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       DECEMBER 2012
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 9 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 4979-5021)

Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1025  1026  1027  1028  1029  1030  1031  1032  1033  


1025 - 4 December  [4979-4983]

• Five given year-long bans for umpire assault   (1025-4979).

• 'Warne has his job, I have mine', says Dar   (1025-4980).

• Aussie starts NZ exchange visit   (1025-4981).

• Two months on no news of umpire 'sting' investigations   (1025-4982).

• New on-field television gimmick ready for action   (1025-4983).

1026 - 7 December (4984-4990)

• Modern bat technology changing game's balance, claims Jones   (1026-4984).

• Past, current, EUP members for 'Rose Bowl' series   (1026-4985).

• Fourteen umpires to support initial CA T20 series games   (1026-4986).

• Umpire fund raiser generates money for cancer appeal   (1026-4987).

• 'Free hit' forgotten, but not by batsman   (1026-4988).

• Player 'stumped' after 'time' called   (1026-4989).

• SLC in 'massive' umpire recruitment drive   (1026-4990).

1027 - 10 December (4991-4992)

• 'Run out' highlights aspect of 'avoid injury' provision   (1027-4991).

• Marketers add another gimmick to T20 game   (1027-4992).

1028 - 12 December [4993-4997]

• 'Obstructing the Field' decision quite correct, says CSA  (1028-4993).

• Quartet confirmed for Australia-Lanka Tests   (1028-4994).

• Abuse by spectator leads to his death   (1028-4995).

• SLC conducts briefing on 'suspect bowling actions'   (1028-4996).

• CA umpire web lists well out-of-date   (1028-4997).

• Appeal against life spot-fixing ban adjourned   (1028-4997).

1029 - 14 December [4998]

•  Four new ICC 'Umpire Coach' positions advertised, RUPM structure to go   (1029-4998).

1030 - 19 December [4999-5005]

• Match referee dismisses ball tampering concerns   (1030-4999).

• Neutral officials named for India-Pakistan ODI series   (1030-5000).

• Criticism after batsman scores 'unethical' four   (1030-5001).

• 'Open handed' assault, abusive language, leads to 16-week ban   (1030-5002).

• CA attempts to curtail certain match bet types   (1030-5003).

• Perth skipper fined for abusing umpires   (1030-5004).

• Slow over-rate fine for Hobart T20 side   (1030-5005). 

1031 - 20 December [5006-5009]

• Tampering still going on, claims convicted ball tamperer   (1031-5006).

• Ball headed for 'six' hits stadium roof so 'dead ball' called   (1031-5007).

• 'Dew factor' leads to start time changes for India-England ODI series   (1031-5008).

• Senior international debut for Indian umpire   (1031-5009).

1032 - 24 December [5010-5014]

• Coach faces charges after 'suspect action' comments   (1032-5010).

• 'Roof hit' 'dead ball' rules amended   (1032-5011).

• Ignorance or 'sharp practice'?   (1032-5012).

• NSWCUSA fill vacant Executive Officer position   (1032-5013).

• Chopper-based cameras providing new angles on play    (1032-5014).

1033 - 27 December [5015-5021]

• BCB committee fails to issue report on umpire corruption allegations   (1032-5015).

• Return to back foot, bowling crease, for 'no ball' calls, says 'Chappelli'   (1032-5016).

• Aussie EUP members again listed for CA T20 series  (1032-5017).

• Hobart batsman reprimanded for ground fixture 'abuse'   (1032-5018).

• Suspension no bar to 'team of the tournament' selection   (1032-5019).

• Hearing into 'suspect action' remarks due today   (1032-5020).

• Fines handed out after on-field altercation   (1032-5021).

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,025
Tuesday, 4 December 2012      

FIVE GIVEN YEAR-LONG BANS 

FOR UMPIRE ASSAULT 

[PTG 1025-4979]

 

Five players from one club have been banned for a year following a Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) hearing on Friday into an attack on an umpire at the end of game in late October.  Reports at the time said that Chandrakant Mhatre was assaulted after he gave batsman out LBW on each of the last two balls of the day (PTG 1007-4890, 24 October 2012).  

 

In addition to the year-long bans the MCA also decided to withdraw the financial assistance it provides to the player's club for the same period.  The Association's joint secretary PV Shetty told reporters on Friday that he hopes the sanctions will serve as a deterrent, the "strict action" being taken "because we do not want a repeat of this kind of behaviour from our players and it’s a message to all the clubs out there". 

 

A second hearing held on Friday concerning the "verbal abuse of umpires" in another club match resulted in a player from each side being handed a three-month suspension.

 

'WARNE HAS HIS JOB, I HAVE 

MINE', SAYS DAR 

[PTG 1025-4980]

 

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar told journalists in Lahore on Friday that he has no plans to retire in the wake of criticism directed at him for some of the decisions he made during last week's India-England Test in Mumbai Test.  Former Australian player Shane Warne, who is now a television commentator, spoke out about Dar's performance, saying in a 'tweet' that he "had always been a bad decision maker" (PTG 1024-4976, 30 November 2012).

 

Dar told journalists in Lahore that he will only retire from the game the day he feels he cannot do his duties as international umpire properly.  "Every umpire has a bad day and can make mistakes. It happens to everyone. But I will step down from the Elite panel and retire from umpiring the day I feel I have lost the confidence to supervise a match properly and give decisions", he said.

 

The umpire went on to say that he had not read Warne's 'tweet' nor would he bother to.  "He has been a great player for Australia and it is his opinion but I can't afford to start taking all criticism to heart", said Dar, as "for me the match is over and I have done a analysis of my performance and it is time to now move on to the next game".  Warne has a "new profession as media person and he had his duties to fulfill and I have mine so it does not bother me what anyone tweets about me", said Dar.  

