after match curtailed by rain   (873-4269).

874 - 17 December [4270-4273]

• Day-night format again for Pakistan first class final   (874-4270).

• 'Disabled' umpires prepare for inaugural Indian T20 event   (874-4271).

• Doubt over UDRS availability in Pakistan-England Tests?   (874-4272).

• Canterbury facing steep increase in earthquake premium   (874-4273).

875 - 20 December [4274-4280]

• 'Gamesmanship' may be behind Test ball changes, says 'Kookaburra'   (875-4274).

• NZC clarifies domestic referral Playing Conditions   (875-4275).

• On 99 in Test, De Villiers accepts fielder's word on catch   (875-4276).

• ICC names five officials for Australia-India Tests   (875-4277).

• Passing of former Windies first class umpire   (875-4278).

• Less cricket is more, says Warne   (875-4279).

• Bangladesh looking to tour Pakistan next year   (875-4280).

876 - 22 December [4281-4283]

• Use UDRS consistently or scrap it, says Clarke   (876-4281).

• White facing 'serious dissent' charge   (876-4282).

• Sixth-straight Pakistan national final for Haider   (876-4283).


877 - 23 December [4284-4287]

• NZC introduces 'new' umpiring signal   (877-4284).

• Skipper fined $A1,500 for umpire confrontations   (877-4285).

• Batsman 'run out' but behind umpire, therefore 'not out'   (877-4286).

• 'Safety concerns' sees Council ban T20 matches   (877-4287).

878 - 28 December [4288-4291]

• UDRS absence fuels controversy in Australia-India Test  (878-4288).

• Bangladesh chief pushes UDRS use   (878-4289).

• Five match ban for 'angry outburst' sharp contrast to CA 'wrist slap'  (878-4290).

• Scheduling issues behind deferral of Bangladesh, Lankan first class fixtures   (878-4291).

879 - 31 December [4292-4295]

• Dhoni backs umpire decisions, again rejects UDRS   (879-4292).

• New Year honour for former Kiwi umpire   (879-4293).

• India 'holding world to ransom' on UDRS, says Harper   (879-4294).

• Australian Country Championship set for New Year's Day start   (879-4295).

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 866
Thursday, 1 December 2011  

ECB ELEVATES FORMER ENGLAND 

BOWLER TO FULL LIST 

[PTG 866-4232]

 

Former England bowler Martin Saggers, 39, has been elevated to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) full list of umpires for 2012 following the retirement of long-serving umpire John Steele.  Saggers, who retired at the end of the ECB's 2009 season after an 119 first class game playing career that spanned thirteen years and included three Tests (PTG 493-2556, 22 September 2009), was appointed to the Board's reserve list of umpires a few months later, five years after acquiring his "umpiring qualifications" (PTG 538-2757, 23 December 2009).

 

ECB umpires’ manager Chris Kelly said in a statement yesterday that: “We would like to congratulate Martin on his promotion to the full list, which has been the result of some outstanding performances in matches over the last couple of seasons [on the reserve list]. His commitment and attitude on the reserve list has been exemplary and his promotion is thoroughly deserved".  Saggers made his first class umpiring debut in April this year and currently has eight such matches to his credit, the last 12 months also seeing him stand in three 40-over List A games, a Twenty20 involving the touring Pakistani side, plus three Under-19 and one women's One Day Internationals (ODI) as well as matches at county second XI level.    

 

Steele, who turned 65, the ECB's compulsory retirement age, in July, stood in over 500 matches over the last 18 years, a figure that is made up of 205 first class, 225 List A and 60 Twenty20 matches involving county teams.  That career as a match official followed a 16-year, 379 first class match playing career with Leicestershire, Natal, Glamorgan and representative sides that ended in 1986.  

 

The ECB has continued with its preference for former first class players in promoting retired Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire batsman Paul Pollard, 43, and Warwickshire and Somerset all-rounder Mike Burns, 42, to its reserve list for 2012.  Another new reserve list member is Ben Debenham, 44, who played second XI cricket for three counties.  None of the three have yet to stand at first class level, but Debenham has stood in six county second XI games over the last two years, and Pollard one last year, but on-line records available suggest that Burns has yet to work at that level.  

 

Others besides Saggers on the ECB's full list for 2012 are: Rob Bailey, Neil Bainton, Mark Benson, Martin Bodenham, Nick Cook, Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans, Steve Gale, Steve Garratt, Michael Gough, Ian Gould, Peter Hartley, Richard Illingworth, Trevor Jesty, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Jeremy Lloyds, Neil Mallender, David Millns, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Tim Robinson, George Sharp and Peter Willey.  

 

Burns, Debenham and Pollard join Paul Baldwin, Ismail Dawood, Mark Eggleston, Russell Evans, Graham Lloyd, Billy Taylor and Alex Wharf on the reserve list.  Missing from that group for 2012 are Andy Hicks, 44, and former first class player Steve Malone, 58.  Hicks leaves after ten first class matches over the past four years and Malone six over the same time, both also working in numerous other games including Under-19 and women's ODIs.

 

FORMER AUSSIE TEAM MANAGER 

NEW EAP REGIONAL REFEREE

[PTG 866-4233]

 

Former Australia team manager Steve Bernard has been appointed as the Regional Referee for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region.  The ICC says that Bernard was chosen for the position, which will see him involved in a wide range of development and women’s internationals and tournaments throughout the EAP area, due to his "broad cricketing knowledge [and] vast experience managing players, coaches and other team support staff". 

 

Bernard, 61, played 29 first class and 8 one-day games for New South Wales from 1970-78, then went on to be a state selector there from 1983-85 and a national selector from 1993-98, after which when he took over as the manager of the Australia team, a role he fulfilled until retiring earlier this year.  He was quoted in an ICC press release on Tuesday as saying that he is "honoured to have been chosen to work in [referee's] role", and is "excited to be able to contribute to the game of cricket in this manner, particularly focusing on developing the game".

 

The EAP Regional Referee position is one of five the ICC maintains around the world, the others being: Devdas Govindjee (Africa); Adrian Griffith (Americas); Graeme La Brooy (Asia); and David Jukes (Europe).  The tasks assigned to the position include working as the tournament referee for ICC regional tournaments and ICC World Cricket League events; remote referee for women’s international matches and ICC Intercontinental Cup matches; and match referee for One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals involving ICC Associate and Affiliate national teams.

 

Speaking about Bernard's appointment, ICC Global Development Manager Tim Anderson said that “It was encouraging to see the quality of candidates received for what is a part-time and essentially volunteer role". “We welcome Steve to this important role and with his vast experience of cricket we have no doubt he will be an excellent referee".  No details are available as to who else may have applied for or been in the running for the position.

 

The ICC's EAP region includes Australia, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Fiji, Japan , New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Tonga and Vanuatu.

 

TIFFIN NAMED ZIMBABWE'S 

'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

[PTG 866-4234]

 

Zimbabwean international umpire Russell Tiffin, 52, was named as his country's 'Umpire of the Year' for the second year in a row at Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) annual awards night in Harare on Monday evening (PTG 664-3274, 7 September 2010).  During the last 12 months the Harare-born umpire officiated in almost 60 matches across India, Kenya and his home nation, almost half of them being played in the Twenty20 format (T20).

 

Twelve of the games Tiffin officiated in were at first class level, eight in Zimbabwe's Logan Cup competition, including the final, plus three tour matches, and one in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Intercontinental Cup (IC) series for second-tier cricketing nations that was played in Kenya.  The latter match, plus two IC One Day Internationals (ODI) in Nairobi were the only appointments given to him by the ICC itself over the 12 months, however, ZC chose him as the home umpire for six other ODIs played in Harare.   

 

Apart from the ODIs, Harare-born Tiffin stood in another 12 List A matches, six in Zimbabwe's domestic tournament, one of those being the final, plus 23 T20s, two being Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), 11 in ZC's domestic series, one being another season decider, and 10 in the Indian Premier League (IPL).    There were also third umpire appointments in two T20Is, 4 IPL and 3 domestic 20-over games.

 

Prior to his umpiring career, Tiffin represented Mashonaland as a wicketkeeper-batsman before the Logan Cup was accorded first-class status, and made his umpiring debut at that level in 1990 aged 31, going on just two years later to stand in his first ODI.  In 1995 in is ninth game of first class cricket he stood in a Test for the first time, a match in which his partner was the late David Shepherd of England. 

 

In 2002, after 25 Tests and 35 ODIs, Harare-born Tiffin was appointed to the ICC's inaugural top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), the first and so far only person from that African nation to reach that level, however, he was left off the panel two years later because of what reports at the time said were a series of poor performances.  Despite that and the down-grading of Zimbabwe's cricket-playing status for a number of years, he has since his departure from the EUP been appointed to half-a-dozen Tests by the ICC as well as over 50 ODIs, most of the latter by ZC.

 

NSWCUSA MEMBERS ADVISED 

OF HAIR'S DEPARTURE

[PTG 866-4235]

 

The New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) yesterday formally advised its members that former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair is no longer the Association's Executive Officer (EO),  Hair left the position two weeks ago, a move that was recorded on the Association's web site two days later (PTG 862-4215, 18 November 2011), but NSWCUSA chairman Stephen Poole has now advised his members in a letter sent via e-mail of the situation.

 

Poole, who together with his seven colleagues on the NSWCUSA Board passed a 'no confidence' motion in Hair in late August (PTG 828-4048, 9 September 2011), says in his brief letter that "The past three months has been a difficult period for the Association and its operations" but that "A resolution [of the situation with Hair] has now been reached".  Poole concludes his letter by saying that he thanks "Darrell Hair for his work for the Association and wish him well for his future endeavours", but whether the now former EO is still employed by Cricket NSW in another capacity is still not clear.

 

The letter also confirms that former first class umpire Darren Goodger will be acting as the Association's EO "whilst the recruitment process for Darrell's successor is underway".  This morning the employment section of Cricket NSW's continues to say that there are "no current vacancies" available on its books. 

 

COUNTIES SHOULD RETURN TO 50-OVER 

GAME, SAYS ESSEX COACH

[PTG 866-4236]

 

Essex coach Paul Grayson has added his voice to calls for a return of 50-over cricket to the county game.  Earlier this month England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David Morgan proposed that the current forty-over competition be replaced by the 50-over format (PTG 864-4225, 25 November 2011).  Grayson told the BBC yesterday that while he "likes the 40-over format [he thinks] the sooner we go back to 50-over cricket the better [for] "all county cricket should mirror international cricket".  English counties stopped playing the 50-over game after the 2009 season

 

PITCH DAMAGE ACCUSED ACQUITTED 

ALMOST THREE DECADES ON

[PTG 866-4237]

 

Twelve men accused of interfering with the pitch during the first international match held in Indian-administered Kashmir have been acquitted 28 years after the event.  Both India and Pakistan claim the Kashmir region in its entirety and the men were accused of attacking the pitch during the India-West Indies One Day International in October 1983 when "dozens of people" invaded the ground as part of protests about the political situation that prevailed.

 

The invasion was not severe enough to halt the game but the men concerned were arrested on the ground but freed on bail the following year, actual charges reportedly being filed against them in 1989.  One of those charged told Agence France-Presse after the ruling by a court in Srinagar that: "All of us have been acquitted as the prosecution failed to produce any evidence against us".  Another told the Press Trust of India that "police randomly arrested people [on the ground] including a man who was supporting the Indian cricket team".

 

The staging of the 1983 event was controversial and vehemently opposed by those who opposes Indian rule of the region and the crowd is said to have cheered runs scored and wickets taken by the West Indies.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 867
Friday, 2 December 2011   

 

  PLAYER LOOSES HALF OF MATCH FEE 

FOR 'INAPPROPRIATE', 'DELIBERATE' CONTACT

[PTG 867-4238]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday fined one-time Australian Test spinner Michael Beer half of his match fee for clashing with New South Wales' player Steve Smith during Wednesday's domestic one-day match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  Western Australian Beer was reported by on-field umpires Geoff Joshua of Victoria and Paul Wilson of WA for making what media reports say was "inappropriate and deliberate contact" with batsman Smith whilst he was bowling the 35th over of NSW's innings.  

 

Beer, 27, who played his so far only Test against England in Sydney at the start of this year, pleaded guilty to breaching CA's code of behaviour at a hearing convened by match referee Peter Marshall after the game, say reports.  Melbourne-born Beer is the fourth player at state-level in Australia known to have been censured for his actions during a match this austral summer (PTG 858-4194, 8 November 2011), but the first who is believed to have lost part of his match fee.

 

MID-ROUND BY LAWS CHANGE 

BEMUSES DISADVANTAGED SIDES

[PTG 867-4239]

 

Two clubs in the Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA) in Victoria are said to be "seeking an explanation" from league officials after what the 'Bendigo Advertiser' claimed yesterday was a change to the Association's By Laws midway through a round of two-day matches in its second XI competition.  Four of the five matches that were scheduled to start last Saturday could not get underway because of bad weather, but because one game did start BDCA By Laws require that all the fixtures continue this weekend as two-day games, however, the Association has now decreed otherwise, says the 'Advertiser'.

