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    FEBRUARY 2012
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 12 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 4362-4412)
Click below to access each individual edition listed below
896  897  898  899  900  901  902  903  904  905  906  907

 

896 -  2 February [4362-4366]

• Double 'after dark' sessions for Caribbean first class day-night matches   (896-4362).

• ICC increases 'prize money' in attempt to promote Test cricket   (896-4363).

• CA Level 1-2 accreditation courses to go 'on-line' soon?   (896-4364).

• Two overseas umpires for Windies first class season   (896-4365).

• First of convicted spot-fixing trio released from jail   (896-4366).

897 - 3 February [4367-4369]

• Next wave of CA emerging umpires for Townsville U-19 event?   (897-4367).

• Scorers, umpires from around Australia named for 2012 Imparja Cup   (896-4368).

• Recruitment action for NSWCUSA Executive Officer nears start   (896-4369). 

898 - 6 February [4370-4371]

• Independent study of UDRS set for May, claims report   (898-4370).

• Big six reignites 'switch hit' wides, LBW debate   (898-4371).

899 - 9 February [4372-4373]

• Match looses time after officials apply rules incorrectly, say reports  (899-4372).

• Nine match officials named for second-tier internationals   (899-4373).

900 - 10 February [4374-4378]

• Image of unrelated umpire used in Playing Conditions mistake story    (900-4374).

• Bowler's claim he has 23.5 degree straightening allowance denied by ICC   (900-4375).

• CNSW looking for new NSWCUSA Executive Officer   (900-4376).

• Spot-fixing approach reported as Bangladesh T20 series prepares for start   (900-4377).

• Side fails to turn up for match but wins after communications 'shemozzle'   (900-4378).

901 - 14 February [4379-4383]

• Harper moves to baseball umpiring, but maintains cricket links   (901-4379).

• Indian bowler's action cleared after 'remedial work'   (901-4380).

• Player to appeal again despite halving of year-long ban   (901-4381).

• Decision on county level spot-fixing sentence delayed   (901-4382).

• Safety netting proposed for 175 year old ground   (901-4383).

902 - 17 February [4384-4386]

• Five-ball over in tied match an 'honest mistake, says ICC   (902-4384).

• UDRS testing to be limited to ball-tracking accuracy   (902-4385).

• PCB awards its first umpiring contracts   (902-4386).

903 - 20 February [4387-4392]

• Four months jail for spot-fixing scam   (903-4387).

• Second one-match ban handed to Dhoni for slow over-rate violation   (903-4388).

• Helmet, bat throw after third umpire reverses on-field decision   (903-4389).

• Correct button pushed but 'technical gremlin' leads to player 'chase'   (903-4390).

• Orchard, Proctor return for BPL   (903-4391).

• Workshop, mentoring role for Taufel in WT20 Qualifier   (903-4392).

904 - 21 February [4393-4396]

• Batsman caught behind after ball rebounds from bowler's head   (904-4393).

• Finch reprimanded for 'dummy spit'   (904-4394).

• Tests fail to replicate 'Gabba' third umpire switch 'gremlin'   (904-4395).

• 'Quad' series umpires to each stand in five U-19 internationals   (904-4396).

905 - 22 February [4397-4403]

• Barbadian President laments standard of Windies umpiring   (905-4397).

• India withdrawal appeal after non-striker 'run out' by bowler   (905-4398).

• Second CA 2011-12 domestic final for umpiring trio   (905-4399).

• 'Grassless' Lankan pitches key factor in fast bowler injuries, says SLC   (905-4400).

• Differing disciplinary standards claimed for 'club', 'professional' players   (905-4401).

• Rival Lankan umpire groups sign MOU on cooperation   (905-4402).

• Player rejects alleged spot-fixing middleman role but faces new inquiry   (905-4403).

906 - 24 February [4403-4406]

• Nothing in Laws about warning prior to 'Mankad' attempt, says MCC   (906-4404).

• Match officials named for New Zealand, South Africa Tests   (906-4405).

• Taufel to equal Shepherd's ODI record   (906-4406). 

907 - 28 February [4405-4410]

• Batsman's parry of ball ruled an attempt to avoid injury   (907-4407).

• Club threatens court action over 'run out' decision   (907-4408).

• Umpire's comment sparks official complaint, says report   (907-4409).

• Mumbai umpire 'detained', another assaulted, by disgruntled players   (907-4410).

• Irish player fined for using offensive language   (907-4411).

• County players undergoing anti-corruption training   (907-4412). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 896
Thursday, 2 February 2012  

DOUBLE 'AFTER DARK' SESSIONS FOR CARIBBEAN 

FIRST CLASS DAY-NIGHT MATCHES

[PTG 896-4362]

 

Two of the three sessions in each day's play in the four day-night first class fixtures the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has scheduled for its 2012 first class season over the next month are to be played after the sun sets (PTG 861-4206, 17 November 2011).  Day-night trials in the first class game in a number of areas of the world in recent years, including the Caribbean two years ago (PTG 534-2736, 17 December 2009), have restricted the full night-time segment of matches to the last session after tea, but the forthcoming WICB games, which are to be played with pink balls, will push the day-night concept further than before.

 

Under the day-night playing conditions announced for the games by the WICB earlier this week, play is to start at 3.30 p.m. local time, with what is being called 'Dinner' running from 5.30 to 6.10 p.m.  The second two-hour session will end at 8.10 p.m., after which there will be the normal 20 minute 'Tea' break, then the last session will be from 8.30 to 10.30 p.m.  The sun sets in the Caribbean between 6.00 and 6.15 p.m. at this time of the year therefore the last part of session one, and the whole of two and three, will take place under lights.  Whether there is a strict cut-off at 10.30 p.m., or extra time is available after that where there are delays in play, is not clear.

 

The first of the four games is to get underway at the 'Three Ws' Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, tomorrow, the second and third in the last week of this month, and the fourth in early March.  One of those three is listed for Kensington Oval in Bridgetown and another at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua, but just where the other will be played is in doubt.  It was originally allocated to Guyana but the government there recently took over the country's cricket administration, something the WICB and the International Cricket Council have condemned.

 

All seven of the WICB's 'domestic' sides will play in at least one day-night match, the Combined Campuses and Colleges team featuring in two; while eight of the 11 Caribbean umpires who will stand in the 21-match first class season are expected to gain further experience under lights (PTG 896-4365 below).

 

While the WICB has gone for lengthy post sun set sessions, Cricket Australia (CA) allocated 'twilight' sessions to four matches in its domestic first class season this austral summer  (PTG 832-4062, 14 September 2011). Two of those matches, which saw the last session run until either 6.30 or 7.00 p.m. some 1-2 hours before sunset, were played in Sydney and Melbourne in late November and early December, and further matches for Adelaide and Hobart early this month (PTG 820-4016, 26 August 2011).  The Adelaide match starts today and the game in Hobart on Monday. 

 

ICC INCREASES 'PRIZE MONEY' IN

ATTEMPT TO PROMOTE TEST CRICKET

[PTG 896-4363]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to increase the amount of "prize money" available to the teams that finish in the top four of its Test listings each year as part of efforts to promote that form of the game.  Currently the top team in the ICC's Test rankings is provided with a cheque for $US175,000 ($A163,000), but in 2012 that will increase to a minimum of $US450,000, and in 2015 $US500,000, a further increase being mooted from 2016 in the lead up to its proposed Test Championship series in 2017.

 

During its two-day meeting in Dubai which ended yesterday, the ICC Board agreed that total of $US3.8m ($A3.5m) be shared among the top four Test sides in April 2013, 2014 and 2015.  ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said in a statement issues last night that "This worthy increase in prize money for the top four teams in the Test Rankings can only be right" and "we are delighted at the growing interest and quality of Test match cricket and we must continue to promote the pinnacle form of the game before and beyond the Test Championship in 2017".

 

Under the new arrangements the second placed side will receive $US350,000 in 2013, $US370,000 in 2014 and $US390,000 in 2015, the third side $US250,000, $US265,000 and $US280,000, and the fourth $US150,000, $US160,000 and $US170,000 respectively.  Whether the funding increase is designed to encourage players to aim for Test cricket or to assist its promotion via the administrations of the teams that are involved, or if both what the proportions involved will be, was not mentioned in the ICC press release.

 

CA LEVEL 1-2 ACCREDITATION COURSES 

TO GO 'ON-LINE' SOON? 

[PTG 896-4364]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) Level 1 and 2 umpire accreditation course modules are expected to be available 'on line' later this month if reports circulating in umpiring circles are correct.  CA's Umpire Educator Denis Burns, who is primarily responsible for the work involved in developing the internet-based programs, provided a briefing on the project's progress to State and Territory Directors of Umpiring at their annual post-season meeting in Melbourne nine months ago (PTG 761-3736, 27 April 2011), but since then little has been heard publicly about the status of the work.

 

PTG understands that the Level 1 program, which was launch in 2008 and is for beginner umpires, was set up in such a way technically that it can be provided on line with little extra work.  However, the Level 2 program's accreditation modules, which are much more complex and were first introduced by CA as long ago as 2002, are believed to require an extensive rewrite to make them suitable for access 'on-line'.  What little data that is available publicly suggests that some 750 people have qualified so far for a Level 1 certificate, while perhaps around 2,400 have completed the Level 2 course across the country.    

 

In related work, the status of the Level 2 reaccreditation program for already qualified umpires that CA first looked at introducing two years ago is also under question.  Since that time problems have been experienced with the data-base that contains details of those who have gone through the program.  Recent efforts by current CA and state and territory personnel are believed to have focussed on resurrecting the Level 2 list so that those who have qualified can be approached regarding reaccreditation, although just what they will have to do to maintain their qualification has yet to be spelt out publicly.   

 

Prior to the current austral summer Burns was given the task, in addition to his education and training work, of working as a member of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel (PTG 788-3857, 4 July 2011).  That role appears to have kept him busy, for he has worked as a match referee and umpire observer in several dozen matches this season to date at levels ranging from first class, to List A and Twenty20 men's and women's games, and fixtures involving state second XIs and Under-19 sides around the country.  

 

Burns, who last decade was a key player in the development of high-quality educational materials produced by the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring (PTG 47-256, 27 May 2007), moved from England to Australia just over three years ago to take up the education position at CA (PTG 357-1901, 5 December 2008).  He umpired on a regular basis in England, has a background in education, teaching in schools and adult education colleges in England, and for several decade was a university lecturer in education and information technology at Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Cumbria.

 

TWO OVERSEAS UMPIRES FOR 

WINDIES FIRST CLASS SEASON

[PTG 896-4365]

 

Bangladeshi umpire Anisur Rahman and Michael Gough of England are to each stand in three matches in the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) 2012 regional four-day competition over the next seven weeks.  The pair will join 11 other umpires and at least 9 match referees selected by the WICB from 8 nations around the Caribbean for the 21 roster matches in the series, the first of which are due to get underway tomorrow local time, however, officials for the semi-finals and final of the competition in early April are not expected to be named until late March.   

 

None of the 11 Caribbean umpires chosen, which are headed up by the four West Indian umpires on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), are new to first class cricket.  Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Togabo have two umpires each, Gregory Brathwaite and Vincent Bullen, Vivian Johnston and Norman Malcolm, Peter Nero and Joel Wilson, respectively, and there is one each from Antigua (Clancy Mack), Dominica (Lennox Abrahams), Guyana (Nigel Duguid), Saint Kitts and Nevis (Luther Kelly) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Goaland Greaves).  

 

Brathwaite, Duguid, Nero, Wilson are the current IUP members, and they also stood in the WICB's one-day and Twenty20 (T20) domestic series over the last four months; Abrahams and Greaves joining that quartet for the one-dayers in October (PTG 852-4163, 30 October 2011), while Bullen and Mack were with the four IUP men for the T20s last month (PTG 891-4343, 24 January 2012).  Abrahams tops the list of first class appointments over the next two months with 5, Bullen, Duguid, Mack and Nero each have 4, Greaves, Malcolm and Johnson 3, and Brathwaite, Kelly and Wilson 2 each.  Those games will see Mack take his first class tally to 65, Malcolm 51, Greaves 47, Bullen 31, Kelly 21, Abrahams and Nero 20, Johnson 19, Brathwaite 15, Wilson 13 and Duguid 12. 

 

Rahman, 40, is a former first class cricketer who played two One Day Internationals for his country in the late 1990s.  He made his debut at first class level as an umpire in March 2007 and currently has 26 such games under his belt, two of them in Sri Lanka on exchange in 2009, and another two when he travelled to South Africa with the Bangladesh 'A' team in April last year.  Rahman is the third umpire from his country to travel to the Caribbean under the exchange program set up by the WICB and the Bangladesh Cricket Board in late 2009 (PTG 562-2857, 1 February 2010)

 

Gough, 32, is a former England Under-19 skipper and Durham opening batsman who made his umpiring debut at first class level in April 2006 after he "fell out of love playing the game".  He has currently stood in 57 matches at that level and was named the UK's 'Umpire of the Year' by the Professional Cricketers' Association last September (PTG 836-4085, 22 September 2011), his selection for the Caribbean visit suggesting he is under consideration by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for promotion to the IUP sometime in the next few years (PTG 823-4027, 1 September 2011).  Hartlepool-born Gough is the fourth ECB umpire to travel to the West Indies as part of an exchange program the ECB and WICB established just over three years ago (PTG 344-1822, 6 November 2008).