 

The Pakistani umpire said he personally favoured having the Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS) in place for all the matches, something that not in use during the current India-England series.  

 

AUSSIE STARTS NZ 

EXCHANGE VISIT 

[PTG 1025-4981]

 

Australian umpire Mick Martell is currently standing in the Plunket Shield match between Auckland and Otago as part of the exchange program organised by Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC).  His visit comes as NZC umpire Derek Walker completed a two-match exchange to Australia, one a first class match between New South Wales and Queensland in Canberra and the other a one-day game between those two sides in the same city a few days later (PTG 1014-4931, 3 November 2012).

 

Martell, 46, for whom the Auckland match is his twenty-fifth at first class level since his debut in October 2008, is standing with local umpire Wayne Knights who stood in his initial game in November that year.  Before he returns home the Western Australian is also expected to stand in a Twenty20 match in Napier on Friday evening, his on-field colleague in that fixture being NZC's Barry Frost.

 

Details of the respective visits by Martell and Walker, or those last month that involved another CA umpire Simon Fry and his Indian counterpart Vineet Kulkarni (PTG 1023-4971, 28 November 2012), have not been publicised by the respective cricket authorities.  

 

CA launched an umpire newsletter four months ago that was to contain information that included "news on umpiring courses, CA appointments of interest, Law changes and useful information for umpires at any level" (PTG 967-4701, 27 July 2012), however, nothing has appeared since the initial edition was released eighteen weeks ago (PTG 974-4726, 8 August 2012).  

 

TWO MONTHS ON NO NEWS OF 

UMPIRE 'STING' INVESTIGATIONS 

[PTG 1025-4982]

 

Two months on there is no news about the outcome of investigations being conducted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka into umpire corruption allegations made by an Indian television station.  'India TV', a private company, claimed in a program broadcast in early October that six umpires from those countries who were filmed during a 'sting' operation in August-September, were "willing to fix games" (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012) .

 

Umpires the television report suggests were "corrupt" are: Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan; Nadir Shah 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".  All of those accused protested their innocence (PTG 1002-4867, 11 October 2012).

 

Asked about the sting operation by the 'Cricbuzz.com' web site last month, Simon Taufel the International Cricket Council's new Umpire Performance and Training Manager, said that the world body's policies of anti-corruption and behavioural ethics "are very clear", and that "umpires have the responsibility to show a higher level of integrity and be leaders in [such] area[s]".  

 

"I can't comment on the ongoing investigation and the ongoing issues involved", continued Taufel, but "if anybody is concerned about an approach being made [to them] by an individual, they [should know] what the protocols are [and who they should] contact [about the situation]".  "From my perspective [umpiring is] all about integrity, being a good person, and if you do those things, being a good umpire naturally follows", he says. 

 

NEW ON-FIELD TELEVISION 

GIMMICK READY FOR ACTION 

[PTG 1025-4983]

 

Batsmen and wicketkeepers taking part in Cricket Australia's (CA) Twenty20 competition over the next month are to wear helmets fitted with micro cameras that provide vision for use in television broadcasts.  The new system will show "a short-pitched ball whizzing past a batsman's nose at speeds of up to 150 km/h in high definition", say its promoters, who apparently trialled it in a CA fifty-over one-day fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last week.

 

Broadcaster Fox Sports, who last year "pioneered" the use of cameras mounted on glasses worn by umpires (PTG 888-4333, 16 January 2012), believes its latest system will be the first camera attached to a player during in a senior competition.  The equipment, which adds around 250 grams to the weight of a helmet, or about that of a bar of soap, consists of an high-definition visor-mounted camera and transmitter with batteries on the rear strap; and can can be quickly fitted to any player's helmet during the game. 

 

Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delany called the system the "next generation" of viewing and that it's all about "bringing fans closer to the game".  Compared with 'Umpire Cam' the new arrangement uses a larger lens but at the same time is lightweight and non-obtrusive. 

 

"When the batsman wears it, you'll see him following the ball from the bowler's hand and watching it on to his bat as he plays his shot. We've trialled the camera on wicketkeepers and the results are exciting", says Delany, and that in addition "with the likes of Shane Warne equipped with an earpiece and microphone", viewers will be able to "watch [his deliveries] through the batsman's eyes".


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,026
Friday, 7 December 2012  

MODERN BAT TECHNOLOGY CHANGING 

GAME'S BALANCE, SAYS JONES

[PTG 1026-4984]

 

Modern bat manufacturing technology has shifted the balance of the game towards batsmen, says former Australian player Dean Jones, who suggests that the issues involved are the greatest challenge in the game today.  Jones, now aged 51, is of the view that today's bats are "so good" that if he tried to play now some fifteen years into retirement after a 245 match first class career, he "could at least hit the same distances as I did when I was in my prime". 

 

The former batsman says that bats today "are easily fifty per cent better compared with what I used" and that "sadly [they] are making many grounds obsolete today".  "Today's batsmen are now hitting them out of the ballpark", and "something needs to be done, and soon", he says.

 

Jones, who is involved with manufacturer Spartan Sports, says that he is not sure just how they make today's bats "so big", as their mass "has nearly doubled" and they are now "weapons of mass destruction".  "As coaches", "we are now [encouraging] batsmen to punch their drives with an exaggerated minimal follow-through", and it is "so common now to see top-edged shots go for six while the poor old bowler seems to have no chance".  He has "also noticed a distinct lack of caught-and-bowled dismissals over the past few years, no doubt due to the fact of the minimal reaction time for bowlers to take a catch".

 

While he has "no doubt" changes to bats favour the batsmen, he has, on the other hand "noticed a distinct lack of development in the cricket ball" over "the last 100 years". "There seems to be a lot of splitting of seams of late and some balls are going out of shape", and that leads him to ask whether "with the wonderful developments in rubber and plastic compounds that golf ball manufacturers have made over the years, why couldn't we use these new technologies they have made for golf balls to be used in the development of the cricket ball?"

