880 - 2 January [4296-4297]
• 'Majority' of players favour UDRS, says ICC chief (880-4296).
• Bird awarded OBE for service to cricket, charity (880-4297).
881 - 3 January [4298-4300]
• Second international 'Fair Play' award for India's Dhoni (881-4298).
• Hussey applauds umpires for their Melbourne Test work (881-4299).
• Player's comments suggest Pakistan-England Tests will have UDRS (881-4300).
882 - 6 January [4301-4305]
• 'Wearable technology' on agenda of twelfth WCC meeting (882-4301).
• English league plans to penalise clubs with no scorer (882-4302).
• Player looses half match fee for one-fingered salute (882-4303).
• One match ban for on-field confrontation (882-4304).
• 'Just going outside' and may bat 'for some time' (882-4305).
883 - 9 January [4306-4308]
• Two more Tests for Australia's Oxenford (883-4306).
• Ranji Trophy finals matches for English umpire (883-4307).
• Ten-match ban handed out for umpire abuse (883-4308).
884 - 10 January [4309-4314]
• Give umpires sole responsibility for review calls, says Hartley (884-4309).
• Acrobatic fielding illustrates cricket Law change (884-4310).
• WICUA continues push for Caribbean Umpire Manager (884-4311).
• PCB to buy 'bomb proof bus' for visiting players, match officials (884-4312).
• No 'tweets' now for Indian tourists (884-4313).
• Jailed 'spot-fixing' bowler lodges another appeal (883-4314).
885 - 11 January [4315-4321]
• 'Corruption' a 'serious danger' to the game, says WCC (885-4315).
• WCC continues to push Tests as the 'pinnacle' of the game (855-4316).
• Concern again expressed about ICC approach to runners, subs (885-4317).
• 'Wearable technology' project on hold? (885-4318).
• Eight under scrutiny in key CA umpire pathway event (885-4319).
• Busy month for international match referee (885-4320).
• ICC should control ball-tracking operations, says 'VE' chief (885-4321).
886 - 13 January [4322-4327]
• New version of 'split innings' format on trial in Tasmania (886-4322).
• Taufel for Afghanistan's first ODI against a Test nation (886-4323).
• Major ECB league to trial 'strict new disciplinary code' (886-4324).
• CA emerging quartet for trans-Tasman women's internationals (886-4325).
• Skipper queries third umpire dismissal, use of 'Hot Spot' mooted (886-4326).
• One stadium, two boundaries (886-4327).
887 - 15 January [4328-4330]
• Former county player pleads guilty to spot-fixing charge (887-4328).
• Knights latest for NZC-CSA umpire exchange program (887-4329).
• Match referee 'helped save my life', says Raza (887-4330).
888 - 16 January [4331-4333]
• Bangladeshi appointed to stand in debut Test (888-4331).
• Second over-rate violation in 12 months sees Indian captain suspended (888-4332).
• First class debut for second Aussie umpire (889-4334).
• NZC recognises, honours 'grass roots' umpiring (890-4336).
• Match officials named for ICC Singapore tournament (890-4337).
• Jail for Westfield would help fight corruption, says ICC chief (890-4338).
• 'Explanation' sought on UDRS review (890-4339).
• Commentator says '3rd Eye' could have UDRS future (890-4340).
891 - 24 January [4341-4345]
• Match officials named for Aussie domestic T20 final (891-4341).
• Side 'fuming' after opponents allegedly 'offered' cessation of play (891-4342).
• Windies IUP third umpires stand in Caribbean T20 final (891-4343).
• More T20, fewer first class games on county circuit? (891-4344).
• CA Project Panel member continues to build experience (891-4345).
892 - 27 January [4346-4350]
• UK PCA revamps its anti-racism campaign (892-4346).
• Rotorua umpire winner of NZ-wide 'grass roots' award (892-4347).
• Skipper's 'combative' nature contributed to sacking, claims report (892-4348).
• South African umpire for Duleep Trophy finals (892-4349).
• Counties oppose suggested change to 50-over format (892-4350).
893 - 29 January [4351-4355]
• Broad to pass 200 ODI mark as a match referee (893-4351).
• Umpires 'commended' for decision to abandon play (893-4352).
• Bowler's action cleared after 'significant remedial work' (893-4353).
• Punjab bars U-21 players from T20 cricket (893-4354).
• Cricket helps bridge the gap (893-4355).
894 - 30 January [4356-4358]
• Umpire sought for match-related death (894-4356).
• 'Increased incentives' to promote Test cricket on ICC Board agenda (894-4357).
• Automatic water sprinklers wet pitch, delay play (894-4358).
895 - 31 January [4359-4361]
• Dar named for 150th ODI, Illingworth for Test debut? (895-4359).
• 'PitchVision' offered as new electronic training aid (895-4360).
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 2 January 2012
'MAJORITY' OF PLAYERS FAVOUR
UDRS, SAYS ICC CHIEF
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat told the Press Trust of India (PTI) on Saturday that one of the disappointing aspects of 2011 for him was not being able to reach a consensus regarding the use of Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in international matches. The system has been a frequent topic of debate over the last three years (PTG 879-4292, 31 December 2011), and Lorgat was quoted by the PTI as saying that he is concerned “we have not achieved uniformity or consistent application of the [UDRS] even though a majority of players [are] in favour of technology being used [to support] decision-making".
Meanwhile, former Australian spinner Stuart MacGill, who recently returned as a player in Cricket Australia's revamped Twenty20 competition, says he believes use of the UDRS eliminates the chances of mistakes being made, but admits that the technology involved is not 100 cent percent accurate. He told journalists in Sydney over the weekend that India should not be blamed over refusing to use the system as "the ICC has made its use optional", a point that overlooks the fact that occurred as a result of the opposition of that country's administrators to the system. McGill also rejected calls for the UDRS to be adopted uniformly across all international matches, adding that umpires should have a final word in the game.
BIRD AWARDED OBE FOR
SERVICES TO CRICKET, CHARITY
Former England international umpire 'Dickie' Bird has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to cricket and charity in the 2012 UK New Year's Honours List. Bird, now 78, retired from umpiring in 1998 after a 28-year umpiring career that included 503 first class games, 66 of them Tests, and 491 List A matches, 69 being One Day Internationals, the latter including the World Cup finals of 1975, 1979 and 1983.
After retiring Bird set up the 'Dickie Bird Foundation' which gives grants to under-privileged children whose parents can't afford to buy them sports equipment (PTG 57-313, 21 June 2007). "If we think [a person] are a worthy cause then we send them a grant", the aim being "to get them off street corners, away from television, doing exercises and giving them a start in life".
Speaking about his latest award, Bird told the BBC that "it came as quite a surprise... but I'm tremendously delighted and honoured to get this great honour, this OBE". "It came out of the blue, because I got the MBE in 1986 which is a long time ago, and so when this came along I was completely stunned, shocked".
"People always ask me what stands out, what do I remember best?", said Bird, and "I have always [pointed to] standing in three World Cup finals as my best memories but to get [the OBE] is the greatest honour of my life". "I have been given the Freedom of Barnsley, honorary doctorates at Leeds, Sheffield Hallam and Huddersfield universities and I have been voted Yorkshireman of the Year. They are all great honours but this OBE stands out above them all. It is the pinnacle".
Bird's award came the day after former New Zealand international umpire Brian Aldridge was honoured in his country's 2012 New Year's Honours list for "services to cricket administration" (PTG 879-4293, 31 December 2011).
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
SECOND INTERNATIONAL 'FAIR PLAY'
AWARD FOR INDIA'S DHONI
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become the first cricketer to be chosen by the International Sports Press Association (ISPA) to receive one of its 'Fair Play' awards for what it calls his "exemplary action" in recalling England batsman Ian Bell during the Trent Bridge Test in England in late July (PTG 806-3946, 1 August 2011). This is the second time Dhoni has received recognition for the same incident for he was given the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2011 'Spirit of Cricket' award four months ago (PTG 831-4059, 13 September 2011).
Dhoni, who was nominated for the ISPA award by cricket journalist SS Ramaswamy of the Press Trust of India, recalled Bell after he was 'run out' on what was the last ball before tea on the third day of the Test. His batting partner had hit the ball towards the boundary and Bell, who later described his action as "naive", thinking it had actually reached there, left his crease and walked off the field assuming the session was over and the ball was dead.
However, the ball had not reached the rope and Dhoni took off the bails when the ball was thrown into him. Bell was correctly given out by Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, but apparently only after Dhoni had said 'no' when asked if he wanted to withdraw the appeal. England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower went to the Indian dressing room during the tea interval and asked the Indian skipper to reconsider the situation, and he later withdrew the appeal and allowed Bell to continue batting, even though the batsman had left the field of play. After he won the ICC award Dhoni was criticised for his "lack of spontaneity" in making his original decision (PTG 834-4076, 16 September 2011).
Dhoni said on receiving a commemorative plaque to mark his ISPA selection from that body's Secretary General Roslyn Morris in Sydney on Sunday that "We knew that according to the Laws of Cricket [Bell] was out but we asked ourselves if this was the way we wanted to [dismiss] a batsman and if it was in the spirit of the game". The "answer came back [to us] as 'no' [so] we agreed that we were not happy about it and would not feel comfortable at the end of the day back in our hotel rooms".
In addition to the plaque from Morris, the Indian captain will also be presented with a trophy from ISPA President Gianni Merlo before the start this year's Indian Premier League series in early April. Merlo said yesterday said that "cricket is the second most popular sport in the world behind football" and he "values and appreciates cricket's role in the sub-continent and throughout the Commonwealth and hopes that the fact we have given a fair play award to a cricketer will encourage the younger generations to pursue the sport honestly and reject corruption and deceit".
Dhoni's award is one of four that the ISPA plans to hand out for the 2011 calendar year, and the other three recipients are to be named at the Association's annual conference in Innsbruck next week. Previous recipients of the ISPA 'Fair Play' award includes such luminaries as footballers Diego Marodona, David Becham and Ronaldo.
HUSSEY APPLAUDS UMPIRES FOR
THEIR MELBOURNE TEST WORK
Australian batsman Mike Hussey has applauded the work of the on-field umpire's during his side's first Test against Indian last week, says a story circulated by the Australian Associated Press yesterday. Hussey was given out caught behind off the first-ball he faced in Australia's first innings in Melbourne, but replays suggested he hadn't made contact with the ball and with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) not in operation he was unable to ask for a review (PTG 878-4288, 28 December 2011).
Rather than lamenting the lack of technological aids, Hussey paid tribute to umpires Ian Gould of England and Marais Erasmus of South Africa, who will also be on the field in the second Test of the series which is scheduled to start in Sydney later this morning. Hussey says he's "a fan of the UDRS [as it gives] the umpires a helping hand [and] because we want to get more correct decisions in a match", but he is "not 100 per cent convinced that there's complete accuracy with the [ball] tracking system of the ball", one of the reasons the Indians reject the UDRS "and that's fair enough".
Hussey went on to say that "I'd have to say that I think the umpires did an outstanding job". "They've got to make a decision within a split second on what they see and they don't have the benefit of doing the slow-mo replays, having the technology to make their decision". "Generally speaking, the umpires down in Melbourne did a great job". He emphasised that his visible frustration at being dismissed in the first innings had more to do with not having any luck recently than expressing concern about the decision Erasmus made to give him out.
Despite that the Australian batsman went on to say that he "probably got a bit of a break in the second innings so it's amazing how the game works". Press reports suggested at the time that he should have been given out LBW when on 31 in Australia's second innings, and then appeared to edge a delivery on 89. Hussey said that given those situations he was happy to admit it things had "more than evened out".
Hussey's Australian colleague Ed Cowan, who was also given out in controversial circumstances in the Melbourne Test made a similar comment, saying at the time "I am sure it'll even itself out over the course of the series".
PLAYER'S COMMENTS SUGGEST
PAKISTAN-ENGLAND TESTS WILL HAVE UDRS
Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal has claimed that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) will be an advantage for him and slower bowlers in his side in their series against England in the United Arab Emirates which is due to get underway in two weeks. Ajmal's comments yesterday suggest that the UDRS will be in operation in the three Tests that have been scheduled as well as the four One Day Internationals (ODI), and contradicts a press report last month that said the technology will only be available for the ODIs (PTG 874-4272, 17 December 2011).
Ajmal told journalists in Lahore that he bowls "the doosra a lot and most of the time I beat the batsmen in front of the wickets but umpires tend to turn down a lot of my appeals because the ball is going the other way". However, "with the UDRS I am confident of winning a high percentage of my appeals this time as England have at least four quality left-handed batsmen".
The International Cricket Council is yet to name the umpires for the Test series, however, recent appointments to internationals in Australia and South Africa, plus the need to have neutral umpires involved, suggests that Australian Simon Taufel and Kiwis 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill could be involved, although there is also the possibility that one of the ICC's next generation of senior umpires may be selected. Three umpires will be needed for the Tests if the UDRS is operational.
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 6 January 2012
'WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY' ON AGENDA
OF TWELFTH WCC MEETING
'Wearable technology' that could assess a bowler's action in real time, the potential for day-night Tests, recently introduced International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions involving runners and substitutes (PTG 783-3831, 28 June 2011), the postponement of the proposed World Test Championship scheduled to 2017, matters related to corruption in the game, and governance issues, are on the agenda for the latest Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) which is due to get underway in Cape Town on Sunday.
The last publicity on the wearable technology issue was almost three years ago when the ICC and MCC said that they were to fund research in Australia to develop a "wearable, real-time electronic sensor" to record and monitor a bowler's action during delivery (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009); the WCC having advocated two years earlier than that the introduction of a policy of regular monitoring of bowling actions under match conditions (PTG 44-241, 23 May 2007). Under the concept envisaged at the time the device would be strapped to a bowler's arm to "instantly" assess the legality of their delivery action by measuring the degree of elbow extension between the time the bowling arm reaches a horizontal level and the release of the ball.