 

Four of the 21-matches are to be played as day-night fixtures (PTG 896-4362 above), Abrahams, Brathwaite, Bulen, Duguid, Greaves, and Nero each standing in one game and Mack two.

 

FIRST OF CONVICTED SPOT-FIXING 

TRIO RELEASED FROM JAIL 

[PTG 896-4366]

 

Mohammad Amir, one of three Pakistani players who were convicted of orchestrating three pre-planned, deliberate 'no-balls' during a Test match against England at Lord's in August 2010, was released from jail yesterday after serving half of his six-month sentence.  Amir lost an appeal against his sentence in November and is reported to be now planning to launch an appeal with the international Court of Arbitration for Sport against the five-year ban imposed on him by the International Cricket Council last year (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 897
Friday, 3 February 2012 

 

NEXT WAVE OF CA EMERGING UMPIRES 

FOR TOWNSVILLE U-19 EVENT? 

[PTG 897-4367]

 

Reports over the last few days suggest that four umpires, who may make up the next Cricket Australia (CA) emerging umpires group, are to take part in what is said to be a recently arranged international series that is to be held in northern Queensland in April.  Indications are that the quartet, who were chosen as a result of their performances in CA's annual men's national Under-19 championship in Adelaide last month, are to stand in a series of matches involving national sides of the same age group from Australia, England, India and New Zealand, the aim of the series being to prepare those players for the U-19 World Cup in Queensland in August (PTG 814-3989, 12 August 2011). 

 

A number of separate sources in different states have told PTG that the umpires involved in "a two-week series in Townsville" are: Mike Graham-Smith (Tasmania); Jay Kangar (Queensland); Simon Lightbody (Australian Capital Territory); and Richard Patterson (Victoria).  Kangar's presence on the list is a surprise to many observers for he appears to have leap-frogged the likes of Greg Davidson (NSW), Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania), and Todd Rann (WA).  The latter three, along with Graham-Smith, Patterson and Lightbody, were selected for CA's Futures league Twenty20 series in Melbourne in December prior to the national U-19 event.  Kangar was overlooked for the Futures series and was only added to the U-19 national series panel, claim reports, because of the non-availability of another umpire.        

 

In recent years the top four umpires at the national U-19 series have been selected as the emerging umpires group to take part in what has become the annual Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in Queensland in July-August (PTG 786-3845, 1 July 2011).  However, with the U-19 World Cup in full swing around that time this year the suggestion from some has been the EPT may not go ahead in 2012, although that is yet to be confirmed.  Other reports in recent weeks have suggested the new emerging group could also take part in some World Cup warm-up games in late July, there having been for example 21 such fixtures in the last event in New Zealand two years ago.  

 

Meanwhile, CA's current emerging umpires group, Michael Kumutat (NSW), Damien Mealey (Queensland), Sam Nogajski (Tasmania) and Nathan Johnstone (WA), who stood in the 2011 EPT, now appear to be 'floating' somewhere between CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) and their 'emerging' role.  Nogajski, the recipient of a high-profile match officials scholarship (PTG 872-4259, 13 December 2011), and Mealey, have both been selected to make their debuts at first class level this season (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 2012), and appear to be in the running for NUP spots later this year.  A number of vacancies could open up on the NUP prior to the 2012-13 season, for at one end of the scale the positions of several Victoria-based NUP members are said to be under question, and at the other Queensland NUP member Bruce Oxenford could be promoted to the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 883-4306, 9 January 2012).

 

SCORERS, UMPIRES FROM AROUND 

AUSTRALIA NAMED FOR 2012 IMPARJA CUP

[PTG 897-4368]

 

A scorer who has recorded the details of Test matches and other internationals, and another who has probably the longest 'commute' in the world to score for his club side, are amongst the four members of their craft and ten umpires that Cricket Australia (CA) is fly to Alice Springs on Sunday to ply their trade in this year's week-long Imparja Cup for Australian Indigenous cricketers.  The unavailability of scorers from the Northern Territory meant that cricket authorities there had to call for expressions of interest from elsewhere in the country and, with CA's assistance, transport and house those chosen, the first time that such a move is believed to have been needed for scorers from outside the Territory.

 

The umpires and scorers selected for the event will look after the top male state and territory division of the tournament, all games in which will be played in Twenty20 format.  Matches in that grade, some of which will be day-night events and all of which are strongly contested, will be played from Monday-Friday next week, with the final being scheduled for the last day on Saturday.

 

Scorers selected are David Mattison from the Australian Capital Territory, Phil Thomson from Western Australia, and Graeme Hamley and Nathan Bester from Tasmania.  Hamley has been scoring for many years and currently has five Tests and a host of interstate first class, one-day, Twenty20 and other fixtures to his credit, while Bester shows his dedication to his craft by commuting 430 km each week from and to his home in northern Tasmania to score for his club South Hobart Sandy Bay in Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Premier League competition.  PTG understands that that pair will score using computers, while Mattison and Thomson will utilise either score books or CA score sheets.

 

Umpires who will take part in matches this week are: Mark Hanton (Victoria), who will manage overall umpiring activities; David Staines (Queensland); Mark Donfield (Northern Territory); Reuben Garlett and Jamal Principe (Western Australia); Barry Thomas (Australian Capital Territory); Craig Thomas (South Australia); Chris Allen (Victoria); Warwick Wheeldon (New South Wales); and Will Baird (Tasmania).  

 

Principe and Garlett currently stand in Perth's top turf competition and have been umpiring for 8 and 9 years respectively.  Donfield is a regular in Darwin's grade competition, while Wheeldon is from Parkes in the central west of New South Wales some 360 km west of Sydney where he umpires in the Parkes District Cricket Association as well as representative games played in that region.  Staines is from Ipswich 40 km west of Brisbane where he is President of the umpire's association there, an 'A' grade umpire, and member of Queensland's country umpire's panel. 

 

Thomas, who stands in the top grade of club cricket in Adelaide, travelled to Hobart in December for CA's men's Under-17 national championship series.  Tasmania's Braid has stood in first grade matches in CT's Cricket North West competition, and beginning this austral summer, in the state body's Premier League series in Hobart, a move that came about because of his appointment as CT's Youth Cricket Administrator in the south of the state.  Both Allen and Hanton umpire in the top grade of Cricket Victoria's Premier League competition.

 

Records that are available indicate that Principe will be taking part in his sixth Imparja Cup, Hanton and Wheeldon their fourth, Donfield his third, and Garlett and Thomas their second, while information currently available on all the other umpires and scorers suggest it will be their first.

 

RECRUITMENT ACTION FOR NSWCUSA 

EXECUTIVE OFFICER NEARS START 

[PTG 897-4369]

 

Recruitment action to permanently fill the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's (NSWCUSA) Executive Officer (EO) position, which fell vacant with the departure of former incumbent Darrell Hair two months (PTG 866-4235, 1 December 2011), is to commence soon.  NSWCUSA Chairman, Stephen Poole, told members at the association's February monthly meeting on Wednesday evening in Sydney that Cricket NSW plans to release an advertisement calling for applications next week.

 

Several people who were present have told PTG that in making that announcement Poole made it clear that as required by the NSWCUSA constitution only members of the association are eligible to apply for the position.  Former first class umpire Darren Goodger has apparently been acting as EO for most of the last six months, first when Hair went on "medical leave" after a 'no confidence' motion was passed against him by the NSWCUSA Board (PTG 828-4048, 9 September 2011), and then when Hair finally departed the scene (PTG 861-4205, 17 November 2011).  No significant details have ever been released as to just what led all eight members of the Board to loose faith in Hair in such a profound way.

 

As far as can be determined, Hair seems to have split completely from the cricket scene.  His 'Darrell Hair and Associates Management Consultants' company, which he operates with his wife, says it specialises in "leadership and people development, and business improvement through people", and that its "purpose is to help individuals and organisations to realise their potential".  Hair's international umpiring career is mentioned on the company web site, but his resume indicates that he is still the NSWCUSA's EO.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 898
Monday, 6 February 2012  


INDEPENDENT STUDY OF UDRS
SET FOR MAY, CLAIMS REPORT 

[PTG 898-4370]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is hoping that a study of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) by a Cambridge University group later this year will help persuade Indian cricket authorities that the system's use in matches can be beneficial rather than detrimental to the game, says a report published in 'The Guardian' newspaper on Saturday.  ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said last July that his organisation planned to carry out, "over the next few months", an independent assessment of infra-red cameras, audio tracking devices, and ball-tracking technology (PTG 790-3868, 6 July 2011), but as yet it has made no announcement about the Cambridge study reported by 'Guardian' journalist Mark Selvey.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been opposed to the UDRS because of doubts concerning the predictive element of the tracking system Hawk-Eye and its derivatives, and of the heat-monitoring 'Hot Spot' (PTG 763-3746, 16 May 2011); although it only went negative on the latter system after some controversial decisions during its side's tour of England last northern summer (PTG 825-4032, 6 September 2011).  Others have expressed concerns about the UDRS, amongst them Australian umpire Simon Taufel who said last September that more needed to be done to prove the veracity of devices such as 'Hawk-Eye', 'Hot Spot' and 'Virtual Eye' via testing that is independent of broadcasters and the system's suppliers (PTG 824-4029, 3 September 2011).  Another Australian, retired umpire Daryl Harper, also raised issues about camera frame rates and how they impact of the accuracy of ball-tracking systems (PTG 801-3919, 20 July 2011). 

 

'The Guardian' article states that "some top umpires are thought to have doubts" about UDRS, but ICC general manager of cricket Dave Richardson, who was interviewed in Dubai late last week, believes the majority of umpires have found it beneficial. "I think the general view is supportive [and] I think they acknowledge it can be to their benefit".  "Any mistake can be rectified while still giving them margin for error. They don't need to change the way they umpire and the system will support them more often than not", concluded Richardson.

 

Selvey also quotes Richardson as saying that he has been surprised the impact the UDRS has had on Test cricket, and admitting that he had never expected to see such a change in the way the game was being played.  Richardson feels in particular that it has overturned a convention of the game, which is not enshrined in the laws, that the batsman rather than bowler is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.  That's "not a bad thing", said Richardson, for  "I think there was a feeling it had gone too much the other way and batsmen were getting too much of an easy ride in Test cricket [and that pitches] were too flat and the balance had shifted too far in favour of the batsmen".

 

During the current three-match Test series between Pakistan and England in the United Arab Emirates, there have already been a large number of LBW decisions, and 'The Guardian' story makes the claim that many of those to date have been a product of use of UDRS.  Of the 100 wickets that had fallen in the series up until the the end of the third day's play in the third Test last night Australian time, 40 were for LBW dismissals.  On the first day of the current Test Taufel, one of the best umpires in the world, had three of his decisions overturned by the television umpire, a caught behind and two LBWs, while earlier in the first two tests his countryman Bruce Oxenford was praised by the English press for his accurate decision making as confirmed by the UDRS, praise indeed given that England lost both matches.

 

Apart from indicating that the Cambridge evaluation will be conducted in May, Selvey's article provides no details as to which university group will conduct it, what its parameters will be, or when the results from it can be expected.

 

BIG SIX REIGNITES 'SWITCH HIT' 

WIDES, LBW DEBATE 

[PTG 898-4371]

 

A 'switch hit' six that is said to have travelled 100 m before landing during a Twenty20 International in Sydney last Wednesday has reignited debate in Australia about the legality of the shot.  In June 2008 the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) declared the 'switch hit' legal but said it would continue to conduct research into whether the Laws of Cricket should be modified to cover Wides and LBW situations when such shots are played (PTG 258-1402, 18 June 2008), and nearly two years after that the International Cricket Council (ICC) laid down its own definition of what is and isn't allowed in relation to the shot in the international game (PTG 610-3062, 24 May 2010), but some questions still remain.

 

The latest round of discussions about 'switch hits' came after Australian batsman David Warner, normally a left hander, faced a delivery by Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin that pitched outside leg, but before the ball landed he had changed his grip and become a right-hander by the time he hit the ball.  Late last week arguments raged in both the print and electronic media about the fairness of a shot that England's South African-borm batsman Kevin Pietersen introduced to international cricket four-and-a-half years ago (PTG 102-561, 22 September 2007).  A similar shot by Warner    saw a similar bout of discussion (PTG 576-2912, 25 February 2010).

 

Former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor, who is a member of the ICC's cricket committee, says he has argued for four years that the stroke should be outlawed. "Unfortunately I have lost the battle at ICC level", he said (PTG 422-2227, 13 May 2009).  "I know people see it from a marketing point of view as an attractive skill and for a bloke like Davey Warner to hit a ball right-handed 100m is wonderful but I think it is unfair", although he is not against the reverse sweep per se.  "I don't think it is right for a batsman to change his stance as it's unfair to the bowlers", continued Taylor, for "it's important to maintain the balance between bat and ball and this gives the batsman an unfair advantage."

