908 - 3 March [4413-4419]
• Second ICC appointment for Australia's Reiffel (908-4413).
• Fry, Oxenford firming for Sheffield Shield final? (908-4414).
• Orchard stands in Bangladesh T20 final (908-4415).
• New NSWCUSA EO, NSW SDU appointments announced (908-4416).
• Coaching position trumps claimed umpiring ambitions (908-4417).
• ECB corruption amnesty results in 'some reports' from players (908-4418).
• CA to sample player's hair as part of drug test arrangements (908-4419).
909 - 5 March [4420-4424]
• CA to review breadth, complexity, of third umpire systems work (909-4420).
• Match referee Broad manages his 200th ODI (909-4421).
• England bowler again reported for 'suspect' action (909-4422).
• 'Plague of chucking' in WA club cricket, claims Yardley (909-4423).
• Jones queries fine, BPL third umpire's knowledge (909-4424).
910 - 7 March [4425-4428]
• Junior Association calls for improved behaviour at games (910-4425).
• Lankan captain fined for dissent (910-4426).
• Match officials named for Windies-Australia ODI series (910-4427).
• No sign yet of 'on-line' access to CA Level 1-2 umpire courses (910-4428).
911 - 8 March [4429-4432]
• Non-neutral match officials for proposed Pakistan home series? (911-4429).
• Umpire, players, struck down by food poisoning (911-4430).
• Day-night first class 'experiment' grinds on (911-4431).
• Tribunal looking at post-match 'stoush' (911-4432).
912 - 9 March [4433-4435]
• Umpire pair, player, all censured after 'heated' post-match 'argument' (912-4433).
• Slow over-rate fine for Australia (912-4434).
• CPR saves batsman struck in chest by ball (912-4435).
913 - 12 March [4436-4441]
• Batsman stumped, from backward square leg (913-4436).
• Players again question accuracy of ball-tracking systems (913-4437).
• Work on wearable technology development underway, says report (913-4438).
• Pumps, helicopter, allow play after ground flooded (913-4439).
• Pitch preparation critical to T20 financial success, says ECB (913-4440).
• FICA criticises ICC position on match officials for mooted Pakistan series (913-4441).
914 - 13 March [4442-4449]
• Five months on, 'suspended' umpires receive public apology from league (914-4442).
• Player's criticism leads to threat to withdraw ball-tracking technology (914-4443).
• Former umpire praises Dravid for his sportsmanship (914-4444).
• Dar still waiting for 150th ODI (914-4445).
• Taufel looking forward to WT20 qualifier series (914-4446).
• State honour for WA umpire (914-4447).
• Suspension, reprimands, handed down after WCLC match (914-4448).
• Slow over-rate fine for Pakistan (914-4449).
915 - 15 March [4450-4454]
• No surprises in Shield final appointments (915-4450).
• Third Australian 'Umpire of the Year' award for Taufel (915-4451).
• NSW wins both male, female, 'Spirit of Cricket' awards (915-4452).
• No 'Hot Spot' for Sri Lanka, England, Tests (915-4453).
• Match officials for Sri Lanka, England, Tests named (915-4454).
916 - 17 March [4456-4462]
• Umpire suspended for reported assault of ground staff member (916-4456).
• Club reprimanded, fined, for pitch misdemeanours, but match result stands (916-4457).
• Match referee not present so ODI toss repeated (916-4458).
• 'Bat rub' after LBW decision attracts reprimand (916-4459).
• Committee to look into 'court threat' controversy named (916-4460).
• WT20 Qualifier players censured over clothing issues (916-4461).
• Bowler's 'Swan Lake' routine sets new 'standard' for appeals (916-4462).
917 - 19 March [4463-4470]
• Scorers concerned about new ECB match data distribution deal (917-4463).
• Light meters needed in Australian domestic matches, claim reports (917-4464).
• No neutral umpires, no Pakistan tour, says Bangladesh chief (9127-4465).
• Taufel 'deserved winner' of Australian umpire award, says CA umpire chief (917-4466).
• Joburg match abandoned because of dangerous, unplayable pitch (917-4467).
• Too many players on ground so match restarted (917-4468).
• 'Heated' on-field row after England players claim low catch (917-4469]
• Delay in leaving crease leads to ICC reprimand (917-4470).
918 - 21 March [4471-4474]
• Coach fined for 'actions and language' in approach to umpires (918-4471).
• Doubts again raised about spinner's action, but ICC happy (918-4472).
• Respect umpires, opposition, 'regardless of provocation, says England coach (918-4473).
• Two more players reprimanded at World T20 Qualifier event (918-4474).
919 - 23 March [4475-4480]
• Long-serving Australian umpire announces his first class retirement (919-4475).
• Coach unrepentant over approach to umpires (919-4476).
• Details of bad light 'trial' to remain under wraps (919-4477).
• State club finals matches throw up interesting umpire appointments (919-4478).
• Groundsman admits 'ignorance' of Law's pitch management rules (919-4479).
• Former CA umpire manager on the move again (919-4480).
920 - 24 March [4481-4483]
• Threat of strike led to apology to umpires, says report (920-4481).
• Pakistani scorers lament lack of international match opportunities (920-4482).
• Six players from one team face disciplinary tribunal (920-4483).
921 - 26 March [4484-4488]
• Bangladesh want penalty runs applied post-match (921-4484).
• Kiwi, Nepali, stand in WT20 Qualifier final (921-4485).
• Umpire stops wicketkeepers wearing just one glove (921-4486).
• MCC responds to match start 'stalemate' situation (921-4487).
• Club looses match result protest but still considering legal position (921-4488).
922 - 27 March [4489-4494]
• South Africa reported 'interested' in Australian third umpire initiative (922-4489).
• Referee 'voices concerns' about ball's condition in Lankan tour match (922-4490).
• ICC-ACC reject Bangladesh penalty runs plea (922-4491).
• Windies bowler fined for 'physical contact' with Aussie batsman (922-4492).
• Kiwi-Singaporean pair named for Sharjah ODI, first class, fixtures (922-4493).
• Send off leads to ICC reprimand (922-4494).
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 3 March 2012
SECOND ICC APPOINTMENT
FOR AUSTRALIA'S REIFFEL
Three Australians and an Englishman will manage the seven-match Asia Cup One Day International (ODI) series that is to be played in Dhaka later this month between Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Amongst the Australians is umpire Paul Reiffel who the International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed to an overseas series for a second time, the first also being in Bangladesh for ODIs between the home side and the West Indies last October (PTG 832-4063, 14 September 2012).
David Boon, Reiffel's countryman and former playing colleague, will be the match referee for the Asia Cup, while the other two umpires are another Australian Steve Davis and Englishman Ian Gould. The latter two are members of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel while Reiffel is on the second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP). The ICC's web site indicates that Davis and Gould will be on the field for the final of the Asia Cup late this month, and that overall they will stand in a total of five matches and Reiffel four; figures that will take Davis' ODI match official's record to 111, Gould's to 72, Reiffel 19 and Boon 18. Third umpire positions for the series are currently marked as 'TBC' for 'to be confirmed', which implies umpires other than the three named so far will be involved, although logic suggests the two-nation umpiring trio named will share those duties.
Reiffel's appointment rules him out of contention for selection to stand in the 2011-12 Sheffield Shield final which is scheduled to be played from 16-20 March, right in the middle of the Asia Cup. That suggests his Australian IUP colleagues Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry are in line for the final's two on-field spots with John Ward, who stood the finals of Cricket Australia's one-day and Twenty20 series this austral summer (PTG 905-4399, 22 February 2012), as the third umpire (PTG 908-4414 below).
FRY, OXENFORD FIRMING FOR
SHEFFIELD SHIELD FINAL?
Cricket Australia (CA) will have used a total of 16 umpires to support the 31 matches in its domestic first class season this austral summer by the time the 2011-12 final of the competition is played in three weeks, but it would appear from appointments over the last six months that the three umpires for that season-ending decider have already been decided. Those appointed during the season so far include all 12 members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP), two umpires from their emerging panel who made their first class debuts, and umpires from New Zealand and South Africa who were in Australia as part of umpire exchange agreements between CA and their respective national boards.
Topping the list of Sheffield Shield appointments prior to the final is Western Australian NUP member Mick Martell with 7, then comes Gerard Abood of NSW with 6, Victorians Geoff Joshua and Tony Ward plus Western Australians Ian Lock and Paul Wilson all 5, Bob Parry and John Ward of Victoria and Simon Fry of South Australia each 4, another Victorian Ash Barrow with 3, then Queenslanders Paul Reiffel 3 and Bruce Oxenford 2, and South African Adrian Holdstock and Kiwi Chris Gaffaney each 2. Of the two CA emerging umpires Sam Nogajski of Tasmania stood in 2 games and Damien Mealey of Queensland one.
John Ward was actually appointed to a total of 8 first class matches this austral summer, the four in addition to his Shield games being split evenly between South Africa and New Zealand during exchange visits to those nations (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 2012); however, persistent rain one of the fixtures in the former country meant that it had to be abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Similarly, the domestic first class records of Fry, Oxenford and Reiffel over the summer have been limited because of their appointments to international games. Oxenford stood in 5 Tests across India, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe in November and January (PTG 883-4306, 9 January 2012), all three served as third umpires in Test matches in Australia (PTG 875-4277, 20 December 2011), as well as in on-field and third umpire roles in One Day International fixtures at home over the last two months (PTG 893-4351, 29 January 2012).
That solid record means that those three therefore have to start as favourites to work in the final of this season's Sheffield Shield final in three weeks time. Reiffel is out of contention now however as he has just been appointed to the Asia Cup ODI series in Bangladesh later this month which will be underway whilst the Shield final is being plated (PTG 908-4413 above). That suggests, if further international appointments are not forthcoming to Oxenford in the mean time, that he and Fry should stand in that final; NUP member John Ward being the third umpire for that game. Should that be the case it would be Oxenford's third Shield final in four years, Fry's third in three, and Ward's second in the television suite in a row.
ORCHARD STANDS IN BANGLADESH T20 FINAL
David Orchard, the former South African international umpire who spent his last first class years in domestic cricket in Australia and is now Queensland's state umpiring coach, stood in the final of the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) on Wednesday. Orchard's on-field colleague in that game was Bangladeshi Enamul Haque and the third umpire another local Sharfuddoula, while former South African player and international match referee Mike Procter had overall control of the final.
Orchard, whose last major umpiring event was the 17 matches he stood in the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008 (PTG 354-1891, 25 November 2008), and England first class umpire Jeremy Lloyds, were each on the field for a total of 14 matches during the 33-match BPL, and Enamul Haque and Sharfuddoula in 10 games apiece. Other Bangladeshi first class umpires filled the other 15 on-field spots as well as all 33 third umpiring positions, while on the match referee front Proctor oversaw 16 games and local Raqibul Hasan the other 17 (PTG 903-4391, 20 February 2012).
Orchard's last and 140th first class match prior to the ICL and BPL events was in Australia in February 2008. The Natal-born umpire, who played first class cricket in his native South Africa prior to taking up umpiring, was one of the inaugural group of eight appointed to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel when it was established in March 2002, and he was a member of that group until February 2004, his last Test and 107th One Day International games being played in the following month. The last 5 of the 16 years he officiated at first class level was spent in Australia where he stood in 25 first class games (PTG 251-1377, 3 June 2008).
NEW NSWCUSA EO, NSW SDU
Nick Carson, a 17-year member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) who has officiated in more than 200 Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) matches, was named as the NSWCUSA's new Executive Officer (EO) yesterday. Carson replaces former international umpire Darrell Hair who left the position in November following a dispute with the NSWCUSA Board (PTG 861-4205, 17 November 2011) and will take up the position very early in April, however, in a related move former first class umpire Darren Goodger, the Association's 'Education and Development Manager', becomes NSW's State Director of Umpiring (SDU), "effective immediately".
When it advertised the EO position last month, Cricket NSW said that the primary purpose of the 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 continued 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" (PTG 900-4376, 10 February 2012).
Hair, the nature of whose rift with the NSWCUSA Board remains a mystery six months on, was NSW's SDU during his three-year tenure as the Association's EO, and transferring of that role to Goodger appears related to Carson's apparent lack of experience at higher levels of the game beyond the SCA scene. The appointments section of the NSWCUSA web site indicates that during the current season Carson has stood at second or third grade level, with occasional games in the firsts.
COACHING POSITION TRUMPS
CLAIMED UMPIRING AMBITIONS
Long-time Yorkshire player and coach Craig White has joined Hampshire’s coaching staff for the 2012 season after saying late last year that a future as an umpire held more appeal for him than resuming his coaching career (PTG 855-4182, 5 November 2011). The 42-year-old former England all-rounder left his native Yorkshire after 21 years at the end of the 2011 northern summer, and decided not to reapply for his position when the club announced they would be trimming their coaching staff from five to four, targeting umpiring instead.
White said in November that his initial target was to win appointment to the English first-class umpiring list, after which he hoped to move up to the highest level of the game. “I want to aim as high as I can and work my way up on to the international panel", he said at the time. He'd "always fancied a crack at umpiring" and while "It will be hard work and there’s no guarantee I’ll make it, I’m determined to give it a crack". White was hoping that he "might be able to umpire a few second-team games [in 2012] and take it from there".
Earlier this week the Yorkshireman, who played 30 Tests across seven countries and 51 One Day Internationals from 1994-2003, represented the county of his birth over the 17 year period from 1990 and had short stints with Victoria and Central Districts in an overall total of 246 first class, 311 List A matches and 33 Twenty20s, described the Hampshire coaching job as "a very exciting new challenge for me".
ECB CORRUPTION AMNESTY RESULTS
IN 'SOME REPORTS' FROM PLAYERS
A BBC report this week says that "a number of county players" have come forward under the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) amnesty to report possible match-fixing approaches in the past. The reporting window, which is open until the last day of April, was made after former Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield was jailed for admitting to accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to aid spot betting on a county match in 2009 (PTG 903-4387, 20 February 2012).
ECB Anti-Corruption Commission chief Chris Watts was quoted by the BBC as saying that its "a confidential reporting window [and] the only thing I will say is there have been some reports". He said the Westfield case had "certainly brought a media spotlight on to anti-corruption and integrity, and the potential vulnerabilty of the domestic game". "One of the reasons we put in the reporting window is to actually understand what is going on out there and what the vulnerabilities are". "Once we understand that, then we can refine and fine-tune some of the preventive measures we've put in place". Last month the UK Professional Cricketers' Association asked every professional player to complete an online tutorial as part of attempts to stamp out corruption in the game (PTG 907-4410, 28 February 2012).
In related news, Pakistani national Sajid Khan was arrested by Australian anti-corruption officers who were working for the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and handed to local police during the latter stages of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) late last month. The Australians were from a company that won the contract to provide anti-corruption services for the BPL, two officers from that firm flying to Bangladesh to monitor matches during the series (PTG 908-4415 above).
Published reports claim that when he was apprehended Sajid had the bank account details of one of the Chittagong franchises' Pakistani players and the e-mail address of a player from a Dhaka side in his phone. BCB security chief Mesbahuddin Serniabat said Sajid had been "acting suspiciously at games" in what was the inaugural edition of the tournament and was under surveillance, during which he had been seen "mixing with overseas players, believed to be from Pakistan, before the game".
Serniabat was quoted by local media outlets as saying that "We have reasons to suspect that [Sajid] was involved in spot-fixing". In a match last Sunday "Khan [made phone calls] after the toss and every time a key wicket fell and a six was hit, [and] he also tried to sneak into the dressing room and restricted areas", continued Serniabat. Prior to the BPL series getting underway former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that he had been approached to spot-fix games by an unnamed player with the Dhaka side (PTG 900-4377, 10 February 2012).