The ICC said in 2009 that sports and electronics engineers at Griffith University's Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications were to work with Cricket Australia’s Sport Science Medicine Unit and the Australian Institute of Sport’s Biomechanics department in Canberra to perfect the tiny electronic device. Plans then called for the new system to utilise "a combination of accelerometers, rate gyroscopes and other wireless inertial sensors [that will] record minute position changes" using items such as "as magnetometers and Global Positioning System [devices] to ensure a high degree of accuracy". Just where that research may have got to could become clearer early next week following the WCC meeting.
Established by the MCC in 2006, the latest and twelfth two-day gathering of the 18-man group, which includes former West Indies international umpire Steve Bucknor, will be the first with former England captain Mike Brearley as Chairman. At its last meeting six months ago, the WCC spoke against the ICC's decision on runners (PTG 801-3916, 20 July 2011), and indicated that it and its research partner, Imperial College London, had offered their services to the ICC as the independent body that could be engaged to conduct research on ball-tracking technology (PTG 800-3910, 19 July 2011).
ENGLISH LEAGUE PLANS TO PENALISE
CLUBS WITH NO SCORER
Leicestershire's Premier Division, the top flight of club cricket in the county, is set to introduce a rule during the coming northern summer that would see a side loose three championship points if it fails to provide a scorer for any game, says a report published in the 'Leicester Mercury' on Wednesday. Some clubs are said to be 'blessed with scorers who do a magnificent job week in and week out", but not all in the league are as fortunate.
The Stoughton and Thurnby side, who did not have a regular first-team scorer last summer, are said to be looking to ensure they do not fall foul of the proposed new rule. Club secretary Leigh Moore has advertised widely in the county for expressions of interest, but so far he has had no response.
Moore is said to be hoping that situation will soon change, although he admits that "the rewards of the job", a free tea every Saturday afternoon during the season, "might not seem great" at first glance. However, he points out that transport can be arranged to away matches and the club are willing to send any would-be applicants on an England and Wales Cricket Board scorers' course. He believes that the post could suit a retired person or anyone who has an interest in cricket.
If the club is unsuccessful in their quest it could be faced with the prospect of naming a second or third-team player as the first-team's twelfth man and, effectively, scorer. Such a move would not, he says "be popular because they all want to play". Moore did not elaborate on what would happen in that situation should the player concerned be needed on the field during a match.
League secretary Rod Watts, who is also an umpire, told the 'Mercury' that having two reliable scorers takes pressure off the umpires "because it means they do not have to check the scores so often".
Meanwhile, the Premier Division of the Berkshire Cricket League (BCL) will have a panel of neutral umpires for the 2012 season in England, the first time that has happened in the league's history, says a story in yesterday's 'Henley Standard'. The measure was endorsed at the BCL's recent Annual General Meeting following discussions that involved league officials, representatives of Premier Division clubs and the Berkshire Cricket Officials Association.
PLAYER LOOSES HALF MATCH
FEE FOR ONE-FINGERED SALUTE
Indian batsman Virat Kohli has been fined half of his match fee after pleading guilty to giving the one-fingered salute to parts of the crowd while fielding during his side's current Test against Australia in Sydney on Wednesday. Kohli, who was cited yesterday morning by match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, later apologised for his on-field actions but complained via 'Twitter' that the crowd had insulted his mother and sister.
Kohli, 23, who is playing his sixth Test, was fielding near the boundary in front of a group of rowdy Australian fans when he gave his 'salute' and was caught by photographers. Match officials became aware of his gesture after the images were circulated via various media outlets and reported him for, in the words of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations, “Using language or gesture(s) that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee or any other third person during an International Match”.
While Kohli, 23, reacted to what he said were insults directed to the female members of his family, one media report claimed that the crowd was baiting Kohli for wearing his sunglasses while he bowled, one telling him he was not former Australian batsman Mark Waugh, who had the same habit, and to take them off. The incident happened as another part of the crowd were applauding Indian bowler Ishant Sharma for bringing up figures of 1-100, the bowler handling the incident by doffing his cap to the stands as he returned to third man.
Under the ICC's CoC, all Level 2 breaches carry a minimum penalty of a fine equivalent to 50 per cent of a player’s match fee, up to a maximum penalty of a suspension for either one Test, or two One Day Internationals (ODI) or two Twenty20 Internationals.
Last month Kohli was reprimanded for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during the third ODI against the West Indies in Ahmedabad. On that occasion he stood his ground for a considerable time after being given out LBW, and later pleaded guilty to a Level 1 offence and accepted the sanction from the match referee David Boon of Australia (PTG 870-4253, 11 December 2011).
ONE MATCH BAN FOR
Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal has been banned for one domestic game after an altercation with his national team-mate Mohammad Ashraful during a Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League match between Victoria Sporting Club and Old DOHS on Monday. Tamim is said to have "rushed aggressively" at Old DOHS skipper Ashraful and exchanged "heated" words with him, an action that led to the match referee imposing the suspension and fining him the equivalent of $A60.
The incident occurred in the tenth over of the Old DOHS innings when one of their batsman, Faisal Hossain, was given out LBW by umpire Anisur Rahman. Faisal reportedly took his time to walk towards the pavillion and an official with the Victoria side, Lutfur Rahman Badal, began shouting at the batsman to leave the field. Captain Ashraful, who was the not out batsman, asked the umpire to look into the matter, and it was then that Tamim ran towards Ashraful.
Tamim told a journalist after the game that he was "aggressive in my approach while protesting against [Ashraful's] comments". "Being a senior cricketer, he should also know what should be done, but after the match I apologised". Lutfur Rahman Badal was also suspended by the match referee for one game for his actions.
'JUST GOING OUTSIDE' AND
MAY BAT 'FOR SOME TIME'
A group of cricket lovers has set off from London for the South Geographic Pole (SGP) where they plan to play "a commemorative game of cricket" to mark the 100th anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's arrival there on Monday week. Armed with cold-weather gear and a cricket bat, the party plans to complete the final stretch of their journey on foot by pulling their own sleds for the last 160 km, a standard trip that has been commercially available to tourists for much of the past 20 years.
The trip's leader, Neil Laughton, said the purpose of the three-week, £100,000 ($A151,000) expedition was "to commemorate the endeavour, the endurance and the scientific work that Scott did 100 years ago", and "we've chosen cricket as it's an iconic British sport and a team game". "There'll be plenty of other [what he called] explorers arriving [at the SGP] on the centenary and we're going to be recruiting any British expeditioners to our team and taking on any stray Norwegians".
The group plans to push a roller across the snow at the Pole to create as flat a surface as possible for the match. "We're hopefully going to take 11 for not too many runs so we can get back into our tents and get the tea on fairly sharpish", said Laughton, and "It's going to be tricky to catch people out with expedition gloves on but we'll do our best".
To reach the 160 km mark from the SGP the group will fly in several stages from southern Chile, however, the vagaries of Antarctic weather could have have a huge impact on their plans. Temperatures start to drop and winter at the Pole, which lies almost three kilometres above sea level, usually sets in by the end of January after what is always a short summer where temperatures rarely rise above minus 30 degrees Celsius.
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 9 January 2012
TWO MORE TESTS FOR
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford to stand in the first two Tests of the three-match series Pakistan is to play against England in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next two weeks. The selections, which will take the Queenslander's Test tally in the six months since August last year to six, and seven overall, are a further pointer to indications that he is being prepared for elevation to the world body's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) sometime before mid-year (PTG 857-4187, 7 November 2011).
Oxenford, 51, who is currently an Australian member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will stand the first Test in Dubai, which begins today week, with New Zealand EUP member 'Billy' Bowden, and in the second the week after that in Abu Dhabi with fellow Australian Steve Davis. Davis will be the third umpire in the first game and Bowden in the second.
The third Test, which will be played back in Dubai, will see Davis joined on the field by another Australian, Simon Taufel, with Indian IUP member Shavir Tarapore the television umpire. The appointments of Bowden, Davis and Tarapore confirm that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) will be operational in the three Tests (PTG 881-4300, 3 January 2012), which will be managed overall by match referees Javagal Srinath of India and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand; the former looking after Tests one and two and the latter the final game.
Taufel's Test record will move on to 71 matches by series end, Bowden to 70, Davis to 36, and Crowe and Srinath as match referees to 49 and 20 games respectively. Davis' will have worked as the third umpire in Tests 25 times, Bowden 13 and Tarapore, who stood in his first four Tests in a brief eight week period that ended just before Christmas (PTG 864-4222, 25 November 2011), will be working as a third umpire at the game's highest level for the fifth time.
Crowe and Taufel will stay on for the four One Day Internationals (ODI) Pakistan and England will play after the Tests, the first two in Abu Dhabi and the other two in Dubai. The Australian will share on-field duties with Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka in those games, third umpire positions being filled by as yet unnamed Pakistani IUP members who will review any decisions referred to them under the UDRS.
The four ODIs will see Taufel's record in that form of the game move on to 171 matches, one behind the late Shepherd of England, three from now retired countryman Daryl Harper's tally of 174, and Steve Bucknor from the West Indies (181) and the current ODI umpire record holder, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, with 209. Crowe's match referee ODI record will move on to 159 games, second overall behind Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle whose has 265 to his credit to date, and Dharmasena as an umpire to 34.
Pakistan and England will end their contest with three Twenty20 Internationals over five days in the last week of February. Crowe will stay on as match referee for those games, his 27th, 28th and 29th, the on-field and third umpires being Pakistan IUP members Zameer Haider, Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza. Haider is currently standing in the opening match of England's tour of the UAE, a three-day first class game against a side made up of player's from ICC's Associate and Affiliates nations. Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpire Panel is his on-field colleague, while Sri Lankan Graeme Labrooy a member of the world body's second-tier Regional Referee's Panel is the match referee.
RANJI TROPHY FINALS MATCHES
FOR ENGLISH UMPIRE
English umpire Peter Hartley is to stand in the Ranji Trophy semi-final between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu that is due to get underway at the Wankhede Stadium tomorrow, and also the five-day final of that first class competition which is to start on Thursday week, says a report in 'The Hindu' newspaper yesterday. Harley is in India as part of the umpire exchange arrangement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 795-3890, 13 July 2011).
For Hartley, 51, who is a former England member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, the two Ranji Trophy fixtures will be his 106th and 107th as an umpire at first class level, and only his second and third outside England and Wales; the exception to date being a match between Ireland and Scotland in August 2004. The Englishman's on-field colleague in the semi final is reported to be former Test umpire Krishna Haraharan, who will be standing in his 83rd first class game. The BCCI is not expected to name who Hartley's colleague for the final will be until the two semi finals conclude.
Yorkshire born Hartley took part in 501 first class and limited over matches during his playing career from 1982-2000, scoring 6,086 runs and capturing 1,039 wickets, then went on to become an umpire in 2001. He was confirmed as a member of the ECB's full list of umpires for 2012 late last year (PTG 866-4232, 1 December 2011).
TEN-MATCH BAN HANDED
OUT FOR UMPIRE ABUSE
A club in the Craven and District League (CDL) in northern England have banned one of their players for ten matches, four of which were suspended until the end of the 2012 northern Summer, following the abuse of an umpire in a Division 2 match played in mid-September. However, the CDL disciplinary committee have now decided that the suspended sentence will apply to the end of the 2013 season.
Kane Booker was playing for the Sutton club in a fixture that was halted with two overs to go because of bad light. Media reports over the weekend say that Booker "took great exception" to the umpire’s light decision "and let him know [his view] in no uncertain terms" using "foul and abusive language", and that his skipper twice had to intervene and guide his player away.
Last month a local club player in Australia was banned from playing for nine matches, four of which were suspended until the end of the 2012-13 austral summer, for an "angry outburst" against an umpire in a Twenty20 (T20) final (PTG 878-4290, 28 December 2011). His ban was in sharp contrast to professional cricketer Cameron White who was fined a relatively small amount of his earnings for twice showing dissent in a Cricket Australia T20 match just before Christmas (PTG 877-4285, 23 December 2011).
In other news from northern England, the Central Yorkshire League (CYL) have decided to introduce in the 'free-hit' rule, which applies in many competitions around the world, to their Jack Hampshire Trophy matches in 2012. Clubs in that competition will also be required to bowl their 40 overs within 2 hours and 35 minutes, or an average of 3.9 minutes per over. In an unusual move, instead of run penalties applying as is usually case in many similar club level matches world-wide, the league plans to fine teams £2 (A3) for each minute over the allotted time a team takes to bowl 40 overs where umpires report no allowances are applicable for loss of time that is beyond the fielding side's control.
In addition, the CYL have given themselves the power to take action against any club or individual who make comments on social networking sites which could be deemed to be derogatory towards the league or its officers or which is thought to bring the game into disrepute. Also clubs in its Premier Division and Division One will now be require to score their matches using computers and post scores on the internet in real time using the 'Total Cricket Scorer' system.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
GIVE UMPIRES SOLE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR REVIEW CALLS, SAYS HARTLEY
English first class umpire Peter Hartley believes that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) would operate "more appropriately" if match officials had sole responsibility for deciding just when a review of an umpire's decision or other on-field situation should be initiated. Harley's view appears to be mirrored by the rules Cricket Australia (CA) has in place for reviews in its domestic televised matches this austral summer, an arrangement that came into sharp focus for the second time in a month during a match in Perth on Sunday.
Hartley, who is currently in India as part of an umpire exchange program (PTG 833-4307, 9 January 2011), told the Press Trust of India on Sunday that while technology is not perfect there is a place for it in the game for just as batsmen and bowlers "can get it wrong", so can the umpires. He therefore welcomes anything that can help match officials eliminate as many mistakes as possible, but is "against is the referral system" as it currently stands in international matches where the UDRS is in operation.