 

PAST, CURRENT, EUP MEMBERS 

FOR 'ROSE BOWL' SERIES 

[PTG 1026-4985]

 

One former and another current member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) will be involved in the management of the four-match 'Rose Bowl' one-day series between the Australian and New Zealand women's teams in Sydney later this month.  Newly appointed EUP member Bruce Oxenford is to stand in all four games, while Daryl Harper, who left the panel eighteen months ago, will serve as the match referee for the series.

 

Oxenford will be partnered in the games at the North Sydney Oval by Perth-based umpire Nathan Johnstone and Richard Patterson from Melbourne who will each stand in two games and work as the third umpire in another two.  Appointments over the last twelve months suggest that both could be in contention for elevation to Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel next austral winter.  Patterson, 46, worked for substantial period in first class cricket early last decade before a period away from representative fixtures, but Johnstone, 32, is yet to break into the game at that level.

 

Harper, who himself stood in two 'Rose Bowl' matches back in 2002, his colleague then being Steve Davis, another current EUP member in both games, has been used by CA as a match referee a number of times over the last fourteen months.  Apart from working in that capacity in a domestic first class game, CA has also assigned him to senior one-day and Twenty20 fixtures (PTG 1026-4986 below), plus state Second XI games, that have been played in his home town of Adelaide, plus Melbourne, Perth and now Sydney. 

 

FOURTEEN UMPIRES TO SUPPORT 

INITIAL CA T20 GAMES  

[PTG 1026-4986]

 

Fourteen umpires, including two who are current members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), have been assigned to look after the first sixteen games of Cricket Australia's (CA) thirty-five match 2012-13 domestic Twenty20 (T20) series over the next two-and-a-half weeks.  The twelve members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) will be joined by the EUP's Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford, the former who will stand in one match in Brisbane and the latter one each in Sydney and Melbourne. 

 

NUP member Tony Ward tops the list of appointments with 6, five on the field and one as a television umpire (5/1), then comes Paul Reiffel 4/0, Ash Barrow and John Ward both 3/2, Gerard Abood, Damien Mealey and Paul Wilson all 2/2, Simon Fry, Ian Lock and Sam Nogajksi each 2/1, Geoff Joshua 1/2 and Mike Martell, who later today will stand in a T20 fixture in New Zealand (PTG 1025-4981, 4 December 2012), 1/0. 

 

The five members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, Denis Burns, Ric Evans, David Levens, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford will be joined by former EUP member Daryl Harper in working as match referees and umpire observers.  Evans, Marshall and Stratford have four games each, Levens three, and Burns and Harper single fixtures.

 

UMPIRE FUND RAISER GENERATES 

MONEY FOR CANCER APPEAL 

[PTG 1026-4987]

 

Child cancer sufferer Angus Little’s fund has been increased by $NZ1,240 ($A983) thanks to Cricket Wellington Umpires and Scorer’s Association (CWUSA) 'Umpire for Angus Day' last Saturday.  Five-year-old Angus, the youngest son of a well-known local player, has a very rare inoperable brainstem tumour and his family hopes to used monies raised to enable him to go to the United States for clinical trials and treatment (PTG 1022-4965, 27 November 2012).

 

CWUSA Chairman, Grant McAlister, told journalists before play began for the day that he is “ proud to lead an Association of members who can contribute in a small way to help out, [and he] hoped the umpires actions today might be matched by other cricket stakeholders in Wellington”.  Non-active members were also involved, retired umpire Jim Glynan, who said he umpired Angus' father for a number of years contributed $NZ2 for every appeal he I turned down from his, and that "consequently I think I’m up for about $NZ100".

 

On the evening before the umpire's 'Angus Day', long-standing Wellington umpire Evan Watkin, a member of New Zealand Cricket's top domestic panel, wore an Angus Little fund-raising sticker during the televised Twenty20 match between the Northern Knights and Canterbury Wizards. Watkin and his umpiring partner, Phil Jones, made sure that the Sky Sport commentary team were aware of the appeal and that led to further publicity being generated for fund raising efforts.

 

'FREE HIT' FORGOTTEN, BUT 

NOT BY BATSMAN

[PTG 1026-4988]

 

Bangladeshi umpire Enamul Haque momentarily forgot the 'free-hit' rule during the third One Day International (ODI) between the home nation and the West Indies in Mirpur on Wednesday.  A catch hit by Bangladesh batsman Anamul Haque off the previous ball had been overturned by third umpire Anisur Rahman because Windies bowler Sunil Narine had overstepped, but former player Enamul Haque, who was on the field in his 70th ODI, and 41st as an umpire, didn't signal that a 'free-hit' situation was then in force.  Anamul, knowing that he couldn't be out stumped, charged Narine's next delivery only for both him and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim to miss it, which led to four byes being recorded.

 

PLAYER 'STUMPED' 

AFTER 'TIME' CALLED 

[PTG 1026-4989]

 

A player was bashed unconscious when one of his team mates hit him "several times" with a stump just after their side lost a match in suburban Sydney last weekend.  The victim, 24, whose name has not been released, sustained a cut to his right ear, bruising and swelling, and was taken to hospital by helicopter for treatment.

 

The alleged attacker is said to have fled from the scene of the assault, but after Police conducted investigations into the matter a 22-year-old man was questioned and then arrested and charged with "causing grievous bodily harm with intent".  He was granted conditional bail and is to appear in court early next month.