Meanwhile, a separate media report yesterday says that Pakistani player Mohammad Amir has decided not to appeal a five-year ban imposed on him by the International Cricket Council for spot-fixing during his side's Test against England at Lord's in 2010 (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011). The highly-rated 19-year-old was released from a British prison last month after serving half of a six-month sentence for his part in the scandal (PTG 896-4366, 2 February 2012).
CA TO SAMPLE PLAYER'S HAIR AS PART
OF DRUG TEST ARRANGEMENTS
Australia's top cricketers are to be "targeted in a ramped up war on drugs" that will see them provide hair samples so that tests can be run on whether they are using "illicit substances", says a report in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper yesterday. The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and Cricket Australia (CA) are said to have agreed on a 12-month trial of hair testing and the nation's current one-day side are said to have been "counselled on the policy change" by ACA chief Paul Marsh in Melbourne on Thursday.
Marsh told the 'Herald Sun' that “We have agreed to [the] trial and will review it before we make any decisions [beyond that]”. "I have talked to the Australian team and we are doing this in conjunction with CA [for] we have been talking about hair testing for a while". Australian Twenty20 captain George Bailey is said to support the hair testing move, saying: “I have no issue with it in terms of keeping the sport clean. I don’t think cricket has a massive issue though. We will wait and see how it pans out".
CA TO REVIEW BREADTH, COMPLEXITY,
OF THIRD UMPIRE SYSTEMS WORK
Cricket Australia (CA) is to review the breadth of technical systems work third umpires are required to perform in the wake of the problems experience in a One Day International in Brisbane last month, says an article in 'The Australian' newspaper on Saturday. In that incident the computerised scoreboard at the 'Gabba' in Brisbane flashed ''OUT'' after third umpire Bruce Oxenford of Australia was asked to review a stumping appeal, even though he later claimed he had actually pressed the button for 'NOT OUT' (PTG 903-4390, 20 February 2012).
Journalist Andrew Faulkner writes that Australia is the only place where "third umpires not only have to rule on close calls, but also key their decisions into touch computer panels to be displayed on stadium screens", and that CA is "considering falling into line with the rest of the world by leaving third umpires free to do what they do best - umpire". In other counties "TV producers or big screen operators post decisions for third umpires", and the third umpire "simply decides out or not out", says 'The Australian'.
Faulkner quotes CA's General Manager of Public Affairs Peter Young as saying that "The way the [third umpire's computer] pad is laid out you can brush 'menu' and find yourself going down the wrong ladder". It's "more complex here than in the rest of the world" continued Young, for "the umpire drives all the buttons and it's a multiple click process". Young says the Australian model had evolved as a "quirk" and that CA in no way blamed Oxenford for the wrong decision that was flashed on the Gabba screen. "We have enormous amount of sympathy for Bruce that it happened on his watch", he said. Tests by technicians at the 'Gabba' could not replicate the fault that occurred during the ODI (PTG 904-4395, 21 February 2012).
Recently retired Australian international umpire Daryl Harper, who has experience of being strongly criticised in review situations when technology was later shown to have been at fault (PTG 646-3206, 5 August 2010), is said to have "welcomed news of a review". Quotes attributed to him say that he "did feel sorry for Bruce" and its "simpler to just tell the [television] director what to do".
'The Australian' story makes no mention of CA's move to give third umpires in its domestic matches this southern summer the power to overturn on-field decisions, however, it would appear likely that will occur, although probably not in direct conjunction with the technical systems review Young has referred to. During the current season in Australia third umpires in televised matches have overturned on-field decisions on more than half-a-dozen occasions, and in a separate and not related move in January, English first class umpire Peter Hartley called for he and his colleagues to be given sole responsibility for reviews (PTG 884-4309, 10 January 2012).
MATCH REFEREE BROAD
MANAGES HIS 200TH ODI
Englishman Chris Broad became only the second person to work as a match referee in 200 One-Day Internationals (ODI) when he took the field for the toss in the first final of the three-nation tournament between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane yesterday. The 54-year-old former England opener made his referee debut in an ODI in January 2004, and he has managed over a sixth of the 1,180 ODIs that have played around the globe in the eight years since that first game.
Broad, who yesterday joined Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle in having managed 200 or more ODIs, said in an International Cricket Council (ICC) press release that his love for his job hasn’t lessened and is that same as it "was on the day of my first game". Despite reaching to 200 match mark Broad says he has not set any targets for himself in terms of the number of matches he eventually works in, his aim being "to see cricket being played in a competitive spirit with fairness and honesty".
Asked about the most memorable ODI he has been involved in as a referee, Broad pointed to the famous ODI at the Wanderers in 2006 when South Africa chased down Australia’s total of 434 to win by one wicket with one-ball to spare. He called it "an outstanding day of cricket which produced entertainment all through, the players played as hard as they possibly could, gave the utmost respect to their opponents, and played the match within the Spirit of the Game".
ICC Umpires and Referees Manager Vince Van Der Bijl said in the ICC statement that Board's “milestone signifies Chris’ dedication to the game and match officiating". His "great passion for cricket and the way it should be played is embodied in his refereeing approach". "He has a positive and professional drive that is deeply appreciated by his colleagues as well as the home boards across the globe". "His sheer enjoyment in being a match referee is infectious".
As an opener for England, Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Orange Free State, Broad played in a total of 340 first-class matches, including 25 Tests, scoring 50 centuries, six of them in Tests. In 34 ODIs, he scored 1,361 runs at an average of 40, his only century in that form of the game being against New Zealand at McLean Park in Napier in 1988.
Match referee records in ODIs currently stand as follows: Madugalle 265 (1993-present); Broad 200 (2004-present); Roshan Mahanama, Sri Lanka 179 (2008–present); Jeff Crowe, New Zealand 165 (2004–present); Mike Procter, South Africa 162 (2002-2008); Clive Lloyd, West Indies 133 (1992-2007); Raman Subba Row, England 119 (1992-2001); Cammie Smith, West Indies 118 (1993-2002); Javagal Srinath, India 111 (2006-present); and Alan Hurst, Australia 102 (2004-2011).
ENGLAND BOWLER AGAIN REPORTED
FOR 'SUSPECT' ACTION
England women bowler Jenny Gunn was reported for suspected illegal bowling action on Thursday following a One Day International (ODI) against New Zealand in Lincoln. Nottinghamshire all-rounder Gunn's action was deemed to be "illegal" during a stint playing in Australia's womens interstate competition three years ago and she underwent remedial work at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, but she was not banned from the international game at that time (PTG 378-2016, 2 March 2009).
Gunn was reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) this week by Kiwi umpires Derek Walker and Phil Jones, who are both on New Zealand cricket's top domestic umpire panel (PTG 822-4023, 31 August 2011), and she will now have to submit to an independent analysis of her action by the ICC's human movement specialists in the same way as a number of international bowlers, both male and female, in recent years.
However, Clare Connor, the former England captain who is the head of women's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board as well as chairwoman of the ICC's Women's Committee, stressed that Gunn, a seamer, would remain with the England touring party in New Zealand and continue to be considered for selection for the remaining two matches of the series. Connor described the fresh questions over Gunn's action as "unfortunate".
Last Thursday's ODI was Gunn's 93rd, and she has also featured in 46 women's Twenty20 internationals and eight Tests since her debut at international level eight years ago.
'PLAGUE OF CHUCKING' IN WA CLUB
CRICKET, CLAIMS YARDLEY
Former Australian player Bruce Yardley is reported to be "dismayed by a plague of chucking" in Western Australian club cricket in Perth and has urged officials to address the issue, according to a report that appeared in the 'West Australian' newspaper on Saturday. Yardley says that the situation will soon become apparent in interstate ranks when the next generation of young bowlers graduate to higher levels of the game.
The former Test spinner and international coach, who is now in charge of the Midland-Guildford club in the Western Australian Cricket Association's (WACA) top competition, is said to be "aghast" at the number of bowlers who he claims are throwing with impunity. "There are bowlers in WACA cricket who are out-and-out chuckers [and it's] a complete joke" he said, for "the players know who they are, the umpires know who they are but no one is prepared to do anything to protect cricket from an insidious poison that will weaken the game".
Yardley was, says journalist John Townsend, prompted to speak out after a Midland-Guildford lower-grade player was no-balled recently for standing at the bowling crease and delivering a baseball pitch at an opposition batsman. The player is said to have delivered the ball in that fashion "to protest about an opposition bowler who he claimed had a highly suspicious action but had been cleared to continue bowling". "Our bowler chucked one and was no-balled but the other bowler chucked every one and got away with it", says Yardley, and "even the opposition said their fellow's action was no good but he was allowed to do it, so what was the problem?"
As is the case in many competitions around the world, WACA umpires are required to report any player they consider to have a suspicious action. WACA guidelines require that after such a report the individual concerned needs to be assessed at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and, if required, given remedial training before being allowed to play again. WACA umpire coordinator Barry Rennie told Townsend that his umpires were instructed not to no-ball bowlers but to report them so the testing and remedial action could begin. "There is a clear process for a bowler with a suspicious action", continued Rennie, "but umpires will no-ball a bowler for a baseball pitch".
"Several" club umpires, none of whom were named, were quoted in the article as saying they would no longer bother to report players who they consider to be blatant chuckers. "You should write about [name deleted] because there is nothing else we can do", one umpire said, for "we are not allowed to no-ball him despite knowing that he chucks". "There is no point reporting him because he will be assessed and cleared and then come back and starting chucking again".
JONES QUERIES FINE, BPL THIRD
Former Australian player Dean Jones, who was the technical director for the Chittagong franchise in the recent inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series, says he was fined 15,000 Bangladeshi Takas ($A170) by match referee Mike Procter for being on the ground after 10 overs when a strategic time-out was employed by his side in a match.
Jones claims in his column in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on Saturday that his team "wasn't given any rules on what we could and could not do throughout the tournament" and the third umpire in the game, who he did not name, told him when asked that 'he didn't know" whether Jones was allowed on the ground or not, and as a result he decided to go on to the playing area. Jones says that he is "still awaiting a response from Procter" to an appeal he made against the fine.
Just how accurate Jone's claim that no rules were available, or the summary of the situation that prevailed he provided in regard to the third umpire, is not known. While an Australia-based and English umpire were part of the match officials group used for the BPL, all of the third umpires during the event were members of the Bangladesh Cricket Board's first class panel (PTG 908-4415, 3 March 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
JUNIOR ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR
IMPROVED BEHAVIOUR AT GAMES
A posting on the Western Region Junior Cricket Association's (WRJCA) web site in Melbourne urges "players, coaches, parents and supporters" involved in finals matches over the next fortnight to behave in a way that ensures young players enjoy the experience no matter what the result of their games. That plea comes after a "violent incident" involving "two parents from the same team" in a recent match, a confrontation that followed a range of behavioural issues during games this austral summer, says a report that ran in several Fairfax Press outlets around Australia on the weekend.
Fairfax journalist Peter Hanlon, whose son plays in the WRJCA, says in the article that the Association's home page said last week that there had been "very serious recent breaches of [its] code of conduct", including ''violent incidents between parents, players disputing umpire decisions, unsportsmanlike behaviour, racial vilification, coaches being over-officious in the younger grades, alcohol consumption and general sledging [of players]''.
WRJCA president Chris Hatzistavrou says that communication is an issue, but that expectations of behaviour and conduct are regularly delivered to club delegates, however, "the message doesn't always filter down to coaches, parents and players". Hatzistavrou is said to be conscious of "how this all looks, and that people will toss it in the basket of bad stuff that happens in the wild west [of Melbourne]", an area that is perceived by some as having more than its share of social problems.
Hanlon says though that cricket-related behavioural problems are not confined to the city's west, and that John Watkin, Cricket Victoria's general manager of game development, indicated to him that "regrettable incidents cross his desk" more at this time of year from a range of areas when finals are underway and the top spots in competitions beckon. The winning of "precious [championship] points can mean the difference between making it and missing out", he says.
The WRJCA web site lists a number of points that its management committee says need to be kept in mind during matches: "encourage all outstanding individual and team efforts; work with your opposing coach to keep the game moving smoothly; shake hands at the end of every game; congratulate milestones (50, 100 runs); accept the umpires decision; be mindful and considerate of cultural differences; enjoy the game; and, make it fun, especially for our younger players".
Despite that one way of reducing such tensions says Hanlon "seems obvious: don't have under 11s playing for points, scrap ladders and finals". In his view "these kids have a sporting lifetime in which to hone their competitive instincts; for now, just let them play".
LANKAN CAPTAIN FINED FOR DISSENT
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for showing dissent during his side's One Day International match against Australia in Adelaide yesterday. Jayawardene was involved in an animated discussion with both the on-field umpires, Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Bruce Oxenford of Australia, in the 44th over of Australia's innings, about a late 'no ball' call.
The captain's anger came after Australian captain Michael Clarke had dispatched a high full toss for four. Following the match the Sri Lankan admitted to journalists that he had overreacted. "'I had no issue with the no-ball and whether it was waist height or whatever, but I felt that once [Clarke] had spoken to [Rauf], that's when he made the ['no ball'] call". "I'm probably the culprit for dragging it on too long".
Jayawardene, who apologised for his actions, was found to have breached an article in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct which relates to "showing dissent at an umpire's decision during an international match". Match referee Chris Broad said in an ICC press release that “The actions of Mahela Jayawardene were unacceptable [for] whatever may be the situation, you have to always respect and accept an umpire’s decision".
Broad continued by saying that "As one of the senior most players in world cricket today and also as the captain of his side, Mr Jayawardene must maintain a certain level of self-control and clearly his actions went beyond what would be deemed acceptable". The charge against Jayawardene was laid by Rauf and Oxenford, plus third umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth umpire Simon Fry, both of whom are Australians.
MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
WINDIES-AUSTRALIA ODI SERIES
Umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Shavir Tarapore of India, plus match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, have been appointed as the neutral officials for the five-match One Day International series (ODI) the West Indies and Australia are to play later this month. The trio are to work with Caribbean-based umpires Peter Nero and Gregory Brathwaite during the ODIs, which are to be played on the islands of St Vincent and St Lucia, the first on Friday week.
Dharmasena, of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel, will be on the field in three of the ODIs and in the third umpire's chair in the other two. Tarapore, who like Brathwaite and Nero is a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will stand in two of the ODIs and work in the television suite in the other two, while Nero will stand in three games and Brathwaite two.
The ODI series will take Pycroft's referee record in that format 53 matches, the second game of the event being his 50th. For Dharmasena his record will have moved on to 35 games by the time the series ends, Tarapore to 25 and Nero and Brathwaite to 9 and 4 respectively. The two games Brathwaite has on the field will be his third and fourth but first involving top-tier ODI nations, and as a third umpire IUP member, he gets his chance because Nero's West Indian on-field IUP colleague and countryman, Joel Wilson, will be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament (PTG 903-4392, 20 February 2012).
The last four days of the month will see the sides play two Twenty20 Internationals, one in St Lucia and the other in Barbados. Pycroft will oversee those fixtures and Nero will be on the field for both of them, and Brathwaite and Wilson, who will have returned from the UAE by then, with Nero in one each. Nigel Duguid, the Windies second third umpire member of the IUP, will work as the television umpire in both those games, his first at international level.
NO SIGN YET OF 'ON-LINE' ACCESS
TO CA LEVEL 1-2 UMPIRE COURSES
Plans by Cricket Australia (CA) to make the modules for its Level 1 and 2 umpire accreditation programs available 'on-line' have not yet come to fruition. Reports circulating in umpiring circles in recent months have suggested that the modules, versions of which were presented to State and Territory Directors of Umpiring at their annual post-season meeting in Melbourne ten months ago (PTG 761-3736, 27 April 2011), were to be available via CA's web site by the end of February (PTG 896-4364, 2 February 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 8 March 2012
NON-NEUTRAL OFFICIALS FOR PROPOSED
PAKISTAN HOME SERIES?
