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    SEPTEMBER 2012
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 10 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 4793-4842)
Click below to access each individual edition listed below
987  988  989  990  991  992  993  994  995  996 

 

987 - 3 September  [4793-4798]

• MCC again clarifies 'Mankad' Law, but is anyone listening?   (987-4793).

• Dew a 'major factor' in Abu Dhabi 'two-day' ODI   (987-4794).

• 'Switch hit', Finn 'dead ball' calls, on MCC Laws agenda  (987-4795).

• Aussies go to extremes to play in extremes  (987-4796).

• County players disciplined for on-field offences   (987-4797).

• Asif pushing ahead with appeal against ICC ban   (987-4798).

988 - 4 September [4799-4800]

• 'Full time' contracts mooted for Indian umpires   (988-4799).

• Taufel 'soon to be retired', says television commentator   (988-4800).

989 - 6 September [4801-4806]

• Bangladesh schedules day-night first class matches   (989-4801).

• Ball problems experienced in Potchefstroom day-nighter   (989-4802).

• Pay boost reported for Indian match officials   (989-4803).

• Player handed 'indefinite' ban for spot-fixing   (989-4804).

• Yet another 'tweak' to RUPM structure   (989-4805).

• New editions of 'You are the Umpire' available   (989-4806).

990 - 10 September [4807-4811]

• Umpire appointments for initial World T20 matches announced   (990-4807).

• Latest Finn stump break sees another call of 'dead ball'   (990-4808).

• County upset by player's mid-match arrival   (990-4809).

• Potchefstroom pink ball issues worse than initial reports   (990-4810).

• Arm guard logo results in ICC reprimand   (990-4811). 

991 - 16 September [4812-4815]

• Dharmasena named 2012 world 'Umpire of the Year'   (991-4812).

• Vettori wins ICC 'Spirit of Cricket' award   (991-4813).

• One warning then 'dead ball' in 'Finn' broken-wicket situations   (991-4814).

• Skipper receives 'suspended ban' for dissent   (991-4815).

992 - 18 September [4816-4822]

• Pakistani umpire cleared of betting charges, seeks reinstatement   (992-4816).

• Scorer's service recognised with national award   (992-4817).

• No surprises in early Aussie appointments    (992-4818).

• WCL mentoring role for senior Kiwi umpire   (992-4819).

• Concern about 'missing' Indians on WT20C umpire's panel  (992-4820).

• Mumbai pair reprimanded, dropped, following umpire abuse   (992-4821)

• UK PCA tutorials target player depression   (992-4822).

993 - 19 September [4823-4827]

• 'Sport being ruined by technology, says former Test umpire   (993-4823).

• 'Dangerous pitch' sees NZ tour match abandoned after six overs   (993-4824).

• 'Free Hits' for all 'no balls' in Aussie domestic one-dayers   (993-4825).

• 'Bonus' runs to again apply in Canberra women's games   (993-4826).

• Caribbean Tests scrubbed in favour of IPL-6   (993-4827).

994 - 24 September [4828-4832]

• Major shake-up for top Caribbean panel   (994-4828).

• Duckworth-Lewis calculation results in rare tie   (994-4829).

• Review shows back-foot 'no ball' so batsman awarded 'Free Hit'   (994-4830).

• Vanuatu batsman reprimanded for post-dismissal antics   (994-4831).

• WT20C 'Spydercam' hit requires 'dead ball' call   (994-4832).

995 - 27 September [4833-4839]

• Taufel confirms on-field retirement, new role    (995-4833).

• Details of new ICC umpire performance-training role awaited   (995-4834).

• Oxenford becomes sixth Aussie EUP member   (995-4835).

• Appointments announced for WT20C 'Super Eight' games    (995-4836).

• Two appear possibilities for next EUP vacancy     (995-4837).

• No surprises expected in Aussie IUP changes   (995-4838).

• Another batsman 'run out' after backing up too far   (995-4839).


996 - 29 September [4840-4842]

• PCB reinstates umpire cleared of betting charges  (996-4840).

• CA slots Mealey in for injured NUP member   (996-4841).

• Scorer apologises for 'missing' key 'no ball'   (996-4842).

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 987
Monday, 3 September 2012     

MCC AGAIN CLARIFIES 'MANKAD' LAW, 

BUT IS ANYONE LISTENING?

[PTG 987-4793]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) attempted on Friday to clarify, for the second time this year (PTG 906-4404, 24 February 2012), what the Laws of the game say about a bowler running out the non-striker; however, main stream media outlets in the UK and elsewhere do not appear to have taken much, if any, notice about what the guardians of the Laws think about the issue.  The latest furore erupted on Thursday after Surrey bowler Murali Kartik ran out Somerset batsman Alex Barrow when he backed up too far during a first class game in Taunton, a situation that resulted in considerable booing and jeering from spectators (PTG 986-4787, 31 August 2012).

 

Media reports examined by 'PTG' In the time since Barrow's dismissal have focussed on three things.  The first is an acknowledgement that yes, as covered by Law 42.15 Kartik was entitled to run Barrow out, the second is that the bowler should have warned him, and the third is that in any case such a dismissal is "against the spirit of the game" and should not have been continued with.  Some reports even suggested that the MCC "had removed a clause" about a warning being needed when it up-dated the Laws two years ago (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010).

 

Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick appears to have started the ball rolling by saying Barrow's was "a legitimate dismissal" but was "against spirit of the game".  The former England opener has "never witnessed anything like it before at any level" of the game and said its "not something you want to see in cricket".  Surrey skipper Gareth Batty, who continued with the appeal after being asked three times by umpire Peter Hartley if he wished to withdraw, said he planned to "talk things through with Marcus [as he doesn't] want to bring the game into disrepute".

 

Surrey director of cricket Chris Adams called 42.15 "one of those Laws of cricket that you generally don’t uphold", and that "if we’ve breached, and clearly we have breached the 'Spirit of Cricket', then we thoroughly apologise for that".  Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender said "it was a poor decision" to dismiss Barrow, and he believes Adams’s comments "reflect the understanding" that a different approach should have been taken.

 

Numerous spectators at Taunton quoted in media reports expressed similar comments, one calling the dismissal "a little bit embarrassing", before going on to state that "it was fantastic that [the crowd] booed [Kartik]" and the Surrey side.  Another said umpire Hartley "came out of it with good credit [for] asking if Surrey wanted to remove the appeal", but that spectator then went on like everyone else whose comments were reported to call Surrey's actions "against the spirit of the game".

 

In its latest statement the MCC did not refer to such a dismissal, which is often referred to as a "Mankad" (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012), as being against the 'Spirit of Cricket', but it did just that last February.  It said then that the "tendency to interpret the action of [a] bowler who attempts such a run-out" as unfair is wrong, for they are "acting within the Laws while the batsman, [who is] often identified as the victim, is in reality guilty of breaking the Laws" by stealing ground.  

 

On Friday the MCC said that incidents similar to Barrow's have in the past "proven [to be] evocative for both spectators and cricket fans around the world".  Kartik "broke no Laws of the game" it said, and while warning the batsman is "a practice that has become widely accepted" in the game, "claims that the MCC had removed the warning requirement from the Laws are inaccurate" as the "Laws have never included any such requirement".  In any case "Kartik did warn Barrow about excessive backing-up before dismissing him", says the statement.

 

The MCC also points out, once again, that there is a difference between Law 42.15 as it is written and the version that is contained in County Championship Playing Conditions (CCPC).  "Some [observers] have pointed out that Kartik had entered his delivery stride when he removed the [Barrow's] bails", and that as such Hartley "should have signalled dead ball", says the MCC.  As such "they are right" for the Law itself states in part that: "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the nonstriker".

 

However, continues the MCC, there is a subtle difference in the CCPC version, for since October last year it has followed the approach taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and reads: "The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker".  That small variation therefore allows "the bowler more scope to run out the batsman and should force the batsman to stay within his crease for a longer period", concludes the MCC, for the ICC was concerned that non-striker batsmen in internationals were stealing ground inappropriately and too often.

 

The tenants surrounding Law 42.15 is on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the MCC Laws sub-committee at Lord's (PTG 987-    4795 below).

 

DEW A 'MAJOR FACTOR' IN 

ABU DHABI 'TWO-DAY' ODI

[PTG 987-4794]

 

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haqsaid said yesterday that he was fortunate his side did not bowl last in the second One Day International (ODI) against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Friday-Saturday as the latter's bowlers found it hard to grip the ball in the late evening and early morning, "dew [being] a major factor".  The match, which started at 6 p.m. on Friday and finished a 2.30 a.m. local time on Saturday because of the day-time heat (PTG 958-4655, 7 July 2012), saw the Australia's bowlers deliver thirteen wides in conditions of "95 per cent humidity".

 

Australia captain Michael Clarke said after the game that his side had trained late at night on the Thursday evening and the dew wasn't anywhere near as heavy then.  ''It was certainly a surprise for all of us once we walked out to field today, so it was the wrong decision after winning the toss to bat first", he said, although he did not "want to take anything away from Pakistan [as] they outplayed us today".  Several unconfirmed reports said that Aussie David Warner appeared at once stage to rub sawdust on the ball, presumably in an attempt to help improve the bowler's grip, but that he was warned by English umpire Nigel Llong about the practice.  

 

Ahead of the series, Pakistan vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez called the playing times "odd" and that they "will require some adjustment", however, as "professionals, we are ready to play and we will manage once the series gets underway".   In their preparation for the series the Australians utilised a 'high tech' approach to deal with heat-related issues (PTG 987-4796 below). 

 

A week prior to the Pakistan series getting underway, during its one-off ODI against Afghanistan in Sharjah, a game that was also played as a late night fixture, Australian bowlers are said to have found it difficult to control the ball because of "constant sweating".  "Probably the most important thing for us is when bowling second [in that game was the realisation] how much you're sweating", said Clarke immediately after that match, adding that his players felt fatigued by the time the game ended after midnight local time.

 

Bowler Mitchell Starc said that "towards the end both balls were quite hard to hold on to, [for as soon as] you wipe yourself down with a towel you're already sweating again, [but] in the end the bowlers did quite well to control the ball".  Clarke said that as a result of that experience they planned to "combat" it for the Pakistan series by ensuring bowlers wear "sweatbands and towels [are available so they can] hang onto the ball".  "I don't think we thought too much about the humidity [as] we thought it was going to be a dry heat", said Starc, who went on to mention briefly "the dew as well".

 

Dew is one of the issues of concern that are raised when the question of day-night Test cricket is discussed.  The latest 'first class' type day-night match to be played as part of trials in the lead up to a posible Test being played under such conditions, is due to get underway in Potchefstroom, South Africa, later today (PTG 982-4761, 22 August 2012).

 

'SWITCH HIT', FINN 'DEAD BALL'  

CALLS, ON MCC LAWS  AGENDA 

[PTG 987-4795]

 

One issue known to be on the agenda for today's meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee at Lord's is the  question of whether the Laws of the game should be amended in to better deal with 'switch hit' situations.  The MCC said after the latest meeting of its World Cricket Committee last month that there was "some support" during that gathering, which was also held at Lord's, for amending the LBW Law to cover such shots, although some of the "leading" umpires consulted did not want to have to differentiate between a 'switch hit' and a 'reverse sweep' (PTG 978-4742, 16 August 2012).  

 

The Laws sub-committee declared its general support for the switch-hit nearly four years ago (PTG 259-1409, 18 June 2008), indicating then that 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".  In June this year Laws sub-committee was said to be forming a "working party of experts" to gather feedback from players and officials on their views of the 'switch hit' shot (PTG 947-4604, 11 June 2012).  

 

Another matter to be considered by the group later today is the Steven Finn, broken wicket, 'dead ball' situation, that occurred at Headingley last month in the Test between England and South Africa (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012).  Australian umpire Steve Davis called 'dead ball' when Finn dislodged the bails at the non-striker's end on a number of occasions during the first day of play.  

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board, primarily its umpire manager Chris Kelly who is also a member of the MCC Laws sub-committee, told its umpires a few days later not to call 'dead ball' in such circumstances (PTG 975-4730, 10 August 2012), while the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided after that that "a degree of repetition or a significant 'demolition of the stumps was needed before such a call is made in future" (PTG 979-4740, 16 August 2012).

 

The sub-committee is currently chaired by Robert Griffiths QC, and includes in addition to Kelly, John Jameson, Sheila Hill, Paddy O’Hara, Stan Bennett, Alan Fordham, David Richardson, Simon Taufel and Chinmay Gupte; MCC staff members John Stephenson and Fraser Stewart also attending their meetings.

 

Jamieson 71, was both a first class player and umpire; Hill 84, has umpired and scored in women's Tests; O'Hara 74 is a former umpire, Fordham and Stephenson, both 47 and Gupte 40 are former first class players; Kelley 54, a former first class umpire; Stewart 38 a former Minor Counties player; Richardson the current Chief Executive Officer of the ICC and a former Test player; and Taufel a current member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel.

