997 - 1 October [4843-4846]
• 'Finn' broken-wicket situations should be 'no balls', say some (997-4843).
• England, Sri Lanka both handed slow over-rate fines (997-4844).
• Bucknor mentor for new Windies SUP members (997-4845).
• Associations trying the address recruitment challenges (997-4846).
998 - 3 October [4847-4853]
• 'Lost Ball' called after ground's 'tall grass' claims ball (998-4847).
• WT20C semi final line-ups dictate umpire appointments (998-4848).
• Teams 'on notice' ahead of NZ-India tour game, claims report (998-4849).
• Sri Lanka swaps captains to avoid potential over-rate ban (998-4850).
• CA reissues its accredited umpires survey (998-4851).
• More media concern on lack of Indian EUP member (998-4852).
• Geelong Association introduces 'red' and 'yellow' cards (998-4853).
999 - 4 October [4854-4858]
• MCC said to favour 'Finn' 'no ball' option, decision in December? (999-4854).
• WT20C semi final match officials named (999-4855).
• 'Tactical retirements' would not violate game's 'Spirit', says journalist (999-4856).
• NSW match officials prepare to mark their Association's Centenary (998-4857).
• ICC EUP members make visit to special school, donation (999-4858).
1,000 - 6 October [4859-4861]
• Taufel to sign off with World T20 final (1000-4859).
• 'Independent observers' to oversee PCB first class games (1000-4860).
• Player looses half match fee for showing 'disrespect' to umpires (1000-4861).
1,001 - 9 October [4862-4864]
• ICC to investigate umpire 'corruption' claims (1001-4862).
• Terrorist attack survivor Pakistan's 'Umpire of the Year' (1001-4863).
• Colombo on Sunday, Joburg on Tuesday, for Erasmus (1001-4864).
1,002 - 11 October [4865-4870]
• 'Sting' umpires suspended until investigations completed (1002-4865).
• County scorers opposing ECB 'away scorer' plans (1002-4866).
• 'Corrupt practice' allegations rejected by umpires (1002-4867).
• Hair 'not surprised' by umpire corruption claims (1002-4868).
• Delhi umpires 'susceptible' to bribes, claims report (1002-4869).
• CA names officials for opening womens' games (1002-4870).
1,003 - 13 October [4871-4876]
• Reports suggest Australia-India exchange program planned (1003-4871).
• Bookie activity should not surprise anyone, says former ODI umpire (1003-4872).
• Madugalle, Davis retain ICC Cricket Committee spots (1003-4873).
• ACC conducts inaugural Scorers Education Meeting (1003-4874).
• Bangladesh plans for day-night first class games unclear (1003-4875).
• Kuwaiti pair stand in Asian Trophy final (1003-4876).
1,004 - 16 October [4877-4881]
• Umpire's image 'seriously damaged' even if cleared, claim former skippers (1004-4877).
• MCA push former Indian captain for ICC referee role (1004-4878).
• Taufel part of Champions League officials pool (1004-4879).
• South Africans absent from Duleep Trophy this year (1004-4880).
• Bowler's 'switch arms' technique unusual but legal (1004-4881).
1,005 - 18 October [4882-4886]
• India's Kulkarni reported preparing for Aussie exchange (1005-4882).
• Association postpones matches 'out of respect' for umpire's loss (1005-4883).
• Umpire claims he told PCB about 'sting' approach (1005-4884).
• Delhi association looking at appointing match observers (1005-4885).
• Four days left for CA umpire survey submissions (1005-4886).
1,006 - 19 October [4887-4888]
• CA fills NUP vacancy (1006-4887).
• Baroda scorer alleges bribe attempt (1006-4888).
1,007 - 24 October [4889-4897]
• Corruption spreading to grassroots level, says ICC chief (1007-4889).
• Umpire assault follows end-of-game LBW decisions (1007-4890).
• Player dies after heart attack while batting (1007-4891).
• On-field collision leaves two players injured (1007-4892).
• Decision on ICC 'Umpire Coach' position still awaited (1007-4893).
• 'Fake documents' allow older players in PCB U-19 fixtures, claims report (1007-4894).
• Player fined half match fee for dissent (1007-4895).
• 'Kookuburra' balls to return to domestic games in Pakistan (1007-4896).
• NSWCUSA Executive Officer position again vacant (1007-4897).
1,008 - 25 October [4898-4901]
• Physiotherapist queries CA junior fast bowler limits (1008-4898).
• England-made 'Duke' balls to be trialled in Australia (1008-4899).
• Concern after convicted sex offender found to be umpiring (1008-4900).
• Insurance issue sees umpire, 92, bow out after 61 years of service (1008-4901).
1,009 - 27 October [4902-4909]
• Taufel provides insight into new ICC umpire performance role (1009-4902).
• Never forget the importance of the game's 'grass roots', says noted writer (1009-4903).
• Selector claims teaching spinners the 'Doosra' would 'compromise integrity' (1009-4904).
• Record $45.6m profit, governance revamp, for CA (1009-4905).
• Interesting mix in latest CA senior appointments (1009-4906).
• Ward all but crowned as new Aussie IUP member? (1010-4907).
• PCB again hoping for Bangladesh visit (1009-4908).
• Broad emphasises the importance of 'Spirit of Cricket' mantra (1009-4909).
1,010 - 29 October [4910-4915]
• Umpiring Test debut for England's Illingworth (1010-4910).
• No biase in Playing Conditions change, say CL organisers (1010-4911).
• ICC names 16 match officials for end-of-year Tests (1010-4912).
• First ODI 'neutral' appointment for Martinecz (1010-4913).
• Six to return again for CA U-19 national series (1010-4914).
• 'Doosra' should be encouraged, says Botha (1010-4915).
1,011 - 30 October [4916-4920]
• 'Finn' 'dead ball' calls not included in amended ICC Playing Conditions (1011-4916).
• Appointments suggest no UDRS for Lanka-NZ series (1011-4917).
• Brief web posting an indication of officials for Australia-Lanka series? (1011-4918).
• 'ICC unfair to me', says Asif (1011-4919).
• PCB reported planning 'new' Twenty20 event (1011-4920).
1,012 - 31 October [4921-4922]
• Day-Night Tests 'inevitable', says CA chief (1012-4921).
• 'Spidercan' for Test debut in Brisbane (1012-4922).
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 1 October 2012
'FINN' BROKEN-WICKET SITUATIONS
SHOULD BE 'NO BALLS, SAY SOME
Bowlers who break the wicket in their run through should be warned on the first occasion but then have any repeats called 'no ball' rather than 'dead' as required by current International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions, say reports from the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) in Sri Lanka over the weekend. That view was expressed by a number of observers after New Zealand missed out on runs following 'dead ball' calls made after England's Steven Finn collided with the stumps in three of his four overs in their WT20C match in Pallekele on Saturday.
The ICC introduced the first and final warning then 'dead ball' call requirement as a direct result of Finn breaking the stumps on a number of occasions in a Test match at Headingley in early August (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012), and umpires were instructed to follow that protocol in WT20C fixtures (PTG 991-4814, 16 September 2012).
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor said after Saturday's game that he "disagrees with the [dead ball' call] and believes "it cost us eight runs and a wicket". One such ball was hit for four, another for two while a third would have been called 'wide' had 'dead ball' calls not been made, say reports; while Taylor's reference to a lost wicket related to batsman Brendon McCullum being, in Taylor's words, "so angry with the dead-ball calls" he got out as a result. "Unless the batsmen gets out you should just carry on", said Taylor, and 'dead ball' should only apply if "a wicket happens".
England captain Stuart Broad did not support Taylor's suggestion but conceded that Finn needed to sort the problem out. He's "got to try and stop doing it and [is] working hard on it", said Broad, and that England bowling coach "David Saker is pulling out whatever hair he has left working the situation out".
Cricinfo's David Hopps said in an article that "Finn's collisions are not funny, they are serious [and] his idiosyncrasy needs to be addressed before it causes an almighty row". "Imagine what the outcome would be if [a] boundary [had been struck] from the last ball of the match", wrote Hopps, "only for 'dead ball' to be ruled and the runs scrubbed, [then for] Finn to send the batsman's stumps flying with the next delivery". "If batsmen stumble into the stumps in the process of playing a shot, they are given out 'hit wicket", [therefore] for a bowler to suffer a 'no-ball' call is a far lesser punishment", he says.
Whether the ICC will react to the latest Finn situation and its implications is not known, but both they and home Boards in countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, where new domestic seasons have, or are about to get underway, are likely to be examining the situation; even though they do not appear to have serial stump-breakers in their ranks like Finn.
The issue is also being considered by the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee, and could end up being added to the game's Laws in October next year, but in just what format remains to be seen (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012).
Asked whether 'no ball' should apply in such situations New Zealand's Taylor spoke about “one umpire out there" on the ground last Saturday, who he did not identify, who thinks that 'no ball' is a more appropriate call in 'Finn' situations. The Kiwi skipper did not indicate just who that umpire that was, however, those in the middle in Pallekele were Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Australian Simon Taufel, the latter being a member of the MCC's Laws sub-committee (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012).
ENGLAND, SRI LANKA BOTH HANDED
SLOW OVER-RATE FINES
Both the England and Sri Lanka teams have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during their respective World Twenty20 Championship matches against New Zealand and the West Indies in Pallekele on Saturday. Match referee Javagal Srinath, who oversaw both games, imposed the fines after each side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration.
As required by International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations that govern 'minor' over-rate offences, England captain Stuart Broad and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahela JayawardenaI were each fined 20 per cent of their match fees while their playing colleagues lost 10 per cent of their fees.
BUCKNOR MENTOR FOR NEW
WINDIES SUP MEMBERS
Jamaican umpires Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith say they are "elated" to be selected as members of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) 12-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) for the next two years. Gustard, Smith, and four others from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, were appointed to the SUP late last month in a major shake-up that saw the average age of its members drop by 10 years (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012).
Smith said last week that the WICB is looking for "young umpires" so there is a particular incentive for anyone to get involved at the moment as there are opportunities for those who are prepared to work hard. Both he and Gustard described umpiring as a labour of love, despite there being in Gustard's words, "some days when it can be really difficult".
Gustard told WICB Media last week that he had been working hard to make the SUP "cut" following his first-class debut two years ago. “This is really, really important to me", he said, "the first-class match I did in 2010 was a great experience, so I am glad to be on the [SUP] at this time and be able to have another opportunity". Smith said his selection justified his hard work and commitment to umpiring over the years but that "the work will get harder now because I want to move on further, so [the SUP move] is just a small step towards my ultimate goal".
Smith, 34, said that when he "was younger I always dreamed of playing for West Indies". "I wasn’t a bad player in high school, but players like Chris Gayle and Ricardo Powell were among my contemporaries, and maybe I didn’t have the same self-belief like them". Gustard, 41, said "like most young West Indian boys I played the game [and] really loved [it], but when I realised there won’t be any stardom for me, I chose to give back the service to the game itself and [got] into umpiring".
Both men are teachers by profession, just like their mentor, countryman and former international umpire Steve Bucknor. “The first time, I met him I was overwhelmed", said Smith, "but what I picked up from him over the years is to have confidence in yourself, call it the way you see it, and don’t be influenced or intimidated by others or the situation". Gustard said Bucknor had "passed on a lot of advice [especially] about always being vigilant and that he "has really been an icon for us".
ASSOCIATIONS TRYING TO ADDRESS
Attempts by Yorkshire's Huddersfield Umpires Association (HUA) prior to the 2012 northern summer to attract former players into umpiring ranks brought "no response whatsoever", according to HUA Chairman David Haikings. Short on numbers in the season that has just ended, the Association is now making further efforts to try and address the problem well before the 2013 summer arrives, says 'The Huddersfield Daily Examiner'.
Haikings told the 'Examiner' that he "cannot emphasise too strongly how vitally important it is to get some new faces on board". During the 2012 “season 60 umpires were required to fulfil every fixture with two officials, and even with clubs providing one umpire for Second XI cricket we were still called upon to supply 45 umpires, which we were unable to do", said Haikings. Given that there will be four new clubs in the league next season, we "will require 68 umpires and unless we can recruit some new members, we shall be left facing another shortfall, it’s as simple as that!"
“We sent out fliers to every club last season, aimed at trying to attract possibly some ex-players who may have recently retired, but sadly we had no response whatsoever", continued Haikings. “I have been led to believe that the new clubs will be providing some umpires to join our Association, but at this point in time we don’t know just how many", he said, and he's “sure there must be people out there, and not just necessarily ex-players, who love the game, and would like the chance to get involved".
Over in Lincolnshire, the Scunthorpe and District Cricket Umpires' Association (SDCUA) is also starting their recruitment campaign for prospective new umpires much earlier than usual, in the hope of attracting more newcomers to the ranks. The SDCUA usually runs its training course from January-March, but this year it has been brought forward to October-November in the hope that "people's thoughts will still be focused on cricket", and thus "result in more would-be umpires signing up".
'LOST BALL' CALLED AFTER GROUND'S
'TALL GRASS' CLAIMS BALL
Umpires and fielders faced what is these days a rare 'lost ball' situation during a Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) Under-19 match played near Vadodara last Friday, says the 'Times of India' (TOI). During the match between Hindu Gymkhana and Shreyas Academy, a Gymkana batsman hit the ball towards long on where it went into "tall grass" inside the boundary line, but despite a search lasting "three to four minutes" it could not be found.
Instead of continuing to run the batsmen are said to have run four and then "waited inside their crease". Eventually an unnamed umpire, rather then a player, is said to have called 'lost ball' and play later resumed with another ball; but whether the batting side were awarded six runs in the score book was not made clear. The 'TOI' report says that while the infield of the ground "had been maintained properly, tall grass in the outfield had not been trimmed".
BCA vice-president Samarjitsinh Gaekwad called the situation "a strange and freakish incident" and that he has "asked the officials concerned to find out how it happened and why the grass wasn't trimmed". The groundsman is said to have indicated the grass had not been cut "due to recent monsoonal rain but that it will be [this week]". A BCA official told 'TOI' that "players have the right to play on quality grounds", and that its "tournament committee should be monitoring grounds to ensure that players get proper facilities".
Law 20 says that if a ball in play cannot be found or recovered any fielder may call 'Lost Ball'. It goes on to say that any runs for penalties awarded to either side shall be scored together with either: (i) the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the call; or (ii) 6 runs, whichever is the greater.
WT20C SEMI FINAL LINE-UPS
DICTATE UMPIRE APPOINTMENTS
The International Cricket Council's neutral umpires policy, and its past practice of not mixing up officials appointed to the separate men's and women's World Twenty20 Championship series (WT20C), points to the umpire selections that will be made for the semi finals of both current WT20C events in Sri Lanka. The home side and Pakistan will play the first men's semi final and England and New Zealand in the women's fixture tomorrow, then on Friday Australia will play the West Indies in both the men's and women's games.
Given the six umpires who have been involved in the men's event three Australians, Steve Davis, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker, appear in line for the Lanka-Pakistan men's semi, and another Australian, Bruce Oxenford and South Africa's Marais Erasmus for the England-NZ game that precedes it. On Friday two Pakistani umpires, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf plus Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena are contenders for the Australia-Windies men's semi and Kiwis 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill and Nigel Llong of England the women's game between the same two countries.
TEAMS 'ON NOTICE' AHEAD OF
NZ-INDIA TOUR GAME, CLAIMS REPORT
The New Zealand and Indian 'A' sides are reported to "have been put on notice" about behaviour ahead of their second four-day game which is due to start near Christchurch this morning. Representatives from both teams are said to have been spoken to by umpires Phil Agent and Tim Parlane soon after their opening four-day game ended last Saturday, for although it was "largely played in good spirits" it "boiled over" on "two occasions".
The first incident apparently came on Thursday when, for the second time in two days, play was called off early because of bad light. That decision, says Fairfax New Zealand journalist Matt Richens, led "members of the Indian touring party" to act "petulantly toward the umpires" and they were seen "mockingly clapping their decision". One player "sarcastically thanking the umpires for their 'great decision', while the Indian coaching staff remonstrated with the officials", states Richens in his article.
On Saturday, "when the match was getting tight", a 'not out' decision to a caught behind appeal is said to have "riled the Indians", and Agent and Parlane then "had to break up a heated mid-pitch discussion" between fielders and the batsman involved.
What Richens calls "a source" was quoted as saying that the umpires were “clearly not very happy”, but that "they stopped short of official punishments". He says that he understands that "no formal disciplinary action was taken, for although the game was being played under International Cricket Council Playing Conditions, the lack of a match referee makes imposing sanctions difficult".
New Zealand 'A' captain Reece Young is said to have been "happy with the spirit the game was played in" and that "emotion was a positive rather than a negative", although he apparently concede things "went too far on Saturday". Young would not, however, comment on the discussions he had had with umpires Agent and Parlane.
Richen says that New Zealand Cricket are "unlikely to push for any [disciplinary action] because the tour is as much about building a relationship with cricket's controlling power, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, as the cricket itself".
SRI LANKA SWAPS CAPTAINS TO AVOID
POTENTIAL OVER-RATE BAN
With captain Mahela Jayawardene on notice after a slow over-rate offence earlier this week and in danger of a ban if such a situation occurs under his watch in the next 12 months (PTG 997-4844, 1 October 2012), and another potential captain Angelo Matthews in a similar position (PTG 972-4719, 6 August 2012), Sri Lanka named Kumar Sangakkara as its skipper for Monday night's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) match against England in Pallekele. The move was designed to ensure there was no risk of losing Jayawardene or Matthews for the side's crucial WT20C semi-final tomorrow.
Sangakkara was quoted as saying after the match that he "was the official captain today as both [Jayawardene] and [Mathews] were on a warning that is valid for six months, so we did not want to take the risk" they would miss the semi final. Media reports say that while Sangakkara was at the toss as the official captain, "Jayawardene was setting the fields and also once consulted the umpire on change of ball".
Jayawardene was quoted as saying that "We try our best, but the [slow over-rate] penalties are harsh [and] we don't want to miss the big games, so we did it with the right intentions". With Angelo Mathews having the same offence hanging over him "we had to find someone who didn't have a rap sheet and [Sangakkara] fitted the bill".