 

The BDCA is reported to have decided that the game that did start, which was between the Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst sides and saw a total of 32 overs bowled before rain stopped play, will continue tomorrow as a two-day match but, says an 'Advertiser' story by journalist Luke West, the BDCA has "taken the unprecedented step" of altering the rules for the other four games which will now be played as one-day matches.  BDCA secretary John Hecker was quoted by West as saying that the decision was made in what he called the “best interest of cricket”, however, the move is said to have "disappointed" the two sides who will have to continue in the two-day format.  

 

Strathfieldsaye president Brent Yates said that "there’s a number of issues around this, and one of the strongest points is how can [such] a decision be made mid-round?"  “I can understand a change in the ruling after a round, but in this case there’s four games being given one set of rules, and another game a different set of rules".  Sandhurst president Stephen Prowse wouldn’t comment on the decision until he received an explanation from the BDCA board.

 

Yates also expressed "concern" about the way clubs learnt of the BDCA's change of approach.  Advice is said to have been sent to clubs via e-mail, but before that there was "no direct communication to the two clubs that were going to be most impacted prior to a decision or ruling", said the Strathfieldsaye president.

 

ON-LINE CAMPAIGN HOPES TO 

AVERT CLUB'S EVICTION

[PTG 867-4240]

 

More than 1,000 people are said to be backing an "internet campaign" to prevent a cricket club in Hampshire from being evicted from their ground after playing there for the last 175 years.  Civic leaders were to meet early this morning Australian time to decide the fate of Lymington club after concerns that people playing tennis adjacent to the ground, or walking through a nearby church grave yard, could be injured by balls hit from as close as 40-50 m away (PTG 863-4220, 22 November 2011).

 

The 'Daily Echo' reported yesterday that cricket club members have repeatedly disputed the safety fears, saying that no one has ever been injured by a ball from the sports ground.  According to the 'Echo' some 1,200 people have signed up to an online campaign called 'Save Lymington', which aims to persuade the town council to scrap a proposal to move the club's home ground.

 

Lymington chairman Peter Tapper praised the “fantastic” level of support shown by supporters, saying that “We’re hoping common sense will prevail and the authority will defer a decision, which would give everyone a chance to get round the table".  Tapper warned that moving the club would set a dangerous precedent for "hundreds of other ground-sharing sports clubs across the country will also be at risk".

 

Despite that most of the councillors are expected to back the plan to move the club, one saying that “the plain and frightening reality is that cricket balls have been landing at great speed a matter of inches from unsuspecting people".  The 'Echo' says that it is not clear what will happen to the cricket pitch if the club loses its battle to stay, but that councillors "have vowed that the land", which 'Google Map' views suggest is near to the centre of the town, "will never be built on and have already rejected an offer for a supermarket on the site". 
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 868
Saturday, 3 December 2011  

 

BDCA ALTERS MATCH FORMAT DECISION,

REVERTS TO ALL ONE-DAYERS  

[PTG 868-4241]

 

Victoria's Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA) yesterday ruled that the second XI match between Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst, which started as a two-day game last Saturday but was abandoned after just 32 overs, will be restarted as a one-day match today.  Concern was expressed earlier this week after the other four games in the two-day round, none of which were able to get underway due to the weather last weekend, were changed to one-day fixtures whilst the Strathfieldsaye-Sandhurst game had to continue under two-day rules (PTG 867-4239, 2 December 2011).

 

While the game between Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst will start again, the individual statistics from last week’s 32 overs will be retained, says a report in this morning's 'Bendigo Advertiser'.  “Seven cricket people [on the BDCA Board] made a decision that we believe is in the best interest of the cricket community", said Association secretary John Hecker yesterday.  “The decision has been made without any prejudice towards any club, we just made what we believe is the right decision [and] after everything that has happened this week, we’ve probably got to what should have been the right decision".

 

Sandhurst president Stephen Prowse said his club's preference was for his team's second XI game to continue today in the two-day format, with all other games at that level being played as one-dayers, as the BDCA board originally stipulated earlier this week.  “The outcome is not our preferred option, but the BDCA Board in its wisdom has made the decision it has", runs the quote attributed to Prowse by the 'Advertiser'.

  

DECISION TO ABANDON MATCH 

SUPPORTED SIX MONTHS ON 

[PTG 868-4242]

 

Cricket Ireland's Cricket Committee decided on Thursday that the decision by the umpires to abandon a knock-out one-day cup match played six months ago between the Limavady and Instonians sides was correct under the Laws of Cricket.  Reports available at the time suggested that Instonians' batsmen did not take the field after the tea break, only returning "under protest" half-an-hour later following discussions off the field, however, Limavady then refused to continue on that basis and the umpires awarded the match to Instonians.  

 

Reports at the time said that Instonians’ Ireland international Andrew White claimed he had been assaulted by a Limavady player during tea after his side had bowled out the home team for 155, an innings in which White took three wickets (PTG 773-3785, 13 June 2011).  Instonians were 1/27 at the interval when the alleged assault took place, and as a result their batsmen did not take the field when play was scheduled to resume after tea.  

 

"More than half an hour later, following talks with the umpires and telephone calls to Cricket Ireland officials", said a newspaper report two days later, Instonians agreed to continue the match, but told Limavady they were "only playing under protest".  However, when the Limavady side, who had been waiting on the field for the batsmen for the half-hour, learned of Instonians' position, they apparently indicated that "there was no point continuing with the match" and walked from the ground (PTG 774-3790, 15 June 2011).  

 

The Cricket Committee ruled on Thursday that Limavady's reaction in refusing to play "was both unjustified and unacceptable and warranted expulsion from the competition".  It was also decided that Limavady will have to play all their fixtures in the cup competition over the next two years away from home, and that any similar transgression by the club over that time called see them expelled from the series altogether. 

 

Limavady batsman Decker Curry, a former Irish international, was later banned from all cricket for a year over the assault (PTG 785-3840, 30 June 2011,  and then failed to have that decision overturned at an appeals hearing (PTG 799-3909, 18 July 2011).  Curry had been suspended for two matches immediately after the game by his club for a separate incident in which he struck the stumps with his bat after he was caught in the slips off the first ball of the game.  Despite his "protests that the ball did not carry to the fielder on the full", he was given out.

 

COUNCIL TO LOOK AGAIN AT PROPOSAL

TO EVICT CLUB FROM GROUND

[PTG 868-4243]

 

Councillors in Lymington in Hampshire have agreed to think again over controversial plans to evict the town's cricket club from the ground it has used for 175 years because of concerns balls hit by batsmen are a danger to others in the vicinity (PTG 863-4220, 22 November 2011).  Civic leaders have drawn up proposals to relocate the club, a move members say would “decimate” its membership and led to more than 1,200 supporters backing an internet campaign called 'Save Lymington' (PTG 867-4240, 2 December 2011).

 

A final decision on the proposed eviction was to have been taken at Thursday night’s meeting of Lymington and Pennington Town Council, however, the issue was sent back to its amenities committee for further debate which could result in an alternative solution, such as placing higher netting in areas of concern.  At the meeting the mayor, Councillor Anna Rostand, said that "in view of the obvious disquiet felt by many, I believe we should go back to the drawing board and have detailed discussions with all the clubs involved".  The cricket club said the deferral would give them valuable breathing space.

 

In a statement issued just before the meeting, members of the Liberal Democrat opposition group within council welcomed the decision to look further at the issue but accused the council of wasting almost £200,000 ($A335,000) of public money on improvements to the drainage system at the ground where the club was to be relocated.  However, the ruling Tories said the drainage work there had to be done anyway, and claimed it was the Liberal Democrats who proposed the scheme.  The matter will now be discussed at the next meeting of the amenities committee, which is scheduled for January.


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 869
Tuesday, 6 December 2011  

HAIR 'MYSTERY' CONTINUES

[PTG 869-4244]

 

Former international umpire Darrell Hair has written to "fellow members" of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) to "clarify a couple of things" about his departure from the Association's Executive Officer (EO) position last month (PTG 861-4205, 17 November 2011).  Hair distributed the letter electronically on Sunday, and Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph' newspaper has reported some of its content in a story published this morning, however, mystery continues to surround just why the NSWCUSA Board pass a 'no confidence' motion against him in August.

 

Hair says in his letter that he wants to "advise [members] about matters [about which] you are entitled to be aware", for "your Board of Directors appears reluctant to do so".  He goes on to confirm the 'no confidence' motion then states that "despite several written requests from me to [NSWCUSA] Chairman, Stephen Poole", "the Board [has so far] failed to provide me" in writing what the reasons behind the resolution were.  As such he believes he has "been denied" his "procedural rights", a comment that suggests on the surface at least, further actions about the matter may be continuing behind the scenes.

 

Hair goes on to say that subsequent to the 'no confidence' motion, Poole had advised him in writing "that the Board had decided that I should not attend the October monthly meeting of the Association", and despite requesting clarification of the reasons for that decision "on several occasions since then", "Mr. Poole has consistently ignored my requests".  According to Hair "he can find no reference in the Constitution of NSWCUSA that gives the Board the powers to exclude any member from attending a meeting and I am at a loss as to the motives of the Board for their actions".

 

At the end of his letter Hair invites NSWCUSA members to contact him if they wish to "discuss or clarify anything further on which you are entitled to be aware of".  

 

This morning's 'Telegraph' story by journalist Dean Ritchie claims that Hair has been "left shattered" by his "dismissal".  A source that was not named described Hair as "extremely angry and disappointed", and that Cricket NSW, who was his employer as EO, "has not offered any public reason for Hair's departure".  He "remains furious at being told by the Association's Board not to attend the October monthly general meeting" continues the story and  makes the claim that "Association members are staggered that Hair has been ruthlessly pushed aside".

 

What actions Cricket NSW is taking to fill the EO position on a permanent basis are not clear at this stage for the employment section of their web site continues to indicate there are "no current vacancies" at the organisation some three weeks after Hair left the scene.  Whether Hair continues to be employed in some other capacity with that body is also yet to be clarified. 

 

LONG-SERVING SCORE 

BOARD OPERATOR DIES

[PTG 869-4245]

 

Kent have announced that George Davison, who operated the scoreboard at their Canterbury ground with his wife Doreen over the past 33 years, died last week.  During his tenure at the ground, Davison is thought to have provided spectators with on-going information of the status of some 330 first class, 210 List A, and 23 Twenty20 matches, plus numerous other games at county second XI and Minor County level, as well as Womens' and Under-19 Tests and One Day Internationals.

 

Kent Cricket chief executive Jamie Clifford said in a statement that "we are a close organisation and George has been a key part of our operation for so many years [therefore] this is an extremely sad day for the club".  “George’s cheery personality brought a great deal to match days at the club, and he will be sadly missed by everyone involved with Kent Cricket.  The club’s flag was flown at half-mast in his memory last week.

 

OVER 300 ATTEND SECOND 

ACO NATIONAL CONFERENCE

[PTG 869-4246]

 

Over 300 people attended the Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) second annual National Conference held at Lord's late last month.  Issues related to the 'Spirit of Cricket' and the use of technology in sport were key themes during the day, the ACO emphasising that fair play issues remain at the top of its agenda.  

 

Steve Carter, co-founder of Hawk-eye, gave a presentation titled 'Hawk-eye is accurate and the world is round', while Lee Marmara and Paul Thurstance introduced 'Total Cricket Scorer' and gave an insight in to the future of the system.  Paul Bedford, the England and Wales Cricket Board's head of non First-Class cricket spoke on discipline and fair play, while Raj Persaud, a leading UK psychologist provided insight into the psychology of officiating, particularly those aspects that related to dealing with conflict and difficult situations.  

 

Football referee Howard Webb, who looked after last year's World Cup final in South Africa, spoke on his experiences at the highest level of that game, a presentation that was followed by a question and answer session that involved Richard Kettleborough who was promoted to the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel earlier this year (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011). 

 

During the day ACO Chairman Roger Knight presented the 2011 Shepherd-Frindall awards in the categories of: 'Behind the Scenes'; 'Young Official'; 'League Panels and Associations; and 'Lifetime Achiever'. 

 

BOON, HILL TALK TO 

GUJURAT UMPIRES' ACADEMY

[PTG 869-4247]

 

Former Australia batsman David Boon, who now works as a match referee with the International Cricket Council (ICC), visited the Gujarat Cricket Association's Umpires` Academy at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera last weekend "to motivate upcoming umpires", say reports from Ahmedabad.  Boon was in the area as the referee for the ongoing One Day International series between India and West Indies (PTG 857-4187, 7 November 2011).