 

Taufel was at Lord's yesterday standing in what is likely to be not only his last appearance on the field at the 'home of cricket', but also his last One Day International, that game being between England and South Africa.  The Australian is expected to retire from umpiring at ICC-level in October (PTG 962-4679, 16 July 2012), and yesterday's ODI took him to equal third on the current all-time umpire match list for such games alongside his now-retired countryman Daryl Harper (PTG 980-4754, 18 August 2012).  

 

AUSSIES GO TO EXTREMES 

TO PLAY IN EXTREMES

[PTG 987-4796]

 

'Slushies', microscopic thermometers, ice baths and rooms on the dark side of the hotel, are all part of the measures Cricket Australia (CA) has gone to to manage what it calls the "unusual playing conditions" their national side is being subjected to during the current One Day International (ODI) series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  In order to try and deal with the stifling heat that is the norm in the UAE at this time of the year, matches are starting at 6 p.m. local time, just 30 minutes before the sun sets, and conclude at 2 a.m. the next morning (PTG 958-4655, 7 July 2012); the fixtures being in effect the first 'two-day' ODIs.

 

In preparing for the series, CA's "high performance team" undertook a range of studies during the squad's pre-tour training camp in Darwin late last month, including using space technology to measure the impact of hot conditions on player performance.  That involved players being given NASA-developed pill thermometers to swallow at breakfast.  Such devices, which are accurate to one tenth of a degree celsius, transmit a low-frequency signal to a recorder outside the body, and by mid-afternoon, when players were working their hardest at training, the device is in the intestines, "the perfect place to record rises in core temperature", says CA. 

 

CA nutritionist Michelle Cort says that managing body temperature during matches is critical to on-field performance.  As is fairly obvious, "once a critical [body] core temperature of around 38.5 degrees is reached the brain starts to change behaviours", and it will for instance "tell the body to walk instead of run, [while] concentration levels decrease and skill execution fails", she says.  Maximum day time temperatures in Darwin were some ten degrees cooler that in the UAE at this time of year.

 

Cort indicated that Australian newcomer Glenn Maxwell was one of the players to produce "some surprising results" during the heat testing experiments in Darwin.  "Once workload drops and intensity decreases, body temperature should start to come down, [but] that didn't happen with Glenn", she said.  Instead "his temperature continued to rise, to quite an extreme 39.9 degrees, indicating his body doesn't handle heat all that well", while a wicket keeper has additional challenges and for Matthew Wade his cooling system is "hampered by the amount of equipment he is required to wear".

 

The nutritionist says that the plan to manage extreme heat issues in the UAE begins in the hotel room.  About an hour before a player such as Maxwell leaves the hotel on match day his hydration plan begins with a 'slushie', a slurry of small ice crystals and liquid water which are, in CA's case, often flavoured with cordial or the like; a machine that produces the mix being set up in the team room at the hotel.  Once he is at the stadium though he "is served another" slushie and put into an ice bath before the match begins.  

 

During an innings, says Cort, which presumably means when the Australian side is in the field, "players like Maxwell will often be brought from the [ground] for more cold drinks and a cold bath", the latter being taken for ten minutes at 15 degrees, then at the end of the match the heat management plan continues with ice baths and drinking "really cold fluids".  Whether that involves imbibing one of the products of the tour sponsor, a prominent Australian beer manufacturer, is not clear.  It is also not known whether playing conditions for the series allow substitutes when a player leaves the field for a bath.

 

To accommodate the late playing times that apply in the UAE for the Pakistan series, CA's 'High performance team' have deliberately prevented the players from adjusting to the local time zone in order that they are at "peak levels" during the late day hours of play (PTG 983-4769, 24 August 2012).  Players are being encouraged to wake around midday for breakfast, and head to lunch at 5 p.m. In addition they are allocated bed rooms on the western side of their hotel where the sun does not shine on until the afternoon hours, a move that assists in blocking out bright sunlight.

 

Whether the umpires who are out on the field during the games take part in a similar heat management regime is not known (PTG 985-4782, 28 August 2012)

 

COUNTY PLAYERS DISCIPLINED 

FOR ON-FIELD OFFENCES  

[PTG 987-4797]

 

Hampshire's Neil McKenzie has been handed a reprimand by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for two offences committed during the final of the ECB's Twenty20 competition in Cardiff two Saturdays ago.  The South African batsman was reported by umpires Rob Bailey and Michael Gough after "appearing unimpressed" by an LBW decision given against him, and for later claiming a catch that was given 'not out' by television umpire Nick Cook; the charges against him being for showing dissent at the officials' decision.

 

Meanwhile, Worcestershire's Jack Shantry has received three ECB disciplinary points after "throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate or dangerous manner" during a 40-over one-day match against Lancashire in Worcester on Monday.  Details of the incident are not clear, but the situation was obviously serious enough for umpires Neil Bainton and Peter Willey to lodge a report.  Under ECB regulations the accumulation of nine penalty points in a two-year period leads to an automatic suspension.

 

ASIF PUSHING AHEAD WITH 

APPEAL AGAINST ICC BAN 

[PTG 987-4798]

 

Former Pakistani bowler Mohammad Asif is to go forward with his appeal against the seven-year ban imposed on him by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for spot-fixing activities during a Test match against England at Lord's in 2010.  The ban, the last two years of which are suspended, was imposed on him for accepting money to bowl no-balls during the game (PTG 669-3286, 17 September 2010).

 

Asif was sentenced to one year in prison by a court in London last November but was released in May after serving only half of that term.  His team-mates Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt, both of whom have since been released, were sentenced for six months and 30 months respectively by the same court. 

 

On Thursday, Asif told journalists that he had filed the appeal when the ICC handed down its ban in February last year but has now decided to formally pursue it.  A separate appeal against the ban which was lodged with the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport had been put on hold due to the legal proceedings taken against him in England, but that he plans to follow it through too in the near future.  

 

Asif, 29, said that he was "practicing hard to bring his career back on track", and to that end he had participated in an unidentified club match in England last Monday.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 988
Tuesday, 4 September 2012   

 

'FULL TIME' CONTRACTS MOOTED 

FOR INDIAN UMPIRES 

[PTG 988-4799]

 

The "top ten umpires" in India could be awarded full-time contracts for the 2012-13 season as part of attempts to "raise standards" and "meet the goal" of having someone from that country promoted to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), says an article published in the 'Mail Today' newspaper on Sunday.  If that proposal comes to fruition, it would be the latest in a series of moves made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the last five years in pursuit of EUP membership.

 

In 2007, following significant criticism of its domestic umpiring standards, the BCCI introduce a series of measures to try and improve the quality of its match officials and achieve the EUP goal (PTG 27-150, 11 April 2007).  They included: the introduction of video technology to record the performance of officials during matches (PTG 67-366, 15 July 2007); signing a three-year agreement with Cricket Australia to provide a range of training programs (PTG 87-464, 23 August 2007); and the appointment of umpire coaches (PTG 94-511, 6 September 2007).  .

 

BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty told 'Mail' journalist Qaiser Mohammal Ali that those initiatives had led to "an improvement in the quality of umpiring" at first class level in his country in the time since, but that a series of other moves had been introduced recently with the aim of improving standards "even further".

 

Those new moves, said Shetty, include apart from the full-time contract concept, the use of 'Skype' by "the top eleven umpires" to talk to each other at scheduled times "three days a week" in order to "share a variety of ideas and knowledge for their all-round growth", "learning the basics of handling computers", and the "compulsory" use of English "for better communication during matches".  He said that “umpires who can’t converse in English have been told to attend English classes at good institutes and produce the certificate after completing the course", and that "they’ve also been asked to do a certificate course in basic computer knowledge".  

 

The latest measures are being promoted by the BCCI's umpire sub-committee which includes Srinivas Venkataraghavan, its national umpire manager and a member of the EUP from 2002-04, and fellow former Test umpires Virinchirpuram Ramaswamy and Arani Jayaprakash, the latter also being the ICC's current Regional Umpire Performance Manager for India.  "We are continuously updating the umpires’ education program and assessing their performances through [the] umpire coaches", said Shetty.  

 

Venkataraghavan, Ramaswamy, Jayaprakash and Shetty have overseen the BCCI's umpire-related efforts over the past five years, including deciding the annual nomination of Indian umpires to the ICC for membership of the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Since 2007, three Indian IUP members have been allocated Test matches by the world body as part of EUP 'auditions', however, their appearances were limited to just two or three games each and the BCCI dropped each of them from the IUP very soon after; most likely after getting the 'thumbs down' on their performances from the ICC.  

 

TAUFEL 'SOON TO BE RETIRED', 

SAYS TELEVISION COMMENTATOR  

[PTG 988-4800]

 

On-going reports that Australian umpire Simon Taufel is to voluntarily stand down from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next month were further confirmed on Sunday by television commentator Michael Holding.  Speaking during play in the One Day International (ODI) between England and South Africa at Lord's, the former West Indian bowler referred to Taufel as the "soon to be retired" umpire, and said that the game at the 'home of cricket' was his last international on the field of play in England (PTG 980-4754, 18 August 2012).

 

News that the Australian was to retire from umpiring at ICC-level first surfaced nearly two months ago (PTG 962-4679, 16 July 2012), and Taufel himself added to that speculation late last month (PTG 983-4765, 24 August 2012); however, Holding's brief and limited comments are the first time the matter has been mentioned in the main stream media.  There are indications that Taufel's move is well-known in media and other circles, but for reasons that are not clear no one other than Holding, who may well have been speaking without thinking, has made public reference to the matter.

 

It would appear that Taufel, who is to work as the third umpire in the fifth and final England-South Africa ODI in Nottingham tomorrow, his twenty-second in the UK as either a on-field or television umpire, will stand in his final international during the World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka early next month.  Just which match that will be appears to be basically up to the Australian side.  If they don't make the final Taufel's international farewell as an umpire is expected to be in Colombo in that decider on Sunday, 7 October, but if they it will be in one of the semi finals there a few days before.  

 

However, there are indications that Taufel will still be seen on the field after that, for other reports received by 'PTG' suggest he is to stand in the non-ICC Champions League (CL) T20 series in South Africa late next month.  In the last four years Taufel has signed on for four Indian Premier League series, during which he worked in 51 matches, four of them finals, plus five games in the one-off Stanford T20 event in the West Indies (PTG 342, 1813, 3 November 2008).  Such events, which were non-ICC but ICC "approved" competitions, are believed to be, like the CL, particularly well-paying events for match officials.

 

Taufel's departure from the EUP is expected to see fellow Australian Bruce Oxenford, who will also stand in the T20 World championship  in Sri Lanka (PTG 948-4610, 12 June 2012), promoted in his place, and that in turn will see changes being needed to umpiring panels in Australia.  

 

Moves anticipated by many include the promotion of Simon Fry of South Australia to an on-field spot on the ICC's second-tier International Umpire Panel alongside Paul Reiffel, and the elevation of Victorian John Ward to fill the vacancy left by Fry.  Oxenford's departure means that Cricket Australia's (CA) twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) will then be one-man short, but whether CA plans to name a replacement or leave it open for competition over the forthcoming season, as it has done in similar circumstances in the past, is not known.

 

If it does name a twelfth members then it would appear that Queenslander Damien Mealey, who has been on CA's emerging umpires list over the last two years, is the likely to be the choice ahead of more experienced umpire Richard Patterson of Victoria.  That pair is in Brisbane this week for CA's emerging umpires program (PTG 974-4725, 8 August 2012), however, several reports suggest that Mealey also attended last week's NUP two-day pre-season meeting on the outskirts of Melbourne, a pointer that his promotion may be imminent.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 989
Thursday, 6 September 2012  


BANGLADESH SCHEDULES DAY-NIGHT 

FIRST CLASS MATCHES 

[PTG 989-4801]

 

One of the opening matches of the 2012-13 National Cricket League (NCL) first class season in Bangladesh next month, as well as the final of the competition in April, are to be played with pink balls in a day-night format.  The move by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) comes as a direct result of the International Cricket Council's annual conference decision last June that day-night Tests be introduced provided both teams in a series agree, and its encouragement for trials of such games to be undertaken at domestic first class level around the world in the interim (PTG 953-4629, 26 June 2012).

 

The planned matches mean that Bangladesh will become the fifth region where Test cricket is played to see a day-night first class day-night fixture over the last three years.  The West Indies Cricket Board has played a total of eight such games in that time (PTG 896-4362, 2 February 2012), Pakistan the last two finals of its domestic first class series (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2011), the United Arab Emirates saw the last three English County season openers (PTG 911-4431, 8 March 2012), while England witnessed a single, hastily arranged, late season match twelve months ago (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011).  

 

The current trial in South Africa does not have first class status (PTG 989-4802 below), and no day-night first class matches have been scheduled in that country or Australia over the next six months (PTG 974-4728, 8 August 2012), nor in New Zealand where playing times for the thirty Plunket Shield fixtures for 2012-13 were released this week.  The 108 home and away matches in India's Ranji Trophy series for the coming season are all listed for 9.30 a.m. local time starts, but playing hours for the seven quarter final, semi final and final games in January have not yet been released.  Whether any other first class games scheduled there will be day-nighters is not yet clear.  Over in Zimbabwe all of the twenty Logan Cup games in 2012-13 are to be played during daylight hours.  

