LONG-SERVING UMPIRE CLOSING
IN ON 1,000TH MATCH
Sometime around Christmas this year Keith Reed, an umpire in suburban Melbourne who has just completed his fiftieth season behind the stumps, expects to stand in what will be his 1,000th match. Reed, who is fast approaching life as an octogenarian, has just 11 matches to go before he reaches what will be a remarkable milestone, however, despite that he is not ready to hang up his counter just yet, according to an article by journalist Patrick Lane in this week's 'Moreland Leader' newspaper.
Reed made his playing debut for the now defunct Karoola Cricket Club in the Coburg District Cricket Association (CDCA) in 1947, but retired after being hit in the face by a rising ball long before the advent of helmets. Later, he was approached about taking up umpiring, starting in that role in 1962, and the time since has seen him oversee matches in the CDCA, the YCW, Rec Link, Women’s Cricket leagues, Catholic Colleges competitions, Country Week, the Moreland and Moonee Valley League and now the North West Metro Cricket Association.
Despite his impressive contribution to the game, Reed insists he is still learning as an umpire for "there’s always that little thing that pops up [during a game] where you get caught". Asked about his commitment week-after-week over the last five decades, he simply says that he "enjoys it". "You have to enjoy it to go out there and stand there for six hours a day in all sorts of weather", but "I love the game and I’ve made a lot of friends over the years". He also mentioned his wife Beverley who has "put up with all these long seasons of cricket umpiring".
Reed, who has regular eye and ear tests signed by doctors to testify he is still up to the task, was critical of "the increasing reliance on video reviews, insisting it was the on-field umpire who should make the final call". “It’s most ridiculous when they have to call for a camera when a bloke is completely in his crease", he said. “You watch it at home and you can see the bloke is clearly in by metres". “I’ve made that many mistakes in my career, but an umpire is there to make a decision", he says, and "there’s an old umpires’ saying: if it’s in doubt, it’s not out".
When asked if he was approaching retirement Reed said “The big answer to that is no", and that only factors beyond his control will spell the end of his long career. That will be "when my health deteriorates or until my satisfaction for umpiring disappears", but 50 years on he doubts that the latter situation will apply.
CA SEEKING 'NATIONAL APPROACH'
TO UMPIRE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT
Cricket Australia (CA) sought support for what some have described as a 'national approach" to umpire development and management during its annual post-season meeting with State and Territory Directors of Umpiring (SDU) in Melbourne last Thursday and Friday (PTG 932-4535, 26 April 2012). Just what that means in not clear for CA is yet to publicly release details of, or respond to requests about, the meeting, while those who attended remain mute, therefore details might not be forthcoming until the first issue of a new newsletter the national body is said to be looking to produce.
Several knowledgable long-serving officials who did not attend the Melbourne gathering have suggested to 'PTG' that the 'national approach' theme centres on how CA's Umpire Department (UD), its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), and the eight SDUs, can work together in a more coordinated, cooperative way than at present. If that assessment is correct discussions went forward without the bulk of UHPP members being involved for only four of the five are said to be have taken part the two-day gathering. Anecdotal evidence over the last six months indicates that the national body has made some moves to improve the way the UD-UHPP-SDU nexus works; but whether the eight state-based officials feel appropriate progress is being made, or that they have agreed to CA's reported national approach push, cannot be accessed at this time.
While there is an absence of information, there are a range of issues that were probably considered in Melbourne. At the 'elite' end of the national system, which appears to be the main focus of UD activities, improved coordination of the collection, collation and use of observations of the performance of National Umpire Panel (NUP) members, and those who aspire to join that group, was probably touched on as part of discussions on the overall appropriateness of the current development 'pathway' for such higher-level umpires.
At a more basic level, the agenda is likely to have included issues related to the development of match officials for club level competitions where by far the majority of scorers and umpires work, and where the few that are selected to join the queue as NUP candidates must learn their trade and show their abilities before they are considered for higher honours. Such issues there are: accreditation and reaccreditation, there being issues related to Level 2 programs in both areas that need solutions (PTG 930-4530, 22 April 2012); the perennial problem of recruitment and retention of match officials, a key focus of last year's survey of umpires (PTG 818-4004, 23 August 2011); basic training, coaching and mentoring requirements and systems; and the wider use of computers in scoring.
Another issue that is fundamental to any large organisation is communications, therefore ways in which appropriate, regular, liaison with scorers and umpires can be established and maintained by CA across the length and breadth of Australia was probably discussed. Information availability via web sites is likely to have been one aspect considered, CA's scorer and umpire section currently being frozen in time since it was up-dated 18 months ago after what was then a three-year hiatus (PTG 701-3439, 15 December 2010), as well as a newsletter, although just what format it would be produced in, who would write for it, and how regular it would appear, remains to be seen.
Funding support for a wide range of scorer and umpiring activities would have naturally underpinned all of last week's discussions, but whether in a year that CA is reported to have made a record profit (PTG 932-4533, 26 April 2012), extra resources will be available for such work as a whole, remains to be seen.
UMPIRES 'SERIOUSLY THINKING' ABOUT
PROTECTIVE GEAR, SAYS RAUF
Pakistan's Asad Rauf has become the latest person to publicly discuss the issue of protective equipment for umpires, especially in Twenty20s where he says "ferocious hitting" is becoming more and more prevalent. Rauf was quoted in an interview posted on the Indian Premier League's (IPL) web site late last week as saying that given "the kind of shots that batsmen play these days, we’re seriously thinking of demanding protective gear for the umpires", an issue that has been raised in a number of quarters over the last fortnight (PTG 932-4532, 26 April 2012).
Lahore-born Rauf, who turns 56 next week, went on to talk about now retired international West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, who he described as his "mentor and coach" and someone "I have learnt so much from since I started my career". He specifically recalled the 2005 Boxing Day Test between Australia and South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a match that was only his third at that level, when Bucknor was his partner in what was his 108th Test. Bucknor "helped me a lot during that Test [and] I got my confidence from that match", says Rauf, who believes his umpiring career really "took off" from there.
Rauf said that he tries to maintain good rapport with any umpire he’s officiating with, but he finds it comfortable being with countryman Aleem Dar. He has he says "a good rapport" with Dar, partly because "both of us hail from Lahore, have played for the same club and we also made our [One Day International] debuts together" in Gujranwala in February 2000, something that helps them "share a great understanding [and] we also help each other a lot while on the field". Rauf also mentioned Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden and what he called his "peculiar style [of umpiring] which cannot be matched by anyone". "He goes a little over the top", said the Pakistani, and "when he’s in form, he does all kinds of crazy things".
While he commented on the ferocity of hitting in Twenty20 matches, Rauf was quoted as describing that format nof the game as "far more easier and slow [for umpires when] compared to other forms [of the game], especially Test matches". "People don’t understand this but T20 is in fact slow [as] very few decisions come to the on-field umpires and the ones that do are usually straightforward [as] the bowlers generally bowl a bit wide of the off-stump which is relaxing for the umpires".
The Pakistani is currently standing in his third IPL season (PTG 925-4511, 12 April 2012), and to date has been on the field in a total of 27 IPL games, one of them being the final of last year's competition (PTG 767-3761, 28 May 2011).
IPL HANDS OUT MINOR
FINE FOR DISSENT
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who plays for the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Chennai franchise, has been fined five per cent of his match fee for "showing dissent at an umpiring decision" during the IPL match against Punjab in Chennai on Saturday. No details have been provided about whether the offence occurred when he was in the field or was batting, but it was obviously enough for umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and India's Shavir Tarapore to report him.
Under the IPL's player Code of Conduct document, a player found guilty of a first level 1 offence can receive a sanction that ranges from a warming and/or reprimand up to the loss of half of his match fee. The IPL said in a statement that Ashwin "admitted the offence and accepted the sanction" handed to him without protest.
ECB 'CORRUPTION' AMNESTY
ENDS ON POSITIVE NOTE
The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) three-month amnesty from prosecution for county players to report match-fixing approaches been made to them in the past ended on Monday and it has not yielded any significant reports of corruption in the English game, says London 'Daily Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult (PTG 887-4328, 15 January 2012). According to Hoult's report earlier this week, the ECB’s anti-corruption unit has been contacted by current and former players but has not received any reports which will lead to a new live investigation.
ECB anti-corruption officer, and former Metropolitan Police detective Chris Watts, was quoted as saying that "since the reporting window was established in the middle of January we have received information from a range of sources including current and former players, match officials, administrators and members of the media". Hoult writes that "sources have indicated the reports received by the ECB have largely centred on alleged collusion in the past between teams arranging totals and run chases, [while] others have reported rumours of instances of spot-fixing and corruption but these have not been substantiated by the ECB.
Watts said that “All of this information has been managed in confidence and has given us a clear picture of the nature of the threat our game faces from corrupt activities", and "the absence of a significant number of new reports is reassuring but the [ECB] will rigorously review and report of alleged corruption". He indicated that “we will also continue to work closely with the Professional Cricketers’ Association [PCA] to educate all professional cricketers and officials about the importance of reporting any illegal approaches". The PCA says that it has had a "100 per cent completion rate" of their anti-corruption tutorial by professional cricketers in England (PTG 907-4412, 28 February 2012).