 

During his address at the Academy Bonn, who was accompanied by ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Tony Hill of New Zealand and Indian umpire Sudhir Asnani,  is said to have asked aspiring umpires to "use common sense" in their roles on the field, particularly when "uncertain situations" prevail.  Hill is said by media reports to have described umpiring as "a journey where one could learn something new every time", and also emphasised that umpires need to work in a coordinated fashion with their on-field colleagues as that approach eases the overall workload involved.

 

REMARKABLE DRAW AFTER 

FOUR DAYS OF PLAY 

[PTG 869-4248]

 

Victoria and Queensland yesterday played out one of the most remarkable draws in Sheffield Shield history after both team's scores finished level after four days of play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that saw a total of 1,388 runs scored and 29 wickets fall.  Chasing a mammoth 400 for victory, Queensland finished on 9-399 after a dramatic collapse that saw them loose 4/13 in the last five overs of the game and need two off the last ball to win, but they could only manage a single.

 

The match, which was one of four Cricket Australia (CA) has scheduled for the current austral summer with twilight sessions (PTG 832-4062, 14 September 2011), was looked after on the field by New Zealand exchange umpire Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP).  Reiffel's NUP colleague, John Ward of Victoria, stood on two Plunket Shield first class matches in New Zealand late last month as part of the exchange that involved Gaffaney, the first in Lincoln in Canterbury, and the second at the University Oval in Dunedin (PTG 832-4065, 14 September 2011).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 870
Friday, 9 December 2011 

CA LOOKS TO BOARD-LEVEL 

RESTRUCTURE 

[PTG 870-4249]


Cricket Australia (CA) has given its strong endorsement to sweeping structural changes to the make-up of its Board that have been recommended by governance experts Colin Carter and David Crawford.  CA chairman Wally Edwards is reported to have written to state bodies seeking their support to recommendations made by the pair which include replacing the current 14-member state-elected national board with one that consists of nine non-executive directors, one from each state plus three others.


Edwards said yesterday that it was Crawford and Carter's preference that no conditions be placed on where the new directors would reside, but the current Board felt there should be a 'geographical spread'.  "[Crawford and Carter] were non-committal on the one [Board member] coming from each state, being resident in each state, but the [current] Board felt that was important to maintain our national coverage", for "we are Australia's national sport and our existing structure is spread around the country so the board felt that was important", said Edwards.


Edwards said CA would respond to feedback from the states at its February board meeting and he hoped the new structure could be in place by the end of June next year.  A cricket background would be an advantage for the new board members but not a prerequisite, and there was a 'fair chance' a woman would be appointed to the board for the first time, said Edwards.


The chairman said CA was being prudent and proactive in seeking to update its administration.  "Most of the other major changes in governance in sport happen when there's a crisis ... but we're not in that position [and current moves have] been done in a forward-thinking way", and as such he's confident the board's recommendations will be endorsed by state bodies.


ONE CHANGE TO ICC THIRD-TIER 

PANEL FOR 2012 

[PTG 870-4250]


The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Kenya's David Odhiambo to its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires' Panel (AAIUP).  Odhiambo replaces Namibia's Theunis van Schalkwyk, 35, who has moved to South Africa for work, the only change to the 11-man group for 2012.


The AAIUP for the next year is made up of: Odhiambo and Jeff Luck (Namibia) from Africa; Roger Dill (Bermuda) and Courtney Young (Cayman Islands) from the Americas; from Asia, Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal) and Sarika Prasad (Singapore); East Asia Pacific (EAP) Shahul Hameed (Indonesia); and Europe, Niels Bagh (Denmark), Mark Hawthorne (Ireland), Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Richard Smith (Ireland).  AAIUP members can be assigned to One Day Internationals and Twenty20 International involving ICC Associate and Affiliate Members, as well as Under-19 and Women's international games.


Vince van der Bijl, the ICC's Umpire and Referees Manager, said in a press release that AAIUP "umpires have performed credibly in the last year and the selectors are confident that this panel will continue to grow in stature".  "We wish Theunis well with his future career in South Africa and his umpiring ambitions [and] welcome David Odhiambo of Kenya to the panel".


In addition to van der Bijl the others involved in the annual review and selection process for the panel were: regional match referee David Jukes; former Test umpire Brian Aldridge, who retired from the EAP's umpire coordinator and match referee position in May (PTG 762-3744, 12 May 2011), and the ICC's Match Officials Operations Manager Brent Silva and Development Events Manager Edward Fitzgibbon.


BATSMAN DENIED RUNNER 

IN RANJI TROPHY GAME

[PTG 870-4251]


Bengal were refused a runner for injured batsman Rohan Banerjee in the Ranji Trophy first class match against Tamil Nadu in Kolkata yesterday.  With Bengal struggling at 6/129 in reply to Tamil Nadu's 391, umpires Umesh Dubey and Krishna Hariharan denied the side's request citing the new International Cricket Council (ICC) rule which abolishes runners rather than the Laws of Cricket (PTG 784-3833, 29 June 2011), and Banerjee had to 'retire hurt'.


A Press Trust of India (PTI) report overnight says that Bengal, whose captain is veteran Sourav Ganguly, now a cricket commentator, was either unaware of the ICC rule or that is now applies to Ranji Trophy matches.  Banerjee "had serious injury, so we asked the umpire for a runner but they denied", Ganguly said after the match ended for the day.  


Banerjee stayed in the middle for 17 minutes and faced eight balls but was then taken to the hospital he had come from to bat.  He had been hit in the lower abdomen while fielding at forward short leg on the first day's play on Tuesday and  remained out of action until he went in at number eight.  Bengal's joint-secretary Sujan Mukherjee told the PTI that "we thought the umpires would allow runners, as was in the case during a Under 22 match" earlier in the season.


The runner situation caused confusion in a national Twenty20 final match in Pakistan in October, a situation that led to a long delay in play (PTG 842-4116, 6 October 2011). 


IMPROVEMENT NEEDED IN TEST 

OVER RATES, SAYS ECB CHAIRMAN 

[PTG 870-4252]


Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) says that reforms need to be made to the speed of Test matches and umpires should ensure no unnecessary interruptions occur on the field.  Clarke tole Sky News on Tuesday that "over rates of twelve-and-a-half an hour are not what the spectator is paying for and it's unacceptable" (PTG 779-3813, 24 June 2011).


Commenting on the recent call by England bowler Graeme Swann for the end of 50-over cricket, Clarke said that there was a big demand from the public to watch one-day cricket and there were no plans to change the number of such matches England plays.  "I'm somewhat cynical about [Swann's proposal", said Clarke, for he thinks "some of the people who are leading the complaints are those who want to go on holiday".  


"The spectators are perfectly happy, if they didn't want to come then we've got to think about it very carefully, but the spectators are happy to come and they want to come and see a great team", he concluded.


In June the ICC said that it "was concerned at the slow over-rates in Test match cricket and agreed on stricter sanctions against captains for over-rate breaches" (E-News 779-3813, 24 June 2011).  That led to new rules that mean that international captains will now be suspended from playing if their teams are found guilty of two over-rate breaches in a twelve-month period in any one format of the game, rather than the former position whereby suspensions apply to only one format and do not come into effect until three breaches have occurred over that period.


REPRIMAND HANDED OUT 

FOR LBW DISSENT

[PTG 870-4253]


India batsman Virat Kohlihas been reprimanded for showing dissent after being given out LBW during the third One Day International against the West Indies in Ahmedabad on Monday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that Kohli, 23, stood his ground for "a considerable time" after Indian umpire Sudhir Asnani raised his finger to signify that he had been given out.


"Accepting umpires' decisions is part and parcel of playing cricket and on this occasion Virat clearly showed dissent when he had been given out", said match referee David Boon of Australia in an ICC statement.   Kohli is reported to have pleaded guilty to a Level 1 offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Boon.

 

STONE THROWN AT 

UMPIRE'S CAR

[PTG 870-4254]


Enamul Haque of Bangladesh and Johan Cloete of South Africa, who were the on-field umpires of the third One Day International between Bangladesh and Pakistan on Tuesday, were in a car that was hit by a stone in Chittagong as they were returning to their hotel from the at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.  Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) media manager Rabeed Imam told journalists that nobody was injured in the incident and the umpires reached their hotel isafely.


Imam said that "an object was hurled at the vehicle carrying the match officials that had the Board's security escort" smashing the rear window, but nobody was hurt.  "The BCB condemns the incident and are taking the matter seriously [and] an investigation is being conducted in consultation with local police and we are awaiting a report from them", he said.


Spectators at the stadium are said to have been "unhappy" with Cloete for giving Bangladesh allrounder Farhad Reza out LBW after replays on the replay screen there showed Reza got his bat to the ball.  Chittagong does not have a record of crowd attacks but during the World Cup earlier this year the West Indies team bus was pelted with stones after Bangladesh were bowled out for 58 and lost by nine wickets in Mirpur.


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 871
Sunday, 11 December 2011 

 

ICC GIVES UMPIRE TEST 

STATUS TEN YEARS ON

[PTG 871-4255]

 

Former Australian first class umpire John Smeaton has been officially recognised as a Test official by the International Cricket Council (ICC) ten years after he stood as a replacement in a match between Australia and New Zealand in Hobart.  Smeaton, who started out as the third umpire for that game, joined now-retired West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor on the ground from the second day of that match onwards after Bucknor's colleague, Australian Steve Davis, seriously injured his knee on the evening of day one.

 

Hobart-based Smeaton, who has been campaigning to be recognised as a Test umpire over the past decade, was presented with an ICC umpire's hat, complete with 'JHS - 453' his official Test umpire number embroided on the hat band, during the current Australia-NZ Test in Hobart yesterday.  ICC match referee Andy Pycroft made the presentation in the presence of the current Test umpires, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, Nigel Llong of England and Paul Reiffel of Australia.  New Zealand player Daniel Vettori and Australia Ricky Ponting, who played in the 2001 Hobart Test when Smeaton officiated, were also present.

 

Smeaton, who is now 63, was quoted as saying in an ICC release that he is "very honoured to be recognised as a Test umpire and to join the ranks of the many illustrious men who have donned the white coat" at the highest level of the game.  To stand in a Test "was a dream come true for me", he continued, but it was only "when I arrived at the ground [back in 2001 that] I was informed that I was to be the replacement on-field umpire because" of Steve Davis' injury.  "I had no time to be nervous but was elated at being given the opportunity of a lifetime", and "would like to thank [match referee] Jackie Hendricks, Steve Bucknor and Geoff Allardice [the Australian umpires' advisor at the time], for their encouragement and assistance given to me prior to me taking the field of play".

 

Vince van der Bijl, ICC Umpires and Referees Manager, said that "the cricket community takes great pleasure in welcoming John officially as a Test umpire".  "There are many unsung heroes dedicated to cricket and what it stands for [and] John Smeaton is such a man [for] he has given great service to the game and this recognition delights him, I know, as it does all match officials around the world".  "Cricket has always been a big part of my life and even more so now", said Smeaton, and "I appreciate and thank my fellow umpires and the ICC who were instrumental in this honour being bestowed upon me".

 

Smeaton, who was a member of Australia's top domestic umpires panel for almost a decade, stood in a total of 42 first class matches in the period from 1996-2004, all but five, one of which was the Test, being in the Sheffield Shield competition.  There were also 33 List A games, 28 of them being in Australia's domestic one-day series from 1997-2005, one the final of that competition in 2003. 

 

The ICC says that its Cricket Committee and Chief Executives' Committee decided earlier this year that reserve umpires who "take over as permanent replacements for injured, ill or otherwise absent on-field umpires for the remainder of [a] match, [will] be credited with an official Test appearance".  That decision was reached on the basis that the duties of a third umpire specifically include covering for an on-field colleague should circumstance require, such as injury or illness.  However, the ICC has made clear that providing "temporary cover" for an on-field umpire is viewed as part of the fulfillment of third umpire duties and should not in itself be classified as a Test appearance.  

 

The ICC also mentioned New Zealander Evan Watkin yesterday.  He replaced West Indian Billy Doctrove in a Test at Napier in 2009 (PTG 398-2120, 30 March 2009), and thus receives recognition for that match, a decision that takes his Test tally to three games; his first and second Tests being in the Decembers of 1998 and 1999 respectively.  All-up Watkin, 60, who is still active as a member of Cricket New Zealand's top domestic umpiring panel (PTG 822-4023, 31 August 2011), has to date stood in a total of 123 first class matches since his first in December 1989.

 

The ICC's James Fitzgerald told PTG last night that a full list of those who have umpired in the 2,000 plus Tests that have been played since March 1877 will be released sometime next year.  The ICC is working with the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Scorers to compile the list and each umpire will receive a number depending on the date they made their debut, a system similar to those now given to Test players in their respective countries; hence Smeaton's '453' number. 