 

Two former Australian bowlers, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz welcomed the shot but argued that there is a need to make the rules "fairer" for bowlers.  You have to allow it, it is fantastic", said Fleming, but he went further by saying "let the bowlers bowl with either hand, let it open up". Kasprowicz believes the rules need to be "tinkered" with to give the bowler the upper hand.  A batsman's "more than welcome to do that, but on two conditions", says Kasprowicz.  ''One: the ball cannot be deemed to be pitching outside leg stump for an LBW, and the second one is, the benefit of the doubt should then go to the bowler. If the batsman decides to switch hit, the umpire should drop the outside leg rule and the benefit of the doubt should then go in favour of the bowler, not the batsman. If that happens, they're more than welcome to do it".

 

In May 2008 the ICC's cricket committee recommended that the MCC, as the custodian of cricket's Laws, review the switch hit situation (PTG 258-1402, 18 June 2008).  The following month the club decided that it would not legislate against the stroke, saying that it "is a difficult shot to execute and that it incurs a great deal of risk for the batsman", and as such it "offers bowlers a good chance of taking a wicket and therefore is fair to both batsman and bowlers" (PTG 259-1409, 18 June 2008).  However, the club agreed to look into how the stroke relates to the Laws regarding both Wides in limited over matches and LBW decisions, but still appears to be discussing such issues three-and-a-half years later (PTG 885-4317, 11 January 2012). 

 

In May 2010 the ICC gave batsmen in international cricket the "the green light" to switch their stance but with a couple of provisos.  They were that a batsman cannot change sides until the bowler is in his delivery stride, a move that gives the striker only a moment to get their stance right, adjust their line of sight and play a shot, and a bowler is allowed to stop in his delivery stride if he sees a batsman making such a move.  

 

Should the bowler take that option the umpire at the crease is required to issue "an informal warning" to the batsman on the grounds of time wasting, a second such incident resulting in a formal warning, and a third the awarding of five penalty runs to the fielding side.  On the other hand the bowler may choose, on seeing the batsman change stance, to carry on and deliver the ball (PTG 610-3062, 24 May 2010).

 

In September 2010, Ireland all-rounder Andrew White was reported to have received an apology from the umpires after a One Day International against Zimbabwe during which he was warned for time-wasting and the team "threatened" with a five run penalty if he repeated a “switch-hit” shot he played early in his innings.  However, it was later shown after replays were consulted that he had not transgressed, hence the reported apology (PTG 674-3309, 29 September 2010).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 899
Thursday, 9 February 2012  

MATCH LOOSES TIME AFTER OFFICIALS 

APPLY RULES INCORRECTLY, SAY REPORTS 

[PTG 899-4372]

 

The New South Wales and Tasmanian sides are reported to have "received an apology from the umpires" in the Sheffield Shield match in Hobart last night after they interpreted the playing conditions incorrectly in a game that is crucial to both teams' seasons, say stories running in a number of Australian media outlets this morning.  Umpires Mick Martell and Damien Mealey plus match referee Denis Burns are said to have "applied the twilight rules incorrectly" in what is Cricket Australia's (CA) fourth and last 'twilight' first class match of the summer.

 

Reports this morning indicate that the players left the field at the scheduled time of 7 p.m. with NSW in trouble at 4-75 in their second innings, a lead of just 71, one day's play being left today.  More than one hour of play was lost on day two of the match on Tuesday and under CA 'twilight' rules "overs carried over to days 2, 3 or 4 shall all be added prior to the scheduled [12 p.m.] start of the first session and distributed over the first two sessions" of the next day, an approach that is believed to be designed to ensure the 7 p.m. cut off time remains intact (PTG 832-4062, 14 September 2011).  

 

Instead, it would appear that as in normal day-time matches where time is lost, 30 minutes was initially added to both the start and end of day three yesterday, the 7 p.m. cut-off being overlooked by match officials.  Play should have started at 11 a.m., an hour, not 30 minutes earlier, than actually occurred, so that the 7 p.m. finish requirement was observed.  It would appear that the start time mistake was realised sometime during the day, and even though floodlights at Bellerive Oval were on, the 7 p.m. cut off had to apply, therefore 30 minutes of playing time that should have been available was lost.

 

Tasmanian captain George Bailey is quoted this morning as saying last night that "it's probably going to cost us eight overs which could be important in a game like this" as his side pushes for a win. "The umpires have apologised for it", he continued, and "to be fair, I think as a captain I probably should be aware of it too so I'm certainly not pointing the whole blame on them".  NSW captain Stephen O'Keefe, who was batting but had not scored when play ended, also said the mistake was understandable.  "In the scheme of things it's not ideal but I think as players we understand and respect the fact that everyone's entitled to make mistakes and we do it all the time and it's all part of the game", said O'Keefe.

 

Mealey has been a member of CA's emerging umpires group for the last 18 months and is making his first class debut (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 20122), while Martell is in his fourth season as a member of the National Umpires Panel and is standing in his 20th match at that level.  Burns, CA's Umpire Educator, who also doubles as a member of its Umpire High Performance Panel this season, is managing his sixth first class match, although for all three officials the game is their first 'twilight' fixture. 

 

CA has yet to issue any statement on the matter therefore some aspects of the reports summarised above are yet to be totally confirmed, however, an announcement posted on the score board at Bellerive last night indicated that the last day of the match has been scheduled to start at 11 a.m. today.

 

NINE MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR 

SECOND-TIER INTERNATIONALS

[PTG 899-4373]

 

Nine match officials from eight countries have been selected to manage the next set of fixtures in international second-tier first class, one-day and Twenty20 matches that are scheduled to be played in Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next month.  The six fixtures in Kenya will be looked after by umpires and a match referee from Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while those involved in the three in the UAE come from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

 

The Kenya-Ireland Intercontinental Cup first class game in Mombasa will be managed on the field by Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin and David Odhiambo from Kenya while Devdas Govindjee from South Africa will be the match referee; while another game in that competition in Sharjah between the UAE and Scotland will see Sudhir Asani of India and Sahul Hameed of Indonesia as the umpires and Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka the match referee.  

 

Tiffin will be standing in his 111th first class match but first outside Zimbabwe for over two years, Odhiambo returns to first class cricket after an absence of nearly seven years in what will be his fifth game at that level, while for Govindjee its his 42nd as a referee.  For Asani it will be his 70th first class match, and third outside India following his exchange visit to South Africa in 2010, while Hameed will be standing in his sixth, all of them in the Intercontinental Cup for second-tier nations, and La Brooy his 33rd.  

 

Asani and Tiffin are both members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Hameed and Odhiambo its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpire Panel (AAUP), the latter joining only recently, and the two referees its second-tier Regional Referees Panel.  

 

Tiffin, Odhiambo and Govindjee will look after the first of the two One day Internationals (ODI) Kenya and Ireland will play after the Intercontinental Cup match, South African IUP member Shaun George replacing Odhiambo on the official's panel for the second.  George and Odhiambo have been paired for the three Twenty20 Internationals that follow the ODIs.  In the UAE, the ICC is to fly another IUP member, Joel Wilson of the West Indies, plus AAUP member Buddhi Prahdan of Nepal, in for the two ODIs the UAE and Scotland are to play after their first class fixture.  

 

Earlier this week the ICC rebadged its ODI series for second-tier nationals and the World Cricket League Championship, the competing teams for the current two-year period being: Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, Scotland and the UAE.  The series that is at present underway will conclude towards the end of 2013 after each team has played each other in two matches across seven home or away rounds.  
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 900
Friday, 10 February 2012

 

IMAGE OF UNRELATED UMPIRE USED IN 

PLAYING CONDITIONS MISTAKE STORY

[PTG 900-4374]

 

An image of an umpire who was not involved in the first class match in which a Playing Conditions mistake was made earlier this week, was used to illustrate an article about the matter that was posted on Cricket Australia's (CA) web site on Wednesday evening (PTG 899-4372, 9 February 2012).  The story titled 'Bailey rues umpire error' ran underneath a picture that showed Tasmanian captain George Bailey making a point to a rather bemused-looking CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Geoff Joshua of Victoria, however, the last time Joshua stood in a first class match involving Bailey and the Tasmanian side was in November last year.

 

In the end Tuesday evening's error, which saw play start half-an-hour later on Wednesday than it should have under CA Playing Conditions and caused the loss of around 8 overs, did not significantly impact on the result of what was a key first class game for both Tasmania and their New South Wales opponents.  Despite that it would seem likely that CA will look very closely at whether anything apart from due diligence, such as the wording, philosophy and 'workability' of the playing conditions, caused NUP umpire Mick Martell from Western Australia and debutant Damien Mealey of Queensland, in the presence of match referee Denis Burns of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, to make the mistake in what was the last of CA's four 'twilight' first class match trials for the 2011-12 austral summer (PTG 832-4062, 14 September 2011).

 

Mealey's last CA announced appointment for the season is currently as the third umpire in a one-day game in Brisbane this Saturday.  At the moment Martell has three more CA appointments to run, two of them Sheffield Shield games, one that starts in Melbourne next Monday and another in Sydney in the first week of March, plus a one-day game in between those fixtures in Melbourne on Saturday week; Burns being the match referee for the latter game.  CA has placed significant emphasis on Playing Conditions knowledge in its selection processes in recent times, but as yet there has been no indication as to what, if anything, might flow as a result of this week's error.

 

BOWLER'S CLAIM HE HAS 23.5 DEGREE 

STRAIGHTENING ALLOWANCE DENIED BY ICC

[PTG 900-4375]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has moved to clarify a statement by its off-break bowler Saeed Ajmal earlier this week that he has "permission" to straighten his arm more than the 15 degrees allowed in International Cricket Council (ICC) playing regulations, a claim that the world body has quickly denied.  The PCB now says that in indicating he had permission, "Saeed was referring to the angle of the upper arm to forearm and not the degree of elbow extension" involved, and that his lack of English skills was behind the misunderstanding that occurred. 

 

Ajmal, whose action has previously been cleared by the ICC, took 24 wickets as Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 in the recent Test series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a situation that saw some journalists from the latter country raise issues about the bowler's action.  He was quoted on the BBC web site soon after the last Test as saying "someone is telling me my action is bad, but the ICC allow me to bowl 23.5 degrees" because an accident had left his arm with a 8.5-degree bend in the resting position and that apart from that there "is no problem with my action".  However, an ICC spokesman quickly denied that claim, saying: "Anything over 15 degrees is not allowed [and] at no stage have the ICC allowed any bowler to exceed the 15 degree limit".

 

In an attempt to quell the confusion, Pakistan team manager Naved Akram Cheema said that "The ICC's level of tolerance of 15 degrees relates to the degree of elbow extension that is permitted in the bowling action, that is the amount by which the arm is straightening", and "previous tests conducted on the action of Saeed Ajmal show that the degree of elbow extension is well within ICC's tolerance levels".  The ICC set the 15 degree limit in 2005 after conducting research that showed almost all bowlers straightened their arm to some degree. 

 

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has now made the claim that his player "was trapped by the journalist [involved] because he hasn't got a command of the English language".  He said the English media couldn't digest the defeat of its team and wanted to create controversy involving Ajmal, who was Pakistan’s hero. Media reports say that the PCB chief is not happy with the laxity shown by the team management in allowing players to give interviews and he is believed to have issued instructions to ensure such situations are not repeated. 

 

Ajmal, 34, did not make his Test debut until the age of 30, but in the 20 games he has played at that level in the two-and-a-half years since he has taken 107 wickets at an average of 26.70, his strike rate being 61.22.

 

CNSW LOOKING FOR NEW NSWCUSA 

EXECUTIVE OFFICER 

[PTG 900-4376]

 

Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) formally called for applicants for the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) Executive Officer (EO) position on Wednesday, however, those thinking of applying have less than a week to provide their submissions for the closing date has been set as next Tuesday.  The EO position, which is only open to current NSWCUSA members, became vacant in mid-November with the departure of former incumbent Darrell Hair following a so far unexplained rift with the association's Board (PTG 897-4369, 3 February 2012). 

 

CNSW says that the primary purpose of the EO role, which is based at the Sydney Cricket Ground, is to "provide direction and overall management of the NSW Umpire Department in both the administration of the NSWCUSA and in the coaching, training and development of its members".  It continues by stating that to be successful in the role the person selected "will need to have exceptional planning and administration skills, proven leadership and management, experience in developing and implementing training programs, strong technical understanding in umpiring and scoring, highly developed interpersonal and communication skills both written and verbal, and ability to appropriately represent NSWCUSA and CNSW at all levels". 

 

No details of the remuneration involved have been made public to date, and just when the successful applicant will take up the position is not known at this stage.

 

SPOT-FIXING APPROACH REPORTED AS 

BANGLADESH T20 SERIES PREPARES FOR START

[PTG 900-4377]

 

Bangladesh's inaugural Twenty20 league is opening on a sour note after a leading player revealed he had received a spot-fixing proposition.  Former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza says he has been approached by an unnamed player regarding potential spot-fixing when he turns out as skipper of the Dhaka side in the six-team, 30-match, 17-day Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) which is due to get underway later today.