'DROUGHT' ONE END,
FLOODS THE OTHER
There may have been reports last month of drought conditions affecting the preparation of pitches in East Anglia (PTG 930-4526, 19 April 2012), but cricket clubs in the south-west of England have had just the opposite problem over the last few days. In scenes similar to those seen at the South Brisbane club's Norman Gray Oval in January last year (PTG 713-3493, 13 January 2011), the Taunton Dean Cricket Club's ground in Somerset was a metre underwater on Sunday, just five days before the league season begins there. Just what is was like, and some idea of the work facing the club to get the ground ready for early season matches can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuAnse5KFaY
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 6 May 2012
'GOOD OLD ENGLISH COMPROMISE'
OVERCOMES LAWS ERROR
What 'The Guardian' newspaper called a "good old English compromise" got around a difficult situation this week after umpires in the first class match between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford incorrectly interpreted the Laws of Cricket. Lancashire and England bowler James Anderson came down with a virus on the second day of the game on Thursday and left the field after umpires Rob Bailey and Stephen Gale apparently told him, in direct contravention of Law 2.5(c), that any time he was off the field that day would be cancelled at the start of the third day's play on Friday.
Journalist Andy Wilson of 'The Guardian' wrote in a blog on Friday morning that on the previous evening Bailey and Gale "either decided, or were informed, that they'd erred" in what they told Anderson on the Thursday afternoon. Reports published in a number of media outlets do not say precisely how long Anderson was off the field on Thursday, however, they imply his absence meant that he would not be allowed to bowl for at least the bulk of the opening session on Friday.
Wilson says that England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Umpire Manager Chris Kelly "was called in to adjudicate" between the captains and coaches of both sides, and as a result it was agreed that Anderson wouldn't be allowed to open the bowling first thing on Friday morning, but would not, in Wilson's words, "have to field [without bowling] anything like as long as he would under the letter of the Law". The match commentary available on line indicates that the Lancashire quick did not take the ball until the 12th over of the morning some 45 minutes after play began.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, said on Friday that the agreement reached between the two sides had been "the right thing to do" even though he could have "insisted that the letter of the Law be applied", says a Cricinfo report. "It was only fair because [Anderson] had made the effort to get on the field on Thursday afternoon, thinking that he needed to be out there for an hour and a half so he could bowl first thing today", said Newell, and "it wasn't his fault that the umpires told him he could go off again. It was an honest mistake and we thought that letting him bowl was the right thing to do".
For Bailey, 48, a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel who played 374 first class games, 4 of them Tests for England, from 1982-2001, the match at Old Trafford was his 90th first class fixture since his umpiring debut at that level in April 2003. Gale, one of the few on the ECB's top list of umpires who did not play first class cricket, was standing in his 22nd game at that level and first this northern summer.
ONE-DAY SPLIT INNINGS FORMAT
SUGGESTED FOR PAKISTAN
Former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail has suggested that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) launch its own 40 over tournament with a format that sees each innings split into two periods of 20 overs each. Sohail told a television interviewer in Lahore that there was a feeling in cricket circles in Pakistan that Twenty20 (T20) cricket was at times devoid of skills and focused on only providing entertainment to the viewers, but that a split innings approach would provide "thrills and skills" that will help "sell such an event".
The former captain believes the PCB "needs to look at fresh ideas to rejuvenate domestic cricket [particularly given his] country had been deprived of international cricket for three years now". In the past Pakistan "had always been in the forefront of tabling revolutionary ideas in international cricket", he says, for the country "played a lead role in turning the World Cup into a commercial powerhouse and also introduced the concept of neutral umpires, [and] our domestic cricket format was once studied and admired by other countries as well".
Responding to Sohail's comments Rashid Latif, another former Pakistan captain, told India's 'Zee News' that fresh ideas and concepts were required in Pakistan cricket as there "was too much attention on T20 cricket now". "While people flock to see T20 domestic events there is hardly any interest in the one-day or first class matches and something radical should be done to involve the people in other cricket besides T20s", he said.
The 'Zee News' reports says that "this is the first time someone has proposed a 40 over game split into two innings of 20 overs each". In fact the England and Wales Cricket Board trialled exactly that format in a County Second XI knock out tournament during the 2010 northern summer (PTG 610-3060, 24 May 2010), and Cricket Australia a 45 over split format during the 2010-11 austral summer (PTG 652-3229, 16 August 2010). Both trials eventually only lasted for one season, primarily because of the International Cricket Council's insistence that the current basic 50 over format remain for One Day Internationals.
'COSTS' SEE RED BALLS, WHITE CLOTHING,
RETURN TO BERMUDAN ONE DAYERS
Financial pressures are said to have led to red balls replacing white ones in 50-over one-day club cricket in Bermuda this year and as a result white clothing, instead of coloured attire, will be worn by players. The island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper said in a report this week that plans to follow the International Cricket Council's (ICC) move of using a white ball from each end in one-day games were rejected because of the costs involved, and that using a red ball, "which will last the full 50 overs", could result in savings for clubs of up to $1,000 in ball and clothing costs during the season ahead.
Bermuda, which currently plays in the third-tier of the ICC's World Cricket League (WCL), has had a poor run of results in the five years since they took part in the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007. The main thrust of criticism regarding the move reported by the 'Gazette' centres around the lack of practice in the white ball, coloured clothing format, the island's representative team members will have in the lead up to their next WCL event in 2013. "It is imperative that we give our players the right tools to be successful and many feel our domestic season should be solely geared around how that [WCL] tournament will be played with the white ball and coloured clothing", said one former player.
A number of other players who were asked their views acknowledged though what one said was "the struggle clubs have with costs associated with balls and [coloured] clothing in these difficult economic times", although the clothing issue may not be an issue for some clubs "who have invested recently into coloured clothing". "They now have coloured clothing that they have paid for that is of no use to them, well at least for this season", says the 'Gazette. However, "we are not stepping backwards because we can improve our young players [when] a red ball [is used]", he says.
Just why, as is the case at club level in many nations, one-day fixtures in Bermuda could not use a single white ball, only bringing in a replacement should excess deterioration be noted by the umpires, was not addressed in the Gazette's report.
YEAR-LONG BANS FOR MATCH BRAWL
'LIKELY TO BE REDUCED'
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has handed one-year bans to two players who were "involved in a brawl" during a Patron’s Trophy Grade II match played in Gujranwala late last month, but it appears they will be absent from the game for less than that. Both Immad Ali and Bismillah Khan, who are from opposing sides, have challenged their sanctions and their appeal is to be heard by a judicial commissioner appointed by the PCB, although a date for a hearing has yet to be set.
A "PCB official" was quoted by 'The Express Tribune' newspaper this week as saying that "the punishment is likely to be reduced [for] while their actions were inappropriate they’ll get leniency". He went on to say, somewhat incongruously, that the initial 12-month ban is "just the PCB’s way of setting an example for others". Details of the incident, which was reported by the on-field umpires and the match referee, were not provided in the newspaper's report.
ICC TESTS CLEAR
An "independent analysis" has shown England fast bowler Jenny Gunn's bowling action "to be legal" and she can continue bowling in international cricket, says the International Cricket Council (ICC). Gunn was reported for suspected illegal bowling action in March following a One Day International (ODI) against New Zealand in Lincoln, the second time umpires had logged their concern about her delivery style in the last three years (PTG 909-4422, 5 March 2012).
Late last month following close scrutiny of Gunn's action, Associate Professor Jacqueline Alderson, a member of the ICC's Panel of Human Movement Specialists from the University of Western Australia in Perth, submitted a report on the findings to the ICC. It indicated that during delivery, "Gunn displays a high degree of hyperextension in her bowling arm which she is unable to control". "On the basis that hyperextension does not count in the ICC extension threshold of 15 degrees", continued the ICC in a statement, "all of her deliveries recorded during testing were within the ICC tolerance threshold".
The ICC says that "as with all bowlers, Gunn's action will continue to be scrutinised by match officials to ensure it remains legal, however they will be made aware of the degree of hyperextension that is present in Gunn's action".
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 10 May 2012
INAUSPICIOUS START TO
2012 BERMUDAN SEASON
The opening round of Berumdan club cricket last weekend was marred by the abandonment of a First Division match after a brawl broke out amongst opposing players, and a heated on-field confrontation in a Premier League game that resulted in the two captains having to be separated, says the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper. Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) executive Richard Austin told the Gazette's Colin Thompson on Monday that "anti-social behaviour plaguing domestic football" in Bermuda "is gradually seeping into local cricket", and he fears the situation will only get worse.
Due to a shortage of match officials no trained umpires were standing in Sunday's abandoned match, and Austin suggested that the incident that led to the stoppage might have been avoided altogether had recommendations made at Bermuda Cricket Board’s (BCB) 2011 season post-mortem been implemented. One of the proposals is said to have involved the provision of what he called "match managers" who are capable of either assisting BCUA members, or filling the void whenever there are no umpires available at all, as was the case on Sunday. What the difference between match mangers and umpires would be was not spelt out in the newspaper article.
BCB's "regulations [don't] say in the absence of umpires the game can’t go on", says Austin, "so they have to put something in place where there are no umpires that the game must go on, but only if somebody suitable can adjudicate in a fit and proper manner without being accused of being biased and stuff like that". “What is particularly worrying for us [in the BCUA] is that we had a good opportunity after incidents last year to effectively put some measures in place but we let it slip. I’m not tasking the [BCB] themselves, but they had a good opportunity and somehow they didn’t grasp it".
Last season on the island saw umpires take the drastic step of abandoning games if they felt the safety of players, fans and officials were at risk (PTG 825-4035, 6 September 2011). Austin said that should the need arise, BCUA members won’t hesitate to take similar action again this season. “It’s not a policy decision that we will just up and say if X happens we will do Y", he said, for "the two umpires at a game will have to deal with the situation as they see best and see fit".