Under ICC UDRS regulations, players can request a limited number of reviews whilst both batting and fielding. Hartley, who played 501 first class games in the period from 1982-2000 and has umpired at international level, is concerned that players are able to "question an umpire's decision" in that way, a point of view that has been expressed by others in the past (PTG 557-2807, 18 January 2010).
Yorkshireman Hartley "would like to see it other way round" and that "whenever there is a close call the umpire should be able to say that I'm not sure and I'm going to refer that". "In such a scenario, a player can never question an umpire's decision", he continued, and that "would help solve the problems that persist now". "The only problem I see is that umpires may refer every decision", said Hartley, "but you won't know [what might happen] unless you try it". Hartley, who does not appear to be aware of CA's current domestic arrangements, said his suggestion could be tried in the domestic competitions.
Late last year Australia's national body decided to allow third umpires working in televised senior interstate matches to reverse any 'out' or 'not out' decision should a replay suggest that needs to occur (PTG 833-4067, 15 September 2011), an arrangement that is not dissimilar to that used in the now defunct Stanford Twenty20 series in the Caribbean three years ago (E-News 370-1971, 12 February 2009).
Initially, CA limited the third umpire to making a call using only the first replay shown to them, but 'tweaked' that slightly early in the season after an incident in a match in Perth (PTG 848-4148, 19 October 2011). CA's Umpire Manager Sean Cary told PTG in September that the decision to enhance the third umpire's role was not a decision review situation and players should not look upon it as such . CA's current Twenty20 competition has so far thrown up two illustrations of its umpire-controlled review system so far, the latest being in Perth last Sunday in the match between the home side and Adelaide.
In the first innings of the match Perth batsman Hershel Gibbs, who was on 38, was given out 'caught' by umpire Tony Ward of Victoria after a delivery from Adelaide's Aaron O'Brien bounced off his pad and shoulder and was taken by diving wicket-keeper Adam Crosthwaite. Third umpire Ian Lock from Western Australia reviewed the dismissal and informed his on-field colleague of his error, and Ward subsequently revoked his decision and Gibbs went on to make a key score of 65.
The first time a CA television umpire overturned a decision made by his on-field colleague without a request for a review by either himself or the players came in a game in Melbourne in mid-December. On that occasion an LBW decision given against a batsman was correctly overturned when the third umpire noticed on looking at a replay that the ball had hit the bat before striking the pad (PTG 872-4266, 15 December 2011).
ACROBATIC FIELDING ILLUSTRATES
CRICKET LAW CLARIFICATION
A fielder's acrobatic dive during a Twenty20 match in New Zealand last Thursday provides a clear illustration of the amendment regarding catches that was made to the Laws of Cricket by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) fifteen months ago (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010). During the fixture between Central Districts (CD) and Northern Districts at Mount Maunganui, CD fielder Bevan Small dived from inside the boundary, and whilst in the air made contact with the ball some two metres outside the rope, flicking it back to team mate Michael Mason inside the field of play who completed the catch.
The MCC wrote a new version of Law 19.4 in order to clarify when the ball is beyond the boundary in direct response to increasingly athletic pieces of fielding in recent years (PTG 814-3990, 12 August 2011). The Club's Laws sub-committee felt that it would be wrong to allow a fielder, seeing a ball flying over his head and over the boundary, to retreat beyond the boundary and then to jump up and parry the ball back towards the field of play. That is why the current Law 19.4(i) requires that the fielder’s first contact with the ball must be when "some part of his person is grounded within the boundary" or, if he is airborne, that his "final contact with the ground before touching the ball was within the boundary".
The Small-Mason catch can be viewed on 'YouTube' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wq5MHIRWqQ
WICUA CONTINUES FOR PUSH
FOR CARIBBEAN UMPIRE MANAGER
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has asked the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) to develop a document to support its suggestion that an Umpire Manager position for the Caribbean be established on the WICB's books similar to that which exists in a most other Test playing areas of the world. The WICUA has been pushing for such a move for several years (PTG 575-2908, 24 February 2010), and the request for a position paper was apparently made during a meeting of the WICB's umpire and referee sub-committee last September.
Peter Nero, an umpire from Trinidad and Tobago, who is a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, is reported to have volunteered to develop the initial paper on the matter. WICUA President Cecil Fletcher, said recently that the document that will be forwarded to the WICB for consideration "is now at an advanced stage of completion".
PCB TO PURCHASE 'BOMB PROOF BUS'
FOR VISITING PLAYERS, MATCH OFFICIALS
Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik has given the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) permission to purchase two bomb-proof buses as part of the plan to provide enhanced security for the proposed tour by the Bangladesh side in April this year (PTG 875-4208, 20 December 2011). Malik told journalists in Islamabad yesterday that the Bangladesh team, and presumably any match officials involved, will be provided with "box security" with bullet proof and bomb-proof vehicles and police commandoes escorting them everywhere.
International teams have refused to tour Pakistan over the last three years after terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus an a minivan carrying match officials as they were on their way from their hotel to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore for the third day's play of a Test match. The driver of the minivan and others in the area were killed in the attack, and fourth umpire Ashan Raza critically injured (PTG 381-2022, 5 March 2009).
NO 'TWEETS' NOW FOR
Members of the Indian touring party in Australia have been instructed by team management not to use social networking sites to express their opinions about cricketing matters. The move came after a player used his 'tweet' to justify his middle-finger gesture to the spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the second Test last week, an action that led to him being fined half of his match fee (PTG 882-4303, 6 January 2012).
Virat Kohli said in his tweet after being handed the fine : “I agree cricketers dont have to retaliate. what when the crowd says the worst things about your mother and sister. The worst ive heard". That led England's South African born batsman Kevin Pietersen to use the same network to say: "Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Welcome to Australia buddy!!", and Kohli then replied: "Never heard crap like that. EVER".
That exchange prompted Indian team management to issue its instruction due to concerns that reactions to tweets could lead to what one report said was "undue trouble and controversy".
JAILED 'SPOT-FIXING' BOWLER
LODGES ANOTHER APPEAL
Former Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif has appealed against his seven-year ban for spot-fixing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011). The jailed seamer's lawyers confirmed on Saturday they have filed the appeal, having also formally lodged an appeal against his ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in relation to no-balls bowled in a Test against England at Lord's in August 2010 (PTG 669-3286, 17 September 2010).
Asif was imprisoned for a year following a criminal trial at Southwark Crown Court last November. A spokesman for his lawyers told journalists that "the appeal filed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ICC ban is founded upon multiple grounds that include the argument that the ICC Disciplinary Tribunal breached its own procedures, and in other ways infringed fundamental human rights to which Mohammad Asif is entitled". "In such a situation the ICC ban is not only flawed, it could also be unlawful", said the spokesman.
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
'CORRUPTION' A 'SERIOUS DANGER'
TO THE GAME, SAYS WCC
Concerns surrounding "corruption" issues are reported to have been the "main focus" of discussions at the twelfth meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) in Cape Town on Sunday-Monday (PTG 882-4301, 6 January 2012). The WCC, which is made up of 18 members, 17 of whom are current or former professional cricketers and the other a former international umpire, said in an outline of its two days of deliberation released yesterday that betting and related issues are a serious "danger to the game overall".
During its latest gathering the WCC had discussions with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of the International Cricket Council's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), and Tim May Chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations. After the meeting the committee released a set of ten recommendations developed by the MCC’s Anti-Corruption Working Party (ACWP), a group that is chaired by former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
Measures put forward by the ACWP include: lifetime bans for any captain, vice-captain or coach found guilty of corruption; education materials for players and punishments at international level should be mirrored at domestic level; that the ACSU work closely with players; the potential use of lie detectors; investigations of any "unexplained wealth" shown by players; and that young but established players, both international and domestic, and their captains, should be promoted as ambassadors of the Spirit of Cricket and role models who pledge to educate and protect other young players.
In the general area of governance of the game at a world level, the WCC called on the ICC to publish "in full" the review of ICC Governance arrangements when it is finalised later this month. The committee supported the comments made by ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat who called for the ICC Board to have some form of independent directorship so that “there’s at least a balance of debate or a voice spoken without self-interest”, as it obviously feels is the case today.
Cricket in Pakistan was also discussed, and the WCC subsequently recommended that, "subject to Government advice and MCC Committee approval, a small delegation from the Club [should] visits Pakistan to assess the [security] situation [there], its suitability for tours and the possibility for the return of international cricket in the future". The Pakistan Cricket Board was given permission earlier this week to purchase a bomb proof bus as part of arrangement to protect visiting teams and match officials (PTG 884-4312, 10 January 2012).
If the suggested MCC visit goes ahead, the WCC says it would review the outcome of any report produced its next meeting which is scheduled to be held at Lord’s in August, most probable on the weekend of the 25-26th of that month immediately following the last day of the third Test between England and South Africa.
WCC CONTINUES TO PUSH TESTS
AS THE 'PINNACLE' OF THE GAME
Test cricket is and should continue to be the pinnacle of the sport, says the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC). As such effort needs to be made "in every way possible" to encourage and market the five-day format, including says the WCC "experimenting with day-night Test matches", "making more room in the [annual] calendar for Test matches, and introducing a periodic World Test championship play-off series.
The WCC says that it is disappointed that what it called the "icon" series between England and South Africa during the coming northern hemisphere summer will be made up of "only three Tests". The committee also finds it "dissatisfactory that several series consist only of two Tests", the recent contest between South Africa and Australia being singled out as an example.
On the other hand the WCC is "pleased with [the quality of] Test pitches" provided for matches in recent times and went on to "congratulate" the International Cricket Council and groundstaff worldwide on encouraging and producing pitches on which the balance between bat and ball is fair". "There have been some excellent Test series recently" it says, "with much good cricket" as a result.
While Tests remain the game's highest level, the WCC commended the ICC on recent "enhancements" to One Day International regulations that is says has help the "continued popularity of [the one-day] format worldwide". Fifty-over cricket "is the most widely played format of the game worldwide", says the WCC, both at professional and amateur levels, and its "fundamentals should not be altered and it must maintain a clear distinction from Twenty20 cricket".
CONCERN AGAIN EXPRESSED ABOUT
ICC APPROACH TO RUNNERS, SUBS
The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) says it is "uncomfortable" with last year's decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ban runners in international matches (PTG 783-3831, 28 June 2011). The WCC also said in an MCC press release issued yesterday that outlined some of the outcomes of the WCC's latest meeting on Sunday-Monday, that it is "uneasy about the abuse of the Law relating to substitute fielders" and urged umpires to "be tougher on that issue".
Precise details of why the WCC feels the way it does both those issues were not provided, but following its last gathering six months ago the WCC described the ICC's decision to ban runners in matches played under its auspices as "a disappointing reflection on the 'Spirit of Cricket' at international level" (E-News 801-3916, 20 July 2011). The ICC said its move on runners came because there had been "widespread abuse of the rule that allowed batsmen to ask for runners in the event of an injury" (PTG 787-3854, 2 July 2011).
The press release went straight on to talk about bad light, saying that the WCC "applauds [the] ICC’s efforts to encourage umpires to allow play to continue when light is not perfect, especially when artificial lights have been switched on". The group also had discussions on "several aspects" of the Laws as they relate to 'switch hits', and what it described as "the Ian Bell 'run out' for England against India" in a Test match played at Trent Bridge last July (PTG 806-3946, 1 August 2011). Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni received two 'fair play' awards as a result of that incident (PTG 881-4298, 3 January 2012), however, just what the WCC discussed at its latest meeting was not mentioned.
Details of the WCC's deliberations on such matters in Cape town are to be fed back to the MCC’s Laws sub-committee, which is likely to then pass on its assessments to the ICC's own Cricket Committee.
PROJECT ON HOLD?
There was no mention of 'wearable technology', that some think could be developed to assess in real time whether a bowler's delivery action is legal or not, in yesterday's Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) press release outlining the outcomes of its World Cricket Committee's (WCC) latest meeting on Sunday-Monday. The MCC said in pre-meeting publicity last week that the matter was on the WCC's agenda in Cape Town, the first public mention of the issue for almost three years (PTG 882-4301, 6 January 2012), and the post-meeting silence could be interpreted as indicating little or no progress has been made on the matter.
The MCC and the International Cricket Council said in February 2009 that they were to jointly fund research on 'wearables' in Australia (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009), the WCC having advocated two years earlier than regular monitoring of bowling actions should occur under match conditions (PTG 44-241, 23 May 2007). Plans then called for the proposed device to be strapped to a bowler's arm and utilise "a combination of accelerometers, rate gyroscopes and other wireless inertial sensors [that will] record minute position changes" to ensure a high degree of accuracy" in measuring the degree of elbow extension between the time his bowling arm reaches a horizontal level and the release of the ball.
EIGHT UNDER SCRUTINY IN KEY
CA UMPIRE PATHWAY EVENT
Eight umpires from around Australia will take the field for the opening matches of that country's national Under-19 championships in Adelaide today, a series that is a key milestone on Cricket Australia's (CA) umpiring development pathway. For the first time in the competition's history umpires have been chosen by CA on basis of close observations undertaken by members of its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) the last year or more, selections for the event previously being based on the six state and two territories associations being allowed to nominate one umpire each (PTG 833-4069, 15 September 2011).
Six of the eight umpires who are in Adelaide took part in CA's Futures League Twenty20 series for state Second XI sides in Melbourne last month (PTG 846-4136, 13 October 2011), and they being joined by a member of the national body's current four-man emerging umpires group and another possible contender for higher honours from Queensland. The Futures group is made up of: Greg Davidson (New South Wales); Mike Graham-Smith (Tasmania); Simon Lightbody (Australian Capital Territory); Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania); Richard Patterson (Victoria); and Todd Rann (Western Australia); while the emerging panel member is Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia, and the Queenslander Jay Kangar.
The eight will be busy over the next ten days for they will all preside over seven matches each, three 50-over one-day, two two-day, and two Twenty20 games. The first three days involve one-day fixtures, then after a rest day the first two-day game will be played followed by a second rest day before the second two-dayer, then its straight into two days of T20s to complete the tournament on Thursday-Friday next week. CA normally arranges personal development workshops for the umpires on rest days during such events, however, what may be being planned on this occasion is not known.