An International Cricket Council (ICC) rule that requires neutral match officials be appointed to international matches could be suspended in order to facilitate the proposed tour of Pakistan by Bangladesh next month. Pakistan has not hosted international cricket since terrorists attacked vehicles transporting match officials and players in Lahore three years ago this week (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), and the team has since played all of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (PCB) is said to "keen" for its side to tour Pakistan and the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) announced yesterday, following its latest meeting in Dubai, that allowing umpires, and presumably a match referee, from the two countries to look after the series would overcome any concerns the world body may have for the safety of neutral officials. ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement that the "CEC regarded this as an exceptional circumstance in which the appointment to matches of non-neutral match officials could be justified", however, he emphasised 'that it should not to be regarded as a preferred option or precedent if the dispensation were to be granted".
It is not yet clear that the proposed tour will actually go ahead, and the CEC reaffirmed that it was the participating countries, not the ICC, who would determine whether it does so. Lorgat sent a letter to the Pakistan and Bangladesh cricket boards on Monday stating the ICC's position on match officials after BCB president Mustafa Kamal said on Sunday he would approach the ICC for approval to tour Pakistan.
Current plans call for the two countries to play either three One Day Internationals (ODI) or two ODIs and a Twenty20 International (T20I) during any visit, Lahore and Karachi being most likely to host the matches. The ICC normally appoints referees to internationals played in both those formats, only selecting either one of two neutral umpires for the ODIs, the number depending on whether the Umpire Decision Review System is in operation or not.
The CEC also said yesterday it has recommended to the ICC board that the number of teams taking part in the 2014 World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh be expanded to 16 teams, this year's event in Sri Lanka featuring sides from 10 side nations. The CEC also agreed to recommend that the number of T20Is countries are allowed to play each year be expanded from 12 to 15; that it would "further explore" an invitation for cricket to take part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia; and it supported the ICC's "strategy to independently evaluate the pros and cons of participating in the Olympic Games".
UMPIRE, PLAYERS, STRUCK DOWN
BY FOOD POISONING
South Australian and Tasmanian state health authorities are reported to be investigating an outbreak of food poisoning that has "hospitalised an umpire and a number of Tasmanian players" following a first class match at the Adelaide Oval which concluded on Saturday. Work is being undertaken, says a story published in 'The Age' in Melbourne this morning, to determine whether the gastroenteritis outbreak originated in the players' lunches at the Adelaide Oval or elsewhere.
The South Australian Cricket Association told 'The Age' last night the source of the food poisoning was not yet known, and the hotel in which the Tasmanian players stayed was also being tested. However, Australian Cricketers Association's chief executive, Paul Marsh, was quoted as saying that conversations he had with some of the players had led him to believe that a lunch at the ground was to blame.
The umpires for the Adelaide match were Tasmanian Sam Nogajski and John Ward of Victoria, while Denis Burns, who is also Victoria-based, was the match referee. Just which of those three fell ill is not clear. Ward is due to stand in a Sheffield Shield match that starts in Hobart today, while Burns is listed as the referee in a parallel game in Melbourne. Whether the Tasmanian players who were affected will be available to participate in the Hobart match remains to be seen.
DAY-NIGHT FIRST CLASS
'EXPERIMENT' GRINDS ON
The traditional county season first class opener between a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI and last year's county champion is to again be played in Abu Dhabi as a day-night match using pink balls later this month. This will be the third year in succession that the game has been played in that format in the middle east, a move that is part of what the MCC says is an "experiment with the day-night, first-class format" that it is hoped will eventually lead to day-night Tests.
In addition to Abu Dhabi, a hand full of first class matches in England, Pakistan and the West Indies have been played as day-nighters over the last three years, however, no games at that level have been played during that time in the other Test playing nations, Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe.
MCC captain for this month's match against Lancashire, Mark Ramprakash, said recently that he has "never played with a pink ball before and I'm looking forward to this new challenge [and] any innovation, such as floodlit cricket using pink balls, which could help increase the popularity of the game is to be welcomed". India's Rahul Dravid, who played in last year's match and will do so again this year, has reiterated his belief that pink-ball, day-night cricket can play a huge part in Test cricket’s future, says the MCC. Dravid is a member of the club's World Cricket Committee and has spoken positively about the day-night concept (PTG 753-3694, 5 April 2012).
Cricket Australia (CA) was a strong supported of the concept for a number of years, trailing it is state second XI games, but it subsequently went very quiet on the concept, passing the initiative to the International Cricket Council. The world body said nearly two years ago that it planned to "commission research into the ideal colour for balls to be used in day-night cricket and then work closely with the equipment manufacturers before conducting relevant trials" (PTG 610-3061, 24 May 2012), but there appears to have been no further publicity about that proposal in the intervening period.
A hastily arranged first class match was played in England very late in the last northern summer (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011), and the West Indies Cricket Board has, for the second time in three years, scheduled four day-night games in its 'domestic' first class series this season, the last of which is due to get underway on the island of St Lucia tomorrow. Last December, Pakistan played the final of its first class competition in a day-night, pink ball format for the second year in a row (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2012).
Prior to this month's MCC-Lancashire first class fixture, those teams plus Durham and Sussex will play a round-robin night time Twenty20 tournament that will also feature pink balls.
TRIBUNAL LOOKING AT
The Ballarat Cricket Association in Victoria conducted a "private tribunal hearing" on Tuesday evening to consider the facts involved in an incident involving two umpires and a club captain in a recent game, says a 'Ballarat Courier' report yesterday. The Brown Hill side's captain Ryan Knowles and umpires Steve Bathurst and Ron Bedford were called before the independent tribunal, but as yet the outcome of its deliberations have not been released.
The Courier's report says the tribunal was convened as a result of a "heated argument between the umpires and Knowles" following a match between the Darley and Brown Hill sides in late February. Knowles was not playing in the Brown Hill first grade side on the day of the alleged offence, but was present at the end of the match when a "verbal stoush erupted". The trio are said to have been brought before the tribunal under charges that relate to the argument.
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 9 March 2012
'HEATED' POST-MATCH 'ARGUMENT'
A club captain and two umpires in the Ballarat Cricket Association (BCA) in Victoria have all been found guilty of misconduct and bringing the game into disrepute after what the 'Ballarat Courier' says was a "heated argument" the three became involved in at the end of a day's play late last month (PTG 911-4432, 8 March 2012). None of the three were handed suspensions at a "private" BCA tribunal hearing held on Wednesday evening, however, both the Ballarat Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) and the club whose captain was involved were fined $A400.
'Courier' journalist Pat Nolan says that the incident for which the fines were handed out occurred at the Darley club's ground on the last Saturday of February. The Brown Hill side's normal captain, Ryan Knowles, was not playing in the game that day and his brother Jason had replaced him as skipper. Ryan is said to have approached umpires Ron Bedford and Steve Bathurst after play ended for the day because the match officials allegedly "refused to shake Jason’s hand before the match", and that is when the reported argument erupted.
An independent BCA tribunal found all three parties guilty and handed out the fines following a hearing that lasted more than two hours. The matter is a particular embarrassment for the umpires as Bedford is the BCUA's president and Bathurst its secretary, says the 'Courier', but by handing down fines rather than suspensions both umpires and Knowles "are available for finals action which starts this weekend".
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE
The Australian side has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during yesterday's One Day International (ODI) against Sir Lanka in Adelaide. Match referee Chris Broad from England imposed the fines after Shane Watson’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.
International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations governing minor over-rate offences require that players be fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain loosing double that amount. As such, Watson was fined 20 per cent of his match fee while his team mates lost 10-per-cent of their's.
Should Watson, as captain, be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in ODIs over the next 12 months, he will receive a one-match suspension as per the provisions of the ICC CoC.
CPR SAVES BATSMAN STRUCK
IN CHEST BY BALL
A Melbourne cricketer has hailed his teammates "heroes" after they performed CPR on him when his heart stopped after he was struck in the chest by a ball while attempting a pull shot at practise, says a report on Australia's Channel 9 television network this morning. Jarrod Brown collapsed on Tuesday evening after a delivery struck him just below the heart and caused a sudden cardiac arrest while he was batting in the nets.
Senior teammates at the Riverside Cricket Club, Trent Wellington and Elliot Smale, began CPR after they could not find a pulse in Brown’s neck. Wellington said that he thought the 25-year-old "was gone but you just keep going until you hear the sirens in the distance". Brown said from his hospital bed yesterday that he remembers "picking up the ball [after being hit] and giving it back to the bowler and he has sort of come down and said ‘you alright’ and I definitely wasn’t all right but said ‘yes’, and next thing I know I was in the ambulance".
Brown is said to have suffered 'commotio cordis', a disruption of heart rhythm, as a result of the blow. Channel 9 says that only 250 similar cases have been reported worldwide, the majority affecting baseball and ice hockey players in the North America who were struck by balls and pucks. Only two cases have ever been reported in cricket, says the report.
Wellington says it was just lucky that they had some training in CPR. "It was a pretty good outcome in the end'. Despite not feeling fully recovered just yet, Brown says he is keen to return to the field as his team enters the finals but says he will work on his batting technique. "Given we’re pressing to the finals, it’s something I wouldn’t mind getting back for", he said, and "I think the first thing is working on my pull shot".
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 12 March 2012
BATSMAN STUMPED, FROM
BACKWARD SQUARE LEG
New South Wales batsman Ben Rohrer was stumped off a ball from fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle in what one report called "a bizarre manner" during his side's second innings in the first class match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Rohrer was struck on the pads and Siddle unsuccessfully appealed for LBW, however, in the mean time the ball had run to backward square leg where wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb collected it and threw down the stumps with a direct hit, the batsman having "wandered" out of his crease.
Siddle was surprised to discover Rohrer was given out 'stumped', not 'run out'. "I didn't even realise at the time but 'Blocker' [umpire Paul Wilson of Cricket Australia's National Umpire Panel] brought it up after the over", said Siddle after the match. The bowler "thought [the mode of dismissal] was going to get changed" from that shown on the score board and told Wilson he didn't "really think it was a stumping but I'll take it", for if Rohrer had been a 'run out' it would not have counted in his bowling statistics.
In October 1998 then Victorian fast-medium bowler, and now umpire, Paul Reiffel, had Tasmania's David Boon stumped by wicketkeeper Darren Berry in a similar fashion at the MCG. One of Boon's team mates on that day was Rod Tucker, who is now a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-level Elite Umpires Panel, Reiffel being on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, while Boon is an international match referee.
Law 39.1 says in part that a striker is out Stumped when "his wicket is fairly put down by the wicket-keeper without the intervention of another fielder",provided the batsman was not attempting a run. If he was then the dismissal in Rohrer's case would have been recorded as 'run out'.
PLAYERS AGAIN QUERY ACCURACY
OF BALL-TRACKING SYSTEMS
New Zealand and South African players have raised questions about the accuracy of ball-tracking technology used in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) following several incidents during the first Test which ended in Dunedin yesterday. On Friday, South African batsman Jacques Rudolph was given 'out' LBW by umpire Aleem Dar from Pakistan, but sought a review, the ball-tracker showing the ball pitched "just" outside leg stump, and Rudolph was therefore given 'not out'.
Bowler Doug Bracewell told reporters after the day's play he thought the decision was wrong. "I thought it was out. I think they made a mistake [with the pitch map overlay]", said Bracewell, who questioned "how a ball could pitch outside leg, swing into a left hander and still be hitting middle stump".
Rudolph's batting partner at the time Jacques Kallis, thought the ball "may have pitched outside leg", but despite that he had "plenty" of concerns about the UDRS, particularly its predictive path. He said that he "understands" there is a place for a review system, but doesn't "think there are any guys that are 100 per cent sure that thing is as accurate as they want to make it out to be".
The day before the Rudolph reprieve, South Africa reviewed an LBW appeal against New Zealand's Daniel Vettori. The ball-tracker showed that the delivery would have missed leg stump comfortably, which seemed unrealistic because of the amount of turn on it, say reports. "A lot of us looked at Dan's one and it was closer than what I thought the UDRS had", Kallis said. "It might not have been hitting or it might have been clipping leg, and the right decision was made in the end, but [showing that it was] missing leg by that much surprised all of us".
Kallis told journalists that "maybe what they can do is have the review system that shows where it pitched and where it hits and let the third umpire make the call from there so you still give benefit of the doubt to the batter", stressing that the need for the on-field umpires is still there despite the technology at the game's disposal. "You don't want to take the umpires' job away but you do want the right decision". "Snickometer and 'Hot Spot' and everything else is pretty decent [but] the predicted path, for me, is the worry".
An LBW decision given after a review in a Test match in Sri Lanka early last September led to ball-tracking issues and their "inconsistencies" being raised with the International Cricket Council by Australian umpire Simon Taufel (PTG 824-4029, 3 September 2011), but ICC general manager cricket David Richardson quickly sprung to the system's defence (PTG 825-4032, 6 September 2011). Soon after that Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the game faces ridicule unless the use of technology in umpiring decisions becomes consistent (PTG 827-4045, 8 September 2011).
Last month the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that it has arranged for detailed tests of the accuracy of ball-tracking systems to be conducted at Cambridge University in May, and the results are expected to be examined in detail at the 2012 meeting of the ICC's cricket committee soon after (PTG 902-4385, 17 February 2012).
WORK ON 'WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY'
DEVELOPMENT UNDERWAY, SAYS REPORT
'Sydney Morning Herald' journalist Greg Baum says in an article published on Saturday that the International Cricket Council (ICC) "is pressing ahead with the development of technology to monitor bowlers' actions in match conditions". The so-called "wearable technology" was on the agenda of last January's meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC), the first public mention of the issue for almost three years (PTG 882-4301, 6 January 2012), but there was no mention of the matter in the MCC's post-meeting press release (PTG 885-4318, 11 January 2012).
Prior to that WCC meeting, the last public mention of the wearable technology was in 2009 when the ICC and MCC said that they were to fund research in Australia to develop a "wearable, real-time electronic sensor" to record and monitor a bowler's action during delivery (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009); the WCC having advocated two years earlier than that regular real-time monitoring of bowling actions under match conditions be introduced (PTG 44-241, 23 May 2007).
Under the concept envisaged at the time the device would be strapped to a bowler's arm to "instantly" assess the legality of their delivery action by measuring the degree of elbow extension between the time the bowling arm reaches a horizontal level and the release of the ball. Baum says that the work is being undertaken "to counter a long-standing and obvious suspicion that a bowler, consciously or subconsciously, modifies his action in laboratory conditions", which is the only way such data can be obtained at the present time.
PTG has asked the ICC for details of the work that Baum says is currently being carried out.
PUMPS, HELICOPTER, ALLOW PLAY
AFTER GROUND FLOODED
Very heavy rain that fell on Sydney University's ground on Thursday turned the entire playing area into a lake and it looked like their second grade game there on Saturday would not get underway, but after pumps were used to clear the surface water and a helicopter was brought in to help dry the oval the match was able to proceed. The helicopter was arranged by organ transplant specialists at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) who were determined that a charity match in aid of their work could go ahead on Sunday, the day after the university match.
Flooding at the ground was worse than it might have been because a nearby drainage system had been covered during building works, says the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH). The building company put five pumps to work overnight on Thursday and had drying machines working on the ground during Friday, but the groundsman told Professor Richard Allen, who heads RPAH's transplant unit, that "'If you want to have this cricket match on Sunday, you'd better get me a helicopter' ".
Allen told the SMH that "We got permission [for the helicopter to operate] from the university, which meant getting consent from a whole lot of research institutes, ensuring the noise wouldn't affect them, and so on, and we had to get insurance". As a result the helicopter, which was organised by one of the transplant unit's co-ordinators, who had connections with the aircraft's owner as it is used to carry transplant patients, hovered low over the ground for "an hour and a quarter" on Friday afternoon.