 

SLC IN 'MASSIVE' UMPIRE 

RECRUITMENT DRIVE

[PTG 1026-4990]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has begun a "massive recruitment drive" to enlist umpires and overcome an acute shortage of match officials for games played at district and school level, says a story posted on the 'Ceylon Today' (CT) web site on Wednesday.  As many as 400 prospective umpires are said to have sat a written test to date and are currently being subjected to "interviews" in which they are tested "by a panel [which shows] them video clippings and other notes and observations" and asks a series of questions.

 

Candidates who demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge and aptitude in the tests and interview are then required to undergo eye-sight, hearing and general health tests.  Some told 'CT' though that they were "confused over the whole state of affairs of the examination and claimed they were being sent from pillar to post or cheated by paying examination and medical fees which total [around] 8,000 Rupees ($A60).

 

SLC umpires manager Carlton Bernadus, who 'CT' describes as a former first class player and Sri Lanka Youth coach, rejected the concerns and told the web site that "procedures have been followed to the letter".  “This is a huge exercise, there have been no exams for umpires for three years and no new guys coming through for Division Three cricket”, he said.  "Those who qualify make a living out of umpiring", continued Bernadus, and the evaluation is "like paying to qualify in any field, [and] as for the medical test, how can you umpire if you can’t hear or have heart problems?"

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,027
Monday, 10 December 2012  

 

'RUN OUT' HIGHLIGHTS ASPECT 

OF 'AVOID INJURY' PROVISION 

[PTG 1027-4991]

 

England captain Alastair Cook was 'run out' for the first time in a first class match during the third Test against India in Kolkata last week.  However, it was not the fact that has avoided being 'run out' during his 312 first class innings over the last nine years that was the main talking point afterwards, but rather the way in which that dismissal actually occurred.

 

Cook was at the bowler's end and on 190 when his batting partner Kevin Pietersen hit the ball to India's Virat Kohli at square leg.  He quickly threw it toward's Cook's wicket where the England captain was several metres out of his ground, having backed up as the bowler delivered the ball.  Cook turned to try and make his ground and would have done so quite easily, however, the ball passed close to him and he instinctively raised his arm to protect his head, the ball going on to break the stumps before he was able to put his bat beyond the crease.

 

Law 38.2 is designed to protect a batsman from being out if he is attempting to avoid injury, but only if as section (a) explains he "has been within his ground and has subsequently left it to avoid injury, when the wicket is put down".  The key words in Cook's case are "has been within his ground", and after a review to check if Cook had grounded his bat behind the line before lifting it, Australia umpire Rod Tucker gave him 'out' after an innings that had lasted eight hours.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club described it as "alert umpiring but tough luck on Cook, who looked rightly peeved at his lapse in judgement", before concluding with "as any club cricketer will tell you, there's nothing worse than being run out in the 190s...".

 

MARKETERS ADD ANOTHER 

GIMMICK TO T20 GAME 

[PTG 1027-4992]

 

Bails that flash bright red when they are dislodged from the stumps are featuring in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 (T20) league this austral summer.  LED lights in the bails powered by hidden batteries light-up as soon as the wicket is broken, then send a signal less than "1/1,00th of a second" later to the stumps which also flash red as a result.

 

Anthony Everard, one of the competition's senior managers, said in a statement that the flashing wickets are a "world-first product" however they will not have any effect on the competition's Playing Conditions, nor will they be used in any part for umpire decisions.  According to him the new system is "all about enhancing the spectator experience during matches" and "ensuring that the [series] remains highly entertaining for the fans". 

 

David Ligertwood, co-developer of what is called the 'Zing' wicket system expressed a similar view saying that the innovation, which has been "in development for almost three years" by his Adelaide-based company, "will spice up the experience of a dismissal".  “We thought we’d combine the fun of technology with our love of sport and create something that would not only be spectacular for fans at the match, but also those watching in broadcast", he said, and that it "adds to the excitement" of the T20 event.

 

In addition to flashing bails and stumps, the current T20 competition in Australia is also featuring helmet-mounted high definition cameras worn by batsmen, wicketkeepers and umpires (PTG 1025-4983,  4 December 2012).


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,028
Wednesday, 12 December 2012  

 

'OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD' DECISION 

QUITE CORRECT, SAYS CSA 

[PTG 1028-4993]

 

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) umpiring manager Mike Gajjar says the Cobras side were wrong to complain after their wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Vilas was given out 'obstructing the field' during a semi final of CSA's one-day competition against the Titans in Cape Town on Sunday.  Vilas' innings ended after an attempt by the Titan's David Wiese to run him out was inappropriately interfered with by the batsman.

 

The situation unfolded after Vilas danced down the pitch and drove a ball back to medium pacer Wiese who picked it up and threw it back at the batsman's stumps.  However, Vilas blocked that throw with his bat and the Titans "immediately appealed for obstruction", say reports.  After a lengthy delay, that involved on-field umpires Shaun George and Marais Erasmus first discussing the matter and then asking third umpire Johan Cloete to look at video of the situation, Vilas was given out by George who was at the bowler's end.  

 

South African captain Graeme Smith, who plays for the Cobras but missed the game due to injury, made his view of the situation known via 'Twitter'.  "That's A disgraceful decision setting wrong precedent, how u supposed to get out the way of full blown throw from 5 metres", ran Smith's message, which then went on to say "It's called protecting yourself. I'll throw a cricket ball from 5 metres away at full throttle see what you will do ??"  

 

Cobras' skipper Justin Ontong described it as one of the most "bizarre dismissals" he's ever witnessed on a cricket field, while Paul Adams the side's coach, called it "disappointing that the Titans went ahead with the appeal".  "I understand that the umpires were technically correct to give him out [because he used his bat], but for me it's the same as when a bowler runs a batsman out at the bowler's end during his run-up", runs the quote attributed to Adams.  