Sri Lankan team manager Charith Senanayake, who apparently came up with the captain swap idea, is said to have "verified the rules and consulted the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct before making the change". While Jayawardene said "the intention was not wrong", he is "sure [the ICC] will change the rules after this, but hopefully not in this tournament".
With the possibility that their side could make Sunday's final, just what Sri Lankan team management will do in captaincy terms in tomorrow's semi final against Pakistan remains to be seen.
CA REISSUES ITS ACCREDITED
Cricket Australia (CA) reissued its survey of accredited cricket umpires across the country yesterday as part of what it said 18 months ago were moves to develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of match officials at local or club level (PTG 758-3723, 15 April 2011). The new version of the survey, which is again being conducted for CA by Melbourne-based independent research consultancy 'SportINFO', has been circulated to accredited umpires via e-mail and takes around 10 minutes to complete.
CA's original survey was dogged by difficulties in delivering it to its target group due to accreditation data-base problems, and there were also claims that its structure was flawed and that only limited information could be drawn from it (PTG 931-4529, 22 April 2012). The only outcomes made public were that what CA called the "current engagement-appointment model may no longer be appropriate", and that there was a need to establish professional development programs for umpires who are in years one to three of their involvement (PTG 818-4004, 23 August 2011).
The new survey appears to be very similar to the original April 2011 version. Key issues canvassed again focus issues at umpire association-level, including: how satisfied umpires are with the role they play; whether individuals see themselves umpiring next season and in five years time; the adequacy of current training and development programs; general communication issues; the appropriateness of support provided by local umpiring Associations; mentoring programs and their value; and what local Association can do to "improve the experience of being a cricket umpire".
Most of the questions involve a choice of buttons to be pressed to indicate a recipient's response, however, space is provided in several sections for respondents to provide any more general views they have about issues in writing.
Many umpiring Associations around the world face an on-going challenge of having sufficient, well-trained, umpires to cover all matches in the competitions for which they supply officials (PTG 609-3054, 21 May 2010), and CA wants the factors involved addressed. CA made clear last year that it believes the standard of umpiring in Australia is high (PTG 743-3644, 19 March 2011), but is focussed on ensuring its "umpiring stocks" are strengthened at all levels.
The survey will be open for individuals to make their submissions until Monday, 22 October. CA has provided no indication as to when it expects the results of the survey to be collated, whether the outcomes will be made public, or what the next step in responding in a practical way to the issues raised will be.
MORE MEDIA CONCERN ON LACK
OF INDIAN EUP MEMBER
Another sub-continental media outlet has raised questions as to why there are no Indians on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP). Last month a number of Indian journalists queried the absence of umpires from their country in the current World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Sri Lanka (PTG 991-4820, 18 September 2012).
Pankaj Sharma, from the 'Zee Research Group', says in an article posted on the 'Daily News and Analysis' (DNA) web site on Monday that while India has "emerged as a key player in the world of cricket", there has been no Indian on the EUP "for eight long years", and the matter is "of serious concern". Sharma says that in picking Australian Bruce Oxenford to replace his countryman Simon Taufel on the EUP last week (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012), the ICC "has once again [overlooked] an Indian name, which raises question over performance of umpires here".
Former Test umpire Krishna Hariharan, who is still active on the first class scene in India, is quoted by Sharma as saying it "is a system issue”, but he is said to "have chosen not to elaborate" on that comment. Former Indian fast bowler Chetan Sharma called for "more chances to be given to Indian umpires" on the international scene. He claimed "it is absolutely wrong to say that India does not have good umpires" and that "what our umpires really lack is exposure and [the Board of control for Cricket in India (BCCI)] should look into this matter".
Writer Pankaj Sharma says though that "one cannot blame western lobbies in the ICC for ignoring Indians for selection as currently eight Indians are represented on various ICC committees", and that "interestingly Srinivas Venkataraghavan [the last and only Indian member of the EUP to date], is on the ICC's Umpires Selection Panel". "To be selected as an umpire in India isn’t an easy task", continues Sharma, but India’s "long drought of representation" on the EUP "indicates that nurturing of umpires has taken a backseat here [and] perhaps this is the only reason the BCCI started a National Academy for Umpires in Nagpur two years back" (PTG 601-3019, 5 May 2010).
In 2006, David Richardson, the ICC's then General Manager Cricket and now Chief Executive, said that Indian umpires were not up to world standards and challenged the BCCI to improve their performance. The absence of an Indian on the EUP wasn't due to a flaw in the appointment process, said Richardson at the time. "We do [EUP appointments] as professionally as we can" and "who ever does well is going to move forward, but if you are not up to the mark and there are other international umpires who are better, then you will be left out".
Following significant criticism in India of domestic umpiring standards in 2007, 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). Those moves 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).
Over the last six years the ICC has appointed four Indians to Tests, Hariharan, Amish Saheba and Suresh Shastri all two each, and Shavir Tarapore to four, but they quickly disappeared from the international scene soon after those fixtures. Last month there were indications that full time contracts for the top ten umpires were being mooted by the BCCI (PTG 988-4799, 4 September 2012), and there was also talk in media reports about a pay boost for match officials (PTG 989-4803, 6 September 2012).
GEELONG ASSOCIATION INTRODUCES
'RED' AND 'YELLOW' CARDS
The Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) in Victoria has given its umpires the "power to hand out yellow and red cards to players who overstep the mark on game days", says a story published in yesterday's 'Geelong Advertiser'. Calling it "an unprecedented move", journalist Jason Shields says that the GCA "should be applauded for taking a hardline stance on player behaviour", and that "hopefully the move [will be] a strong wake-up call for all cricketers in the region".
Shields, who acknowledges that "trouble [during matches] comes from a minority, not the majority", says that "umpires understand that we play a competitive game and things can get heated, but there is a line" that should not be crossed. He does not provide any details of just how the card system will work in practice, however, he gives no indication that the issuing of a red card for example will actually result in a player being sent from the field football-sytle.
In applauding the Association's move, Shields says that despite monetary incentives offered to GCA clubs last year to recruit umpires (PTG 816-3997, 18 August 2011), umpire numbers in the region are on the decline. He believes that "we, as players, need to take a great deal of responsibility for it [for] there were [GCA] games last season where I wouldn't have wanted to be an umpire for love nor money".
"While cricket should always be competitive", "it should never be a forum for players to be personally abusive or threatening towards opponents, let alone the people who are there to officiate", says Shields. "As players, we are anything but perfect", "yet, in one game last season, the abuse towards two umpires who had made a few mistakes could be heard from across the boundary line". "It went on and on and almost threatened the continuation of the game".
Many years ago Shields says that his "father umpired for a few seasons in the Traralgon and District Cricket Association [in south-east Victoria], before the abuse became too much". "One day, after warning the fielding team's captain, he followed through on his threat to quit and simply walked off the field". "The players were stunned as he got in his car before tea and left, never to return [and] sadly, he never umpired again". "His reasoning was simple", continued Shields, "he didn't get paid enough to waste his Saturday afternoons in such a hostile environment", but "fortunately, the incident proved a bit of a wake-up call for players in that league".
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 4 October 2012
MCC SAID TO FAVOUR 'FINN' 'NO BALL'
OPTION, DECISION IN DECEMBER?
A final position on whether to change the Laws to take in 'Finn' broken wicket situations, and if so how, is expected to be arrived at by the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws sub-committee in early December, according to an article by Paul Bolton posted on the Cricketer Magazine's web site yesterday. According to Bolton, the MCC Laws sub-committee decided last month that consideration should be given to making breaking the non-striker’s stumps by the bowler a 'no-ball', but the club has decided "to take more time" to consider the matter.
The changes being considered originally flowed from England fast bowler Steven Finn’s repeated breaking of the stumps in his delivery stride during the second Test against South Africa at Headingley in August (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012). The International Cricket Council (ICC) later adopted a single warning then 'dead ball' approach for each subsequent instance in an innings (PTG 991-4814, 16 September 2012); however, concerns were raised earlier this week that batting sides were being disadvantaged as a result (PTG 997-4483, 1 October 2012).
Since last month's MCC Laws sub-committee meeting the club's Laws drafting group are said to have met at Lord’s and, having sought "a range of opinion throughout the game, including umpires", have decided that "further consultation" is needed before they meet again next month ahead of a Laws sub-committee meeting in early December.
If the Laws sub-committee end up recommending a change to the Laws then club members are likely to be given a vote on any amendments put to them sometime in April-May, but any changes they approve would not come into effect world-wide until 1 October next year. Bolton claims that in the meantime the ICC "is likely to continue to instruct [its] umpires to call 'dead ball' after the first instance if Finn or any other bowler, breaks the stumps in international cricket", however, that appears difficult to believe given the potential loss of runs to the batting side involved.
On Wednesday, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, whose side directly experienced Finn's stump breaking this week, queried the ICC rule whereby "you can kick the stumps over and get a benefit". "I'm not sure how [the ICC] came to that conclusion", said Hesson. "Coaches and captains were told pre-tournament what was happening but there wasn't a discussion about it", and "if [the current arrangement] doesn't change [the ICC] have got rocks in their head", he said.
Hesson also criticised the ICC for using a 'Super Over' to decide the outcome of non-knockout matches in the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series. His side lost two of its three matches in the 'Super 8' section of the tournament when scores were tied after each side had completed 20 overs and Super Overs resulted, and he is of the view that teams should have shared the points in each case. However, such a change would not have got his side into the current WT20C semi finals, but he "can't work out why, in a non-elimination game, you have to have a Super Over" in such situations
WT20C SEMI FINAL MATCH
Umpiring appointments for the semi finals of the men's and women's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) in Sri Lanka today and tomorrow in Colombo have gone much as expected (PTG 998-4848, 3 October 2012). The home side and Pakistan will play the first men's semi final and England and New Zealand the corresponding women's fixture later today, while Australia will play the West Indies in both the men's and women's games in the Sri Lankan capital tomorrow.
Today's men's match will see Australians Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker on the field, England's Ian Gould the third umpire, another Australian Steve Davis the fourth umpire, and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the match referee. The women's game that precedes it will be looked after by Marais Erasmus of South Africa and another Australian, Bruce Oxenford, Tony Hill of New Zealand being the third umpire and Nigel Llong of England the fourth. Sri Lankan Graeme La Brooy is the match referee.
On Friday, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Aleem Dar of Pakistan will be the on-field umpires in the men's game with Englishman Richard Kettleborough the television umpire and Asad Rauf the fourth official. Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle will be the match referee for that game. Prior to that the second women's semi final will see Hill and his compatriot 'Billy' Bowden on the ground, Llong the third umpire, Erasmus the fourth and La Brooy again the match referee.
Should the Australian men's side win tomorrow's semi final against the West Indies then today's game will be Taufel's last in an international for the ICC's 'neutral' umpire rule would mean he is ineligible for Sunday's final ahead of his retirement (PTG 994-4833, 27 September 2012). In such a situation Tucker would also not be considered for the final, and that will also apply to Dharmasena if Sri Lanka win their semi final and Dar should Pakistan be victorious.
Yesterday's appointments give some insight into the current rankings of members within the 12-man EUP. Dharmasena, the current ICC 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012) Dar, Taufel and Tucker appear to be in the top block, then come Gould and Kettleborough, followed by Davis and Rauf, and below them Erasmus, Bowden, Hill, Oxenford and Llong.
'TACTICAL RETIREMENTS' WOULD NOT
VIOLATE GAME'S 'SPIRIT', SAYS JOURNALIST
Veteran English journalist Scyld Berry believes that a batsmen in events such as the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) or the like who "is completely drained as his [side’s] innings comes to an end", should be allowed to "tactically retire out" if they're exhausted and that such a move "would not violate the Spirit of Game". The London 'Daily Telegraph' scribe wrote about the issue yesterday after England batsman "Alex Hales was visibly 'gone' in [the] final stages of their [WT20C] match against the West Indies" earlier this week.
In such a situation, particularly in "Sri Lanka’s heat and stifling humidity" during the WT20C, a batsman's "gloves can’t grip the bat handle and his mind can’t grip the situation" at hand. In what was a tight run chase against the Windies, "supposing Hales, [who wasn't injured], either of his own accord or at the command of his captain Stuart Broad, had ‘retired out’ with 23 required off seven balls and [a new batsman] had replaced him", "would that have been in the spirit of the game?" or "should such an action be banned", asks Berry.
According to Berry's article, the Australian side "discussed the issue during the early stages" of the current WT20C series in Sri Lanka, "but decided that a batsman retiring 'out' would contravene the game’s spirit". They are also said to have made the judgement that "a batsman who was ‘in’, however tired, was likely to be more effective than a new batsman", so "pragmatism also had its say" then, says Berry.
Berry doesn't think "such a tactic would be against the spirit" for he expects "professional cricketers to do whatever they can to win: [and that] it would be a limp and less interesting game if they did not". "I expect them to take advantage of the Laws if there is nothing specifically to stop them", he says, and it is then up to the lawmakers at the Marylebone Cricket Club "to close the gap". That for example could be "to penalise a side in which a batsman ‘retires out’ by docking them five penalty runs". "That is how cricket evolves", says Berry, and is the sought of thing that keeps the game "so fascinating".
Given Berry's view on how he expects "professional cricketers" to approach the game, it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on the Sri Lankan side's swapping of captains to avoid a potential over-rate ban earlier this week (PTG 998-4850, 3 October 2012).
What Berry thinks, given how he expects "professional cricketers" to approach the game, about the Sri Lankan side's decision earlier this week to swap captains to avoid a potential over-rate ban, is not known (PTG 998-4850, 3 October 2012).
NSW MATCH OFFICIALS PREPARE TO
MARK THEIR ASSOCIATION'S CENTENARY
Next January's Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is set to be a period of "massive promotion" for the New South Wales Cricket Umpire and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), for it will set off a range of events that will mark the group's Centenary celebrations next year. The NSWCUSA will be the second such group in Australia to mark its Centenary of operations recently, the South Australian Cricket Umpires' Association doing so in November last year (PTG 859-4196, 11 November 2011).
NSWCUSA Executive Officer (EO) Nick Carson, who is also the chair of the committee that is organising events to mark their 100 years of service to the game, says in the latest edition of the Association's 'Centenary Newsletter' that celebrations are to start during the Test with the opening of the refurbished 'Ted Wykes Room' and is to include a video and film of the Association's work and a 'Mighty100th Birthday Party at the SCG in August.
England-born Wykes, whose name adorns the umpire's room at the SCG, immigrated to Australia at the age of four in 1925 and is one of 15 Test and 78 first class umpires to come from the NSWCUSA over the last 100 years; three of whom have been selected for the world's top cricket umpires group, the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012).
A NSWCUSA member for 59 years, President and Vice President from 1967-2000, Life Member, and a recipient of an Order of Australia medal for his services to the game, Wykes stood in a total of 71 first class matches from 1957-71, all but one, his single Test which was in Brisbane, being at the SCG. In his latter years he worked at the ground as the match referee in three One Day Internationals during the 1992 World Cup, and his ashes were spread on the centre square following his death in 2008. His portrait, painted by Archibald prize nominee Judith O’Conal, is to be unveiled as part of the umpire room's reopening.
Another project underway is a documentary film summarising NSWCUSA history, which is expected to be offered in DVD format. Some twenty-eight hours of footage has been accumulated to date and preparations are being made to cut that down to a final running time of around 100 minutes. Prior to taking up the EO position earlier this year (PTG 908-4416, 3 March 2012), Carson worked for many years as a film producer.
Celebrations to mark the centenary of what is one of the oldest Association of its kind in the world will continue in August with a "Birthday Party" in the SCG's Steve Waugh Room. It will involved "drinks on the hallowed turf of the SCG, the huge screen in operation, special guest musical performers and special guests from the world of cricket", writes Carson. Other celebrations are believed to be have been scheduled up until the end of 2013.
ICC EUP MEMBERS MAKE VISIT
TO SPECIAL SCHOOL, DONATION
International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members have made a donation of one million Sri Lanka Rupees ($A7,500) to a school for Special Children in Colombo. The cheque was presented by the umpires during a visit of the centre this week where they also spent time with under-privileged and disadvantaged children, as well as staff members.
The Chitra Lane organisation was opened in 1968 as a day school for children with special needs but now provides services and facilities for the early detection of disabilities to over 2,000 children and young adults from across Sri Lanka each year. An ICC press release said that EUP members were "delighted to visit the [school] and have been extremely impressed and touched with the outstanding work" being carried out there.
The group is also "surprised this service to local community has gone unnoticed" and "our visit to this centre is a show of support, solidarity and commitment" to the school's "noble cause". "Not only do the umpires wish to contribute towards a successful cricketing event in Sri Lanka but also towards some of the disadvantaged within the local community", said an ICC spokesman after the visit.
TAUFEL TO SIGN OFF
WITH WORLD T20 FINAL
Australian umpire Simon Taufel is to end his on-field international career tomorrow evening in Colombo when he stands in the final of this year's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series between Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Taufel, whose on-field colleague in the final will be Aleem Dar of Pakistan, announced last week that he is to take up the International Cricket Council's new Umpire Performance and Training Manager position (PTG 994-4833, 27 September 2012).
Taufel's and Dar will be supported in the third umpire chair tomorrow by another Australian Rod Tucker, Ian Gould of England being the fourth official while Jeff Crowe of New Zealand will be the match referee. For Taufel it will be his third WT20C final, the others being in 2007 and 2009, while Dar is will be standing in his second for he stood in the 2010 decider in the West Indies.
The Australia-England women's game that proceeds the men's final will see 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Marais Erasmus of South Africa on the field, another Kiwi Tony Hill the television umpire and Nigel Llong of England the fourth umpire. Sri Lanka's Graeme La Brooy will be the match referee.
Since Taufel announced his departure from the field a number of players have talked about his contribution to the game over the last decade.
Indian vice-captain Virat Kohli was quoted as saying that Taufel "has been the best by far over the years now [and] very consistent". “He has built good relations with players, every player is friendly with him and every one respects him [and] in return, he respects the players as well [for] players feel confident when they see Taufel". “He is not too harsh on you, you know that he is going to do his job well and he expects you to do the same, [and] it’s now up to other umpires to live up to the standards he has set", concluded Kohli.