Austin believes though that “we are still a little bit fortunate here [in Bermuda] for the clubs who play cricket are also the clubs that play soccer so let’s do something about it now because we have an opportunity and the clubs must be consistent and firm in dealing with [their members]”. “Clubs need to make sure they have officials [at games] who can monitor and deal with any stupid behaviour, whether it’s players or spectators, because you must have a certain standard in place", he continued. "Clubs seem to fail to realise that a lot of them are liquor license clubs and they have certain responsibilities under the liquor license act", and "as a police officer [myself], and a lot of my colleagues, point these things out to them".
PLAYING CONDITION ISSUE, NOT LAWS,
BEHIND ANDERSON 'COMPROMISE'
Umpires in the first class match between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford last week did not incorrectly interpreted the Laws of Cricket as previously reported (PTG 934-4543, 6 May 2012), rather the Playing Conditions that apply to such games. Last Thursday, umpires Rob Bailey and Stephen Gale told Lancashire and England bowler James Anderson, who had come down with a virus, that any time he was off the field that day would be cancelled at the start of the next day's play, as allowed by the Laws, however, the reference to 'next day' is not included in the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) first class Playing Conditions.
Section 2.5 of the Laws, which deals with 'Fielder absence or leaving the field', contains three sub-sections, (a), (b) and (c), the latter being further split into three parts, the first of which states in part that any "penalty for time absent [from the field] shall not be carried over into a new day’s play".
However, as occurs frequently in modern cricket, in drawing up its Playing Conditions the ECB modified that Law such that there is no mention of a 'new day'. The key Playing Conditions section Bailey and Gale should have been aware of, which is available on-line, reads: "If the player is absent from the field for longer than 8 minutes: the player shall not be permitted to bowl in that innings after his return until he has been on the field for at least that length of playing time for which he was absent". The background to why that change was made is not known.
While Bailey and Gale were right under the basic Laws of the game to advise Anderson as they did, the ECB regulation means that time he had still to serve on the field before being allowed to bowl on the Thursday did flow over into Friday. The situation was resolved though by what a report at the time called "a good old English compromise" reached between the captains and coaches from both sides, Anderson not bowling on the Friday morning until late in the first hour, less time than would have been the case had the Playing Conditions been applied in full.
The umpires' error illustrates the tendency of administrators to devise an increasing plethora of variations to the Laws when drawing up their Playing conditions, an approach that complicates the game not just for professionals like Bailey and Gale, but also for those who manage matches everywhere.
FIRST LORD'S TEST MATCH
FOR SOUTH AFRICAN UMPIRE
South African umpire Marais Erasmus will stand in a Test match at Lord's, the home of cricket, for the first time next week in the opening game of the three-match series between England and New Zealand. Erasmus is one of six match officials who have been appointed by the International Cricket Council to look after the series, the others coming from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Erasmus has been on the ground at Lord's twice before, once in a One Day International in June last year and before that during the 2009 World Twenty20 Championship. He has also supported internationals there from the television suite, the first in the 2009 T20 series, and again last July in a Test. The Lord's Test is the South African's 11th at that level, and he will also work as the third umpire in the second at Trent Bridge later this month, his thirteenth in that role.
Aleem Dar of Pakistan will be standing with Erasmus at Lord's, his third Test there in what by the end of the England-Windies series will be a total of 74 Tests. Dar's countryman Asad Rauf will be the third umpire at Lord's, his thirteenth overall, before going on to stand with Dar in the second Test, a game that will be Rauf's forty-second at the game's highest level. The two Pakistanis, who over the last month have been working in the Indian Premier League (PTG 927, 4511, 12 April 2012), will be standing together in a Test for the fourth time, Rauf saying recently said that he has a particularly "good rapport" with Dar (PTG 933-4359, 2 May 2012).
While Dar, Erasmus and Rauf will be the umpires for the first two Tests, Dar is the only one who is to stay on for the third at Edgbaston. He will work as the television umpire for the eleventh time in that game, the on-field officials being Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Tony Hill of New Zealand who will be standing in their ninth and thirty-first Tests respectively.
All three Tests will be overseen by Sri Lanka-based match referee Roshan Mahanama who will have taken his record in that role in Tests to 38. The Lord's Test will be his first there as a match referee, but he also played a Test there and has been a match referee at Lord's in the other two formats of the international game.
CA EVALUATING COMPUTER
Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to be investigating a range of computer-based scorer packages, the aim being to ensure all matches played under its auspices next austral summer have at least one computer used in recording the details. Just which versions of scorer software are being investigated and by whom has not been made public, but presumably a decision will have to be made in the near future so that appropriate training can be arranged, either in those states where such systems are currently not used, or for those who utilise electronic scorer packages that are different from that which CA eventually chooses.
It would appear, from what little information is available, that one of CA's key objectives is to find a system that can be readily married with its 'MyCricket' web-based system. CA has invested considerable resources in MyCricket and it has become an important tool in the management of cricket associations and clubs at all levels around Australia. Last season, for example, some states used the system to collate, coordinate and manage matters such as umpire availability, their appointments and captain's reports, as well as the payment of match fees. While some teething problems were experienced, reports say the system generally worked well and has a lot of potential.
The national body is believed to be looking to ensure the software package it selects has the capability of allowing details of matches, from first class right down to club level across the nation, to be displayed on-line via MyCricket on a near real-time basis. With CA's first class and one day seasons due to start in October, senior scorers in those states that have yet to embrace computer-based technology will need to get up to speed on the system that is chosen over winter, although for next season at least the second scorer at CA games will be allowed to record match details using traditional book-based methods.
BOWLERS TO GET BETTER 'PROTECTION'
FROM 'SWITCH HIT', SAYS POLLOCK
Former South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock believes that bowlers will soon get "protection from the law makers" against batsmen who use the 'switch hit', says an article in yesterday's 'Times of India' newspaper. Pollock made his comments after seeing "quality bowlers like Dale Steyn and Ben Hilfenhaus being reverse scooped for fours and sixes" in recent Indian Premier League Twenty20 (T20) matches.
Pollock told journalist Nitin Naik that bowlers do have to inform the umpires about whether they are bowling right-arm-over or round or left-arm-over or round and it is only fair that the bowlers don't have to suddenly adjust to a left-hander as the field they have set is for a right-handed batsman. The "switch hit and everything that goes on with it [makes it] seriously difficult" for bowlers, he says, and they "just have to take it on the chin and try to bowl the next delivery".
Naik says that Pollock "is not questioning the legality of the switch hit, but is asking more protection against it at least from the umpires". "They aren't averse to calling anything that's away from the strike zone of the batsman, as a wide", says Pollock, but "how about batsmen informing the bowler and umpire beforehand as to whether he is going to face left-handed or right?".
"When you set a field for a left-hander or right, [under the T20 Playing Conditions] you can only put five fielders on the leg side", continued Pollock, but when a batsman turns around, you have only three or four fielders on the other side. No laws have been changed yet, but I won't be surprised by next year or so, if there's not something that goes in the bowlers favour like if a batsman switches, a wide can't be called."
Pollock is said to be happy that bowlers have evolved "since the T20 revolution has kicked off". "Bowlers have picked up new skills and have understood what's required of them and have picked up slower balls. The main thing is they seem to have understood what delivery to bowl at what time and how you can be protective. They have progressed".
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 11 May 2012
ICC-MCC MULLING 'SWITCH HIT'
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reviewing its LBW-related Playing Conditions in regard to the 'switch hit', an issue that came into the spotlight again recently during a Test match in Sri Lanka (PTG 925-4501, 7 April 2012), and was mentioned by former South African bowler Shaun Pollock earlier this week (PTG 935-4552, 10 May 2012). Under the changes being considered, a batsman who switches his stance or grip to effectively play with a different hand would be able to be given out LBW even if the ball had pitched outside his original leg stump, however, there is a need to first define precisely just what a 'switch hit' is, says the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Cricinfo journalist George Dobell wrote yesterday that former international players Ian Bishop, Kumar Sangakkara and Mark Taylor, who are members of the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC), are looking into a revision of the world body's 2010 directive on switch hits (PTG 610-3062, 24 May 2010), and that it will be considered at the committee's annual meeting in Dubai later this month. Dobell says that while it is "unlikely" any proposal the CC formulates would be ignored, it would have to be ratified by both the ICC's Chief Executives' Committee and top Board, and if so any change that is supported would not come into force until October this year.
The MCC's Laws sub-committee declared its support for the switch-hit shot nearly four years ago, at the same indicating it would look further into matters related to Wides and LBW, both of which can be affected by a batsman changing his stance, and that it would "continue to research and discuss these implications" (PTG 259-1409, 18 June 2008). The MCC said in an article posted on its web site yesterday that it is currently analysing "various [related] options", but the club's Laws Manager Fraser Stewart pointed out to 'Sky Sports' in an interview that the issue contains a host of complications and that "before the ICC change their regulations, or indeed MCC changes the Laws, there needs to be a very clear definition on what a switch hit is".
Stewart continued by saying that players such as England's Kevin Pietersen and Australia's David Warner, who are both well-known proponents of the switch hit, have developed "different techniques" for playing it, either by changing their hands and feet, or just one of the two". Such inconsistency means that any "relaxation of the LBW Law may not be as easy as it sounds", and any revised ICC directive needs to be very carefully worded and well defined so that Umpires know exactly where they stand before the game starts.