 

However, Adam's outlook on the incident being "technically correct" is unlikely to get much sympathy from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of the Laws of the game.  The MCC have pointed out twice this year, once in February (PTG 906-4404, 24 February 2012) and again in late August (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012), that under the Laws a bowler is quite entitled, provided certain conditions are met, to run a batsman out during his run up. 

 

Similarly, Law 37, section one of which deals with 'Out Obstructing the field', says in part that "it shall be regarded as obstruction if while the ball is in play either batsman wilfully, and without the consent of a fielder, strikes the ball with his bat or person, other than a hand not holding the bat, after the ball has been touched by a fielder".  CSA umpire manager Gajjar simply told the Beeld web site that if Vilas had not "use his bat, then he wouldn't be out".

 

QUARTET CONFIRMED FOR 

AUSTRALIA-LANKA TESTS 

[PTG 1028-4994]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Tony Hill of New Zealand and Nigel Llong of England will be the umpires for the three Test series Australia and Sri Lanka are to play over the next four weeks in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, Llong's countryman Chris Broad being the match referee for each of the games.  News that the quartet would be officiating in the series first appeared on the ICC's web site six weeks ago, but that advice was taken down within a few hours (PTG 1011-4918, 30 October 2012).

 

Each of the umpires will be on the field for two of the games and in the television suite for a third, appointments that will take Dar's Test umpire record to 78 matches plus 12 as third umpire (78/12), Hill to 35/18, Llong to 16/15, and Broad's tally as a match referee to 55.  Cricket Australia have named its three members on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Simon Fry, John Ward and Paul Reiffel, as the fourth umpires for the series.  

 

For Dar, who will stand in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with Llong, it will be his fourth such game in six years, but for the Englishman it will be the first Test at the MCG, although he stood in a One Day International there last February.  Dar and Hill worked together very recently in the first two India-England Tests (PTG 1010-4912, 29 October 2012), while Llong stood in the two Tests between Sri Lanka and New Zealand around the same time (PTG 1011-4917, 30 October 2012).  

 

By series end Dar will have drawn level with former Australian umpire Darrell Hair in equal fifth spot on the all-time Test umpire list, the four ahead of them, all of whom are now retired, being the late David Shepherd of England with 92, Australian Daryl Harper 95, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa 108, and way out in front on 128, West Indian Steve Bucknor.  

 

The original posting indicated that Marais Eramus of South Africa and Richard Kettleborough from England are to be the neutral umpires and Javagal Srinath the referee for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) Australia and Sri Lanka are to play in January, however, the latest advice does not provide any details of that series.  Erasmus and Kettlebourgh will probably work with Fry, Reiffel and Ward during the ODIs, a series in which the latter is likely to make his senior international debut. 

 

ABUSE BY SPECTATOR 

LEADS TO HIS DEATH  

[PTG 1028-4995]

 

"Booing a fielder" turned out to be fatal for a teenager during a match between two local teams in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh in India on Sunday, say reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  A 14-year-old spectator derided a fielder after the latter failed to take a catch, a "heated argument ensued and following the game "two members of the fielding side" caught hold of the young spectator and allegedly assaulted him "with sticks and bats".  Reports say he was left with "serious head injuries" and was later declared dead at a local hospital.

 

SLC CONDUCTS BRIEFING ON 

'SUSPECT BOWLING ACTIONS' 

[PTG 1028-4996]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) Coaching and Umpiring departments conducted a 'Suspect Bowling Actions' workshop last Thursday in order to try and standardise the approach members of its first class umpires and match referees panels take to the issue during the country's club season which got underway last weekend.  The one-day meeting was conducted by Piyal Wijetunga and Anusha Samaranayake who are members of the 'spin' and 'fast' bowling sections of the SLC's bowling department.

 

The SLC introduced a system of reporting problems umpires see with bowler's actions to its coaching section last year and a set of guidelines for umpires have been revised for the 2012-13 season, say reports.  On receiving such reports from umpires SLC staff film the bowler concerned during matches and then analyses the footage obtained.  The process is being applied by match officials looking after games in schools, clubs, and both junior and senior provincial tournaments over the next five months.

 

Fourteen months ago the SLC's Cricket Committee decided that its umpires should 'no ball' junior players they consider have suspect bowling actions in SLC tournaments.  A newspaper report at the time said that the SLC's instruction, which also required umpires to report the individual to SLC, was to apply to all matches from the Under-13 to Under-19 levels, the aim being to try and ensure that remedial work can be undertaken with those involved "before it is too late" (PTG 847-4142, 15 October 2011).

 

CA UMPIRE WEB LISTS 

WELL OUT-OF-DATE

[PTG 1028-4997]

 

According to the current list of senior umpires on Cricket Australia's (CA) web site, Simon Taufel is still a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Bruce Oxenford is yet to join that body, John Ward hasn't been promoted to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Sam Nogajski and Damien Mealey are not on CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP), but Bob Parry still is.

 

Taufel left the EUP in October and Oxenford was promoted in his place (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012), Ward has clearly been the latter's replacement on the IUP for several months now but CA is yet to announce the move (PTG 1024-4975, 30 November 2012), Nogajski joined the NUP in June (PTG 949-4614, 13 June 2012) and Mealey six weeks ago (PTG 1006-4887, 19 October 2012), while Parry retired from the NUP as long ago as March this year (PTG 919-4475, 23 March 2012).  

 

APPEAL AGAINST LIFE 

SPOT-FIXING BAN ADJOURNED

[PTG 1028-4998]

 

Danish Kaneria's appeal against the lifetime ban handed to him by an England and Wales Cricket Board Disciplinary Panel in June was adjourned on Monday and the case is now expected to resume in the new year.  Kaneria was banned after he was found guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for spot-fixing activities in 2009 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).