The Under-19 series has been a key part of CA's umpire development pathway that normally runs from there onto the winter-period Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) and then into senior interstate one-day, Twenty20 and if those involved are good enough to first class cricket. PTG understands that the fact that the U-19 tournament is such an important step on the pathway has led the change to a wholly merit-based appointments arrangement, however, selections for its Under-17 equivalent remain as nominations made to CA by each of the states and territories (PTG 851-4158, 28 October 2011).
Some members of the UHPP are expected to be in Adelaide to observe, report on and provide feedback on the performance of each umpire, information that together with further on-going evaluations will be used in deciding which of the eight may move on to comprise CA's next generation of emerging umpires. Normally that would involve selecting the four considered to have the best potential to stand in the 2012 austral winter EPT event in Queensland in July-August.
However, with the World U19 tournament due to take place there around that time (PTG 814-3989, 12 August 2011), just what the arrangements will be for the 2012 EPT remains unclear.
BUSY MONTH FOR INTERNATIONAL
International match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand will be a busy man for over the month starting today for over that period he will oversee 13 games made up of a single Test, nine One Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals that will be played in seven cities across South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced earlier this week that Crowe will look after most of the games in the Pakistan-England series in the UAE (PTG 883-4603, 9 January 2011), but first, according to details released yesterday, he will manage the four-match ODI series between South Africa and Sri Lanka which starts in Paarl later today.
Three ICC umpires have been named for the South African ODIs: Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong from England, and Billy Doctrove of the West Indies, Cricket South Africa (CSA) providing the second on-field umpire for each game from its members on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Johan Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock (PTG 830-4057, 12 September 2011). Kettleborough and Doctrove are members of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel while Llong is an England IUP member.
With the Umpire Decision Review System in operation Doctrove will stand in two of the games and work as the third umpire in the other three, while Llong will be on the field for two matches and the television official in another two. Kettleborough, who was involved in the recently completed Test series between the two sides (PTG 872-4206, 13 December 2011), will stand in the first game today before flying home.
The last game of the series, which will be played in Johannesburg, will be Llong's fiftieth ODI and he will have been in the television suite on 30 occasions in a ODI by the time the five fixtures have been completed. Doctrove will take his ODI tally to 112 plus 37 in the third umpire's chair, while Cloete has to date stood in 16, George in one, his debut being last October, however, while Holdstock has a Twenty20 International to his credit he is yet to be appointed to an ODI. Crowe on the other hand will have been an ODI match referee on 160 occasions, two of those games being World Cup finals, that record moving on to 164 after the UAE ODIs.
ICC SHOULD CONTROL BALL-TRACKING
OPERATIONS, SAYS 'VE' CHIEF
Ian Taylor, the chief of New Zealand company Animation Research behind 'Virtual Eye' (VE) ball-tracking technology, told the 'Cricinfo' web site last week that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should "take control" of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in order to ensure its integrity. Taylor's comments are a carbon copy views he expressed this time last year when he revealed that one of his employees working in support of the now defunct Indian Cricket League was "pressured to doctor [VE] graphics" for reasons that "probably related to match betting" (PTG 713-3494, 13 January 2011).
In his most recent comments Taylor said technology has a part to play in cricket but it needs to be mandated and controlled by the ICC, right down to the people who actually operate it during matches. In reference to ball-tracking systems themselves he said "we should be allowed to put our cameras exactly where you want to put them" at grounds. He mentioned one ground, which he did not name, were Animation Research "put the [camera] mounts up" for their system but when they arrived to install their cameras an undefined "they" had moved the mounts because "someone at the ground decided they didn't want them there".
"Nobody [currently] takes responsibility for" such things, continued Taylor, and "for the broadcasters, it's neither here nor there [as] it's not their deal". The ICC should mandate that at "every ground there are special stands that do not move, that are fixed, and that the end-on cameras that we use to overlay everything [in Virtual Eye] should be properly mounted". Taylor believes the ad hoc nature of the system as it current stands is a problem and that strict guidelines need to be enforced to safeguard against human error, technological failure and the misinterpretation of data.
Taylor's overall view has been supported by the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) who agreed its latest meeting, which was held in Cape Town on Sunday-Monday, that the ICC should "ensure uniformity on the implementation of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS)". The WCC says that it "is wrong that there are such different playing conditions [and] that the UDRS is not used when India play", and it supports "the ICC’s efforts to maintain and improve the UDRS along the lines that have been established so far with reviews initiated by the players".
One former professional cricketer and now umpire, England's Peter Hartley, has a different view on the latter point though, for he expressed the view earlier this week that umpires should have sole control of when the UDRS is used in the situations that arise in televised international matches (PTG 884-4309, 10 January 2012).
NEW VERSION OF 'SPLIT INNINGS'
FORMAT ON TRIAL IN TASMANIA
'Split innings' formats have been trialled in limited over games in Australia and England over the last few years but their use in the single-day format appears to have been abandoned (PTG 770-3772, 5 June 2011), however, a cricket association in Australia has now introduced it into its two-day matches in an effort to encourage on-going player participation. The new format, which came into operation on Tasmania's north-west coast last weekend, provides each team with the pre-arranged ability to bat and bowl for significant periods on both days of a game.
In recent years Cricket North West (CNW), a Cricket Tasmania affiliate who runs what is the only turf-based competition in the mainly rural areas along the north-west coast of the island state, have had the challenge of dealing with falling player numbers, a problem that has led for example to the scrapping of its third grade competition. CNW officials hope that the guaranteed opportunity to bat and bowl on both days of a two-day fixture will be attractive to many current, former and potential players in the region, encouraging them to either stay in the game or boost their desire to want to be involved.
The split innings concept in one-day games in recent years, the highest profile competition in that time being in senior one-day interstate cricket in Australia, was based around either 40 or 50 overs matches. Each team batted for half those overs, called 'Split 1', before their innings was suspended then resumed as 'Split 2' after their opponents had had their turn at the crease. On the other hand CNW's new rules are based around maximum of 180 overs across the two days with 90 being required to be bowled in each day's play, those 90 being divided into two lots of 45 overs that are also called 'Split 1' and 'Split 2'.
Concepts such as first innings and outright wins are still a part of CNW games, but the overall concept is quite complex to detail in a brief manner, especially in situations where teams are dismissed in less than 45 overs. The full set of rules, including a number of match score scenarios, are available for perusal on the league's web site at: http://www.cricketnorthwest.com.au/files/3188/files/By-Laws%20Changes%202011-12.pdf. After arriving at that page the key details are contained in section 19 of the file on pages 4-9.
All of the association's games after Christmas are two-day affairs, one-day and Twenty20 fixtures dominating the fixture list in the three months leading up to the new year. CNW have told PTG that the new format will apply in all remaining home-and-away and semi final matches in its first and second grade leagues. However, the three-day first grade, and two-day second grade Grand Finals, that are scheduled for the last weekend in March, will be played using standard two-day rules.
TAUFEL FOR AFGHANISTAN'S FIRST
ODI AGAINST A TEST NATION
Australian Simon Taufel and debutant Shozab Raza of Pakistan are to stand in Afghanistan's first ever One Day International (ODI) against a Test nation when plays Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in mid-February. New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe will oversee the match, while Pakistani umpires Ashan Raza, who is not relation to his namesake, and Zameer Haider, will be the third and fourth umpires respectively.
Afghanistan played India and South Africa during the World Twenty20 series in 2010, however, they have only faced International Cricket Council (ICC) Associate and Affiliate teams in ODIs to date. Last May though, the side became the first international team to tour Pakistan in over two years, playing three 50-over matches against Pakistan A, games they lost quite easily, the two Razas each standing in the one game in that series.
That tour was the first by an international cricket side since the attack on vehicles carrying the Sri Lanka team and match officials in Lahore in March 2009, Taufel and Ashan Raza being amongst the latter group, Raza being critically injured in that atrocity (PTG 381-2022, 5 March 2009).
Taufel is a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) while Shozab Raza currently occupies the third umpire spot on Pakistan's section of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Haider and the other Raza being on-field members of that group. The Afghanistan game will be the Australian's 168th ODI on the field, and third involving a non-Test nation, but for Shozab Raza it will be his first ODI on the field of play.
Following the Pakistan-Afghanistan match Taufel and Crowe will, as previously reported by PTG, go on to work in the four ODIs Pakistan and England are to play in the UAE (PTG 885-4320, 11 January 2012), but the ICC has now up-dated previous advice it provided on the allocation of on-field umpires for that series. Originally it indicated that Taufel and another EUP member, Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka, would be the on-field umpires in all four games, however, the pair will actually each be on the field in two games and work as the third umpire in another two. The Pakistan Cricket Board has appointed EUP member Aleem Dar as the second on-field umpire in two of the ODIs, and Ashan Raza and Haider for one game each.
By the time the series ends Taufel's match official ODI tally will be 170, Crowe's 164, Dar 148, Dhamasena 32, Haider 14 and Ashan Raza 6.
MAJOR ECB LEAGUE TO TRIAL
'STRICT NEW DISCIPLINARY CODE'
The South of England Premier League (WEPL) is to trial what the 'Bristol Evening Post' called on Tuesday "a strict new disciplinary code" during the 2012 northern summer, the aim of the move being in the Post's words "to crack down on an increasing number of on-field problems". WEPL chairman Chris Norton issuing a general warning to all 80 WEPL clubs last July after a string of disciplinary-related incidents, including umpire abuse, in the last half of the 2011 season (PTG 797-3900, 16 July 2011).
WEPL is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the West of England and involves clubs from Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. It is one of 25 such leagues that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) set up in 1999 to bridge the standards gap between club cricket and the first class game. The 'Post' story says that WEPL is testing the new code on behalf of the ECB and that the document is "set to be adopted by four other ECB regional league competitions in 2013".
Norton told the 'Post' earlier this week that "The first half of [WEPL's 2011] season was pretty bland and it's a bit of a mystery why things then kicked off and hopefully the new code will help stamp things out a bit quicker". "I umpire myself and I was finding it a bit of a drag dealing with the argy-bargy that was going on" (PTG 800-3915, 19 July 2011).
The league's recent annual meeting agreed to statutory bans for players who misbehave, as well as points deductions for clubs "whose members persistently offend". The ten-page paper on disciplinary issues reiterates the need for players to adhere to the Code of Conduct and for captains to ensure matches are played "in a spirit of fair play". Suspensions are said to range from two games for level one offences, which include showing dissent at an umpire's decision and using obscene, offensive or insulting language, right through to a minimum ten-game ban for level four breaches involving any act of violence on the field of play and threatening an umpire.
One feature of the new arrangements is that umpires have been empowered in some situations to "issue a first and final warning, a metaphorical yellow card, to transgressing players" and it is hoped that that will "take the heat out of incidents". After that continuing misbehaviour will then lead to an official report being made and, for level one and two offences, an automatic ban being imposed.
The captain of "a leading club in the Bristol area", who the 'Post' said declined to be named, welcomed the "tough new sanctions" now facing individuals and teams. He was quoted as saying that he doesn't "mind a bit of banter but it can go too far". "Some players were getting away with murder last season in the way they were treating umpires. I think the changes are a good thing, you can't treat people like that on the pitch ... cricket's a gentleman's game, apparently". The captain ended by saying "Look at the discipline in rugby and the respect players have for referees", and "cricket and football should not be any different" to that.
CA 'EMERGING' QUARTET TO TRANS-TASMAN
All four members of Cricket Australia's (CA) emerging umpires group, plus five from its National Umpires Panel (NUP), are to stand in the eight-match series the Australian and New Zealand women's teams will play over a 15-day period that starts today week. The two sides will meet in four Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and three 50-over One Day Internationals (ODI) in the Sydney area, one being at the Sydney Cricket Ground, before travelling to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the last of the series, another T20I, in early February.
Of the emerging group, Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia will stand in all three ODIs, his colleague Michael Kumutat of New South Wales working with him in two of those games and NUP member Gerard Abood in the other. Kumutat, who has umpired T20Is in the past, will be making his debut in a women's ODI, however, Johnstone's stood in two such matches between the Australian and England sides 12 months ago, while for Abood it will be his sixth women's ODI.
In addition to the ODIs, Kumutat will also work as the third umpire in one of the T20Is, games that will see another of the emerging group, Sam Nogajski from Tasmania, who made his first classd debut late last year (PTG 840-4153, 26 October 2011), on the field on four occasions and as a third umpire in a fourth. The fourth 'emerger', Queensland's Damien Mealey, has been appointed to three T20Is, two of them on the field. Nogajski was on the field for two women's T20Is in early 2010, while Mealey has previously stood in two women's T20Is and two ODIs.
Apart from Abood, other NUP members named are Simon Fry of South Australia, Geoff Joshua of Victoria and Paul Reiffel from Queensland (one T20I each), and another Victorian, Tony Ward, with three T20Is, one of those being as the third umpire.
David Levens of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) will be the match referee for the three ODIs, his colleagues on the panel, Peter Marshall and CA Umpire Manager Sean Cary, undertaking that role in three and two T20Is respectively.
SKIPPER QUERIES THIRD UMPIRE DISMISSAL,
USE OF 'HOT SPOT' MOOTED
Daniel Smith, the captain of one of the two Sydney teams in Cricket Australia's (CA) revamped domestic Twenty20 (T20) competition, is said by media reports to have been "furious" with the decision that saw his key batsman Chris Gayle dismissed in a match it lost against Perth on Wednesday. Gayle left the field after being given out caught behind by the third umpire in the televised match, a decision that came after the on-field umpire is said to have initially given him 'not out'.