 

'22 MILLION UMPIRES IN AUSTRALIA'

THANKS TO NEW 'APP', SAYS CA  

[PTG 871-4256]

 

A telephone application or 'app' that allows television viewers the chance to have their say on "controversial cricket decisions", and even select the man of the match in televised internationals, has attracted "more than four million" hits since its release ten days ago (PTG 865-4230, 29 November 2011).  Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman Peter Young was quoted by 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday as saying that administrators had been "bowled over by the reaction to the app", the collective results of which are provided directly on line to television viewers, and that as a result there are now "22 million umpires" in Australia.

 

Australian Test debutant James Pattinson became the first man of the match in cricket history to be chosen by viewers using the app, more than 27,300 people voting on the award at the end of the first Test against New Zealand a week ago.  Young is quoted as saying that "we knew [the app] was going to be popular", but the interest that has actually been shown has been very solid "across all phone platforms", and because of that success CA has now released a version for iPads.

 

'HAWK-EYE' BUT NO 'HOT SPOT' FOR 

PAKISTAN-ENGLAND TEST-ODI SERIES

[PTG 871-4257]

 

Pakistan's "home" series of Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) against England, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates in January-February, will be supported by the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), however, while 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology will be in operation, 'Hot Spot' will not.  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who were able to provide UDRS technology in the recent ODI series against Sri Lanka thanks to as sponsorship deal with 'Pepsi' (PTG 846-4136, 13 October 2011), has now extended the system's use to also include Tests, but not the three Twenty20 Internationals scheduled.  

 

The PCB's General Manager media Nadeem Sarwar told the 'Cricinfo' web site on Friday that "our marketing department has done a great job to convince the sponsor the UDRS will bring added value to the Test series", and that his organisation "believes in technology and we were very keen to get the Test series covered with [the review system]".  Sarwar went on to indicate that the use of 'Hot Spot', which he called "expensive technology" was not part of the deal signed with their broadcaster partner Ten Sports "but we will be considering the option in our new deal" with  that organisation which is due to be renewed by the end of 2013.

 

The International Cricket Council talked publicly about seeking a sponsor for the UDRS five months ago (E-News 790-3868, 6 July 2011), but it has not as yet announced if it has had any success in that area.

 

NORTHLAND'S UMPIRE 

'CUPBOARD IS BARE' 

[PTG 871-4258]

 

"Umpiring stocks" in New Zealand's Northland Cricket's (NC) competition are at a low ebb, according to a story published in Whangarei's 'Northern Advocate' newspaper yesterday.  NC's Dean Potter, a former first-class cricketer and Board member, has been "scouring the traps" for the past year in an effort to boost numbers, writes the Advocate's Michael Cunningham, but "the cupboard is bare" and the story has been published in order to "raise the awareness of the shortage".

 

Potter says that he's "been to bowling clubs, rest homes, golf clubs, rung ex-cricketers and even advertised in the classifieds" "but with no success".  "My aim was to get 15 umpires, creating a group of [people] that can use umpiring as a social outlet whilst providing a much wanted service to the club cricketers, [for] that would also mean that umpires don't need to umpire every weekend".

 

Cunningham says that "many people see umpiring as a thankless task but [NC] umpire Kevin Salmon refutes that".  "I have found umpiring really rewarding, I can't do every weekend as I watch my children's sport but I get involved as often as I can".  "The more umpires we have the easier it is to do and I know the players really appreciate umpires and as a past player its nice to give something back and, more importantly, it's the best seat in the house", said Salmon.

 

Potter, who as a player is said to have been "known as a tester of umpires", laughed "when asked if he's a poacher turned gamekeeper".  "It's a tough job and you do need to be a little bit thick-skinned, but with the right training and the right attitude it can be very rewarding", he said, adding that "all the gear and uniforms are provided as well as a standing fee and travel reimbursement".  There is a career path available for an umpire prepared to start at the bottom and work up, he said. 

 

The Advocate's story came at the same time as the 'Waikato Times' reported that Hamilton's premier club competition "has recently been starved of umpires", Hamilton Cricket (HC) chief executive Rupert Hodgson describing the sudden shortage as "very frustrating".  "This year it started OK and then just went pear-shaped pretty smartly", he said, and "I thought we'd done the hard yards and we'd been getting people on board and then it just dies as quickly as that".

 

The 'Times' says that HC "have run numerous courses and looked at a lot of different ways to try to recruit more umpires".  Those involved are paid $NZ50 ($A38) for standing in a club match and $NZ80 ($A60) when on their own, but Hodgson said that increasing those payments "was not [on its own] likely to solve the problem".
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 872
Tuesday, 13 December 2011  


EMERGING CA UMPIRE AWARDED 

HIGH-PROFILE ASC SCHOLARSHIP 

[PTG 872-4259]

 

Tasmanian umpire Sam Nogajski, a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) four-man emerging umpires group, has been selected to join the Australian Sports Commission's (ASC) National Officiating Scholarship Program (NOSP) for 2012.  The announcement of Nogajski's selection comes shortly after debut at first class level, the first of the current emerging group to do so (PTG 850-4153, 26 October 2011), both events suggesting he is the front-runner for appointment to CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) after the current season in Australia ends next March. 

 

Nogajski, who turns 33 on New Year's day, is a former grade player in Hobart who is in his ninth season as an umpire.  He been part of CA's emerging group over the past 18 months (PTG 693-3398, 5 November 2010), and was recommended for a NOSP award last year, however, because of what CA's Umpire Manager Sean Cary said at the time was "the high number and extremely high calibre of applicants" in many sports, he missed out. 

 

The aim of the ASC's program, which provides those selected with significant financial support thought to be similar to CA's Project Panel (PP) for former first class players chosen to take up umpiring, is to assist sports officials to fast-track their professional development by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport in national and international competitions. Nogajski is the sixth cricket official selected for the ASC's program over its ten years to date, a time during which over 150 officials from close to a dozen other sports have received scholarships.

 

To kick off their scholarship year Nogajski and the other 2012 recipients, plus their nominated mentors for the duration of the scholarship, in the Tasmanian's case long-serving NUP member Bob Parry of Victoria, are to attend an ASC professional development workshop in Queensland in February, and will then go on to take part in individually tailored programs as well as a range of other related ASC-organised meetings over the next year. 

 

Mick Martell of Western Australia, who was the first cricket recipient of a NOSP award in 2008 (PTG 200-1098, 22 February 2008), went on to be named a NUP member by CA a few months later (PTG 251-1374, 3 June 2008), four months prior to his first class debut (PTG 306-1602, 5 September 2008).  In 2009 there were two cricket awardees, Paul Reiffel the former Australian player who by then had been appointed to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and Tasmanian Steven John (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009); however, John quit umpiring altogether at the end of the scholarship program after missing out on NUP selection (PTG 639-3183, 26 July 2010).  

 

NUP member Ian Lock of Western Australia was selected for the NOSP for 2010, and in 2011 Simon Fry of South Australia, who like Reiffel was already on the IUP at the time (PTG 730-3588, 22 February 2011). 

 

AUSSIE, ENGLISH OFFICIALS 

FOR SAF-LANKA TESTS 

[PTG 872-4260]

 

Australians Steve Davis and Rod Tucker plus Englishmen Chris Broad and Richard Kettleborough, have been named as match officials for the three-Test series between South Africa and Sri Lanka, the first match of which is due to get underway in Johannesburg on Thursday.  Broad will work as the match referee while the other three will share on-field and television umpire positions across the three games.

 

Davis and Tucker will be on the field for this week's opening Test with Kettleborough the third umpire, then in Durban starting on Boxing Day it will be Davis and Kettleborough in the middle and Tucker in the television suite, while in Cape Town in early January in the last match of the series will see Tucker-Kettlebourgh working together with Davis advising on referrals.   The Test series will be Davis' fifth in South Africa and Broad's third as a referee, but the first for both Kettleborough and Tucker, although both of the latter have previously worked in South Africa in either first class or List A games.

 

By series end Broad will have notched up 50 Tests as a referee, while Davis' record will move up to 34 Tests on the field and 5 as third umpire (34/5), Tucker 17/6 and Kettleborough 7/6.

 

'CRAMPED' BCCI MATCH SCHEDULE 

LEADS TO UMPIRE SHORTAGE

[PTG 872-4261]

 

The play-off match for third place in the Plate section of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) national, three-month long, 'CK Nayudu' Under-22 competition, which was originally scheduled to get underway last Tuesday, had to be postponed for five days because of a shortage of match officials, says a story published in Sunday's 'Times of India' (TOI) newspaper.  A BCCI official, who did not wish to be named, told 'TOI' it was "impossible for us to conduct" the game because the overall match schedule was so "cramped" that "we fell short of umpires".

 

The two umpires who were eventually appointed to the game in Vidarbha, Piyush Khakhar and Premdeep Chatterjee, could only reach that city on Saturday, the day before the U-22 game had been rescheduled to start, as they had each been standing in matches in Hyderabhad and Jaipur respectively.  The pair weren't originally lsted to officiate in the game, says TOI, but with "the paucity of officials" they were brought in as soon as they were available.

 

According to the BCCI official "26 [of its] games were going on" at the time in Under-16 boys, Under 19 girls, and other competitions, therefore "you can judge yourself how difficult the job" of scheduling is.  He denied, in response to a question from 'TOI', that the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is played in March-April, is in any way to blame for the cramped schedule.  "Next year onwards we will make sure things go smoothly [and that] matches are still being conducted in professional manner", he said.

 

The BCCI has used a total of 56 umpires in the 65 Ranji Trophy first class matches that have been played to date this season, another 23 games being scheduled between now and the final in mid-January.  Of those individuals 21 have stood in one match each, but so far only one, Rohan Pandit, 30, is new to first class cricket.

 

UK BLIND CRICKET UMPIRE'S 

PANEL SEEKING NEW MEMBERS

[PTG 872-4262]

 

The Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) Umpires Panel is looking for new members to stand in games during the 2012 season.  Matches next northern summer will take place in an area that extends from Hampshire in the south, Durham in the north, Essex in the east and south Wales in the west, and the BCEW is therefore looking for a "good geographic spread" of umpires in order to minimise the travelling required.

 

An unnamed panel member is quoted as saying on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) web site that "visually impaired cricket is interesting and enjoyable, [and] played with an amazing spirit".  “I found the co-operation of the players to each other within their team, to the opposition and to the officials absolutely first class [and] every level of cricket should be made to learn for these players, as they respect their team members, their opponents, the officials, everyone involved with the game and the game itself".

 

All those on the panel in 2012 panel, who are paid £50 ($A80) per match, must be active members of the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials.

 

ANOTHER ENGLISH UMPIRE 

TO BE CAST IN BRONZE?

[PTG 872-4263]

 

Former English international umpire Mervyn Kitchen has been suggested as an appropriate "local identity" to be cast in bronze in a park in the small town of Nailsea in Somerset where he was born.  The Nailsea Town Council is current asking for suggestions from its community about local characters which could be commemorated as part of a plan to have "three life-size effigies of local heroes" who represent the area's culture and history.  

 

Kitchen, now 71, played for Somerset from 1960-79 making 15,230 runs in 354 first class games, before going on to stand in 393 matches at that level as an umpire from 1980-2005, 20 of them Tests that were played in England, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka the West Indies, and Zimbabwe in the 1990s.  A statue of another former English umpire, 'Dickie' Bird from Yorkshire, was erected in his home town of Barnsley in June 2009 (PTG 445-2319, 1 July 2009).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 873
Thursday, 15 December 2011 


REDUCE THE NUMBER OF 'MEANINGLESS' 

ODI MATCHES, SAYS DRAVID

[PTG 872-4264]

 

Indian player Rahul Dravid has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reduce the number of "meaningless" One Day Internationals (ODI) and instead focus the 50-over game on major tournaments like the World Cup.  Dravid, who was delivering the annual Bradman Oration in Canberra last night, believes that efforts need to be put in to bring fans back to the longer form of the game, including work on the possibility of introducing day-night Test cricket, and that players need to give up some of their privacy in order to help curb corruption. 

 

Dravid said that the ICC "must scale down this mad merry-go-round that teams and players find themselves in: heading off for two-Test tours and seven-match ODI series with a few Twenty20s thrown in".   "Since about, I think 1985, people have been saying that there is too much meaningless one-day cricket. Maybe it's finally time to do something about it...Anything makes more sense than seven-match ODI series", he added. 

 

"Test cricket deserves to be protected; it is what the world's best knows they will be judged by [and] I don't think day-night Tests or a Test championship should be dismissed", said the middle-order batsman.  A Test championship series had been mooted for 2013 but commitments the ICC had with its broadcast partner and sponsors has forced the world body to postpone it until at least 2017. 

 

Dravid, the first non-Australian player to give the Bradman Oration, referred to his participation in a day-night first-class game in Abu Dhabi last March, and repeated his statements then that day-night Tests is an idea seriously worth exploring (PTG  753-3696, 5 April 2011).  He said last night that "there may be some challenges in places where there is dew, but the visibility and durability of the pink cricket ball was not an issue". 