Sydney University secretary Geoff De Mesquita told the SMH his club was ''in the right spot at the right time''. On Friday morning ''we joked about getting a helicopter [and] as it turned out, it happened that way". By Saturday morning the ground that had been a lake 36 hours before had recovered sufficiently, thus allowing umpires Davern Lewis and Bill Massingham to get the 50-over one-day match between Sydney University and the University of New South Wales second XIs away on time.
PITCH PREPARATION CRITICAL TO
T20 FINANCIAL SUCCESS, SAYS ECB
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has asked counties to improve the quality of pitches that are prepared for Twenty20 (T20) matches in order to ensure that spectators are "not driven away" by low scoring games, says 'The Cricketer' magazine. Journalist Paul Bolton reports that "ECB research" has established a link between low scores and low marks given for pitch quality by umpires, a situation that make sT20 cricket "less attractive as a spectacle".
As a result Peter Wright, the chairman of the ECB's cricket committee, has written to counties asking them to try to prepare pitches that will produce high scoring matches. Part of Wright's letter is said to state that “There is much justifiable concern that if the number of runs reduces the spectacle becomes less and spectators will stay away [and] I am asking you therefore [to] ensure [pitches] are prepared [so they produce] high-scoring, exciting matches [as] we cannot afford to drive spectators away".
In addition to putting the ECB's view on T20 pitches, Wright also warned counties that ECB Pitch Liaison Officers (PLO) will be punishing County Championship pitches that have excessive uneven bounce during the forthcoming season.
Wright said in his letter that ECB pitch guidelines "make it clear that excessive seam movement, turn or unevenness in bounce will result in a pitch being marked ‘poor’" by PLOs. “As you know a pitch demonstrating significant lateral movement makes life difficult for batsmen and, if excessive, disturbs the balance between bat and ball to an unacceptable degree". Similarly "uneven bounce can make life not only difficult but impossible for batsmen", he says.
Wright concluded by stating that "PLOs are likely to show less tolerance to unevenness than lateral movement though this should not be taken as any indication that policy on lateral movement is being relaxed".
FICA CRITICISES ICC POSITION ON MATCH
OFFICIALS FOR MOOTED PAKISTAN SERIES
The Federation of International Cricket Associations (FICA) has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for its stance on Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan next month. The ICC said last week that it is prepared to suspend its rules and allow non-neutral umpires to oversee the matches so as not to compromise the safety of its match officials (PTG 911-4429, 8 March 2012), but FICA chief executive Tim May says that if it is not appropriate to send neutral match officials to Pakistan, players should also not travel there.
A nine-man Bangladesh security delegation, led by the country's cricket board president Mustafa Kamal, visited Pakistan last week and is said to have "witnessed a mock-up of how the teams will travel from the hotel to the stadium", a clear reference to security arrangements that are proposed. Kamal said he was satisfied with the security and safety arrangements and that he would talk to his government and the ICC about the proposed tour.
May, whose organisation represents several national players' associations, including those of Bangladesh, said that the "ICC should be doing its utmost to convince the two boards to postpone the series, not contemplating whether to amend its own rules to give the series official endorsement". A Pakistan Cricket Board official said FICA has always taken "a rigid stance," and that was the main reason it does not recognise the players' body.
FIVE MONTHS ON, 'SUSPENDED' UMPIRES
RECEIVE PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM LEAGUE
Two umpires who abandoned a match in Lancashire's Northern Premier League (NPL) last September and were subsequently reported in the 'Blackpool Gazette' to have been banned indefinitely from officiating in the competition as a result, have both received and accepted the League's apology over the matter. NPL Chairman Norman Poole emphasised in a press release issued over the weekend, some five months after the original publicity (PTG 841-4109, 5 October 2012), that the pair had been "wrongly informed" of their suspension by a league "representative", a move he described as "a gross error of judgment".
Umpires Steve Godfrey and Ken Shenton, who are said to be "two of the most experienced umpires" in the area, abandoned the match after what was reported to have been a player's "violent behaviour". The 'Gazette' story at the time said the player "repeatedly refused to heed warnings about running down the [pitch]", then became "abusive and used threatening behaviour" and "at one point had to be restrained and pinned to the floor by four players before being escorted from the field". Godfrey and Shenton subsequently decided that in the circumstances there was "no alternative but to abandon the game".
Poole says in the NPL press release that the player later appeared before a League Disciplinary Panel, but "afterwards the umpires received an e-mail informing them that they had been suspended from umpiring". "As Chairman of that Disciplinary Panel", says Poole, that "communication was sent without my knowledge or authority". He described it as an "error of judgment by those involved, [for it] was in contravention of natural justice, and in retrospect only serves to reiterate how badly this whole affair has been handled by the [NPL]".
The NPL chairman, who only two days before the player's disciplinary hearing late last year had assured the umpires of his "total support at their Annual General Meeting", says that as a result he can "fully understand their [subsequent] frustration and dismay at the way events unfolded". He believes the situation that prevailed means that the League Executive, will "have to look more closely at our procedures, tighten up our processes and make doubly sure that the reputation of the [NPL] is never again sullied by any repeat of this unfortunate farrago".
Poole concludes by saying that "at all times the two highly respected and long serving umpires concerned have acted in the best interests of the [NPL] and will continue to have my total and unequivocal support". Poole says that "with the new season fast approaching, we can now move forward in a positive and united manner to serve the game we all love so much".
Founded in 1951, the NPL became one of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) now 25 Premier Leagues in 2000. The Premier League concept was introduced by the ECB in 1997 in order to raise the playing standard of the top tier of club cricket, thereby bridging the gap between the recreational and the first class games.
PLAYER'S CRITICISM LEADS TO THREAT TO
WITHDRAW BALL-TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
'Virtual Eye' ball-tracking technology founder Ian Taylor is reported to have been so concerned about comments made by South African and New Zealand players Jacques Kallis and Doug Bracewell about his system, that he threatened to withdraw his equipment for the remainder of last week's Dunedin Test and the series, say a number of media reports. Following several incidents during the Test, Kallis and Bracewell questioned the accuracy of ball-tracking technology used in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) (PTG 913-4437, 12 March 2012).
Taylor, who founded New Zealand company Animated Research (AR) which provides UDRS services, told reporters that the criticism levelled at his product compelled him to consider immediately cancelling the service. He called it "unfortunate" that "somebody should go off in a press conference with those sort of comments when we have a standing invitation to come and have a look at the system", and that, to date, none of the players have accepted. But, "if the players don't want it, I totally understand that, it shouldn't be imposed on them".
Taylor is said to have revealed that even he did not want AR's ball-tracking technology used when UDRS operations were first proposed over three years ago, its first such application being arranged at short notice (PTG 285-1514, 25 July 2008). "We were opposed to using the technology for UDRS. We didn't think a tool that was made for television should decide the results of matches [and] the first thing we said was not to use the predictive path". Immediately after the very first trial of the UDRS in a Test in 2008, AR's Operations Manager Troy McNeill, was quoted as saying that he had "some reservations" about Virtual Eye's ability to "predict the path of the ball" (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008).
Following a meeting involving the International Cricket Council's general manager cricket, Dave Richardson, New Zealand Cricket's umpire manager Roger McHarg and Sky Television officials, Taylor was persuaded to stay on and supply ball-tracking for the remainder of the Dunedin Test and the other two such games New Zealand and South Africa are to play this month.
Richardson, who is said to have been in New Zealand "by coincidence" for scheduled visits there and to Australia to talk about technology, said that "we have 100 per cent support for the level of accuracy and reliability" of ball-tracking and "the way we use it is totally fit for purpose. "We have reassured [Taylor] we still support the technology", he continued, and "the majority of players are in favour of [it]". Rival captains Ross Taylor and Graeme Smith both gave their backing to use of the UDRS for the rest of the current Test series.
Despite Richardson's confidence, the ICC has arranged for detailed tests of the accuracy of ball-tracking systems to be conducted at Cambridge University in May, and the results are expected to be examined in detail at the 2012 meeting of the ICC's cricket committee soon after (PTG 902-4385, 17 February 2012). That move comes to a large degree because of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's strong and persistent rejection of currrent-day ball-tracking technology (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2012).
FORMER UMPIRE PRAISES DRAVID
FOR HIS SPORTSMANSHIP
Former International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel member Daryl Harper of Australia is one of many observers who have praised Indian player Rahul Dravid, who announced his retirement from first class cricket on Friday, as someone who always played the game in the right spirit. Harper stood in over 50 games involving Dravid, made up of Tests, One Day Internationals and Indian Premier League fixtures, and he "always found Rahul to be a wonderful ambassador for India, for Bangalore and for the great game of cricket".
Harper, who had his share of difficulties with Indian sides in recent years (PTG 788-3859, 4 July 2011), said that "I can never recall Rahul playing the game in anything, but the finest traditions of sportsmanship [for] he always accepted the umpire's decision at a time before dissent was legalised by the introduction of the Umpire Decision Review System".
"Rahul Dravid will always be high on my list of elite cricketers", continued Harper, but because "the majority of his career has been dominated by Sachin Tendulkar he has always been cast in a supporting role". "In any other era, Rahul would have been 'The' man... such was the quality and consistency of his performances, at home and overseas". He leaves the game as an exceptional player and an outstanding person and I can't speak more highly of a player than that", concluded Harper.
DAR STILL WAITING FOR 150TH ODI
Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar is yet to stand in his 150th One Day International (ODI) after the International Cricket Council's (ICC) original appointments for the recent three-match ODI series between New Zealand and South Africa were changed (PTG 895-4359, 31 January 2012). Dar was to have been on the field in two of those games, selections that would have seen him reach the 150 mark, but the ICC's unannounced change that saw him stand in only one match and that means he is currently sitting on 149 ODIs.
Dar's 'neutral' colleague for the series, Richard Illingworth of England, ended up standing in two of the ODIs, not one as originally planned. That change could have come about because the ICC flew him half-way around the world for just the ODIs, while Dar was staying on for the three-Test series New Zealand and South Africa are currently playing.
TAUFEL LOOKING FORWARD TO
WORLD T20 QUALIFIER SERIES
Australian umpire Simon Taufel says he is "delighted" to be working alongside umpires from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International and third-tier Associate and Affiliate umpire panels during the 72-match World Twenty20 (T20) Qualifier series that gets underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today (PTG 903-4392, 20 February 2012). Taufel, a member of the world body's top Elite Umpire Panel, said in an ICC press release that he “really enjoy working with the [group] as they bring fresh attitude and energy to umpiring that is inspiring".
The Australian worked in the same mentoring role with many of those who are in the UAE in Singapore in 2009 during a ICC World Cricket League tournament (PTG 482-2501, 31 August 2009), and says it will be interesting to see how some of them have progressed. "Our aim is to keep providing these umpires with access to updated training material, maintain a strong linkage to umpiring at the elite level and continue to support their development", he says.
For Taufel the current tournament "is just as important to the umpires as it is to the players and teams". "The umpiring team has prepared hard by attending a two-day conference and will now be seeking to perform well on the field by delivering a high standard of all-round match officiating [and] I’m really proud to be just one member of that umpiring team".
STATE HONOUR FOR WA UMPIRE
West Australian umpire Todd Rann was the recipient of his state's Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) 'official of the year' award last month. Rann, 43, started playing cricket during his school days and told his local community newspaper last week that he had been involved in cricket for about 27 years, 16 of them as an umpire.
DSR director-general Ron Alexander said the award was an opportunity to acknowledge the valuable contribution made to sport by umpires.
“Their job is not only one of the most difficult but also one of the most crucial roles in sport. However, they don’t always get the pats on the back they deserve", he said.
Rann, who last year won the Western Australian Cricket Association's first grade 'umpire of the year' award, said it was a great honour to be recognised for his services. “I obviously love the game and umpiring has become a habit [but its] not something you do for the recognition, but I am very pleased and proud of the honour", he said.
Over the last 12 years, apart from grade cricket, Rann has stood in both womens' and under-19 One Day Internationals, 26 Womens' National Cricket League (WNCL) games, 6 WNCL Twenty20 fixtures, 2 National Country Cricket League tournaments, 2 under 17 and 2 under-19 national championship series, and 8 Futures League games involving state second XIs.
SUSPENSION, REPRIMANDS HANDED
DOWN AFTER WCLC MATCH
Scottish batsman Fraser Watts and United Arab Emirates (UAE) captain Khurram Khan have both been censured by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a result of incidents that occurred in the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) 50-over one-day match between the two sides in Sharjah on Friday. Watts was charged with both Level 1 and 2 offences and Khan a Level 1, and the Scotsman was handed a one-match suspension plus a reprimand and Khan a straight reprimand.
The Level 2 charge against Watts was laid by on-field umpires Joel Wilson of the West Indies and Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal and involved, in the words of the ICC's Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations, “using inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between Players in the course of play during an International Match”, Khan also being involved in that incident. Precise details of just what occurred are not available.
Following a hearing into the matter, ICC Regional Match Referee Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka handed Watts the one-match suspension, a decision that means he will not be eligible to play in Scotland’s opening match of the ICC's 72-match World Twenty20 Qualifier series against Kenya in the UAE later today (PTG 903-4392, 20 February 2012). The Level 1 charge, which Watts accepted without contest, related to “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match”.
As a result of his clash with Watts, Khan was charged by Wilson and Pradhan with, and found guilty of, a section of the ICC CoC that relates conduct that is either "contrary to the spirit of the game or brings the game into disrepute”.
La Brooy said that "with regards to the [two] Level 1 charges I hope that both players have learnt their lessons over the incident". Addressing the charge against Watts he said that "there is no place for this kind of behaviour in international cricket at any level and that equal respect of one's opponents both on and off the field is expected". He "hopes [Watts] will learn from this incident and not behave in such a manner again".
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR PAKISTAN
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is under threat of a one-match suspension for maintaining a slow over-rate after Pakistan fell two overs short of their target in the opening Asia Cup One Day International (ODI) against Bangladesh in Mirpur on Sunday. Misbah was fined 40 per cent of his match-fee for the offence and his team mates 20 per cent by match referee David Boon of Australia after they were found to be two overs short of the required rate during the game.
The Pakistan side were behind the over-rate despite the fact that only 18 of the 48 overs they bowled were delivered by fast bowlers, and will have to be careful over the next 12 months to avoid losing their captain for a match. Since the International Cricket Council tightened its over-rates rules at their annual conference in Hong Kong last June (PTG 783-3832, 28 June 2011), Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been suspended for both a Test and an ODI, while Australia's Shane Watson is also in danger of a suspension (PTG 912-4434, 9 March 2012).
NO SURPRISES IN SHIELD
Appointments to this year's Sheffield Shield final, Australia's season deciding first class fixture, have gone as anticipated with Cricket Australia (CA) selecting National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry for on-field duties for the match, and their NUP colleague John Ward as the television umpire (PTG 908-4414, 3 March 2012). The five-day game between Queensland and Tasmania, which is scheduled to get underway in Brisbane tomorrow, will be Oxenford's 50th in Australian domestic first class cricket and Fry's 49th, and their 62nd and 56th games at first class level respectively.
Fry will be standing in his third straight Shield final while for Oxenford its his third in four years, however, he only missed the 2011 final because he was officiating in the World Cup on the sub-continent at the time (PTG 699-3425, 13 December 2010); while Ward will be working in a final as a third umpire for the second year in a row. Match referee duties will be carried out by CA Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) member Peter Marshall, a former Rugby Union international referee and Australian Rugby Union national referee manger (PTG 454-2364, 13 July 2009), for whom the final will be his first final and 20th at first class level, 19 of which will have been in the Sheffield Shield competition.
Tomorrow's match will be only the second Shield match Oxenford has umpired this season and the fifth for both Fry and Ward. All have had a busy time lately for over the last six months Oxenford has been involved in a total of 23 internationals and Fry 10, while Ward has travelled to both New Zealand and South Africa as part of umpire exchange agreements CA has with the respective cricket boards in those countries.