Media reports say that Perth's initial appeal for a catch was rejected by CA National Umpire Panel member Mick Martell of Western Australia, the umpire at the bowler's end, however, third umpire Michael Kumutat from New South Wales, from CA's emerging umpires group, overruled the decision after viewing several replays and Gayle was on his way. Those same reports, which were widely circulated, said that replays showed Gayle "had come nowhere near the ball", however, no details were provided as to how Kumutat saw the situation or just what facts he had before him. It was the third time a television umpire has overturned an on-field decision since CA brought in new rules for domestic reviews prior to the current austral summer (PTG 884-4309, 10 January 2012).
Smith was quoted by journalists as saying after the game that Gayle was adamant he didn't hit it", and he was "taking [his] player's word over any replay or what [the third umpire] thinks he saw". "The bloke upstairs had to be 100 percent sure that Gayle hit it to over-rule the original decision [and] I don't know how you can be 100 percent sure a bloke hit it". The skipper is said to have gone on to "cast doubt over the haphazard nature of the review system, with other dubious decisions in the match not being referred to Kumutat".
The incident has led to reports that claimed Australian television broadcaster Fox Sports, who is covering the T20 series, is giving "serious thought to embracing 'Hot Spot' technology for next summer's" competition, for had it had that technology for the current series "Gayle could have been spared the early exit", claimed the 'Daily Telegraph'. In the reports are correct, such a move would not be straight-forward as the specialist infra-red cameras are in short supply and would be expensive to provide at all eight grounds across Australia where T20 games are played.
ONE STADIUM, TWO BOUNDARIES
Umpires looking after matches in Australian domestic Twenty20 competition that are played at Melbourne's Dockland's Stadium have two boundaries to consider not one. Apart from the standard rope that marks the edge of the playing area, with the 50,000 capacity stadium having a retractable roof which sits some 38 m above the playing surface, any ball struck high enough to hit the ground's ceiling attracts six runs for the batsman.
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 15 January 2012
FORMER COUNTY PLAYER PLEADS
GUILTY TO SPOT-FIXING CHARGE
Former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield has become the first English cricketer to be convicted of spot-fixing after he pleading guilty to charges laid against him at London's central criminal court on Thursday. Westfield accepted £6,000 ($A9,000) to concede 12 runs in his first over of a 40-over match against Durham in September 2009, a game that was televised live and available for viewing around the world.
Prosecutors in the case claimed that Westfield, who was 21 at the time, had agreed to concede 12 runs in the over concerned, but in fact he only conceded 10 and the former player's defence counsel said that demonstrated he did not go through with the plan. His barrister said that the prosecution is based "almost entirely on what he unguardedly told fellow players", and submitted that there was no evidence Westfield actually did bowl badly. He asked the judge on behalf of Westfield to consider suspending any custodial sentence and spoke of the "snaring" influence of another man involved who he referred to as "the fixer".
After the over some of his Essex teammates are said to have been disconcerted by Westfield's spell, but it was not until the following May that he was arrested by Essex police along with his teammate, Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria (PTG 608-3051, 17 May 2010). That occurred after another teammate at the time, Tony Palladino, expressed concerns about the issue. Kaneria was never charged and was later released from his bail (PTG 665-3277, 9 September 2010).
A judgement on Westfield's case is to be handed down in early February, the maximum jail term should he be given a custodial sentence being seven years. Three Pakistan cricketers, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, were all jailed in London three months ago after being found guilty of corruption during a Test against England at The Oval in 2010 (PTG 856-4184, 4 November 2011).
Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board has offered an amnesty to players who report past match-fixing approaches, says the BBC. However, former England captain Michael Vaughan believes there are still players getting away with spot-fixing. He told BBC Radio 5 Live "I hate to say it but I'm sure there are other cases". "I'm sure there are players out there who are sleeping at home and thinking, 'Will I be caught?'
On the same day Westfield faced court, the International Cricket Council (ICC) reiterated its "zero tolerance attitude to cheating" and stressed its support for the work Australia’s Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports and the Australian Government is undertaking the establish a national framework of laws to combat cheating in sport (PTG 770-3773, 5 June 2011). Earlier in the week the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee called corruption issues as a "serious danger to the game overall" (PTG 885-4315, 11 January 2012).
KNIGHTS LATEST FOR NZC-CSA
New Zealand first class umpire Wayne Knights, who was elevated to his country's top domestic umpiring panel five months ago (PTG 822-4023, 31 August 2011), is to visit South Africa next month as part of the long-running umpire exchange agreement between New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and Cricket South Africa (CSA). Knights, 41, will stand in two matches in CSA's four-day first-class competition in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and in exchange, a so far unnamed South African will officiate in two Plunket Shield matches, one in Rangiora and the other Napier, in late February early March.
NZC National Umpire Manager Rodger McHarg said said in a statement that "as a recently promoted umpire to the NZC Elite Domestic Panel this is a great opportunity to broaden his umpiring experiences". "A number of significant benefits are generated from exchanges like this, including the opportunity to experience a new cricketing environment and conditions, along with and the challenges associated with unfamiliar venues and different players".
McHarg continued by saying that the exchange arrangements "not only provides a beneficial step along the development pathway for Wayne but his involvement will help grow the network of first-class umpires around the world". "NZC are grateful for the support of High Performance Sport New Zealand through the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Elite Officials programme in New Zealand, which also enabled Chris Gaffaney to complete an umpiring exchange in Australia" late in 2011", concluded McHarg (PTG 832-4065, 14 September 2011).
The NZC-CSA exchange program has been since 1998 and is the model now widely adopted by many other cricketing countries in support of the development of officiating standards. Twelve months ago NZC and Cricket Sri Lanka initiated an umpiring exchange program, Kiwi Phil Jones going to Sri Lanka and Ranmore Martinescz to New Zealand (PTG 728-3582, 17 February 2011), however, as yet there has been no indication that arrangement will continue this year.
MATCH REFEREE 'HELPED
SAVE MY LIFE', SAYS RAZA
Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza, who was shot twice and critically injured during the terrorist attack in Lahore nearly three years ago (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), has again credited English international match referee Chris Broad with helping to save his life on that day. Speaking the 'The Guardian' newspaper on Friday, Raza said that on seeing how badly he was bleeding, Broad lay on top of him and staunched the flow of blood, a move that was critical to his survival.
Raza, now 37, was travelling in a van with Broad, Australian umpires Steve Davis and Simon Taufel, third umpire Nadeem Ghouri, International Cricket Council (ICC) liaison officer Abdul Sami Khan, who was hit in the left shoulder, and ICC regional umpire manager Peter Manuel, when the attack occurred. "I was hit by two bullets, one in my lung", said Raza on Friday, and "was saved by two things". "One, I put an ICC handbook, with all the rules and regulations, in front of my stomach, but one of the bullets still penetrated". The Guardian' says he has "a lengthy scar down his front" to prove it.
Lahore-born Raza also gave great credit to Broad. "He was crying at first, everybody in the bus was crying. But then there was a pin-drop silence everywhere, and he suddenly realised that someone, me, was lying dying and my blood was pumping [out at] full speed. He lay down on me to try to stop the flow". At the time Ghouri called the action "very brave" (PTG 381-2023, 6 March 2009).
Raza was in a coma for three days, and remained in intensive care for 27, says 'The Guardian' story (PTG 391-2077, 19 March 2009). One of his lungs was damaged beyond repair, but within eight months he had been appointed television umpire for the final of Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 competition (PTG 420-2220, 10 May 2009). Shortly after that he travelled to Dubai for a One Day International (ODI) between Pakistan and New Zealand, one of the first games that was relocated to the United Arab Emirates as a result of the Lahore shooting. Then in 2010 when he made his third umpire debut in a Test, which was played at Lord's and was between Pakistan and Australia, Broad was the match referee for that game (PTG 633-3156, 14 July 2010).
Raza refused the opportunity to move to the UK, where he had played in England and Scotland as a wicketkeeper-batsman, after the Lahore attack. Prior to that he played 21 first class games in Pakistan for Faisalabad, Habib Bank Limited, Lahore and Sargodha as a wicketkeeper-batsman over the seven-year period that ended in 2000. He sees his appointment as fourth umpire for the first two Tests of forthcoming Pakistan-England series, then as one of the standing umpires for the first ODI in mid-February (PTG 886-4323, 13 January 2012), as a significant step towards his goal of joining his "old friend" Aleem Dar on the ICC's top level Elite Umpires Panel.
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 16 January 2012
TO STAND IN DEBUT TEST
Enamul Haque Moni will become the fourth Bangladeshi to work as an on-field umpire in a Test when he stands in the one-off fixture between New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Napier next week. Australian Rod Tucker will be his partner in the middle, Englishman Nigel Llong the television umpire, and Tucker's countryman David Boon the match referee.
Moni, 45, played for his country both before and after it was accorded Test status. He took part in 10 Tests and 34 first class matches overall, plus 29 One Day Internationals (ODI), between 1998 and 2003, and told local journalists yesterday that "ever since I began umpiring in 2003, I have always wanted to stand in a Test match".
To date, as a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, he has worked as the third umpire in a total of seven Tests, and also stood in 36 ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals. He stood as a neutral umpire in a ODI when he took part in the South Africa-Zimbabwe three-match series in October 2010 (PTG 679-3334, 8 October 2010).
Boon, Tucker and Moni will also be the neutral officials in the three-match ODI series New Zealand and Zimbabwe will play in early February after the Test. Llong's appointment for just one game half a world away from home, suggests he could be the neutral umpire in the opening matches of the tri-nation ODI tournament involving Australia, India and Sri Lanka next month.
SECOND OVER-RATE VIOLATION IN 12
MONTHS SEES INDIAN CAPTAIN SUSPENDED
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been suspended for one Test and his team fined for a slow over-rate during the third Test against Australia in Perth over the weekend. Dhoni's one-match ban came about because it is the second time in the last 12 months that an Indian side led by Dhoni has been censured for slow over rates in a Test.
India was fined for being three overs behind the required rate in a Test against the West Indies in July last year (PTG 788-3861, 4 July 2011), and Dhoni was said to have at one stage been under threat of a one-match ban as a result of poor over rates in a Test against England at Trent Bridge later that same month (PTG 803-3927, 25 July 2011).
At its meeting in June last year, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Executive Board again discussed the issue of slow over-rates and accepted the recommendation of its Cricket Committee that a captain of an international side should be suspended for one match if his side is found guilty of two minor over-rate offences in the same match format over a 12-month period (PTG 783-3832, 28 June 2011).
The charge in Perth was laid by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena, of Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively, who are both members of the ICC's Elite Umpire Panel, as well as third umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth umpire Mick Martell, who are both Australian. Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC 's chief match referee, another Sri Lankan, imposed the fines after India was ruled to be two overs short of its target at the end of the match, even after time allowances had been taken into consideration.
In accordance with ICC Code of Conduct regulations governing minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain loosing double that amount. As such, in addition to the suspension, Dhoni was fined 40 per cent of his match fee, and his team mates each 20 per cent of theirs.
Dhoni is said by the ICC to have acknowledged that he had been kept informed of the position regarding over-rates on a regular basis throughout the match.
'UMP CAM' TO FEATURE IN AUSTRALIAN
DOMESTIC T20 SERIES
Umpires in this Wednesday's Cricket Australia (CA) domestic Twenty20 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will each be wearing glasses with small television cameras mounted in them and the vision obtained will be used as part of the telecast of the game by broadcaster Fox Sports, says a story in yesterday's 'Sunday Telegraph' newspaper in Sydney. The network says that the cameras mean that "viewers [will] get the best possible angle for LBW appeals, run-outs and everything else umpires have to adjudicate on", and that CA will consider using some of the footage for reviews and appeals in the future.
The glasses-mounted cameras have, says the 'Telegraph', been invented by Brisbane optometrist Patrick Gerry, who fitted a "micro high-definition camera about the size of a pea" to what appear in images that are available to be frames very similar to the commercially available 'Spy Glass' system. Pay-television company Fox Sports says Gerry "has been working on his invention and trialling it in Brisbane lower-grade cricket for 12 months", and that it has recently "conducted secret trials at games in recent weeks".
According to CA's umpire appointments list, National Umpire Panel members Mick Martell and Paul Wilson, who are both from Western Australia, will be on the field at the SCG on Wednesday night. Fox says that while a sound feed is also available from the glasses umpires, CA has "asked for the microphones to be muted for live play".
Todd Proctor, Fox Sports' manager of outside broadcast projects, says the camera angle will be perfect to assess all leg-before appeals. "You get a better view with these glasses because a stump camera is too low and a camera in the grandstand is too high", he said, and the new system will "give viewers exactly what the umpires are seeing throughout the game and we have the choice of showing it live or on replay".
Fox is reported to have spent more than $A100,000 on improving the quality of the camera installed in the glasses which carry a small battery and recorder that works like a miniature USB stick. Currently the system is wired to a bigger battery, a transmitter and an aerial, which is kept in a pouch on an umpire's belt, but plans call for it to eventually go wireless.
Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delaney and new director of sport Gary Burns are said to be "driving the most revolutionary changes to television sport in years". Fox said, rather breathtakingly, that "they showed the technology to a fascinated News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch just before Christmas" and that "it's an idea that could catch on in American baseball".
"We're here to create entertainment that's worth paying for", Delaney told the 'Telegraph', for viewers have "got to see the ball and Shane Warne's hand as he delivers it". "We have to innovate [for] I want subscribers going to work and saying to their mates 'did you see that on Fox Sports last night', for word of mouth is the best way of selling subscriptions in our business [as] this is cutting edge coverage of sport".
Cameras worn by umpires are only part of what Fox Sports says is its "big money" investment on "world first technology". Other activities underway are said to include trials with a 75 cm remote-controlled helicopter which carries a tiny camera, but "insurance and health and safety issues" have delayed the launch of what is being called 'Chopper-cam', a device that "will hover above the players and transmit live".