 

Orange balls were used in day-night Sheffield Shield games in Australia way back in the 1996-97 season, and the final of the Ranji Trophy was also floodlit in 1997, although white balls were used in the latter game and they had to be replaced regularly.  Two-and-a-half years ago Australia conducted day-night trials in its interstate Second XI competition (PTG 565-2867, 4 February 2010), but the furthest that country has gone since has been four 'twilight' domestic first class fixtures during the 2011-12 season, none of which qualify as day-night games (PTG 899-4372, 9 February 2012). 

 

In announcing the BCB day-night plans its president, AHM Mustafa Kamal, also said that the NCL is to become a franchise-based tournament, and that the final will, in addition to the day-night format, be played over five days.  Both next month's day-night game and the final in April will be played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.  The first game will see the sun will set at around 5.30 p.m. local time and the second close to 6.20 p.m.

 

BALL PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED IN

POTCHEFSTROOM DAY-NIGHTER 

[PTG 989-4802]

 

The need to change the ball twice because of its condition appears to be the most notable issue to have arisen during the early part of the trial day-night, pre-season, match being played this week in Potchefstroom, South Africa.  The game, which is between two of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) franchise sides, the Dragons and the Knights, features "new improved", 'Kookaburra Turf' pink balls, black sight screens, players wearing white clothing, and playing hours that run from 2.30 to 9 p.m. local time (PTG 982-4761, 22 August 2012).  

 

CSA match referee Devdas Govindjee, who is also on the International Cricket Council's second-tier Regional Referees Panel, was quoted by local media outlets as saying after day two that "three balls [have been] used in the match so far, after the seam in the first ball split and the colour of the second faded".  However, he also said that the pitch "was quite abrasive and that played a part in the ball being changed as well".

 

Knight’s skipper and wicket-keeper batsman, Morne Van Wyk, who scored one of two centuries made on day one, is said to have been "positive" about the day-night concept, although he also made the comment that it "can get quite tricky during the twilight phase where it can get quite hard to bat", however, "when it got darker it got a bit easier to bat".

 

Similar sentiments have been expressed about the twilight period several times in the past.  For example John Stephenson, the Marylebone Cricket Club's Head of Cricket, said after the County season opener between that club's side and Lancashire, the 2011 County champion, in Abu Dhabi last March, that he was "delighted" with the Kookuburra company's 'Generation 5' pink balls, particular their colour, visibility and durability (PTG 925-4502, 7 April 2012).  

 

However, he went on to say that he thought "we’ve got to think about the twilight period, because if it really shifts the balance of the game and compromises the integrity of the game then obviously we’ve got to address that issue".  Match reports at the time indicated it was the twilight period on the second day of the match that proved to be crucial in determining its outcome, although Stephenson also called twilight issues another "nuance" that adds "interest to the match [with] players working out tactically how to negotiate that period". 

 

While he acknowledged twilight-related issues, Stephenson was also quoted by journalists during the Abu Dhabi fixture as saying that if the game's administrators are willing to "take a leap of faith", a Test played under such conditions "may not be too far away".

 

PAY BOOST REPORTED FOR 

INDIAN MATCH OFFICIALS  

[PTG 989-4803]

 

Match officials looking after games in domestic games conducted under the auspices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be paid more for their services during the forthcoming 2012-13 season on the sub-continent.  At a recent meeting in Chennai, the BCCI is reported to have approve pay rates for match referees, umpires, umpire coaches and video analysts that are nearly double those that applied last season.

 

A report in Tuesday's 'Indian Express' says that members of the country's senior umpires panel are to receive the equivalent of 20,000 Rupees ($A350) per day, last year's figure being 11,250 Rs ($A200), while the "newer [umpires] with lesser experience and third umpires" will be paid 15,000 Rs ($A265).  

 

Daily fees for match referees and umpire coaches are set to rise from 10,000 Rs ($A175) to 15,000 Rs ($A265), while umpire-related video analysts will from now on be paid 7,500 Rs ($A130) and their assistants 6,000 ($A105).  Scorers were paid 3,000 Rs ($A50) a day last year but that is to rise to 5,000 Rs ($A90).  

 

A survey late last year indicated that the average annual income in India is around 445,520 Rs ($A7,800), therefore an umpire would need to stand in six first class matches a year to reach that level of remuneration and scorers eighteen to twenty.  Most first class umpires in India in recent years have stood in only two to three games a season, although that may change for ten umpires if the BCCI actually introduces its mooted full-time contract plan for senior officials (PTG 988-4799, 4 September 2012). 

 

An unnamed BCCI official is quoted by the 'Express' as saying that "match officials haven’t received a rise in three years and the Board felt this was the right time to increase their fees".  In the scorers case the increase is their first since 2006.

 

PLAYER HANDED 'INDEFINITE' 

BAN FOR SPOT-FIXING  

[PTG 989-4804]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has banned former international Shariful Haque "indefinitely" after an inquiry found him guilty of spot-fixing, say reports from Dhaka on Tuesday.  BCB spokesman Jalal Yunus said that the 36-year-old was accused of approaching national player Mashrafe Mortaza before the first edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series earlier this year, "with a view to arranging spot-fixing". 

 

The BCB set up an inquiry after Mortaza, a former national captain, alleged that Haque offered him percentages of the winnings from spot-betting in return for advanced information on aspects of BPL matches.  "Mortaza was asked to provide information as to which types of caps and sunglasses he would wear during [games]", said BCB director Sirajuddin Alamgir, who was also a member of the inquiry team.

 

Alamgir said that Shariful, who becomes the first Bangladeshi player to be banned for spot-fixing, will be precluded from all cricketing activities for an indefinite period [and] we've also declared him persona non grata in all our venues and functions"; a message "that will go to everybody [including] the International Cricket Council".   "His activities around cricket will also be carefully monitored by the [BCB]", said Alamgir.

 

Shariful said on Tuesday that although he is yet to receive advice from the BCB about their decision he will "definitely appeal against this ban, one hundred percent [and] will defend myself and let everyone know about it".

 

YET ANOTHER 'TWEAK' 

TO RUPM STRUCTURE 

[PTG 989-4805]

 

Another change in country allocations for members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Regional Umpire Performance Panel (RUPM) has quietly surfaced.  Arani Jayaprakash, 63, a former first class player and Test umpire who is currently on India's top umpire selection panel (PTG 988-4799, 4 September 2012) and has held the ICC's RUPM position for Indian and Bangladesh since it was established four years ago (PTG 262-1417, 26 June 2008), now only has India as his area of responsibility.

 

The RUPM role in Bangladesh has been handed to former Sri Lankan Test umpire Peter Manuel, 61, who previously looked after the duties of that position in his home country and Pakistan.  Earlier this year, following the retirement of former South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen from the RUPM Africa spot, Englishman Barry Dudleston had Africa added to the responsibilities he had for England and the West Indies (PTG 964-4688, 20 July 2012).    

 

Around the same time the ICC called for applications for what is its Australian-New Zealand (ANZ) RUPM spot that former first class umpire Bob Stratford has occupied since 2008 (PTG 973-4721, 7 August 2012).  Stratford's last duty in that position was, along with Manuel, supporting and observing the sixteen umpires who stood in last month's Under-19 World Cup in Australia.  Applications for the ANZ spot closed three weeks ago today, and with the international season in the region due to start in early November the selection process for that position should by now be well advanced.  

 

Reports suggest that recent changes in the RUPM system are related to the appointment of current Australian international umpire Simon Taufel to an oversight and management role of just how that group functions.  Taufel is expected to announcing his retirement from on-field duties in internationals early next month to take up that role (PTG 988-4800, 4 September 2012).

 

In basic terms, the current role of RUPM members is to work with and support ICC 'Elite' and second-tier 'International' umpire panel members who are assigned to international matches in their region, a task that involves keeping detailed logs of on-field work, and preparing general reports of performance (PTG 234-1296, 24 April 2008).  Whether Taufel plans to revamp aspects of the RUPM role is not yet entirely clear.  

 

NEW EDITIONS OF 'YOU ARE 

THE UMPIRE' AVAILABLE 

[PTG 989-4806]

 

Three new editions of the cartoon-based 'You are the Umpire' series have appeared in 'The Guardian' in recent weeks.  Three new strips, each of which features three match scenarios for umpires to consider, are available on the newspaper's web site, and the answers provided by former Test umpire John Holder have drawn quite a few responses from readers.

 

Issues included in Number 50 of the series are a batsman who is out of his ground when a ball rebounds from his helmet and breaks his stumps, the 'Steven Finn' broken wicket situation (PTG 978-4740, 16 August 2012), and an unusual catch situation involving the non-striker.  Number 51 centres on a high-flying ball that hits a batsman's stumps, a batsman hit on the head by a ball whose wicket is broken by his dropped bat, and a catch taken close to the boundary.  The latest, Number 52, has situations involving a batsman colliding with his stumps, three men behind square leg, and the deliberate breaking of the stumps.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 990
Monday, 10 September 2012 


UMPIRE APPOINTMENTS FOR INITIAL 

WORLD T20 MATCHES ANNOUNCED 

[PTG 990-4807]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed eight members of its 12-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) to all but four of the 48 on-field umpiring positions available in the Group stage of the men's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C), the first match of which will be played tomorrow week in Sri Lanka.  Of the other four EUP members, two plus Bruce Oxenford of Australia will fill those four men's on-field spots, after which those five will move on to manage matches in the Group phase of women's section of the three-week long event.  


The eight EUP members named for men's Group matches are: Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan); Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka); Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough (England); and Steve Davis, Rod Tucker and Simon Taufel (Australia); while their match referees will be Jeff Crowe (New Zealand) and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).  Dar, Dharmasena, Kettleborough, Taufel and Tucker, plus 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, who was not allocated a men's Group game on the field, have all been short-listed for this year's ICC 'Umpire of the Year' award, the winner of which will be announced this Saturday (PTG 986-4784, 31 August 2012).    


In addition to Bowden and Oxenford, those who will look after women's Group games are EUP members Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Tony Hill (New Zealand) and Nigel Llong (England); their match referee being Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka, a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.  Prior to the women's Group matches, Erasmus will be on the field for two men's Group fixtures, and Llong and Oxenford in one each, while the participation of Hill and Bowden will be limited to single fourth umpire appointments.


The men's 16-team, 24-match Group stage is being played in stadiums in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, Hambantota 240 km to the south-east, and Pallekele near the centre of the island nation some 130 km north-east of the capital.  Davis, Gould, Kettleborough, Tucker and Crowe will be based in Hambantota then move to Pallekele for Group games, while the match officials in Colombo will be Dar, Dharmasena, Rauf, Taufel and Madugalle.  The Hambantota-Pallekele umpire group have each been given two on-field games, and those who will be Colombo-based three each.      


Bowden, Erasmus, Hill, Llong, Oxenford and La Brooy will start off in Pallekele in men's games and then travel to Galle, 120 km south of Colombo, for the 12 women's Group matches.  Those games will be played at the same time as the men's 8-team, 12-match 'Super 8' section of the tournament, after which both the men's and women's semi finals and finals of the tournament will be played in Colombo.  If the ICC follows past practice it is unlikely that La Brooy and his five umpires will move back into contention for the men's semi finals and final.  


For Davis, Hill, Madugalle, Rauf and Taufel it will be their fourth successive men's WT20C series, Bowden, Dar, Erasmus, Gould and Tucker their third, Crowe his second, and Dharmasena, Kettleborough, Llong and Oxenford their first.  To date Madugalle has looked after two of the three men's finals played, while Taufel has stood in two of the three, and Dar in one.  Overall, Madugalle has currently overseen 46 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and Crowe 30, while Taufel heads the umpire group with 26 T20Is on the field so far in his career, then comes Bowden with 19, Dar 18, Hill and Rauf each 17, Gould 15, Davis 14, Erasmus 13, Oxenford 11, Tucker 8, and Dharmasena, Kettleborough and Llong all 4.


Prior to the tournament proper 16 'warm up' games will be played, 12 men's and 4 women's, the first of which is to be played this Thursday.  With the exception of Rauf, all of the umpires named for the tournament are to stand in at least one of those games, Erasmus having two, the other spots being filled by senior Sri Lankan umpires who will also look after all four women's warm up games.


LATEST FINN STUMP BREAK SEES 

ANOTHER CALL OF 'DEAD BALL' 

[PTG 990-4808]


A ball delivered by England bowler Steven Finn was called 'dead' after he broke the stumps in his follow through during the first Twenty20 International against South Africa at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, however, media reports available are somewhat confusing.  Finn had a number of deliveries called 'dead' in similar circumstances during a Test match between the two sides at Headingley early last month (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012).


According to reports from Saturday's game, Finn first broke the stumps in the third ball of his last over, a delivery that South African batsman Jean-Paul Duminy hit for four.  Both Finn and England captain Stuart Broad are said to have "enquired politely" with home umpire Rob Bailey as to why he didn't call 'dead ball', but what the advice provided to them was was not reported.  Two balls later, however, 'dead ball' was called after Finn broke the stumps again, but the batsman turned the ball to third man and ran one, say match reports.