 

Dravid also called on players to give up "a little bit of freedom of movement and privacy" if it helps keep the game free of corruption. "Cricket's financial success means it will face threats from outside the game and keep facing them and the last two decades have proved this over and over again".  "The internet and modern technology may just end up being a step ahead of every anti-corruption regulation in place in the game", he said. 

 

"As players, the one way we can stay ahead for the game is if we are willing to be monitored and regulated closely. Even if it means giving up a little bit of freedom of movement and privacy. If it means undergoing dope tests, let us never say no.  If it means undergoing lie-detector tests, let us understand the technology, what purpose it serves and accept it. Lie-detectors are by no means perfect but they could actually help the innocent clear their names. Similarly, we should not object to having our finances scrutinised, if that is what is required", said Dravid. 

 

BUCKNOR CRITICISES WICB, 

WINDIES PLAYERS

[PTG 872-4265]

 

Retired West Indian international umpire Steve Bucknor has "painted a damning picture of the recent crop of players and administrators" in the Caribbean, says a story published in the Jamaican newspaper 'The Gleaner' yesterday.  Bucknor is said to be of the view that the region's once formidable team is now "littered with money-hungry, prideless players" and cannot return as a member of "cricket's elite" in the near future, while the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has failed to focus on a range of key policy issues.

 

Bucknor, the world record holder for Test match appearances as an umpire, is reported to have told the 'Gleaner' that over the last few years he has witnessed an "ugly attitude creep into West Indies cricket [in] a stark contrast to years past".  "A Test match ends under three days and it doesn't matter to the [players]", he said.  "In the days when people were playing for pride, people were sad when they lost a game, [but] today, at the end of a game, [some go] partying or something so the care is not there".

 

Describing the situation as "definitely a loss of pride", the 65-year-old Jamaican, whose first Test in April 1989 involved India and a West Indies team that contained "many proud standard-bearers" including Viv Richards and Courtney Walsh, said that "when you're playing and money is not the factor then you're playing because you love your country. Now, today, money is a factor. You're paid, you lose, it doesn't matter".  He believes there should be a change in the system of compensation for players, for "when they play, there should be an incentive base", then "when you do well, you get paid, when you don't do well, you can't get paid [but] that is not happening".

 

However, its not just the players, continued Bucknor, who apparently made no direct comment on umpiring issues, as "the problem is from the bottom up" and goes all the way up to the WICB itself.  That entity had failed to establish a "West Indies way" of cricket; has not implemented a system to properly teach cricket in each territory; discarding quality, experienced players too soon; hired foreign coaches; and not ensured more cricket is played at the grassroots level, particularly in schools".  "We need academies around the West Indies, every island should have their own academy, and there must be the coaches who coach the West Indian way and think about exactly what they're doing".  

 

CA THIRD UMPIRE REVOKES ON-FIELD 

DECISION FOR FIRST TIME

[PTG 872-4266]

 

A television umpire has for the first time overturned a decision made by his colleague on the field without a request for a review by either himself or the players.  The event, which occurred in a one-day game between Victoria and Queensland in Melbourne last week, was made as a result of Cricket Australia's (CA) decision earlier this year to allow third umpires working in televised senior interstate matches this austral summer to reverse any 'out' or 'not out' decision should a replay suggest that needs to occur (PTG 852-4161, 30 October 2011). 

 

The decision concerned involved a judgement made by National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Geoff Joshua to give Victorian opening batsman Aaron Finch out LBW, however, the very first replay provided to third umpire John Ward by broadcaster Fox Sports showed that there was an inside edge.  Ward, who is also on the NUP, is believed to have asked Joshua via radio to ask Finch to wait on the field while he looked at further replays.  They confirmed the edge and on advice from Ward, Joshua revoked his original decision.

 

CA's Umpire Manager Sean Cary told PTG in September that that the enhancement of the third umpire's role is not a decision review situation and players should not look upon it as such.  CA originally limited the third umpire to making a call on only the first replay shown to them (PTG 833-4067, 15 September 2011), but expanded that after an incident in a match in Perth early in the season (PTG 848-4148, 19 October 2011). 

 

MANUSCRIPT MAY SHED LIGHT ON 

FORMER TEST UMPIRE'S LIFE, CAREER

[PTG 872-4267]

 

Photographic albums, tax records, reel-to-reel tapes and a travel diary belong to the late James McMenamin, a former Test umpire, have been found in a street in the Sydney suburb of Many and nobody seems to know just where they came from, says a report published in the local daily newspaper.  McMenamin, who was born in Paddington, New South Wales, in 1910, lived in Bathurst and died aged 90 in Balgowlah in 2000, stood in four Tests in South Africa in the late 1950s, but little appears to be on record about his life.

 

Amongst the materials found was a draft autobiography that is said to have been written McMenamin, who served during World War II and was awarded a  Military Cross.  That manuscript was "all perfectly wrapped up in plastic covers", said Manly local David Keogh who found the package and is "sure his family would want" the items returned to them.  Just how McMenamin's personal belongings and memorabilia end up being dumped in a street this week is a mystery.

 

Records available on line indicate that McMenamin umpired two Tests in South Africa over the austral summer of 1956-57 which involved England, and a further two the season after that when Australia toured, all four games being played at the New Wanderers Stadium (NWS) in Johannesburg.  If the records are correct he stood in just ten first class matches in his career, his first Test in late 1956 being just his second first class game as an umpire, and the last three a few years later being in South Africa's then first class competition the Currie Cup.  Every one of his first class games were played at the NWS.

 

Just what a man who was born and died in the Sydney area was doing in South Africa over the three years of his umpiring career that are on record is not known, however, what is said to be his autobiography may shed some light on the details. 

 

'MOTM' VOTING SYSTEM 'APP' SCRAPPED,

UMPIRE DECISION ASSESSMENT REMAINS  

[PTG 872-4268]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has scrapped its mobile phone-based system whereby members of the general public can vote on who they believe should be the 'Man of the Match' (MOTM) in international games played in Australia this season.  CA's move came after the negative reaction when the system gave Australian batsman David Warner the award in the Test match in Hobart last week for his second innings century despite New Zealander Doug Bracewell's significant bowling performance.

 

CA spokesman Peter Young was quoted in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday as indicating that the Test series against New Zealand was always going to be a trial of the voting system and that it had to be approved by the International Cricket Council, a situation that does not appear to have previously been made clear by the national body.  Early on Tuesday he said that a review of the MOTM voting arrangement would take several days, but a decision to scrapped it and return the task to ABC Radio commentators was made later that day.

 

Despite the MOTM withdrawal, television viewers will still be able to provide their views on "controversial decisions" made by umpires on the field and the results collected and displayed on live television (PTG 865-4230, 29 November 2011).

 

CONFUSION OVER WINNER AFTER 

MATCH CURTAILED BY RAIN

[PTG 872-4269]

 

There was confusion over who won the western final of the statewide high school cricket competition in Mudgee, New South Wales on Monday when no one was sure just what the rules were for a match that is curtailed by weather.  The 40-over game, between Mudgee High School and its counterpart from Parkes, had to be abandoned after a heavy storm dumped rain on the ground, a situation the 'Mudgee Guardian' says left the ground a mud pool.

 

Parkes had been dismissed for 106 in their innings and Mudgee were 4/59 after 18.4 overs when the storm descended, and play had to be abandoned an hour later due to the state of the playing area.  Both the Mudgee and Parkes coaches are said to have spent several minutes trying to confirm who had won, however, the 'Guardian' report says that the umpire did not know and it was not possible to contact the competition's convenor by telephone.

 

After reading the rules in detail on Monday night, Parkes coach Rod Plummer said it looked like his side would be crowned the winner.  According to him "The rules state both sides have to face 15 overs", and that after that it is run rate that is the deciding factor.  He indicated that because Parkes were dismissed, their run rate is supposed to be calculated as if they had batted their full 40 overs, which in this case gives them a run rate of 2.65, as opposed to Mudgee's "3.21".

 

Despite that Plummer said he wasn't going to celebrate just yet without confirmation and that he was "hoping to hear something" by mid-week.  The winner of the game will advance to the competition's state-wide round of 16.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 874
Saturday, 17 December 2011


DAY-NIGHT FORMAT AGAIN FOR 

PAKISTAN FIRST CLASS FINAL 

[PTG 874-4270]

 

The Division 1 final of Pakistan's first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, is to be played in a day-night format for the second year in a row (PTG 714-3496, 14 January 2011).  The four-day match, which is due to get underway at Karachi's National Stadium on Tuesday, will use pink balls rather than the orange ones that featured 12 months ago, and is the latest trial to determine whether Tests can be played under lights.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board's announcement about this year's final came soon after the Marylebone Cricket Club confirmed that the traditional county season opener between its side and the previous year's champion county, in this case Lancashire, is to be played as a day-night fixture in Abu Dhabi in March for the third year running (PTG 753-3694, 5 April 2011).

 

Four months ago a season-ending county match between Kent and Glamorgan was played as a day-nighter with pink balls (PTG 832-4066, 14 September 2011), while half of the four games with 'twilight' sessions Cricket Australia has scheduled for the austral summer have been played, the other two being listed for early in 2012 (PTG 832-4062, 14 September 2011), and four matches in the West Indies' 2012 first class competition are to be played in day-night formats in February-March (PTG 861-4206, 17 November 2011).  However, CA's matches hardly qualify as day-night fixtures and they are also being played using red balls.

 

Following its annual meeting in May 2010 the International Cricket Council, which earlier in the year indicated that "hard science" was the key to developing a suitable ball for day-night Tests (PTG 597-3003, 6 April 2010), said that it planned to play "an even more pro-active role in the development of a ball" which could be used in day-night Tests" (PTG 610-3061, 24 May 2010).  To date though no information on that work appears to have been made public, and it is not clear from information that is publicly available that the push for day-night Tests is being coordinated in any meaningful way.  

 

Earlier this week long-serving Indian batsman Rahul Dravid reaffirmed his view that day-night Tests and a World Test Championship are “seriously worth exploring” as part of efforts to safeguard the future of Test cricket (PTG 872-4264, 15 December 2011).

 

'DISABLED' UMPIRES PREPARE 

FOR INAUGURAL INDIAN T20 EVENT   

[PTG 874-4271]

 

Ten "disabled" umpires are to stand in matches in India's inaugural Twenty20 tournament for disabled cricketers which is due to get underway in the northern city of Faridabad next Thursday.  Previous events in India involving disabled players have seen fully able bodied umpires officiate, however, the Baroda Disabled Cricket Association (BDCA) decided earlier this year that its members should be encouraged to take up umpiring, says a story published in the 'Times of India' (TOI) yesterday.

 

The BDCA's head, Nitendra Singh, told the 'TOI' that "if disabled cricketers have the talent to play then they can become good umpires too, so, we decided to coach them in umpiring" duties and technique.  As a result an 11-day training seminar for 16 potential umpires from a number of states was conducted in Vadodara in October.  It was run by a panel of trainers that included first class umpires such as Sanjay Hazare and Chandrakant Mohite, and the attendees "did fairly well".  After that the BDCA put those who attended through practical and theoretical tests.

 

"The Indian Cricket Federation for the Disabled [ICFD] has decided that 10 of the umpires who took part in the seminar will now officiate in state, national and international tournaments", Singh told 'TOI'.  One of them, Amul Jadhav of Vadodara, is to stand in a match between the Indian and English disabled sides that is scheduled to be played in the latter country in June next year.

 

DOUBT OVER UDRS AVAILABILITY 

IN PAKISTAN-ENGLAND TESTS?

[PTG 874-4272]

 

A report from Islamabad on Thursday says that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided against using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the three-Test series against England in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January-February.  The story, which has yet to be confirmed, comes a week after the PCB was said to have put in place arrangements that would see ball tracking technology, but not 'Hot Spot', used in all matches England is to play in the UAE (PTG 871-4257, 11 December 2011).

 

PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad is quoted by 'The Daily Times' as saying that "the high costs" involved in UDRS operation prevent it from being used in the three Tests, however, it is expected to feature in the four One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) planned.  "We in principle support the use of the UDRS and want it for both Tests and ODIs, but unfortunately we couldn't reach an understanding with our broadcasters for the [UAE] Tests", said Ahmad.

 

CANTERBURY ASSOCIATION FACING STEEP 

INCREASE IN EARTHQUAKE PREMIUM

[PTG 874-4273]

 

The Canterbury Umpires and Scorers Association (CUSA) in New Zealand is facing an increase of $NZ2,800 ($A2,130) in the earthquake premium for its headquarters in the pavilion at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, a city that was devastated by last February's 6.3 magnitude earthquake.  Hagley Park has been home of cricket in Christchurch since the 1860's, and the pavilion is believed to be the oldest structure of its type in the world.