Kohli's Indian colleague Irfan Pathan said that Taufel has taken umpiring to a different level and "whenever you meet him, you feel like giving respect to him". “The way he has carried himself over the years has been amazing", said Pathan. South African batsman Jean-Paul Duminy said “Taufel has been outstanding for the sport [but at least] he is still going to be involved in the training program, so I wish him all the best for the future". Duminy added: “It’s his professionalism [that makes him stand out for] I have always seen him in practice sessions before the match, making sure that he has got his eye in".
'INDEPENDENT OBSERVERS' TO
OVERSEE PCB FIRST CLASS GAMES
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is appointing "independent observers" to all games in its domestic President’s Trophy first class series this season, the first matches of which got underway this week, says an article in the 'Express Tribune' newspaper yesterday. The observers are to prepare "daily reports" for PCB Director-General Javed Miandad on "the conduct of players, umpires, analysts and even match referees", plus the "behaviour of the pitch, outfield and ball".
An unnamed PCB official told the 'Tribune' that the “step has been taken to improve the quality of cricket [and] ensure that there are neutral observers in domestic matches who will report events, mishaps and cases of neglect without any bias". The official is said to have added that the PCB had received "several complaints over poor umpiring last year and most of them proved to be wrong which is [one] reason behind appointing the observers" (PTG 845-4132, 12 October 2011). “When an umpiring mistake helps a team it is termed human error, and when it goes against them it is labelled as bias", said the official.
PLAYER LOOSES HALF MATCH FEE FOR
SHOWING 'DISRESPECT' TO UMPIRES
Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has been fined half of his match fee after he ignored requests from "both on-field umpires" not to change his batting glovers during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) semi final against Sri Lanka on Thursday. Match referee Jeff Crowe said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council yesterday that "respect for the umpires is integral and something which we always emphasise and encourage".
The incident took place in the seventeenth over of Pakistan’s innings when Umar, who was the non-striker, went ahead and changed his batting gloves despite requests from Australian umpires Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker not to do so. Crowe said that in the incident, "Umar showed blatant disregard to both the umpires’ requests, which was offensive and unacceptable from an international cricketer and contrary to our unique spirit, hence a Level2 charge was laid".
The charge was laid by Taufel, Tucker, third umpire Ian Gould of England and fourth official Australian Steve Davis. Umar pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction therefore there was no need for a formal hearing.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
ICC TO INVESTIGATE UMPIRE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) last night launched an "urgent investigation" into allegations that umpires from three countries have been involved in what are being called "match-fixing" activities. 'India TV', a private company, claimed in a program broadcast yesterday that six umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who were filmed during a 'sting' operation in August-September, were "willing to fix games", however, the evidence presented to date is limited and a number of those named have been quick to deny the allegations levelled against them.
Umpires the television report suggests were "corrupt" are: Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan; Nadir Shah and of Bangladesh; and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage. Another umpire interviewed, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid of Bangladesh, is said to have "refused to give any favour in lieu of money offered by the undercover reporters". Only he and Shah are currently on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ghauri being a former member.
Shah, who has officiated in 40 One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals, is said by India TV to have been "ready to fix any match at international or domestic level" and to have "also revealed that Pakistani batsman Nasir Jamshed 'fixed' matches in the Bangladesh Premier League". Ghauri, who played a single Test for his country in 1990 and stood in five as an umpire in 2005-06, is said to have "agreed to help Team India in all ways".
Gallage, a member of Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) top domestic umpires panel, reportedly agreed on video to "leak information on the pitch, weather, toss, and the playing elevens of India and Pakistan ahead of their World Twenty20 warm-up match in in exchange for 50,000 rupees [$A932]", a fixture in which he was reported to have been the fourth umpire. His countryman Dissanayake reportedly claimed that "by providing liquor to [SLC] officials, one can get any work done", although just what that means was not made clear.
Both Shah and Ghauri have strongly refuted allegations made against them. Shah was quoted this morning as saying that he "never fixed any match". "[India TV reporters] posed as sponsors and approached me but I did not agree to [any of their requests for] no umpire fixes matches", as "if I [did so] I would be caught some day by the ICC".
Last night the ICC called on the broadcaster to hand over evidence that could help its investigation, saying "none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the [recent] World Twenty20". The world body then reiterated "its zero tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials". Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in Chief of India TV, is standing by his channel's expose and said their reports were [available] to any inquiry. "The fact that the umpires were willing to do a 'criminal' thing is unfair to cricket", he said.
Last May, India TV alleged following a similar 'sting' operation that five Indian domestic players had been involved in match-fixing and salary violations (PTG 939-4566, 17 May 2012). One was subsequently banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for life, another for five years, and the remaining three all for one-year (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012).
TERRORIST ATTACK SURVIVOR
PAKISTAN'S 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'
Ahsan Raza was yesterday named as the inaugural winner of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) 'Umpire of the Year' award. What is being called the 'Aleem Dar Trophy' and a prize of 100,000 Rupees ($A1,025) was announced by the Board's director general Javed Miandad in a press release issued yesterday, however, apparently there was no award ceremony and no details have been released of the procedures that were used in deciding the trophy's winner.
Raza, 38, a former wicketkeeper who played 21 first-class matches during the last half of the 1990s, made his umpiring debut at that level in 2006 and has officiated in 63 first-class matches to date. He was promoted to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel in 2010 and has since gone on to stand in eight One Day Internationals and the same number of Twenty20 Internationals.
Raza was shot in the back and critically wounded during the terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009 and lost a lung as a result (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009). It took nine months before he had recovered sufficiently to return to the game.
COLOMBO ON SUNDAY, JOBURG
ON TUESDAY FOR ERASMUS
Australian match referee David Boon will preside over the opening two Champions League Twenty20 qualifying matches in South Africa later today with the on-field and third umpire roles being shared by Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, Asad Rauf of Pakistan and South African Marais Erasmus, the latter's countryman Johan Cloete being the fourth umpire.
Erasmus stood in the final of the women's section of the World Twenty20 Championship in Colombo just two days ago (PTG 1000-4859, 6 October 2012), Dharmasena in a men's semi final on Friday, while Rauf last took the field in Pallekele last Monday. The names of other match officials who will support the Champions League series have not yet been released.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 11 October 2012
'STING' UMPIRES SUSPENDED
UNTIL INVESTIGATIONS COMPLETED
Umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who have been accused of corrupt practices by an Indian television station's 'sting' operation (PTG 1001-4865, 9 October 2012), will not be considered for appointments to any game until investigations being conducted at both national and international level clear their names. The move to stand them down came yesterday despite strong statements by those involved over the last few days denying claims they were prepared to fix matches in return for money (PTG 1002-4867 below).
In announcing the stand down decision last night, the International Cricket Council (ICC) pointed out that none of the officials named, Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage, are actually contracted to it, but rather to the Boards of their respective countries. Those Boards employ and nominate each of their umpires, all of whom are members of top domestic panels, to senior-level domestic games, and in the case of Ghauri and Shah, who are also on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), as 'home' umpires in One Day Internationals (ODI) or Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).
Over the next six weeks, a time during which the investigations should be completed, Bangladesh is scheduled to conduct some two dozen domestic first class games and Pakistan three dozen, but Sri Lanka's first class season is not listed to start until January. Internationally between now and the end of November, Sri Lanka is to play at home Test, ODI and T20I series against New Zealand, but in the case of Bangladesh and Pakistan no 'home' internationals are scheduled there in that time.
The October-November schedule of matches indicates that Ghauri, Siddiqui and Shah will miss out on what would have perhaps been 3-4 first class games each, while Dissanayake, Gallage and Winston will be hoping the investigations will clear them prior to their domestic season getting underway towards the end of the year. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have confirmed they had each begun investigations into the allegations, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said in a press release that it is "committed to holding a thorough inquiry into the matter".
The PCB is said to be backing Ghouri and Anis-ur-Rehman, the other umpire from that country involved, and that it would not "jump to conclusions" at this stage. The issue will be dealt with appropriately after a thorough investigation", said a PCB spokesman. SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that his organisation "takes a very strong view" on corruption, at the same time emphasising its "confidence in our players and officials". Despite that one report claims that the SLC's umpires' committee has already concluded after an initial "emergency meeting", "that there was wrongdoing", its chairman, ARM Aroos, telling the BBC "the [India TV] footage appeared genuine". "I think [the umpires involved] made mistakes by agreeing to certain things", he said.
COUNTY SCORERS OPPOSING ECB
'AWAY SCORER' PLANS
County scorers are reported to be opposing plans by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to do without away team scorers and replace them with analysts from sports data company 'Opta', says an article posted on 'The Cricketer' web site yesterday. Twelve months ago Opta won the contract to become the ECB’s official score service, and they had, in addition to the scorers from the two counties playing a match, their own scorers in attendance at games throughout the 2012 northern hemisphere summer (PTG 917-4463, 19 March 2012).
Journalist Paul Bolton says that county scorers, most of whom are paid small honorariums by their clubs rather than salaries, lost out financially when the UK Press Association (PA), who had the ECB scores contract for the previous ten years, lost it to Opta. Prior to the ECB-Opta arrangement the eighteen county scorers and their assistants sent ball-by-ball live scores and other statistics directly to the PA, who in turn provided the data to a host of media and other clients.
The ECB are said to be keen to promote Opta as the official score service of county cricket and are "concerned that there were discrepancies between the Opta scores and those produced by county scorers last season". On many county grounds there is limited space in scorers’ rooms which has meant that Opta analysts have had to work from other parts of the ground, and that can result in limited communication with the official scorers; and situation that was flagged before the 2012 season began.
Alan West, the chairman of the county scorers group, told Bolton that “No doubt some counties will be tempted not to send their scorer to away matches because they will see it as a chance to save some money, but county scorers do other things, particularly on away trips, that help the team". Those additional activities include: providing information for county year books; and acting as baggage master and controlling the players’ meal allowances; and as such "they are regarded as valuable members of county back room staff".
West also believes Opta has some way to go yet to perfect its operations and hopes "they are going to start providing the more detailed service about each ball, where it pitches and what it does, which was promised when they took over the service". "Until they have done that we don’t see why anything needs to happen", concluded West, and that's why "we have told the ECB that we do not see any reason for not having an away scorer at all matches".
Bolton says that the issue is expected to be debated by county scorers at their annual meeting in Derby at the end of the month but in the meantime negotiations with the ECB will continue. ECB umpires manager Chris Kelly, who is believed to be liaising with the scorers, said that “we have made a number of suggestions to the [them that are] aimed at ensuring the score on the board is the right one".
'CORRUPT PRACTICE' ALLEGATIONS
REJECTED BY UMPIRES
Six umpires from three Asian countries who the India TV channel claimed on Monday willing to participate in corrupt practices, have publicly protested their innocence over the last two days (PTG 1001-4865, 9 October 2012). Despite their claims the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced yesterday the umpires' respective national Boards are standing them down from match duties for the duration of the investigations that are now underway (PTG 1002-48 above).
Pakistan umpire Nadeem Ghouri has been quoted over the last few days as saying that he is "surprised at these baseless allegations", "vehemently denies" them, and that he planned to consult his lawyers. He says the channel's video is "a fake" and that sections of it that relate to him had been altered. He told reporters in Lahore he spoke to the "undercover [India TV] reporter" who presented himself as "a member of a sports management company" in July. That discussion revolved around the possibility of him umpiring in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League Twenty20 series in August. Such an arrangement did not come to fruition.
Sri Lankan Gamini Dissanayake, one of three umpires from the island nation to be named, called the allegations a "fabrication", says Colombo's 'Daily Mirror', that "obviously this is an attempt at mudslinging", and is "an attack on the entire Sri Lankan umpiring fraternity by an external force". His countryman Maurice Winston told a Colombo journalist that "all I have to say is that we are innocent of all these charges", and together with Dissanayake he stressed his intention to fully cooperate with any investigations conducted into the matter.
Bangladesh's Nadir Shah again called, as he did on Monday, India TV's claims "absolute rubbish", telling the BBC on Tuesday that "the ICC hasn't contacted me yet [but when they do] I am going to tell the truth". "Once we knew [those contacting us were] crooked and trying the fix matches we backed out", he said. "I informed my agent [and close friends] about these things", he continued, but significantly given the very high-profile corruption issues have had in cricket in recent times, he "didn't inform" the ICC or the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) about the approach.
Shah was among the umpires who stood in the BCB's inaugural national Twenty20 competition in February, an event during which corruption concerns surfaced, although not, as far as it is known, in relation to Shah (PTG 908-4418, 3 March 2012). However, Shah is reported to have said during the India TV interview that one player in that T20 series, Pakistani batsman Nasir Jamshed, "fixed' matches" in that tournament.
In another twist, the 'Times of India' (TOI) says in one of its reports that India TV footage shows Ghauri spelling out the limitations that apply to his making on-field decisions for those wishing to obtain a particular result. Marginal 'LBW' or 'caught' calls were said to be the ones that can only be manipulated and provided there was no 'Snickometer' or referral system in operation, for when such technology is present "things wouldn't be in his hands and [any] deal [would be] off".
According to the 'TOI' article, that statement demonstrates another aspect as to why why technology is so important for the game. It says that for that reason alone the Board of Control for Cricket in India should reconsider its current position on the use of technology and support its use in the international game.
HAIR 'NOT SURPRISED' BY UMPIRE
Former Australian international umpire Darrell Hair says he's not surprised some umpires in the Asian region have allegedly been caught taking bribes. Hair was commenting on news that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an "urgent investigation" into claims by an Indian television station on Monday that several umpires were willing to fix matches for money (PTG 1001-4865, 9 October 2012), allegations that are being refuted by those involved (PTG 1002-4867 above).
Hair, an international umpire for 16 years until he resigned in 2008, wasn't shocked by the allegations, says a story in yesterday's edition of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' . "I was wondering how long it would take before some umpire did some stupid things", runs one of the quotes attributed to him, "for there have been rumours going around since the [Indian Premier League] started [in 2008] that umpires were involved" in questionable conduct.
"In my whole career there had always been word that certain umpires were on the take here or there", says Hair, "but to be fair, all the guys I umpired with at international level I think were pretty much above board". However, he doesn't "doubt that there have been others around, probably in a lesser environment, trying to make a quick buck". "People like that have just got no bloody morals or values about the game". In Hair's view "it all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed", and "if you're the type of person and you're given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, 'Yeah, I'm in' ".
Hair said that in the three years from 2008-11 he was executive officer of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, "some of the Australian guys [who] had been over [to the subcontinent] coaching expressed surprise at things that were going on in that Indian Premier League". "They couldn't nail anything [as] it's a bit difficult when they are talking in a different language, [but] some games were going along perfectly well and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, there is a flurry of wickets and all of a sudden you have lost a game that you were comfortably winning".
The Australian, who left the international scene after a long battle with the ICC, has little faith that the world body is capable of defeating corruption as it is "completely reactive in their way of doing things". "They say they don't have the legal powers that police have got for phone taps and that sort of thing, but I don't buy that". In his view "the ICC should be above any law if they want to tap phones to ensure that the game is clean". "If I was in charge", he says, "I'd be putting bloody phone taps on virtually everyone involved [for] if they knew that, nothing could go wrong".
DELHI UMPIRES 'SUSCEPTIBLE'
TO BRIBES, CLAIMS REPORT
No Indian umpire was implicated in Monday's television 'sting", but that may be "no reason to feel satisfied", says an article published in the 'Times of India' yesterday. Journalist Partha Bhaduri writes that "several umpires" in the Delhi area have told him that they are "often asked to favour particular teams or players during tournaments and at state-level age-group events and trials".
Bhaduri claims that "allegations targeting umpires have been made in local circles for years, however, it is such a sensitive matter that officials in the know within the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) are not willing to go on the record" about the situation. One umpire was quoted as saying that "Big local tournaments are often fixed through umpires" and that "in well-known events that have cash prizes [of thousand of Rupees] for the winner and runners-up", "results are sometimes manipulated".
"Some local umpires are known punters", says the umpire". "In age-group events, say an Under-16 trial match, it's not uncommon for umpires to be given incentives to favour players". Local umpires "succumb to offers to be lenient on players", and "sometimes an LBW may not be given, or a faint edge not acknowledged. Umpires say those approaching them are "often involved in state-level cricket administration and may even own their own clubs".
"On an average we are paid 1,500 Rupees ($A28) for local events", says another umpire, "but sometimes, we get double that amount for doling out favours" and on other occasions the "promise of more assignments, or cricket kits and other such gifts". An unnamed DDCA official said in some lower leagues where some umpires "are uneducated" they are "paid in the range of 600-800 Rupees ($A10-15), and with "no monitoring agency in place they are easy prey".
A "senior" DDCA sports committee member said it "should come as no surprise that umpires are easy prey [for] they earn little and hold the keys to a team or player's fortune". "Trial matches are places where powerful committee members push their candidates" and umpires who cooperate "get more assignments and some extra cash", said the the DDCA official. He also claimed that "one umpire who also officiates in the Indian Premier League is well-known for being susceptible at the local level", but "the majority are in the lower rung for they can't really refuse or they will be sidelined".
Despite the allegations DDCA general secretary Sneh Bansal said he'd ""never heard of such manipulation at the local level". The Association "takes all necessary steps to keep things clean and if we come across instances we will take strict action, but private tournaments are a different thing, however, we can interfere there too if we come across umpiring scandals".
Bhaduri concludes by saying that in India, "a country where umpiring standards and methods of appraisal are foggy at best, putting an umpiring ethics committee in place for local levels may be too difficult a task".
CA NAMES OFFICIALS FOR
OPENING WOMEN'S GAMES
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named twenty umpires and five match referees to look after the opening twelve women's Twenty20 (T20) and six Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) matches that are to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney over the next two weeks. Brisbane will see four T20 and two WNCL fixtures played, and in the other capitals all two T20 and a single WNCL game.