Oxenford received plaudits for correct decision making in the Test series between Pakistan and England in the United Arab Emirates in January, and while he experienced problems with the third umpire system last month (PTG 909-4420, 5 March 2012), many observers see him as being a hot favourite to be named as a member of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel later this year, especially given his appointment to another Test this week (PTG 915-4454 below).
THIRD AUSTRALIAN 'UMPIRE OF
THE YEAR' AWARD FOR TAUFEL
Australian international umpire Simon Taufel was yesterday named by Cricket Australia (CA) as its 'Umpire of the Year' for 2011-12, the third time he has won the award in the eight years of its existence. The announcement of Taufel's latest award took up just a half-a-dozen words in yesterday's 420 word press release in which CA outlined its domestic player and team awards for the season, no background being provided as to just why the New South Welshman was this year's recipient.
Over the last 12 months Taufel, 41, who won the Australian award in its inaugural season of 2003-04 and again in 2005-06, has worked in 12 internationals, 4 of them Tests and the other 8 one-day games; one of the latter being the 2011 World Cup final and another two in the television suite. Sydney-born Taufel has not, however, stood in a domestic first class or one-day game in Australia since November-December 2008, and never in a domestic Twenty20 fixture.
When it announced Bruce Oxenford as the 2011 winner, CA said that it gave "equal weight to on-field performance and off-field contribution" in deciding the recipient (PTG 741-3636, 16 March 2011), and the supposition is that Taufel was chosen for the 2012 award because of his contribution to umpiring development programs in Australia.
Taufel, who was the International Cricket Council's (ICC) world 'Umpire of the Year' for five-straight years from 2004-08 (PTG 310-1619, 11 September 2008), is highly regarded not only for his professionalism on the field of play but also for his contribution over many years to the training and development of umpires across many countries. His latest award came yesterday, for example, as he was undertaking that role internationally in the World Twenty20 Qualifying tournament in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 914-4446, 13 March 2012).
Information collated by PTG over the last year indicates that in that time Taufel has conducted workshops for CA's next generation of umpires at such events as the Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane last July (PTG 786-3845, 1 July 2011), during the men's Under-17 and Under-19 championship series in Hobart and Adelaide in December and January respectively, and at the Futures League Twenty20 tournament in Melbourne just before Christmas. Feed back received from many individuals who took part in those courses has been very positive, although CA makes no attempt to publicise the valuable work involved.
Apart from Taufel, previous winners of CA's award are: Oxenford (2010-11 and 2007-08); Steve Davis (2009-10); Paul Reiffel (2008-09); Daryl Harper (2006-07); and Peter Parker (2004-05). To date Reiffel is the only one of the six not to have stood in a Test match, although the fact the the ICC has selected him for two One Day International series overseas in the last six months (PTG 908-4413, 3 March 2012), suggests he might be in line for one or more sometime in the near future.
NSW WINS BOTH MALE, FEMALE,
'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' AWARDS
Cricket Australia's (CA) men's and women's 'Spirit of Cricket' awards for 2011-12 have both been won by New South Wales, the women winning the award for the second year in a row (PTG 741-3637, 16 March 2011). The awards were announced during CA's annual domestic player and team awards ceremony yesterday, an event that this year was held in Brisbane.
The awards, which are named for the three Benaud brothers in recognition of their contribution to Sydney, NSW and Australian cricket (E-News 386-2049, 12 March 2009), are decided by votes cast by umpires during the season. They recognise State teams that have best played in the spirit of the game in recognition that, in CA's words, "elite cricket should be played hard – but fair".
NO 'HOT SPOT' FOR SRI LANKA,
'Hawk-Eye' ball tracking and 'Snickometer' technology will be used to support the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the forthcoming two-Test series between Sri Lanka and England, the first of which is to start next Tuesday. However, as was the case in Sri Lanka's last home Tests six months ago against Australia, when 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Snickometer featured, 'Hot Spot' thermal imaging will not be part of the UDRS package, say reports from Colombo on Tuesday.
During the Australia series, the 'Hawk-Eye' company admitted there had been a tracking mistake that led to Australian batsman Phil Hughes being adjudged LBW during the first Test, in Galle, a situation that led to the matter being referred the International Cricket Council by the umpires (PTG 826-4039, 7 September 2011). 'Hawk-Eye' later said that the mistake was caused primarily because of the small distance involved between the where the ball pitched and the point of contact with Hughes' pad.
In the second Test, the absences of 'Hot Spot' also became an issue when Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin appealed for a leg side catch off the glove from Tharanaga Paranavitana. After the game Haddin acknowledged the difficulty umpires face in such situations but suggested had 'Hot Spot' been available the decision that was finally made could have been different.
Soon after 'Hot Spot', which was in operation, came under fire in the England-India One Day International series, home players suggesting it was not sensitive enough to detect faint edges (PTG 825-4032, 6 September 2011). Then, earlier this year when 'Hot Spot' did show a faint edge in an LBW situation in England's Test series against Pakistan, there was controversy when the batsman was still given out (PTG 890-4339, 20 January 2012). Just last week 'Virtual Eye' ball tracking technology, Hawk-Eye's rival, came under such criticism that the company that supplies it threatened to pull their equopment from the current Tests being played between New Zealand and South Africa (PTG 914-4443, 12 March 2012).
After deciding 18 months ago on a standard UDRS package that was required to be used by all Test-playing nations, the International Cricket Council back-tracked last October after pressure from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and left the decision of which set of technologies will apply to the national boards of the countries playing in a series (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2011).
MATCH OFFICIALS FOR SRI LANKA,
ENGLAND, TESTS NAMED
Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, Indian Javagal Srinath, and Australians Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker were yesterday named as the match officials for the forthcoming two-Test series Sri Lanka and England are to play in Galle and Colombo over the next three weeks. Srinath will look after the series as match referee, while Rauf will stand in both matches and the Australian pair share the on-field and third umpire duties across the two matches.
The first Test will see Tucker on the field with Rauf while for the second Rauf and Oxenford have been paired together. The matches will take Srinath's record in Tests as a match referee to 21, while the umpiring tally in Tests for Rauf, Tucker and Oxenford will have moved on to 43, 19 and 8 respectively by the time the series ends.
For Oxenford, who will stand in the final of Australia's first class competition starting tomorrow (PTG 915-4450 above), his latest appointment at the highest level of the game is his seventh in the last six months, a remarkable record for a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel. Many observers believe that appointments record strongly suggests he will be named as a member of the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel later this year.
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 17 March 2012
UMPIRE SUSPENDED FOR REPORTED
ASSAULT OF GROUND STAFF MEMBER
Cricket Kenya (CK) have suspended Mombasa-based umpire Hemant Desai until November after he was found guilty of assaulting a ground staff member shortly before a One Day International between Kenya and Ireland in the coastal city in late February, says a report this week in the Kenyan newspaper 'The Star'. Desai, who is believed to have been assigned as the reserve umpire for the match, denied the allegations laid against him, however, a CK disciplinary tribunal hearing last week suspended him on the basis of eyewitness accounts.
'The Star' says that International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Devedas Govindjee of South Africa lodged a report on the matter with the ICC, who then asked CK to investigate a potential breach of the world body's Code of Conduct (CoC). The hearing, which was conducted by CK chairman Samir Inamdar, its chief executive officer Tom Sears, ICC CoC Commissioner Sharad Rao, and Kenya Cricket Umpires and Scorers’ Association representative Subhash Modi, is said to have heard that Desai "slapped a member of the ground staff". The panel is said to have decided unanimous that Desai in breach of a CoC clause which states "Umpires shall not engage in any conduct which is prejudicial to the game of cricket".
Score sheets for the ODI lists another Kenyan umpire, Vipul Patel, as the reserve umpire for the game, which if correct suggests Desai may have been replaced in that position before the game got underway. Desai has worked as the third umpire in an ODI several times over the past five years, however, the suspension means he will not be able to officiate or participate in any cricket match held under the auspices of the ICC, CK or its provincial affiliates, until 1 November this year.
CLUB REPRIMANDED, FINED, FOR PITCH MISDEMEANOURS,
BUT MATCH RESULT STANDS
The Riverside club in northern Tasmania has been given a "severe reprimand" and fined an undisclosed amount after being found guilty of watering the pitch and rolling it for 20 minutes before the second day of a Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA) second XI semi final match last weekend. Despite the clear contravention of the Laws of Cricket, which reports say changed the way the pitch played on day two, the NTCA hearing that censured Riverside also cleared its side to play in this weekend's second XI season-deciding Grand Final.
Last Saturday, Westbury batted first and were all out for 216. By the time stumps were called by umpires Brian Dryden and Scott Whitters, Riverside were struggling at 4/84 and an interesting tussle lay ahead on Sunday. Reports say that sometime after play ended the Riverside curator, who is believed to be a club and sometime NTCA official, was seen hand watering the pitch but is believed to have stopped when challenged by several Westbury players.
On the Sunday, the curator reportedly admitted that, in addition to adding water, he had rolled the pitch for 20 minutes in the lead-up to play that morning, 13 minutes more than is allowed by the Laws. The deck, which had played low on Saturday, had much more bounce on the second day, say several reports. Score sheets available on-line show that Riverside passed Westbury's score around mid-afternoon without loosing any further wickets, thus earning the right in that regard to play in the Grand Final. The four Riverside batsmen that fell late on Saturday afternoon scored 3, 4, 9 and 21, but the pair that resumed on the Sunday ended up making 54 and 117 respectively without dismissal.
Given the situation, Westbury lodged a protest with the NTCA, and the Association convened a hearing on Wednesday evening which found the charges against Riverside "proven". In addition to handing out the reprimand and fine, the hearing also required that the curator send the Westbury club a written apology about his actions, but it concluded by saying that the result of the match "will stand".
No details have yet been released as to just what the reasoning was that led to the decision to let the result stand. PTG attempted to contact the NTCA about the matter yesterday, but as yet the phone calls have not been returned.
NO MATCH REFEREE PRESENT
SO ODI TOSS IS REPEATED
The captains of the Indian and Australian women's side, Anjum Chopra and Jodie Fields, had to toss for a second time prior to the One Day International (ODI) between their sides in Mumbai on Wednesday. Unlike last year's World Cup final when Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his Sri Lanka counterpart Kumar Sangakkara had to toss for a second time after a disagreement over who had called what, the toss in this week's women's ODI had to be repeated because no one appropriate was present to formally oversee it.
Chopra and Fields walked out for the toss in Mumbai some five minutes before the scheduled time, and a local broadcaster went ahead and conducted the toss, but without match referee Anjali Pendharker being present, the latter official's attendance being mandatory under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations. When contacted by the 'Hindustani Times' Pendharkar would only say "I can't talk about it, I'm not authorised to", but the 'Times' says that the referee was "upset" because he had informed the broadcaster when the toss would be made but the media man had ignored that advice.
An Indian official, who did not wish to be named, was quoted as saying that "if you don't have a neutral person observing the toss, who do you believe won the toss? What if it is changed?" The Laws of Cricket, which apply to most games played around the world, require the toss to be made "in the presence of one or both umpires", rather than the referee as is the case in ICC controlled matches.
'BAT RUB' AFTER LBW DECISION
ATTRACTS OFFICIAL REPRIMAND
Nepal captain Paras Khadka has received an official reprimand for "showing dissent at an umpire's decision during an international match" following his side's game against Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier event in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday. After being given out LBW, Khadka "rubbed his bat implying that he had hit the ball", says the International Cricket Council, and he later pleaded guilty and accepted the sanction.
The charge was bought by on-field umpires Ian Ramage of Scotland and Roger Dill from Bermuda, plus third umpire Joel Wilson from the West Indies. Match referee David Jukes from England said in an ICC statement that "Accepting the umpires' decision is part and parcel of playing cricket on this occasion Mr Khadka showed dissent when being given out", and he hopes the "reprimand and warning will remind him to always respect the umpires' decision".
COMMITTEE TO LOOK INTO 'COURT
THREAT' CONTROVERSY NAMED
The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has set up a committee to deal with Merry Boys Sports Club's protest over their controversial one run loss to the PowerGen side in the semi-final of a 50-over knock out competition against PowerGen in late February. Merry Boys threatened to "go to court if necessary" to have the result of the game overturned (PTG 907-4408, 28 February 2012).
The TTCB has name High Court Justice Joseph Tam as the chair of the committee, its other members being Industrial Court judge Ramchand Lutchmedial, attorney Samuel Sanders, and David John-Williams the managing director of one of Trinidad and Tobago's top football clubs. The panel is expected to hand down its decision sometime soon as the final of the competition, which Merry Boys claim they should be playing in, is scheduled for next week.
WT20 QUALIFIER PLAYERS CENSURED
OVER CLOTHING ISSUES
Fourteen of the 88 players who took the field on the opening day of the World Twenty20 (WT20) Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday have received an official reprimand and warning from the International Cricket Council (ICC). The players, one each from Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya and Scotland, four from Afghanistan and six from Oman, all admitted to breaches of the ICC's Clothing and Equipment Regulations.
One of the match referees for the event, David Jukes of England, said in an ICC press release that "this tournament is a major event for the [ICC's] Associate and Affiliate Members which will lead two of the sides to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year". "I hope", he continued, "these reprimands have reminded the various sides about the importance of clothing standards and regulations for all ICC events and may this serve as an education to all the sides involved in the tournament".
No details of just how the players transgressed in regards to clothing are available.
BOWLER'S 'SWAN LAKE' ROUTINE
SETS NEW 'STANDARD' FOR APPEALS
Umpires and scorers are used to looking on as players make often dramatic appeals asking for a dismissal to be given. However, video evidence posted on-line suggest that Adam White, who plays in a suburban competition in Melbourne, has raised the bar with his effort in a game last week.
White, who plays for Warrandyte, went down, Swan Lake fashion, after an appeal was denied in last weekend's elimination final against Montrose. He told local media that he didn't get many wickets and "got a bit excited'' at the prospect of snaring one in what was a particularly important game. "We were in a lot of trouble for we couldn't take any wickets and it was because things were that desperate that I was bowling in the first place", he said.
White hit the Montrose batsman on the pads and thought "That's out", and "when the umpire didn't give it I was slightly surprised". "I have played for so long that I know all the umpires pretty well [so the] umpire just gave me my hat back and said, 'C'mon Adam, get up, you know that wasn't out’, and "that probably made me even more disappointed because I genuinely did think it was out".
The video, which is reported to have "gone viral" on Twitter, can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYuFZFIDIv8
SCORERS CONCERNED ABOUT NEW
ECB MATCH DATA DISTRIBUTION DEAL
Some senior scorers in England are reported to have questioned the workability and even the ethics behind a new deal between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and sports data firm Opta, who will have responsibility for circulating details of county matches to the media for the first time this coming northern summer. Prior to the ECB-Opta contract the 18 county scorers and their assistants sent ball-by-ball live scores and other statistics directly to the UK Press Association (PA), who in turn provided the data to a host of media and other clients.
Under the previous arrangement with the PA, county scorers received a fee to supplement their pay from their respective clubs. As such the ECB's change to Opta will hit them financially, which may be partly behind the current concern, although it is the logistical problems of the new arrangements that have raised most concern to date, says 'The Cricketer' magazine. Surrey scorer Keith Booth wrote to 'The Cricketer' to say that scorers were not consulted but presented with a fait accompli and consequently his view is that "a number of operational and logistical issues" have not been appropriately considered.
Another county scorer, who was not named, told the magazine after a pre-season meeting with Opta earlier this month that “There just won’t be room at a lot of the grounds for the guys from Opta to sit with us". “That means they’re going to be sitting somewhere else on their own, and scoring a match on your own is difficult verging on impossible [and] I can see there being a lot of teething troubles” ahead.