 

CUSA President Bernie Hamilton was quoted in 'The Press' newspaper on Thursday as saying that his organisation "would be deeply in the mire if we had to try and pay [the latest fee]". "We are just a small organisation and operate on a shoestring budget, and this is a bit on the nose", said Hamilton, who plans to advise the insurance company that the CUSA is a non-profit organisation as opposed to a commercial business.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 875
Tuesday, 20 December 2011  


'GAMESMANSHIP' MAY BE BEHIND TEST 

BALL CHANGES, SAYS 'KOOKABURRA'

[PTG 875-4274]

 

Rob Elliot, the head of Australian ball manufacturer 'Kookaburra', is reported to have "personally picked" the dozen balls that are to be used in the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India in Melbourne next week, says a report published in 'The Age' newspaper there on Sunday.  Balls were changed over half-a-dozen times during the home nation's recent two-Test series against New Zealand in Brisbane and Hobart, however, Elliot says that number of replacements may have occurred because of "gamesmanship" and that modern day umpires are "a more tolerant breed" than officials in the past. 

 

Both the Australian and New Zealand teams claimed to have had problems with the red 'Kookaburra' balls used in the two recent Tests.  The visitors are said by 'The Age' to have "become so frustrated in Hobart that they were on to their third ball within 11 overs of Australia's second innings".  "Whether there was a problem with the ball, however, remains a point of conjecture", writes journalist Jon Pierik, for the Kiwi bowlers "had struggled to extract swing before finding just that with the third ball", its introduction seeing Australian wickets tumble.

 

Elliot told Pierik that he remains perplexed as to why the balls his company manufactures were changed in the two Tests.  After inspecting one of them he said that "the quarter seam had opened up a little bit but it wasn't anything we were duly concerned about, and certainly something I as a player would not have been worried about as the other side of the ball was perfect".  His company "can't readily identify anything" that led to the problems that were experienced, however, he thinks gamesmanship may be a factor.  

 

''I don't mean [players] are tampering with the ball", said Elliot, but rather fielding sides look to change the ball "to break a batsman's concentration [and] try to get another which will swing" better than the one in use.  New Zealand bowling coach Damien Wright is said by Pierik's story to have suggested in Hobart there may have been some gamesmanship involved, explaining that his quicks had no issue with the third ball because it was swinging.

 

Elliot suggested that where umpires of yesteryear may have dismissed player's complaints, the on-field umpires in Hobart, Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Nigel Llong of England (PTG 864-4221, 25 November 2011), are "a different breed of umpires [and] perhaps they are looking at it from a different point of view".  The 'Kookaburra' chief hopes there are no complaints during Australia's series against India for "we think we have picked out the best 12 balls for [next week's] Test match" as "we chose them meticulously".

 

NZC CLARIFIES DOMESTIC 

REFERRAL PLAYING CONDITIONS

[PTG 875-4275]

 

A decision by an on-field umpire in a televised domestic Twenty20 match (T20) played in Auckland on Sunday led New Zealand Cricket (NZC) "to clarify", via a press release yesterday, its Playing Conditions as they relate to an on-field umpire referring an decision to his colleague in the television suite.  During the game between Auckland and Wellington, on-field umpire Wayne Knights referred an LBW appeal against Wellington batsman Michael Pollard to third umpire Barry Frost.  

 

Knights is said to have been "seeking clarification" as to whether the Pollard’s bat had made contact with the ball before it hit the pad, and when Frost confirmed there was none, and with all other considerations for a successful LBW appeal met, Knights gave Pollard out.  Television NZ later quoted Wellington captain Grant Elliot as saying that it was "a big call for the TV umpire to give him out without 'Hot Spot' or 'Snicko' [technologies]", even though it is not unusual for such edges to be clearly visible in basic replays.

 

Rodger McHarg, NZC's National Umpire Manager, was quoted in the release as saying that his country's domestic playing conditions give the on-field umpire the discretion to call for a review from the third umpire should he need further information, "a common sense approach" to such issues being a key factor needed in such a move.  That arrangement has been part of domestic playing arrangements in NZ for the past eight years, however, it has been rarely used over that time.

 

NZC points out though that the arrangement is "very different to international use [as in] the Umpire Decision Review System" operate by the International Cricket Council which is player activated.  In New Zealand's case the rules state that "Players may not appeal to the umpire to use the replay system [and] breach of this provision would constitute dissent and the player could be liable for discipline under the [NZC] Code of Conduct".  Their approach is more along the lines of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Playing Conditions with only the umpires involved, except that in CA's case the third umpire can himself initiate action if replays suggest an on-field decision needs overturning (PTG 873-4266, 15 December 2011).

 

Knights, 41,who was appointed to NZC's top first class panel this year (PTG 822-4023, 31 August 2011), was standing in his ninth T20 match and is an experience umpire for he has also has been on the field in 5 first class and 20 one-day games to date. 

 

ON 99 IN TEST, DE VILLIERS ACCEPTS 

FIELDER'S WORD ON CATCH

[PTG 875-4276]

 

South African batsman AB de Villiers said he had "no regrets" about taking a Sri Lankan fielder's word about a catch that ended his innings of 99 on the second day of the first Test between the two sides in Johannesburg last Friday.  The ball was taken low to the ground at backward point during a tumbling action by substitute fielder Dimuth Karunaratne, and television replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball had carried. 

 

"My initial reaction was that I was hoping the umpires would go upstairs to review it", said De Villiers that evening, "but Jacques Kallis always asks the fielder and when [Australian umpire] Rod [Tucker] asked me if I wanted to go upstairs I said, no, let's ask the fielder".  "I asked [Karunaratne]", continued De Villiers, "he said he caught it and I walked off [and] that was the end of it". 

 

De Villiers, 27, who almost reached what would have been his thirteenth Test Century, told journalists after the day's play that he had not seen a replay of the incident, but "it's past tense now, it's history, I still back the fielder, if he said he caught it, then that's it".  The South African batsman said he had only himself to blame for getting out for "it was a poor shot, I should have put it in the gap, the ball was there to be put away [therefore] it's my own fault". 

 

Sri Lankan batting coach Marvan Atapattu described De Villiers' action as "a nice gesture" but said he personally wouldn't have done the same. "I'm not quite sure [about the catch]".  "I asked [Karunaratne] about it and he said he was pretty sure in calling it a clean catch but I myself, looking from the side, wasn't really sure". 

 

Kallis was short-listed earlier this year for, but did not win, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2011 'Spirit of Cricket' award for 'walking' on two separate occasions during this year's World Cup on the sub-continent after clarifying with the opposition fielder that they had caught the ball cleanly (PTG 821-4020, 29 August 2011).  

 

Indian captain  Mahendra Singh Dhoni later edged out Kallis at the awards ceremony (PTG 831-4059, 13 September 2011).  Dhoni won as a result of what the ICC said was "showing the right spirit in agreeing to allow England batsman Ian Bell to continue batting when he was 'run out' in controversial circumstances during the second Test at Trent Bridge in July (PTG 806-3946, 1 August 2011).

 

ICC NAMES FIVE OFFICIALS 

FOR AUSTRALIA-INDIA TESTS

[PTG 875-4277]

 

Match officials from three regions of the world are to manage the four Test series between Australia and India over the next month, the first match of which is due to get underway at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Boxing Day.  The International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, will have overall responsibility for the four fixtures, while his countryman Kumar Dharmesena, Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Ian Gould of England and Aleem Dar of Pakistan will look after on-field umpiring duties across the series.

 

Erasmus and Gould are to stand in the opening Boxing Day game as well as the second in Sydney early in the New Year, Dar and Dharmesena coming in for the third and fourth Tests in Perth and Adelaide respectively later in January.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) opposition to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) means it will not be operational during the series (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2011), and as a result the three Australian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Simon Fry, are likely to have been selected by Cricket Australia as third umpires.  Oxenford, an aspirant to join Dar, Dharmesena, Erasmus and Gould on the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel next year, has stood in 5 Tests over the last 12 months (PTG 857-4187, 7 November 2011).

 

Madugalle, who played 21 Tests and 63 One Day Internationals for his country in the 1980s, will have stretched his tally of Tests as a match referee to 132 by the time the series ends - the highest number on record.  Of his 128 to date, the first of which was in December 1993, 23 have been played in Australia, 9 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), 8 at the MCG, all of which were Boxing Day games, 3 in Adelaide, 2 in Perth, and a single game in Hobart.

 

The ICC's four umpires are, like Madugalle, all former first class cricketers, having between them played 316 such games during their pre-umpiring careers.  Dar has 17 such matches to his credit, Erasmus 53, Gould 91 and Dharmesena 155, 31 of his being in Tests, while Oxenford and Reiffel also played the first class game, the latter's tally also including Tests.  

 

For Dar the forthcoming games will take his Test record to 70, Gould to 25, Erasmus to 9 and Dharmasena to 8.  The Pakistani, who has been named as the world's best umpire over the last three years (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), is no stranger to Tests in Australia having worked in 18 there in the last seven-and-a-half years, two being in the television suite; the latest being over the last month (PTG 864-4221, 25 November 2011).  Gould stood in three two seasons ago and Erasmus two last austral summer.  Dharmesena will be standing in a Test in Australia for the first time, however, of his 31 Tests before he took up umpiring, one was played in Adelaide and the other Perth, grounds where he is to officiate in next month's Tests.

 

The Test at the SCG will be the 100th played there since the first in 1882 (PTG 860-4204, 15 November 2011), and at the MCG number 104, while for the Adelaide Oval it will be Test 70, and number 39 at the WACA Ground in Perth.  The first ever Test was played at the MCG in 1877, however, Lord's has seen the most Tests with 123, it the MCG and SCG being the only grounds to have chalked up 100 such games so far.

 

PASSING OF FORMER WINDIES 

FIRST CLASS UMPIRE

[PTG 875-4278]

 

Nigel Harrison, a former Barbadian umpire who stood in 13 first class and 10 List A games in the period from 1981-90, died on the weekend after a brief illness. He was described yesterday by close friend and former international umpire Lloyd Barker as a “good umpire” who had a "very good knowledge" of the game and its intricacies.  Harrison, 77 at the time of his death, was a former president and treasurer of the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association.  

 

LESS CRICKET IS MORE, 

SAYS WARNE

[PTG 875-4279]

 

Former Australian player Shane Warne believes Cricket Australia (CA) needs to take a "less is more" approach if it wants to ensure the careers of modern-day players are not cut short by injury.  Warne, one of the most durable cricketers in the game's history, said yesterday cricket authorities had got the balance wrong in placing so many demands on players today, according to a report published in 'The Australian' newspaper this morning.

 

"The bottom line is they have to play too much cricket -- there's just too much", Warne said yesterday, for "It's too much to expect an international cricketer to play one-day cricket, Twenty20, Test cricket, all those sorts of things".  Asked if he had a solution Warne, in the words of 'The Australian', 'unhesitatingly' offered one saying "Less is more. Hence [CA's current] Twenty20 [series involves], only seven games [a side]. Do less. Let the players recover so they've got more time to recover, be fully fit and play properly, so the public can see the best players playing all the time".  

 

Warne, in an apparent contradiction of his 'too much cricket' view, said he was disappointed not all of the country's top players were lining up for the revamped T20 competition.  "Ideally, you should have all Australia's internationals playing as well", he said.

 

Referring to Australia's Test series against South Africa and New Zealand respectively over the last few months, which each involved just two Tests, Warne said "it would have been great to have a three-Test series, but you have got to keep cramming all these games in [and as a result] you are now having two-Test match series".  That's "just not right and they've got that wrong", he said.

 

BANGLADESH LOOKING TO 

TOUR PAKISTAN NEXT YEAR

[PTG 875-4280]

 

Bangladesh are set to be the first team for more than three years to tour Pakistan early next year, provided a security inspection set for next month proves to be satisfactory.  No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team and match officials in March 2009, an incident that saw eight people killed and others critically injured (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Mustafa Kamal said on the weekend that his Board had "agreed to form a security committee to visit Pakistan in January 2012 to review their security measures so as to ensure proper security arrangements are in place prior to arrival of Bangladesh team in Pakistan".  "My board further agreed that the Bangladesh cricket team will visit Pakistan in April 2012 as per International Cricket Council's future tours program", and "I hope this way, slowly and gradually, international cricket will come back to Pakistan".

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 876
Thursday, 22 December 2011  


USE UDRS CONSISTENTLY OR 

SCRAP IT, SAYS CLARKE

[PTG 876-4281]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke has called for the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to either be used across the board for the examination of contentious decisions or be scrapped in its entirely.  While television viewers will have access to high-speed cameras, 'Hot Spot' and ball tracking technology in Australia's forthcoming Test series against India, umpires on the ground will not, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India opposes UDRS use.