In Perth umpires Wayne Barron, Matthew Hall, Chris McCann and Dean Trigg will be on the field; while in Brisbane the umpires are Benjamin Farrell, Craig Hoffman, Jay Kangur and Damien Mealey. Down in Sydney Neil Finlay, Andrew Hamilton, David Taylor and David Went are the umpires named, in Adelaide John Biddis, Lynton Donisthorpe and Craig Thomas, and in Melbourne Shawn Craig, Phillip Gillespie, Richard Patterson, Ange Sammartino and Sam Sciacca. The match referees are: Daryl Cox (Melbourne); Kim Perrin (Adelaide); Terry Prue (Perth); Graham Reed (Sydney); and Jim Torpey (Brisbane).
Meanwhile, ten umpires, including Hoffman, Kangur, Mealey, Patterson and Thomas and four match referees have appointed to the first five CA Futures League games for State Second XIs for the season. Two of those fixtures have already been played, both in south-east Queensland, a third is scheduled to start next Monday in Adelaide, and the last two in Canberra and Perth respectively at the end of the month.
The umpires named are: Kumar Chandrakumar and Craig Thomas (South Australia); Craig Hoffman and Jay Kangur (Queensland); Stuart Grocock and Yohan Ramasundara (Australian Capital Territory); Mike Graham-Smith and Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania); and Nathan Johnstone and Todd Rann (Western Australia). All except the Tasmanians had, or will have, members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel as their match referees.
Of the umpires CA has named for the opening 23 women's and men's games overall, Mealey and Johnstone were members of CA's most recent emerging umpires group, Graham-Smith and Patterson its current group, and Craig of its Project Panel for former first class umpires.
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 13 October 2012
REPORTS SUGGEST AUSSIE-INDIA
EXCHANGE PROGRAM PLANNED
Reports from Mumbai on Thursday say that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) have established an umpire exchange program. While neither Board has made an announcement about any agreement, current indications are that an Indian official will stand in two Sheffield Shield first class matches in Australia next month, with CA's man travelling to the sub-continent for a similar stint in the Ranji Trophy series, probably before mid-December.
Any new BCCI-CA program, which was first mooted several years ago, would be the third of its kind for each country, India already having such an agreement in place with the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa (CSA), and Australia with CSA and New Zealand Cricket (NZC). Past practice suggests that those selected for exchanges in the first season would come from the respective members of each country's group on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).
The BCCI currently has Sudhir Asnani and Vineet Kulkarni as on-field members of the IUP and Ravi Sundaram and C. Shamshuddin in television positions (PTG 961-4674, 13 July 2012). For CA, which is yet to announce its new IUP line-up following the departure of Bruce Oxenford to higher things, its choice for the Indian visit appears to be between Paul Reiffel and Simon Fry, the likely on-field members for 2012-13, and John Ward who many expect to be named soon to Australia's IUP third umpire spot (PTG 995-4838, 27 September 2012).
Asnani, 51, Kulkarni, 33, and Reiffel and Fry, both 46, would appear to be the likely candidates from each country. Both Indians have previously been on exchange to South Africa, the former in March 2010 and the latter last February; while Reiffel was there at the same time as Asnani and Fry in March 2011 after he made similar exchange visit to New Zealand the previous November. Reiffel already has experience in India as a player in Tests and One Day Internationals, and more recently in the Indian Premier League in April-May last year.
In addition to an Indian visitor next month, other reports suggest that as was the case last year, an umpire from New Zealand will also stand in a Sheffield Shield game in Australia, with a CA umpire, possibly Paul Wilson a member of CA's National Umpires Panel and another former Test player, working in a single Plunket Shield first class fixture in Auckland and a Twenty20 game in Napier in the first week of December. Ward travelled to both New Zealand and South Africa last austral summer as part of CA-NZC and CA-CSA exchanges.
BOOKIE ACTIVITY SHOULD NOT SURPRISE
ANYONE, SAYS FORMER ODI UMPIRE
Former Indian umpire Satish Gupta says that "during his tenure" on the international scene he was "approached by bookies time and again" to "divulge information and tweak the results of matches". In an article published in Thursday's 'Mail Today' newspaper Gupta, who worked in nine One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1998-2002, five of them on the field and four as the television umpire, said that "the world might [be] startled by revelations [this week] of umpires being approached by bookies", but that such activities should not surprise anyone (PTG 1000-4862, 9 October 2012).
Delhi-based Gupta, now 61, stood in 25 first class and 32 List A games on the sub-continent over the 14 years from 1992. During that time he says he "was asked to help bookies in a variety of things", ranging from "providing toss and pitch information" up to even more serious activities such as "dismissing certain batsmen" and "changing the ultimate outcome of the match by giving crucial decisions in favour of the team supported by bookies".
What particularly intrigued him "was the clout and sources the bookies" involved appear to have commanded. "How did they time and again manage to breach the security cordon and conveniently reach our hotel rooms?", he asks. "I discussed these matters with my co-umpires", says Gupta, "and they were similarly awe-struck at the ability of these people to find loopholes in the system".
"Today as I read and see reports about the six umpires" from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who have been stood down pending the outcome of investigations into allegations they were involved in corrupt practices (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012) , "all I want to know is how players will trust umpiring decisions in the future?" "Why throw dirt on one of the most respected positions in cricket?" "Will even genuine mistakes be questioned" in future? "How will one distinguish between human error and foul play? and "if the law enforcers are caught napping, it just doesn't set the right example".
Gupta says that "umpiring isn't the most well-paid job in the world, but [his] becoming an umpire was more a case of following my love and passion for the game than to rake in the moolah", and that his "conscience never let [him] give the offers [he received] a second thought". As a result as "a member of the umpiring community" he "feels extremely hurt by the conduct [of the six] and [what he says is] their willingness to sell their profession", even though they have yet to be found formally guilty of any misdemeanour.
"Thankfully though", concludes Gupta, "the [Board of Control for Cricket in India] has been doing a great job and all umpires are regularly told about the norms and their conduct on and off the field". The Delhi-born umpire makes no mention of claims made on Wednesday that Delhi and District Cricket Association umpires are susceptible to bribes, something the Association itself denies (PTG 1002-4869, 11 October 2012).
Meanwhile, reports from Karachi on Thursday say that Nadeem Ghauri, one of the six umpires suspended his week following a 'sting' operation by India TV, has been withdrawn by the Pakistan Cricket Board from three first class games he had been appointed to over the next few weeks in the President's Trophy series. Ghauri was originally appointed to four games, the first of which was played in Faisalabad from 3-6 October.
MADUGALLE, DAVIS RETAIN ICC
CRICKET COMMITTEE SPOTS
Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief match referee, and Steve Davis of Australia from the world body's Elite Umpires Panel, have retained their respective positions on the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC) for another year. Details of the CC's line-up for the next twelve months was announced on Thursday following the ICC Board's final meeting for 2012 which was held in Colombo last Tuesday-Wednesday.
Few details of the full range of Board discussions over the two days have been released by the ICC. It seems likely that considerable time was spent on matters related to corruption in the game, discussions that appear to have culminated with the issue of a stand-alone press release after the first day of the meeting. It outlined agreement reached that the six Asia-based umpires implicated in improper behaviour the day before the Board met would be stood down pending investigations by their respective national Boards (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012).
The only other issues known to have been considered were: grants to a number of countries aimed at developing the game there so that their respective national sides are "more competitive"; acknowledgement that all 10 'Full' ICC members have now implemented both the domestic anti-corruption and anti-doping codes; that the Board "received reports from various Board committees and the [ICC] Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC)"; and details of changes to the CC for the next year.
The key change to CC membership was the appointment of former Indian captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble as its chairman in place of Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain and ICC match referee, who had led the group since 2008. In addition to Davis, Kumble and Madugalle the other members named were: ICC President Allan Isaac, ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson, ICC Cricket Operations Manager Geoff Allardice, Andrew Strauss, Mark Taylor, Kumar Sangakkara, Tim May, Gary Kirsten, Clare Connor, David White, Trent Johnston, Ravi Shastri, and David Kendix.
Former Australia captain Taylor and ICC statistician Kendix were given one-year extensions to their membership, while former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop voluntarily stepped down after nominating recently retired England captain Strauss as his replacement, a change that was accepted by the ICC Board.
The CC's role is to discuss and consult on cricket-playing matters and to formulate recommendations to the CEC which relate to such issues. Recommendations it makes do not take effect until they are ratified and/or approved by CEC and the ICC Board. The next meeting of the CC is expected to be held in May.
ACC CONDUCTS INAUGURAL
SCORERS EDUCATION MEETING
Twenty-six scorers from across Asia took part in the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) inaugural Scorers Education Program meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal, last month. ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura said at the conclusion of the three-day gathering that its "purpose was to set standards and guidelines for accurate and fast reporting of all the matches played across our [eighteen] member countries".
The ACC's Bomi Jamula described scoring "as a fundamental part of cricket and it is only fair that we take those involved through current best possible practise". Those who took part were taken through "demonstration videos and match scenarios and were asked to score in box, linear and computerised modes". "It was tough, like learning a new language", said Singapore’s Maznah Maulod, but very important for the participants who are expected to go back to their countries and teach as many other scorers as possible. “This is not the end but the beginning of further education", said Cricket Association of Nepal General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakuryal.
Amongst those who travelled to Kathmandu for the meeting were Sri Lankan Peter Manuel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Regional Umpires Performance Manager for Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Nepalese umpire Buddhi Pradhan, a member of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel, was also in attendance.
BANGLADESH PLANS FOR DAY-NIGHT
FIRST CLASS GAMES UNCLEAR
Disagreement amongst Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) directors is reported to have resulted in the start of the country's 2012-13 domestic first class season being delayed by at least a week, the change from a district representative team structure to one involving franchises being at the heart of the problems being experienced.
The National Cricket League competition was to have got underway tomorrow with one of the four opening fixtures in Mirpur plus the five-day final of the series in April, being played with pink balls in a day-night format (PTG 989-4801, 6 September 2012). Whether the day-night plans are still on the table is not clear as the schedule of games for what is to be an eight-team tournament has not yet been released.
KUWAITI PAIR STAND IN
ASIAN TROPHY FINAL
Two umpires from Kuwait, Imran Mustafa and John Nathan, stood in the tied final of the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) Trophy Elite 50-over competition played in Sharjah yesterday. The pair were part of a group of eighteen match officials from seven Asian countries who looked after the twenty-seven game tournament that involved teams from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over the last nine days.
Apart from Mustafa and Nathan, the other umpires selected for the series were: Riaz Chaudhry and Tahir Mahmood (Kuwait); VK Jha (Nepal); Khalil Ullah (Saudi Arabia); Mohammed Younis (Bahrain); Iftikhar Ali and Fidel Jaary (UAE); and Ishtiaq Amjad, AS Pathan and AR Srinivasan (all Oman). The match referees were: Zaheer-ul-Haq and Mansoor Pasha (both UAE); Khalil Ullah (Saudi Arabia); Iqbal Sikander and Tehseen-ul-Hasan Shah (both Pakistan); plus Mohammad Ali who country affiliation is not clear.
Eighteen countries make up the ACC, those in addition to the teams that took part in this year's Trophy Elite event being: Bahrain; Brunei; China; Iran; Myanmar; Qatar; Singapore and Thailand.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
UMPIRE'S IMAGE 'SERIOUSLY DAMAGED'
EVEN IF CLEARED, CLAIM FORMER SKIPPERS
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who is currently being investigated by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) after India TV alleged he was involved in match-related corruption (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012), has received support from three former national captains, says an article published in Dhaka's 'Daily Star' newspaper on Saturday. According to the 'Star', the trio feels that the footage shown on television "could have been distorted" and that it "didn't provide strong enough evidence to convict Shah", however, they are also concerned his image is already "severely damaged" regardless of what any enquiry finds, and a view he will face "severe penalties" should he be found guilty of any misdemenour.
Former captain and chief selector Faruque Ahmed said the discussion shown between Shah and the undercover journalists seemed "extremely casual" for a match-fixing negotiation. Shah, 48, one of the two Bangladeshi umpires contacted during the 'sting', "looked like he had had a few drinks", said Ahmed. "We played a lot of cricket together in the early days [and while he] might have been a little undisciplined while playing cricket with his carefree attitude getting him into trouble, his umpiring career was spot on".
Like Ahmed, former wicketkeeper and captain Khaled Mashud claimed that Shah's words in the video "could be misinterpreted", while former captain Roquibul Hassan, in an echo of Ahmed's views, described the umpire as a "highly talkative person" who often got "carried away". Mashud stressed that "whenever there was a match between two big clubs [in Bangladesh], officials always opted for Nadir Shah because they trusted him, and it's difficult to believe that he would have accepted [any] money" that may have in theory have been on offer.
Hassan warned though that even if Shah, who is has been suspended by the BCB, is "found not guilty" by their enquiry, "he has seriously damaged his sense of responsibility as an international match official". All three men said that should Shah be found guilty of corruption he should receive the "highest possible penalty". Ahmed is of the view that the BCB "should learn to handle [corruption-type] issues with a firm hand" for in his view it "was lenient with Nasir Jamshed", the Pakistani player who was reportedly involved in spot-fixing during the inaugural season of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 competition last February.
The BCB announced yesterday that it had formed a three-member committee to investigate India TV's allegations. Shah said overnight that he felt "threatened" during the 'sting' in a Delhi hotel earlier this year. "I went there to complete a deal to umpire in the Sri Lanka Premier League [and] and have never participated in any sort of match-fixing", he says. The other Bangladeshi umpire approached, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, will also be questioned by the BCB committee. Shahid rejected overtures made to him, however, while he reported the matter to the BCB umpires manager, reports suggest that Shah did not.
MCA PUSH FORMER INDIAN
CAPTAIN FOR ICC REFEREE ROLE
Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Ravi Savant is reported to be pushing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to nominate former national captain Dilip Vengsarkar, a member of India's 1983 World Cup winning side, for membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Panel of Referees (EPR). Vengsarkar, now 56, played 116 Tests and 129 One Day Internationals over the sixteen years from 1976-92, and should he eventually be nominated and selected as EPR member, he would be the third Indian in that role after Gundappa Viswanath a decade ago and current member Javagal Srinath.
Following his retirement as a player Vengsarkar started a cricket academy in Mumbai and currently runs two there and one in nearby Pune. He was approached by the BCCI in 2002 regarding the possibility of his name going forward to the ICC for consideration as a match referee but was reported to have rejected the offer due to other commitments. Four years later in March 2006 the BCCI again looked at putting his name forward, however, his acceptance of the job as India's national chairman of selectors curtailed that move. His other roles have been as MCA Vice President and chairman of that Association's talent identification and development area.
The EPR is currently made up of seven men and comprises, in addition to Srinath, Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama, David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand) and Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe); Mahanama being the youngest at 46 and Pycroft the oldest at 56, while Madugalle, the ICC's chief referee since 2001, has been worked as an international referee for two decades, while Boon only started in that role last year.
Savant told journalists in Mumbai on Saturday that for Vengsarkar to join the ICC panel "someone on the panel will have to resign or be replaced", but that "Mr Vengsarkar is a man of stature and I am sure [BCCI President] Mr Srinivasan will propose his name for the post of match referee".
TAUFEL PART OF CHAMPIONS
LEAGUE OFFICIALS POOL
Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who retired from international cricket just over a week ago, is part of the pool of match officials who will be looking after the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series in South Africa over the next two weeks. Taufel left to take up the new position of Umpire Performance and Training manager with the International Cricket Council (ICC), but as yet no detail of just what that will entail, and when the Australian will commence in that role, have been released.
Taufel's participation in the CLT20 surfaced six weeks ago (PTG 988-4800, 4 September 2012), and he appears to be working with five of his former colleagues from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and several members of the world body's top match referees group.
Those involved in addition to Taufel include EUP members Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and Rod Tucker (Australia); while South African members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel Johan Cloete and Shaun George, have been serving in fourth umpire roles. Match referees to feature to date are David Boon (Australia) and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka) from the ICC's top panel. For Dharmasena and Madugalle its their third CLT20 series, Dar, Erasmus, Rauf and Tucker their second, and Boon and Taufel their first.
The CLT20 tournament that is being conducted jointly by Cricket Australia (CA), Cricket South Africa (CSA), and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). While the match officials have been sourced from ICC panels, Taufel and his colleagues are thought to be operating under separate contracts drawn up by the CA-CSA-BCCI consortium. Such 'loans' of ICC officials often apply for "approved" tournaments conducted by the national Boards of ICC members, however, when such events, such as the now long-defunct Indian Cricket League, do not have the approval of a home Board, access to such resources is quickly barred.
The semi finals of what all-up will be a 29-match CLT20 event are to be played on Thursday-Friday next week and the final on the following Sunday.
SOUTH AFRICANS ABSENT FROM
DULEEP TROPHY THIS YEAR
For the first time in five years there are no South African umpires standing in the finals of India's Duleep Trophy first class series as part of an exchange program organised by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The competition, which is played between teams representing India's East, Central, North, South and West 'Zones', is normally played in February at the end of the main first class season on the sub-continent, but this year it has been moved ahead of it, and that appears to be the reason behind for the absence of CSA officials.
Over the last four seasons a South African has stood in both a semi final and the final of the Duleep Trophy. Marais Erasmus, who is now on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, was the first in February 2009, in that month in 2010 it was Johan Cloete, in 2011 Brian Jerling and in February this year Shaun George. Cloete and George are on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel and it would seem likely that the third umpire member of that group, Adrian Holdstock, will be in line to visit the sub-continent in the new year. Holstock stood in two domestic first class games in Australia last February, and in New Zealand in March 2010.
BOWLER'S 'SWITCH ARMS' TECHNIQUE
UNUSUAL BUT LEGAL
Queenslander Jemma Barsby, who made her Women's National Cricket League debut two years ago at the age of just 15, has the unusual ability to deliver her spinners with either arm, and she does just that during matches, says an article in Sunday's 'Herald Sun' newspaper. Barsby, 17, says she invented her bowling switch technique to befuddle her older brother Corey, who is now a member of the Queensland senior squad, as she "was getting sick of him smashing me around the backyard everywhere so I tried bowling with a different arm".