 

Mortaza told the Cricinfo website that he has "told my team management about the approach and I'm sure they will do the right thing".  Dhaka newspapers reported that Mortaza said he would step down from the team captaincy if he suspected any irregularities during the tournament which is styled along the lines of the Indian Premier League.  Media reports circulating say that Mortaza was asked to provide information on whether he would play certain matches and even whether he would be wearing his sunglasses or a cap when he takes the field, and that in exchange for such details he would be paid 15-20 per cent of the earnings from the spot-betting.

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials are said to have asked Mortaza to reveal the name of the player who made the approach to him.  "This is a very serious offence", said BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus, and "we have zero tolerance towards these things and will do whatever is needed to nail it down quickly".  Reports indicate that Mortaza was to have spoken to officials from the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Security Unit before BPL matches get under way today.

 

SIDE FAILS TO TURN UP FOR MATCH, BUT WINS 

DUE TO A  COMMUNICATIONS 'SHEMOZZLE'

[PTG 900-4378]

 

An Under-21 side from Lithgow in New South Wales lost a home match against their counterparts from Mudgee 130 km away last Sunday despite the fact that the visitors did not turn up for the game, says a story in the 'Lithgow Mercury' this week.  Mudgee were informed by Lithgow officials the day before the match was to be held that all grounds in Lithgow had been closed for the weekend by persistent heavy rain, however, while they told their opponents of the situation that prevailed, they forgot to let their own side know the game had been washed out.

 

On Friday night, Mudgee District Cricket Association secretary Betty Endacott is said to have received a phone call from her counterpart at Lithgow, Neil Hutchinson, informing her that the Lithgow City Council had closed all of its sports grounds for the weekend.  Hutchinson told the 'Mercury' that “We informed all [of our] local clubs that the grounds had been closed by the council [and that games were postponed], but unfortunately we forgot that the Under 21s would be playing on the Sunday", and the message was therefore not passed on to them.  On Sunday morning Mudgee umpire Gordon Fredericks received a phone call from a Lithgow U-21 representative asking where the Mudgee side was and "how come they hadn’t turned up to play".

 

Mitchell Cricket Council (MCC) secretary Carl Sharpe told the 'Mercury' that the situation had been a “shemozzle”, but after some consideration, and despite Lithgow being ready for play, it was Mudgee that was awarded the match under the competition's Playing Conditions, for they had finished above their opponents in the standings and the latter's ground was closed.  After being notified that his side will now have to contest the preliminary final of the competition, Lithgow coach Anthony Brown said "it is not the best way to make it through to the preliminary final [for] we would have rather played and taken our chances against Mudgee", but while his players "can feel hard done by" the "rules are the rules".  “We now have to put all that behind us and concentrate on making it through to the grand final with a win against Bathurst", concluded Brown.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 901
Tuesday, 14 February 2012  

HARPER MOVES TO BASEBALL UMPIRING 

BUT MAINTAINS CRICKET LINKS

[PTG 901-4379]

 

Former Australian international umpire Daryl Harper is now umpiring in a sport that a media report from his home city of Adelaide says was his first real sporting love, however, he is maintaining his cricket links as a mentor for umpires and a match referee.  Harper, whose tenure on the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel ended last year (PTG 766-3757, 26 May 2011), is now officiating in South Australia's local baseball league, one of his colleagues looking after matches being that state's director of cricket umpires, Neil Poulton.

 

Harper, 60, who has been a baseball fan since his childhood, told ABC News that prior to standing in his first match he "went through the same first day nerves, 28 years later than I had for cricket umpiring".  "It was quite frightening, because I slotted straight into a division one game ... I was a base umpire, and all of a sudden I was standing next to some guys that had come from overseas ... they were extremely good at what they did, and here was I, a rookie, on his first day out".  

 

Adelaide-born Harper said that the change in player and manager confrontations from cricket to baseball held some surprises for "a couple of times I have been confronted by a manager who's strode out onto the diamond and faced me off, six inches away, and questioned my decision, and I'm not used to that", he says.  He has been practicing that new found ability to sledge players back, saying  "I've had to bite my tongue for 28 years as a cricket umpire, so I think I am going to enjoy this".  

 

His introduction to baseball umpiring also heralded another memorable moment for on his first day of umpiring, with two bases loaded, he had to call a triple-play - one catch and two run outs that sees an in innings over in a single pitch.  "The umpire who I was working with that day, Neil Poulton, one of Australia's most respected umpires, came across most jealous", says Harper.  "He told me that he had umpired for 28 years and he had only ever seen one before".

 

Harper may have made the move the baseball but he has certainly not been lost to cricket.  Following his departure from the EUP last June, Cricket Australia's national umpire manager Sean Cary indicated that he would be used in CA's umpire education and training programs (PTG 786-3844, 1 July 2011).  Since then he is believed to have worked as an observer and mentor at both the 2011-12 men's Under-17 and Under-19 championships over recent months, as well as as a match referee in domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 matches, plus two state second XI fixtures (PTG 850-4155, 26 October 2011).  He is due to play the same role in another first class match at the end of this month.

 

INDIAN BOWLER'S ACTION CLEARED 

FOLLOWING 'REMEDIAL WORK' 

[PTG 901-4380]

 

The action of Indian women's medium-pacer Snehal Pradhan's has been found to be "legal" following "significant remedial work" and an "independent test" and she can now return to bowling in international cricket.  Pradhan was reported by on-field umpires Jeff Evans and Graham Lloyd after a One Day International between England and India last June and was subsequently suspended from bowling in the international game (PTG 789-3865, 5 July 2011).

 

During a test conducted last July, shortly after the report, analysis showed that the amount of elbow extension in Pradhan's bowling action for all her deliveries exceeded the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations by an average of two degrees.  Following remedial work she underwent further tests at the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia in Perth late last month and they showed that her mean elbow extension is now within the 15-degrees allowed.  

 

Despite that the ICC says that she has "to be conscious of ensuring her elbow flexion levels are minimised at upper arm horizontal to ensure she remains well within the extension tolerance threshold", and her "action will continue to be scrutinised by match officials to ensure it remains legal".

 

PLAYER TO APPEAL AGAIN DESPITE 

HALVING OF YEAR-LONG BAN

[PTG 901-4381]

 

Former Ireland international Desmond Curry is free to play for his club Limavady again after the one-year ban that was handed to him in December following an Irish Senior Cup game last June was reduced to six months on appeal, but he now plans to appeal that decision, according to an article published in the 'Irish Times' last Saturday.  Reports at the time said that Instonians’ Ireland international Andrew White claimed he had been assaulted by a Limavady player during tea interval in the game (PTG 773-3785, 13 June 2011), and Curry was later banned from all cricket for a year over the matter (PTG 785-3840, 30 June 2011.

 

At a rehearing of the case conducted last week some seven months after the match, Curry, 45, was says the 'Times' found by an independent arbitrator appointed by 'Just Sport Ireland', to be "liable in respect of the level four charge of assault against White", but not liable in respect of the "level three charge for threat of assault" (PTG 773-3785, 13 June 2011).  Despite that the hearing upheld three of the original charges: the abuse of cricket equipment; showing dissent at an umpire’s decision; and using language that was obscene, offensive or insulting. 

 

Despite the reduced ban, the 'Times' report concludes by saying that Curry has decided to appeal against the latest decision and the matter is to be heard by an Appeals Commissioner sometime in the next few months.

 

DECISION ON COUNTY LEVEL 

SPOT-FIXING SENTENCE DELAYED 

[PTG 901-4382]

 

The sentencing of former Essex county cricketer Mervyn Westfield for spot-fixing has been delayed by a week.  Westfield pleaded guilty last month to taking £6,000 ($A9,000) to bowl so that a specific number of runs were scored in the first over of a 40-over one-day match between Durham and Essex in September 2009 (PTG 887-4328, 15 January 2012), and the 23-year-old was due to be sentenced in London last Friday.  

 

The case follows a separate trial late last year in which three Pakistani cricketers were imprisoned for their roles in a match-fixing scam.  Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were all sentenced last November for a plan to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England the previous summer, Amir being released earlier this month after serving half of his sentence (PTG 896-4366, 2 February 2012).

 

SAFETY NETTING PROPOSED 

FOR 175 YEAR OLD GROUND

[PTG 901-4383]

 

Twenty eight-metre-high poles and "safety netting" will have to be erected at a 175 year old cricket ground in Hampshire prior to the 2012 northern summer if the Lymington club is to be allowed to play matches there again.  Civic leaders in the area have drawn up proposals to relocate the club because of concerns balls hit by batsmen are a danger to others in the vicinity, particularly those playing tennis on the adjacent tennis courts (PTG 863-4220, 22 November 2011).  

 

Following months of what is reported to have been "heated debate", which has included an internet campaign called 'Save Lymington' (PTG 867-4240, 2 December 2011), an application is being made to install safety netting at the ground.  Reports last year put the cost of such a move at £50,000 ($A80,000) and the club's president described the net suggestion at the time as "ludicrous" and that no-one had been injured by cricket balls.

 

However, if the New Forest District Council rejects the netting scheme, Lymington will be barred from playing there, a move it is claimed would “decimate” its membership.  The application for the nets says in part that: “The new cricket season begins at the end of April, by which time a suitable safety solution must be in place and the alternative would be to ban the cricket club from playing at the ground".

 

Lymington Town clerk Steve Cridland defended the authority’s stance saying “If there’s a hazard that we’re unable to address, what are we to do?”  No date has been set for a decision to be handed down on the matter but it is expected within the next two months.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 902
Friday, 17 February 2012

 

FIVE-BALL OVER IN TIED MATCH AN

'HONEST MISTAKE', SAYS ICC

[PTG 902-4384]

 

A five-ball over delivered during Tuesday's One Day International between India and Sri Lanka in Adelaide has been described by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as "a straightforward, honest mistake by the umpiring team", say a number of media reports published over the last few days.  The match was tied after three runs were scored off the final ball of the game, and because of that result many media reports focussed on the fact that Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga only delivered five balls in the thirtieth over of India's innings and queried the potential impact that had on the result.

 

Cricket Australia took a similar stance to the ICC, an unnamed spokesman being quoted by Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph' as saying that "international umpires, like international players, perform to a high level but like players, they are human and make mistakes from time to time. But once a decision is made, it's made and we get on with the game".  Australian umpire Simon Fry was at the bowler's end during for the Malinga over concerned and Englishman Nigel Llong at square leg, while another Australian, Bruce Oxenford, was working as third umpire; all three being members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.

 

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who hit the three runs that tied the match, is reported to have told journalists afterwards that India did not want to take up the matter further as there could be a "controversy". "There have been five-ball overs in the past, but we have seen the third umpire interfere and you have to come back and bowl that ball [and] usually that's what has happened to us also".  "I don't know [if India would have won] because you could have had a dot ball", he said and these things "happen in cricket, so maybe [the missing ball] would have been a dot".  "We can create a big fuss out of it but what's the point?", he said, for "we are happy with the result and don't want to take this issue further". 

 

In a somewhat surprising comment the 'Telegraph' article suggested that "India's refusal to accept the Umpire Decision Review System [UDRS] was also seen as a reason for this glaring error".  The newspaper says, without corroboration, that "it understands" that "...communications between the host broadcaster, the third umpire in the stands and the on-field umpires are greatly reduced when the UDRS is not in operation", as it is in the current series, and because of that Fry and Llong were not alerted to the error by Oxenford before over 31 began. 

 

Law 22.5a states in part that "if the umpire miscounts the number of valid balls, the over as counted by the umpire shall stand". The Marylebone Cricket Club's umpire 'bible' 'Tom Smith' states that "It is imperative that umpires count the balls in an over correctly, especially in matches where innings are limited to a number of overs", then goes on to state that "as a fail-safe both umpires should count... [with an] unobtrusive signal [being passed] between the umpires [when either 5 or 4] valid balls have been bowled".

  

UDRS TESTING TO BE LIMITED TO 

BALL-TRACKING ACCURACY

[PTG 902-4385]

 

Independent testing of Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology by the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be limited to establishing the accuracy of two ball-tracking technology systems, says an article posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site this week.  News of the planned testing by a 'Cambridge University group' was first made public two weeks ago, the aim being to provide precise evidence on how reliable data provided by such systems is, and the extent to which that information can be trusted to assist decision making in international matches (PTG 898-4370, 6 February 2012).

 

The latest report says a company called Computer Vision Consulting Limited (CVCL) will conduct tests of the ball-tracking technologies 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Virtual Eye' from England and New Zealand respectively and that the ICC's cricket committee will consider the results at its annual meeting this May.  David Richardson, the ICC's general manager of cricket, told Cricinfo that CVCL have been asked to review the accuracy and reliability of the two systems, including whether their "virtual depictions of where the ball has pitched and where the ball has impacted the batsman accord with reality, and whether their predictions as to where the ball would have hit the stumps are correct".  The key difference between the two rival technologies is said to be the frame rates of the cameras each uses to provide basic data on ball movement for the computers involved (PTG 801-3919, 20 July 2011).

 

Richardson said that before the introduction of the UDRS in Test match trials in 2008, the ICC had conducted some basic manual testing which had left them satisfied before launching the system. The forthcoming testing was he said "a far more detailed review by a completely independent party".  "Hawk-Eye and Virtual Eye both tell us how accurate they are, but this will verify those claims".  "If, in a Test, there are 60 LBW appeals and the ball-tracking technology is only able to deliver an accurate tracking on, for example, 50 of those occasions, then they would not be regarded as very reliable", he said, but "on the other hand, if they were getting it right on 97 out of 100 occasions, we would probably regard that as being acceptable".