Surrey scorer Booth echoed those comments, pointing to Opta's plans to employ their own analysts which he believes will lead to two versions of match details, the one kept by the official scorers and the other transmitted to the outside world by Opta. "With a bit of luck they should coincide", says Booth, "but duplicating the data increases the possibility of error and risks reducing the quality of service to the game".
Booth also says Opta's web site states that the top of the ‘market sectors’ the company serves is betting and gaming. In Booth's view that may be seen as sitting uneasily alongside the ECB’s anti-corruption code and its prohibition on the disclosure of inside information which could be used for betting. While betting is not synonomous with corruption it’s perhaps sufficiently close to be a matter of concern, says 'The Cricketer'.
Despite the disquiet expressed by some, the ECB are believed to be of the view that Opta will be able to provide a much more detailed and varied range of statistics than the scorers, although it is also likely to be paying a more lucrative fee to the Lord's-based controlling body. Opta, which was founded in 1996, now have nine offices worldwide, and their data on other sports is already widely used by newspapers and broadcasters in Britain and abroad, the most prominent sports being England Premier League football, Rugby Union and Rugby League.
LIGHT METERS NEEDED IN AUSTRALIAN
DOMESTIC MATCHES, CLAIM REPORTS
A number of newspaper stories published around Australia this morning are claiming that Cricket Australia (CA) has "dropped the ball" in not providing its umpires with light meters for domestic matches. That call came after the third day's play in this year's Sheffield Shield final at the 'Gabba' in Brisbane was stopped 17 overs early yesterday because of bad light, the match being in a very tight position.
Queensland's Chris Hartley, who earlier had made a key century that gave Queensland a surprise first-innings lead in the five-day match, was concerned about the consistency of bad light calls. "It's an interesting one, especially since the umpires don't have the assistance of any light meters", said Hartley" for "there is always that concern about the consistency". He claimed his side had "played in darker conditions than this in a couple of games this season".
One of the on-field umpires in the game, Simon Fry, described conditions as "gloomy" and is said to have told journalists there were no light meters to help with the call and that none had been used during any domestic game in Australia this austral summer.
The reports say that "the great irony" is the Gabba last week hosted what was called a 'bad light trial' on behalf of the International Cricket Council (ICC), where umpires and officials used light meters and other tools in order to help craft "a comprehensive light policy". No publicity has been given to that trial by either CA or the ICC, therefore it is not possible to report on just who was involved or what the work was undertaken during the trial.
NO NEUTRAL UMPIRES, NO PAKISTAN
TOUR, SAYS BANGLADESH CHIEF
Bangladesh Cricket Board Mustafa Kamal is reported to have said that his country's national team will not visit Pakistan next month "unless and until" the International Cricket Council (ICC) allots neutral umpires for the proposed tour. Kamal, who visted Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium two weeks ago for an inspection, says he was surprised when the game’s world governing body said that it would suspend its rule of sending neutral umpires to Pakistan (PTG 911-4429, 8 March 2012).
Following Kamal's visit to pakistan, the ICC's chief executives committee agreed that not appointing neutral umpires for a potential; Pakistan-Bangladesh series was an exceptional circumstance that could be justified, but emphasised that it should not to be regarded "as a preferred option". Kamal, who is currently scheduled to take over as ICC president in 2014, is said by one media report from the sub-continent to have stated "in no uncertain terms that if the tour does proceed the ICC "must allot neutral umpires, otherwise, we are not going".
Earlier this month the Federation of International Cricket Associations' chief executive Tim May, criticised the ICC for its stance on the proposed tour saying that the world body "should be doing its utmost to convince the two boards to postpone the series, not contemplating whether to amend its own rules [regarding neutral officials] in order to give the series [its] official endorsement" (PTG 913-4441, 12 March 2012).
TAUFEL 'DESERVED WINNER' OF AUSTRALIAN
UMPIRE AWARD, SAYS CA UMPIRE CHIEF
Simon Taufel was a "deserved winner" of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire of the Year' award for 2011-12, says CA Umpire Manager Sean Cary who collected the trophy on Taufel's behalf at last Wednesday's domestic player and team awards ceremony in Brisbane (PTG 915-4451, 15 March 2012). CA said virtually nothing publicly about Taufel's win at the time, however, Cary made his views known to senior umpire managers and umpires from around the country in an internal e-mail sent soon after the announcement.
Cary said that "not only did [Taufel] maintain his lofty standards of professionalism and immaculate preparation for on-field duties, he also gave an enormous amount of his free time to the education, training and development of CA’s emerging umpires". He then went on to list Taufel's contribution to arranging and presenting "professional development workshops for the selected umpires" at four tournaments held around the country over the past nine months. Cary says that "the strength of the CA umpire pathway is that we have people of Simon’s calibre willing to give of their time and experience to help develop the next generation of National Panel umpires".
In accepting the award for Taufel, Cary said that "Simon wanted to thank his family and friends for their patience and sacrifices required to allow him to follow his passion and achieve his career goals". "Personally", continued CA's Umpire manager, "I would also like to add my thanks to Helen and the kids for allowing Simon to be the very best he can be at whatever he does". "He is an enormous asset to have in Australian umpiring and you allowing him to be involved does not go un noticed".
Taufel, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates working an a training and mentoring role in the World Twenty20 Qualifier event (PTG 914-4446, 13 march 2012), "also wanted his personal coaches, CA and the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association mentioned for their continued support of him and for their contribution to match officials", says Cary.
JOBURG MATCH ABANDONED BECAUSE OF
DANGEROUS, UNPLAYABLE PITCH
Last Friday's South African domestic Twenty20 match between the Lions and the Dolphins at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg had to be abandoned after just six overs and 31 minutes of play because the pitch was deemed to be "dangerous and unplayable" by umpires Murray Brown and Adrian Holdstock.
Reports say that the pitch was still wet after two days of rain and "sweating" that occurred under the covers, dangerous divots being formed where the ball pitched and a number of deliveries either jumping viciously or coming slowly off the surface. The 'No Result' continues a bad run for the Dolphins in the competition for they have now had four successive games washed out or otherwise curtailed.
TOO MANY PLAYERS ON GROUND
SO MATCH RESTARTED
A match between the Burnie-Yeoman and Latrobe clubs in Cricket North West's first grade competition in Tasmania had to be restarted from scratch after just 2.4 overs last month after it was noticed that Burnie Yeoman had 12 players on the field. Latrobe batsman Stuart Ashdown, who was bowled on ball 2.3, had left the ground and was in the change rooms when umpires David Nettleton and Scott Pearce picked up their error.
Precise details of what happened next are not available, although it is believed that the umpires first called Ashdown back, and then after discussions with captains Steve Adkins and Craig Smith, the 2.4 overs were completely wiped and the match and Latrobe's first innings was restarted from scratch. Opening batsman Ashdown went on to make 30 in what was his second visit to the crease in half-an-hour.
Eighteen months ago in the Grassmere Cricket Association (GCA) in south-western Victoria, a game was restarted after five overs when it was noticed that the fielding side had had 12 players on the ground during that time (PTG 680-3339, 12 October 2010). Killarney captain Liam Cole went out to take strike when his side was 2/10 chasing Mailors Flat's 139, but when he looked around the field he realised there were too many fielders.
Cole brought the extra man to the attention of umpire Peter Doherty, who was standing on his own, and both he, Cole and Mailors Flat skipper John Robinson then consulted the GCA's playing conditions to try to find a solution, but to no avail "I don't carry the MCC rules in my back pocket", said Cole at the time, so all parties "agreed that the innings had to be re-started at 0-0". "I've been playing cricket for 19 years and I've never come across [something like that] before", said the Killarney skipper.
'Tom Smith', the umpires and scorers 'bible', which is published by the custodians of the Laws of Cricket the Marylebone Cricket Club, lists one of the duties of umpires as being to "check that there are no more than eleven fielders" on the ground.
'HEATED' ON-FIELD ROW AFTER
ENGLAND PLAYERS CLAIM LOW CATCH
England's win in the opening match of its tour of Sri Lanka was overshadowed by what reports described as "an ugly incident" on Saturday which saw captain Andrew Strauss and several of his players involved in a heated row with umpires Ravindra Kottahachchi and Ravindra Wimalasiri and opposition batsman Dilruwan Perera. Strauss claimed he had caught a low snick at first slip, but Perera insisted the ball had not carried, forcing the umpires to consult and eventually declare the batsman 'not out'.
That led, say reports, to "an unsavoury confrontation" involving England's players, led by Strauss and Perera and both umpires, which "threatened to boil over". Jimmy Anderson, who had bowled the ball, later admitted "a valuable lesson" has been learned about cricket in the subcontinent, where suffocating humidity and slow wickets "can often see tempers rise". "It was just frustrating", he said, and "with Straussy being the honest upstanding citizen that he is, he wouldn't lie about something like that". However, Anderson admitted that he and his team mates, all of whom are seasoned professionals, "could have handled it better but I'm sure it's something we'll talk about".
DELAY IN LEAVING CREASE
LEADS TO ICC REPRIMAND
Omani player Sultan Ahmed has received an official reprimand for "showing dissent at an umpire's decision" during his side's match against Scotland at the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates on Friday. After being given out 'stumped', Ahmed is said by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to have "stood [at the crease] longer than required", an action that "was considered to be a show of dissent".
Ahmed pleaded guilty to the charge bought by on-field umpires Simon Taufel of Australia and Sarika Prasad from Singapore plus third umpire Sudhir Asnani from India and accepted the reprimand. Match referee Devdas Govindjee said in an ICC press release that "Accepting an umpire's decision is an essential feature of cricket and part of the game's unique spirit [and] I hope this reprimand and warning will remind Mr Ahmed to always respect the umpires' decision".
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
COACH FINED FOR 'ACTIONS AND
LANGUAGE' IN APPROACH TO UMPIRES
Queensland coach Darren Lehmann has been fined $A2000 because of the manner in which he approached the on-field umpires after they had stopped play because of bad light on day three of the Sheffield Shield final in Brisbane on Sunday. Media reports the next day described Lehmann as "angry" and "dismayed" when umpires Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry took players off the 'Gabba' with 17 overs remaining, Tasmania at the time being 6/136 in their second innings, an overall lead of just 101.
In announcing the fine, Cricket Australia (CA) said that the incident occurred between the boundary line and the players' race and that "both umpires considered Lehmann's actions and language contrary to the spirit of the game". Just what was said is not known, however, Lehmann pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him at a hearing conducted by Code of Conduct Commissioner Kevin Kelso after the match concluded on Monday afternoon.
Oxenford and Fry's bad light decision led to some media reports to claim that CA has "dropped the ball" in not providing its umpires with light meters in domestic matches (PTG 917-4464, 19 March 2012).
DOUBTS AGAIN RAISED ABOUT
SPINNER'S ACTION, BUT ICC HAPPY
Media reports from the sub-continent say that the management of the Indian team had spoken to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the legality of Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal's bowling action during the Asia Cup match between the two countries in Dhaka on Sunday. There were similar rumblings over Ajmal's action from England players during the three Tests they played against Pakistan in January-February, a series in which the off-break bowler took 24 of the 60 England wickets that fell, however, he only claimed one wicket against India on Sunday.
Despite the latest reports, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat says that his organisation sees no problem in Ajmal's bowling style, and denied it has received any such complaint as a result of Sunday's game, emphasising that "only the report of on field umpire" in such matters counts. "We have tested Ajmal, checked him and monitored him in match situations, and found he bowls within the allowed degrees of tolerance", said Lorgat, and "we must be careful at what the eye sees and what the reality is".
Ajmal, 43, who has been playing at international level since 2008, has found himself under the spotlight several times due to his action. He was first reported by match officials during a One Day International series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 (PTG 413-2184, 28 April 2009), but was later cleared to play after he undertook remedial work on his action (PTG 429-2257, 25 May 2009).
RESPECT UMPIRES, OPPOSITION, 'REGARDLESS OF
PROVOCATION', SAYS ENGLAND COACH
England coach Andy Flower has reminded his players to respect umpires and the opposition "regardless of provocation", say reports from Sri Lanka yesterday. Flower's comments come after a heated on-field incident in his side's opening tour match in Colombo over the weekend (PTG 917-4469, 19 March 2012), and the subsequent description, by spinner Graeme Swann, of the local player involved in a disputed catch situation as a "cheat".
Flower told BBC Sport that "we should always respect the umpire's decision and get on with the game thereafter [and] respect the opposition, respect the officials and respect the country you're playing - that's your job". Swan was quoted the day after the incident as saying the situation "was very difficult to take because [the batsman concerned] was so blatantly out" and that he "wanted to kill the batsman because he was cheating". "The umpire was unsighted but the batsman stood there knowing 100 per cent that he was out and chose to cheat in my view".
Swann believes the incident provided another good reason for the Umpire Decision Review System. As it was a tour match, no cameras were available for the on-field officials to check if the catch was actually taken, but Swann is pleased technology is now available in Test cricket.
TWO MORE PLAYERS REPRIMANDED
AT WORLD T20 QUALIFIER EVENT
Bermudan players Dion Stovell and Lionel Cann have both received official reprimands as a result of incidents during their side's match against Nepal in the World Twenty20 (T20) Qualifier event in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Both men pleaded guilty of “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an International Match”, bringing to four the number of players who have been cited for such an action over the first five days of the 72-match series.
Stovell and Cann were both given out LBW in the fourth over of the match and were, in the words of an International Cricket Council press release, "excessive in delaying their departure from the crease". The charges against the Bermudan pair were bought by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza of Pakistan and Mark Hawthorne of Ireland, match referee David Jukes of England saying the two batsmen's slowness in departing "was considered to be a show of dissent".
Jukes said in the press release that "one can understand Cann and Stovell’s disappointment but they should make their way more promptly from the crease once they have been given out by the umpires and not linger so long in future". He concluded by hoping "this reprimand and warning will remind them both to always respect the umpires’ decision".
The Bermudan pair became the third and fourth players to be reprimanded for their on-field actions over the first five days of the tournament. The day before Omani player Sultan Ahmed was found guilty of being slow to depart after he was stumped. (PTG 917-4470, 19 March 2012), as was Nepal captain Paras Khadka prior to that, his offence being that he rubbed his bat implying that he had hit the ball after being given out LBW (PTG 916-4459, 17 March 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 23 March 2012
LONG-SERVING AUSTRALIAN UMPIRE
ANNOUNCES FIRST CLASS RETIREMENT
Long-serving Cricket Australia National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Bob Parry of Victoria has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. Parry, 59, who has been a NUP member for the past 11 years and is to continue as Umpire Manager with Cricket Victoria and the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East-Asia Pacific Development Program, is departing senior on-field umpiring ranks after a career that has seen him stand in over 200 matches at both international and domestic level.
Parry made his first-class umpiring debut in December 1998 and has since gone on to stand in 83 matches at that level, four of them finals of Australia's domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield. He also worked as the television umpire in 10 other first class games, 7 of which were Tests. As a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel he worked in 34 ODIs, 30 of them being as the third umpire; and there were also 60 other one-dayers, 45 being in Australian one-day competitions.
CA Acting General Manager Cricket Operations Geoff Allardice said in a statement that “Bob has been a highly-respected member of the [NUP] for more than a decade and [CA] thanks him for his dedication and outstanding service during this time". “As well as being committed to his on-field performance", continued Allardice, "he is passionate about the development, education and training of the next generation of umpires". "He has been a mentor to a number of promising umpires and we’re grateful he will continue to pass on his knowledge and that his experience won’t be lost to Australian cricket".
Parry's departure means that there will be at least one vacancy on the NUP for the 2012-13 austral summer, and there could be two given the strong signals the ICC is giving about the future of another NUP member, Bruce Oxenford. Late next week the former Queensland first class player is to stand in his fifth Test in six months (PTG 915-4454, 15 March 2012), a run of appointments that suggests he may be elevated to the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel sometime around mid-year.