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
FIRST CLASS DEBUT FOR
SECOND AUSSIE UMPIRE
Cricket Australia (CA) has selected Damien Mealey, a member of its emerging umpires panel for the last eighteen months, to make his first class debut in a Sheffield Shield match at Bellerive Oval in Hobart early next month. Mealey, 43, from Queensland, is the second of CA's current four-man emerging group to make his debut at that level this austral summer, Tasmanian Sam Nogajski, who was yesterday appointed to a second first class match, standing in his initial game in November (PTG 850-4153, 26 October 2011).
Mealey and Nogajskji are amongst 14 umpires, 10 from CA's 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP), 3 from the emerging group, and South African exchange umpire Adrian Holdstock, who have been appointed to the last set of nine Sheffield Shield and 6 one-day fixtures games that are scheduled to be played over the four weeks from early February in the lead up to the respective finals of those competitions.
Mealey's debut will be with NUP member Mike Martell of Western Australia in the first class match between Tasmanian and New South Wales in Hobart. He has also been appointed with the NUP's Victorian Ashley Barrow to a one-day domestic game between the two sides there in the same week, plus a third umpire role in Brisbane after his stint in the Tasmanian capital. Nogajski's second first class game will be in Adelaide late next month, his partner in that game being NUP member John Ward of Victoria.
Of the NUP members, Martell has been given five appointments in February, Tony Ward of Victoria four, his state colleagues Barrow, Geoff Joshua and Bob Parry all three, and two to Gerard Abood of New South Wales, Simon Fry of South Australia, Ian Lock and Paul Wilson of Western Australia, and John Ward of Victoria. Martell's five games in February is made up of three Sheffield Shield and two one-day games, one of the latter as the third umpire (3/1/1), Tony Ward 2/2/0, Barrow 1/2/0, Joshua and Parry each 1/1/1, Abood and Fry both 2/0/0, and Lock and John Ward 1/1/0, and Wilson 1/0/1. Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia, another member of the emerging group, has been appointed as the third umpire to a single one-day game in Perth.
Holdstock, a South African member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel who made his debut in a senior international three months ago (PTG 846-4141, 13 October 2011), has been allocated three first class and a single one-day match during his visit. The first is a Shield match in Brisbane with Fry, followed by a one-dayer there, again with Fry, before he travels to Melbourne to work with Martell in a second Shield fixture. John Ward, his exchange counterpart this year, will be in South Africa for the first half of February where he is to stand in similar games. Ward had a similar exchange visit to New Zealand late last year (PTG 832-4065, 14 September 2011).
Two NUP members, Queensland-based Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel, have not been given any domestic appointments in February. Starting later today, Oxenford will be standing in two Test matches in the United Arab Emirates and he is not expected to be back in Australia until early February (PTG 883-4306, 9 January 2012). On his return, together with Reiffel and a lesser extent Fry, Oxenford is expected to be engaged in the One Day International series Australia, India and Sri Lanka are to play during February.
10 LBW DECISIONS IN TWO-DAY GAME
A four innings, two-day match played in Napier, New Zealand on the weekend saw a total of 10 LBW decisions given, 9 on one day, says journalist Anendra Singh in a story published in the 'Hawke's Bay Today' yesterday. Scorer in the Hawke Cup match between the Hawke's Bay and Manawatu, Len Osborne from Palmerston North, told Singh "that's the most I've ever recorded" in a match.
Wairarapa umpire Mark Elliott raised his finger eight times to LBW appeals during the game, which ran for close to 200 overs, and his Hawke's Bay colleague Chris Dear, twice; 6 being in one innings and 4 in another. Despite that Bay coach Lincoln Doull didn't think there was anything sinister, saying after his team were all out for 161 in 59 overs that "the track was doing a lot more [on Saturday] so the guys got caught on the crease and the scores reflect that". "I didn't think it was strange because the track flattened out [on Sunday] and there was only one LBW".
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 20 January 2012
NZC RECOGNISES, HONOURS
'GRASS ROOTS' UMPIRING
Six regional finalists in New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) 'Favourite Kiwi Cricket Umpire' competition have been chosen and the national winner is expected to be announced at the end of the month. To be eligible for selection those involved, who were nominated by either clubs or individuals during November-December, must have umpired local-level games for either children or adults in a "completely voluntary" way over the last two seasons and have no income from their involvement in cricket.
Two of the umpires who made the last six, David Hanson from Auckland and Colin Elstob of Roturua, both told media outlets in their respective areas that they were surprised to be named as finalists. "The nomination came out of the blue [and] I was quite taken back", said Hanson, who has been involved in the game as a player and umpire for more than 20 years. "I love being out there on the field umpiring my son's team and seeing the youngsters grow into fantastic cricketers", he said, for "they've gone from being seven-year-olds where they don't know much about the sport to 13-year-olds who play like mini adults".
Elstob, who "had no idea" about the competition until his name was announced earlier this week, played for some eight years, but when his first child was born he switched to umpiring as a means of staying involved in the sport. "Umpiring is a little different to committing to a club. You can juggle cricket and family. If you commit to cricket there's training two or three times a week and playing every weekend", he said. Elstob like Hanson called umpiring "the best seat in the house, however, while he was always looking to improve his umpiring he has "no ambitions to umpire at international level", instead he's happy to travel to the Cook Islands once a year to "train up to 60 umpires at a time".
Tony Hill, one of two NZ members of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel Elite Panel, says "some fantastic entries" were received for the award from around the country and those chosen stood out because of their tireless commitment and passion for club cricket, a task that includes "patiently mentoring and encouraging younger players". "I know first hand how difficult it can be to give up your weekends and evenings for cricket games and training", continued Hill, "so it's fantastic that [umpire sponsor] 'Specsavers' and [NZC] wanted to reward these unsung heroes of our favourite summertime sport".
Each of the six finalists will receive two pairs of 'Specsavers' glasses, as well as a double pass to an international cricket game in New Zealand. The eventual winner will receive a one-on-one training session with "a high profile New Zealand umpire", $NZ1000 ($A770) prize money, a family pass to an international cricket game in New Zealand, and "other great prizes".
MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
ICC SINGAPORE TOURNAMENT
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed seven umpires, including Kiwi Tony Hill from its top-level Elite Umpires Panel, and a match referee, for its eight-day World Cricket League (WCL) Division 5 tournament in Singapore in late February. Teams from Argentina, Bahrain, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Malaysia and hosts Singapore will compete for the opportunity to finish in the top two of the event and gain promotion to the 2012 WCL Division 4 series, which is to be played later in the year.
Apart from Hill, who will stand in matches and act as a mentor as part of the ICC on-going umpires development initiative, the other umpires named are: Steven Douglas (Bermuda); Rockie D’Mello (Kenya); N Srivan Narayanan (Malaysia); Durga Subedi (Nepal); Afzal Pathan (Oman); and Sri Ganesh (Singapore); former Sri Lanka Test bowler and now ICC Regional Referees Panel member Graeme La Brooy being the match referee for the tournament.
JAIL FOR WESTFIELD WOULD HELP
FIGHT CORRUPTION, SAYS ICC CHIEF
International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat has told the BBC he would welcome a prison sentence for former Essex player Mervyn Westfield who pleaded guilty to spot-fixing charges in a London court last week (PTG 887-4328, 15 January 2012). Lorgat compared his case with the corruption trial that followed Pakistan's 2010 series in England where spot-fixing was also involved, and said that if Westfield is given a custodial sentence that, along with those given to three Pakistani players last year, will mean "a lot more attention will be paid to the fact you can end up in jail" for such practices.
In November, former Pakistan Test cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir all received jail sentences for their part in a spot-fixing conspiracy (PTG 856-4184, 4 November 2011). Westfield, who will be sentenced on 10 February, is the first English cricketer to be convicted of spot fixing and Lorgat would not speculate on what sentence he might receive, but he agreed that a jail term "would help" the fight against corruption. "The fact we have tightened up [on fixing] around the international circuit means it's possible it could be moving down to the domestic scene", he said.
Just when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will formally decide whether Westfield will be banned from the game is not known at this stage. Former England and Essex captain Nasser Hussain has called for him to be used prominently in an education process for young professional cricketers, but rejected calls for the bowler to be banned from the game for life. “We have to be tough on spot-fixers to send a message to future generations", Hussain told Sky Sports, but "he was a 21-year-old and he made a mistake". "I don’t think you can take the game of cricket away from the rest of his life. Use him as an example, make a video or something, to make sure that cricketers don’t make the same mistake he did".
Meanwhile, veteran English cricket writer Scyld Berry says that "a Pandora’s box" was opened when the ECB agreed to a broadcasting deal which allowed all cricket matches televised in England, not just the internationals but many county games as well, to be broadcast live in India. Writing about corruption in cricket in the UK newspaper the 'Sunday Telegraph', Berry said that in his view that move was "not called asking for trouble; it is inviting trouble into your house and offering it an armchair".
Berry says that the broadcast deal is understood to be worth just over £26 million ($A39 m) and that it subsidises county cricket to the tune of several million pounds a season. "Without it, several belts would have to be tightened", he writes, and asks, is former Essex player Mervyn "Westfield the first cricketer ever approached by a dodgy Asian operator to fix a few wides or no-balls in an inconsequential game which attracts a tiny, five-figure television audience in Britain but which fuels the illegal gambling habits of punters in Asia?
Unlike the original Pandora’s box, the ECB's current television deal "is one that can be closed when it expires and not renewed", continued Berry. "It is vital to the health of English cricket that the ECB closes it", he says, "or at least ensures that when a game is broadcast abroad there is a time-lag of several minutes, thus scuppering the whole process of betting on spot-fixes".
ON UDRS REVIEW
England team director Andy Flower is said to have "sought an explanation" from match referee Javagal Srinath of India after captain Andrew Strauss was "controversially dismissal" on the last day of his side's opening Test against Pakistan in Dubai yesterday, says a story in today's London 'Daily Telegraph' newspaper. Strauss was given out caught behind by on-field umpire Billy Bowden of New Zealand, but the England captain asked for the decision to be reviewed and 'Hot Spot' did now show any impact on the bat, writes 'Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult.
According to Hoult, third umpire Steve Davis of Australia, "heard a noise through the stump microphone and, even though he admitted it may not have been bat on ball, he decided there was not enough evidence to overrule the original decision". Flower, the England team director, is said to have visited Srinath during the lunch interval to ask for an explanation. Davis is quoted as saying that “there has to be sufficient evidence to overturn the on-field umpire’s decision" and "Andy Flower went to see the match referee [but] you will have to ask Andy if he is unhappy".
Strauss' second innings dismissal is said to have been similar to that of Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal when he batted. He was given out caught off the glove by Bowden but referred the decision, however, it was upheld because the batsman was out of the television frame, meaning there was no 'Hot Spot' evidence to save him even though, in Hoult's word, "the replays looked to show he did not lay bat on ball".
After the match ended Strauss refused "to blame the officials" for his dismissal saying that “it was of little consequence in the game". “I believe that the [Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS)] means there are fewer errors made but there will be no system in place when every decision is 100 percent right [for] that is a fact of life you have to deal with as a cricketer".
Ten Sports, the television broadcaster for the Pakistan-England series, has two 'Hot Spot' cameras at the ground, half the number that are used in a game in Australia or England.
FOX COMMENTATOR SAYS '3RD EYE'
COULD HAVE UDRS FUTURE
Fox Sports cricket commentator Brendon Julian believes what he called the "revolutionary" sunglasses-mounted camera being worn by umpires in the last games of Cricket Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition (PTG 888-4333, 16 January 2012), could have a future role in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) which is used in some international games. Julian says that what Fox has now dubbed the '3rd Eye', gives umpire's "more capabilities [for] making the right decision [as] they can also check with the third umpire, who can go through the vision and get replays". "The more technology that you have, the better informed the umpires are goig to be", continued Julian, and its "another angle for people to see" what's happening in a game.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
AUSSIE DOMESTIC T20 FINAL
Australian umpire John Ward has consolidated his fourth-place ranking on Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) with his appointment yesterday to the final of CA's domestic Twenty20 (T20) series which is to be played in Perth on Saturday. Paul Reiffel, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be Ward's on-field partner for the match, NUP member Mike Martell the third umpire, and CA Umpire High Performance Panel member and former Test umpire Ric Evans the match referee, but no publicity has been given to who the scorers will be for the match.
It will be the second time that Reiffel and Ward have worked together in a domestic T20 final, the first being in Melbourne five years ago. Ward also stood in last year's final while Reiffel looked after the decider in 2010, therefore Saturday's match will be the third for both. Evans will also be taking part in his third final, having also worked in that capacity in both 2008 and 2011, while for Martell its his second in the television chair as he was also there 12 months ago. All-up this weekend's final will take Reiffel's senior domestic T20 tally to 39, 11 of which were in last May's Indian Premier League series (PTG 767-3761, 28 May 2011), and Ward's to 20.
Reiffel's countrymen on the IUP, Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry, were unavailable for the final, the former being on Test duty in the United Arab Emirates at present (PTG 883-4306, 9 January 2012), while Fry was last month named as the third umpire for the Australia-India Test that is to start in Adelaide this morning, his first in that role in a Test. The latter appointment appears in doubt, however, one unconfirmed media report this morning indicating that NUP member Paul Wilson will now look after that position, possibly due to Fry's ill health. If that report is correct it will be Wilson's debut as a third umpire in a Test, although he has direct experience at that level as an Australian player in 1998 (PTG 611-3066, 25 May 2010).
Next week following the T20 final Ward will travel to South Africa as part of an umpire exchange that will see both he and Adrian Holdstock from that country standing in first class and one-day games in their respective national competitions over the same two-week period (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 2012).
SIDE 'FUMING' AFTER OPPONENTS ALLEGEDLY
'OFFERED' CESSATION OF PLAY
The Hawthorn-Monash University side in Melbourne's Premier League club competition are said to have been "left fuming" after umpires abandoned play an hour into the second and last day of its match against Richmond at Monash University last Saturday, says a story published in the 'Monash Weekly' yesterday. Richmond resumed on 1-118 in reply to Hawthorn-Monash's 191, however, they were quickly in trouble as they lost 4-21 before the umpires, Francesco Fabris and Rod McKinnon, who had let play begin, are said to have, in the Weekly's words, "offered Richmond the chance to leave the field" because it was dangerous, which they did.