 

Former Pakistan spinner Kaneria, 31, denies all involvement in the plot and indicated immediately after the June hearing that he intended to appeal the ban.  The Pakistan Cricket Board said in July that he would not be allowed to play in his home country until the outcome of the appeal was known (PTG 960-4673, 11 July 2012).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,029
Friday, 14 December 2012


FOUR NEW ICC 'UMPIRE COACH' POSITIONS 

ADVERTISED, RUPM STRUCTURE TO GO

[PTG 1029-4998]

 

An advertisement for four new International Cricket Council (ICC) 'umpire coach' positions released this week indicates that a new approach is being taken to the planned revamp of training and other support provided to the world body's senior umpires.  Until now the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Managers (RUPM) appeared integral to the way ahead, however, those positions, which have been in place since 2007, are to be scrapped and eventually replaced by the new umpire coaches the ICC is now seeking.

 

The latest advertisement says that the work of the new positions will involve: the development of individual coaching plans for the nearly 50 members members of the ICC's top Elite and second-tier International umpiring panels; development and facilitation of umpire coaching programs and content for those umpires; and working with ICC member countries to deliver "umpiring programs and content".  The four chosen will work under Australian Simon Taufel, the ICC's newly appointed Umpire Performance and Training Manager (PTG 995-4833, 27 September 2012).   

 

Applicants for the new positions are required to: have a positive and enthusiastic attitude to coaching and personal development; be known for having a very strong work ethic; be able to build strong personal relationships; have empathy for the demands on match officials in elite sport; have excellent communication skills; be well organised and be able to work remotely; and have coaching experience.  Previous time as an umpire is not specifically mentioned in the advertisement, only that "coaching experience and skills" are being sought from "both within and from outside the sport".

 

Taufel is the key player driving the changes and his approach to umpiring is clearly evident in the philosophy contained in the advertisement.  He indicated six weeks ago that support for senior international umpires would be provided by himself and current RUPM members Barry Dudleston, Arani Jayaprakash and Peter Manuel, plus someone that was to be recruited from either Australia or New Zealand (PTG 1009-4902, 27 October 2012).

 

At that time Taufel even went so far as to indicate Dudleston was to look after England, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the new Australia-NZ recruit the West Indies plus Australia and New Zealand, Manuel's areas were to be Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while Jayaprakash's focus was on India, his home nation.  There is no indication in the 'umpire coach' advertisement that a geographic structure will apply to the new arrangements, and whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen.

 

Taufel also indicated in October that he had "met with [Dudleston, Manuel and Jayaprakash's] over the past couple of months" and that they had all agreed on the "common coaching philosophy" they plan to use.  The Australia-NZ position was advertised four months ago but clearly no one who applied was considered suitable, and Taufel indicated it was to be advertised again, but instead a complete spill of all four positions has occurred.  

 

Whether Dudleston, Jayaprakash and Manuel will be part of the new mix, or Taufel is looking for a fresh start, remains to be seen.  One possibility is that the former five time ICC 'Umpire of the Year' feels one or more of that group may not be capable of meeting his aim, as he said in October, of "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".  

 

Those chosen for the new positions are to "work from home", however they must be prepared to be away travelling for "approximately 100 days of the year".  When it unsuccessfully advertised the Australia-NZ RUPM position last August, the ICC stated that the person chosen for that spot would be expected to be away from their family for "about 5 months" each year (PTG 973-4721, 7 August 2012).  

 

Applications for the new ICC positions close at the end of this month, however, there is no indication as to just when the successful applicants will take up their new roles.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,030
Wednesday, 19 December 2012    

  

MATCH REFEREE DISMISSES 

 

BALL TAMPERING CONCERNS  

[PTG 1030-4999]

 

Suggestions that Australian players had been tampering with the ball during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart have been rejected by match referee Chris Broad.  Some media reports from the island nation accused Australian bowler Peter Siddle of picking at the seam of the ball after an image allegedly taken during the game surfaced on social media.

 

Reports over the last two days say that the visitors spoke to Broad "unofficially" about the matter on Sunday night, then on Monday another allegation surfaced that suggested a second Australian player, Ed Cowan, was involved in not dissimilar actions shortly before opener Dimuth Karunaratne was dismissed by Ben Hilfenhaus.

 

Sri Lanka team manager Charith Senanayake told journalists that ''We saw something on TV which we thought was illegal and which has been brought to the notice of the authorities".  ''[It was] Siddle on one occasion, [but] on the second one they don't show the fielder", he said, before indicating that the matter had been brought to Broad's attention.  "If someone commits a crime it is up to the authorities to arrest the culprit", runs the quote attributed to Senanayake. 

 

Broad dismissed the allegations in a press release issued by the International Cricket Council after play on Monday, Siddle rejecting the claims after the match ended yesterday.  According to Broad "the umpires frequently inspect the ball during play and did so again after they had reviewed the video footage in question on Sunday, [and] they found no evidence to suggest that the condition of the ball had been changed".  

 

Despite finding nothing the match referee says he "spoke with Australia coach Mickey Arthur [during the tea interval on Monday] and told him that the "umpires will continue to inspect the cricket ball regularly and monitor the actions of all players".  He "subsequently informed the Sri Lanka team management of [his] discussions with the Australian team coach".

 

Law 42.3 allows for players to polish the ball, remove mud under the supervision of the umpire and to dry it with a cloth but ''it is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, to interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, to use any implement, or to take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball, except as permitted above''.

 

NEUTRAL OFFICIALS NAMED FOR 

INDIA-PAKISTAN ODI SERIES   

[PTG 1030-5000]

 

Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama and New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden have been named as the neutral officials for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) India and Pakistan are to play in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata late this month and early in the new year.  Bowden will be on the field in all three fixtures, with Indian members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel working in the second on-field, television and fourth umpire spots.