COACH UNREPENTANT OVER
APPROACH TO UMPIRES
Queensland coach Darren Lehmann, who was fined $A2,000 by Cricket Australia (CA) earlier this week for confronting the umpires in the Sheffield Shield final, appears unrepentant about his actions, if a report published in Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' newspaper on Wednesday is correct. Lehamann is quoted in the article as saying he was simply speaking the truth about cricket's "inconsistent and haphazard bad light rules" (PTG 918-4471, 21 March 2012).
'Courier Mail' journalist Ben Dorries, whose objectivity in writing the story can be questioned, states that Lehmann's "crime" was to "angrily confront" umpires Bruce Oxenford and Simon Fry after they took players from the field on Sunday afternoon because of bad light. CA fined Lehmann for "using actions and language" in his approach to the pair that were contrary to the spirit of cricket, words that suggest that he spoke to the umpires in a most unpleasant manner.
Dorries went on to described Oxenford and Fry as "the meat in the sandwich as [CA] had inexplicably not given them light meters and [as such] they were forced to use their own judgment" in the light call. Despite CA's censure, Lehmann's comment about the light situation is said by Dorries to have been "backed strongly" by Queensland Cricket chief executive Graham Dixon. He was quoted by the newspaper yesterday as saying that his coach was "fined for saying what everyone else was thinking", although whether he approved on the way Lehmann approached the umpires was not spelt out.
The Courier-Mail story quotes the coach as saying that he "pleaded guilty to the charge and I will pay the fine". "I understand umpires have got a job to do but I do stand by what I said. There is inconsistency. If they had light meters it would have been easier for them to make decisions". Dixon went on to say that "the fact that cricket keeps finding ways to come off at the drop of a hat for bad light is ridiculous. We hide behind due care and injury concerns, but the reality is that is just making excuses [and] we can't treat supporters of the game this way".
"In terms of the playing cricket in different conditions", continued Dixon, "other sports do it, for example, golfers can start their round in perfect sunny conditions but it can be storming and blowing a gale by the end of the round". Queensland public sentiment was says Dorries "behind Lehmann, with one cricket lover fan tweeting: Perhaps the $2000 will buy a couple of light meters for next year?"
Around the same time that Lehmann was talking to the umpires on Sunday, Queensland fast bowler Ryan Harris told ABC Grandstand reporter Zane Bojack in a radio interview that he did not think the light was that bad when play was called off and that "the judgement of the umpires isn't going too good I would have thought, and its pretty frustrating". Harris went on to criticise the turning down of a number of LBW appeals by the umpires earlier that day, situations which he claimed "were out".
DETAILS OF BAD LIGHT 'TRIAL'
TO REMAIN UNDER WRAPS
Details of the 'bad light' 'trial' that was conducted in Brisbane last week in order to help craft what was said in one media report to be "a comprehensive light policy", will be released at an "appropriate time and in appropriate forum" says Cricket Australia (CA), however, at this stage just when that will be is not known. One report suggests that the trial was an initiative of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and was coordinated for CA by Queensland Cricket’s Match Operations Department, but that cannot yet be confirmed.
Matthew Slade, CA's Corporate Communications Manager, told PTG in response to a query forwarded to him that his organisation is "currently compiling the data from the trial". He declined to answer basic questions such as: when the trial was held; who took part in it; what techniques, including equipment, used were involved; who has the responsibility of preparing the findings; and what will happen to the report on the work once it finalised.
Just why CA has difficulty in providing even basic information about the trial, or why given that light meters are not used in its own domestic matches (PTG 917-4464, 19 March 2012), the ICC would, as alleged, asked the Australians conduct such an investigation, is difficult to understand.
The ICC has long allowed light meters to be used in games played under its auspices, their playing conditions for Tests, One Day internationals and Twenty20 Internationals stating in part that: "it is the responsibility of the ICC to supply light meters to match officials; all light meters shall be uniformly calibrated; and the umpires shall be entitled to use light meter readings as a guideline for determining whether the light is fit for play". ICC umpires can use the meters: "to determine whether there has been at any stage a deterioration or improvement in the light; and as benchmarks for the remainder of a stoppage, match and/ or series/event".
If the work undertaken at the 'Gabba' was indeed conducted on behalf of the ICC it is probable that those who are currently working on the data will be looking to table their findings at the next meeting of the world body's Cricket Committee in late May. The ICC were contacted for comment on the trial but as yet they have not responded to PTG's request for information.
STATE CLUB FINALS MATCHES THROW UP
INTERESTING UMPIRE APPOINTMENTS
Umpire appointments for the Semi Final and Grand Final matches in the top grades of State and Territory grade cricket competitions scheduled around Australia this weekend have thrown up a few surprises. Three of the five Victorian members of Cricket Australia's (CA) 2011-12 National Umpire Panel (NUP) have been overlooked for the Semi Finals in Melbourne, while in Queensland an umpire CA has appointed to next month's Under-19 (U-19) international series in Townsville has only been selected for the fourth grade Grand Final there.
In Victoria, where its Semi Final time, the four umpires named for the two first grade matches are NUP members John and Tony Ward, plus CA Project Panel member Shawn Craig and Richard Patterson, the latter one of the national body's newest bunch of emerging match officials. Ash Barrow, another Victorian NUP member, is the "standby umpire" for the Semi Finals, and has thus been leap-frogged by Craig and Patterson, while two other Melbourne-based NUP colleagues, Bob Parry and Geoff Joshua, miss out altogether.
Senior club Grand Finals are to be decided in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia (WA) over the next few days. No details are available as to who will stand in the ACT's first grade decider, although Simon Lightbody is considered by many there as likely to be selected, while in Tasmania Sam Nogajski and Mike Graham-Smith will look after that state's senior Grand Final, Ian Barsby and Damien Mealey the equivalent match in Queensland, and NUP members Ian Lock and Mick Martell the top club final in WA. Nogajski and Mealey both made their debuts at first class level this austral summer.
As is the case in Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA) are also at the Semi Final stage of their senior club competitions, the NSW semi final umpires being NUP member Gerard Abood plus Greg Davidson, Michael Kumutat and Anthony Wilds, and in SA John Biddiss, Andy Collins, Lynton Donisthorpe and Luke Uthenwoldt.
The respective senior appointments of Graham-Smith, Lightbody and Patterson appear to fit well with their appointment by CA to next month's four-nation, 11-day, Under-19 international series in Townsville (PTG 904-4396, 21 February 2012). However, the fourth member of the umpiring panel for that tournament, Jay Kangar, has only been given a fourth grade Grand Final by Queensland Cricket this weekend. CA said last month that the quartet had been selected for the Townsville series as a result of their performances during January's national men's U-19 Championship in Adelaide (PTG 897-4367, 3 February 2012), but Kangar's fourth grade appointment appears on the surface at least to be at odds with that.
GROUNDSMAN ADMITS 'IGNORANCE' OF
LAW'S PITCH MANAGEMENT RULES
The curator who watered and over-rolled a pitch during a match played in Tasmania 10 days ago is reported to have acknowledged his ignorance of cricket's Law 10 which deals with the 'Preparation and Maintenance of the Playing Area'. Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association (NTCA) club Riverside were given a "severe reprimand" for breaching the Laws of Cricket and fined, for watering the pitch and then rolling it for 20 minutes before the second day of the Second XI Semi Final the weekend before last, however, they were allowed to keep their win in the game and proceed to last weekend's Grand Final (PTG 916-4457, 17 March 2012).
Riverside were in trouble at 4/84 at the end of day one of the Semi Final chasing Westbury's 216, but were able to pass the latter score on day two of the match without loosing any further wickets. Westbury claimed that the pitch played differently on the second day and suggested that the curator's actions had played a key role, however, umpires Bryan Dryden and Scott Whitters, neither of whom witnessed the actions of the Riverside groundsman, were not prepared to state that the groundsman's action influenced the result of the match.
Curator David Gibbins, who has been involved with the Riverside club for over 20 years, reportedly told the NTCA hearing that his actions in tending the pitch were no different to those that he had taken every other weekend of the recently completed season. He indicated that he would have adopted the same approach had it been Westbury batting and chasing a total and not his own Riverside club.
Gibbins told the hearing he was sorry for what had occurred, admitted his ignorance of Law 10, and said that he had apologised to the Westbury players before leaving the ground on day two of the match. He was subsequently asked to write to Westbury and formally apologise for his actions.
The NTCA hearing is believed to have consider three possible approaches to dealing with the facts presented to it: that Riverside be deemed to have lost the match; that the match be replayed; or that the result should stand, but some action be taken against Riverside. In the end the latter approach was chosen, although just what reasoning was used to reach that conclusion has not been made public. Nor has the amount of the financial penalty imposed on the Riverside club been revealed, and the NTCA plans to keep it that way.
Riverside subsequently played in the Grand Final of the NTCA's Second XI competition last weekend, however, their opponents South Launceston won the match and the 2011-12 Premiership on the first innings by almost 100 runs.
FORMER CA UMPIRE MANAGER
ON THE MOVE AGAIN
Western Australian Cricket Association's (WACA) Cricket Manager Andrew Scotford has resignation his position and is to join Basketball Geelong in Victoria as its chief executive officer. Scotford joined the WACA in what was then a newly-created position early in 2010 after a two-and-a-half year stint as Cricket Australia's (CA) national Umpire Manager (PTG 542-2772, 7 January 2010).
The WACA said last weekend that over the last two years Scotford "has guided his team to successfully lead the strategic direction of high performance cricket in WA". Scotford "initiated the Talented Athlete Program with the goal of developing a holistic program for talented athletes to enable them the best possible chance to reach the highest pinnacle of cricket, the relationship between the WA District Cricket Council and the WACA strengthened under [his] leadership, and he also made a major contribution to establishing the first class alternative ground at Murdoch University".
Scotford, who prior to joining CA in June 2007 was the chief executive of Volleyball Australia, says while it is "disappointing to leave the WACA at an exciting time, but the opportunity to be accountable and responsible for an organisation [Basketball Geelong] was too good to pass up". He said he has "been a CEO before and I am very passionate about sport and providing an environment where people can be the best you can be, and I look forward to continuing that in this new role in Geelong".
THREAT TO STRIKE LED TO APOLOGY
TO UMPIRES, SAYS REPORT
Umpires in Lancashire's Northern Premier League (NPL) were threatening to go on strike unless the league publicly apologised to the two match officials who were 'suspended' after they abandoned a match last September, says an article in yesterday's 'Blackpool Gazette'. The issue generated so much heat that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which oversees such Premier League competitions, was eventually brought in to help resolve the matter, the 'Gazette' saying that "cricket's rulers have clearly leaned heavily on the [NPL] to apologise".
The two umpires involved, Steve Godfrey and Ken Shenton, abandoned last September's match after one of the players engaged in "violent behaviour", but soon after they were advised by the NPL that they had been suspended because of their actions that day (PTG 841-4109, 5 October 2012). NPL umpires are said to have been "particularly furious" at comments attributed to NPL secretary Ann Gilfoyle who allegedly accused the pair of being "gutless" and "slurring" in reference to the player concerned, even though he was later suspended because of his on-field behaviour.
The ECB are said to have "consulted QCs" over the issues involved, and the NPL admitted last week that they bungled the disciplinary procedure and issued the apology to Godfrey and Shenton. It said they had been "wrongly informed" of their suspension by a league "representative", a move that was described as "a gross error of judgment" (PTG 914-4442, 13 March 2012). The apology has cleared the way for the opening fixtures of the NPL's 2012 season next month, which "been in serious doubt" unless the apology was forthcoming, to proceed as scheduled.
Shenton was quoted by the 'Gazette' as saying that the apology had "been a long time in coming, but [was] better late than never". “If the league had not come up with an apology, there was a definite feeling of militancy among the umpires festering beneath the surface", however, "it is [now] time to move on and I am looking forward to getting back on the field for some good cricket". Last September's match is said to be the first in the NPL's 60-year history that has had to be abandoned because of player trouble.
PAKISTANI SCORERS LAMENT LACK OF
INTERNATIONAL MATCH OPPORTUNITIES
Some senior scorers in Pakistan are concerned about the lack of opportunities they have had to ply their trade in international matches since national teams stopped visiting their country following the terrorist attack in Lahore three years ago this month (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009). While scorers are needed for a wide range of domestic competitions and tournaments, a report from Kararchi claims they are not being used for the 'home series' the Pakistan national side has played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the last two years.
An unnamed scorer was quoted as saying that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made it possible for "others such as support staff, umpires, referees and other experts" to travel to the UAE for games". “Even the sponsors fly out their staff for putting up hoardings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but the scorers remain where they are", he said. On-line scorecards for Pakistan's recent matches do not contain any information about who the scorers were, however, if the claims made by the scorer are correct that role might have been Pakistani expats who live and work permanently in the UAE.
The scorer is said to have added that "the PCB recently awarded six month central contracts worth Rs 50,000 [$A512] a month to three elite panel umpires", Zameer Haider, Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza (PTG 902-4386, 17 February 2012), and “I wish something like that could also be done for us [scorers]". There has been talk of an improvement in scorer fees but recent changes in senior PCB staff have scotched that possibility, he said.
Discussing the various fees that are paid to domestic match officials in Pakistan, the scorer stated that a referee's daily match fee is around Rs7,500 ($A78), for umpires its Rs6,500 ($A67), and scorers "just Rs2,000 [$A21] per match, that’s it!" Scorers are said to supplement their income by scoring in local club matches where they get Rs300 ($A3) for a match, games during which clubs "sometimes provide lunch free and sometimes they don’t even do that".
SIX PLAYERS FROM ONE TEAM
FACE DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL
Six players from the Manning Cricket Association's (MCA) Forster club in northern New South Wales were required to attend a disciplinary hearing this week after they were reported for the actions during major semi-final match a fortnight ago. After a three-hour meeting, two players, Nick Tull and Justin Malzard, were suspended for four playing days on charges of using "insulting language" to an official and will therefore miss today's MCA Grand Final, although Tull is reported to have launched an appeal that his club hoped would be heard last night.
Another two players, Cory Shields and Dean Elliott, received suspended sentences and will be available for today's match. The 'Manning River Times' (MRT) says that Shields was found not guilty of dissent but guilty of using "insulting language" to an official while Elliott was found guilty of using "offensive language" to an official. The newspaper's report does not spell out why Trull and Malzard's "insulting" language, which led to their suspension, was different to that of Shields and Elliott, but presumably there were other aspects to the actions of the first pair.
A fifth Forster player Paul Loshenko, was found not guilty of dissent at the hearing, and Forster captain Trevor Bailey was found to have no case to answer. Bailey was praised by the judiciary for doing his best to calm "what was a difficult situation", details of which were not provided in the newspaper report.
Thursday's 'MRT' story says that the Forster club "had legal advice saying the [MCA] judiciary had no right to hear" the charges laid against their players by umpires Chris Dempsey and Richard Thompson, neither of whom were required to attend the hearing. The MCA is said to have taken the issues to its regional board before going ahead with the hearing and now plans to review its judiciary process as a result. MCA secretary Tony Weston said its disciplinary system is currently based on that of Cricket Australia but this will now be revised "to meet the needs of the association".
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 26 March 2012
BANGLADESH WANT PENALTY RUNS
Bangladesh, who lost the Asia Cup final by just two runs in Mirpur on Thursday, are said to have "demanded the deduction of five runs" from Pakistan's total score for the "deliberate" obstruction of one of their batsmen in the final over of the match, an action that they believe cost them the game. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) says that an appeal regarding the matter is being sent to both the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Bangladesh needed 9 runs off the final over of the match to win the Asia Cup for the first time. Pakistani bowler Aizaz Cheema delivered the first ball which Bangladeshi all-rounder Mahmudullah hit to third man for a single, however, just after he turned for what looked like an unlikely second run, the batsman ran into Cheema, a situation that saw umpire Steve Davis of Australia have what appeared to be strong words with both players.