Journalist Roy Ward's account states that "no Tigers batsmen were believed to have been hit in the head or body during the morning session, although one player was struck on the hand by a rising delivery". Hawthorn-Monash club president Petar Ivetic said the matter would go to the Cricket Victoria's Premier Cricket pennant committee, which is believed to be scheduled to meet tomorrow night, to adjudicate whether either team would be awarded the match. "It's an indictment on everyone - there is no winner from this", said Ivetic.
Ivetic wouldn't comment on Richmond's complaints about the pitch, but other members of his club are "believed to be incensed by the vocal objections of some [Richmond] batsmen during play". Tigers president Ken Sharpe, who was not at the game, said his players totally supported the umpires' decision and agreed the pitch was unsafe. "I'm told one of our batsmen took guard and moisture came off the pitch" he said, and "hopefully, [Hawthorn-Monash will] have a reason as to why the pitch was wet". "But from our point of view the fact was that it did happen and we will be asking for the [premiership] points".
Ward's statement that the Fabris and McKinnon "offered" the Richmond batsmen "the chance to leave the field" is at odds with the current edition of the Laws of Cricket. Law 3.8 was amended in 2010 to give umpires the sole responsibility for judgements on whether conditions of ground, weather or light mean that it would be dangerous or unreasonable for play to take place or continue (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010). It is possible therefore that the umpires decided the matter for themselves, that Hawthorn-Monash's reported claim is either a misrepresentation of the situation or a misunderstanding of what the Law now says, or if neither of those scenarios actually apply, that the umpire's got it wrong.
WINDIES IUP THIRD UMPIRES
STAND IN CARIBBEAN T20 FINAL
Guyanese umpire Nigel Duguid and Barbadian Gregory Brathwaite, who are both third umpire members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), were appointed to stand in the final of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) 2012 'domestic' Twenty20 (T20) series in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Sunday. As was the case in the WICB's one-day final last October (PTG 711-3485, 8 January 2011), the pair were chosen over IUP on-field members Peter Nero and Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago, probably because the latter two's national side played in both the one-day and T20 finals.
Brathwaite, Duguid, Nero and Wilson, who with four others stood in last year's WICB T20 series (PTG 711-3485, 8 January 2011), plus Clancy Mack of Antigua, a former IUP member, and Vincent Bullen of Barbados, formed the umpire panel for the 24-match 2012 T20 series. This year's event was played over a two week period, the first half in Antigua and the last phase in Barbados, former West Indies bowler Adrian Griffith being the match referee for all two dozen games. Bullen topped the actual appointments with 13, 6 on the field and 7 as third umpire (6/7), then on 12 came Brathwaite and Duguid (both 9/3), Nero 8/4, and Mack 7/5, then Wilson with 11 (9/2).
Brathwaite, who stood in the 2011 T20 decider, Duguid, Mack and Wilson, looked after the two semi finals this year with Nero and Bullen the third umpires, then Nero and Wilson stood in the third place match with Bullen the third umpire, Mack being in the television suite for the final. Ten teams took part in the event, the Caribbean sides Barbados, Combined Campuses and Colleges, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands, plus the Canadian and Netherlands national sides and English county club Sussex.
MORE T20, FEWER FIRST CLASS
GAMES ON COUNTY CIRCUIT?
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are believed to be considering increasing the number of Twenty20 matches counties play each season, reducing their first class fixtures, and returning its one-day competition back to a 50 over format. Those changes are said to be the key recommendations contained in a report compiled by David Morgan, the former chairman of the ECB and the International Cricket Council, who yesterday's London 'Daily Telegraph' said resulted from consultations "with more than 300 people", "only four of [which] were county directors of cricket or coaches".
CA PROJECT PANEL MEMBER
CONTINUES TO BUILD EXPERIENCE
Former first class player Shawn Craig, who is on Cricket Australia's (CA) Project Panel, has been a consistent presence in matches in Cricket Victoria's Premier League (CVPL) first grade competition in Melbourne so far this austral summer. Craig, 38, who took up umpiring in late 2010 as part of his Project Panel contract (PTG 678-3327, 7 October 2010), made his debut at first grade level at the start of the current season in October, and has stood in a total of 11 matches at that level in the time since.
Craig, who was a member of CA's eight-man umpire panel at its national under-17 championship series in Hobart in December (PTG 851-4158, 28 October 2011), was selected to stand in CVPL second grade Grand Final at the end of the 2010-11 season after just a handful of games at that level in what was his first year as a match official (PTG 745-3657, 22 March 2011). CA's Project Panel is designed to fast track former first class players into umpiring ranks, now International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Rod Tucker, and Paul Reiffel of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), with current CA National Umpire Panel member Paul Wilson, being the three previous recipients of Project Panel contracts.
Reiffel and Tucker spent three seasons on the PP before being named as members of CA's 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) prior to the 2005-06 season. During the three-year lead up to NUP membership the pair, in addition to games in their respective state club competitions, were chosen to stand in CA's male national Under-19 championship series and state second XI games. They were both elevated to the IUP in 2008 (PTG 336-1770, 25 October 2008), Tucker going on to join the EUP two years after that (PTG 617-3091, 5 June 2010). Wilson looks like making his debut as a third umpire in a Test in Adelaide today (PTG 891 4341 above).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 27 January 2012
UK PCA REVAMPS ITS
The UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has revamped its Racism Awareness Campaign to ensure that cricket’s image is not tarnished by some of the high profile race-based cases that have blighted football in England recently. 'The Cricketer' magazine says that there have been no similar incidents in English cricket but the PCA, the players’ union, is keen to protect the game’s image and insists that there is no room for complacency in that area.
The PCA campaign encourages players, spectators and officials to report any racist incidents they encounter. The push is accompanied by a poster that has slogans such as: “When the ball hits the deck at 85 mph it doesn’t care what language you speak"; “When it reverse swings into your leg stump, it doesn’t care where you grew up"; “When it rips back through your gate, it doesn’t care what your religious beliefs are"; and "When it traps you in front, it certainly doesn’t care what colour you are". The poster concludes by stating: “Neither should you".
Jason Ratcliffe, the assistant chief executive of the PCA told journalist Paul Bolton that “There have been some high profile incidents in other sports recently and we thought that [we needed] a timely reminder to our members to ensure we stay on top of the issue". Surrey’s former England batsman Mark Ramprakash concurred, going on to say that "the game has a well-known reputation for strong on-field sportsmanship, but there are always lines that should not be crossed on or off the field". "Racism is one of them, it’s just not acceptable", he said.
ROTORUA UMPIRE WINNER OF
NZ-WIDE 'GRASS ROOTS' AWARD
Rotorua-based umpire Colin Elstob has been named as New Zealand's 'Favourite Kiwi cricket umpire' as part of a nationwide search to reward "an unsung hero of club cricket". Elsob was chosen ahead of the five other "high calibre" regional finalists, David Hanson from Auckland, David Henderson from Christchurch, Del Whyte from Napier, Rex Bartholomew from Levin and Robert Murphy from Palmerston North, because of "his outstanding commitment to umpiring junior cricket in his area and abroad" (PTG 890-4336, 20 January 2012).
Tony Hill, one of two New Zealand umpires on the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), who judged the competition, said that "Colin really stood out to me for his absolute dedication". "Not only is he involved in umpiring the next generation of cricketers in his region, but he also takes regular trips to the Cook Islands to train and develop local cricket umpires there", said Hill, and competition organisers "really wanted to reward an umpire passionate about grassroots cricket [for] that's what keeps the spirit of cricket alive".
Elstob, who started playing cricket from the age 10 and coached local cricket teams throughout New Zealand before moving to Rotorua, said that is "very humbled to be named" as the competition winner. "I really love cricket, both playing and umpiring, so it's fantastic to walk away with an award for something I love doing". "Seeing kids enjoying and learning more about our great game is what it's all about [and] if I can do my part to help them as they continue to develop and grow as cricketers then that's fantastic".
Graeme Edmond, Managing Director of 'Specsavers' New Zealand, New Zealand Cricket's umpire sponsor, says he's proud to give the title to someone so deserving. "I can definitely say that local cricket umpiring is in safe hands thanks to Colin and the fantastic involvement he has had with his local community. We wish him all the best, and hope that he has a great umpiring season".
As part of his award Elstob wins a one-on-one training session with EUP member Hill, $A770 in prize money, a family pass to an international cricket game in New Zealand, $500 worth of Blackcaps gear, two sets of prescription glasses and two sets of prescription sunglasses.
SKIPPER'S 'COMBATIVE' NATURE CONTRIBUTED
TO SACKING, CLAIMS REPORT
Now former Australian Twenty20 (T20) captain Cameron White was dropped from that position in part because of what journalist Jesse Hogan claims is his sometimes "combative on-field approach to umpires and opponents", says a report published in Fairfax newspapers this week. White, whose poor series as a batsman in Cricket Australia's revamped 20 over competition over recent weeks and his leadership of the Australian team over the past year also played their part in his demise, has long had a reputation for petulant behaviour during matches. Late last month he was fined a total of $A1,500 for twice showing dissent towards an umpire in a T20 match his side played in Brisbane (PTG 877-4285, 23 December 2011).
SOUTH AFRICAN UMPIRE FOR
DULEEP TROPHY FINALS
South African umpire Shaun George is to officiate in a semi final and final of India's fifty-first Duleep Trophy series, a domestic first-class cricket competition played between teams representing geographical zones of India, in early February. George's visit is part of the on-going umpire exchange program agreement that was established by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) three years ago (PTG 327-1721, 10 October 2008).
George, a former South African first class player, has been umpiring at first class level in his home country for the past eight years, and is now an on-field member of the International Cricket council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, a group that he first joined in a third umpire capacity 15 months ago (PTG 687-3372, 23 October 2010). A few months before that he stood with seven Australian umpires in the two-week long Emerging Player's Tournament in south-east Queensland (PTG 640-3188, 28 July 2010), having in early 2007 travelled to New Zealand as part of the exchange program that was established by CSA and New Zealand Cricket in 1998 (PTG 887-4329, 15 January 2012).
The Duleep Trophy is named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji, who is also known as "Duleep", an Indian-born player who played 12 Tests for England, four of them in New Zealand, in the three-year period from 1929-31. Duleepsinhji is recorded as also having stood in a match in Canberra in 1951 between an Australian Prime Minister's XI and the touring West Indies side. Since the CSA-BCCI exchange began, South African umpires Marais Erasmus, Johannes Cloete and Brian Jerling have stood in Duleep Trophy semi finals and finals in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
COUNTIES OPPOSED SUGGESTED
CHANGE TO 50-OVER FORMAT
Counties are reported to be opposing suggestions made by former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman David Morgan that the ECB's one-day limited overs competition revert to a 50-over format (PTG 891-4344, 24 January 2012). The switch from the current 40-over format was one of the key planks of Morgan's report which was debated by county chairmen and chief executives during a meeting at Lord’s last Monday.
Morgan suggested that the ECB's domestic one-day cricket should mirror that played at international level, however, the counties felt that their commercial needs had been overlooked in the report. According to some media stories recently, the ECB's current 40-over competition has proved more popular with spectators than when it was a 50-over format, with the majority of matches starting on Sunday afternoons. There is said to have been "little enthusiasm" from counties to reverting to Sunday morning starts, which would be necessary if the number of overs were increased.
On the other hand the counties are said to have agreed to Morgan's suggestion that the number of first class matches they play be reduced from 16 per county to 14, but there was disagreement on the proposed format. Morgan's report recommends retaining two divisions of nine counties even though that would create an imbalanced fixture list with counties playing some sides twice but others only once, but the majority of counties are said to prefer a first division of eight and a second division of ten which would allow for a more symmetrical fixture list.
The ECB board, which has already accepted the Morgan Report in principle, will now discuss a report from the counties’ meeting when they next meet in March.
BROAD TO PASS 200 ODI MARK
AS A MATCH REFEREE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia (CA) have selected a total of eleven match officials for the 15-match One Day International (ODI) series Australia, India and Sri Lanka are to play over a four-week period starting next Sunday. Included in the appointments announced yesterday is England-based match referee Chris Broad, a former Test player, who will officiate in that capacity for the 200th time in the second-last match of the month-long series in Brisbane in early March.
In addition to Broad, the neutral officials allocated for the series by the ICC are Nigel Llong of England, from its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Asad Rauf of Pakistan from its Elite Umpire Panel (EUP), plus match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe. Australian EUP members Steve Davis, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker, plus their countrymen on the IUP, Simon Fry, Paul Reiffel and Bruce Oxenford have been allocated games by CA.
Pycroft will look after the first seven games of the series with Broad taking over for the last eight, Llong, Bowden and Rauf being the neutral umpires for the first, second and third block of five games respectively. Taufel will be on the field in two games and Tucker and Davis in one each, the latter also having a single match in the third umpire's chair. Oxenford has five games on the field and six as the television official (5/6), Reiffel 4/3 and Fry 2/5.
Broad's ODI match referee record will reach 201 if all three games of the play-offs are needed while Pycroft will see his record move up to 48. Taufel will take his ODI record to 172, equal with the late David Shepherd of England, and Bowden to 170; their records coming in behind current record holder Rudi Koertzen of South Africa (209), Steve Bucknor of the West Indies (181) and , Australian Daryl Harper (174). Rauf's tally will move up to 95 and Llong to 55, the appointments for the latter bringing an end what has been for him a busy period that has seen him work in five Tests and nine ODIs over a five month period.
Oxenford will stretch his ODI record to 34 on the field and 26 as the television official (34/26), Reiffel to 15/15 and Fry, who made his ODI debut last January (PTG 703-3444, 19 December 2010), to 3/5. Adelaide-based Fry is yet to work as a third umpire in an ODI, but internationally he has done so in a Test and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).