Former Australian international umpire Peter Parker told journalist Ben Dorries there was nothing in the laws of cricket to prohibit such a bowling switch provided Barsby tells the umpire prior to the delivery being bowled so he in turn can advise "the batter" . Barsby says that "it creates quite a stir when I change arms [for] there are a lot of batters and umpires who give me some pretty funny looks".
INDIA'S KULKARNI REPORTED
PREPARING FOR AUSSIE EXCHANGE
Reports from Mumbai yesterday say that the first umpire to take part in the exchange program that is believed to have been established by Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be Pune-based first class umpire Vineet Kulkarni. Current indications from the sub-continent are that Kulkarni is to stand in two domestic first class matches in Australia next month (PTG 1003-4871, 12 October 2012), however, neither CA or the BCCI has released any details of either of those games, when an Australian umpire would travel to India for matches there, or just who that might be.
At 33, Kulkarni is one of the youngest umpires on the first class scene in India at the present time, his rise through the ranks over the last few years being somewhat rapid. There is no record of him playing first class cricket, but he made his debut at that level as an umpire three years ago at the age of 30, and in the time since he has gone on to stand in sixteen first class and fourteen List A games.
Kulkarni was promoted by the BCCI to a third umpire position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last year, and into an on-field role in that group a few months ago (PTG 961-4674, 13 July 2012). The last twelve months has seen him make his international debut in a Twenty20 International, work as the third umpire in both a One Day International and Test, stand in the 2011-12 final of India's premier first class competition the Ranji Trophy, go on exchange to South Africa in February where he stood in two first class games, and be sent by the ICC to the Netherlands in July to officiate in an Intercontinental Cup first class fixture involving second-tier nations.
Meanwhile, indications are that former Otago all-rounder Derek Walker, who was promoted to New Zealand's third umpire spot on the IUP in August, will also be in Australia next month as part of the exchange program between CA and Cricket New Zealand (CNZ). Walker, 52, who played 40 first class and 31 List A matches for Otago from 1980-89, made his umpiring debut at first class level in January 2005, and will have stood in 54 such games, one of them the 2007 final of the Plunket Shield, by the time he arrives in Australia.
CA has scheduled nine games in its Sheffield Shield first class competition next month, one each in Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Perth, two in Melbourne, and three in Hobart, plus another nine in its one-day series in each of those cities and Burnie in northern Tasmania.
Which two of the first class games Kulkarni will, if the reports are correct, stand in, and who the members of CA's National Umpires Panel will work with him in those fixtures, are yet to be announced. Similarly, Walker's appointments in Australia are unclear, for twelve months ago the NZC's Chris Gaffaney stood in two first class and single one-day match during his visit (PTG 832-4065, 14 September 2011), however, the year before in what was the inaugural CA-NZC exchange, Barry Frost's participation was limited to just one first class game (PTG 664-3272, 7 September 2010).
ASSOCIATION POSTPONES MATCHES
'OUT OF RESPECT' FOR UMPIRE'S LOSS
This weekend's round of first grade fixtures in the Coffs Harbour District Cricket Association (CHDCA) on the mid north coast of New South Wales have been postponed out of respect for umpire Paul Harris, whose son died this week after a car accident, says the region's 'Daily Examiner' newspaper this morning.
CHDCA treasurer Matt Rose said that "considering the circumstances" the decision to put aside the three first grade matches to a later date "was easy", for "Paul is one of the region's best umpires and you feel for anyone who has to go through the loss of a family member". "Hopefully the week off will give everyone the time they need to overcome this tragic event", said Rose.
UMPIRE CLAIMS HE TOLD PCB
ABOUT 'STING' APPROACH
Reports from Karachi over the last few days say that umpire Nadeem Ghauri, who is currently being investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board (BCB) after India TV alleged he was involved in match-related corruption (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012), has claimed that he had informed an unnamed PCB official at the time about the offers made to him by undercover journalists. Ghauri has "vehemently" denied the allegations made against him on a number of occasions over the past week and claimed that the video was "a fake" (PTG 1002-4867, 11 October 2012).
Former PCB Chairman Khalid Mahmood told the 'Express Tribune' that “if Ghauri had informed the PCB they should have acted and informed the International Cricket Council of the episode", for that would have "enhanced Pakistan’s reputation instead of defaming the country across the world". Should "Nadeem’s claim be correct then [the lack of action would be] criminal negligence on the part of the PCB", said Mahmood.
A Press Trust of India (PTI) report from Lahore yesterday says that on Tuesday the PCB set up a committee to look into the allegations made against Ghouri and his umpiring colleague Anis-ur-Rehman. What the 'PTI' calls "reliable sources" have indicated that the PCB's "legal experts are on the panel" and that approaches "have already been made to 'India TV' for copies of their unedited tapes". Amongst the issues that are to be looked into is the fact "that [Ghouri] had already informed a board official about the offer made to him by the undercover reporter," the source added. The "source" is said to have indicated that the committee will question the two umpires and that it would also like to question the undercover reporter.
DELHI ASSOCIATION LOOKING AT
APPOINTING MATCH OBSERVERS
The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), which last week played down the allegations of on-field corruption in its matches, has a plan to "cut down on such possibilities", says a 'Times of India' (TOI) report published on Tuesday. 'TOI' journalist Partha Bhaduri wrote last week that "several umpires" in the Delhi area told him that they are "often asked to favour particular teams or players during tournaments and at state-level age-group events and trials" (PTG 1002-4869, 11 October 2012).
DDCA general secretary Sneh Bansal, who last week said he'd "never heard of such manipulation at the local level", told Bhaduri on Monday that his organisation is currently considering whether to "have a team of five people who would attend as many local matches as possible and keep an eye on proceedings", and that "they might even act as match referees". Reports indicate that some 25-30 matches are conducted by the DDCA on playing days.
FOUR DAYS LEFT FOR CA
UMPIRE SURVEY SUBMISSIONS
The call for submissions to Cricket Australia's (CA) reissued survey of accredited cricket umpires from across the country is due to close on Monday. A link to the latest version of the on-line survey, the original of which was first circulated in April last year (PTG 758-3723, 15 April 2011), was sent to umpires on CA's data base just over two weeks ago as part of moves to try and develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of match officials at local or club level.
The new survey is similar to the version distributed last year. Key issues canvassed focus on umpire association-level, and include: how satisfied umpires are with the role they play; whether individuals see themselves umpiring next season and in five years time; the adequacy of current training and development programs; general communication issues; the appropriateness of support provided by local umpiring Associations; mentoring programs and their value; and what local Association can do to "improve the experience of being a cricket umpire".
The survey is again being conducted for CA by Melbourne-based independent research consultancy 'SportINFO' and takes around 10 minutes to complete. As yet there is no indication as to when the results of the survey can be expected, whether the outcomes will in fact be made public, or what the next step in responding in a practical way to the issues raised by the umpiring community will be.
PLAYING THE GAME
CA FILLS NUP VACANCY
Queenslander Damien Mealey was appointed to the Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) yesterday in place of former member Bruce Oxenford who was elevated to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) three weeks ago (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012). Mealey, who has been on CA's umpire development pathway and emerging umpires list over the last two years, is to join the NUP on 1 November, the day his state colleague formally steps up to the EUP.
Mealey, 44, started umpiring with the Queensland Cricket Umpire and Scorers Association (QCUSA) in the first half of last decade in Queensland Cricket's twelve-club, six level, Premier League competition. He won the QCUSA's third grade umpiring award in 2006 and second grade in 2008, then moved on to first grade level and representative matches in CA's Womens National Cricket League and State Second XI competitions.
In 2010 CA selected him to stand in that year's Emerging Players Tournament (EPT), a time when that event became a key part of CA's national umpiring pathway to higher honours. Of the five Australian umpires who stood in that year's tournament three, Mealey, Ash Barrow (Victoria) and Sam Nogajski (Tasmania), are now NUP members.
The 2010 EPT led to Mealey, along with Nogajski, Nathan Johnstone (Western Australia) and Michael Kumutat (New South Wales), being selected as members of CA's then four-man emerging umpires group, and a few months later the Queenslander made his List A debut in a one-day interstate game in Brisbane. A second EPT and further one-day games both on the field and in the television chair, plus State Second XI and other representative fixtures, followed in 2011; until he finally made his first class debut in February this year, the thirty-fifth QCUSA member to do so, a second game at that level following three weeks ago.
Mealey, who is the Registrar and Manager of the Justices of the Peace Branch in Queensland's Justice and Attorney-General Department, joins Nogajksi, Gerard Abood (NSW), Paul Reiffel (Queensland), Simon Fry and Paul Wilson (South Australia), Ian Lock and Mick Martell (Western Australia), and Ash Barrow, Geoff Joshua, Tony and John Ward (all Victoria), on the NUP for 2012-13.
Now that all twelve NUP positions have been filled, CA's next key umpiring announcement is expected to be the promotion of Fry to an on-field position in Australia's part of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) alongside Reiffel, and the appointment of John Ward to the IUP third umpire spot.
BARODA SCORER ALLEGES
A scorer in the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) in India is reported to have lodged a "written complaint" about "a 22-year-old player" who offered him a bribe, says a story published in the 'Times of India' (TOI) on Wednesday. Just what the scorer was asked to do has not been made public, however, 'TOI' journalist Tushar Tere says the incident follows other "suspicious" activities and potentially "opens a can of worms for the [BCA]".
BCA secretary Sanjay Patel told 'TOI' that his association had received information "that some umpires are behaving in a suspicious manner and [that] they might be involved in shady deals with players", while an unidentified "BCA official" is quoted as saying that the scorer situation is "not the first episode where players have offered kickbacks to [BCA] match officials in lieu of a favour". Such allegations "of shady deals have been made against some match officials in the past", he says, but "no one came forward to register a complaint against such erring officials".
Patel praised the unnamed scorer for his "courage in registering an official complaint" and promised that "strict action" will be taken by his association. He says the BCA has "decided to monitor matches and the conduct of umpires and even scorers", and that "if any umpire is found guilty of wrongdoing he may be permanently debarred from umpiring in BCA matches".
The report comes in the same week that the Delhi and District Cricket Association, just over 1,000 km to the north-east of Baroda, is considering whether to "have a team of five people who would attend as many local matches as possible and keep an eye on proceedings", and that "they might even act as match referees" (PTG 1005-4885, 18 October 2012).
Last week 'TOI' journalist Partha Bhaduri wrote that "several umpires" in the Delhi area have alleged that they are "often asked to favour particular teams or players during tournaments and at state-level age-group events and trials" (PTG 1002-4869, 11 October 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
CORRUPTION SPREADING TO GRASSROOTS
LEVEL, SAYS ICC CHIEF
David Richardson, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive, says that the game is in a "war" against corruption that has spread from the elite ranks down to grassroots level. Richardson, who was reacting to news that six umpires on the sub-continent had been suspended as a result of allegations made against them by an Indian television channel two weeks ago (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012), said claims that umpires and even scorers could be corrupted was an indication of the magnitude of the problem (PTG 1006-4888, 19 October 2012).
Of greatest concern to Richardson are domestic leagues in a number of countries that are often broadcast into India where the biggest black-market bookmakers operate. He is said to believe that "unfortunately everybody, including curators and groundsmen, are susceptible now", and that as a result the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) has had its funding and resources increased in order to assist it in the "battle". The ASCU "has their work cut out to make sure the players are kept away from temptation and that we end up with corruption-free events", said Richardson.
Investigations into allegations made against umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are currently being conducted by committees in their respective countries (PTG 1004-4884, 18 October 2012). Examinations of similar allegations made against club level umpires in several states in India are also underway (PTG 1005-4885, 18 October 2012). Just when the findings of any of those investigations will be released is not clear at this stage.
UMPIRE ASSAULT FOLLOWS
END-OF-GAME LBW DECISIONS
An umpire is said to have been assaulted at the end of a Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) match played in Sachivalya on Sunday after he gave batsman out LBW on each of the last two balls of the day, says an 'Indian Express' report published yesterday. Indications are that Chandrakant Mhatre was physically attacked by players from the batting side, however, the club involved claims it was spectators who carried out the assault.
Mhatre is said to have filed a complaint about the incident at the local police station on Monday and forwarded a report to the MCA. An official from the batting side told the 'Express' that the last LBW, which resulted in his team being knocked out of a tournament, "hit a six feet tall batsman on the thigh pad"; but Mhatre appears to have seen it differently to that . However, while "our players were angry [about the] two controversial decisions and someone might have said something, we never assaulted any umpire", said the club official.
MCA Board of umpires secretary Ganesh Iyer says he is waiting for a report from its observer at the game and that a committee will meet to look into the issue "in due course".
PLAYER DIES AFTER HEART
ATTACK WHILE BATTING
Attempts to revive a batsman from the Tuggeranong Valley club who collapsed from an apparent heart attack during a fourth grade match in Canberra on Saturday were unsuccessful. Club president Bob Weight praised those who tried to save Glenn Thornton's life by performing CPR until an ambulance arrived but he could not be revived, says a 'Canberra Times' report.
Thornton is said to be held in high regard across the Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) cricket community, particularly for "his tireless work as a volunteer". Weight said that "the ambulance guys indicated that everything had been done that could possible be done". Cricket ACT and Tuggeranong have offered counselling to those who were involved in trying to resuscitate Thornton, who was in his fifties.
ON-FIELD COLLISION LEAVES
TWO PLAYERS INJURED
Two players taking part in the opening day of Bangladesh's 2012-13 National Cricket League (NCL) first class season were injured in Mirpur on Saturday after they collided when trying to take a catch near the fine-leg boundary. Rajshahi Division captain and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim could not return until day three of the game, but bowler Saqlain Sajib was particularly badly hurt and is expected to be out of action until late next week.
The bowler is said to have been struck on the left-side of his face and couldn't recognise anyone immediately after the clash so he was taken to hospital for a CT scan, but his skipper, who was struck on the nose and bled profusely, came off a little better, however, he was still not well enough to return to the field for almost 48 hours.
Meanwhile, plans announced last month by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for that Mirpur match to be played in a day-night format using a pink ball appear to have slipped by the wayside (PTG 989-4801, 6 September 2012), perhaps as a result of the change to the originally planned start to the NCL season because of a dispute within the BCB hierarchy (PTG 1003-4875, 13 October 2012). The BCB also indicated last month that the NCL final in April at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur would be played in a pink ball, day-night, format and be a five-day game.
The day-night plans came as a direct result of the International Cricket Council's annual conference decision in June that day-night Tests be introduced provided both teams in a series agree, and encouragement from the world body at that time 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).
DECISION ON ICC 'UMPIRE COACH'
POSITION STILL AWAITED
Three months on the International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to indicate just who is to fill the 'Umpire Coach' vacancy it advertised in early August (PTG 973-4721, 7 August 2012). The ICC indicated that preference was to be given to applicants from the Australasian region, a description that suggested the successful contender could be slotting into the 'Australia-NZ' spot on the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Manager (RUPM) panel, although perhaps in an amended role that has a wider scope (PTG 989-4805, 6 September 2012).
The 'Umpire Coach' advertisement said the position's key focus will be on developing, coordinating and implementing training and professional development for the umpires on the ICC's first-tier Elite, second-tier International and third-tier Associates-Affiliates umpire panels. There was also a requirement to work with "designated home boards" in the "development of identification strategies and training for top emerging domestic umpires" who presumably the ICC believe have the potential to move into international ranks.
Tasks said to be involved include: observing, assessing and reporting on umpire performance in "specified International matches"; conducting post-match or series reviews of umpires; ensuring that the umpires are fully versed with the Laws, playing conditions, interpretations and regulations; and assisting in the development of "ICC umpire accreditation functions".
The ICC made it very clear that whoever is selected will be involved in considerable travel and are likely to be away from their family for "about 5 months" each year. In addition to match-related duties, the travel will involve attendance at workshops involving the ICC's two referee groups and all three-tiers of its umpiring panels, as well as those conducted by national boards. The successful applicant will be expected to present training presentations and run workshops "as may be required".
Indications are that the position, along with the three other RUPMs, will report to the ICC's new Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel who left his on-field role on the world body's Elite panel earlier this month to take up the job (PTG 995-4833, 27 September 2012). Taufel is currently standing in the Champions League Twenty20 series in South Africa which ends this weekend, but just when he will formally take up his new role has not yet been made clear (PTG 1004-4879, 16 October 2012).
'FAKE DOCUMENTS' ALLOW OLDER PLAYERS
IN PCB U-19 FIXTURES, CLAIMS REPORT
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has developed a "nonchalant attitude" when it comes to allowing overage players to take part in domestic Under-19 fixtures there, claims a report in the 'Express Tribune' newspaper on the weekend. Journalist Nabeel Hashmi quotes "PCB-paid coaches" as saying "everybody is aware that most junior cricketers have fake documents [with their] ages shown from three to five years younger than they really are" for such moves "help them play Under-19 cricket at the regional and national level".
When what were called "PCB officials" were approached by Hashmi for comment they are said to have explained the difficulties of ensuring players are giving their correct ages when they try out for Under-19 sides. “It’s tricky to judge Under-19 players because we don’t have the perfect tool to gauge their ages", said one official, and that although "the Board was going to adopt a strict stance", "teams wouldn’t have been able to take part because a high percentage of their players were overage".
The 'Tribune' says that team officials contacted are said to have indicated that "nearly forty per cent of their best players [would] not be able to feature [at Under-19 level] if the PCB did not grant them permission". "There was a lot of pressure on us so we gave them some relaxation", said one "PCB official", and that has resulted the Board is now "focusing on curbing the menace at the Under-16 level instead".
PLAYER FINED HALF MATCH
FEE FOR DISSENT
Bangladesh vice-captain Mahmudullah Riyad has been fined fifty percent of his match fee by referee Akhtar Ahmed Shiper after showing dissent during the National Cricket League first class match against Rajshahi in Mirpur on Monday. The Dhaka Division captain is said to have been "clearly disappointed" when umpire Akhteruddin Shahin turned down his caught behind appeal on the third day of the game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
'KOOKUBURRA' BALLS TO RETURN
TO DOMESTIC GAMES IN PAKISTAN
Australian 'Kookuburra' balls are to be used in Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) domestic first class and limited over competitions because of problems experienced with the locally manufactured 'Gray' versions over the last two years. A 'Cricinfo' report says that the decision was made by the PCB's Executive Coordination Committee as part of moves to improve the quality of the game in that country.