None of the media reports consulted by 'PTG' provided any detail as just what Bailey's approach to the situation was, although one report stated after the 'dead ball' call that "Finn had had his warning".  Interestingly though, three separate on-line ball-by-ball descriptions indicate that the run concerned was in fact added to the score.  During the Headingley Test two fours that resulted from shots played off Finn balls that were called 'dead' did not count.


Following that Test match the International Cricket Council was reported to have decided that when a bowler accidentally breaks the wicket during his delivery in an international match, it will "not automatically result in a call of dead ball", and that "a degree of repetition or a significant ‘demolition’ of the stumps" would be required before its umpires did so (PTG 979-4740, 16 August 2012).  The week before the England and Wales Cricket Board, Bailey's normal employer, advised its first class umpires that they should not call 'dead ball' if bowlers disturb the wicket at the non-striker’s end in a Finn-type situation (PTG 975-4730, 10 August 2012).  


The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee examined the issue at its meeting last Monday (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012), but so far no details of their deliberations on the matter have been made public.  


COUNTY UPSET BY PLAYER'S 

MID-MATCH ARRIVAL 

[PTG 990-4809]


Derbyshire's head coach Karl Krikken has called the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to allow Kent and England bowler James Tredwell to join his side midway through their first class match at Canterbury this week "totally and utterly wrong". Tredwell played for his country in the One Day International (ODI) against South Africa on Wednesday, then travelled to Kent in time for days three and four of the match there on Thursday-Friday, a fixture that was important for both team's chances of promotion to Division 1 of the County championship next year.


According to London's 'Daily Telegraph' the ECB advised Kent, Derbyshire and umpires Nick Cook and Neil Mallender via e-mail before the game that Tredwell would be able to take part in the Canterbury match in place of a nominated player, "but only if he was deemed surplus to requirements in Wednesday's ODI".  Tredwell actually played in Nottingham but that match ended early and the ECB is reported to have then granted Kent’s request to release him on the basis that he had time to travel the 320 km to Canterbury for day three of the Derbyshire game.  


Derbyshire are said to have been "furious" at what they are said to have seen as a reversal of the ECB's earlier position on the matter, Krikken going on to call the decision “a nonsense", and "moving the goalposts".  However, a spokesman for the ECB said the moved showed "flexibility" and "underlines [our] intention to let internationals appear in domestic cricket where possible". “We operate on the basis that England players should be made available for their counties so long as there are no fitness or workload issues", he said.


Under the Laws of Cricket, Tredwell could only have taken part in the last two days of the game with the approval of Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen, but the ECB's Playing conditions, like those of many other competitions around the world, allow for such changes.  The key part of the ECB's domestic first class Playing Conditions states that "If a player is either with the England squad but omitted from the final Xl, or in exceptional circumstances [returns] from other England duty", he can participate in "at least two full days of [a] County Championship match in place of a nominated player who may or may not have already participated in the match". 



Tredwell did not bat or bowl in the first two innings of the match, Adam Riley doing both for his side.  However, on Tredwell's return Riley was replaced, the England player batting for a short while in Kent's second innings on Thursday for two 'not out', then bowling a total of 33 overs in Derbyshire's second innings on Thursday afternoon and on Friday for a total of just 34 runs.  

 

POTCHEFSTROOM PINK BALL ISSUES 

WORSE THAN INITIAL REPORTS 

[PTG 990-4810]


During the first innings of last week's trial day-night match played under first class conditions in Potchefstroom, South Africa, the pink balls used had to be changed five times in the 112 overs involved, and not twice as indicated by earlier reports (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012).  In that innings the Knights side scored 562 runs, however, despite that their coach Sarel Cilliers was unimpressed with the ball, says a 'Cricinfo' report. 


Journalist Matt Bright quotes Cilliers as saying that "as soon as the ball gets scuffed up, it loses colour", but that "other than that it behaved like a normal ball and didn't lose shape but I can't see the ball manufacturers getting it right".  Monty Jacobs the coach of the opposing side talked of it "scuffing easily", that "it doesn't shine like a red ball", and that as it had to be changed so often "you lose that element of swing in the middle overs".


Jacobs said that it was not only the seamers who struggled to get the pink ball to move, for the spinners also had problems.  "They struggled to grip the ball at times so eventually it became a bit like a one-day ball with the spinners just darting it in instead of trying to spin it", he said.


Match referee Devdas Govindjee, who is to forward a report on the match to Cricket South Africa (CSA), who in turn will send it to the International Cricket Council for consideration, told Bright that colour was not the only problem for one of the changes, which was reported previously, was because of a split seam.  "After that we changed [the ball] on average every 25 overs", said Govindjee. 


However, the match referee continued by saying that "we have to remember that it was the first time anyone was doing this so there was also some uncertainty at times [and] if you look at day two, we only changed the ball once, which is normal, I would say".  "On day one, there were various reasons that the ball was scuffing like that, it could have been because the bowling side did not look after the ball too well, for example", or it may have been "because of the pitch, which was more abrasive on day one".


Govindjee also highlighted issues related to how the pitch was managed during the match.  On the first day the covers were removed at 7 a.m., the normal time for a first-class match starting at 10 a.m.  That gave the playing surface seven hours of sunshine before play began at 2 p.m., writes Bright, but on the second day they were only removed at 12:30 p.m., an hour and half before the start of play, and the ball is said to have behaved differently, perhaps as a result.


CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul was quoted as saying after the game ended in a draw on Thursday when heavy rains washed out the entire fourth day's play, that "it seems as though as the ball does not last very long [and] it will have to be investigated more if cricket is played this way in future".


ARM GUARD LOGO 

RESULTS IN ICC REPRIMAND 

[PTG 990-4811]


Malaysia's Mohd Anwar Arudin has been reprimanded for breaching International Cricket Council Clothing and Equipment Regulations during his side's match against Singapore in World Cricket League Division 4 tournament in Kuala Lumpur last week.  The ICC said in a statement that the arm guard he used when batting "featured a logo which is not permitted".  The charge against Arudin was brought by Namibian umpire Wynand Louw and the Malaysian accepted the sanction proposed by the tournament Referee David Jukes of England.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 991
Sunday, 16 September 2012 

DHARMASENA NAMED 2012 

WORLD 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

[PTG 991-4812]

 

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena was named as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2012 'Umpire of the Year' at a ceremony in his home city of Colombo last night.  Somewhat remarkably, Dharmasena  won the 'David Shepherd' trophy for the first time after only twelve months on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and just over first years into his umpiring career (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).

 

In accepting the award from former England captain Graham Gooch last night, Dharmasena said that it was "a real honour" and that "having been a cricketer has helped me with my decision making as an umpire".  Dharmasena, 41, becomes the first former international player to win the world's top umpiring trophy, having featured in 31 Tests and 141 One Day Internationals (ODI) for Sri Lanka in the period from 1993-2004; a time during which he was part of his nation's 1996 World Cup-winning squad.  

 

After retiring as a player Dharmasena made his umpiring debut at first class level just four years later in January 2008 and at international level exactly 12 months after that, and has since gone on the stand in a total 10 Tests, 40 ODIs and four Twenty20 Internationals to date.  In the voting period for the 2012 award, which ran from 4 August 2011 to 6 August this year and was decided on the basis of votes cast by international captains and match referees plus ICC "umpires’ performance statistics", Dharmasena stood in seven Tests and thirteen ODIs (PTG 977-4735, 14 August 2012). 

 

The Sri Lankan won the award from a short list of umpires made up of 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, Richard Kettleborough of England, who joined the EUP at the same time as Dharmasena, three-time winner Aleem Dar of Pakistan (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), and Australian Rodney Tucker and his countryman, five-time winner Simon Taufel (PTG 310-1619, 11 September 2008).  For Taufel it was his last ICC annual award ceremony as a contender for the award for he is to leave the EUP next month and take up what is being described as a new "world-wide umpire educator" position.

 

VETTORI WINS ICC 'SPIRIT OF 

CRICKET' AWARD

[PTG 991-4813]

 

New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori was awarded the International Cricket Council's 'Spirit of Cricket Award' for 2012 at a ceremony held in Colombo last night.  Vettori was selected for his action during a Test match against Zimbabwe in Bulwayo last November, and was one five nominees originally put forward last month for this year's award  (PTG 986-4788, 31 August 2012).  

 

The incident for which the then New Zealand captain subsequently won the award occurred at a time when Zimbabwe required 64 runs with five wickets in hand to win the Test.  Batsman Regis Chakabva played a ball from Vettori to mid-on but during his follow through the Kiwi accidentally impeded non-striker Malcolm Waller from running.  Chakabva had started to run, however, on seeing that Waller was not going anywhere he tried to retreat and make good his ground again at the batting crease, but the bails were removed before he could do so.  

 

The ICC says that Vettori "immediately held up his hand to wicketkeeper Reece Young to indicate there had been a collision", and "New Zealand elected not to appeal because of Vettori’s admittance to blocking Waller’s path".  The "gesture was done with the minimum of fuss", says the ICC, and as such it was "deemed" after a vote by ICC match referee, top umpires and the ten Test captains around the world, "as being the best illustration of the 'Spirit of Cricket' " in international cricket over the past year. 

 

Vettori said on receiving the award that his actions were "the right thing to do at the time [for] we as a team try and play with the right 'Spirit of Cricket' and that "in trying to win you have to try and [do so] in the right way and always with the 'Spirit of Cricket' in mind".

 

The award, which for the first seven years of its existence was team-focussed, was won in 2011 by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (PTG 831-4059, 11 September 2011).  Prior to that the New Zealand side won it in 2004, 2009 and 2010, England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and 2009 (E-News 678-3328, 7 October 2010).

 

ONE WARNING THEN 'DEAD BALL' IN

'FINN' BROKEN-WICKET SITUATIONS

[PTG 991-4814]

 

There are indications that bowlers who break the wicket when delivering balls in international matches will now receive a warning the first time it happens, but any repeat during an innings will result in the umpire at the non-striker's end calling 'dead ball'.  The new arrangement, which has been introduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after consideration of the Steven Finn situation in a Test at Headingley last month (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012), is also being considered by the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012), and could end up being added to the game's Laws in October next year.

 

The MCC's World Cricket Committee said following its mid-August meeting that it was "pleased to hear" that the ICC had decided that when a bowler accidentally breaks the wicket during his delivery it will "not automatically result in a call of dead ball", but rather that "a degree of repetition or a significant ‘demolition’ of the stumps" will be required" (PTG 979-4740, 16 August 2012).  It was not clear then that the ICC had opted for the "one warning" approach, but prior to that the England and Wales Cricket Board decided that in its domestic competitions, which were then still underway, its umpires should not call the ball 'dead' in such circumstances (PTG 975-4730, 10 August 2012). 

 

'PTG' understands that the new ICC rule is to apply during the World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka over the next three weeks.  It may have come into force more recently than that though for Finn was 'dead balled' the second time he broke the stumps in a Twenty20 International at Chester-le-Street eight days ago (PTG 990-4807, 10 September 2012).  Given the ICC's move it would not surprise if home Boards in countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, where new domestic seasons are about to get underway, adopt the change for their top-level competitions, but as yet no announcements have been made. 

 

SKIPPER RECEIVES 'SUSPENDED 

BAN' FOR DISSENT  

[PTG 991-4815]

 

Bangladesh batsman Shariar Nafees will be part of his country's 'A' team in the four-day game against the West Indies' High Performance Centre next week after he was handed a "suspended ban" by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Tuesday.  Reports last month said that Nafees, who was the captain of the 'A' side during its tour of India, was sent home one game early after he "showed dissent at an umpire's decision" during a match in Bangalore. 

 

Nafees is said to have apologised for his actions at a BCB hearing held in Dhaka last Tuesday, and disciplinary committee chairman Sirajuddin Mohammad Alamgir told journalists the following day that "the suspended ban will be in place for an indefinite period but [that if Nafees] does anything untoward in the future, he will be banned for six months".

 

Reports from Bangalore at the time said that Nafees "lingered at the crease after the umpire adjudged him out" on the second day of a four-day game against a Karnataka State Cricket Association XI and that he was later "summoned by the match commissioner and warned".  BCB Cricket Operations chairman Enayet Hossain Siraj was quoted the following day as saying that Nafees "was sent home for breach of discipline" as a result of "recommendations made by team management".


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 992
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 


PAKISTANI UMPIRE CLEARED OF BETTING 

CHARGES, SEEKS REINSTATEMENT

[PTG 992-4816]

 

Former Pakistani Test spinner Akram Raza wants to revive his first class umpiring career after recently being cleared of involvement in a betting ring.  Raza and six others were arrested by Lahore police in May last year and charged with placing and taking illegal bets on the Indian Premier League which was then underway (PTG 762-3745, 16 May 2011), however, he has always proclaimed his innocence and called the situation he found himself in "a set up" (PTG 764-3749, 20 May 2011).