 

The three matches will take Bowden's ODI on-field match record to 176 games and move him into third place on the all-time umpire list in that form of the game behind the now-retired Steve Bucknor of the West Indies with 181 and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa with 208.  The first ODI in Chennai will see Bowden move up to the same number of games as two other retirees, Australians Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel, who both stood in 174 such matches.

 

Madugalle, who is already third on the all-time ODI referees list, will take his record to 184 matches as a result of the series.  Another Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee, is currently well clear at the top of the list with 265 games, Chris Broad of England being second with 213. 

 

CRITICISM AFTER BATSMAN 

SCORES 'UNETHICAL FOUR' 

[PTG 1030-5001]

 

Indian players are reported to have accused England batsman Jonathan Trott of "bad sportsmanship" during the fourth day of the last India-England Test in Nagpur on Sunday, and the incident involved is said to have led to several heated moments on the field later in the day.  Trott allegedly angered the fielding side when he hit a ball that had gone astray and bounced multiple times, a shot that is permitted under the Laws of the game.

 

The incident involved India's slow orthodox bowler Ravi Jadeja who lost control of what was the first ball of his third over in England's second innings.  The delivery hit the ground near his feet and bounced "a dozen times" as it ran towards the fielder at short leg.  Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dhamasena called 'no ball' and Trott followed the still rolling ball and dispatched it to the leg-side boundary with his bat for four after the Indian fielder at short leg jumped out of the way.  One media report described the score somewhat bizarrely as an "unethical four". 

 

Jadeja's bowling colleague Ravichandran Ashwin is claimed by reports to have been unhappy with Trott's shot, and threatened to run Trott out for leaving his ground at the non-striker’s end later in the day as a result; something he actually did earlier this year to Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne in a One Day International in Brisbane, only for Virender Sehwag who captained India that day to withdrew the appeal (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012).  

 

When asked about Trott's hitting of the ball from Jadeja for four England bowler James Anderson told journalists that he would have done the same if he had been batting.  However, Ashwin later accused Trott of gamesmanship, saying "when you talk about gamesmanship and sportsmanship, we think you should hold yourself to the standards you expect from the opposition".

 

'OPEN HANDED' ASSAULT, ABUSIVE 

LANGUAGE, LEADS TO 16-WEEK BAN 

[PTG 1030-5002]

 

A player in the Orange District Cricket Association (ODCA) in New South Wales has been suspended for a total of 16 weeks as the result of a series of incidents in a match played earlier this month.  Mark Johnson from the Cavaliers club was charged with three offences after what a 'Central Western Daily report published on Tuesday said was a "spiteful match" in the ODCA's second grade competition.

 

Johnson is reported to have hit an opposition player "with an open hand" before going on to "verbally abused the officiating umpire" during the game.  That led to charges of "physically assaulting a player, directing offensive language towards an opponent or umpire, and engaging in any form of conduct detrimental to the spirit of the game", says the 'Daily'.  The player, who pleaded guilty to the charges, didn't front the ODCA judiciary that handed him the 16-week ban, ten weeks of which were specifically for the assault.

 

That suspension was handed down just days before an unnamed ODCA first grade player turned to 'Facebook' to vent his frustrations at an umpire after being given out in a match played last Friday evening.  The matter is still being investigated by the ODCA executive, but it led to the Association's president Mark Frecklington reiterating the need "for all clubs to clean up their act".

 

"Players need to be aware of the code of conduct in place", said Frecklington, and that those participating in games "need to be aware of what they're doing and certainly social media isn't a place to vent frustrations during a match".  ODCA secretary Peter Jarick agreed with his president, adding that if any players muck up on the field it's up to those at the game to notify the ODCA.  "Clubs [need] to report behaviour they hear or see", said Jarick, and "be mindful of their responsibilities".

 

CA ATTEMPTS TO CURTAIL 

CERTAIN MATCH BET TYPES 

[PTG 1030-5003]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to have asked Australian bookmakers to refrain from offering the type of bets that have the potential of being exploited by players.  Some of the exotic bet types that CA wants stopped include betting on whether a batsman scores over or under a specified number of runs, the amount of runs in the next over, who the next batsman out will be, and which batsman will make the highest score in each innings.

 

A letter on the issue written by CA's legal counsel Tim Leoncelli that is reported to have been sent to bookmakers, including 'Sportingbet', 'Tom Waterhouse.com' and 'Betstar', has been aired in the press.  It lists the bet types that CA wants banned and explains its rationale for forbidding each bet, warning that "Offering bet types in breach of these rules threatens the integrity of the sport".

 

One recent report said that betting on cricket in Australia has "exploded in recent times", especially with since the introduction of [CA's revamped] Twenty20 (T20) competition.  Betting exchange Betfair is said to have indicated that its punters traded more than $A12 million a match during the opening round of the 2012-13 T20 event ten days ago.

 

Several bookies who have information sharing or integrity agreements with CA are said to have "little choice but to ban the bet types although some are expected to point out that some overseas betting organisations offer the bet types CA wants banned.  'Sportingbet' for one has announced that it will be making a submission to CA on the issue as it feels the cricket body "is looking in the wrong direction". 

 

'Betstar is also to seek a meeting with CA.  That company's Alan Eskander told the 'Sydney Morning Herald' there was a serious demand within the sporting public for these types of exotic bets, and forcing leading bookmakers to stop satisfying that demand would only send the market underground where corruption could not be controlled.

 

A CA spokesman said after details of Leoncelli's letter became public that the national body "takes the integrity of the game very seriously and has these arrangements to ensure fans have confidence that the integrity of the game is being protected'.  

 

Somewhat ironically for some observers, UK online betting giant 'bet365.com' has recently replaced Betfair as a major sponsor of Australian cricket and currently has a "gold partnership" agreement with CA.  Its signage has been prominent at Test matches played in Australia this austral summer.