'Gray' balls, which the company has been supplying to the PCB since 1973, are reported to be made of "hard leather" which has "caused player injuries while fielding", and there have also apparently been occasions when the balls have split less than twenty overs into a first class innings. Grays' chief executive Khawar Anwar Khawaja is said to be "extremely unhappy" and critical of the PCB's decision to "dent [the local] industry by giving preference to imported balls", although he acknowledged the 'hardness' of his own product.
The Australian balls, which had previously featured in Pakistan in the period from 2000-07, will be used from the fifth round of the President's Trophy first class series which starts on Friday week. The PCB said that the change had been agreed as part of improvements needed in the areas of "fielding, fitness, application of technique" in its domestic game.
White 'Kookaburra' balls are used in One Day Internationals and the red version in Tests in most nations apart from England and India where 'Duke' and 'SG' balls respectively are used.
NSWCUSA EXECUTIVE OFFICER
POSITION AGAIN VACANT
The Executive Officer (EO) position at the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) in Sydney is again vacant following the departure of Nick Carson from the NSW Cricket funded position on Monday. NSWCUSA Chairman Stephen Poole says without explanation in a note posted on the Association's web site that Carson, who commenced in the EO role just seven months ago in place of former international umpire Darrell Hair (PTG 908-4416, 3 March 2012), will continue as the Chairman of the NSWCUSA's Centenary Committee that is planning a range of events next year (PTG 999-4857, 4 October 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 25 October 2012
PHYSIOTHERAPIST QUERIES CA
JUNIOR FAST BOWLER LIMITS
Experienced cricket physiotherapist Patrick Farhart, who spearheaded the introduction of bowling restrictions at junior level in Australia a decade ago, has called on Cricket Australia (CA) to review the policy. While he has no hard data to back a change Farhart, the New South Wales' head physio from 1990-2009, told Fairfax journalist Andrew Wu yesterday that he suspects young fast bowlers may need to build a tolerance to the physical stresses that are part of their craft, and if they do so they may have fewer problems when they are older.
Wu says that Farhart, who holds a masters of sports physiotherapy, started a physiotherapy practice in Sydney three months ago and has already seen "thirty young quicks, some as young as twelve, with lower back stress injuries". That has led him to think that the current restrictions may only be ''simply delaying injury until blokes get a bit older''. ''I'm not saying throw the restrictions out", said Farhart, but "I think we need to have a look at what's happening".
Farhart, who has a Masters Degree in sports physiotherapy, conceded that removing current quotas would result in more younger fast bowlers breaking down. ''I don't know of many quicks at first-class or international level who haven't had a serious injury when they were young", said Farhart. ''Having a serious injury when they were young isn't always a catastrophe, it often forces blokes to look at how they prepare, their action and in some ways it can be a positive", he says.
CA's current policy for junior medium and fast bowlers at Under-19 level limits them to bowling eight overs in a spell and no more than twenty a day, while for Under-17s the limits are 6/16, Under-15s 5/10 and 4/8 for Under 13s, while 5-8 year olds are limited to a single over. Other nations utilise similar restrictions.
ENGLAND-MADE 'DUKE' BALLS TO
BE TRIALLED IN AUSTRALIA
Cricket Australia (CA) is to use England-made 'Dukes' balls in its under-age championships, some State Second XI matches and possibly late season Sheffield Shield games this austral summer as part of preparations for next year's five-Test Ashes series in England, says a report in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' yesterday. 'Dukes' balls, which are used in Tests in England, behave differently to its Australian-made 'Kookaburra' counterpart which has been widely used for many years at all levels of the game around Australia as well as many parts of the world.
CA's senior cricket operations manager Sean Cary, who until recently was the country's Umpires Manager, told 'The Age' that the decision to use 'Dukes' balls is part of a wider approach aimed at giving Australian teams a competitive advantage where balls other that the 'Kookaburra' brand are to be used in series they are preparing to play overseas. 'Kookaburra' balls have a relatively low seam which generally holds true for twenty overs and then dies after that, whereas if proper care is taken the seams of 'Duke' and Indian-made 'SG' balls are said by some reports to remain pronounced for 50-55 overs, a factor that can help bowlers move the ball for longer periods.
Cary says that the idea is to not just focus on the 'Dukes' ball when an England tour is on the horizon, but to also bring in balls such as the 'SG' variety when an Australian visit to the sub-continent looms. In previous eras a touring side's experience with the balls used by home Boards was obtained during a relatively long series of warm-up matches before a Test series began, but such fixtures are usually limited to just one or two games these days. Australia last won a series in England in 2001 and in India in 2004 and CA's plans are part of moves to address such situations.
But, "the first step", says Cary, "is to find out whether the ['Dukes'] ball can handle our conditions, and we can do that in under-age championships", presumably a reference to CA's male Under-17 Championships in Hobart in December and its Under-19 equivalent in Adelaide in January. He went on to indicate that if the 'Dukes' perform satisfactorally CA will then work out "a strategy to introduce them into senior competitions".
Cary is said to have also acknowledged there was an economic rationale for introducing a competitor to the Australian market for both the 'Dukes' and 'SG' balls are cheaper that Kookaburras and it was CA’s job to minimise the costs of playing the game. CA's move comes in the same week that the Pakistan Cricket Board announced that the Australian brand is to replace locally made 'Gray' balls in its domestic first class and limited over competitions from next month (PTG 1007-4896, 24 October 2012).
The decision to use the 'Duke' ball has been described by former long-serving Queensland player Jimmy Maher as "the biggest load of garbage I've ever heard", according to an article in this morning's Brisbane 'Courier Mail'. "This never happened when Australia was at the top of the tree of world cricket", says Maher, and is of the view the move "smacks of a bit of panic". "Can you imagine English cricketers saying they wanted to use 'Kookaburra' balls in their county matches?" asked Maher, answering his own question with "Not in a million years".
Maher went on to also ask "How many Test players would be exposed to the 'Dukes' ball in domestic games?", before going on to comment that "Surely Australian cricket administrators have enough problems and issues without worrying about the type of cricket balls that are being used?" 'Kookaburra' director Rob Elliot warned the company could potentially face "dire consequences" if it lost the support of the Australian cricket community, while Brisbane 'Courier Mail' journalist Ben Dorries says that in previous trials, which he did not detail, 'Dukes' balls "have struggled to withstand Australian conditions".
CONCERN AFTER CONVICTED SEX
OFFENDER FOUND TO BE UMPIRING
The Geelong Cricket Umpires Association (GCUA) in Victoria says it had no idea that one of the umpires it has appointed to games this season is a registered sex offender, says an article published in the 'Geelong Advertiser" today. The situation is said to have come to light after a "concerned parent" contacted the paper to point out that the umpire, who is 26-years-of-age and was charged with the possession of child pornography in July, had officiated in games that had involved teenagers.
GCUA president Greg Illingworth told the 'Advertiser' that he only became aware of umpire's sex offender status this week and that the association "had never encountered such a situation". "We are, of course, very concerned and have been placed in an awkward position", he said, and "will discuss what can be done ethically and legally". Illingworth also expressed "concerns for the umpire" and the hope that "he can be rehabilitated".
However, Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) president Grant Dew is said to have indicated that he did not believe any person on the sex offenders' register should be umpiring at all. Dew said that the GCA was "completely unaware of the situation and I will be speaking with [Illingworth today] to make our thoughts very clear on the matter".
The umpire, whose name was included in the 'Advertiser' report, was given an eighteen-month Community Corrections Order and placed on the sex offenders' register for eight years in July nearly twelve months after police seized a computer during a search of his home in August last year. The computer was later found to contain a significant amount of child-related material. During July's hearing the umpire's lawyer is said to have told the court his client was a local football and cricket umpire who had been working with children for eleven years.
For a number of years now many cricket associations around the world have required that their match officials undergo a police check before they can be considered for appointments to game.
INSURANCE ISSUE SEES UMPIRE, 92,
BOW OUT AFTER 61 YEARS OF SERVICE
One of Britain’s oldest umpires has been forced to retire despite "his perfect eyesight and good health" because he is no longer covered by insurance, says an article in yesterday's London 'Daily Mail'. Charles Fenton, 92, is said to be "disappointed that he has had to step down from the Derbyshire and Cheshire Cricket League (DCCL) after more than 61 years umpiring matches because the league’s insurance policy only covers umpires up to the age of 85.
Mike Brown, the DCCL's secretary, said that "we hadn’t realised the age limit on our insurance policy is 85", but we said he could "carry on if he found his own insurance but that was not possible". "We have our annual dinner [next month] where we’ll present him with something suitable in honour of his long service", which started in 1951 (PTG 930-4525, 19 April 2012), said Brown, and "it’s with great sadness that we’ve had to say goodbye to Charlie".
Fenton said he has greatly enjoyed his umpiring career. "I never missed a game" he says, for "if I was ill, it was between Monday to Friday and I was always better by the weekends". "I’m so lucky. I’m so fit, I don’t wear glasses, I don’t wear a hearing aid and I can stand for seven hours", he said, therefore "I’m disappointed it’s come to an end".
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 27 October 2012
TAUFEL PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO NEW
ICC UMPIRE PERFORMANCE ROLE
Recently retired international umpire Simon Taufel has outlined what the focus of his new role as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager will be, how he anticipates the new arrangements will operate, and what he expects from the 50-odd international umpires he and his four 'Umpire Coach' colleagues are to work with. Taufel, who is currently in South Africa (PTG 1004-4879, 16 October 2012), provided the insight in an e-mail sent widely to national and regional umpire managers, international referees and umpires across many countries yesterday, an overview that been awaited for some time.
In his message Taufel stresses that in his new job he "will not have or will seek to have involvement in the selection process for International or Elite Panel umpires". Rather, he emphasises that the key task he and his four colleagues have set themselves is "on helping international umpires be the best they can be" by helping "develop and improve their skills" so that they can "deliver a higher standard to the game".
There is no intention, Taufel says, perhaps in relation to his own approach to umpiring, "to direct umpires to be a clone of one particular umpiring style or be someone that they are not". As the new structure and systems will not be related to selection, Taufel believes "umpires should feel confident in opening up to [he and his colleagues by] sharing their thoughts so that we can better assist and work with them to achieve their goals". He warns though that "given the amount of change [proposed] and [the] limited resources" that are available, setting up the new system in the short to medium-term "is going to be challenging for all involved".
Plans call for Taufel and his four coaching colleagues to share "performance development work and progress information with each other on all of the umpires" in the international area, including "self assessments, annual plans, series preparations, training events" and the like, the only exception being "when an umpire expressly requests confidentiality on an issue". Members of Taufel's group will not normally attend Tests, but they will endeavour to attend the majority of international limited over matches and series. Such an approach will allow them "to use their time more productively in other areas", an approach that has led Taufel to ask ICC Match Referees to be "our performance 'eyes and ears' at games" where he and his colleagues are not present.
The four Umpire Coaches who will work under Taufel are: Englishman Barry Dudleston, 67; Indian Arani Jayaprakash, 63; and Peter Manuel, 61, from Sri Lanka; plus another who will probably come from the Australasian region. Dudleston, Jayaprakash and Manuel, who were formerly called by the ICC 'Regional Umpire Performance Managers' (RUPM), are experienced campaigners, having umpired between them a total of 26 Tests and 481 first class games overall; while Dudleston and Jayaprakash also played the game at first class level.
Taufel says that he has "met with [the three] over the past couple of months" and that they have all agreed on the "common coaching philosophy" they plan to use. That philosophy, which "will underpin our working relationship with the umpires and National Umpire Managers", covers six basic areas: "honesty; respect for each other; talk up, talk straight; hard work; leadership; and professionalism". Taufel's group also needs, he says, "the umpires and other stakeholders to be accepting and adopt this philosophy also", and that "in order for the umpires to see opportunities for improvement, we expect them to actively engage with their Umpire Coach(es) and work with them in a positive and cooperative way".
The "fourth ICC Umpire Coach" will, says Taufel, join the group next year and that the position "will be advertised"; an interesting turn of phrase given that applications appear to have been called for just that job three months ago (PTG 973-4721, 7 August 2012), and a comment that in the circumstances suggests whoever answered the advertisement then referred to as an 'Umpire Coach', were not considered suitable for the job.
Indications that a reshuffle of the five-year-old RUPM set up was underway surfaced several months ago (PTG 989-4805, 6 September 2012), but Taufel's message shows there has been a further slight change to the geographic regions Dudleston and the new Australasian appointee will mainly cover. Once the new set up is fully in place, Dudleston will look after England, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while the newcomer when chosen will have the West Indies plus Australia and New Zealand as his focus. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka will remain as Manuel's region, while Jayaprakash's key role stays with his home nation.
Prior to the reshuffle, Dudleston had responsibility for England and the West Indies, Jayaprakash for Bangladesh and India, Manuel for Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Australasian position for Australia-NZ, and a fifth RUPM South Africa and Zimbabwe (PTG 964-4688, 20 July 2012). The dropping of the fifth position, after its last incumbent former South African international umpire Rudi Koertzen left the scene, could well have occurred in order to finance Taufel's new position.
NEVER FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GAME'S
'GRASS ROOTS', SAYS NOTED WRITER
Recognition of the key role the game at club level plays on the Australian cricket scene, and of the value of the volunteer to a sporting economy that "could not otherwise function" without such input, are vital to the future of the game, says noted Australian writer and journalist Gideon Haigh. In presenting the 2012 'Sir Donald Bradman Oration' in Melbourne on Wednesday evening, Haigh said it "would be remiss of cricket if it simply marched into its future without a backward glance or sideways acknowledgement of cricket's hardiest faithful" in club cricket.
Haigh said that "we [live] in a world in which vast and minute attention falls on the very thin layer of highly paid, wildly promoted and hugely glamorised elite athletes who perceive the attribute of 'professionalism' as the highest praise". "Everybody wants to be a professional nowadays, to do a professional job, to obtain professional standards, to produce work of professional quality, to exhibit professional pride". "Yet", he continues, "even now amateurism endures", for he is of the view that the proportion of those in the game that are paid for their services today "is probably closer to 0.1 per cent than one per cent".
The writer of many acclaimed books, both about the game as well as other unrelated subjects, Haigh talked about the recent Australian cricket census which was "touted as showing cricket to be the country's biggest participation sport", however, he also pointed out at the same time that it also "disclosed a 3.5 per cent decline in the club cricket population". "We don't have the advantage of exit interviews", he says, "but I wonder how many of those individuals passed out of the game because they don't like the way it is run, promoted, and headed?"
Will we be "remembered as the cricket generation that grew so obsessed with flogging 'KFC' and accumulating 'Facebook' likes that let its core constituencies fade away"?, he asks. "New markets is the clarion call", says Haigh, "but what about the old?" "We love the game", he says, " but "we wonder from time to time whether the game still loves us". "It is an abysmal reflection on the times that so few [realise] that sport has suffered gravely from the climate of financial stringency and sterile user-pays philosophies".
Club cricket in Australia remains "the game's biggest participant sector", says Haigh, CA's latest census showing that there are some "3,820 clubs in 570 associations" active around the country. As Haigh sees it, such organisations contribute to the building of communities by giving and sharing, nurturing culture, respecting history and generally joining in a common purpose. For millions of Australians such clubs are their "most tangible experience of day-to-day democracy, and their biggest investment in civic amenity", and those factors should not, in his view, ever be forgotten by those who administer the game at its highest levels.
Haigh's comments come in a year that has seen CA canvass, via more than a dozen 'Road Show' events held around the country, club-level personnel for ideas about what needs to be done to help cricket and its foundations, and the encouragement it has given to its international players to return to their clubs when they can. The national body has also conducted a survey of umpires, the key focus being on what can be done to improve the recruitment and retention of match officials in the game (PTG 1005-4886, 18 October 2012). At this stage there has been no announcement as to when the conclusions that are drawn from both sets of liaison will be made public.
SELECTOR CLAIMS TEACHING SPINNERS THE
'DOOSRA' WOULD 'COMPROMISE INTEGRITY'
John Inverarity, Australia's current chairman of selectors, believes Cricket Australia (CA) would compromise its integrity if it set out to teach young spinners to bowl the 'doosra' in an effort to improve the nation's spin stocks, says a report by journalist Chloe Saltau that was posted on 'The Age' web site last night. Speaking at an Australian Cricket Society (ACS) lunch in Melbourne yesterday, Inverarity said in answer to a question put to him that CA should not be tempted to encourage spinners to bowl with actions that would push the International Cricket Council's "15-degree threshold".
Former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, one player well known for the difficult-to-bowl leg spinner with an off-spinning action that was first used by Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq, recently told 'The Age' that Australia only produced orthodox spinners "because the creativity was beaten out of them by perfectionist coaches at a young age". Australia's Twenty20 captain George Bailey said on return from the recent World Twenty20 Championship series in Sri Lanka at around the same time that Australian cricket had to find a way to develop less orthodox spinners and that "one of the things we need to look at is the way we bowl our spin".
But Inverarity, who played six Tests for his country and 223 first class games overall in the period from 1962-85, told the ACS lunch that "if you're going to bowl a doosra, that's how you do it", making his point whilst saying that by rolling his arm over in a bent fashion. He had no problem with experimentation among spinners but argued it was possible for traditional finger-spinners to thrive, saying that England's "[Graeme] Swan does it really well, Ashley Mallett was a terrific bowler, Bruce Yardley was a terrific bowler, Tim May was a terrific bowler, and [none of them] bowled doosras".
"I'm all for [current spinners] learning [and experimenting] but it's got to be within the rules as they stand", said Inverarity, as for him its "a serious issue and I think we've got to keep our integrity [and that of] Australia's cricket heritage".