 

Clarke said yesterday that it was time for the International Cricket Council to make a call.  ''I am not bothered either way", he said. ''I would just like to see a broad decision made for every team. I would like to see it in Test cricket and one-day cricket, or in one or the other, or not used at all. I find it a little bit inconsistent".  The Australian skipper said he was happy to abide by the on-field umpires' decisions for "at the end of the day, the umpires will do their best to make the right decision".  "I would like to make a hundred every time I walk out on to the field but it doesn't happen, we make mistakes, we make errors", just as umpires sometimes do. 

 

A story published in the 'Times of India' yesterday says that the lack of the review system "could make on-field umpires look silly" during the forthcoming Tests in Australia.  It also claims that India's refusal to accept the technology has upset Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine.  Brad McNamara, the executive producer of the channel's cricket coverage, is quoted as saying that  "we are not really sure what they are basing that on. I just hope they are not basing their judgements on the inferior technology instead of the good one". 

 

WHITE FACING 'SERIOUS 

DISSENT' CHARGE

[PTG 876-4282]

 

Cameron White, the captain of one of the two Melbourne sides in Cricket Australia's (CA) revamped Twenty20 series, has been charged for showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision during the match against Brisbane on Tuesday night.  White was reported by CA National Umpire Panel members Ian Lock of Western Australia and Paul Reiffel of Queensland for incidents that occurred in the seventh and eighteenth overs as Brisbane chased Melbourne's total.  The matter has been referred to the CA code of behaviour commission and the case is to be heard by Glen Williams QC this evening.

 

SIXTH-STRAIGHT PAKISTAN NATIONAL 

FINAL FOR HAIDER

[PTG 876-4283]

 

Pakistan umpires Zameer Haider and Ahsan Raza are standing in the five-day final of their country's first class competition, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, which is being played as a day-night match for the second year running (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2011).  For Haider its his sixth final in a row and 101st first class match, while Raza is officiating in his first season decider and 61st game at that level.

 

The match in Kararchi between last year's finalist Pakistan International Airlines and Zarai Taraqiati Bank, is starting at 1 p.m. local time each day, has a 20 minute break at 3 p.m., then a 40 minute interval that starts at 6.10 p.m., the final session running from 6.30 p.m. until the close at 8.30 p.m.  Sunset falls in the city at 5.47 p.m. each day at this time of the year, therefore part of the second session and all of the last are being played under lights, a pink ball being used.  

 

Haider and Raza, who are both on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, are being supported by their third umpire colleague on the panel, Shozab Raza, who is in the television suite, fourth umpire Kamal Marchant and match referee Khatib Rizwan.  The latter is a former first class player who is working as a referee in a match at that level for the 97th time. 

 

The final carries a purse of 1,750,000 Pakistan rupees ($A19,300). The winners are awarded one million Rupees ($A11,000), the runners-up taking 500,000 ($A5,500).  The man of the match will receive Rs.50,000 ($A550), the same amount that will go to the players judged to be the 'best batsman', 'best bowler', 'best fielder' and 'best wicketkeeper'. 
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 877
Friday, 23 December 2011  

 

NZC INTRODUCES 'NEW' 

UMPIRING SIGNAL

[PTG 877-4284]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has introduced what it says is "a new umpiring signal" that is to be used when on-field officials in televised domestic matches request the third umpire to conduct a review of the situation that prevails.  Under the new arrangement, the on-field umpire will cross their wrists while their hands are above their head, then contact the third umpire by radio and ask "very specifically" what their request is.

 

NZC says that the new signal has been initiated to clarify "the difference between a referral, where the third umpire is called upon to make a decision, and a review, where the on-field umpire does not transfer the decision but requests assistance". A decision by an on-field umpire in a televised domestic Twenty20 match (T20) played in Auckland last Sunday led NZC "to clarify" what its Playing Conditions say about reviews the following day (PTG 875-4275, 20 December 2011).

 

The latest NZC release yesterday says that a referral places the decision making outcome totally in the hands of the television umpire, and occurs when the on field umpire makes the now standard TV screen shape signal with his hands.  Referrals cover appeals for things such as run outs, stumpings, hit wicket, caught and bump ball, situations when the television umpire signals his final decision via red or green lights and the like.

 

On the other hand a request for a review with the wrists crossed above the head, "does not transfer the final decision to the third umpire [for] the ultimate decision remains with the on field umpire [as] he has simply asked the third umpire for [any] assistance and clarification [he might be able to provide]".  

 

NZC indicates that such reviews could cover such matters as "a possible 'no ball' following a dismissal [including over waist deliveries], the batsmen running to the same end, a boundary decision, obstructing the field, [or] whether the batsman hit the ball before the ball hit his person before being caught", or in the case last Sunday, whether the batsman hit the ball in a potential LBW situation.   After signalling his request and indicating what he requires of the third umpire, the on-field umpire is also required to advise the players the reason for his review.

 

The third umpire is to advise his on-field colleague of the outcome of his review, and it is the latter who signals his final decision.  NZC says that "it is important for the TV Director to know [when the on-field umpire has the information he requires] so that if appropriate a camera can focus on the umpire [when he signals his] decision".

 

SKIPPER FINED $A1,500 FOR 

UMPIRE CONFRONTATIONS  

[PTG 877-4285]

 

Melbourne-based player Cameron White has been fined  a total of $A1,500 for twice showing dissent towards an umpire during his team's Twenty20 match against Brisbane on Tuesday night (PTG 876-4282, 22 December 2011).  White, who captains his side and has played for Australia in all three forms of the game, pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing last night to two breaches of Cricket Australia's (CA) code of conduct.

 

Press reports say that White first showed dissent when a bouncer delivered in the seventh over of Brisbane's innings by England import Luke Wright was called a 'wide', and again twelve overs later when a Clint McKay full toss, which was hit and caught at cover, was ruled a 'no ball' on height, "perhaps harshly" says one account of the decision.  White is said to have "remonstrated" with the same umpire in both cases, and was fined $A1,000 for the first incident and $500 for the second.

 

CA National Umpire Panel members Ian Lock of Western Australia and Paul Reiffel of Queensland were on the field for the match, however, which of them was the target of White's dissent is not clear

 

BATSMAN 'RUN OUT' BUT BEHIND 

UMPIRE, THEREFORE 'NOT OUT'

[PTG 877-4286]

 

Tasmanian batsman Ed Cowan may have won selection in the Australian side for next week's Boxing Day Test against India after a series of impressive first class Centuries this austral summer, but he was somewhat lucky to have chalked up his latest in the tour match against the Indians in Canberra on Tuesday.  Reports from the game say that he "was clearly" run out when on 95, however, National Umpire Panel member John Ward of Victoria was caught out by the situation that prevailed.

 

Indian fieldsman Rohit Sharma broke the stumps with a direct hit as Cowan was attempting to complete a run but, in the words of one press report "Cowan either intentionally or by a brilliant accident ran behind where Ward had positioned himself and the man in white had no idea where the left-handed Tasmania batsman was".  Journalists say that Cowan "was caught a metre short", however, with no television replays available, Ward had no choice but to say 'not out'.

 

'SAFETY CONCERNS' SEES 

CITY BAN T20 MATCHES

[PTG 877-4287]

 

The City of Boroondara in inner-eastern Melbourne is reported to have banned the playing Twenty20 (T20) matches on its sports grounds because of the risk of injury and property damage, says a story published in Victoria's 'Herald Sun' newspaper yesterday.  The paper says that it believes that after a car window was shattered by "a soaring ball" the City conducted a "risk review" of its sports facilities, and that the findings of that investigation "prompted the ban" 

 

"Scores of clubs" are said to have been affected by the changes, with at least one has been forced to forfeit its T20 home games, while others have had to change grounds, claims the newspaper's report.  It says that cricketers in the area have described the ban as " one of the most bizarre enforced on sports clubs in Victoria".  

 

"It's just a stupid situation", said Burwood Cricket Club president Tony Canterbury, for "you either ban [all cricket] or you live with the risk".  "The main frustration is that we can play a one-day game on a ground but we can't play a Twenty20", who pointed out that "players can still hit a six" in a one-dayer.

 

Camberwell Magpies president Anthony Hall said that "It frustrates the hell out of me to be told we can't play at our club".  "I'm happy to abide by the rules for the time being, but the council hasn't come back and said how they are going to fix the situation".  Eastern Cricket Association vice-president Paul Zennaro said: "For local government, it's worth remembering the important role cricket plays".

 

Despite those comments a representative of the city said its ban is necessary because many of its grounds are "too small or too close to public areas" such as "roads, playgrounds, houses or paths".  "There are about 40 grounds at which we currently don't allow Twenty20 cricket", said community development director Jacqui Briggs.  She indicated that reviews had begun on risk control measures, including the possibility of additional fencing or moving pathways, so bans could be lifted.

 

A council in the English county of Hampshire is currently investigating whether its local cricket club should be evicted from a ground it has occupied for the last 175 years because of concerns balls hit by batsmen are a danger to others in the vicinity (PTG 868-4243, 3 December 2011).

 
 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 878
Wednesday, 28 December 2011  

UDRS ABSENCE FUELS CONTROVERSY 

IN AUSTRALIA-INDIA TEST

[PTG 878-4288]

 

A number of umpiring decisions in the first Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over the last two days have further fuelled debate about the inability of teams to refer controversial decisions to the third umpire via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  The system is not in operation during the four-match series as its use has been vetoed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

 

A story published in the 'Times of India' a week ago said that the lack of the review system "could make on-field umpires look silly" during the Tests in Australia as in contrast to the umpires the general public have access to a full range of technological data via television that are normally also used to make up the UDRS (PTG 876-4281, 22 December 2011).  Australian journalists yesterday savaged the inability of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make the review system universal in all Tests, and again queried the BCCI's approach to the issue, after Australian batsmen Mike Hussey and Ed Cowan were given out during day one of the match on Monday. 

 

Hussey registered a first-ball duck when a particularly fast delivery from Zaheer Khan rose sharply off a length and the Indians appealed for a catch behind, a request that was answered by South African umpire Marais Erasmus with a raised finger, but only after considerable deliberation.  Television replays, including slow motion shots and 'Hot Spot', later suggested that the ball had in fact brushed Hussey's sleeve on its way to the keeper.  With the UDRS not active, Hussey was not able to ask for a review of Erasmus' call.

 

Test debutant Cowan was later given out caught at the wicket by Erasmus' colleague, Ian Gould of England.  Asked by journalists at the end of the day's play about the decision Cowan said that "you saw the replays, you saw my reaction, and you can join the dots I guess".  He continued by saying that "as someone who loves their cricket and has watched a lot of cricket, I just don't understand why the ICC [can't make UDRS compulsory] in all games".  "It is an interesting" situation, said Cowan, but "I am sure it'll even itself out over the course of the series".

 

Despite the difficulties involved in making what appeared to be fine-line decisions, words like "howlers" and "blunders" were used by Australian journalists in their reports to describe those decisions by Erasmus and Gould.  Little reference was made though to the fact that ball tracking technology suggested that Australian wicketkeeper and vice captain Brad Haddin should have been given out LBW late on day one, however, he survived as Erasmus ruled him 'not out', the intitial naked eye view on television suggesting the ball had pitched outside leg.

 

Technology came into play again late on day two yesterday when Australian paceman Peter Siddle bowled Rahul Dravid only for the wicket to be overturned after Erasmus referred it to third umpire Paul Reiffel of Australia who confirmed Siddle had overstepped.  Haddin told journalists last night that he is not concerned by the umpires' ability to use replays to review suspected no-balls even though the UDRS is not in operation for the four-Test series.  "That's the rules of this series, life goes on, simple as that I think", he said.

 

Veteran journalist Malcolm Conn expresses the view in this morning's 'Herald Sun' in Melbourne that "India's unjustifiable opposition to the [UDRS] has left this tour in a technological mess".  "While umpires can use it to check line decisions such as no-balls, run outs and stumpings, and also to check disputed catches, players no longer have the right to review dodgy decisions".  Former England captain and now long-time television commentator Tony Greg made the claim yesterday that the absence of the UDRS "could cost either side the series".

 

In contrast, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly is quoted in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' as saying that the UDRS has been "flawed since day one" and his country has every right to reject it.  UDRS-related incidents in the World Cup (PTG 734-3607, 3 March 2011), and during their side's tour of England earlier this year have added to those concerns, but former Australian captain and more recently Indian coach Greg Chappell said yesterday that "technology is not perfect but the technology has taken the pressure off the umpires".

 

The ICC agreed for a second time to make UDRS compulsory in Tests and One Day Internationals in June (PTG 783-3830, 28 June 2011), only for it to reverse that decision four months later after pressure from the BCCI (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2011).  

 

BANGLADESH CHIEF 

PUSHES UDRS USE

[PTG 878-4289]

 

Mustafa Kamal, the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), has claimed that what he termed "weaker teams" in international cricket get the "short end of the stick" when it comes to umpiring decisions, says a story posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site on Monday.  As a result Kamal, who is potentially in line to take over as the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2014, indicated that the BCB is keen that its next television broadcast contract, which is due to start next April, includes the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) "in all our games".