BCB operations committee chairman Enayet Hossain Siraj told journalists on Saturday that his organisation's appeal alleges that Cheema deliberately blocked Mahmudullah, and that while Davis talked to both players at the time, "Bangladesh is not satisfied". "We have seen video footage of the incident several times [and] it is clear that Cheema blocked Mahmudullah deliberately", said Siraj.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said yesterday that it is disappointed with the BCB's claims. The PCB's Intikhab Alam said neither the match referee nor the umpires raised the issue with Pakistan team management after the match". Alam told The Associated Press that it is "sad and disappointing that Bangladesh has raised the issue 48 hours after the event". "It's the prerogative of the umpires [to award penalties], but in this case the umpire did not signal any penalty runs", he said.
Had Davis or his on-field colleague Ian Gould of England judged that the bowler had deliberately obstructed Mahmudullah, Bangladesh would have been awarded 5 penalty runs under Law 42.5, rather than deducting them from Pakistan's score as suggested by the BCB. Clearly, however, neither umpire considered the incident to warrant such a move.
While it appears very unlikely the ACC or the ICC would entertain changing the result post-match, the ICC has done so once before in regard to the 'ball tampering' Test at The Oval in 2006 (PTG 269-1445, 4 July 2008). The guardians of the Laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club, rejected that move on the basis that Law 21.10 says in part that "once the umpires have agreed with the scorers the correctness of the scores at the conclusion of the match, the result cannot thereafter be changed" (PTG 338-1783, 28 October 2008). Eventually the world body returned to the result that had first been signed off by the umpires at The Oval (PTG 365-1945, 3 February 2009).
Vision of the Cheema-Mahmudullah incident is available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4rj9QKMNiU
KIWI, NEPALI, STAND IN
WT20 QUALIFIER FINAL
New Zealander Chris Gaffaney and Buddhi Pradan of Nepal were chosen to umpire the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier event in Dubai on Saturday, Ian Ramage of Scotland being the third umpire and David Jukes of England the match referee. The 12 umpires and 4 match referees selected by the International Cricket Council for the event each took part in 18-19 games during what was an 11-day, 72 match tournament that saw Afghanistan and Ireland qualify for the World T20 series in Sri Lanka in September.
Simon Taufel, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's top-level Elite Umpires Panel, who attended the tournament in a training and mentoring role (PTG 914-4446, 13 March 2012), stood in at least one game with each of the other 11 umpires who were involved and also watched most of them from off the field in other games, observations he will no doubt be passed on to the ICC's umpiring department.
In an interview with the 'Gulf News" Taufel, who conducted a two-day workshop for the umpires before the series got underway, described the tournament as "a great opportunity to work with umpires from around the world". During the workshop "we talked about mental toughness and what it takes to be mentally tough, [and] also about team work, communication, match management and looked at some of the skills involved and shared our knowledge".
When asked whether the increasing use of technology is putting umpires under pressure, Taufel said that "pressure exists only when you think what other people will think". "One of the things that we talked about in the workshop is about pressure and self-belief and self-confidence, making sure that we approach every opportunity in a positive way". "The challenge of umpiring is that there are so many skills involved [for] you have to have decision making skills, match management skills and know the playing conditions [and other related factors] in detail".
UMPIRE STOPS WICKETKEEPERS
WEARING JUST ONE GLOVE
An umpire who stood in two separate Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 (T20) matches in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday stopped wicketkeepers in both games from keeping without a glove on their throwing hand during the final tense overs of an innings. Karnataka captain and wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa and Tamil Nadu’s Dinesh Karthik each removed one glove and tucked it into the back of their trousers, however, umpire Anil Chowdhary is said to have insisted that they have both gloves on before play was allowed to continue.
Both Uthappa and Karthik, who were standing behind the striker's wicket, are said to have argued with Chaudhary over the matter, but "eventually" complied with the umpire's instruction. An unnamed official in Mumbai, who did not wish to be named, told local journalists that "these things have been happening regularly in domestic cricket, especially in T20, and the matter should be referred to the [Board of Control for Cricket in India] so that consensus" is reached on how such issues should be dealt with.
Law 40.1 says in part that the wicket-keeper "is the only fielder permitted to wear gloves and external leg guards", but he can only do so if he is positioned behind the striker's wicket in what is regarded as the normal position for a keeper. Section 40.2 then goes on to describe the limits of the material that is used to join the thumb and index finger of the glove, however, it starts by indicating that a keeper does not have to wear gloves, the words used being "if as permitted under [40.1], the wicket-keeper wears gloves".
Chowdhary, 47, was standing in his seventeenth T20 fixture. He has officiated in 25 first class matches, and 35 List A games, in India over the last 12 years.
MCC RESPONDS TO MATCH
START 'STALEMATE' SITUATION
A stalemate that developed between the fielding and batting sides at the start of an innings in a Twenty20 game between Somerset and Glamorgan last year has been considered by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of the Laws of Cricket. After considering the issues involved the MCC has developed what it believes is an appropriate response, although it has no plans to amend the Laws "in the short term" to reflect its assessment, but says it may do so in the future.
In last year's game Glamorgan, who were the fielding side, wanted to know which Somerset batsman was going to take strike before deciding which bowler would bowl the first over, while Somerset’s batsmen claimed they wanted to know who was bowling before deciding which of them would take strike. Asked who gets priority in this situation, the MCC is reported in the Spring edition of the newsletter of the Association of Cricket Officials as saying that the Laws do not expressly state how such a stalemate should be resolved.
However, the MCC Laws sub-committee has now agreed that at the start of an innings the umpires should take to the field first and choose the end from which each will officiate, after which the fielding follow them and advise the umpires which end they will be bowling the first over from and who the bowler that will deliver it will be. As is the tradition the batsmen take to the field last and, knowing which end the opening bowler will come from and who that person will be, the batsmen then decide, if they need to, who is going to face the first ball.
CLUB LOOSES MATCH RESULT PROTEST
BUT STILL CONSIDERING LEGAL POSITION
The Merry Boys club in Trinidad have lost the protest they lodged against their one-run loss in the semi final of a 50 over knock-out competition last month. Soon after the incident a club official threatened to "go to court if necessary" to have the result of the game overturned so that they can play in this Thursday's day-night final (PTG 907-4408, 28 February 2012).
Late last week an independent tribunal set up by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) (PTG 916-4460, 17 March 2012), upheld the original result of the match. The committee are said to have interviewed the two captains, the wicket-keeper and two batsmen who were on the ground for the game's final over, plus the four match officials Robert Neptune, Anthony Sanowar, Shahid Allaham and Clarance Shaffarali. After receiving the committee's findings on Friday a Merry Boys official said that it planned to speak with their legal advisors over the weekend about the result of the hearing into their protest.
It turns out that Merry Boys were not the only club to protest their semi final loss. The winners of the other semi final, the Queens Park Cricket Club, were accused by their opponents of using three players who were not eligable to play in that game, but the TTCB's National League Committee has now dismissed that protest.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
SOUTH AFRICA REPORTED 'INTERESTED' IN
AUSTRALIAN THIRD UMPIRE INITIATIVE
Cricket South Africa (CSA) are said to be "interested" in the possibility of giving third umpires working in their televised domestic matches the authority to overturn on-field decisions next austral summer should a replay suggest that a colleague on the ground has given a decision in error. Cricket Australia (CA) introduced just such an approach six months ago (PTG 884-4309, 10 January 2012), and CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Mick Martell told an Australian Cricket Society (ACS) meeting in Hobart earlier this month that there is "a lot of talk" in South Africa about "adopting a similar set up" there, says a report in the ACS Tasmanian chapter's March newsletter.
Despite a lot of positive feedback from CA's third umpire initiative Martell's NUP colleague, John Ward of Victoria, who was also at the ACS gathering, said the system "isn’t perfect [and] is still evolving", says the newsletter which is edited by former first class player and umpire Mike Gandy. Ward is said to have pointed out that some spinners can bowl three deliveries in less than 30 seconds, and that leaves "precious time for the third umpire to intervene in the event of a missed LBW", and as a result he indicated that more work is needed to improve review processes.
Western Australian Martell gave one example of a type of issue that needs addressing, a situation in which an incorrect on-field decision could not be overturned by the third umpire because broadcaster Fox Sports was on "a one-minute ad break". During a one-day match last month between Tasmania and New South Wales, which Martell worked in as the third umpire, Trent Copeland of NSW was given out LBW, a decision that ended his side's innings.
According to Martell the Tasmanian fielders were in their dressing room "by the time Foxtel resumed", the subsequent replay showing that the decision by the unnamed on-field umpire was "clearly incorrect". In normal circumstances Martell could have overturned the decision, but on that occasion and as per the Laws of Cricket as Copeland too had left the field, it was therefore "too late" to revoke the original judgement. Ward discussed the latter point further in terms of CA's current review process, saying that "there is now a trend [for a batsman] to take his time departing the field of play" in case the third umpire spots something, a situation the Victorian umpire is said to have suggested "borders on dissent".
Ward also talked about more general aspects of the third umpires job in Australia, saying that the task of relaying decisions made after referrals is "not as easy as simply pushing a button in the box". He said that "there’s this small key-pad with ‘in’ or ‘out’" on it, and once either of those are pressed the umpire is then asked “Are you sure?”, then after a further press “Absolutely positive?” comes up on the screen, the press after that relaying the decision to a stadium's replay screen.
But "even then there’s opportunity for error as [NUP member and international umpire] Bruce Oxenford recently found out to his horror when the pen he was holding accidentally touched the wrong button", runs the account attributed to Ward (PTG 904-4395, 21 February 2012). CA is reported to be reviewing the breadth of technical systems work third umpires are required to perform as a result of Oxenford's problem (PTG 909-4420, 5 March 2012).
Asked how long a third umpire can take to make his decision, Ward said that while there is no specific time [CA] does expect a result to be flagged "within reasonable time limits". Delays can often be the result of an inexperienced third umpire being involved as it can be quite a stressful environment with different camera angles flashing on the monitor, he says, as the third umpire is at "the mercy of the television director as to which replays are shown and sometimes a perfect one comes first then at other times you’ll go through every angle and slow-mo until you get the one you need". The Victorian is quoted in the ACS newsletter's report as saying it therefore "pays for the third umpire to be on very good terms with the director and his crew for they certainly can make or break the [man in the television suite]".
REFEREE 'VOICES CONCERNS' ABOUT BALL'S
CONDITION IN LANKAN TOUR MATCH
The England and Wales Cricket Board have declined to comment on Sri Lankan match referee Manoj Mendis' "suspicions" that ball-tampering may have occurred during their side's tour match against a Sri Lankan development XI in Colombo last week. Reports from Sri Lanka overnight say that Mendis, a former first class player who has worked as a match referee for the last three years, "voiced his concerns and included them in his report" after the state of the ball England were using "surprised him" at tea on day one of the game.
Mendis is said to have told journalists yesterday that "there was a bit of dryness and, I would say, roughness on one side of the ball". "I brought it to the attention of [England tour manager] Phil Neale that the ball may have been altered a little bit". The Sri Lankan said that "it was just my opinion [for] I did not see any bowler do anything but there was suspicion based purely on the condition of the ball I saw". "I tried to watch more closely afterwards and I didn't see anything", continued Mendis. "The players are more experienced than me and in my report I stressed that it was only suspicion, not evidence", he said.
England vice-captain Alastair Cook, who was not playing in the match last week, is also said to have been involved in the discussions Neale had with Mendis. "Cook said it was due to the dryness of the ground", said the match referee, and as he "is a gentleman we concluded that it was fine, but I also have to do my job to do". Mendis' comments emerged on the opening day of the first Test Sri Lanka and England will play in the current two-match series
ICC-ACC REJECT BANGLADESH
PENALTY RUNS PLEA
Both the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) are reported to have rejected the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) call for a review of an incident that occurred in the final over of last Thursday's Asia Cup final, a match Bangladesh lost by just two runs. On Saturday, the BCB accused Pakistani bowler Aizaz Cheema of deliberately blocking batsman Mahmudullah Riyad from taking a run and made the claim that their side should be awarded five penalty runs, a change that would have seen Bangladesh win the match (PTG 921-4484, 26 March 2012).
ACC Chief Executive Ashraf-ul Haq, a former Bangladeshi batsman, was quoted by the Pakistan television's 'Geo News' yesterday as saying that as the on-field umpires didn't report the incident and had signed off on the match score, the "issue is now closed as far as the [ACC] is concerned". An "ICC spokesman" is said by other Pakistani media outlets to have stated that the "umpire's decision is final and it cannot be changed".
WINDIES BOWLER FINED FOR 'PHYSICAL
CONTACT' WITH AUSSIE BATSMAN
West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee for making "physical contact" with Australian batsman Brett Lee during the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) between the two sides in St Lucia on Sunday. Roach was charged with a Level 2 offence which that related to "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play".
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that the incident occurred in the thirty-ninth over of Australia's innings when Roach twice made physical contact with Lee. The West Indian first made contact as batsman Lee was approaching him as he completed a single, then again gave Lee another "nudge" as he walked back past the Australian to his bowling mark.
ICC match referee Andy Pycroft from Zimbabwe said in a statement that "there is no place for physical contact in cricket". "Cricket teaches us to give utmost respect to our opponents at all times irrespective of what the match situation is [and that] was something which was clearly missing in this particular incident". "Kemar accepted his mistake and admitted that his behaviour was over aggressive and inappropriate and I am sure he has learnt his lesson and will be more careful in future", added Pycroft, for his actions are not "the sort of example that players should be setting at any time, least of all in a series as high-profile as this one".
The charge against Roach was laid by on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka and Peter Nero of the West Indies plus third umpire Shavir Tarapore of India and another West Indian, fourth official Gregory Brathwaite. Under ICC regulations Level 2 breaches carry a minimum penalty of a fine equivalent to 50 per cent of a player's match fee, which Roach was given, up to a maximum penalty of a suspension for either two ODIs, two Twenty20 Internationals or one Test.
KIWI-SINGAPOREAN PAIR NAMED FOR
SHARJAH ODI, FIRST CLASS, FIXTURES
New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney and his Singaporean colleague Sarika Prasad are to stand in the two One Day Internationals (ODI) and single four-day Intercontinental Cup first class fixtures Afghanistan and the Netherlands are to play in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next week. The pair have already been in the UAE for two-and-a-half weeks for the World Twenty20 Qualifier series, Gaffaney being chosen to stand in the final of that competition (PTG 921-4485, 26 March 2012).
For Prasad the ODIs this Thursday and Saturday will hopefully be the first he will be on the field in as his only previous appointment to that form of the international game, in Dublin in August 2008, saw the game between Ireland and Canada washed out. The IC fixture will, however, be his fifth, as he has stood in that competition on four previous occasions over the past seven years, one each in Ireland and the UAE, and the other two in Nepal.
Gaffaney will be standing in his tenth and eleventh ODIs, five of which have been appointments by New Zealand Cricket for matches between Test-standard nations, his ICC appointments to date, including the latest, involving second-tier nations. The IC match will be the Dunedin-born umpire's third in that competition, twenty-first first class game overall and seventh outside New Zealand; the last two being in Australian Sheffield Shield matches last November-December in Adelaide and Melbourne (PTG 832-4065, 14 September 2011).
Prasad is a member of the International Cricket Council's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel and Gaffaney, a former first class player, its second-tier International Umpires Panel.
'SEND OFF' LEADS TO ICC REPRIMAND
Aftab Alam of Afghanistan has been reprimanded and warned of his future conduct after he gave Irish batsman Gary Wilson a "send off" during the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier event in Dubai on Saturday. Aftab admitted the charge and accepted the sanction imposed by International Cricket Council match referee David Jukes of England. The incident happened in the nineteenth over, which turned out to be the last one of the match, and the charge against the Afghani was laid by on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Buddhi Pradhan, and third umpire Ian Ramage (PTG 921-4485, 26 March 2012).