 

Raza, who was stood down by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after his arrest, was quoted on Sunday as saying that since the court's recent decision he has "written to the [PCB] asking them to reinstate me on the domestic umpires panel".  The now 47-year-old, who played nine Tests and 49 One Day Internationals (ODI) for his country from 1989-95, made his umpiring debut in 2009 and had stood in 23 first class and 14 List A games by the time of the PCB ban.  His suspension came as he was said to have been under consideration for a spot on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel  (IUP) (PTG 774-3789, 15 June 2011).

 

The former off spinner said on Sunday that he "was wrongly implicated in the case" and had "always been sincere in my 30-year cricketing career, be it as a player or an umpire".  "I walked into a trap as I was called to the building to meet with a friend [and] I think it was a conspiracy to defame me because I was earning the reputation of being a good umpire", he said.  The 'Express Tribune' quotes him as saying "that there was a plan against me by an umpires’ lobby which dragged my name into the scandal because I was going up the ladder very quickly".  “I have now submitted all court documents clearing me in the case with the Board", and he hopes "they will restore my umpiring career in the coming domestic season", which is due to get underway next month. 

 

An PCB official told journalists on Sunday that Raza’s application for reinstatement was "being looked into", but that the matter would have to be decided by the Board's integrity committee.  “We’ve seen the documents provided by Raza and he is likely to be reappointed", said one unnamed PCB official, however, another said his appointment was "unlikely as PCB chief Zaka Ashraf looks set to decide against it".  “Ashraf may decide against [Raza's] appointment as there is no point in investing [time and money in] him, [for] if we send his name to the [ICC for a IUP position at some future date] they are likely to reject it".

 

Raza was one of six players fined twelve years ago for not co-operating with a Pakistani judicial commission into match-fixing allegations laid against some Pakistan players, but he said then that he “had no role or knowledge of any fixing so what could I tell the commission?"  

 

Meanwhile, the 'Jang' newspaper has reported that former Test umpire Mahboob Shah, who stood in 28 Tests and 32 ODIs from 1975-94, has been appointed by the PCB as its umpires and match referees manager.  That move appears to be the latest in attempts to address a range of umpire-related issues in Pakistan.  In June the PCB reduced the number of umpires on its top domestic panel from the 27 to just 20 (PTG 948-4613, 12 June 2012), and soon after there were calls for umpires to undergo vision and hearing tests, and for a tightening of the way post match reports on umpire performance are put together (PTG 954-4637, 28 June 2012).

 

SCORER'S SERVICE RECOGNISED 

WITH NATIONAL AWARD 

[PTG 992-4817]

 

Otago-based Helen Simpson was named as New Zealand's inaugural 'Scorer of the Year' at the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association's recent conference for "Outstanding Services to Cricket Scoring".  Simpson, 60, has been the scorer at Dunedin's Albion club for 42 consecutive seasons and is believed to have recorded the details of close to 100 first class games, although unfortunately as is the case for most scorers, the exact number is not known as their names are not a standard part of score sheets that are available on-line.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced the scorers for its 2012-13 series of tournaments yesterday, five from Otago being selected.  Kirsty Sands (Southland) and George Morris (Dunedin) have been selected to attend the national Under-21 Women’s tournament at Lincoln in mid-December, while Brent Whear (Dunedin) will be at Lincoln in early January for the national 'A' Men’s event, and Gordon McFarlane (Dunedin) and Sarah Mollison (Southland) there for the national Under-19 men’s tournament later in January.

 

NZC says that those "tournaments are a great experience for scorers [for] it gives them a great opportunity to further develop their skills outside of their 'comfort zone' and [is also] good recognition of the work of the work they have put in" to the game of cricket. 

 

NO SURPRISES IN EARLY  

AUSSIE APPOINTMENTS 

[PTG 992-4818]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has appointed ten umpires from its National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the eight Sheffield Shield and six domestic one-day matches that are to be played in five of the six states over the next six weeks.  The only current NUP member not on the list is Bruce Oxenford from Queensland who is in Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 Championship and who is expected to be promoted to the International Cricket Council's top Elite Umpires Panel sometime next month (PTG     988-4800, 4 September 2012).

 

With Oxenford's departure leaving a vacancy on the NUP, CA has made no move in its early season appointments to give further experience at the top level of its domestic competition to potential candidates, although one of them, Damien Mealey of Queensland, was reported recently to have attended the NUP pre-season meeting outside melbourne (PTG 988-4800, 4 September 2012).  

 

Appointments released late last week show that between now and late October current NUP members Gerard Abood (NSW), Simon Fry and Paul Wilson (South Australia), John Ward (Victoria) and Paul Reiffel (Queensland) are to stand in two Shield games, while Ash Barrow, Geoff Joshua and Tony Ward (all Victoria), Ian Lock and Mick Martell (Western Australia), and Sam Nogajski (Tasmania) have one each.  All except Barrow have one or two one-day games during the same period.  

 

Of the eleven named for games, Lock is in his tenth season on the NUP, Fry, Reiffel and John Ward their eighth, Martell and Tony Ward their fifth, Joshua and Abood season four, Barrow, Wilson each their third, while Nogajski is a newcomer (PTG 949-4614, 13 June 2012).  In terms of their first class record Lock goes into the new season with 75 games, then comes Fry with 56,  Reiffel 51, his last two being Tests (PTG 966-4698, 23 July 2012), John Ward 40, Martell and Tony Ward both 22, Abood 17 Joshua 15 Wilson 12  Barrow 9 and Nogajski 2.  The Tasmanian was named as a NUP member three months ago in place of long-serving Bob Parry who retired last March (PTG 919-4475, 23 March 2012), however, Parry remains on the NUP list on CA's web site, Nogajski's name being missing.  

 

Returning for another season are the five members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, Denis Burns, Ric Evans, Davis Levens, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford, who play key roles observing, mentoring, reporting and selecting umpires at senior level in Australia.  Burns, Marshall and Stratford are to look after two Shield games as match referees in the next six weeks and the others one each. 

 

Abbod, Fry and Evans managed the opening one dayer in Perth on Sunday and they will also look after the first Shield game of the season which starts there later today.

 

WCL MENTORING ROLE 

FOR SENIOR KIWI UMPIRE 

[PTG 992-4819]

 

New Zealand umpire Gary Baxter, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, is working in a mentoring role during the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 8 series being played in Samoa this week.  Baxter, 60, is one of ten match officials from eight countries who have been flown from as far away as the Middle East to manage games in the eight-team, 50-over format, 20-match series.

 

Steve Bernard of Australia, a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel for the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region (PTG 866-4233, 1 December 2011), is the match referee for this week's tournament.  In addition to Baxter, the umpires are: Shahul Hameed (Indonesia); Mosur Ramesh (Singapore); Farid Dalwai (Kuwait); Geoff Clelland and Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu); Neil Harrison (Japan); and Clive Elly and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea).  Hameed is a member of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel as well as the EAP's 'Elite' panel, Clelland, Elly, Harrison, Morrison and Oala also being on the EAP's senior group.

 

The ICC says that during his time in Samoa Baxter, who has stood in 72 first class matches in his home country, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates over the last 13 years, will "help to educate and guide the umpires throughout the tournament, as part of [its] ongoing initiative for umpire development outside Full Members" countries.  John Ward, a senior member of Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel worked in a similar capacity during the EAP's Women's Championship in Vanuatu last May (PTG 937-4559, 13 May 2012).

 

Eight teams from Belgium, Bhutan, Ghana, Japan, Norway, Suriname, Vanuatu and hosts Samoa, are competing in Apia.  The two who reach this Saturday's final will be promoted to WCL Division 7 whose next series is to be played next year.

 

CONCERN ABOUT 'MISSING' INDIANS 

ON WT20C UMPIRE PANEL

[PTG 991-4820]

 

A number of Indian media outlets have queried the absence of umpires from their country in the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) which gets underway in Sri Lanka later today (PTG 990-4807, 10 September 2012).  "India will be all over the place as one of the favourites to lift the trophy" and in terms of advertising and the "galaxy of ads", says one report, but in an area of the game that is "the most vital after the players themselves" what is called "the umpires' club does not have a single Indian name" in sight.

 

As "the supposed seat of power in world cricket, India", says another report, "hasn't had a single representative on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel since Srinivas Venkatraghavan way back in 2004".  "India is often said to be arm-twisting the governing body's way of functioning due to its financial powers as a cricketing nation", writes journalist Debjeet Kundu, "but what about not having any umpire at the highest level when its team is among the top ones, not only in terms of financial power, but also on the basis of its performances?" 

 

Kundu, who then points out that Venkatraghavan as an ICC umpire selector, asks "why the void?"  "Don't we have people with the right capabilities or is it that in order to make our cricket team, and each member of it, the most marketable thing in India, nurturing umpires has taken a back seat", and "was [umpiring] ever a priority?"  He answers his own question by writing "not entirely", and points to efforts over the last five years to lift standards on the sub-continent (PTG 989-4803, 6 September 2012), including recent news of a pay boost, "but why this dearth of men at the highest level of umpiring?"

 

"It isn't a good feeling to not have any Indian representative in the umpires group of such a high profile event" says Kundu.  "Remember, it's cricket", he continues, and if we are of the opinion "what's the fuss about not having an Indian umpire in the World T20?", well, then that "clearly answers why we actually don't have any".

 

Meanwhile the ICC has announced that the total prize money for the men's part of the WT20C will total $A2,275,000, or an average across all matches of $A102,000, while in the women's section the total is $A165,000, an average of $A11,000 for each game.  

 

The men's games are to be umpired by EUP members: Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan); Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka); Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough (England); and Steve Davis, Rod Tucker and Simon Taufel (Australia); while the match referees will be Jeff Crowe (New Zealand) and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).  Women's fixtures will be umpired by the EUP's 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill (New Zealand), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), and Nigel Llong (England), plus soon to be promoted Bruce Oxenford of Australia.  

 

A key part of the ICC's selection policy is that the best umpires are chosen for matches, and the prize money equation suggests on the surface at least that Dar,   Davis, Dharmasena, the current ICC 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 991- 4812, 16 September 20112), Gould, Kettleborough, Rau, Tucker and Taufel are in the top half of current EUP ratings.

  

MUMBAI PAIR REPRIMANDED, DROPPED 

FOLLOWING UMPIRE ABUSE 

[PTG 992-4821]

 

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has reprimanded former Indian One Day International (ODI) player Abhishek Nayar and medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni and dropped them from a pre-season tournament in Nagpur later this month on disciplinary grounds.  Nayar, 28, who has played in three ODIs, and Kulkarni, 23, have been punished for using abusive language to the umpires during the final of the Shafi Darashah tournament in Bangalore last month.

 

Nayar was captaining the MCA side in the final of the Bangalore tournament when the incident, details of which are not available, took place.  MCA "sources" quoted by local news outlets said that "there was a letter from the Karnataka State Cricket Association about the incident" that led to an inquiry being conducted.  Another incident in a game earlier in the same Bangalore event saw the skipper of the Bangladesh 'A' side sent home early and later receive a "suspended ban" (PTG 991-4815, 16 September 2012). 

 

UK PCA TUTORIALS TARGET 

PLAYER DEPRESSION 

[PTG 992-4822]

 

All County cricketers are being encouraged to complete a series of on line tutorials in a move aimed at raising awareness of depression.  The tutorials, which have been developed by the UK Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), are aimed at helping players identify key warning signs, with high-profile England internationals who have experienced depression presenting segments.

 

A study in 2001 found that English cricketers were almost twice as likely to take their own lives as the average male, and they have a suicide rate higher than players of any other sport.  Launch of the initiative has been deliberately timed to coincide with the end of the England and Wales Cricket Board's 2012 domestic season, a period of the year that is considered a ''risk period'' as players adapt to life outside the daily routine and environment of their County clubs, and the PCA says it will help affected players gain any support they need. 

 

The on line material tackles the stigma surrounding depression with specific sections on alcohol and drugs, gambling, anxiety, self-harm and how best to seek help.

It aims to enable players to recognise problems before they get out of hand, with the PCA promising to attend ''within hours'' if contacted by a player who is having suicidal thoughts. 

 

Former England internationals who have experienced depression, including Marcus Trescothick, Mike Yardy and Tim Ambrose, present segments of the video.  Darren Cousins, who played for Essex and Northants over a nine-year period, told the BBC that "there's no doubt I found the loss of cricket and everything about it hard to cope with, but accepting the PCA's help was key to my recovery.  "My message is: recognise your feelings and your state of mind and reach for help or accept the offers of help".


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 993
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 

SPORT BEING RUINED BY TECHNOLOGY, 

SAYS FORMER TEST UMPIRE

[PTG 993-4823]

 

Former Australian Test umpire Peter Parker believes sport is being ruined by technology because on-field officials have become too scared to make a strong and immediate decision.  Parker, who umpired in 10 Tests and 65 One Day Internationals from 1993-2008 (PTG 321-1673, 1 October 2008), is quoted in a story published in this morning's 'Courier Mail' in Brisbane as saying that while he is not averse to the use of some technology in his view it has become chronically overused in sport.