RECORD $A45.6M PROFIT,
GOVERNANCE REVAMP, FOR CA
Cricket Australia (CA) made a record operating profit of $A45.6m for the 2011-12 financial year, according to documents tabled at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Melbourne on Thursday. Another significant outcome from the AGM was the final seal of approval given for CA's new governance structure that sees the start of the transition of the Board from a state-based gerrymander to the control of independent directors, and the appointment of a female Board member for the first time after over a Century of operation (PTG 932-4533, 26 April 2012).
The record profit, a quarter of which will go to player payments, contrasts with the previous year's figure of just $A4m when England toured and was mainly generated by the sale of broadcast rights for last summer's Australia-India series to the lucrative television market on the sub-continent. This year's result again illustrates what CA points out is the significant year-to-year variation in earnings that are directly related to which international team or teams are touring each summer; and the profit margin for the current financial year is expected to significantly less than the 2011-12 result.
A report earlier this year said what was then rumoured to be a record 2011-12 profit would be "a huge cash injection" that allows CA to "replenish dangerously low reserves after player payments and state distributions were maintained in the face of unprofitable summers". Despite the latter remark there appear to have been cuts and significant tightening to at least some parts of state association budgets over the last year. "Only tours by India and England make money", said the report at the time, and as "India generates 80 per cent of cricket's wealth [visits by its side are] vital to Australia maintaining generous player payments".
Structural changes to the Board have come in the light of last year's review of CA by sports governance specialists David Crawford and Colin Carter which, amongst other things, recommended it should have one representative from each state, but that those persons should not hold positions with their own local associations (PTG 870-4249, 9 December 2011). Up until now the Board has consisted of 14 members with some states nominating three directors each and others just two and one, an arrangement that has existed for many decades and is seen by some as encouraging a parochial approach to governance issues. The new set up, which is due to come fully on line in 2015, will see an 11-person independent commission arrangement that it is hoped will be less likely to be tainted by geographic interests.
During the AGM, CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said that last austral summer's revamped domestic Twenty20 competition was "an outstanding success". Averaged television audiences were said to have been around 282,000 per game, the final attracting some 450,970 viewers, and the competition overall a total of 9.4 million; and Sutherland predicted even better results for this summer's competition. He denied that tournaments such as it and the Champions League are compromising Test cricket, saying that mixing such events is not about compromise but rather "balance". According to him "one of the things we were careful to do [when negotiating player contracts recently] was to put an extra emphasis on the importance of Test cricket".
Meanwhile a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' ('SMH') overnight claims that CA's next television rights deal, which is up for renewal in March, will be well above the $A315m for seven years arrangement that was agreed to in 2005. The new domestic rights contract will be based over five years and the 'SMH' speculates, given recent trends in other sports and for cricket elsewhere in the world, that CA's domestic and overseas income could top $A1 billion in the period from 2013-18.
INTERESTING MIX IN LATEST
CA SENIOR APPOINTMENTS
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named umpires from India, New Zealand, the world's top panel, the newest member of its National Umpires Panel (NUP), and a another from its previous emerging umpires' group, amongst the officials who will look after the twenty domestic first class, senior one-day and tour matches that are to be played around the country in November. All-up sixteen umpires and five match referees will be involved, twelve of the umpires being current members of the NUP.
India's Vineet Kulkarni is to stand in two Sheffield Shield matches, the first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the early days of next month and a second at Bellerive Oval in Hobart the week after in what are the first acts of an exchange agreement that has apparently been agreed to, but not announced, by CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1005-4882, 18 October 2012). Kulkarni, 33, is to stand with CA NUP members Paul Wilson at the MCG and Simon Fry in Hobart.
Kiwi Derek Walker will be on the field with another NUP member, Paul Reiffel, in a Sheffield Shield fixture scheduled for Manuka Oval in Canberra in late November, and then with him again in a domestic one-day game there a few days later. Fry, Kulkarni, Reiffel and Walker are all members of their respective nation's section of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel. Some reports indicate that Wilson will be travelling to New Zealand in the first week of December for single domestic first class and Twenty20 games there, but whether he or Fry will travel to India, and if so when, is not so clear.
Bruce Oxenford, who was a NUP member but is now on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012), has been named for a single Sheffield Shield game in Brisbane during the first week of November. It is possible that match is being used by him as a 'warm-up' for a Test series in either India or Sri Lanka in late November and early December, for he records available suggest he will not have stood in a multi-day game for nearly eight months by the time that Shield game gets underway next Friday. During those eight months he has worked in five One Day Internationals plus a total of twenty-seven Twenty20 format games in the Indian Premier League, and the men's and women's World Twenty20 Championships.
Other CA appointments of particular note are the selection of new NUP member Queenslander Damien Mealey for what will be his third first class match, and the reappearance of Western Australian Nathan Johnstone for a one-day game in Perth. Mealey, Johnstone, along with Sam Nogajksi, the other new NUP member for the 2012-13 austral summer, and Michael Kumutat from New South Wales, formed CA's most recent emerging umpire's group.
Johnstone's last CA senior on-field appointment was in December last year but Kumutat has been overlooked for higher-level games in recent times and just how CA sees the pair in relation to the new five-man emerging group of Greg Davidson (New South Wales), Mike Graham-Smith (Tasmania), Simon Lightbody (Australian Capital Territory), and Victorians Richard Patterson and Shawn Craig, is far from clear. Things may become a little clearer when CA announces the umpiring panel for January's mens' Under-19 Championship series in Adelaide, but just when that might be is unknown at this stage.
Eleven of the twelve NUP members, the exception being Gerard Abood from NSW, have been given either one or two Shield matches in the November period, while all will work in between one and four one-day games during that time. All eighteen games will be overseen by members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel as match referees, Denis Burns, Ric Evans, David Levens, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford having between six and ten days of senior match duty scheduled next month.
While CA's domestic matches are underway, Fry and Reiffel with Marshall as the referee, will look after the touring South African side's three-day match against Australia A in Sydney, then in early December Abood and Joshua will be on the field for a similar match between the Sri Lankan tourists and a CA Chairman's XI. The match referee for the latter game will be CA Umpire Manager Sean Easey. Whether those fixtures will have first class status or not is as yet unclear.
WARD ALL BUT CROWNED AS
NEW AUSSIE IUP MEMBER?
John Ward, a Victorian member of Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel, is reported to have been named as the fourth umpire for two of the six Tests Australia is to play at home this austral summer. While the appointment appears to confirm the long anticipated elevation of Ward to Australia's third umpire position on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), CA has yet to make an announcement to that effect.
Ward is believed to have been named as the reserve umpire in the third Test Australia is to play against South Africa in Perth in late November, as well as the home side's second Test against Sri Lanka that is to start in Melbourne on Boxing Day. Fourth umpire duties in the other four Tests during the coming summer will reportedly be filled by Paul Reiffel and Simon Fry who are already IUP members; although Ward's potential elevation means that Fry will move from the IUP third umpire spot to an on-field position alongside Reiffel.
Fry is said to be the reserve umpire for the second South African Test, which will be played in Adelaide, as well as Sri Lanka's first in Hobart, while Reiffel has that role in the first South African Test in Brisbane which starts a week next Friday, and the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney early in the new year. Reiffel has previously worked in six Tests as the fourth umpire, three as the third umpire and twice on the field (PTG 966-4698, 23 July 2012). Fry has previously been the fourth umpire four times and the television umpire once in Tests, while Ward has previously been the fourth umpire in two Tests.
With the Umpire Decision Review System expected to be in operation in all six Tests, the ICC is likely to name two groups of three umpires to look after each of the two series. Referee and umpire appointments for the six games have yet to be announced by the world body, much of its web site receiving little in the way of up-dates of late, although it has the task of allocating personnel for not only those fixtures but also for the five One Day Internationals and two Tests Sri Lanka and New Zealand are to play around the same time, as well as the four Tests on the sub-continent between India and England.
Of particular interest will be whether the ICC gives English IUP member Richard Illingworth his first Test as an umpire, Reiffel further Tests, or other potential emerging international umpires such as Johannes Cloete of South Africa or Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, ODI neutral umpire duties (PTG 995-4837, 27 September 2012).
PCB AGAIN HOPING FOR
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf announced on Wednesday that Bangladesh is to play three One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in Pakistan in December, says the 'Express Tribune' newspaper. In March this year the PCB announced that Bangladesh was to play single ODI and T20Is in Lahore in late April in what would have been the first senior international in the country since the March 2009 terrorist attack there (PTG 928-4513, 16 April 2012), however, those games were eventually cancelled.
When April's tour was originally announced the International Cricket Council (ICC) said that it would consider giving "special dispensation" that would have allowed, in contravention of its usual policy, the PCB to use non-neutral officials for the series (PTG 910-4429, 8 March 2012). Later the world body asked the PCB to provide it with "a comprehensive security plan" so that it could make its own judgement whether to send ICC officials or not. Part of preparations for the mooted December tour, the details of which Ashraf says "have not been finalised", include the purchase of bulletproof buses and other issues related to the tightening of security for visiting international sides.
A report in the 'Pakistan Observer' yesterday said that Tim May, the chief of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association, or the player's union, has sought the confirmation of reports of the planned tour from the ICC. Two Bangladeshi nationals, Kamal Hossain Miazi and Khandiker Dider-us-Salam, whose appeal in April to their country's High Court led to the original tour being called off (PTG 931-4530, 22 April 2012), told the 'Observer' that the PCB's apparent intentions "is news to us".
The PCB is desperate for the international game to return to the country. In the three-and-a-half years since the Lahore attack the only visits have been by Afghanistan which played three fifty-over matches against the Pakistan A side in May last year, and two Twenty20 games in Karachi’s National Stadium last weekend between what was called a World XI and a Pakistan All Stars side. Senior PCB match referees and umpires have looked after all of those games.
BROAD EMPHASISES IMPORTANCE
OF 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' MANTRA
England fast bowler Stuart Broad has "highlighted his belief" in the Spirit of Cricket's mantra of "Play Hard, Play Fair" in a short 'Lords TV' video posted on the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) web site on Wednesday. Speaking ahead of England's forthcoming tour on India, the left-handed batsman and right-handed seamer said that with millions of fans watching the sport for entertainment it is the important the game be played in "the right manner". The 'Spirit of Cricket' philosophy was added as a preamble when the Laws of Cricket, which the MCC has guardianship over, were revised twelve years ago.
UMPIRING TEST DEBUT FOR
Former England spinner Richard Illingworth will make his Test debut for a second time, on this occasion as an umpire, in the two Test series between Bangladesh and the West Indies next month (PTG 1010-4912 below). Illingworth's appointment confirms indications that he and Australian Paul Reiffel, who made his Test debut three months ago (PTG 966-4698, 23 July 2012), are seen as candidates for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year (PTG 995-4837, 27 September 2012).
Illingworth, 49, played nine Tests for England in the 1990s and has the distinction of taking a wicket with the very first ball he bowled at the game's highest level; and there were also twenty-five One Day Internationals (ODI), including the final of the 1992 World Cup. During his first class career, which somewhat unusually as a Yorkshireman was spent primarily with Worcestershire, he played a total of 376 games, and there were also 381 List A fixtures.
He took up umpiring in 2002 the year after he retired, made his debut at first class level in 2003, and was selected to join the England and Wales Cricket Boards' senior umpires panel in October 2005, then the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) four years later (PTG 525-2696, 19 November 2009). The forthcoming Tests will be his 95th and 96th matches at first class level, and he also has 113 List A games to his credit at this time, 16 of them ODIs.
In addition to Illingworth's Test appointments, Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinecz has been selected by the ICC as the neutral umpire in a senior ODI series outside his own country for the first time; an indication that the world body wants to have a further close look at him as a possible future EUP candidate, perhaps in 2014 (PTG 995-4837, 27 September 2012).
Martinecz, 45, played a single Under-19 ODI for Sri Lanka against Australia in 1985, a game in which now fellow umpire Reiffel played; but his first class career was limited to just four games. He made his umpiring debut at first class level in January 2000, and currently has 117 such games to his credit.
While he worked as the third umpire in an ODI as far back as August 2004, he did not stand in his first senior international until January 2010, his 'official' career being curtailed when in 2008 he signed up for the 'unofficial' and short-lived Indian Cricket League (PTG 355-1892, 1 December 2008), and it took almost a year before he was allowed to return to senior Sri Lankan cricket, being named as an IUP member in mid-2009 (PTG 465-2418, 30 July 2009).
Illingworth and Martinecz were the on-field umpires in the final of the Under-19 World Cup in Australia in August (PTG 984-4776, 25 August 2012). The pair that stood in the final of the previous U-19 tournament in 2010, Richard Kettleborough and Kumar Dharmesena, are now EUP members.
NO BIASE IN PLAYING CONDITIONS
CHANGE, SAY CL ORGANISERS
Officials running the Champions League (CL) Twenty20 series in South Africa have denied that changes made to their Playing Conditions in the last few days of the competition were designed to favour India-based sides. A report published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on Friday claimed that the event's organisers had been "threatened with legal action by the [local] franchise [team the Lions]" after the weather outlook led to the addition of reserve days for each of the semi finals on Thursday and Friday.
According to Fairfax journalist Andrew Wu, the CL's original Playing Conditions contained no such spare day allowance, but there were provisions for a winner to be determined should there be a no result during the event due to inclement weather. In such cases the winner was to be "determined in order of priority by the number of wins in the group stage, then net run rate, and if they still cannot be separated lots [were to be] drawn".
With the weather forecast for both Thursday and Friday looking poor, Wu says in his report from Johannesburg that the change to include reserve days provided "a lifeline for Delhi" who faced elimination if their semi had been a washout for they had won fewer games than the Lions during the group stage of the tournament. The organiser's move "fuelled suspicions that the tournament was favouring Indian teams", he says, especially as it was done just a few hours before the Delhi-Lions semi final.
Wu "understands" the Lions told tournament organisers that they "reserved the right to take legal action" over the change, although that is now unlikely given that they won through to the final with an upset win over Delhi, the pre-tournament favourite. The semi final win means that the Lions could earn $A1.3M in prize money if they loose the final, and $A2.5M if they win it, as opposed to just $A500K for making the semis.
CL's director of legal and business affairs, Dean Kino, of Cricket Australia, rejected suggestions there had been a push from the Board of Control for Cricket in India to favour teams from the Indian Premier League. "We do not cater for anything other than the interest of cricket, I can guarantee you that", runs the quote attributed to him. "I'm tired of the criticisms based on lack of knowledge and biases when all we're trying to do is make the tournament survive and thrive", Kino told Wu.
Officials are said to have started to explore the prospect of installing a reserve day earlier in the week and to have alerted the semi-finalists of their decision on either Tuesday or Wednesday. "Historically, this period has not been a rainy [one] in South Africa, so reserve days have not been scheduled, but we have been extremely unlucky in this regard", said tournament director Naasei Appiah in a statement.
Appiah is said to have later told Wu that there were clauses in the team participation agreement, signed by each franchise, which enabled the playing conditions to be changed if it was deemed appropriate.
The final of the event last night saw Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Simon Taufel of Australia as the on-field umpires, Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmesena as the third umpire and his countryman Ranjan Madugalle the match referee.
A total of seven umpires worked in either on-field or third umpire positions during the 29-match event, Dar, Taufel, Dharmesena, Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Rod Tucker (Australia), Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and Ravi Sundaram (India); while Australian David Boon shared referee duties with Madugalle, South African first class umpires Johannes Cloete and Adrian Holdstock doing the same as fourth umpires.
ICC NAMES 16 MATCH OFFICIALS
FOR END-OF-YEAR TESTS
Sixteen match officials from eight countries, one of them on debut, have been named to manage the eleven Tests that will be played in Australia, Bangaldesh, India and Sri Lanka over the next six weeks. In that time Australia is to play South Africa in three Tests, Bangladesh and the West Indies two, India and England four, and Sri Lanka and New Zealand two.
Australia's Tests against South Africa in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth starting on Friday week will be looked after by umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, Richard Kettleborough of England and Asad Rauf of Pakistan; each having two games on the field and one in the television suite.
The ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle will oversee three games that will take his Test Tally in that role to 139, while Bowden's statistics will move to 72 on-field and 14 as third umpire (72/14), Rauf 47/15, and Kettleborough 12/9. Australian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will be fourth umpires for the three games (PTG 1009-4907, 27 October 2012).
Australian Bruce Oxenford's first appointments as a member of the International Cricket council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) will be in the two Test series Bangladesh and the West Indies are to play in Dhaka and Khulna in the last half of next month (PTG 1009-4906, 27 October 2012). He will be accompanied on the field in those games by Richard Illingworth of England who will be making his umpiring debut at that level (PTG 1010-4910 above), while the match referee will be Oxenford's compatriot David Boon.
With the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) not in operation, Bangladeshi members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) look likely to work as third and fourth umpires during the two fixtures. The matches will be Oxenford's ninth and tenth Tests, and Boon's eleventh and twelfth as a referee.
India and England will be engaged in a four Test series around the same time and the ICC has named four umpires and two referees to cover the games in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur. The first two Tests will see Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Tony Hill of New Zealand in the middle with Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama the match referee.
Jeff Crowe of New Zealand has been named as the referee for Tests three and four, Kumar Dharmesena of Sri Lanka and Rod Tucker of Australia being the on-field umpires. Indian IUP members will be allocated television and fourth umpire roles for each game as the UDRS will not be in operation.
Dar's two Tests will take him to outright sixth on the all-time Test umpire list with 76, while Crowe's tally as a match official will move to 57, Mahanama's to 40, Hill 33, Tucker 22 and Dharmesena 12.
Yet another Test series next month is that between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, and the two matches in Colombo and Galle will be looked after by umpires Nigel Llong of England and Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Javagal Srinath being their match referee. Llong's umpiring record in Tests will move up to 14 by the time the series ends, Erasmus to 15, and Srinath's referees tally to 24.
The only members of the EUP not being used in the end-of-year series of Tests are Australian Steve Davis and Englishman Ian Gould, although the latter has been appointed to a One Day International series (PTG 1010-4913 below), and they may therefore have been appointed to the two Tests South Africa and New Zealand are to play in January.