 

Responding to the criticism that the ICC should have tested all the available UDRS technology thoroughly before the Test match based trials, Richardson said, "We were satisfied with the testing we did. We tested the accuracy as far as we could, and to an extent it showed that the technology was at least accurate and reliable enough for it to be used in the manner that we have used it"; although at the time that testing, which involved 'Virtual Eye', was said to have been "rushed" (PTG 285-1514, 25 July 2008)  

 

Most misgivings about the accuracy of the technology, continued Richardson, came from people being "misled" by what they saw on TV or the angle of sight while watching a contentious dismissal.  "People see a replay on TV and say, 'That looks as if it was hitting leg stump.' But then Hawk-Eye shows it just missing and you say to yourself, 'That just cannot be' ".  "But what people don't realise is that the camera for the slow-motion replay might not have been behind the bowler's arm. There are three cameras in a row and the one used for slow-motion replays is one of the ones on the side. So, often the picture you see on your TV screen is slightly misleading".  What was needed, he said, was to give the viewer "the evidence to prove that [people] should trust the evidence provided by the ball-tracking technology, not what they might see on television".

 

There are, however, were no plans to test 'Hot Spot' technology because, it is real, "it's not a virtual picture", says Richardson.  "What the owners will be working on is to make their cameras more sensitive so that the 'smallest of touches' could be visible", and the priority of the infra-red cameras in use in the UDRS is to improve their "sensitivity to pick up the faintest of edges".  While 'Hot Spot' cameras may not be able to pick up the very faint touches, "they will never show a mark where there is no touch and they are also very useful in distinguishing between whether the ball has touched the bat or gloves, as opposed to, for example, the thigh guard, arm guard, shoulder or helmet".

 

Repeating a comment he made over three years ago when UDRS trials began, Richardson said in time, the ICC would like communication between the on-field and third umpire during a UDRS discussion to be heard on television.  "Hopefully when the umpires are so confident in the system and so well versed in using it, we will be able to do that. That's the aim".

 

PCB AWARDS ITS FIRST 

UMPIRE CONTRACTS 

[PTG 902-4386]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reported to have offered contracts to three of its top umpires, Zameer Haider, Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza, who are all current Pakistani members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Reports from Pakistan state that it is the first time such on-going support has been provided to domestic umpires by the PCB, although the initial deals have been limited to a six-month period only.

 

Zakir Khan, the PCB's director for domestic cricket operation, told journalists in Lahore that "the [contract] plan for umpires was long overdue" and it has been established to "encourage those who are representing Pakistan in the [IUP]".  Under the initial scheme Haider and the two Razas, who are not related, will each be paid 50,000 Rupees ($A512) a month.

 

When asked why only three umpires had been awarded contracts Khan said that "it's not about the number, it's about the quality".  "We are not discouraging the other umpires and this will inspire them to rise high and reach the benchmark to attain the incentive which is performance-based".  Khan said that the process involved, which he did not detail, is to be "reviewed in June this year", presumably in the lead up to what might be a second six-month umpire contact period. 

 

The campaign for the contract system was started by ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Aleem Dar, who has often spoken publicly about the need to support up-and-coming umpires in Pakistan.  He said late last year that "all Test-playing nations give central contracts to [their] umpires" and the "fee structure" involved "is more impressive than what umpires get in Pakistan" (PTG 844-4129, 11 October 2011).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 903
Monday, 20 February 2012  


FOUR MONTHS JAIL FOR 

SPOT-FIXING SCAM 

[PTG 903-4387]

 

Former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield was sentenced to four months in jail on Friday following his guilty plea last month to a spot-fixing scam, however, he will be eligible for release, on license, after he serves just two months.  Westfield, now 23, admitted to taking £6,000 ($A9,000) to bowl so that 12 runs were scored in the first over of a 40-over one-day match between Durham and Essex in September 2009 (PTG 887-4328, 15 January 2012),

 

Judge Anthony Morris told Westfield during sentencing that "you have betrayed the trust of Essex, players, fans and followers throughout the world in you to play cricket honestly".  “Your [guilty] plea was entered very late in the day, you denied knowledge and lied to police [and] I have grave doubts whether you are truly remorseful for what has happened".  Westfield was paid despite failing to give up the agreed dozen runs, Durham only managing to score 10 from the over in a game which Essex went on to win.

 

The ECB has banned Westfield, who following his release by Essex has been playing at club level, from all cricket pending further investigation. 

 

Mark Milliken-Smith QC, who defended Westfield, said that Essex players had repeatedly “turned a blind eye” to conversations instigated by one of their colleagues, Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria, about spot-fixing, and that they had seemingly not taken them seriously. Only after instructions in 2010 from the players’ union, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), to report any suspicions did attitudes change, he said.

 

Essex’s coach Paul Grayson admitted he had heard Kaneria’s talk of fixing, as had captain James Foster and bowler David Masters, but before seamer Tony Palladino, who now plays for Derbyshire, reported Westfield, no players had taken action. Former Essex batsman Varun Chopra, who now plays for Warwickshire, was named as another player who had been approached.  The court was told that the International Cricket Council had warned Kaneria in 2008 about his alleged connections with Arun Bhatia, a bookmaker who was being monitored by the world body's anti-corruption unit.

 

Reports say that Kaneria is now facing a new corruption inquiry which could ban him from the game for life.  Essex police are to hand over the case files to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and 'The Cricketer' web site says that the ECB "is likely to launch a full investigation for which the maximum penalty, if proven guilty, is a worldwide lifetime ban".  The Pakistan Cricket Board have also requested the police files to determine what it said was “the extent to which Kaneria was involved in [Westfield and related issues]".

 

UK PCA chief Angus Porter said on Friday that his organisation believes a strong dressing-room commitment to "playing the right way" is vital to weed out corruption.  "We can establish a culture which says this game has to be honest", he said.

 

SECOND ONE-MATCH BAN HANDED TO 

DHONI FOR SLOW OVER-RATE VIOLATION

[PTG 903-4388]

 

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been suspended for one match after his side was fined for a second minor over-rate offence within a year during the seventh match of the three-nation One Day International (ODI) series against Australia in Brisbane yesterday, his second such penalty in a month.  Last night the Indian side was ruled, after time allowances were taken into consideration, to have been two overs short of its over-rate target at the end of the match. 

 

Dhoni, who the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement acknowledged that he had been kept informed of the position regarding over-rates on a regular basis throughout the match, pleaded guilty to the charge and the subsequent penalties were accepted both by both himself and the Indian side's management.  The charges were laid by on-field umpires Steve Davis of Australia and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, as well as third and fourth umpires Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel of Australia.

 

ICC regulations require that players be fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over that is short of the required target and captains double that amount.  As such match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe ruled that Dhoni loose 40 per cent of his fee and his players 20 per cent.  As this was India’s second minor over-rate offence in an ODI within a year, the last being in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai last April (PTG 754-3705, 7 April 2011), Dhoni was suspended from India’s next ODI, which is against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Tuesday.

 

At its June 2011 meeting in Hong Kong, the ICC Executive Board accepted the recommendation of its Cricket Committee that a captain of an international side should be suspended for one match if his side is guilty of two minor over-rate offences in the same format over a 12-month period (PTG 783-3832, 28 June 2011).  

 

It is the second time in a month that Dhoni has been banned for a match for a slow over-rate offence.  In January he was absent for his side's last Test of the series against Australia after a second slow over-rate fine in that format of the game within a 12-month period (PTG 888-4332, 16 January 2012).

 

HELMET, BAT THROWN AFTER THIRD 

UMPIRE REVERSES ON-FIELD DECISION 

[PTG 903-4389]

 

Victorian opening batsman Aaron Finch showed his displeasure after being given out following the reversal of an original on-field 'not out' decision by the third umpire in a 50 over one-day match against South Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday evening.  Finch, who was coming off a 'pair' in the Sheffield Shield game against the South Australians a few days before, threw his helmet, then his bat, as he walked down the race after leaving the field, those actions being shown around the nation on television.

 

The Victorian had initially survived an LBW appeal by bowler Gary Putland in what was the twentieth over of Victoria's innings.  However, third umpire Geoff Joshua obviously saw on replays available to him that the original on-field call was incorrect and, as he is allowed to do under Cricket Australia's (CA) instructions for domestic third umpires in televised games this season (PTG 848-4148, 19 October 2011), he ruled that Finch was in fact out for what eventually turned out to be his side's top score of 63.  

 

CA third umpires have reversed decisions by their on-field colleagues a number of times during televised matches this season (PTG 872-4266, 15 December 2011), the latest being in the national body's recently completed, revamped Twenty20 competition (PTG 886-4326, 13 January 2012). 

 

It is not known if on-field umpires Mick Martell and John Ward, who like Joshua are members of CA's National Umpire Panel, or match referee Denis Burns, took any action over Finch's actions in the player's race.

 

CORRECT BUTTON PUSHED BUT 'TECHNICAL 

GREMLIN' LEADS TO PLAYER 'CHASE' 

[PTG 903-4390]

 

What is being called in some reports a "technical gremlin" has been blamed for one of the most unusual scenes seen on a cricket field this austral summer when umpires chased after a "dismissed" batsmen to give him a reprieve in the One Day International between Australia and India yesterday.  Australian batsman Mike Hussey had faced just four balls when the computerised scoreboard at the 'Gabba' in Brisbane flashed ''OUT'' after third umpire Bruce Oxenford of Australia was called on to review a stumping appeal.

 

Hussey had trudged halfway to the boundary rope when on field umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Steve Davis of Australia, who are both members of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), "rushed after him" and apparently told him he'd been an innocent victim of an equipment malfunction.  The decision to recall Hussey, which was a correct one, didn't impress Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who appeared to remonstrated with Bowden and Davis and questioned the reprieve.

 

Reports say that Oxenford, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel who appears in contention for elevation to the EUP later this year (PTG 883-4306, 9 January 2012), "hit the right button but the wrong decision appeared on the big screen".  Oxenford is no stranger to the television suite for last night's match was his 25th in that role in an ODI, and he has also been there for 6 Tests, 2 other first class matches, both of them Sheffield Shield finals, three Twenty20 Internationals, and 7 other T20s, the latter including 5 in last September's Champions League series in India.

 

ORCHARD, PROCTOR RETURN FOR BPL

[PTG 903-4391]

 

English first class umpire Jeremy Lloyds, former South African Test umpire and current Queensland state umpiring coach David Orchard, and retired international referee Mike Proctor of South Africa, are amongst the 11 match officials engaged to support the inaugural Bangladesh Cricket League (BPL) Twenty20 series.  Modelled on the Indian Premier League, the 2012 BPL comprises six teams who will play each other twice in a round-robin format that lead in to the semi finals and final on the last weekend of this month. 

 

Lloyds, 55, is a current member of the England and Wales Cricket Board's senior first class umpiring list (PTG 866-4232, 1 December 2011), while Orchard, 63, after an umpiring career that included 141 first class matches, 44 of them Tests, was last seen as an umpire in the now defunct Indian Cricket League over three years ago (PTG 354-1891, 25 November 2008).  Proctor, who like Lloyds and Orchard played first class cricket, worked as an international match referee from 2002 until his retirement in 2008 (PTG 347-1845, 11 November 2008).

 

All the other nine BPL match officials are Bangladeshis, two of them also being members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Enamul Haque, who stood in his first Test match three weeks ago (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012), and Sharfuddoula.  The others, all of who stand at first class level in Bangladesh, are: Anisur Rahman; Gazi Sohel; Masudur Rahman; Tanvir Ahmed; and Mahfuzur Rahman; while Raqibul Hasan shares referee duties with Proctor.

 

Of the 20 matches played up until last night, Lloyds and Orchard have stood in 11 and 9 respectively, Sharfuddoula 9 and Haque 8; while Proctor and Hasan have shared the referee duties evenly.  Third and fourth umpire positions have all been allocated to Bangladeshis, Lloyds and Orchard so far not being required in those roles. 

 

Well-known international players such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Herschelle Gibbs and Muttiah Muralitharan have been recruited for the BPL series which is being played in Chittagong and Dhaka, most days seeing two matches decided.  Prior to the series getting underway earlier this month former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortazaa reported that he had received a spot-fixing proposition (PTG 900-4377, 10 February 2012). 

 

WORKSHOP, MENTORING ROLES FOR 

TAUFEL IN WT20 QUALIFIER EVENT 

[PTG 903-4392]

 

Sixteen match officials from 15 nations have been appointed to manage next month's World Twenty20 (WT20) Qualifier event which is to be played in the United Arab Emirates.  The tournament will see 16 teams from across the International Cricket Council's (ICC) five regions competing, the top two sides at the end of the event taking the last two places at the 2012 WT20 championship series in Sri Lanka in September-October this year.

 

Next month's 72-match, 12-day series will feature teams from Afghanistan, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Uganda and the United States of America.  During most of the event eight games will be played each day, four each in the morning and afternoon, therefore given 12 umpire have been allocated to the series, umpires will be involved in two matches on most days.