Pycroft will also oversee the two T20I matches Australia and India are to play in the week leading up to the ODIs. Oxenford will be on the field for both games and Reiffel and Fry for one each, the latter pair also having one game in the television chair.
UMPIRES 'COMMENDED' FOR
DECISION TO ABANDON PLAY
Cricket Victoria's (CV) Pennant Committee has commended umpires Francesco Fabris and Rod McKinnon for their decision to abandon the second day of last weekend's CV Premier League match between Hawthorn-Monash University (HMU) and Richmond after they deemed the pitch "unsafe to play". A press report earlier this week that cited sources from home side HMU, claimed that the umpires had "offered Richmond the chance to leave the field" and that their players were "fuming" over that alleged situation (PTG 891-4342, 24 January 2012).
Both Richmond and HMU lodged protests about the events and claimed premiership points from the match. In its deliberations the Pennant Committee dismissed HMU's protest, upheld Richmond's and awarded the latter six points, then fined the HMU club $A250 for failing to have its ground in "a proper condition for play". The committee are said to have accepted a submission from MHMU curation staff that the "state of the wicket was due to a misjudgement in watering levels in a difficult, very warm, week", that saw junior representative matches played at the ground in mid-week.
The weather forecast on the day before the HMU-Richmond game was due to resume was also mentioned. It was for "cloudy [conditions] early with sun burning through later", but it proved to be incorrect, cloud persisting all day, and as a result the watered pitch did not have time to dry.
CV believes that the the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the match due to a dangerous/unsafe pitch are "unique" in its Premier Cricket competition, which feeds the Victorian first class cricket side.
BOWLER'S ACTION CLEARED AFTER
'SIGNIFICANT REMEDIAL WORK'
United Arab Emirates (UAE) off-spinner Vikrant Shetty's bowling action has been found to be legal and he can now resume bowling in international cricket. Shetty, 27, was reported at the end of the UAE’s Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan in October (PTG 844-4128, 11 October 2011), and after his action was later examined by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and found to be "illegal", he was suspended and ordered to undergo "significant remedial work" (PTG 860-4203, 15 November 2011).
Shetty undertook the required remedial work at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Global Cricket Academy (GCA) in Dubai under the supervision of head coaches Dayle Hadlee and Mudassar Nazar. The ICC says that, like all bowlers, Shetty’s action will continue to be scrutinised by match officials to ensure it remains legal. The off-spinner was originally reported by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza of Pakistan from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, and Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal from its third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires’ Panel, plus third umpire Iftikhar Ali of the ECB.
PUNJAB BARS U-21 PLAYERS
FROM T20 CRICKET
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) in India appears to have decided to bar its Under-21 players who are not contracted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India from participating in Twenty20 cricket. The purpose of the move is said to be to try and ensure that Pubjab's younger players are better prepared for multi-day games, PCA member Sushil Kapoor being quoted by the 'Mumbai Mirror' as saying his association "felt that youngsters were losing their focus and were not ready to grind it out during the two, three or four day games".
PCA secretary MP Pandove told the Press Trust of India that the move had been made "in the larger interest of cricket". "Look, we are the first Association to take this step in the interest of players, many of whom I know will not like it", said Pandove. "We strongly feel that [ages] 17 to 21 are formative years for any player and there should be no distraction" in their development during that period. The PCA board is said to be aware that some players may not be happy about the decision, especially given its counterparts around the country, such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and Jharkhand, that have started their own T20 leagues.
CRICKET HELPS BRIDGE THE GAP
The Israel Cricket Association (ICA) has won the 2011 'Spirit of Cricket' trophy in the European section of the International Cricket Council's Development Program Awards. The prize was awarded to the ICA for their 'Cricket4Peace' project that saw cricket used as a tool to bring communities together, 80 children from Israel and the Palestinian Authority being introduced to cricket for the first time. The ICA won the same award in 2009 for a similar project that focussed on facilitating interaction between Arabic‐speaking Bedouin children and Hebrew‐speaking Jewish children.
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 30 January 2012
UMPIRE SOUGHT FOR
Police in Bangladesh say a umpire is being sought for questioning after he allegedly killed a teenage spectator in a dispute over a contested decision. The 15-year-old spectator, Nazrul Islam, ran onto the pitch during a club match in the country's northern district of Kishoreganj on Friday and started an argument with the umpire, however, the situation escalated rapidly and the so far unnamed umpire is said to have taken the non-striker's bat and hit the boy in the head with it.
Islam showed no serious injury from the blow during the game, however, local police chief Mosharraf Hossain told journalists yesterday that he "suffered internal bleeding" overnight and died at a hospital on Saturday morning. Hossain said that the two had argued over a not-out decision given by the umpire, Islam accusing the official of bias, and "at one stage the umpire became angry, took a bat, and hit the young boy on the head". Police say that the umpire is being sought for questioning over the incident but that he had gone into hiding and has not yet been found.
'INCREASED INCENTIVES' TO PROMOTE
TEST CRICKET ON ICC BOARD AGENDA
The promotion of Test cricket via an increased package of prize money "incentives" in the lead up to the proposed Test Championship event in 2017 will be one of the items on the agenda of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Board during its first meeting of the 2012 in Dubai on Tuesday-Wednesday. That matter will not, however, be the top issue on the table, for the most contentious matter will be discussions about, and decisions on actions that flow from, the report on an independent review of ICC governance structures.
In April last year the ICC adopted a new strategic plan which identified the need for an independent review of the way it operates as one of the key initiatives to 'build a bigger, better global game". The review has been designed to look at clarifying the role and structure of the ICC and its committees so that strategic goals are met effectively and decision-making is made in the best interests of the game and not for any single group or individual.
Included for consideration for example was the establishment of independent committee members and directors, the way the ICC President is nominated, election processes, member categories and criteria for membership, the effectiveness of the regulatory environment, and the constitutional framework and documents of the organisation to ensure they are appropriate.
The international company Price Waterhouse Coopers conducted the work involved and handed down an interim report in October, and the ICC Board will receive the final report with recommendations at this week's meeting. Other items listed for discussion over the two-day gathering include the implementation of Anti-Corruption Codes at domestic level, and the adoption of a Safety and Security Code.
AUTOMATIC WATER SPRINKLERS
WET PITCH, DELAY PLAY
Automatic pop-up water sprinklers came on during the innings break in a club Twenty20 (T20) final in Timaru, New Zealand, on Friday evening wetting the pitch, and play in the match between Timaru and Celtic was held up for half-an-hour so that the playing surface could dry sufficiently, says a Fairfax press report published over the weekend. While the sprinklers were on for a very brief period Timaru, who had just completed their innings and eventually lost the game, said the pitch had become damp and its condition had been altered, however, the unnamed umpires eventually let play resume.
The sprinklers came on just as Timaru skipper Hayden Butler and his side were said to be protesting being penalised for starting to bowl their last over outside the 75-minutes allowed in a T20. The sprinkler system surrounding the pitch block started without warning, with water being sprayed onto the playing pitch and surrounding square. South Canterbury Cricket (SCC) officials said later that the groundsman had set the system so that it came on a 7 p.m. after normal matches had concluded for the day, but he appears to have forgotten about the evening T20 fixture.
Timaru captain Hayden Butler, who said his opponents deserved their win, told journalist Natasha Martin that "it is a shame we have to talk about sprinklers", but if his team "had [refused to play] then cricket would have lost". "After losing an over and then having that happen, it shows there is not a very professional setup [and] here we are finishing [the game] at 9 p.m.", concluded Butler.
SCC chief executive David Fisher said the matter was "unfortunate" and could be attributed to human error". "I inspected the pitch at the innings break and there was minimal water on the playing surface itself". "You could choose to focus on that incident or you could choose to look at the match as a whole and realise it did not affect the outcome of the game".
Two weeks ago in Australia, the first day of a two-day Cricket Tasmania Premier League first grade match between home side Glenorchy and Lindisfarne had to be abandoned when the automatic sprinkler system at King George V oval, some of it located underneath the covers, came on overnight in the lead up to day one. The bowler and popping creases at one end were so wet that even though industrial heaters were brought in to try and dry the area, the pitch was deemed as too dangerous for bowlers to deliver balls safely by umpires Steve Maxwell and Martin Betts.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
DAR NAMED FOR 150TH ODI,
ILLINGWORTH FOR TEST DEBUT?
Englishman Richard Illingworth and Pakistani Aleem Dar have been named as the neutral umpires, and Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama the match referee, for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) New Zealand and South Africa are to play in Wellington, Napier and Auckland in late February and early March. Dar will be on the field in two matches, fixtures that will take his ODI record to 150 games, and Illingworth one in what will be his second overseas appointment from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in four months (PTG 841-4110, 5 October 2011).
Dar, the ICC's current and three-time 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), made his debut in an ODI in February 2000 and has since gone on to stand in the Champions Trophy series of 2004, 2006 and 2009 and the World Cups of 2003, 2007 and 2011; matches in the latter two of both competitions including the final. When he walks out to stand in his 150th in Auckland on 3 March and become the seventh umpire to reach that mark, he will have been on the field in an ODI in a total of 14 countries: Bangladesh and Pakistan 22 each; the West Indies 17; England 16; India 13; South Africa 12; New Zealand 12; Australia 10; the United Arab Emirates 8; Zimbabwe 7; Ireland 6; Kenya 4; the Netherlands 2; and Scotland 1.
Next month's ODIs, which will see so far unnamed NZ members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) on the field in each game, will take Mahanama's match referee record in that form of the game to 179 and Illingworth's to 9.
The ICC have not yet named which of its three umpires are to work in the three Test series the two sides are to play during March, although it is possible Dar, Illingworth and Mahanama could be in the mix, a combination that might see former England player Illingworth make his Test debut in an umpiring role. Yorkshire-born Illingworth, 48, an English IUP member, played 9 Tests for England in the first half of the 1990s and has umpired at first class level since July 2003, to date standing in 88 such games, all but a few being county championship games.
Should Illingworth achieve the distinction of standing in a Test he will have done so with only one Test as a third umpire under his belt, as well as 8 in that role in ODIs, all of those games being played in the last two years. If the trio named for the ODIs have in fact been selected for the Tests, with the Umpire Decision Review System in operation for the NZ-South Africa Tests, a third neutral umpire will have to be added to the group.
'PITCHVISION' OFFERED AS NEW
ELECTRONIC TRAINING AID
A training aid called 'PitchVision', which is said to be loosely based on the 'Hawk-Eye' ball tracking system but costs far less, is on the market and is being touted as a system that could be utilised by players at "amateur clubs and schools" around the world. The Essex, Surrey and Yorkshire county clubs are already using the system, the International Cricket Council’s Global Cricket Academy (GCA) in Dubai had one installed earlier this month, and the indoor school at Lord's is reported to be set to take delivery of one in the near future.
The system, which costs between £2,000 and £6,000 ($A3,000-$A8,900), uses sensor mats rolled out on either the floor indoors or the ground outdoors, that detect where a bowler’s feet land and a delivery pitches, the information generated being said to provide such details as the speed, deviation, line and length of each ball bowled. Other sensors can detect where a batsman has struck the ball and computer analysis provides a projected "value" for each stroke, with every delivery, whether batting or bowling, being logged in a player’s personal file, thus allowing them to chart progress over a period of time.
Neil Fairbairn, of miSport Holdings, the company who developed 'PitchVision', which was formed in 2005 to "develop mobile, interactive sports training systems and games", told London's 'Daily Telegraph' last week that his new product has been "inspired by Hawk-Eye" and built "to bridge the gap between elite level use and club cricket". “There are a range of products that have gone out on television and educated a range of cricket followers but the main objective of 'PitchVision' is to bring that into reality for clubs and people in the back gardens so cricketers can gain the sort of knowledge that first-class cricketers have".
The Hawk-Eye system costs around £180,000 ($A267,000) and needs skilled operators to interpret the data, thus making it beyond the budgets of clubs, says Fairbairn. He points out though that 'PitchVision' (PV) is a fraction of that price, although acknowledges its purchase will still represent a challenge for clubs to afford. He hopes clubs can sell PV memberships to their players, which would allow them access their data file, will help them recoup the initial outlay. “At the moment coaches walk around with notebooks and a lot of it is done on memory and their own experience, [and] we are providing a little bit more objective data and historic reference for a player".
However, Sam Charnery, the GCA's video analyst, urged caution, telling the 'Telegraph' that "there is a danger of too much technology and the coaches here [at the GCA] are often mentioning that we never want to over coach players". “That is something we watch out for but if the data is there and a good coach is behind it I don’t see why there would be any wrong information given [AS] a coach has to interpret the information".
There was no mention of any potential benefits for umpire training in the 'Telegraph' article.
NZC 'ELITE' GROUP LOOK AFTER
DOMESTIC T20 SERIES
Gary Baxter and Chris Gaffaney, New Zealand's two on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, stood in the final of their country's domestic Twenty20 competition last week, with Derek Walker the third umpire for the game. During the 31-match series only the eight members of New Zealand Cricket's domestic Elite panel, Barry Frost, Phil Jones and Wayne Knights (all Auckland), Baxter and Tim Parlane (Christchurch), Gaffaney (Dunedin), Walker (Oamaru), and Evan Watkin (Wellington), were chosen to manage matches.
Baxter, Frost, Gaffaney and Watkin worked in 11 games each, Jones, Parlane and Walker 10, and Knights 9. Gaffaney was on the field in 10 games and in the television suite for one (10/1), Baxter 9/2, Frost and Watkin 8/3, Jones and Parlane 8/2, Walker 6/4, and Knights 5/4. The final of the competition was Baxter's third in a row, having previously stood in 2010 and 2011, but for Gaffaney it was his first in the competition's finale, although Walker had been there before for he stood with Jones in the 2008 decider.