The MCC says the difference between the Laws of Cricket and the various Playing Conditions or directives added to international cricket is an issue which has caught the public attention in recent years. That, it says, is because of "unprecedented advances in technology and resources available to international and first-class umpires in recent years, from the third umpire to Umpire Decision Review System, as ]as a result] the ICC has felt it right to amend certain aspects of the Laws" for its fixtures. However, the Laws of Cricket are designed to be relevant at all levels of the game, "from the village green upwards", where such technology is not available, says the MCC.
If the ICC does change its switch hit-related Playing Conditions, national Boards around the world could follow suit, particularly in their top-level competitions, says Dobell. He writes that some boards "including those in Sri Lanka and South Africa, tend to default to the ICC stance, [while] others, such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, are more independent minded". Just how far such an ICC change, if made, would filter down to club level would be up to the individual cricketing Associations. At present the major differences between ICC playing regulations and the MCC's Laws concern the rules regarding the degree of flexion bowlers are allowed, the use of runners and decisions relating to the Umpire Decision Review System.
CA TO PUBLISH NATION-WIDE
Cricket Australia (CA) is planning to establish a semi-regular newsletter that is to be sent to all umpires around the country from the National Umpires Panel right through to the lowest levels of club cricket. CA's move, which was endorsed by State and Territory Director of Umpires (SDU) at a meeting in Melbourne late last month (PTG 933-4538, 2 May 2012), is to utilise umpire contact data contained on the MyCricket web site to distribute the new publication, which will presumably come out in an electronic format.
PTG understands that plans for the newsletter see it containing such items "news on umpiring courses, CA appointments of interest, Law changes and useful information for umpires at any level". That suggests it will be broadly similar to PTG in content, although articles published are expected to be more focused on the national body's interests and point-of-view. Another difference may be in how frequently it is published, one unconfirmed report suggesting it will be circulated 3-4 times per year, as opposed to PTG which publishes that number of editions each fortnight.
Reports, again unconfirmed, suggest that CA's newsletter will be put together but an editorial group headed by current national Umpire Educator Denis Burns. Burns, who has a background in the development of high-tech training material (PTG 357-1901, 5 December 2008), is to be supported in newsletter work by some of the eight SDUs from around the country. There is no indication just yet as to when the newsletter will appear, but the fact that Burns is currently working towards the release of the long-delayed and awaited revamp of CA's Level 2 training package (PTG 931-4529, 22 April 2012), may mean it could be some months before the first newsletter sees the light of day.
CA's use of MyCricket data to support the distribution of the newsletter makes sense, for that system is increasing being used as a management tool by cricket associations and clubs all over Australia (PTG 935-4551, 10 may 2012). However, while MyCricket's data base of player and match officials is growing by the week, currently there appears to be only limited collation of scorer contact details. If that is in fact so, CA will need to look at the situation given that scorers are an equally important part of a match management team.
'PLAYER BEHAVIOUR' IMPACTING ON
UMPIRE RECRUITMENT, SAYS BCUA
"Escalating anti-social behaviour" in cricket is having a detrimental affect on efforts to recruit new umpires, says Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) secretary Richard Austin. Speaking with Bermuda's 'Royal Gazette' yesterday after earlier this week lamenting incidents that occurred in last weekend's opening round of the season (PTG 935-4548, 10 May 2012), Austin said that potential umpires are discouraged because of the abuse those now involved are subjected to while carrying out their duties.
The BCUA is seriously concerned because it currently only has 14 who are active, but even some some of those are, from time-to-time, unable to stand in matches because of work commitments. For example, five BCUA members were unavailable on the first weekend of the season due to conflicting commitments, and Austin pointed out that the match that was abandoned after a brawl broke out between opposing players last Sunday had no official umpires at all.
"Ongoing efforts to bolster the BCUA’s membership have been met with little success", says Austin. "Over the last two years or so we have invited a lot of players going out of the game to join our ranks but their first comments are ‘not me, I’m not putting up with that behaviour’ ", says Austin. “The sun and long hours are not even an issue these days", he says, but rather "player behaviour".
The BCUA has asked the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) to request that clubs nominate a couple of their members who they think are capable of standing as umpires for the necessary training", continued Austin. “People like Roger Dill and Steven Douglas receive the latest International Cricket Council umpiring modules so it’s no big deal for us to get people up and running", however, "if clubs don't respond to such requests we are not going to have sufficient people to cover every game every weekend, for the reality is that quite a number of our members work shifts or are on call".
TASMANIAN ASSOCIATION PREPARING
FOR 75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The Northern Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association is to celebrate the 75 years of "continuos unbroken service" to the game with a dinner that is to be held in Launceston in late September. Formed in October 1937 as the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Umpires Association, a change of Constitution ten years ago saw Scorers formally added to its membership, and today it has around 30 members supporting matches in the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association's (NTCA) various turf-based competitions; leagues from which the likes of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, and now international match referee David Boon, first emerged.
An organising committee has commenced planning for the dinner and is in the process of arranging to contact as many of its past and retired members in order to invite them to attend, along with representatives from Cricket Australia, Cricket Tasmania, the NTCA, and the federal and state governments. Former Australian umpire Daryl Harper, who in an International career that ran from 1994 to 2011 saw him umpire in 95 Tests, 174 One Day Internationals and 10 Twenty20 Internationals, will be the guest speaker.
Official invitations for the event are to be sent out next month with replies being sought by mid-August. Past members interested in attending can contact either Peter Griffith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paul Clark (email@example.com) via e-mail.
RICHARDSON NOMINATED AS
NEW ICC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Former South Africa wicketkeeper, David Richardson, has been chosen as the new chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Richardson, 52, who played 42 Tests and 122 One Day Internationals, will replace fellow South African Haroon Lorgat when the latter's four-year term ends in June, subject to his appointment being ratified at the ICC's Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur late next month.
Johannesburg-born Richardson, a qualified lawyer who has been with the ICC for more than 10 years as its cricket general manager, was one of four men interviewed for the chief executive position in Mumbai last weekend. His appointment, which follows an unsuccessful application for the position in 2008, was approved by the ICC Board in a teleconference yesterday. Richardson said in an ICC press release that "it is a great honour" and he is "delighted with this opportunity", and he thanked the ICC Board "for their approval".
If confirmed, Richardson's appointment would be ground-breaking for two reasons: he would be the first former international cricketer to hold the post of ICC chief executive since the position was established in 1993, and the first to be already working for world cricket's governing body. He will become the fourth ICC chief executive following on from Australians David Richards (1993-2001) and Malcolm Speed (2001-2008), and countryman Lorgat (2008-12).
ICC vice-president Alan Isaac of New Zealand, who led the search for Lorgat's successor, said that "Richardson was an outstanding candidate who not only had important knowledge of the ICC administration, its staff and its operations, but also has unquestioned cricketing knowledge having represented his country so admirably". "His appointment will provide continuity and a smooth transition after Haroon Lorgat steps down after ICC annual conference in Kuala Lumpur at the end of June". Foillowing that the ICC will be looking for a new general manager cricket, a position that includes responsibility for umpiring matters.
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 13 May 2012
IPL HANDS OUT HEFTY FINES
FOR SLOW OVER-RATES
Indian Premier League (IPL) administrators have fined Sourav Ganguly, the captain of its Pune franchise, his entire match fee or $A40,000 and his team mates each $A10,000 after they were found to have maintained a slow over rate during their match against the Kolkata side at Eden Gardens last week. Ganguly's side was assessed by match referee Javagal Srinath as being one over behind the required rate after allowances were taken into consideration, but the fact that it was his team's second such offence of the current IPL season led to the hefty fine.
Two days after that Gautam Ghambir, the Kolkata franchise's captain, was fined after his side was assessed, like Pune, as being one over behind the required rate when they were in the field against Delhi in the nation's capital. Ghambir did not loose quite as much as Ganguly though as it was his team's first such transgression this season, match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe setting the Kolkata skipper's fine at a mere $A20,000.
Last Wednesday, Rohit Sharma from the Mumbai franchise received an official warning and reprimand from match referee Ranjan Madulgalle of Sri Lanka for breaching the IPL's Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Bangalore. Sharma was reported by umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Vineet Kulkarni of India for a Level 1 offence after he kicked the stumps at the end of a match that saw his opponents win easily by 9 wickets with two overs to spare.
SENIOR AUSSIE UMPIRE FOR
EAP 'MENTORING' ROLE
John Ward, a senior member of Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP), will be working in a mentoring role during the International Cricket Council's East Asia-Pacific (EAP) Women's Championship that is to be played in Vanuatu this week. Ward, who turned 50 recently and is thought by many as likely to be elevated to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) sometime in the next month, will be working with three members of the EAP's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and four from the region's Supplementary Panel (SUP), including newcomer Brendon Fiebig of the Cook Islands.
The Twenty20 (T20) format tournament, which is to get underway tomorrow and run for five days, is the largest held for women's cricket in the EAP region. Six teams will be involved, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, and they will be competing for the right to progress to the final stage of qualifying for the 2014 Women's T20 World Cup.
In announcing umpiring arrangements for the series, EAP Umpire Manager Bob Parry, who recently retired from first class cricket in Australia (PTG 919-4475, 23 March 2012), said that Ward's presence during the tournament "is a great opportunity" for members of his panels to stand with an experienced first class official "who is willing to assist with their own individual development". "Most will only have limited opportunities to stand with [such] a partner and the benefit [of such an approach) was seen at last year's EAP men's tournament in Port Moresby where another CA NUP member, Bruce Oxenford, performed a similar role (PTG 792-3879, 8 July 2011).