FIRST ODI 'NEUTRAL' APPOINTMENT
While its a busy time for Tests between now and the end-of-the-year with eleven being scheduled (PTG 1010-4912 above), the shorter forms of the international game see ten One Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) listed between now and Christmas. Bangladesh and the West Indies and Sri Lanka and New Zealand and will each play five ODIs, the latter pair a single T20I and India and England two.
Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka will be the neutral umpire for the five games in Bangladesh, his first such appointment from the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1010-4910 above), the match referee being Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe. Those games will take place over the first half of November after which Pycroft will move to Sri Lanka for the five match New Zealand series in which Ian Gould of England will be the neutral umpire.
Bangladeshi and Lankan members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel will fill the third and fourth umpire positions for the respective series that will take Gould's ODI umpiring record to 79 games, Pycroft's to 73 and Martinecz to 13. The T20Is in India and Sri Lanka will also be looked after both on and off the field by IUP members from those countries, Crowe and Pycroft respectively being the match referees.
SIX TO RETURN AGAIN FOR
CA NATIONAL U-19 SERIES
Six of the eight umpires that Cricket Australia (CA) named on Friday to stand in its 2013 men's Under-19 National Championship series in January will be returning for the second or third year in a row, while for two others it will be their first experience in what is a key event on CA's umpire pathway. The biggest surprise is the absence of Victorian umpire Richard Patterson, however, whether that's because he is unavailable or CA believe his former first class experience means he is not required, is not known.
The eight named for the series in Adelaide are: Shawn Craig (Victoria); Greg Davidson, Simon Lightbody and Tony Wilds (NSW); Jay Kangur (Queensland); Mike Graham-Smith and Jamie Mitchell (Tasmania); and Todd Rann (Western Australia). For Kangur it will be his fourth U-19 Championships, and along with Graham-Smith and Rann their third in a row, Davidson, Lightbody and Mitchell's second-straight, while for Wilds and CA Project Panel member Craig, its their first.
Davidson, Graham-Smith, Lightbody and Craig, along with Patterson, attended CA's 'Academy' program in Brisbane in September (PTG 974-4725, 8 August 2012); and before that Graham-Smith, Kangur, Lightbody and Patterson the four-nation Under-19 one-day format tournament in Townsville in April (PTG 904-4396, 21 February 2012). In August, Davidson and Craig stood in a number of U-19 one-day games involving the Australian and Pakistan sides (PTG 971-4715, 4 August 2012).
Also on Friday, CA named 29 umpires from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and all other states except Queensland, for the five State Second XI, six Womens National Cricket League, twelve women's Twenty20, and four 'emerging' women's 'internationals that are scheduled over the next four weeks.
All-up four umpires each from South Australia and Tasmania, five or six from Victoria, six each from the ACT and Western Australia, and nine from NSW, plus 11 match referees, have been named for the games. Newcomers named, all of whom will stand in women's games, include Mark Ferris and Melanie Jones of the ACT, and David Matthews of Tasmania.
The four games between the emerging women players of Australia and New Zealand will be looked after by Sydney-based umpires Wilds, Michael Kumutat and Ben Treloar who will stand in two games each, and Ben Nicholls and Bruce Whiteman who have one game. CA Umpire High Performance Panel Bob Stratford will work as the match referee for Kumutat, Treloar and Wilds' games, and CA Umpire Manager Sean Easey in the fourth match.
'DOOSRA' SHOULD BE
ENCOURAGED, SAYS BOTHA
South African spinner Johan Botha believes that the 'Doosra' should be encouraged. Botha was speaking on the weekend after Australia's current chairman of selectors John Inverarity said that spinners in his country should not be encouraged to bowl such balls as it would push the International Cricket Council's "15-degree threshold", and compromise the game's "integrity" (PTG 1009-4904, 27 October 2012).
Botha told journalists that it would be a shame for any directive to ban the Doosra from coaching manuals, arguing it could be bowled within the 15-degree elbow flex permitted. "If you can bowl it legally, definitely go for it [as it's] good to have some variation in a game", he said.
Johannesburg-born Botha had to endure episodes of rigorous biomechanical testing at the University of Western Australia to prove his off-spin action was legal. He spent ten months in limbo after being cited in his debut Test against Australia in the 2006, and was again cited in April 2009 during a one-day game against Australia (PTG 516-2657, 2 November 2009).
Botha says slow bowlers should be "nurtured rather than persecuted for pursuing the most unforgiving caper in the game on pitches" that he believes "increasingly favour batsmen".
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
'FINN' 'DEAD BALL' CALLS NOT INCLUDED
IN AMENDED ICC PLAYING CONDITIONS
New International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions for Tests, One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) that come into effect today when the series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand starts in Pallekele (PTG 1011-4917 below), make no reference to 'dead ball' calls in 'Finn' broken stump situations. The ICC summarised the range of changes, which were recommended by its Cricket Committee in May and later approved by its Board (PTG 943-4585, 2 June 2012), in a press release it issued yesterday.
In a section labelled 'Dead Ball', the ICC release talks of umpires making such a call, cancelling any runs scored and rebowling the ball where a ball hits a television 'Spydercam' device suspended on cables above the ground. However, 'Finn' situations, where a bowler breaks the stumps on his follow through and the umpire calls 'dead ball' as a result, an issue that has been in the news over the last three months, are not mentioned in either the release or the copies of the ICC Playing Conditions currently available on line.
In response to the original 'Finn' event in a Test match between England and South Africa in August (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012), the ICC was reported at first to have decided that such situations will "not automatically result in a call of dead ball", rather "a degree of repetition or a significant ‘demolition’ of the stumps" would be required (PTG 978-4740, 16 August 2012), then in September news came which indicated that was changed to a single warning before the umpire at the non-striker's end called 'dead ball' for any repeats (PTG 991-4814, 16 September 2012).
Concerns were expressed about the latter approach earlier this month, the complaint being that the batting side lost any runs they had scored in such situations. The view expressed then, which the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is said by some to favour, was that the appropriate approach should be one warning then a 'no ball' call (PTG 999-4854, 4 October 2012). If the 'PTG' analysis of the ICC's position is correct, then 'Finn' situations in international cricket will be handled under the current Laws for some time yet, for even if the MCC goes down the 'no ball' route, any change is unlikely to come into effect until October next year.
In other Playing Conditions changes listed by the ICC yesterday, the "LBW protocols" section of the Umpire Decision Review System has been amended for Tests and ODIs so that if, for example, the centre of the ball is shown to be impacting in line "within an area demarcated by a line drawn down the middle of the outer stumps (and the bottom of the bails), then the decision will always be out". If on the other hand "the whole of the ball is shown to be impacting outside the line of the stumps, then the decision will always be not out". Anything in between will mean that the original decision made by the on-field umpire will stand.
For Tests, ODIs and T20Is the third umpire will be required, when an appeal is turned down on what the on-field umpire has called a 'no-ball", then "subject to the availability of technology, the third umpire will check for a foot fault and advise the on-field umpire accordingly over a two-way radio". In addition in those formats, if the batting side is found to be wasting time then allowances will be given to the fielding side when its over-rate is determined.
New arrangements for Tests include giving the home and visiting boards the ability to decide between them on the hours of play that will apply each day and "the precise brand, type and colour of ball to be used", in other words whether they play day-night Tests or not. Also, although the traditional duration of the lunch and tea intervals in Tests remain unchanged, the host team, with the consent of the opposing side, can apply to the ICC for an approval to depart from the standard playing conditions to provide for intervals that are each 30 minutes long.
ODIs will now see two, instead of the previous three, blocks of Powerplays. In an uninterrupted innings the first Powerplay will stay as the first ten overs with only two fielders allowed outside the fielding restriction circle, while the single second five-over batting Powerplay will have to be completed by the fortieth over, only three fielders being allowed outside the fielding restriction area at the time of delivery. In non-Powerplay overs no more than four fielders will be permitted outside circle. The other change is that a bowler will be limited to two fast short-pitched deliveries per over.
In T20Is the changes are mainly related to the one over per side 'Eliminator' that results when team scores are tied after both innings have been completed. Now the fielding side in either 'Eliminator' over will be able to choose which end they bowl from. In addition, if one of the nominated players is unable to continue "due to injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons", the relevant Laws and Playing Conditions that applied in the main match will apply, as will any time penalties that were applied in the original match.
The new arrangements also allow the fielding captain or his nominee to select the ball they wish to use in their Eliminator over from a box of spare balls provided by the umpires. Such boxes will include the balls used in the main match but no new balls. The team fielding first in the Eliminator will have first choice of ball and the one fielding second may choose to use either the same ball or one of the others on offer. If the ball needs to be changed, then playing conditions as stated for the main match shall apply. In the main match proper, in addition to the available time allowances that previously applied, an additional allowance of one minute will be given for the fall of each of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth wickets.
In its press release the ICC says that it is important to note that their Playing Conditions are applicable to international cricket and must be read together with the Laws of Cricket. "Whilst a Playing Condition may affect the Laws of Cricket as they may apply to international cricket, these changes are not amendments to the Laws of Cricket themselves", it emphasises.
APPOINTMENTS SUGGEST NO
UDRS FOR LANKA-NZ SERIES
The naming of Sri Lankan umpires Ranmore Martinez and Ruchira Palliyaguru, members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), as the third umpires for the two Tests Sri Lanka and New Zealand are to play in the last half of this month, suggests that the Umpire Decision Review System will not be in operation during the two games. Martinez will work with match referee Javagal Srinath of India and on-field umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Nigel Long of England in the first game in Colombo, and Palliyaguru in the second in Galle (PTG 1010-4912, 27 October 2012).
In addition to that role Martinez will also stand in one of the five One Day Internationals (ODI) and work as the third umpire in another two, a series that will see Sri Lankan ICC Elite umpire member, and the current world 'Umpire of the Year' Kumar Dharmasena on the field in two matches, and Palliyaguru and Tyrone Wijewardene, another local IUP member, have single games on the field as as a third umpire. Martinez and Palliyaguru will also be on the field today for the single Lanka-NZ Twenty20 International between the two sides, Wijewardene working as the third umpire.
For Martinez the five games he has been allocated in the Lanka-NZ series will be a valuable lead-in to the December ODI series between Bangladesh and the West Indies, his first as a neutral umpire in a senior international (PTG 1010-4913, 27 October 2012).
BRIEF WEB POSTING AN INDICATION OF
OFFICIALS FOR AUSTRALIA-LANKA SERIES?
A posting that appeared then disappeared from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) web site on Sunday may give an indication as to who the match officials will be for the forthcoming three Test and five One Day International (ODI) series between Australia and Sri Lanka in December-January. That information suggested that all-up seven members of the ICC's Elite umpire and match referee panels from five countries will travel to Australia for the eight matches involved.
The posting named Aleem Dat of Pakistan, Tony Hill of New Zealand and Nigel Llong of England as the umpires for the Tests, and the latter's countryman Chris Broad as the match referee for the three Tests. Each of the umpires will be on the field for two of the games and in the television suite for a third. For the ODIs in January, Marais Eramus of South Africa and Richard Kettleborough are listed as the neutral umpires and Javagal Srinath the referee, and Australian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Simon Fry, Paul Reiffel and John Ward appear lkikely as either the second on-field umpire or fourth umpires,
'ICC UNFAIR TO ME', SAYS ASIF
Pakistan's banned pace bowler Mohammad Asif has criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) over his spot-fix suspension and has again pleaded his innocence ahead of an appeal to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Asif told journalists in Karachi on Monday that a CAS hearing against his minimum five-year ban will be heard in February and one of the main tenets of his defence will be that the ICC imposed the suspension before his case went to a criminal court.
Asif was caught up in a spot-fixing scandal in 2010 while touring England with the Pakistan team. An independent tribunal set up by the ICC banned him and two other players, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir, for a minimum of five years in February last year before the trio were found guilty in court and jailed nine months later. Asif was later found guilty in a London court and sentenced to prison, where he served half a one-year term before being released in May.
"The ICC was not fair to me [for] they imposed a ban on me even before my case went to trial", he said, and "I will fight on to clear my name as the charges against me are wrong". "I am also planning on writing a book in which I will reveal a lot of things,", he added.
PCB REPORTED PLANNING
'NEW' TWENTY20 EVENT
The Pakistan Cricket Board says that it is planning to organise a new Twenty20 that will consist of just five teams that will each have six international players each. PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf said that "the goal" is to start the new competition in March next year and that "a request has already been made to [PCB's] chief patron [the country's] President Asif Ali Zardari to allow a five-year tax exemption for the event since the event will undoubtedly bump up job growth and enhance Pakistan's international image.
Ashram said yesterday that he "can say that we have taken inspiration from the [Indian Premier League] and maybe one day the [Pakistan Premier League] franchise can be part of the IPL as well". Media reports say though the the coordination for such an undertaking will not be simple as the nation's national side team is to play South Africa in three Tests, five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals between through February and up until late March. In addition the 2013 edition of the IPL is due to commence in the first week of April.
Another issue say reports is related to the willingness of senior international players to tour Pakistan since the terrorist attack of March 2009, although Ashraf hopes that will change as a result of the two exhibition matches played in Karachi last week that featured an 'International World X', although most of the players involved were not well known.
DAY-NIGHT TESTS 'INEVITABLE',
SAYS CA CHIEF
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday welcomed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to allow day-night Test matches where the Boards of the two competing nations agree, and said the world body's ruling will pave the way for them to become a reality (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012). While CA chief executive officer James Sutherland said that he didn't want to create expectations that day-night Tests are just around the corner, making particular reference to the need to find a suitable ball for such fixtures, there are claims this morning that such a game could be played in Australia in just over a year's time.
Sutherland, who believes that the shorter formats of the game have shown that batsmen can make big scores under lights, has long argued that cricket needs to recognise that fans have a better chance of watching Test cricket if it is played at night. "Test cricket is by definition played on at least three week days, times when most people are at work or school, and this limits the ability of fans to attend or watch on TV", he said in a statement in which he praised the ICC for their decision.
"We limit ourselves by staging cricket's premium format at times when fans often cannot watch", he continued, for "we know that the [television] audience for the Perth Test, which is on TV in the evening on the east coast [of Australia where the time difference is three hours}, is up significantly because fans in the east can tune in after work". "CA has a formal strategic plan that demands that Australian cricket puts fans first and we will now add day-night Tests to the agenda when we talk to other Test nations about their future tours down-under", Sutherland added.
South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw, a strong advocate of day-night Tests in his previous role at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said the ICC's ruling presented a chance to consider floodlit Tests in cases where crowds needed boosting. ''You wouldn't do it against England or South Africa or India, but you might look at it for some of the less popular Test matches", he said, although, "the absolute imperative would be that we ensure we maintain the integrity of the game".
The MCC, through its World Cricket committee, has been campaigning for the introduction of day-night Tests since 2009. The Club has played day-night first-class matches in Abu Dhabi against the previous season's champion county over the last three years, and will do so for a fourth time next March. Over the last five years first class games have been played under lights in England, the West Indies and Pakistan, while Cricket South Africa (CSA) played a non-first class four-day trial last month (PTG 982-4761, 22 August 2012).
Despite that Sutherland said yesterday that "finding a Test ball that is as easily visible in the day as it is at night is still a technical work in progress that the ICC is now leading and it has not yet been possible to predict when such a ball might be available". "The traditional red ball is not regarded as suitable for night cricket because it is not as visible at night as it is in the day, and the One Day International white ball is not suitable for Tests as it is not as durable as the red ball and does not last as well as a Test ball needs to last", he said.
Sutherland said that "experiments with other [ball] colours such as pink, orange and yellow have seen some promising developments in recent times and [CA] will, together with the ICC and ball manufacturers, continue to encourage research and development that delivers a ball with the optimal colour and durability for Test cricket". Five years ago CA was at the forefront of the push to find a suitable ball (PTG 189-1024, 4 February 2008), but it later handed leadership of the task to the ICC. Reports from the MCC's latest game in Abu Dhabi have suggested that the pink balls available now are already suitable (PTG 931-4529, 22 April 2012), however, problems with the ball in CSA's trial seven weeks ago suggest that all is still not well with them (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012).
Meanwhile, a report in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne this morning says that Australian broadcaster "Channel Nine is salivating at the prospect of staging day-night Tests, and will push for the floodlit fixtures to be part of [its] next media rights deal" which is currently being negotiated. The report states that the network's head of sport Steve Crawley is to "hold informal talks with Nine in Brisbane next week" about the matter. "As a producer of television I find it exciting", said Crawley, although he apparently believes the Melbourne Cricket Ground's (MCG) Boxing Day Test will remain a daytime fixture because of its "rich tradition", and "because its timing ensures healthy audiences at the MCG and on TV".
Australia is to host a five-match series against England in 2013-14 and CA officials are said to be "happy to accommodate fixture changes to allow day-night Tests if an acceptable ball is produced".
'SPIDERCAM' FOR TEST
DEBUT IN BRISBANE
Australian television network Channel Nine is planning to introduce 'Spidercam' to Test cricket for the first time during the forthcoming series between Australia and South Africa. The German-made aerial camera, which is suspended over sports venues by a maze of pulleys and cables and operated by a team of three, will be used during the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane which starts on Friday week, say reports.
Brad McNamara, Nine's executive producer of cricket, has told journalists that the system "hasn't been used in a Test match before so that will certainly bring a different dimension to the way Test cricket is viewed [for] there will be different angles that you won't have ever seen before". In his view "it's a great little toy [as] it gets to places other cameras can't get to and gives you an amazing view and shots that you never thought you'd be able to get".
Reports say 'Spidercam', which has been used extensively for major sporting events in Europe and North America, is not without its complications for it has been hit previously by balls punted by football goalkeepers. Most recently it was hit at the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa where Mumbai's Dinesh Karthik hit a ball into the device during a match against the Sydney franchise side. Players including Kieron Pollard and Yuvraj Singh have claimed that when the camera was used in this year's Indian Premier League it was a "distraction for batsmen and came too close to fielders at times".
One of the amendments the International Cricket Council announced to its Playing Conditions for the year ahead on Monday was that its umpires are required to call 'dead ball', cancel any runs scored, and have the ball rebowled, when a 'Spydercam' is struck by a batsman's shot (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012).