 

The umpires named include ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Simon Taufel of Australia, plus second-tier International Umpire Panel members: Sudhir Asnani (India); Johan Cloete (South Africa); Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand); Ranmore Martinesz (Sri Lanka); Ahsan Raza (Pakistan); and Joel Wilson (West Indies).  The others are from the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of Umpires: Roger Dill (Bermuda); Mark Hawthorne (Ireland); Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); and Ian Ramage (Scotland).

 

The four match referees for the event are members of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Match Referees panel and include former Sri Lanka Test cricketer Graeme La Brooy, former West Indies opener Adrian Griffith, David Jukes of England and Devadas Govindjee from South Africa. 

 

The ICC says that prior to the tournament getting underway, Taufel will host the umpires in a two-day workshop at its Global Cricket Academy in Dubai in order to help them prepare for the event. During Qualifier matches he is to act as a mentor and help educate and guide the umpires as part of an ICC initiative for umpires’ development.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 904
Tuesday, 21 February 2012  


BATSMAN CAUGHT BEHIND AFTER BALL 

REBOUNDS FROM BOWLER'S HEAD

[PTG 904-4393]

 

A batsman was dismissed in a Twenty20 (T20) match in Adelaide last week after the ball he hit rebounded from the bowler's head, looped high into the air, and was caught by the wicketkeeper running backwards.  Hope Valley bowler Mark Ribbans has provided an illustration of one of cricket's Laws thanks to what the 'Adelaide Now' web site says was "a painful piece of fielding" that was captured on video and has now been posted on 'YouTube'.

 

Ribbans, who was struck on the side of his head by a powerful straight drive from the bat of Pooraka batsman Jye Bailey last Tuesday and fell in the middle of the pitch, said that he remembers "the whole thing [but] seeing the video of it helped".  "The ball just came straight to me. I sort of got a finger to it, then I was lying on the ground and someone said something about catching it".  "The first thing I said was `Did I get the wicket?'  "I was a bit surprised when they said the keeper caught it [as] I thought it might've gone to mid-off or mid-on, but I got the wicket, it's in the book", said Ribbans.

 

The video shows the unnamed umpires calling 'dead ball' immediately after the catch, prompting uncertainty on the sidelines. Spectators can be heard on the video asking: "He's not out?" A voice replies: "No, but the bowler is".  After Ribbans got to his feet just 40 seconds after being hit, an umpire can be seen reversing the dead ball call, after which he moved outside the view of the camera and indicated the batsman was out.

 

Ribbans went on to finish his over shortly afterwards and that evening went to hospital for a check-up but was given the all-clear by doctors.  As he prepared for a match last Saturday three days after being hit he told Adelaide Now': "I still get a bit dizzy when I bend over, but I'm all right. I'm backing up again today, opening the bowling, so it's not too bad".  "It was a T20 game and they use these pink balls; I don't know why but they seem to be a bit softer than normal balls and the seam is less pronounced. If it was a brand new red cherry it would've cut me open, for sure", concluded the hard headed bowler.

 

The dismissal can be seen on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5pjkIUQbo4

 

FINCH REPRIMANDED FOR 'DUMMY SPIT'

[PTG 904-4394]

 

Victorian batsman Aaron Finch yesterday accepted what an ABC on line report last night called "a slap on the wrist from Cricket Australia (CA)" for throwing his bat and helmet in disgust after being given out LBW in a domestic one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Saturday (PTG 903-4389, 20 February 2012).  Finch turfed his helmet and then his bat as he, in the ABC report's words, "marched angrily down the players' race" following his dismissal, the incident being captured live on television.  

 

Finch, who was reprimanded for a level 1.1 breach of CA's code of behaviour that relates to "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground or fixtures and fittings", had initially survived an LBW appeal to the on-field umpire, however, after watching a replay third umpire Geoff Joshua ruled, as he is permitted to do so under CA's revised instructions to third umpires this season (PTG 848-4148, 19 October 2011), that Finch was in fact out. 

 

Finch is the fifth player known to have been reprimanded by CA during the current austral summer.  Queensland batsman Nathan Reardon was reprimanded after being found guilty of abusing "cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings" during a Sheffield Shield match in Brisbane in October (PTG 848-4149, 19 October 2011).  Later that month South Australia captain Michael Klinger was reprimanded for showing dissent towards an umpire in a Sheffield Shield match (PTG 852-4164, 30 October 2011), then Tasmanian captain George Bailey received a similar censure after an angry confrontation with the umpires in another Sheffield Shield game in Hobart (PTG 858-4194, 8 November 2011),  

 

In December, Melbourne-based player Cameron White received a reprimand plus fines totalling $A1,500 for twice showing dissent towards an umpire during a Twenty20 match against Brisbane (PTG 877-4285, 23 December 2011).  What appear to be similar offences that occurred in club cricket in Victoria and England attracted bans of 9 and 10 matches respectively around the same time (PTG 883-4308, 9 January 2012).   

 

TESTS FAIL TO REPLICATE 'GABBA' 

THIRD UMPIRE SWITCH 'GREMLIN'

[PTG 904-4395]

 

Tests by technicans of the third umpire system at the 'Gabba' in Brisbane couldn't replicate an "incorrect [scoreboard] signal" that caused confusion during the One Day International (ODI) between Australia and India on Sunday evening, say a number of media reports distributed yesterday.  The scoreboard flashed ''OUT'' after third umpire Bruce Oxenford of Australia was called on to review a stumping appeal, however, Hussey had to be chased by the on-field umpires and brought back to his crease as he'd been the victim of a "equipment malfunction" (PTG 903-4390, 20 February 2012).

 

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had what was described at the time as a heated discussion with on-field umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Steve Davis of Australia over the situation, at one stage pointing his finger at the officials, say reports.  After the match he reportedly told journalists that "I just told them it is difficult to be an umpire if you are in the field but if you are sitting in an air-conditioned room and have the luxury of having the replays in front of you and take whatever time you want to, then if you are supposed to decide, the umpire should take maybe one more minute to press the right button".  Australian television broadcaster Channel 9 claimed at the time it was a case of "wrong wiring", but the tests suggest that was not the case.

 

For Oxenford it was the third frustrating moment he has had in ODIs recently.  In Melbourne two weeks ago he was on the field with Englishman Nigel Llong when Indian bowler Rahul Sharma started to bowl one more over than was allowed under the playing and match conditions on the day and had to be replaced after two balls, and a week after that he was the third umpire in a tied match in which a five ball over was bowled (PTG 902-4384, 17 February 2012).  

 

'QUAD' SERIES UMPIRES TO EACH 

STAND IN FIVE U-19 INTERNATIONALS  

[PTG 904-4396]

 

A total of 10 matches are to be played in the Under-19 'Quadrangular' Series that sides from Australia, England, India and New Zealand are to play in Townsville in northern Queensland over an 11-day period commencing on 5 April.  Four Australian umpires, Mike Graham-Smith (Tasmania), Jay Kangar (Queensland), Simon Lightbody (Australian Capital Territory), and Richard Patterson (Victoria) are to stand in the event having, says Cricket Australia (CA), "been selected based on their performances [during January's 2012] National U-19 Championship in Adelaide" (PTG 897-4367, 3 February 2012). 

 

Commenting on the selections, CA said in a statement that "the performance of the eight participating umpires was outstanding throughout the [U-19] championship, however the Umpire High Performance Panel [UHPP] believed these four selected umpires deserved to be rewarded with this opportunity of officiating at the U-19 international level".  Of the four not selected, one was Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia, a current member of CA's emerging umpires group who is unlikely to have been considered for Townsville, while the others were Greg Davidson (NSW), Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania), and Todd Rann (WA).  Some reports suggest mistakes the latter three made in playing conditions during that series weighed against them when selections for the Townsville event were considered by the UHPP. 

 

For Graham-Smith, Kangar and Lightbody the games in Townsville will be their first U-19 ODIs, Patterson having stood in two in the late 1990s as well as one women's ODI.  Kangar and Lightbody have been involved in internationals in the past though, the former on the field in a women's Twenty20 International and latter as a third umpire in another such game.  Patterson has previously worked as a third umpire in a Test match and four men's senior ODIs.

 

All matches in the Quad series will be played as limited-overs fixtures using standard One Day International playing conditions.  CA General Manager Operations, Geoff Allardice, says that the event "provide Townsville and Queensland Cricket a terrific opportunity as they prepare to host U-19 Cricket World Cup matches" this August.  "Townsville is one of the three key centres that will host [WC] matches and I'm sure they are looking forward to welcoming teams for this Quad Series in April as they prepare for the main event" later this year, said Allardice.  In addition to Townsville, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast will host WC games in August when more than 400 cricketers from 14 nations will be in Queensland (PTG 814-3989, 12 August 2012).

 

Umpires for the World Cup proper, which will see a total of 48 games played plus 16 warm up matches, will be selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  If it follows the practice it has adopted at recent U-19 World Cups, at least one umpire will come from the ICC's top level Elite Umpires Pane (EUP)l, and the others from its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of Umpires.  The final of the last U-19 World Cup in New Zealand two years ago saw then IUP members Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka and Richard Kettleborough of England stand in the final and they went on 18 months later to be appointed by the ICC to the EUP (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 905
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 

BARBADIAN PRESIDENT LAMENTS 

STANDARD OF WINDIES UMPIRING

[PTG 905-4397]

 

Former West Indian fast bowler Joel Garner, who is now President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director, is concerned about the standard of umpiring in the Caribbean, according to an article by veteran cricket journalist Tony Cozier that was published on the 'Trinidad Express' newspapers web site last week.  Garner's comments aren't necessarily without self interest, for they were apparently prompted by what he termed some "funny decisions" that went against Barbados when they lost to Jamaica in the opening match of the WICB's 2012 'domestic' first class season earlier this month.

 

Garner is quoted as saying that "The time is right when we should get the people who cannot give good decisions out of cricket".  He was specifically against "a lot of ageing umpires who do not see very well and do not give proper decisions", although Cozier gives no hint as to just who the BCA President was referring to.  That situation, he continued, "plays on the confidence of the players" who, are "not very comfortable when they see some umpires" officiating.  

 

The senior BCA/WICB official maintains that such issues lead to "bad cricket" and brings on what Cozier calls "the unsavoury, orchestrated tantrums by players that have become commonplace following umpiring errors [and] what, in the absence of the close scrutiny of television replays, are often no more than cons deserving of the [match] referee's attention".  Garner noted that the WICB has been "talking about" umpiring issues for the last three to four years, but he thinks the WICB is "going to have to take a stand in terms of who is sent out to do a job in the middle".  

 

Garner makes little reference to efforts the WICB has made to improve umpiring standards in recent years (PTG 685-3362, 20 October 2010), moves that include a reduction in the number of umpires used in intra-national matches in the region (PTG 685-3363, 20 October 2010), work being conducted to establish an Umpire Manager position for the Caribbean (PTG 884-4311, 10 January 2012), and the introduction of exchanges with Bangladesh and England (PTG 863-4217, 22 November 2011); although he does acknowledge there has been a complete purge recently of the officials the WICB nominated for the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) over many years (PTG 688-3381, 25 October 2010 and PTG 741-3638, 16 March 2011).  

 

Despite the latter, "only regular assessments" of those who were elevated to the IUP, who are much younger then their predecessors, and others, will see a new generation of West Indian umpires "being rated as among the best in their time", says Garner.  Cozier writes though that "there is the feeling that, like the hierarchy of the WICB itself, umpires who hold positions in their domestic associations are not inclined to make way for others".  "It is an unappreciated but, these days, not financially unrewarding job", he continues, before going on to state that "the pay for each regional four-day match is $US1,000 and $US500 for a One Day International, with the prospect for the best to move on to the ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), "with its annual contracts of $US100,000 and above, plus business-class flights to wherever they are scheduled and accommodation in five-star hotels".

 

What Cozier does not say is that of the 11 Caribbean umpires selected to stand in the current season's WICB domestic first class series, most have been allocated only 2-3 games, the highest of any being just 5 (PTG 896-4365, 2 February 2012), and like many who stand at that level around the world they face the challenges of juggling the demands of cricket with their work responsibilities.  Australian EUP member Simon Taufel for one has often spoken about the difficulties of balancing an umpiring career with family life and work (PTG 195-1066, 12 February 2008 and 208-1159, 13 March 2008), and the pressures that were involved when he was still a part-time official (PTG 333-1752, 21 October 2008).  

 

INDIA WITHDRAWAL APPEAL AFTER

NON-STRIKER 'RUN OUT' BY BOWLER 

[PTG 905-4398]

 

India withdrew a 'run out' appeal against Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne after he was out of his ground at the non-striker's end when bowler Ravichandran Ashwin lifted the bails prior to delivering the ball during yesterday's One Day International (ODI) in Brisbane.  Video of the incident shows that Thirimanne could not have been given out if the Laws of Cricket had applied to the match, however, under International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions, which were in operation in this case, the umpires would have had no choice but to give the Sri Lankan 'out' had the Indians not withdrawn.