Those who will stand with Ward during the coming week are three Vanuatu-based umpires, Geoff Clelland, Grant Johnston and Nigel Morrison of the EAP's EUP, plus SUP members Greg Walton (Vanuatu), Chris Thurgate (Japan), Subramonia Gopalakrishnan (Indonesia), and the Cook Island's Fiebig. Morrison, Clelland and Johnston are currently ranked fourth, fifth and seventh on the seven-man EUP, while Gopalakrishnan, Thurgate, Walton and Fiebig are listed as first, second, fifth and ninth on the nine-man SUP.
Parry, who took up the EAP umpire manager position last June (PTG 772-3778, 9 June 2011), named the same seven to the EUP for 2012 as were on the squad last year. Neil Harrison (Japan), Shahul Hameed (Indonesia) and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea) remained in the top three slots respectively, however, below that there was a shuffle of positions. Morrison moved up one rung to fourth, Clelland doing the same to fifth, followed by Clive Elley (Papua New Guinea) at six, one up from last year. Johnston was named in seventh place, three levels below his 2011 position.
Meanwhile the SUP was reduced in size from 9 to 10, two umpires, Toka Gaudi (Papua New Guinea) and Tavita Sasi (Samoa) who were seventh and ninth respectively last year, being omitted altogether, Fiebig being elevated in their place. Gopalakrishnan and Thurgate remained at one and two in the rankings respectively, while Suresh Subramanian (Indonesia) rose three places to third and Alu Kapa (Papua New Guinea) jumped to fourth, up a solid six positions from last year. Mohammed Ali Maqbool (Fiji) fell from third to eighth, while in fifth, sixth and seventh spots are Walton who fell one slot, Peter Poulos (Samoa) who remained sixth, and Walesi Soqoiwasa (Fiji), who rose one to seventh.
Unlike the EAP, CA does not make public the rankings of its NUP members, however, many observers expect Ward, who umpired in both New Zealand and South Africa last austral summer (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 2012), to be elevated to Australia's third umpire position on the IUP; Simon Fry the current occupant of that spot, moving to an on-field position alongside Paul Reiffel. Oxenford, who is Reiffel's current on-field colleague, is seen by some as 'odd on' to be appointed to the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel by mid-year (PTG 929-4519, 17 April 2012), but just who he will replace on that 12-man ICC group remains a matter of some conjecture.
'HIGH TECH' BALLS ALLOWING DETAILED
STUDIES OF BOWLING TECHNIQUES
RMIT University in Melbourne is using what are being referred to as 'smart cricket balls' to conduct a detailed study of the techniques slow and fast bowlers use in their deliveries. The data obtained, which is reportedly aimed at giving "instantaneous feedback to bowlers for advanced training purposes", is collected by specially-made balls that have a normal outer shell but are filled inside with a set of 'high-tech' gadgetry.
The 'smart balls', which Professor Franz Fuss, Innovation Professor for Sports Engineering and Technology at RMIT is using for the study, each have three gyroscopes, a data logger and a battery inside, and relay the data they collect by 'wireless' means to recording systems in real-time. Before final assembly the balls' gyros are calibrated on a lathe at different spin rates, then they are balanced, the total ball 'package' meeting the 159.5-163 gram weight range required by the Laws of Cricket for men’s matches.
During Fuss' study, which he is to report on at next month's CA-organised 'Science, Medicine and Coaching' conference in Canberra, data is said to have been collected on seam, swing and leg spin deliveries bowled by the same player. The sensitivity of the system is reported to be so precise that information is generated about such factors as: the ball’s spin rate; the position of the spin axis with respect to the plane of the seam; the amount of torque applied to the ball by the bowler; the bowler’s angular arm velocity; the finger’s centre of pressure (where the force is applied to the ball); and the impact point on the ball with both pitch and bat.
Other researchers besides Fuss have apparently measured spin rates of balls delivered by pace bowlers of between 2 and 25 revolutions per second (rps) and those of spin bowlers in the range from 16-37 rps. The maximal spin rate of wrist spinners obtained during such studies is said to have been 42 rps, of off-spin finger spinners 16.4-28.3 rps, and of leg-spin wrist spinners 24.4-29.2 rps.
An abstract of the RMIT Professor's presentation says that collection of such data is "essential for performance analysis, be it for [the] training [of bowlers] or for spectators’ information and entertainment". The latter comment suggests Fuss is looking to the possibility, if the system can be further refined and the high-tech balls made more readily available, that the type of data being collected could be added in real-time to the increasing plethora of match information, such as the speed of deliveries, that is available to television viewers.
CRICKET 'A POSSIBILITY' FOR 2018
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chiefs are reported to have agreed to look at including cricket as one of the sports that will feature in the Commonwealth Youth Games in St Lucia in the West Indies in 2017, a forerunner to the main Commonwealth Games event on Australia's Gold Coast in 2018. CGF vice-president Bruce Robertson told the insidethegames.com website recently that "getting cricket on the [Youth Games] program is a strong possibility [as] St Lucia are very interested in [having it]", and that is the first step to the sport being included in the Commonwealth Games proper.
Robertson continued by saying that "whether or not [cricket] gets on the program in time for 2018 is largely up to the International Cricket Council but we are certainly hopeful that it is something they will try to make happen". "I think it would be a great thing to help profile the sport in the Commonwealth and to encourage youth to get involved and we would obviously welcome the move".
Cricket has only featured once in a Commonwealth Games to date, that being in in Malaysia in 1998 when 16 teams competed in a 50-over match format; now-retired international umpires Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and Kandiah Francis of Sri Lanka standing in the final. Gold Coast Games head Mark Stockwell is "lobbying strongly for [cricket] to be included on the Gold Coast", says a recent article in Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' newspaper, although it is the Twenty20 format that he has in mind.
ECB HEARING ON ANTI-CORRUPTION
BREACHES MOVED TO MID-JUNE
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has adjourned the disciplinary panel hearing into alleged breaches of their its anti-corruption rules by former Essex players Mervyn Westfield and Danish Kaneria until mid-June at the request of Kaneria's lawyers. Last month, former Pakistan leg-spinner Kaneria pleaded not guilty to all charges laid against him and called for a postponement of the hearing, his lawyer telling journalists "we need more time to study the evidence" (PTG 926-4510, 11 April 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
BRAWL, GUN FIRE, STOP PLAY
A policeman in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is reported to have "opened fire and abused" players and umpires during a Kashmir Premier League (KPL) match played at the University of Kashmir yesterday. 'India Today' is reporting this morning that the incident was sparked after a player had a confrontation with a security policeman when he went to fetch a ball that was hit into the Vice-Chancellor's garden, but a separate report suggests that multiple hits into, and visits to, the compound were involved.
Majid Ahmad, the captain of one of the sides, claimed that the player was verbally abused by the security guard for entering what was "a restricted area". According to him a "heated exchange" took place before the ball was returned and the match could resume, "but after an hour nearly 12 policemen [turned up] and started beating up the players". Majid claimed umpires Danish Ahmad and Nisar Ahmad were amongst those who had been "severely beaten up" by the police.
"We were shocked when one of the policemen opened fire and any of us could have been hit", but as it was "the bullets hit the wickets", said Majid. A separate report in the 'Tehelka' magazine indicated though that the policeman had fired into the air, while an 'Indian Express' report says the policeman fired his gun only after players attacked he and his colleagues with "bats and stumps".
A University spokesman told 'Tehelka' that the players "were not our students". According to him "they were outsiders [and] we had provided them the ground to play the [KPL] match". He went on to say that "the incident took place when cricket balls time and again flew into the compound of the administration department. Police objected to this, and the players refused to comply" with their requests.
Police Superintendent Abdul Qayoom is said to have "rushed to the spot and assured the players of strict action against the [police] involved". He said "firing was a grave issue and the [individual] who opened fire had been suspended". The university has also ordered an inquiry into the incident, that hearing being chaired by the Vice-Chancellor himself.
IPL TO INVESTIGATE
India TV claimed yesterday that a 'sting' operation it conducted recently has shown that "spot-fixing and underhand financial" dealings appear to be "rampant" in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the fifth version of which is currently underway on the sub-continent. The channel's report drew a sharp reaction from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), its president N Srinivasan, who is also the owner of an IPL team, saying the league "would not tolerate any violations of regulation or any act of corruption" and that it would seek to obtain all of the recordings obtained during the sting.
Today's 'Times of India' (TOI') is reporting that the channel showed five domestic-level players, who represent various IPL franchises, discussing the alleged involvement of some captains and even team owners "engaging in lengthy haggling over the price of bowling a no-ball on demand"; however, the newspaper emphasised that India TV's claims have yet to be independently verified.
The five players caught on camera include IPL Hyderabad franchise bowler Taduri Sudhindra, who plays first class cricket for Madhya Pradesh and was previously involved in the now disbanded Indian Cricket League (ICL), who was reportedly shown confessing, in response to questioning by the television channel, having bowled a no-ball in a domestic game and boasting that spot-fixing could be done at any level of Indian cricket, including the IPL. Such activity is "common", he said, but the rates differ according to the standard of the game.
Sudhindra was also shown, says the 'TOI' report, stating that IPL franchisees were gifting players "cars and flats" in order to get around the salary cap the IPL has set for first-class players. Punjab franchise bowler Shalabh Shrivastava, who plays at first class level with Vidarbha and who is another former ICL player, made a similar claim about "black money" being paid in order to negate the salary cap. He is said to have suggested that the equivalent of $A185,000 could be demanded by a player for every no-ball bowled on demand, and claimed "two or three" out of every ten IPL players were vulnerable to corruption and that "everyone got offers".