 

Parker is quoted by journalist Ben Dorries as saying that on-field referees and umpires across many sports have lost the stomach to make instinctive, on-the-spot decisions.  "Most umpires and referees now have a huge fear factor of making a decision and getting it wrong", he says, "so they take the soft option and send just about every call to video officials".  "In my view technology has made sport worse in a lot of cases and on-field officials have lost their strong character because they are afraid of being shown up by the video".

 

The Brisbane-born and now 53-year-old, who was interviewed a few days after a major 'video umpire' controversy in a key rugby league match in Australia, also said that "umpires used to be keen to show everyone how good they were by making strong and decisive calls [but] now it seems to be a lot easier to refer just about everything to the video official.  "In rugby league, I have seen touch judges ignore passes that were at least a metre forward, because they were afraid of getting it wrong". 

 

"All on-field referees and umpires get to the top level of their sport because they make strong and correct decisions", says Parker, "but then they arrive in the big time and all of a sudden there are TV cameras to make decisions for them".  However, "a lot of the technology is either imperfect or creates grey areas in decision-making", and he thinks it "often creates more problems than it solves".  "We need to go back to the era where, in the first instance, the on-field guys back their judgment to make decisions" for if "you review anything on video ten times, you will probably find various reasons to make any sort of different decision".

 

'DANGEROUS PITCH' SEES NZ TOUR MATCH 

ABANDONED AFTER SIX OVERS

[PTG 993-4824]

 

The one-day match between the 'A' sides of New Zealand and India in Lincoln outside Christchurch was abandoned after just six overs yesterday because of a dangerous pitch.  The match at Bert Sutcliffe Oval only lasted half an hour before umpires Phil Jones and Wayne Knights conferred and called off the scheduled 50-over game; the first time such a thing has happened at a ground that is traditionally known for its true surface and high scoring matches.

 

New Zealand was 2/8 after its openers Hamish Rutherford and George Worker were both caught behind without scoring, the former from the game's first ball.  During what play there was the ball reared unpredictably from a length at times while other deliveries saw it keep low.  Batsman Dean Brownlie, who came in after the openers departed, was struck on the shoulder by a delivery that climbed, and after that it was decided to stop the game.  Brownlie said afterwards that "there were a few indentations in the pitch and some [balls] took off" and that ending the match "was probably the best thing to do under the circumstances".  

 

New Zealand Cricket's head of operations Lindsay Crocker said that having to call off the match, which was the first of the Indian side's three-week, six-match tour, was an embarrassment.  "We played a [high scoring] Twenty20 match across the opposite side of the wicket at the weekend [so] we expected this wicket to be the same", said Crocker, and "we are unsure why" the pitch played so badly yesterday.  “We’ll be looking into the issue and will be closely analysing the structure and surface to see what went wrong on this particular pitch and how to avoid a repeat", he continued, core samples having been taken from the pitch to try and help identify the source of the problem. 

 

Another attempt is to be made to play yesterday's game on the same ground today, but this time on another pitch.  All six games of the Indian side's tour have been scheduled at Bert Sutcliffe Oval.  

 

'FREE HITS' FOR ALL 'NO BALLS' IN 

AUSSIE DOMESTIC ONE-DAYERS

[PTG 993-4825]

 

'Free hits' will be awarded to batsmen for 'no balls' of any kind during Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic 50-over one-day and Twenty20 competitions this austral summer.  Those changes, plus ones related to 50-over match Powerplays, T20 over-rate fines, and the ability of third umpires to stop play for replays in all three playing formats, are contained in CA's Playing Conditions booklet for the 2012-13 season.

 

Previously only 'foot fault' 'no balls' have attracted a 'free hit' in CA 50-over one-day games, but now those that are called in regard to: unannounced changes in the mode of delivery; the position of wicket-keeper; balls that are 'thrown' by the bowler or that bounce more than twice, roll along the ground or stop before reaching the popping crease; limitations to on side fielders; fielders encroaching on pitch; dangerous and unfair bowling; and the deliberate bowling of high full pitched balls; will all see a 'free hit" awarded to the batsman.  

 

In addition, CA has brought Powerplay arrangements in both its men's and women's 50-over one-dayers into line with those that apply in One Day Internationals in that there will only be two per innings, not three as in previous seasons.  That means there will be the normal mandatory Powerplay in the first ten overs, and then a single discretionary powerplay of five overs that will be called by the batting team but which must be used between the eleventh and fortieth over of an innings.  During the initial Powerplay only two fielders are allowed outside the circle, in the second Powerplay three, and in all remaining overs no more then four; while bowlers will be  limited to thirteen overs maximum and two balls over the shoulder per over.

 

In the Twenty20 competition, penalties for Slow Over Rates have been changed.  Now, each over not completed by the designated time will see each of the eleven team members fined $A250.  In addition the team's captain will incur "one strike per match for over rate breaches", and will be suspended for one game if he accumulates two such "strikes".

 

In all CA matches that are televised over the next six months the third or television umpire will again be allowed to intervene and reverse any 'out' or 'not out' decision prior to the next delivery being bowled if he thinks video evidence available to him warrants it.  That arrangement applied for the first time last season much to the displeasure of at least one batsman who was given out in such a situation (PTG  903-4389, 20 February 2012), however CA has now given the third umpire the ability "to stop play" in cases where they believe a closer look at replays is warranted. CA says that that move is designed to eradicate the instances where the first replay of vision was not available "until it was too late".

 

 

In addition to more general Playing Conditions changes CA has confirmed that there will not, as previously reported, be any 'twilight' games in its first class matches this season (PTG 974-4728, 8 August 2012).

 

'BONUS' RUNS TO AGAIN APPLY 

IN CANBERRA WOMEN'S GAMES

[PTG 991-4826]

 

Scoring can be complex enough at times but those practicing the art in Canberra have additional factors to think about when recording the details of play in the top-level of women's 50 over one-day and Twenty20 matches there.  Twelve months ago the Playing Conditions for such games were modified so that boundaries scored during Powerplays attracted a 'bonus' doubling with a four attracting 'eight' runs and a six 'twelve'; the move being made in order to try and educate and encourage batswomen to play aggressively, score quickly and entertain at a time when tighter field restrictions are in place. 

 

Anna Baker, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) cricket's Female Cricket Operations Manager, told 'PTG' yesterday that the arrangement, which is to apply again during the coming season, had "worked quite well" last summer and that a number of teams there "had embraced" the concept such that a lot of runs were scored in Powerplays twelve months ago.   The move does not impact on the work of the umpires, she says, for they signal boundaries in the normal manner, and the extra runs are recorded by scorers in such a way that they do not effect the averages of either the batters or bowlers.

 

Baker said that during Powerplays scorers allocate boundaries in the normal manner and at the normal value in their books.  At the same time though they must remember to record the same score in what she described as a 'bonus runs" area of the score sheet, and that such an entry "must be done in a distinctive colour".  In other words during Powerplays a '4' hit to the boundary is, for example, entered against the batswomen and bowler in the normal way, but the same number is also placed in the 'bonus runs' area. 

 

Women's cricket is said to be "very big in Canberra" and Cricket ACT's women's side the 'Meteors' play in Cricket Australia's national one-day and T20 competitions.  One observer told 'PTG' that as such local organisers "are quite willing to experiment if it means more success in women's cricket", and that by "artificially increasing scores [it] has the side-effect of removing any alarmingly low scores and thus shows women's cricket in a better light".

 

CARIBBEAN TESTS SCRUBBED 

IN FAVOUR OF IPL-6 

[PTG 991-4827]

 

Unable to convince the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provide an exclusive window for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Sri Lanka Cricket appear to have decided to do it on their own.  With their leading players likely to be engaged in IPL-6 next April-May, the two governing bodies have agreed to replace their planned series of two Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in the Caribbean around that time with an ODI tri-series that will also involve India.

 

WICB corporate communications manager Imran Khan told journalists recently that all three national Boards had agreed in principle to the tri-series, with dates and details to be finalised at a later date.  Reports in the Sri Lanka media claim that the request for the tri-series had come from the WICB with the dates being from 13-25 June, but that would mean a clash with the Champions Trophy ODI series in England which is listed for the period from 6-23 June, and the tri-series timing is therefore likely be adjusted.

 

According to the ICC's Future Tours program, Zimbabwe are scheduled for two Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is in the Caribbean in February and March 2013, with Pakistan following in July-August for two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is, and the mooted tri-series will also have to be slotted in to that schedule.  The move is the second time Sri Lanka have chosen to give the IPL priority over Tests. They declined to be a replacement after Zimbabwe's scheduled series in England in May 2009 was cancelled for political reasons, the West Indies filling in instead. 

 

The latest adjustment highlights the dilemma the global proliferation of Twenty20 tournaments poses to the ICC.  At its June meeting in London, the ICC's cricket committee "agreed that international cricket, being the lifeblood of the world game, needs the ICC to play a leadership role to protect and promote international cricket".  The key is how it handles its relationships with the IPL and other such high-profile, financially lucrative, tournaments.

 

Earlier this month Ernest Hilaire, the WICB's outgoing chief executive, announced that the Caribbean could soon have a new "commercial Twenty20" league.  "We're in the advanced stages of discussions with an investor", said Hilaire, although he did not elaborate on the exact structure of the proposed competition will take. The WICB's management committee is to meet this week to "make some decisions on its structure and how it will be organised", he said.


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 994
Monday, 24 September 2012

MAJOR SHAKE-UP FOR 

TOP CARIBBEAN PANEL 

[PTG 994-4828]

 

In a major shake-up, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has made significant changes to its Senior Umpire's Panel (SUP), replacing six of the twelve who have served on the group that has overseen major regional 'domestic' competitions in the Caribbean over the last two years.  Records available on line indicate that only one of the six newly promoted members has stood in a first class game to date, although two appear to have a few List A fixtures under their belt as umpires.          

 

The six promoted are: Zahid Bassarath and Danesh Ramdhanie (Trinidad and Tobago), Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith (Jamaica), Leslie Reifer Jr (Barbados), and Nandkumar Shivsankar (Guyana).  All appear to fit the WICB's policy of the last three-and-a-half years of bringing younger officials, defined as less than 35 years of age, into mainstream umpiring, for Reifer is just 23 and Smith the oldest at 34.  

 

In 2009 the WICB called for at least one member of the 12-man SUP to be under 35, and for at least half to meet that criteria by 2015 (PTG 503-2603, 8 October 2009).  Despite a slow start (PTG 575-2908, 24 February 2010), that target has now been achieved three years early, although the relative inexperience of those selected suggests a somewhat bold approach has been taken.

 

Bassarath, Gustard, Ramdhanie, Reifer, Shivsankar and Smith were among 22 members of the WICB's 'Emerging Panel' who attended a three-day workshop at its High Performance Centre in Barbados in June (PTG 959-4665, 10 July 2012), and they were probably selected, in part at least, as a result of observations at that gathering.  

 

They join the surviving six members of the SUP from the last two years: Lennox Abraham (Dominica), Norman Malcolm (Jamaica), Gregory Brathwaite (Barbados), Nigel Duguid (Guyana), and Peter Nero and Joel Wilson (Trinidad and Tobago); the last four being members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  West Indies membership on the IUP was significantly overhauled 18 months ago, the average age of those involved falling from the mid-fifties to the early forties (PTG 741-3638, 16 March 2011). 

 

Those no longer on the SUP, whose ages range from 54-58, are long serving members: Golande Greaves (St Vincent), Clancy Mack (Antigua), Vincent Bullen (Barbados), Vivian Johnson (Jamaica) and Luther Kelly (St Kitts).  Johnson resigned from the NUP last month for family reasons after a 17-year high-level 'domestic' career (PTG 986-4791, 31 August 2012), while another member who had been on the IUP for many years, Clyde Duncan of Guyana, died 15 months ago (PTG 804-3932, 28 July 2011).

 

The twelve SUP members for 2012-14 were selected by the WICB's Umpires and Match Referees Committee and approved last week by a meeting of the West Indies Board in Barbados.

 

DUCKWORTH-LEWIS CALCULATION 

RESULTS IN A RARE TIE

[PTG 994-4829]

 

The New Zealand 'A'  side's second one-day match against their Indian counterparts finished in a rare Duckworth-Lewis engineered tie in Lincoln on Friday.  Chasing 250 for a win, India were 9/240 when bad light saw play stopped with two overs to bowl by Barry Frost and Evan Watkin of New Zealand's domestic Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012).  

 

Friday's match was the third one dayer for the two sides at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, the first there last Tuesday being abandoned due to a dangerous pitch (PTG 993-4824, 19 September 2012), however, the second on a nearby pitch twenty-four hours later was completed without incident, as was another yesterday. 

 

REVIEW SHOWS BACK-FOOT 'NO BALL 

SO BATSMAN AWARDED 'FREE HIT' 

[PTG 994-4830]

 

Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene was given out LBW in the opening match of the World Twenty20 Championship last Tuesday, but survived after a review showed Zimbabwean spinner Graeme Cremer had delivered what the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) called "a rare beast - the back-foot no ball".  Jayawardene was trapped "plumb in front" and Australian umpire Rod Tucker's finger went up as "quick-as-a-flash" says the MCC, but replays showed Cremer had in fact broken the return crease with his back foot. 