 

In moving in to deliver the ball in question Ashwin place his back foot down, however, before his front foot landed and prior to him releasing the ball towards striker Angelo Matthews, he held on to it and removed the bails, Thirimanne being a metre out of his crease at that moment.  Reports say that the umpire at the bowler's end at the time, Australian Paul Reiffel, referred the matter to third umpire Steve Davis of Australia, however, before anything was decided Indian fielder Sachin Tendulkar is said to have asked his captain Virender Sehwag to withdrawl the appeal, which was eventually done.

 

Part 42.15 of the Laws of Cricket, which deals with a 'Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery', has been modified by the ICC for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.  The first sentence of the Law as controlled by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) reads "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker", whereas in matches played under ICC auspices the middle section of that statement between the commas, has been changed to "before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing".  The ICC made the change because they thought batsmen were getting too much of a head-start while backing up.

 

Despite his escape Thirimanne is reported, in commentary provided on the 'C ricinfo' web site, to have continued to leave his crease early when bowler's other than Ashwin were delivering their overs.  He was on 43 when Ashwin took the bails off, but finally departed for 63, a figure that made him his side's highest scorer in the match.  

 

Former India batsman Vinoo Mankad was the first cricketer to execute this kind of dismissal.  In a tour match at the Sydney Cricket Ground during India's 1947-48 tour of Australia, Mankad warned Australian XI opener Bill Brown not to back up too far, and when that advice was ignored and Brown transgressed again, he ran him out.  A month later in a Test on the same ground, Mankad ran out Brown in the same fashion, this time with no warning. 

 

After the incident in the Test Brown was reported to have been "livid", but his captain, Don Bradman, defended the bowler's action.  In his autobiography Bradman wrote:  "For the life of me, I can't understand why [the press] questioned [Mankad's] sportsmanship. The Laws of Cricket [which were slightly different in this regard then] make it quite clear that the nonstriker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early, the nonstriker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage", concluded the Australian skipper.  

 

The latest incident and the publicity it has generated may well see umpires in club matches in Australia and India experiencing a spate of bowler run out attempts over the next few weeks. Most games at that level are governed by the MCC rule rather than the ICC's version.  

 

SECOND 2011-12 CA DOMESTIC 

FINAL FOR UMPIRING TRIO 

[PTG 905-4399]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has selected the same three umpires for the final of its domestic one-day competition in Adelaide this Saturday who worked in the final of its revamped Twenty20 series in Perth in late January (PTG 891-4341, 24 January 2012).  The on-field officials for the Adelaide match between South Australia and Tasmania will be Queensland-based CA National Umpire Panel members Paul Reiffel and John Ward of Victoria, while Western Australian Mick Martell is the third umpire and Sydney-based CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Peter Marshall the match referee.

 

Saturday's game will be Reiffel's fourth CA one-day final in as many years, while Ward was the third umpire in last year's final, Marshall being the match referee in that game, however, for Martell it will be his first in that form of the game, although he worked as third umpire in CA's 2011 domestic Twenty20 final 12 months ago.  The match will be Martell's 

third since he was involved in a playing conditions error in a first class match in Hobart earlier this month (PTG 900-4374, 10 February 2012).

 

Reiffel's Australian colleagues on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry, were not available to stand in the final as they will be engaged in supporting matches a day each side of the Adelaide decider in the tri-nation One Day International series being played by Australia, India and Sri Lanka in Hobart and Sydney respectively.

 

'GRASSLESS' LANKAN PITCHES KEY FACTOR 

IN FAST BOWLING INJURIES, SAYS SLC  

[PTG 905-4400]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made a request to all clubs playing in the first-class Premier League competition to prepare pitches with grass and consistent bounce for the ongoing 2011-12 season in order to encourage longer fast-bowling spells and avoid "frequent recurrence of injuries", says a story posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site.  SLC's vice-president in charge of cricket Kangadaran Mathivanan was quoted as saying that "we had to find a remedy to stop fast bowlers from getting injured constantly and our coaching unit, after a study, found that the preparation of pitches at domestic matches was part of the problem". 

 

Mathivanan continued by saying that "when clubs prepare virtually grassless pitches it discourages the fast bowlers and captains are reluctant to use them for longer spells". "This has resulted in those fast bowlers becoming unfit to bowl even 20 overs a day at international level without breaking down".  "I am happy to note that the majority of the clubs have got the message and have started preparing good tracks", said Mathivanan, who indicated that SLC "took this decision with the 2015 World Cup in mind [for] we need to have our fast bowlers free from injury for [that tournament], which will be held in seamer-friendly and fast and bouncy pitches of Australia and New Zealand".

 

Following the World Cup final last April, fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara and Shaminda Eranga have constantly been on the injury list, says journalist Sa'adi Thawfeeq.

 

DIFFERING DISCIPLINARY STANDARDS 

CLAIMED FOR 'CLUB', 'PROFESSIONAL' PLAYERS

[PTG 905-4401]

 

There is what the 'Dominion Post' calls "disgust in [Wellington] club cricket circles" at the fine handed out to the Onslow side's fast bowler Andrew Lamb last week after he was 

was charged with dissent and abuse of an umpire during his team's Pearce Cup match with Naenae Old Boys 10 days ago.  Unnamed club officials indicated that given the offences involved Lamb should have been suspended, but Cricket Wellington (CW) say he was dealt with as a "professional" so he was only eligible to be fined rather than banned for a set number of games.  

 

Given out LBW in the game against the Naenae side as the second victim of what became a hat-trick, Lamb in the Post's words "after expressing displeasure at the decision, and lingering at the crease, finally headed towards the pavilion".  He "did not go quietly though", continues the story as published, and he was "eventually stopped by umpires Paul Cummings and Rob Kinsey and told to calm down".  Lamb's mood had not improved by the time his side took to the field for Naenae's innings shortly afterwards for "he continued to be vocal in his disapproval of what was going on".

 

Following what is likely to have been the tabling of a report by the umpires, Lamb was asked to appear before CW code of conduct commissioner Mike Gould.  That hearing resulted in Lamb being given what journalist Hamish Bidwell writes was "not a playing ban [of one or more matches], which is the accepted punishment for club players, but was fined [of $NZ750 ($A590)] instead".  Bidwell makes the claim that Lamb was fined rather than suspended as he had been named in the Wellington squad for the first class match against Canterbury the following week, the match fee for which is said to be $NZ1,500 ($A1,200).

 

CW development and operations manager Bryan Dickinson was quoted in the 'Post' article as saying that, for the purposes of Gould hearing, "Lamb was regarded as a professional player [and] though not contracted to CW, Lamb's next playing day was going to be in a professional game", meaning he was eligible to be fined rather than suspended.  The 'Post' says that that decision "has appalled some in club circles, who feel it shows there is one rule for the rank and file and another for players in the [Wellington side's] frame". 

 

"They also believe [that move] sets a dangerous precedent, whereby clubs can claim they pay their players the next time one is 'coded', and rightly expect that player to only be fined", says Bidwell's story.  He says "genuine overseas professionals being paid to play in the Pearce Cup have been routinely suspended up to now, unlike Lamb, the last of whose 13 previous games for Wellington was 11 months ago.  Despite escaping a ban Lamb did not actually play for Wellington against Canterbury, being named twelfth man.

 

What appear to be similar discrepencies in the treatment of 'club' versus 'professional' players have also been noted in Australia over the last few months (PTG 883-4308, 9 January 2012).  

 

RIVAL LANKAN UMPIRE GROUPS 

SIGN 'MOU' ON COOPERATION

[PTG 905-4402]

 

A report in Sri Lanka's 'Sunday Observer' newspaper indicates that the island nation's Association of Cricket Umpires (ACU) and its rival the Association of Professional Cricket Umpires (APCU), have signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' (MOU) that is designed to heal the "split in the umpiring fraternity" that occurred two years ago.  Early in 2010 what was reported to be "a large group" of senior Sri Lankan umpires resigned from the ACU and set up the APCU, and while Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) tried to bring the two feuding factions together, it said it planned to continue to base selection of officials for its matches on their ability, rather than their umpiring affiliation (PTG 586-2955, 16 March 2010).  

 

Former Test cricketer and now international umpire Asoka de Silva was re-elected as the President of the APCU in January last year (PTG 720-3528, 25 January 2011), while former first class player Nihal Pathirag is the ACU's current President, although there is no indication that he has umpired at any significant level.  As far as it is known at this time the precise details of what the MOU signed by the two men covers do not appear to have been made public.  

 

PLAYER REJECTS ALLEGED SPOT-FIXING

MIDDLEMAN ROLE BUT FACES FURTHER INQUIRY  

[PTG 905-4403]

 

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria says he is innocence of involvement in the spot-fixing case which led to his former Essex county team-mate Mervyn Westfield being jailed for four months (PTG 903-4387, 20 February 2012).  The Pakistani told reporters after the first day's play in the domestic Pentangular Cup final in Lahore last weekend, where he was captaining the Sindh provincial team, that suggestions he was the middleman in the deal Westfield was involved in "are false".

 

Kaneria claimed during the interview that he had been cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  "The Essex police cleared me and I have clearance certificates from both the ECB and ICC, so I am not feeling any pressure. I am just enjoying my cricket".  "Westfield is a convicted fraudster and admitted liar, and in trying to reduce his own guilt, he has tarnished my name".  

 

On Tuesday the ICC issued a statement that said that it "can categorically deny that such a clearance certificate was ever issued" regarding Kaneria, while the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said following the Westfield judgment that Kaneria will again be called to appear before its Integrity Committee (IC) to explain his position.  The PCB has blocked him from from playing international cricket since October 2010, when the IC did not clear him to face South Africa, and although he challenged that decision in court that case was dismissed in November last year.

 

Meanwhile, former England cricketer Paul Nixon has told UK's 'Sky News of what he says was a £5m ($A7.4m) spot-fixing approach to him two years ago.  Nixon, whose book on the issue is scheduled for publication this summer, claims he was courted in May 2010 by an Asian businessmen working on behalf of bookmakers based on the sub-continent.  The revelations came soon after Westfield's sentence was handed down.  Nixon says he was offered "quite a considerable amount of money to throw a county Twenty20 game in mid-June 2010 that was to be broadcast in India. 
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 906
Friday, 24 February 2012  


NOTHING IN LAWS ABOUT WARNING

PRIOR TO 'MANKAD' ATTEMPT, SAYS MCC

[PTG 906-4404]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) says that a warning does not need to be given to a non-striker by a bowler before a run out attempt in a so-called 'Mankad' situation. The MCC, which is the custodian of the Laws, was responding to "some of the post-match discussion" the occurred after India withdrew a 'run out' appeal against Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne by bowler Ravichandran Ashwin during the Australia-India One Day International (ODI) in Brisbane on Tuesday (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012).  

 

In an article posted on its web site following the incident, the MCC makes reference to "Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene suggesting that any warning [to Thirimanne] should have been officially transmitted through the Umpires".  The club then goes on to say that although a warning has "become an unwritten convention in cricket over a number of years", "there is nothing, and has never been anything, in [section 42.15 of] the Laws of Cricket which says a warning is required before running out the non-striker". 

 

Despite the MCC's view, Australian captain Michael Clarke, whose side plays Sri Lanka in Hobart later today, said yesterday that he is no fan of the Mankad rule.  Referring to Thirimanne he told journalists that he hopes "he decides to stay in his crease" as "the mankad rule is part of the game I don't like".  "But in saying that, if somebody is going to be a long way outside their crease, you would hope that by warning them they would understand that the bowler or the fielding captain has asked the batsman to stay in his crease".  "If he continues to do that, it is in the rules that you can be out like that, but I hope we don't have to worry about it". 

 

The MCC story continues by saying that the "tendency has also developed within the game to interpret the action of any bowler who attempts such a run-out as being against the 'Spirit of Cricket'", a view Clarke's comments appear to reflect.  That is not so, continues the MCC article, for the "bowler is acting within the Laws of Cricket, while the batsman, often identified as the victim, is in reality guilty of breaking the Laws" by stealing ground.  As such "a bowler who attempts a run-out in such situations is [therefore] not acting against the 'Spirit of Cricket', as was alluded to by Jayawardene" and some commentators this week. 

 

The initial version of the MCC article stated that Ashwin "removed the bails, before entering his delivery stride" and that as such the run-out was within the Laws and Thirimanne could have been given out had India not withdrawn its appeal.  The story is now being modified to state that as Ashwin's back foot had landed before he took the bails off the Sri Lankan could not have been given out under the Laws of the game, however, that he could under the modification the International Cricket Council (ICC) has made for international matches.  Most club-level matches around the world are played under the MCC version of Law 42.15, not the ICCs.    

 

The Thirimanne-Ashwin incident itself can be viewed on 'YouTube' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvCKacRIkDk&feature=related, although the MCC's view of the situation means that the word 'shameful' used in the title of the video, and the views of the television commentators that accompany it, are somewhat inappropriate.  

 

MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR 

NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA TESTS

[PTG 906-4405]

 

Sri Lankans Roshan Mahanama and Ranjan Madugalle have been named as match referees for the three-Test series New Zealand and South Africa are to play in Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington next month, the former for the first match and the latter in the last two.  The pair will work with umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Billy Doctrove of the West Indies and Richard Kettleborough of England, each of whom will be on the field in two matches and in the television suite in one.