Srinivasan said in a statement that "The [IPL] General Council will meet on an emergency basis to review the footage and take appropriate strict action", a meeting the 'TOI' report says could be held as early as today.
A similar undercover operation conducted by the now defunct 'News of the World' newspaper in the UK nearly two years ago eventually led to three Pakistani players being convicted of bowling no balls on demand, a crime for which they were banned from playing for between five and ten years and sent to goal (PTG 856-4184, 4 November 2011).
SLOW OVER-RATE FINES
NOW TOTAL $A200K
Harbhajan Singh, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise, has become the latest skipper to be fined after his team failed to maintained an appropriate over rate during last night's Twenty20 match against Bangalore. Match referee Graeme Labrooy from Sri Lanka found that Mumbai were one over behind the required rate after allowances were taken into consideration, and under IPL regulations Harbhajan was fined the equivalent of $A20,000 as it was his first such offence during the league's current season.
In the 62 matches played to date in IPL-5, captains and players have been fined a total of $A200,000 across four matches because of slow over-rate issues. Sourav Ganguly, the captain of its Pune franchise, lost a total of $A60,000 for two such offences and his team mates each $A10,000 for the second, and like Harbhajan, Gautam Ghambir, the Kolkata captain, lost $A20,000 (PTG 937-4558, 13 May 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 17 May 2012
ALLEGATIONS OF MATCH-FIXING, SALARY
VIOLATIONS, SEE FIVE SUSPENDED
Five Indian players who were caught in a 'sting operation' conducted by a television station and accused of match-fixing activities and salary cap violations have been suspended from all formats of the game on the sub-continent whilst the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) investigates the allegations made against them. The men, four of whom have 2012 contracts with Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, were caught on tape talking to a "player's agent" about what appeared to be the manipulation of matches by bowling no-balls at a pre-designated stage (PTG 938-4564, 15 May 2012).
Those suspended are Taduri Sudhindra from the IPL's Hyderabad franchise, Pune's Mohnish Mishra, Punjab's Amit Yadav and Shalabh Shrivastava, and Abhinav Bali who doesn't have a current IPL contract. Only Sudhindra and Mishra have actually played in the IPL this year, and one report says that Bali only went to meet the "agent" in order to try and obtain a IPL contract. All five say that India TV, the channel that aired the allegations against them, had misrepresented the nature meeting that was secretly filmed in a Delhi hotel.
The 'Times of India' ('TOI') newspaper said in a report yesterday that even though only two of the five under investigation have, between them, played just a handful of IPL matches this season, the BCCI "were sufficiently rattled to impose bans". Senior IPL board officials discussed the situation during a teleconference on Tuesday afternoon. A IPL source was quoted by the 'TOI' as saying that "even if [the players] are [now] claiming to have [only] made tall promises, a tough message is needed", and that's why a provisional ban has been put in place. Times' journalist Indranil Basu quoted BCCI sources as saying that if IPL rules were invoked it would mean the players would still be eligible to play in other tournaments around India, therefore BCCI statutes were brought into play.
Ravi Sawani, a former the head of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit and now of the BCCI's equivalent, which was only set up last Saturday, has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report by the end of this month. IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla told journalists that "if the players are found guilty [of the allegations being made against them], they will be punished [as] bad conduct is not acceptable". Shrivastava told reporters yesterday that he "respects the decision of the governing council" and is willing to participate in any investigation the BCCI carries out.
The allegations against the five appear to be the most serious to hit the IPL since its founder Lalit Modi was removed from all involvement in Indian cricket in 2010 amid allegations of corruption and nepotism, although he has always denied suggestions he was involved in any wrongdoing.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA FAREWELLS
FORMER FIRST CLASS UMPIRE
Former Adelaide-based first class umpire Alfred Godson, a Life Member of the South Australian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association since 1971, died last week aged 94. Godson, who was the reserve umpire in two Tests, stood in a total of 29 first class matches, 21 of them in the Sheffield Shield competition, plus three List A fixtures, in the years from 1961-74, as well as over 200 games in the South Australian Cricket Association's (SACA) grade competitions around Adelaide.
SACA president Ian McLachlan paid tribute to Godson saying that "in everything he did, Fred was both friendly and fun [and] he represented South Australia with distinction for a long time". “He was a great friend and mentor to many in the cricket community, and was respected by players from junior grades up to international level [for] there’s not a bad word anyone had to say about [him]".
Godson was also a life member of the Port Adelaide Cricket Club, having captained its C grade team to a premiership in 1953 and been a long-serving member of the club's committee before he took up umpiring. The club's current president Peter Brien told a local newspaper that Godson always got on with the job and was a good-natured man on and off the field. He was, continued Brien, "loathe to give LBW decisions", and seemed to have a rule that he would give "one before Christmas and one after". “If a player was out LBW there was no point appealing that decision because it would be definitely out", said Brien.
SACA presents the 'Fred Godson Medal' to the most outstanding player in the association's grade one-day competition each year, umpires in those games casting votes at the end of each minor round match. Past winners of that medal include such notables as Mark Cosgrove, Ryan Harris and Daniel Harris, David Hookes, Ben Johnson, Darren Lehmann and Dean Waugh. Godson’s funeral service last week was attended by former South Australian first class players, including Eric Freeman, John Causby and Barry Jarman.
ON-FIELD CONFRONTATION LEADS
TO YET MORE IPL FINES
Ambati Rayudu, a batsman with the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise, lost his entire match fee as a result of an on-field confrontation at the end of his side's match against Bangalore on Monday. Rayudu clashed with Bangalore's Harshal Patel immediately after Mumbai scored the winning runs in what was a relatively close match, each man having to be physically restrained by others on the field of play.
Rayudu was censured for what the IPL says was the use of "obscene and abusive language" towards Harshal, the latter being fined 25 per cent of his match fee for "bringing the game into disrepute [because of] his reaction to Rayudu's words". Mumbai's West Indian Kieron Pollard, who hit the winning runs, played down the issue after the match saying "there are quite a few teams fighting it out for the play-off spots and you get these sort of things in these sort of games". The same match saw Rayudu's captain, Harbhajan Singh, fined $A20,000 because his side were behind the required over-rate during Bangalore's innings (PTG 938-4565, 15 May 2012).
Harbhajan's side have found guilty of a number of misdemeanours in this year's IPL series to date. The captain and his team-mate Munaf Patel were censured after they showed dissent at an umpire's decision in their match against Deccan early last month, the latter loosing 25 per cent of his match fee and his skipper a formal warning about his conduct (PTG 926-4507, 11 April 2012). Days later, Munaf lost half of his match fee for making "inappropriate gestures" towards a batsman who had hit him for two fours, then last week Rohit Sharma was reprimanded for kicking down the stumps after his team's loss to Bangalore (PTG 937-4558, 13 May 2012).
BIRD RECEIVES HIS OBE
Former English international umpire 'Dickie' Bird, who was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in this year's New Year's Honours List in the UK (PTG 880-4297, 2 January 2012), was formally presented with the honour during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. The now 79-year-old, who was made a Member of the British Empire in 1986, received the honour from the heir to the British throne Prince Charles, it being bestowed on him in recognition of his "outstanding sporting career and charity work".
After retiring from umpiring, Bird set up the 'Dickie Bird Foundation' which gives grants to under-privileged children whose parents can't afford to buy them sports equipment (PTG 57-313, 21 June 2007). "If we think [a person] are a worthy cause then we send them a grant", the aim being "to get them off street corners, away from television, doing exercises and giving them a start in life", said Bird at the time.
Prince Charles presented the honour just a few months after he met the former umpire and first class player in Bird's home town of Barnsley where they chatted beneath a statue of Bird that was unveiled in 2009 (PTG 445-2319, 1 July 2009). He told journalists following the London ceremony that the OBE is a "great honour" and "something he would cherish".
Asked about his time as a match official Bird said that "I do miss umpiring, but it's completely changed now for umpiring is done by a machine". "In my era we made the decisions on the field", and "if umpires made a mistake in those days people talked about it in the pubs, in the clubs, the press, the television, the radio, as it was part of the game". "Now it's changed so much". "I certainly miss it but you cannot stop time", said the Yorkshireman.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
TRINIDAD CHIEF DEFENDS HIS UMPIRES
Lalman Kowlessar, the head of the Trinidad and Tobago Umpires and Scorers Council, has defended his umpires from claims that the standard of their work in the country's top club competition is unsatisfactory and that some are engaged in questionable practices, says an article published in the 'Trinidad Express' last week. Kowlessar made his comments after an unnamed official from the Esmeralda club, who are new to the Premier Division competition this year, joined in what 'Express' journalist Roger Seepersad says has been a "general call" for improvements in umpiring.
Seepersad quotes the Esmeralda official as saying that he was disappointed with the standard of umpiring he has seen in his club's brief time in the Premier Division, particularly given "the amount of effort and money put in by the clubs and players at this level". "It is very, very disheartening for the players and members of the club" and I really thought that cricket at the highest level had some standards", but "we have been getting bad decisions" and the "umpires' body keep telling us [we are getting the] best [officials] they have available".
The official, whose side is said to be challenging for top position in the Premier Division, was then quoted as alleging that "there is a clique of umpires that ensures that certain games do not have a result and that certain teams win and others lose". "When we first entered this level of cricket we did not think [such things were] true", said the Esmeralda official, but "now we are experiencing what the other teams were talking about". "A clique should not be in control of who wins and who loses...it is unfair to the players, the sponsors and the fans", he added.