 

The BCB chief, who was speaking during the launch ceremony for next year's Asia Cup, said that he "was listening to the commentators during the recently concluded [Test series against] Pakistan" and that "everyone mentioned there that we got bad decisions".  Kamal said that given his current position on the ICC Board he "cannot talk against umpires", but that "if those decisions went our way, the cricket would have been more competitive".  He then went on to make that claim about weaker teams getting more "wrong decisions", although it appears that he did not provide any details to back that assessment up.  

 

Kamal was referring to the fourth day of the second Bangladesh-Pakistan Test last week when Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was given out caught by West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove, however, replays appear to suggest the ball had struck his helmet before lobbing to slip at a crucial time in his side's second innings.  That led to "a loud clamour" in Bangladesh for the UDRS to be operational, a situation that followed similar calls in the past by some Bangladesh officials.

 

FIVE MATCH BAN FOR 'ANGRY OUTBURST'

SHARP CONTRAST TO CA 'WRIST SLAP'

[PTG 878-4290]

 

A player in the Ballarat Cricket Association (BCA) in Victoria has been banned for five matches after an "angry outburst" in the final of the BCA's Twenty20 competition two weeks ago and will not be available to return to the game until the last home-and-away round of the current season in late February. The decision appears in sharp contrast to the relatively small monetary fine handed to a higher-profile cricketer by Cricket Australia (CA) last week. 

 

BCA club Mount Clear's Ash George was given nine matches overall for his actions, however, four have been suspended until the end of the 2012-13 austral summer.  The 'Ballarat Courier' said yesterday that George made 13 runs in the final against Wendouree but was then "run out at the non-strikers end".  An independent jury found he then "reacted inappropriately towards the umpire that gave him out, vocally cursing him as he disputed the decision".  

 

Mount Clear president Anthony Tigchelaar is reported by the 'Courier' to have said his club was satisfied with the tribunal’s decision and that it would continue to work with George to help him improve his on-field behaviour.  He went on to say that ‘‘we would also like to apologise to the umpire fraternity, [for] that’s not what we are about as a cricket club", however, the "club stands by Ash and will help him accept the challenge to improve".

 

Under rules established by Cricket Victoria, the captain of a team that had a player suspended is subject to receiving the same penalty as a player in his team.  However, George's captain Matt Goonan avoided a penalty as the BCA opted earlier this year not to implement that rule for the 2011-12 season.  Association president Alan Parker told the 'Courier' the BCA had initially resisted implementing the rule, before bringing it in for a brief period, but the rule was later modified and now stipulates that a captain can be penalised, but only if the reporting umpire deems it to be deserved.

 

Parker is reported to have said that captains were not always able to control the actions of their players and hence could not always be held responsible.  In George’s case his captain "could not have prevented the outburst and was subsequently not penalised".

 

Eight days ago Cameron White, the captain of one of the two Melbourne sides in CA's revamped Twenty20 competition, was fined $A1,500 for twice dissenting from an umpiring decision in a match played in Brisbane, but he was not suspended (PTG 877-4285, 23 December 2011).  On the first occasion White reacted angrily when a ball that bounced over a Brisbane batsman's head was called 'wide'.  Television footage suggests he said in part to umpire Ian Lock of CA's National Umpire panel, "You're fucking hopeless". 

 

White's fine is thought by some to amount to around one percent of his total earnings for the current T20 competition.

 

SCHEDULING ISSUES BEHIND DEFERRAL OF 

BANGLADESH, LANKAN FIRST CLASS FIXTURES

[PTG 878-4291]

 

The first class domestic competitions in both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were put on hold last week and there is as yet no indication as to when they will resume.  In Bangladesh's case the decision was taken because of a clash with a 50-over tournament, while several conflicting reasons have been given as to why Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made the move.

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) postponed the last round of its 34-match National Cricket League (NCL) in order to accommodate the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), a 50-over tournament.  The two NCL fixtures involved, which were to have begun last Saturday, were postponed the day before they were due to get underway, and a date for them is yet to be announced.  BCB tournament committee chairman Gazi Ashraf Hossain said that DPL organisers, as well as several first class sides, had requested the "temporary" suspension because of scheduling difficulties. 

 

A few days before the BCB's decision, the SLC "indefinitely postponed" the opening round of its domestic first-class Premier Tier A and B matches which were to have begun last Wednesday.  SLC's head of cricket operations, Ashley de Silva, was quoted by "Cricinfo' as saying that the clubs requested a postponement on the grounds that there would be "too much cricket following the end of [its] Premier limited-overs tournament". 

 

Despite that reports say that the clubs involved are concerned about outstanding payments from SLC and what is being described as the ad hoc manner in which the matches have been scheduled.  "We have to play a [three-day] match every three days and this is not feasible", said one administrator, for "a lot of players face problems taking leave from work, and [they are] also at risk of burnout and injuries with no proper break between matches".

 

The SLC is reported to pay 2.7 million Sri Lankan rupees ($A23,300) to each of its 11 Tier A clubs, and 2.3 million ($A20,000) to the 10 Tier B clubs, each season. The clubs utilise this money to pay the players, ground fees, and cover other expenses such as practice sessions and food.

 PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 879
Saturday, 31 December 2011  

DHONI BACKS UMPIRE DECISIONS, 

AGAIN REJECTS UDRS

[PTG 879-4292]

 

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains distrustful of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and will not endorse its use despite a number of umpiring decisions being questioned by television technology during the first Test between his side and Australia in Melbourne earlier this week (PTG 878-4288,  28 December 2011).  On the other side of the ledger, Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, who has long supported the UDRS (PTG 762-3746, 16 May 2011), is said by reports yesterday to be "adamant" that it must be used in all international matches, describing the current situation as a ''transition period'' to its full use, while former umpire Daryl Harper says the world in being held to ransom over the matter by the indians (PTG 879-4294 below).

 

Dhoni left little doubt about his position after the Test ended on Thursday evening, saying he was content to live with umpires' mistakes, even when they go against his side.  ''I still put my money on the umpires because they have been doing the job", he said, a year after calling on them to "minimise their errors" (PTG 693-3400, 5 November 2010).  Cricket is "a game where you commit mistakes", continued Dhoni, for "if the bowler doesn't commit a mistake the batsman can't score runs, and if the batsman doesn't make a mistake the bowler can't take wickets", therefore umpire errors are "part and parcel of the game", therefore "if mistakes are not committed intentionally, I am perfectly fine with it".

 

"If a mistake is committed by the umpire, it should not affect him", said the Indian captain. "If as an umpire you give something out when it's not-out, you don't need to go into your shell thinking you have made a wrong decision. If the next ball the umpire feels it is out, he should boldly give the decision.  We [the players] come back to our dressing-room after bowling and only two batsmen go out to bat, but [the umpires] are the people who stand there for five days [in a Test and] we need to back their decisions". 

 

Sutherland told ABC Radio around the same time that ''the technology is here, the viewers are watching it on TV and we're not using it" in decision-making.  "The number of [umpiring] decisions that were correct have increased with the introduction of UDRS and I think the entertainment value of cricket has increased', said the CA chief, who described the current situation as "just a transition period [and] hopefully that transition period won't last for too much longer".  

 

''My sense in talking to Indian administrators is that there a couple of players within the Indian team that don't have a lot of confidence in UDRS", continued Sutherland, and "perhaps we need some pretty awful decisions to go against Indian batsmen".  Some Indian players have publicly expressed support for the system in the past (PTG 767-3764, 28 May 2011), while media outlets on the sub-continent have also queried the stance taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 780-3819, 25 June 2011).

 

India agreed to the use of UDRS, but without the ball-tracking component, on its tour of England earlier this year (PTG 802-3922, 21 July 2011), however, his experience in that series further tainted its captain's view of the technology (PTG 825-4032, 6 September 2011).  He told reporters on Thursday that "before the start of the England series I was a big fan of 'Hot Spot' but [after experiencing it there] I don't have the same kind of confidence".  Australian television broadcaster Channel 9 says its ball-tracking and 'Hot Spot' technology is superior to that used elsewhere and, despite India maintaining its policy on the issue, some reports say that CA is hopeful of an about-face soon.  

 

CA has expressed such a view in the past (PTG 650-3221, 11 August 2010), as has Cricket South Africa (PTG 688-3380, 25 October 2010), and the International Cricket Council (PTG 705-3459, 21 December 2010), however, to date no progress has been made on the issue.  The Indians have been the most vocal opponents of the system since their first experience of it during its initial trial in Sri Lanka over three years ago (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008).

 

Meanwhile, reports yesterday say that the 15-match One Day International tri-series between Australia, India and Sri Lanka that will be played in February-March, will not see the UDRS operational, even though both Australia and Sri Lanka are in favour of its use.  A CA spokesman was quoted by the 'Sydney Morning Herald' yesterday as saying that all three teams needed to agree on the matter, and "you can't have a tournament where it applies to some games and not to others".

 

NEW YEAR HONOUR FOR 

FORMER KIWI UMPIRE 

[PTG 879-4293]

 

Former New Zealand international umpire Brian Aldridge, who retired as the International Cricket Council's Umpire Coordinator and Regional Referee for the East Asia-Pacific (EAP) region in May (PTG 762-3744, 12 May 2011), has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal in his nation's 2012 New Year's Honours List "for services to cricket administration".  

 

Aldbridge, 71, who stood in 26 Tests and 45 One Day Internationals in the period from 1986-95, left the EAP position in order to concentrate on assisting family and friends affected by the earthquake in his home town of Christchurch in February.  His EAP job was later filled by two people, Australian Bob Parry being named as the region's umpire manager (PTG 772-3778, 9 June 2011), and former Australian team manager Steve Barnard its regional referee (PTG 866-4233, 1 December 2011).

 

INDIAN 'HOLDING WORLD TO RANSOM' 

ON UDRS, SAYS HARPER 

[PTG 879-4293]

 

Former Australian international umpire Daryl Harper is quoted as saying in today's 'Adelaide Advertiser' that India’'s’ refusal to use cricket’s Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is a calculated move to preserve "a successful approach to over-appealing that is neutralised by technology".  Harper says India is holding the world to ransom while "a weak International Cricket Council (ICC) fails to enforce mandatory adoption of a [UDRS]" which is wanted by the other nine Test nations.

 

Harper told journalist Richard Earle yesterday that "if you get one wrong [without the UDRS] it can’t be rectified".  "It is a ludicrous situation which makes every situation magnified [and] is very frustrating", said the former umpire who was dropped from the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel in June after standing in 95 Tests and 175 One Day Internationals (PTG 766-3757, 26 May 2011).

 

"The technology is not 100 per cent accurate but it never will be. It is not perfect but it is a step in the right direction", said Harper.  According to him there is a widespread view among Test nations and many in the umpiring fraternity that the real reason India opposes the UDRS is that the aggressive appealing and intimidation of match officials that win dubious verdicts would be short-circuited by technology.

 

Harper’s career was ended one Test early after a series of challenges from Indian players during their tour of the Caribbean in June (PTG 787-3853, 2 July 2011).  He told Earle that "in the pre tour meeting with the West Indies manager, coach and captain they were very concerned that the excessive appealing by the Indians was influencing the umpires and that cricket wasn't being played in the best spirit".  

 

"I told them we would be vigilant and what happened in the first Test?, one of the [Indian] fieldsmen charged at least 13 m down to my colleague Ian Gould demanding a bad pad catch be given".  "The ICC is doing no controlling and the rest of the world is being held to ransom [and] the man on the street is asking how can the ICC allows this to continue".

 

AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP 

SET FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY START

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Seven country teams from around Australia and a representative side from the International Cricket Council's East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region are to take part in the 2012 Australian Country Cricket Championships which get underway in Geelong, Victoria, tomorrow.  At least 13 umpires, most from country Victoria, but one of whom is from the EAP, are expected to take part the 12-day event, however, Cricket Australia makes no mention of them in a press release issued yesterday. 

 

Clive Elly from Papua New Guinea (PNG) was named as the EAP umpire last month (PTG 864-4223, 25 November 2011), others whose names have been mentioned in random press reports in various media over the last week include: Allan Berry; Dale Carroll; Andre Conradie; Mark Dumble; Nick Frampton; Brian Jones; Chris and Neil Martin; Wayne Robbins; Mark Stockwell; Dean Wilson; and John Wirz.  The latter dozen are thought to come from various parts of country Victoria.  No details are available about the scorers for the tournament. 

 

Players from country parts of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia, plus an EAP side made up of members from Fili, PNG, Samoa and Vanuatu, will each play seven games made up of a mixture of two-day, one-day and Twenty20 formats.  Three rest days have been included over the nearly two-week event, the only Australian region not represented during the series being Tasmania.    
 

End of December 2011 news file