 

The MCC pointed out in a press release that part of Law 24 says that "the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease appertaining to his stated mode of delivery".  "The difficulty, and rarity, of spotting this type of no ball", as opposed to the front foot version, "means it is something which bowlers have occasionally got away with in the past", says the MCC, but not now, at least in matches broadcast on television.

 

So instead of Jayawardene having to trudge to the pavilion, Tucker revoked his decision on advice from third umpire Richard Kettleborough of England and called a 'no ball', thus giving Jayawardene, who was on 8 at the time, a 'free hit' off the next ball which, despite his best attempt, he failed to score off.  

 

VANUATU BATSMAN REPRIMANDED 

FOR POST-DISMISSAL ANTICS 

[PTG 994-4831]

 

Vanuatu batsman Jonathon Dunn was officially warned and reprimand after pleading guilty to showing dissent during his side's World Cricket League (WCL) Division 8 match against Samoa in Apia on Wednesday.  Tournament referee Steve Bernard of Australia found, after receiving a report from umpires Shahul Hameed of Indonesia and Farid Dalwat of Kumwait, that Dunn showed dissent and "used language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting" after he was given out LBW without scoring.

 

The final of the week-long WCL-8 competition on Saturday was looked after on the field by Hameed and Neil Harrison of Japan.  Hameed is a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel as well as the ICC's East Asian Pacific region's 'Elite' panel along with Harrison.  

 

During the eight-team, 50-over format, 20-match series last week, New Zealand umpire Gary Baxter, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, worked in a mentoring role with the eight other umpires who were involved (PTG 992-4819, 18 September 2012).  Baxter was on the field in three games during the series, standing once each with Dalwat, Harrison and Clive Elly of Papua New Guinea.

 

WT20C 'SPYDERCAM' HIT 

REQUIRES 'DEAD BALL' CALL 

[PTG 994-4832]

 

Umpires standing in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) current World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Sri Lankan are required by the tournament's Playing Conditions to call 'dead ball' and allow another ball to be bowled if a batsman's shot makes contact with television's elevated "suspended 'Spyder Cam' or its cable".  

 

However, the document, which makes no less than 49 references to the non-ICC Indian Premier League (IPL) and suggests it's a very hasty revamp of IPL rules, does not include anything in relation to the one warning then 'dead ball' call that reports last week indicted would apply in the international game when bowlers break the wicket during their delivery (PTG 991-4814, 16 September 2012).  Whether that is an omission or not is unknown at this stage.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 995
Thursday, 27 September 2012

TAUFEL CONFIRMS ON-FIELD 

RETIREMENT, NEW ROLE 

[PTG 995-4833]

 

Australian Simon Taufel, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the past nine-and-a-half years, has announced his on-field retirement after a remarkable 21-year career.  Taufel, whose plans for departure surfaced three months ago (PTG 962-4679, 16 July 2012), is to take up the new position of Umpire Performance and Training manager at the ICC, and as long anticipated is to be replaced on the EUP by his countryman Bruce Oxenford (PTG 995-4835 below).

 

Taufel's plans to depart appear to have been in train for some time, the first hint coming in June when Oxenford was assigned as the sole non-EUP member to the current World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Sri Lanka; a move that appeared somewhat unusual at the time (PTG 948-4610, 12 June 2012).  New South Wales-based Taufel's final internationals will be in the latter stages of the WT20C, the final of which is to be played on Sunday week (PTG 995-4836 below).  Somewhat appropriately given his standing, his last games in a Test and One Day International (ODI) were both played at Lord's, the home of cricket (PTG 980-4754, 18 August 2012).  

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson paid tribute to the Australian yesterday, saying that "Simon has been one of the most respected umpires for over a decade due to his excellent decision-making and man-management skills, [and] he has been a role model for umpires globally who look to him for inspiration and guidance".  Cricket Australia's Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland called Taufel's contribution to international umpiring "immense", that "he has helped inspire the present generation of Australian umpires to develop their skills and to become the best officials they can be", and as such is very well suited to his new role (PTG 995-4834 below).

 

Taufel, who along the way he has been a member of the ICC's World Cricket Committee, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee, and other similar working groups, said in an ICC statement that he had made his decision to retire because he wanted to spend more time with his family; something he has often expressed concern about in the past.  He believes it is the right time to "move away from [his] on-field role", and he looks "forward to help create [a] professional program and resources to support the current and future generations of cricket match officials".

 

Fraser Stewart, the MCC's Laws Manager, said yesterday that "everyone at MCC congratulates Simon on an excellent career and wishes him well in his new position, for which he will be very well suited".  He "has made many valuable contributions to the Laws sub-committee since he joined [in 2009] and, even though he will no longer be umpiring internationally, I am sure he will continue to offer an insight from the highest level of the game [for his knowledge of the Laws, playing conditions and the techniques of umpiring are almost unrivalled".

 

Appointed to the EUP in 2003 aged 32, an achievement that is unlikely to be bettered, Taufel won the first of his five consecutive ICC 'Umpire of the Year' trophies just over twelve months later at 33 (PTG 310-1619, 11 September 2008), as well as two national umpiring awards at home in 2004 and 2006.  Despite his achievements he has made no secret over the years how difficult it was to juggle family, work and umpiring responsibilities during the early years of his career after he started umpiring at fifth Grade level in Sydney in 1991 at the age of 20.  Despite that though he made his first class debut at 24, in an ODI at 28, and in a Test match the month before his 30th birthday. 

 

Taufel leaves the EUP three months short of his forty-second birthday after standing in 74 Tests, 174 ODIs and either 32 or 33 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), the latter figure depending on whether or not he stands in Sunday week's WT20C final.  In Tests he is currently equal sixth on the all-time match list and in ODIs, where he was the youngest person to reach the 100 match mark, equal third, while in T20Is he currently has seven more than 'Billy' Bowden in second-place.  

 

His record in the short forms of the game include matches in the World Cups of 2003, 2007 and 2011, Champions Trophy series of 2004, 2006 and 2009, and the three World Twenty20 Championships played prior to this year in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus a multitude of other bi-, tri- and multilateral events.  Overall his contribution to the game suggests he is a candidate for election to the ICC's 'Cricket Hall of Fame', where the absence of umpires amongst the 75 current members stands out.     

 

Due to the dominance of the Australian side for most of his time on the EUP, Taufel's appearances in major world finals have been more limited due to the ICC's 'neutral' officials policy, however, when his home country did not make those fixtures he was an automatic choice for selection.  As such he stood in the final of the Champions Trophy in 2004, World Cup in 2011, and the World T20 Championship events of 2007 and 2009, and possibly again next week.  Along the way though he was, together with his match colleagues, lucky to survive a terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009 (PTG 381-2023,  5 March 2009).

 

Reports say that Taufel is determined to make a difference in his new role and help improve umpiring standards world-wide.  "Simon would not take [on his new position] if he didn't think he could achieve positive results", one knowledgable observer told 'PTG'.  However, that person also pointed to the size and complexity of the tasks that will now be the Australian's responsibility in his new position, but another was less concerned, saying "Taufel obviously has a lot of clout with the ICC for look at the way he appears to have been able to dictate just when he retired", and that such kudos "should stand him in good stead" for the work now ahead (PTG 995-4834 below).    

 

DETAILS OF NEW ICC UMPIRE 

PERFORMANCE-TRAINING ROLE AWAITED 

[PTG 995-4834]

 

Australian Simon Taufel may be moving to the new Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM) position that has been created by the International Cricket Council (ICC), but precise details of how his new role will work in practice have yet to be outlined in detail.  Taufel, whose departure from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) was announced yesterday (PTG 995-4833 above), is expected to take up the new position in the near future.

 

Taufel said yesterday that he is "moving on from active international umpiring for personal and professional reasons". "My passion for cricket umpiring and personal professional development has shifted from on the field to off the field", and he looks forward in his new job to helping "create professional programs and resources to support the current and future generations of cricket match officials".  

 

According to Taufel his work of the UPTM includes "working closely with the National Cricket Federations", an outline that fits with previous indications that his new role will include the work of the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Managers (RUPM).  The RUPM system appears to be in the process of being revamped (PTG 973-4721, 7 August 2012), and it is anticipated that the Australian will be working as that group's new head within the ICC's Umpire and Referees Department under South African Vince Van Der Bijl.  

 

Taufel starts off on the front foot in his new role for his confident, highly-disciplined professional approach to umpiring and the techniques he uses are already closely followed by many umpires around-the-world.  He has frequently been involved in training programs in the past, personally developing and presenting what many describe as high-quality training packages for the ICC, national and regional authorities in a number of countries (PTG 808-3962, 3 August 2011). 

 

His new role suggests he may be involved in umpire selection processes but whether he will become a formal member of the ICC's selection panel is not yet clear.  Reports say that Taufel is determined to make a difference in his new role and it goes without saying that he will expect high standards of current and developing umpires.  In the past he has called for "greater accountability" from his colleagues and for under-performing umpires to be axed from the EUP or not appointed until they lift the standard of their work (PTG 61-334, 28 June 2007).

 

The ICC said yesterday that it and Taufel "will not be making any further comment" on his move at this time, "however, [he] will be available for media interviews before the semi-finals" of the World Twenty20 Championship event in Sri Lanka.  Those matches are scheduled to be played in Colombo on Thursday-Friday next week and further details of his new job may be announced then. 

 

OXENFORD BECOMES SIXTH 

AUSSIE EUP MEMBER

[PTG 995-4835]

 

Bruce Oxenford yesterday became the sixth Australian to be appointed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in the ten years since its inception, the Queenslander replacing countryman Simon Taufel who is moving to a new off-field role (PTG 995-4833 above).  The selection of Oxenford, 52, who played eight first class matches for his state as a lower-order batsman and spinner over a 14-month period in the early 1990s, brings to nine the number of former first class players on the 12-man EUP.

 

Vince Van Der Bijl, the ICC’s Umpire and Referee Manager, congratulated Oxenford on his appointment in a press release yesterday, saying that the Australian "is a very experienced and respected umpire [who] has been umpiring at the first-class level for well over a decade and is committed and dedicated to officiating".  "We are delighted to welcome Bruce who will add his own brand of professionalism, energy and love of umpiring to the [EUP]”, continued Van Der Bijl.  

 

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's (CA) Chief Executive Officer, said yesterday that he is "delighted" with Oxenford's appointment as it is "deserved recognition of his performances over recent years, and we at CA congratulate him on his [new role]".  However, the man himself is yet to talk to the press about his promotion. 

 

Oxenford, in the words of Van Der Bijl, "follows a long line of elite Australian umpires", his predecessors being Daryl Harper, who was one of the original eight members of the EUP and served from 2002-2011, Darrell Hair from 2003-08 and Taufel 2003-2012, plus present members Steve Davis, who joined in 2008, and Rod Tucker in 2010. 

 

The Queenslander made his first class umpiring debut in November 2001, some nine years after his last game at that level for his state, in a match between that side and the touring New Zealanders.  In June 2002 he was named a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) inaugural second-tier Supplementary Umpires Panel, and in July 2003 to its top domestic group, the National Umpires Panel (NUP), which he has now been a member of for the past nine Australian summers.

 

His domestic appointments at home in the past eleven years include exactly 50 first class matches in the Sheffield Shield competition or its equivalent, three of them being finals over the last four years, plus five tour games involving sides from England, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies.  There have also been 37 domestic one-dayers on the field, one a final, plus ten in CA's domestic Twenty20 competition.  Twice during that time he won CA's national umpire award, the first in 2008 and second last year (PTG 741-3636, 16 March 2011).

 

In July 2007, after four full seasons on the NUP Oxenford was, on CA's recommendation, moved into Australia's third umpire spot on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 65-356, 12 July 2007), then to an on-field slot twelve months later (PTG 251-1375, 3 June 2008).  

 

Prior to his IUP third umpire appointment, CA gave him his first senior international in an on-field position, a 20-over match, in January 2006, and then in a One Day International (ODI) in February 2008.  The ICC first selected him for duty at senior level in November 2009 for an ODI series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 509-2622, 21 October 2009), then for his first Test in December 2010 (PTG 700-3432, 14 December 2010).

 

A flurry of ICC appointments has flowed since that Test debut, his tally from the world body over the last eighteen months including eight more Tests, one as the television suite, and 17 ODIs, four as third umpire, in what was a well-planned program to test and prepare him for elevation to the EUP that included the 2011 World Cup.  Those games were played in India, Sri Lanka, the UAE and Zimbabwe.  In addition, CA also gave him internationals during that time, one Test third umpire spot, eleven ODIs, six of them as third umpire, and two T20Is.        

 

While not ICC appointments, Oxenford also gained valuable experience in a total of 15 games, five as third umpire, in the Champions League Twenty20 series of 2010 and 2011, and 16, three as third umpire, in this year's Indian Premier League.