The 'Express;' article states that "other clubs" have also complained about "the poor level of umpiring throughout the season and the alleged bias of some umpires to certain teams". "There are also", writes Seepersad, "allegations that some umpires are being intimidated by certain clubs and pressured into giving decisions against certain teams", as well as claims "that a lot of umpires who stand in Premier Division matches are not qualified to umpire at that level". Such "allegations and rumours about 'back-room' deals between umpires and clubs are surfacing as the season comes to a close and the battle to stave off relegation heats up", says Seepersad, for the three teams who finish at the bottom of the league will be demoted, and six clubs are currently fighting that battle.
Kowlessar dismissed the various allegations saying that "when [clubs] lose they look for excuses for their defeats rather than the reason for their defeats". "Clubs pay officials and players a lot of money [which] is so much now people are blaming others when they lose, and who better to blame than the umpires". "I was match referee for five matches this season and I am personally happy with the standard of umpiring", continued Kowlessar, for he thinks "umpires are doing a decent job [and] it is just that many clubs would like umpires to rule in their favour all the time".
NO PLACE FOR INDIAN MATCH
OFFICIALS IN IPL FINALS
Six match officials from five nations have been named to fill the key positions in this week's four-match Indian Premier League (IPL) final series, however, none of them are from the nation whose name adorns the 76-match, eight-week long, tournament. Those appointed have all been contracted by the IPL from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top umpire and match referees panels, a situation that suggests that the league's owner, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is not confident that its efforts to improve the standard of umpiring on the sub-continent over the last five years have borne fruit (PTG 84-451, 17 August 2007).
The latest appointments mean that once this week's IPL finals are over, none of the 36 on-field spots that have been available across the five IPL 'finals' series played since 2008 have been given to an Indian umpire. Locals have, however, filled three of the 18 third umpire spots and 10 of the 18 match referee positions, but those appointments were in the first three seasons of the competition. Apart from fourth umpire roles no Indian officials have been allocated finals matches over the last two years.
Those named by the IPL for the 2012 finals over the next five days are: 'Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Billy Doctrove (West Indies), and Australian Simon Taufel, who are members of the ICC's 'Elite Umpires Panel', and Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe) and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka) of the world body's top referees group.
Taufel is to stand in three of the games and work in the television suite in a fourth (3/1), Bowden and Doctrove each have 2/1 and Dharmasena 1/1, while Pycroft will oversee the opening game in Pune tonight, and Madugalle the other three in Bangalore on Wednesday, Chennai on Friday and Mumbai on Sunday respectively. Bowden and Taufel will be on the field for Sunday's final, with Doctrove the third umpire and Madugalle the referee, a game that will be Taufel's fourth final in four years (PTG 767-3761, 28 May 2011), and Bowden's second, his first being the inaugural event in 2008 (PTG 250-1371, 2 June 2008).
All up this season, the IPL contracted a total of sixteen umpires for on-field and third umpire positions and eight match referees; seven of the sixteen umpires and four of the eight referees hailing from India. Indian umpires were allocated one-third of on-field positions during the series and two-thirds of the third umpire spots, a similar balance to that which has prevailed in previous seasons. Apart from Bangladesh (PTG 908-4415, 3 March 2012), other countries that have domestic Twenty20 competitions similar to the IPL, such as Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, use their own umpires.
FACILITIES ABUSE LEADS TO REPRIMAND
Owais Shah, a member of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan franchise was given an an official warning and reprimand for breaching the league's Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Deccan in Hyderabad on Friday. Shah is said to have "admitted" to the "abuse of ground equipment and fittings", however, no details are available as to just when during the match that the Pakistan-born former England player committed the offence.
In another IPL disciplinary matter, Bangalore captain Virat Kohli was fined after his team maintained a slow over-rate during Thursday's match against Delhi at the latter's home ground. Kohli's team was found by match referee Andy Pycroft from Zimbabwe to have been two overs behind the required over-rate after allowances were taken into consideration. The IPL press release on the matter said that the skipper was fined the equivalent of $A2 for the offence, however, it is likely that was a typographical error as similar 'first-time' over-rate offences in recent weeks have attracted a $A20,000 fine (PTG 939-4568, 17 May 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 25 May 2012
RESULTS OF 'INDEPENDENT'
BALL-TRACKING STUDY AWAITED
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has written to its Indian counterpart asking for the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to be in operation during England's four-match Test series on the sub-continent in November-December, says a report published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' this week. Given the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) on-going resistance to UDRS operations the ECB is "not optimistic about the outcome", says the article, and it would appear that only positive results from "independent testing" of ball-tracking technology announced earlier this year could change the BCCI's outlook.
In February, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that a Cambridge University group, Computer Vision Consulting (CVC), was to conduct "independent testing" of two ball-tracking technologies, 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Virtual Eye', which hail from England and New Zealand respectively (PTG 898-4370, 6 February 2012). CVC says on its web site that its expertise is in developing "state of the art solutions for extracting information from images [using] innovative computer vision algorithms and systems". Their ICC work was to focus on obtaining "precise evidence" on the degree to which 'Hawk' and 'Virtual' eye data can be trusted to assist decision making in international matches (PTG 902-4385, 17 February 2012).
The ICC said four months ago that CVC's findings were to be consider by its Cricket Committee during its 2012 annual meeting. Given that gathering is to be held next week it would suggest, if the Cambridge study is on schedule, that the work will have been completed by now and a report prepared. If that is so the question then will be whether the findings of the investigation will be enough to overcome the BCCI's ball-tracking concerns and thereby allow it to approve the use of such systems in Tests at home against New Zealand in August and England three months after that.
WINDIES FINED FOR SLOW
OVER-RATE IN LORD'S TEST
The West Indies side has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first Test against England at Lord's earlier this week. Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama imposed the fines at the end of the match after Darren Sammy's side was found to be four overs short of targets set by the International Cricket Council (ICC) when time allowances were taken into consideration.
ICC 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, Sammy was fined 80 per cent of his match fee and his players each 40 per cent. The same ICC rules mean that should Sammy be found guilty of a further such over-rate offence in Tests over the next year he will receive an automatic one-match suspension as occurred to Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in January (PTG 888-4332, 16 January 2012).
The ICC requires that a minimum of 15 overs be bowled per hour when a team is in the field during a Test match, the average rate being calculated across both of the batting team’s innings. In making such calculations the match referee is required to allowances time for time lost as a result of matters like: the treatment of player injuries on the field of play "by authorised medical personnel; all third umpire referrals and consultations and any umpire or player reviews; time lost as a result of time wasting by the batting side; and, the time lost due to all other circumstances that are beyond the control of the fielding side. In addition two minutes are allowed per wicket taken, and four minutes for one drinks break each session.
NOMINEES FOR CSA UMPIRE,
SCORER, AWARDS ANNOUNCED
Both umpires and scorers are to be recognised during Cricket South Africa's (CSA) annual awards dinner which is to be held in Johannesburg early next month. Umpires Johan Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock, who are all currently South African members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, have been nominated for CSA's 'Umpire of the Year' award, while the Boland, Gauteng, and Northerns Associations are in the running for CSA's 'Scorer' Association of the Year'. The latter comes as a surprise to some as it is very rare for scorers to be recognised at a national awards night.
SIX-DAY SUSPENSION FOR
TWO LEVEL 2 OFFENCES
Gloucestershire bowler David Wade has been handed a six-day suspension by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after he was found guilty of two Level 2 offences during the County Second XI match against Glamorgan this week. Wade was reported by umpires Peter Hartley and Paul Pollard for "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play", as well as "throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner".
Under ECB disciplinary rules, the first Level 2 offence attracts a three point disciplinary penalty, but for a second "within 24 months" of the first the censure is six points. If a player accrues a total of nine points in a two-year period, as Wade has done, they receive in an automatic suspension, and the ECB therefore banned him from all cricket played under its jurisdiction for a period from today up to and including next Wednesday.
The nine points will remain on Wade's record for the next two years. Should he accumulate a total of 18 points in that time a further period of suspension will be imposed.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
'WEARABLES' PROJECT REACHES
A prototype sensor that can provide data on whether or not a bowler’s elbow is being straightened inappropriately during their delivery swing has been developed as part of a research project commissioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) three years ago. Members of the ICC's Cricket Committee are to receive an up-date on progress being made on the so-called 'wearable' technology during their meeting at Lord's on Wednesday and Thursday (PTG 942-4578 below).
The project to develop a "wearable, real-time electronic sensor" envisaged a cigarette packet sized device that could be strapped to a bowler's arm to provide assessments of the legality of their delivery action (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009).
Current ICC regulations stipulate a 15-degree tolerance threshold for elbow extension in the bowling action, a limit that is generally accepted as the point at which any elbow extension begins to become noticeable to the naked eye. Currently, bowlers who have suspect actions are required to undergo a range of tests at specially-equipped laboratories in order to determine the legality or otherwise of their bowling style (PTG 934-4547, 6 May 2012).
The 2009 plans called for sports and electronics engineers at Queensland's Griffith University Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications (CWMA) to work with Cricket Australia’s Sport Science Medicine Unit and the Australian Institute of Sport’s Biomechanics department in Canberra to perfect the tiny electronic device. CWMA has an established track record in producing similarly-sized sensors for swimmers, tennis players and other athletes.
The project was on the agenda of last January's MCC's World Cricket Committee meeting (PTG 882-4301, 6 January 2012), however, post-meeting publicity from the MCC did not mention what was discussed at that time (PTG 885-4318, 11 January 2012). The ICC says simply that the next phase of the project will involve the "further development of the sensors and the validation of the data produced".