 

Dar and Mahanama are already in New Zealand for they will be working with another Englishman, Richard Illingworth, plus NZ members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, in One Day Internationals (ODI) NZ and South Africa are to play over eight days starting tomorrow.  The last of that series in Auckland on Saturday week will be Dar's 150th ODI on the field of play, and he will be the seventh umpire to achieve that feat (PTG 895-4359, 31 January 2012).

 

Dar and Doctove will be on the field together in Dunedin, Doctrove and Kettleborough in Hamilton and Dar and Kettleborough in Wellington.  The Pakistani's Test record will have moved on to 72 on the field and 10 in the television suite by the time the series ends (72/10), Doctrove to 38/22 and Kettleborough 10/7, while Madugalle's match referee record in the highest form of the game will total 134 matches and Mahanama's 35.  

 

TAUFEL TO EQUAL SHEPHERD'S ODI RECORD  

[PTG 906-4406]

 

Australian umpire Simon Taufel will draw level with the late David Shepherd of England on the One Day International (ODI) all-time umpire's list next Tuesday when he stands in the match between India and Sri Lanka at Bellerive in Hobart.  Shepherd stood in a total of 172 ODIs in a 23-year career in that format that lasted from 1983-2005, reaching that number at the age of 64, while Taufel will have achieved that figure in 12 years at the age of just 41.

 

A total of 69 of Shepherds ODIs were in either a World Cup (WC) or Champions Trophy (CT) series, 46 in 6 separate events of the WC, and 23 in the same number of CT tournaments; 3 of the ODIs being WC finals, and 4 the final of a CT.  To date, Taufel has stood in 38 matches across three WC and three CT events, 23 in the WC and 15 in CT series, those statistics including a final in each event.

 

By the time Taufel's match ends on Tuesday, he and Shepherd will lie equal fourth on the all-time ODI list behind three retired umpires.  Another Australian, Daryl Harper, is currently in third spot with 174 games, then comes Steve Bucknor of the West Indies 181, and the current record holder, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, with 209.  

 

Only two other umpires have reached the 150 ODI mark.  Aleem Dar of Pakistan will become the seventh to do so next week (PTG 906-4405 above), while 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand will reach 170 games this Sunday when Australia play India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Taufel being his on-field partner in that match, his 171st ODI.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 907
Tuesday, 28 February 2012  


BATSMAN'S PARRY OF BALL RULED 

AN ATTEMPT TO AVOID INJURY  

[PTG 907-4407]

 

Australian batsman David Hussey's parry of a ball thrown by a fielder in a run out attempt during his side's One Day International against India in Sydney on Sunday has resulted in considerable discussion in both the media and umpiring circles over the last two days.  On-field umpires Simon Taufel of Australia and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, plus third umpire Simon Fry, another Australian, considered the facts before them in a break in play that lasted close to five minutes, ruling Hussey 'not out' as in their assessment his action was an attempt to avoid injury as allowed by the Laws of Cricket.

 

The incident occurred in the twenty-fourth over of Australia's innings when Hussey's batting partner Matthew Wade pushed the ball to Suresh Raina at cover for a quick single.  Raina gathered the ball and threw it towards the wicketkeeper and as Hussey approached the striker's end he put his hand out and deflected the ball and the Indian's quickly appealed.  The ball did not appear to have been thrown very hard and somewhat unusually for a batsman going for a tight run, the Australian was looking back at the thrower as he ran towards the safety of the crease.  The clear question for the umpires was did he parry the ball in an attempt at "self-preservation" as the ball could have hit him, or was it a deliberate move to obstruct the field as covered by Law 37.

 

Hussey was quoted in yesterday's edition of 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne's as saying he understood the Indian team's appeal.  ''I just saw [the ball heading towards me] and thought, 'Oh no, it's going to hit me in the head,' and I just put my hand up to stop the ball. Looking back on it, you can see both sides of the argument, you could probably give me out, not a problem, but then on the flipside, I was just protecting myself".  

 

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the match that the Australian should have been out, ''plain and simple''.  "If you are protecting yourself [by stretching the hand further] that is not good. I was involved in another run out in Pakistan [in 2006] where [Inzamam-ul-Haq] defended something that was right at his face, and he was given out. In this case, David [Hussey] was really lucky".

 

Vision of the incident is available on YouTube at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_xx1WxHsPo 

 

CLUB THREATENS COURT ACTION 

OVER 'RUN OUT' DECISION

[PTG 907-4408]

 

A club in Trinidad has threatened to "go to court if necessary" to have their loss in the semi final of a 50 over knock-out competition overturned, says a report posted on the 'Trinidad Express' newspapers web site on Friday.  The Merry Boys Sports Club side is upset about "a contentious run out" at the end of a "nail-biting finish" in the match against the PowerGen Sports side 10 days ago, one of their senior officials suggesting umpiring irregularities may even been involved, and have lodged a protest with Trinidad's National League Committee (NLC).  

 

Merry Boys needed three runs off the last ball of the game to win the match, but as they had lost fewer wickets than their opponents, two runs and a tied result would have given them victory.  However, one of their batsmen was run out in attempting to make good his ground on the second run and PowerGen therefore won the game; Merry Boys ending with 8/163 to PowerGen's 164 all out.  

 

Merry Boys general manager Patrick Rampersad, who is also on the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board's (TTCB) executive, is said to have claimed to local journalists last Wednesday that the stumps had not actually been broken during the final play of the match.  He then reportedly went on to make say "there is a strong suspicion that all is not above board [with umpiring in the League], and this [situation] presents an ideal opportunity for the [TTCB] to clean up the stables".  "We feel very strongly" and "we're going to use all the processes we have available to us, even if we have to go to court", he said, and "our players have no problem in losing, but they don't feel like they lost".

 

Former West Indies all-rounder Bernard Julien, who is the Merry Boys coach, said that PowerGen players acted outside the spirit of the game and that "even some PowerGen fans were disappointed and embarrassed" by the matter.  He claimed that "the square leg umpire was badgered by a couple of players into giving a decision against Merry Boys".  "For me, personally, it was very disappointing that you had players who I have a lot of respect for, Trinidad players, that could resort to complain in order to win a game".  "You can't do that, it just isn't done. You don't resort to unfair play to win a game".

 

The PowerGen club's management and team said in a press release that they "strongly condemn the false accusations being levelled at them" by Julien.  The release said of the last ball of the match that "the striker played the ball to mid-wicket and the batsmen ran the first run, the fieldsman collected the ball and rolled it to the wicket-keeper and in that process the ball hit [one of the batsmen's] pads as they were attempting the second run and ricocheted to wicket keeper Gibran Mohammed".  He "collected the ball and proceeded to break the stumps [with] the striker [well short of his ground]".  "The players appealed and the square-leg umpire raised his finger and gave the batsman out".

 

PowerGen said it "is not worried as they are sure that they won the game fairly and would like Merry Boys to accept their defeat and move on instead of bringing the game into disrepute and trying to win by the courts and not on the field".  "By their irresponsible actions Merry Boys are paving the way for other clubs to concoct frivolous reasons for appeal and question the ruling of the umpires in any matches that end in close results".

 

With the final of the competition set for the last weekend of March, the TTCB plans to appoint an independent committee, whose members will not be on any cricket board or cricketing organisation, to rule on Merry Boys protest, says NLC chairman Dudnath Ramkessoon.  However, TTCB second vice-president Lalman Kowlessar said he was surprised the Board had appointed a special committee to look into the matter.  Kowlessar "can't see a reason to appoint a special committee [as] the umpires' decision is final".  "Throughout the history of cricket", he continued, "the umpires' decisions do not always have the support of everyone, they do not always get it right all the time, but we have to live with that and respect the umpires' decision".

 

UMPIRE'S COMMENT SPARKS 

'OFFICIAL' COMPLAINT, SAYS REPORT 

[PTG 907-4409]

 

An "official complaint" had been made to the Canterbury Regional Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (CRCUSA) about "the actions" of one of its umpires during Southland's match against Mid-Canterbury at the weekend, says a story published in this morning's 'Southland Times'.  Southland needed only a draw in the match while Mid-Canterbury were in search of an outright win, and Southland's coach Steve Jackson is said to have "sent a clear message to his players" to bat for time in their second innings and thus negate Mid-Canterbury's chances to secure outright points, a situation that reportedly led to one of the umpires making a comment on the situation.  

 

The 'Times' report alleges that as the players walked from the field at lunch on Sunday, Christchurch-based umpire Jim Henderson made a comment to the Southland batsmen about the way they were playing, apparently labelling their approach boring.  That is said to have "sparked an exchange of words between Jackson and Henderson" and Southland Cricket decided that is would lodge an official complaint about the matter.  Jackson said an umpire should not comment on what tactics were used and how players were performing.  Southland Cricket Association general manager Ian Mockford confirmed to the 'Times' that an e-mail had been sent to the CRCUSA about what had taken place and that he was awaiting a reply.

 

MUMBAI UMPIRE 'DETAINED', ANOTHER 

ASSAULTED, BY DISGRUNTLED PLAYERS

[PTG 907-4410]

 

An umpire was "detained" in the club rooms for several hours after a match by a team in Mumbai and "forced to write [a letter] of apology" before he was released, according to Indian media reports published on Sunday.  On the same day in another Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) match, an umpire is said to have been assaulted by a team because they believed he had given too many of their batsmen out LBW.

 

The detention is said to have occurred after a one-day game between the National and Mumbai Police clubs when umpires Vilas Gavankar and Navid Bombhal awarded "30 penalty runs to Police", 15 for each over short, as National still had two overs to bowl when the time allowed for the Police side's innings was reached, a decision that resulted in Police winning the match.  National are said to have claimed that there were still two minutes left and that at least one more over could have been bowled, and that led to them allegedly "threatening" Gavankar and forcing him to write out the apology.  A few days after the incident National filed a protest with the MCA over a Police player’s registration and as a result National were awarded the match.

 

Across the city, umpire Arun Shankar was "beaten with bats and stumps" after the match between the MV Sports Club and home side Islam Gymkhana.  Islam were bowled out for just over 150, Shankar upholding five LBW appeals, and their opponents are said to have "chased the target with ease".  Arman Malik, Islam's secretary, claimed his players were not the real culprits but rather "their friends and relatives" who were "absolutely irritated by the umpire’s attitude" and "that’s why they beat him up".  When asked what he meant by "attitude", Malik claimed the umpire was "gleefully upholding LBW appeals made by the opposition".  No details are available about Shankar's condition following the assault.

 

A third MCA match also ended in controversy last week, particularly given that the principle officials in each club involved were the MCA's joint-secretary PV Shetty and its vice-president Vijay Patil.  The argument in that match was also over the awarding of penalty runs by umpires Hemant Turkul and Sujeet Nakhre because overs had not been delivered in time.  The MCA formed a protest committee which ruled in favour of Shetty's side and Patil is now said to have written a letter to MCA chief Vilasrao Deshmukh asking for his "urgent intervention".  MCA treasurer Ravi Sawant, who was part of the protest committee, reacted to Patil's allegations by saying he "is being highly immature".  

 

IRISH PLAYER FINED FOR USING

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE 

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Ireland's Kevin O'Brien was fined 20 per cent of his match fee and reprimanded after being found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's Code (ICC) of Conduct (CoC) during his side's second Twenty20 International against Kenya in Mombasa last Thursday.  O'Brien was charged with a Level 1 offence under an article of the CoC which relates to "Using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match".

 

O'Brien was charged after he was heard using offensive language whilst leaving the field after being bowled for nine.  The charge was brought by on-field umpires Shaun George of South Africa and David Odhiambo of Kenya, plus third umpire Kutub Gulamabba, another Kenyan. The Irishman pleaded guilty to the charge and as such, under the provisions of the CoC, the matter was determined by ICC Match Referee Devedas Govindjee of South Africa, and as such there was no requirement for a full hearing. 

 

COUNTY PLAYERS UNDERGOING 

ANTI-CORRUPTION TRAINING 

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England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officials are to visit all counties to enforce anti-corruption training and are considering sanctions for players who do not complete it, says a BBC report, and the ultimate sanction could be the suspension of a player's registration until they undertake the course involved.  Corruption in the county game has been in the headlines after former Essex county cricketer Mervyn Westfield was jailed for four months last week for 'spot-fixing' in a 40-over game against Durham in 2009 (PTG 903-5387,  20 February 2012).

 

The UK Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) says that the anti-corruption training module is made up of a half-hour computer assessment that teaches players about the process by which people might attempt to groom or corrupt them, each section being followed by a quiz that player's are required to answer.  The BBC says "it is not possible to 'fail' the module but players must simply work their way through each section to complete the training".  The PCA says that 67-70% of first-class cricketers in England have completed the course to date, as well as "certain county coaches", although the latter are under no obligation to do so.

 

PCA chief Angus Porter told the BBC that all overseas cricketers who play for a county in the forthcoming season, which starts on 5 April, will also have to take the training, regardless of the length of their contract.  "We're in discussions with the [ECB] on sanctions we might apply to encourage any who don't do it voluntarily [for] we want everybody to do this", he said, as it "is the best anti-corruption training [available] in cricket anywhere in the world". 


End of February news file