 

Oxenford's promotion means that there will still be three Australians on the EUP, himself, Davis and Tucker, for the remainder of the 2012-13 year, their colleagues being three Englishmen, Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong, two Pakistanis, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, two New Zealanders, 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill, plus Marais Erasmus from South Africa and current ICC 'Umpire of the Year', Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012).  

 

Bangladesh, India, the West Indies and Zimbabwe currently do not have a member on the world's top panel.   

 

APPOINTMENTS ANNOUNCED FOR 

WT20C 'SUPER EIGHT' GAMES 

[PTG 995-4836]

 

Eight umpires and three match referees from the International Cricket Council (ICC) top panels have been appointed to stand in the 12 World Twenty20 Championship's 'Super Eight' matches that are to played in Colombo and Pallekele over the next six days.  All eight umpires were involved in the dozen Group Stage games over the last week, but the ICC has now added Javagal Srinath of India to the referees group for the event.

 

The ICC announced yesterday that Srinath will oversee the six games scheduled for Pallekele that involve England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, the umpires there being Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, and Steve Davis and Simon Taufel of Australia.  

 

Down in Colombo 130 km to the south-west, where Australia, India, Pakistan and South Africa will be based, Ranjan Madugalle has been named as the match referee for the first two games then Jeff Crowe of New Zealand comes in for the remaining four fixtures.  The umpires there will be Rod Tucker of Australia, Englishmen Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough, and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka.

 

In both Colombo and Pallekele each umpire is to stand in three matches each, and with the exception of Tucker, either one or two games in the television suite.  Tucker's omission from the third umpire's list is caused by the presence of the Australian team in the Colombo group, the permutations involved limiting him to fourth umpire spots when he is not on the field.  

 

Appointments for the two semi finals and final on Thursday, Friday and Sunday respectively next week will not be announced until the 'Super Eight' series ends next Tuesday evening.  Given the ICC's 'neutral' umpire policy selections for those games will be dictated in the first instance by just which national teams are involved.

 

Umpire and match referee selections for the women's section of the tournament, which got underway yesterday, were announced two weeks ago (PTG 990-4807, 10 September 2012).  The semi final and final games for the women's series will be played as 'curtain raisers' to the equivalent men's games and officials for those matches are also expected to be named on Tuesday evening. 

 

TWO APPEAR POSSIBILITIES

FOR NEXT EUP VACANCY 

[PTG 995-4837]

 

Yesterday's changes to the membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) may have settled the composition of the group for now (PTG 995-4835 above), however, work will already be underway to scrutinise the candidates for the vacancies are likely to occur on the EUP in the next eighteen months.  ICC appointments over the last year and during the Under-19 World Cup in August suggest Australian Paul Reiffel and Richard Illingworth of England currently head the list of prospectives, with Johannes Cloete of South Africa and Sri Lanka's Ranmore Martinecz possibilities in the longer-term.

 

While Taufel-like early departures, or dropping of individuals from the EUP because of form are difficult to forecast, issues of age and contract timings are easier, but not easy, to track.  In the longer-term Pakistani EUP member Aleem Dar has indicated on a number of occasions in the past that he plans to retire at the age of 50, however, that milestone is not due until June 2018 (PTG 123-667, 26 October 2007), however, Tony Hill of New Zealand and Steve Davis of Australia are possibilities over the next two years.

 

Hil was appointed to the EUP in 2009 (PTG 395-2093, 24 March 2009), and his second and current two-year contract with the ICC is thought to expire on the last day of June next year, four days after his 62nd birthday.  Davis, a EUP member since 2008 (PTG 234-1296, 24 april 2008), will celebrate the same birthday in April 2014 three months before his current two-year tenure ends.  Over the last three years former EUP members Rudi Koertzen and Steve Bucknor retired, or were pushed, just before their 62nd and 63rd birthdays respectively.

 

Such patterns alone suggest that at least one vacancy can be expected to open up on the EUP on each of the next two years, and if the ICC follows past practice Illingworth and Reiffel will be given a range of international appointments to further examine and test their capabilities.  Between now and ICC contract decision time next May-June, a total of 20 Tests and 31 One Day Internationals are scheduled.  In basic 'neutral' terms Illingworth is potentially 'ellagible' for 13 of those Tests and Reiffel 14, while in terms of 'neutral' positions in ODI series the ICC could, in theory at least, slot Illingworth and Reiffel into any one of five.  

 

Reiffel, 46, a former Test player, has already been given two Tests by the ICC over the last four months (PTG 966-4698, 23 July 2012), while Illingworth, 49, who has also played Tests for England, has yet to make his umpiring debut at the highest level of the game but is likely to do so soon.  The Englishman has been appointed as a neutral umpire in four ODI series by the ICC since February 2010 and the Australian three in the last 12 months.  Bangladeshi umpire and former Test player Enamul Hoque Moni, who was given a Test last January appears, at the moment at least to have been leap-frogged in the EUP selection process. 

 

Cloete, 41, was given his first appointments as a 'neutral' in a senior ODI in April last year and a second in December, and there have also been two other trips for second-tier internationals, however, Martinecz, 49, is yet to be selected for senior fixtures overseas.  If they are in fact in contention for further promotion it is likely to be in ODIs as neutrals in the next six months, both men potentially qualifying in 'neutral' terms for five ODI series over the next six months. 

 

NO SURPRISES EXPECTED IN 

AUSSIES IUP CHANGES 

[PTG 995-4838]

 

Melbourne-based umpire John Ward is expected to be appointed to Australia's third umpire position on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and the current incumbent Simon Fry to an IUP on field position, as a result of the promotion of Bruce Oxenford to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel yesterday (PTG 995-4835 above). Cricket Australia (CA) is yet to formally announce such changes, or what its plans are to fill the vacancy on its National Umpires Panel (NUP) that also flows from Oxenford's elevation.  

 

CA appointments over the last 12 months clearly suggest that Ward is the next NUP member in line for appointment to the IUP.  Last November CA sent him to New Zealand where he stood in two Plunket Shield first class and a single one-day game, then in February to South Africa for two SuperSport series first class fixtures, although unfortunately one of those was completely washed out (PTG 908-4414, 3 March 2012).

 

Ward, 50, who is currently in his eighth season on the NUP (PTG 992-4818, 18 September 2012), made his debut at first class level in November 2003 and currently has 40 such games under his belt; 34 in the Sheffield Shield or its equivalent, and four in tour matches involving sides from England, India, Pakistan and New Zealand.  He has worked as the third umpire in the last two Sheffield Shield finals, the first with Fry and IUP on-field member Paul Reiffel on the field, and the second last March with Fry and Oxenford out on the ground.

 

Thirty-three of Ward's 38 List A matches to date have been in CA's domestic competition, the latter including last austral summer's final; while in the Twenty20 series at home he has stood in 21 matches, three of them finals, two of those in each of the last two seasons.

 

If CA decides to fill the vacancy that now exists on the NUP in the near future then Damien Mealey, 44, of Queensland appears to head the list of contenders.  Reports several weeks ago suggested that he was invited to attended the NUP's two-day pre-season meeting on the outskirts of Melbourne late last month, and that he is likely to be the choice ahead of the more experienced Richard Patterson of Victoria (PTG 988-4800, 4 September 2012).  

 

Patterson, 46, stood in 22 first class games from 1999-2004 before falling out of favour with the then selectors, but has made a return to CA's umpire pathway over the last few years.

 

ANOTHER BATSMAN 'RUN OUT' 

AFTER BACKING UP TOO FAR

[PTG 995-4839]

 

A batsman was 'run out' after backing up too far in a key play-off match played in Bermuda last weekend.  Western Stars batsman Seth Campbell was dismissed after Cleveland County bowler Dennis Musson removed the bails at his end as he "was about to deliver" during the 50-over match, says Monday's edition of the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper.  After asking Musson, who was Cleveland's captain, if he wanted continue with the appeal and being told 'yes', umpire Hector Watson had no option but to give Campbell out.  

 

Controversy about such dismissals surfaced again in England late last month in a first class match in Taunton (PTG 986-4787, 31 August 2012), and continue despite efforts by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of the Laws of Cricket, to outline just what the Laws themselves say about such situations.  The "tendency to interpret the action of [a] bowler who attempts such a run-out" as unfair is wrong, for they are "acting within the Laws while the batsman, [who is] often identified as the victim, is in reality guilty of breaking the Laws" by stealing ground, said the MCC at the time (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012). 

 

India withdrew a 'run out' appeal against Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne by bowler Ravichandran Ashwin during a One Day International in Brisbane last February (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012), and the subsequent media babble led to the MCC to also make an attempt then to clarify the situation that applies (PTG 906-4404, 24 February 2012).


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 996
Saturday, 29 September 2012 

 

  PCB REINSTATES UMPIRE CLEARED 

OF BETTING CHARGES 

[PTG 996-4840]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reinstated former national spinner Akram Raza to its senior umpiring panel.  Raza and six others were arrested by Lahore police in May last year and charged with placing and taking illegal bets on the Indian Premier League (PTG 762-3745, 16 May 2011), but he was recently cleared of those charges by a court in Lahore (PTG 992-4816, 18 September 2012).

 

PCB director general Javed Miandad was quoted by journalists on Thursday as saying that Raza had produced proof of his innocence and defended his return to senior umpiring ranks.  Miandad said that "there [should be] no surprise" in the move for "many players" charged with similar offences in the past have been allowed to "extend their playing careers".  Raza "was one of the top umpires in the circuit and we have no reason to snub him if he has cleared his name", added Miandad, who indicated the PCB had made the move "after lengthy deliberation".

 

Raza again insisted that he had nothing to do with betting last year and had "lost" considerable time in the courts to clear his name as a result, "but now it's time to do my umpiring job".  As such the PCB has appointed him to an opening game in the PCB's inaugural President's Trophy first class competition, a 47-match series that is due to get underway next Wednesday and conclude in early December.  All of those games are set for 10 a.m. local starts, but whether the five-day final in the first week of December will be played as a day-night fixture is not yet clear. 

 

CA SLOTS MEALEY IN FOR 

INJURED NUP MEMBER 

[PTG 996-4841]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) called in Queenslander Damien Mealey at short notice on Wednesday to replace National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Mick Martell in yesterday's domestic one-day match between Western Australia and Victoria in Perth, as well as the first class match that starts there tomorrow between the two sides.  Mealey's appointment, which is understood to have resulted because Martell suffered some sought of injury, supports indications that he is next in line to fill the vacancy that currently exists on the NUP (PTG 995-4838, 27 September 2012).

 

For Mealey, 44, yesterday's 50-over one-dayer was his fifth since his on-field debut in such a fixture October 2010, while the four-day first class fixture is his second after a debut last February in a match in Hobart.  The latter game was one of the four so-called 'twilight' matches CA included in its first class competition during the 2011-12 southern hemisphere summer, but is was no an altogether happy one for Mealey as he and his on-field colleague Martell plus match referee Denis Burns applied the playing conditions incorrectly (PTG 899-4372, 9 February 2012). 

 

Earlier this month CA named 11 of the 12 current members of the NUP for matches in the opening six weeks of its current one day and first class domestic season (PTG 992-4817, 18 September 2012), the exception being Bruce Oxenford who was this week appointed to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012). 

 

SCORER APOLOGISES FOR 

'MISSING' KEY 'NO BALL' 

[PTG 996-4842]

 

Reuben Housen, a scorer on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, has apologised "by note" for missing what reports claim was a 'no ball' in a semi final of a knock-out competition there last weekend, a correction to an error that turned a tied match into a win for one side.  Housen's error is said to have been discovered by supporters of the team that eventually won after they were, somewhat unusually, given access to the score book. 

 

The match between the Jets and the Highlights came down to the last over with the latter side requiring, according to announcements made over the public address system at the ground, first six runs to win, then two off the final delivery.  Highlights managed to score the two off the final ball they thought they needed to win and reach the final.

 

However, says a report from the match, "then the drama began", for it was announced over the public address system that Housen's tally in the score book showed that the result was in fact a tie.  Match organiser Trevor Chapman then decided that there would be a one over bowl off between the two teams but that is said to have sparked "mayhem", "and it was obvious" that the Highlights team "had no intention" of taking part in a bowl off. 

 

Local media reports say there was "a standoff for over an hour with both teams awaiting an official decision".  What were called "some of the Highlights female [supporters], were [subsequently] seen with the scorebook which had been released to them by the scorer".  They are said to have "indicated that they had found an extra run [for their side] which thus gave Highlights a win as originally thought.

 

A Jets official is said to have "received a text message from Chapman at 6.30 a.m. the following morning to indicate that after review of the score sheets, it was discovered that Highlights had indeed [won]".  A note in the score book is said by a Nevis journalist to read:  “N.B. The scorer was confused [as a] no ball was called and I did not mark it off, so I apologise to both teams. Your Scorer, Reuben Housen".

 

After discussions with their team Jets officials agreed not to lodge a protest but to allow the tournament, the final of which is to be played tomorrow, "to run its course in peace".

 

End of September 2012 News file