FURTHER CHANGES TO ODI FORMAT
ON ICC COMMITTEE AGENDA
Further refinements to One Day International (ODI) playing conditions are one of a number of issues the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) is to consider during its two-day meeting at Lord's on Wednesday and Thursday. Other matters on the agenda include: day-night Tests; strategies for the on-going development of the Twenty20 (T20) format, switch hits, the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), and 'wearable' technology (PTG 942-4577 above).
Two changes to the ODI format, the requirement to take the batting and bowling Powerplays between the sixteenth and fortieth overs and the use of two new balls, one from each end, were introduced as a result of discussions at the CC's 2011 meeting.
That gathering also encouraged national Boards to trial, in their domestic competitions: increasing the maximum number of overs each bowler could deliver; no compulsory close catchers; a maximum of four fielders outside the 30 yard circle during non-Powerplay overs; and increasing the number of short pitched deliveries above shoulder height that a bowler can deliver per over from one to two.
The ICC says that last year's changes and those recommended for trial are aimed at making the 50-over game "a more attacking one", both from a batting and bowling perspective, especially during the middle overs. They were also aimed at "improving the balance between bat and ball and to create an identity for ODIs distinct from the Test and Twenty20 formats".
This year the CC is to consider the impact of the rule changes that were introduced to the international game, as well as the outcome of domestic trials and whether any other changes should be introduced to "further enhance the format at international level".
The committee will also receive reports of ongoing trials that "relate to the possible introduction of day-night Tests", and "consider reports involving the development and feasibility of using different colour balls in multi-day formats in day-night conditions". Such trials have been conducted in a number of countries over the last four years with little real outcome to date.
John Stephenson, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Head of Cricket, said earlier this year that a "leap of faith" is needed is day-night Tests are to ever be introduced (PTG 925-4502, 7 April 2012), while former England captain Mike Brearley, now the Chairman of the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC), said that "the time to act" with regard to the introduction of pink ball, day-night Tests is "now" (PTG 931-4528, 22 April 2012).
"Important strategic discussions" designed to "refine a long-term strategy to protect the appeal of [T20] [and] the viability of all three formats of the game" that have previously been considered at ICC Board and Chief Executive’s Committee meetings will be looked at by the CC.
Matters on the table include: the role of T20 cricket in the growth of the game in the developing cricket world; the volume of [the short format] relative to the volume of the other formats; global T20 ICC event(s); and the proliferation of domestic leagues involving foreign players and, in some cases, private ownership, and the consequent impact on international cricket.
Another matter on the agenda is the 'switch hit', the ICC saying that "with the more frequent and skillful use of [such shots]", the CC "will be asked to again consider the matter from the perspective of retaining a fair balance between bat and ball". Both the ICC and the MCC are revisiting switch hit issues following a number of incidents during games in recent months (PTG 936-4553, 11 May 2012).
In its "annual review" of the UDRS, the CC is to look at the "reliability of the technologies used and the extent of improvements thereto, the appropriateness of the current UDRS LBW protocols and, specifically, the impact [such matters have on the ] balance between bat and ball". That appears to be a somewhat oblique reference to studies of ball-tracking systems that the ICC said earlier this year were to be conducted by a Cambridge laboratory (PTG 941-4573, 25 May 2012).
Other items on the agenda are said to include: reports on umpire performances and player behaviour; the pace of play and the use of substitute fielders; and "consideration of the VJD system as a method for the calculation of target scores in reduced limited overs matches".
In June last year the ICC was reported to have invited Indian engineer V Jayadevan to attend its 2011 annual meeting in Hong Kong to provide a presentation on his 'VJD rain rule' system that calculates targets in rain-interrupted limited over matches (PTG 779-3820, 25 June 2011).
Eighteen months ago the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was said to have "approved" the use of the system in deciding the result of rain-affected matches in the 2011 Indian Premier League series (PTG 699-3427, 13 December 2011). Whether Jayadevan's system was actually used is not clear though, for score sheets indicate IPL games that were rained off in that series were decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system.
THREE LANKAN TESTS
English umpire Ian Gould is to stand in all three Tests Sri Lanka is to play against Pakistan in Galle and Colombo in late June and early July, according to appointments posted on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) web site yesterday. At the moment though the ICC does not appear sure as to whether the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) will be in place for the series as its announcement only lists the 'TV umpire' positions for the matches as 'to be confirmed'.
Gould's on-field partner in the first Test in Galle will be West Indian Billy Doctrove, and in games two and three in Colombo Simon Taufel of Australia, the latter's countryman David Boon being the match referee for the series. As the appointments currently stand, Gould will be standing in his 26th, 27th and 28th Test, Taufel in his 72nd and 73rd and Doctrove his 39th, while Boon will be working as a referee in his 8th, 9th and 10th.
Prior to the Tests, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will play two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), then five One Day Internationals (ODI). England-based match referee Chris Broad will oversee all of those games, Doctrove joining him as the neutral official in for the ODIs, those games taking their record in that form of the international game to 207 and 117 matches respectively.
On-field and third umpire spots for the T20Is will be filled by Sri Lankan members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, and they will also work in the second on-field and third umpire positions in the ODIs. If the UDRS is not in operation they are also expected to work as third umpires in the Tests.
FLOODLIGHTS GOOD FOR TESTS,
SAYS ENGLAND OPENER
England opener Alastair Cook believes the way in which floodlights were used during the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's last week could set an example to the rest of the cricket world. Although there has been talk of day-night Test cricket, featuring pink balls (PTG 931-4528, 22 April 2012), plans for such matches appear, in the words of one report, "firmly stuck on the drawing board".
During the Lord's Test the lights were on for much of the match, including nearly all of the fourth day and Cook believes they played a key role in giving England enough time to claim a five-wicket win. He points to the fourth day in particular as "a prime example of why lights should be used in Test cricket".
"I think for the crowd and the entertainment value we've got to try and get as much play as we can. It will work in your favour one day and on others you'll have to go and face four overs in not ideal conditions, but hopefully we'll benefit from that at some stage as well", said Cook.
West Indies wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin said playing Tests under floodlights posed problems for a fielding side. "It was a bit challenging, sometimes iit was hard to pick the [red] ball up against the background, [but] it's something to think about in future".
Under International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions it has been possible for some time for floodlights to be switched on during conventional hours of play in order to bolster fading natural light. The boards of both countries involved in a series can seek ICC approval to negate that rule. Despite that though, teams have still been forced off by bad natural light in Tests despite the floodlights because of difficulties in sighting a red ball.
DAR NOW TOPS 'ASIAN UMPIRE'
A number of media outlets in Pakistan have run stories this week pointing out that their countryman Aleem Dar has "now stood in more Tests than any Asian umpire". Dar achieved the landmark when he took the field in the second Test between England and West Indies at Trent Bridge last Friday (PTG 935-4550, 10 May 2012), his 74th, and one more than Indian umpire Srinivas Venkatraghavan.
Dar, 43, who currently ranks sixth in the list of Test umpires, told journalists that umpiring was his "passion". His accurate decision making has earned him respect from both players and his umpiring colleagues, and won him the last three International Cricket Council 'Umpire of the Year' awards (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011).
ICC INVESTIGATING WC
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating claims that an unnamed Kenyan player may have been involved in spot-fixing during his side's World Cup match against Pakistan in 15 months ago, a fixture that saw the African side bowl an abnormally high number of extras. Former Australian umpire Daryl Harper, who was the third umpire in that game, has however attributed the tendency of Kenyan bowlers "to spray the ball around rather frequently" for the fact that 6 no balls and an world record equalling 37 wides featured during Pakistan's innings.
Harper told 'Pakistan Observer' journalist Bipin Dani by telephone that he has "read with interest" reports that the ICC is investigating the Kenya-Pakistan game. "Many of the wides in that innings came from leg side deliveries where [Kenyan] wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma was up to the stumps hoping to effect a stumping and the fine-leg fielder was up and inside the fielding restriction circle". “Our team of umpires", himself and on-field officials Tony Hill of New Zealand and Nigel Llong of England, "concluded after the game that although the extras were excessive, [they were due] to a lack of skill and control”.
The no balls and wides contributed a total of 43 runs to Pakistan's innings of 7/317, whereas in other games involving Kenya during the event, all of which the side lost, it conceded 3, 7, 11, 14 and 16 wides against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada, Zimbabwe and Australia respectively.
ZIMBABWEAN SELECTED FOR
SECOND U-19 WORLD CUP
Owen Chirombe, a Zimbabwean member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is to officiate in this year's Under-19 World Cup in Australia in August, says a statement issued by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) yesterday. It is Chirombe's third ICC appointment, for he stood in the Under-19 Afro-Asia Cup in India in 2005 and the last Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early in 2010 (PTG 541-2768, 3 January 2010).
Shingai Rhuhwaya, ZC's communications manager, said that Chirombe's latest appointment is "evidence the ICC continues to have faith in administrators Zimbabwe has produced". The Harare-born umpire, 39, "took up umpiring as a fulltime job" in 2009 around the time he was promoted to an IUP on-field spot, according to ZC.
Rhuhwaya said that Chirombe, who has to date stood in 51 first class matches, is to "travel to Brisbane a few weeks prior to the tournament [beginning] in-order to attend workshops, pre-series meetings and officiate warm-up matches" together with "other top-class umpires from different parts of the world". That suggests the ICC will, as in the last few U-19 World Cups, select umpires for the event from both the IUP and its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires’ Panel.
Since standing in the final of the 2010 U-19 World Cup, umpires Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Richard Kettleborough (England), have gone to be appointed to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).
End of May 2012 News file