 

PERTH SKIPPER FINED FOR 

ABUSING UMPIRES 

[PTG 1030-5004]

 

Simon Katich, the captain of the Perth side in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition, has been fined $A1,250 for abusing the umpires during the match against the Melbourne Stars at the WACA Ground last Wednesday.  Katich was charged for using language that is of obscene, offensive, or of a generally insulting nature to another player, official or spectator.

 

Reports say that the former Test opener was alleged to have abused on-field umpires Ian Lock and John Ward of CA's national Umpires Panel three times, but was found guilty by Code of Conduct commissioner Rob O'Connor on only two of those charges, both of which he pleaded guilty to. 

 

In a post-game interview with Fox Sports, Katich seemed less than pleased with the situation that saw the visiting Melbourne side return from a rain delay to only face one ball before being awarded the victory via the Duckworth Lewis system.  Amongst his concerns were said to be the safety of the pitch for his players after it had been affected by a heavy downpour that forced the players to leave the field.

 

The situation led to competition organisers issuing an explanatory note the next day as to just what happened after the match was delayed by the rain.  It said "there's been much interest in how the outcome of [the] match was reached and we'd like to address any confusion", spokesman Mike McKenna saying "The Duckworth Lewis system is complicated at the best of times but we were struck with a unique set of circumstances last night, however the correct result was achieved under the rules".

 

Chasing a target of 70, the Melbourne side were 0/29 after two completed overs when rain interrupted play, Playing Conditions stipulating as they do in most competitions, that each side must receive a minimum of five overs to constitute a match.  After an hour's delay Lock and Ward later deemed the ground fit for play and revised target was set.

 

However, reports say that only one ball was bowled on resumption "as the score [required] had already been reached".  Just to compound matters though the scorecard for the game now available on line indicates that the extra ball has now been deleted from the record and the margin of victory changed from the original 10 wickets to 24 runs.

 

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE 

FOR HOBART T20 SIDE 

[PTG 1030-5005]

 

The Hobart side in Cricket Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition has been penalised for maintaining a slow over rate in their match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday night.  After time allowances were taken into consideration at the end of the game, the side was assessed to be one over behind the required rate. 

 

As allowed for under the competition's Playing Conditions the one over lag meant that each member of the Hobart side's playing XI was fined $A250 while its captain George Bailey also incurred what reports called a 'one strike' penalty.  Should the side be given another slow-over rate penalty whilst Bailey is in charge this season he will automatically be suspended for one match.

 PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,031
Thursday, 20 December 2012   

TAMPERING STILL GOING ON, 

CLAIMS CONVICTED BALL TAMPERER   

[PTG 1031-5006]

 

Former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis, who was fined and banned for ball tampering twelve years ago, says the practice still goes on "all the time in cricket", according to a 'Herald Sun' report published yesterday.  Despite the fact that no evidence was found (PTG 1030-499, 19 December 2012), Waqar told journalist Christian Nicolussi that he was not surprised when told about accusations made about ball tampering during the first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Hobart earlier this week.

 

Waqar, who was banned and fined half of his match fee for lifting the ball's seam during a One Day International against Sri Lanka in 2000, is reported to have said that he was glad ball tampering claims had for once been directed towards a team that is not from the subcontinent.  "Sometimes they pick on certain teams [and] it's good that it's happened in another part of the world", he said, before adding rather strangely that who the third umpire was in Hobart, in this case his countryman Aleem Dar, would "play a big role" in any possible punishment handed down by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

 

"Tampering with the ball has been part of cricket for the last 100 years, maybe more", continued Waqar, but today "people want to close their eyes and say, 'Oh, it's not happening and cricket is very clean' ".  The now 41-year-old who lives in Sydney and sometimes works as a television commentator, claimed such activity "was happening" during the series Pakistan played against Australia in the United Arab Emirates last August, although he did not back-up his claims with any specific evidence.  

 

Waqar said different players used different ways to tamper with the ball. "If you go back to the 1960s and 1970s, you'd see players putting 'Vasoline' on the ball, people eating mints and putting their saliva on the ball, or picking at the seam".  In addition, given the pitches games are played on on the subcontinent "you still see people throwing the ball around on the ground, trying to scuff it up as soon as possible", and suggests that the England side did just that during their recent Test series against India.

 

Last year Shoaib Akhtar, another former Pakistani fast bowler, admitted he tampered with balls in matches on a number of occasions during his career, that it’s not just him as "everyone does it", and made the suggestion that ball tampering should be legalised in the larger interest of the game (PTG 838-4096, 25 September 2011). 

 

Former Australian fast bowler and Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson expresses a view similar to the latter comment in an article published in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald', saying the Laws should be "relaxed" to permit bowlers to pick the seam and redress the growing imbalance between bat and ball.  Lawson, who was commentating for ABC Radio during the Hobart Test, says he saw nothing untoward in the footage examined by the ICC but believes the Law governing changing the condition of the ball has "failed to keep pace with the quantum leaps made in bat technology".

 

''If you're not allowed to touch a cricket ball, let's have standardised bats", he says.  According to Lawson "If you look at a ball in the Sydney Cricket Gound museum, it's exactly the same as now, but if you look at cricket bats, we've got bazookas now where we had feather dusters before".  "The imbalance [in the game] is the biggest concern", he says, in a comment that mirrors a view expressed by another former Australian player, Dean Jones, about modern bat technology earlier this month (PTG 1026-4984, 7 December 2012).

 

Lawson says his "argument is you should be able to do whatever you want with your fingernails, or whatever, because if the ball moves it's much better for the game, because batsmen have now got this huge advantage, which they didn't have".  "Restrict it to natural alterations, but let's do it", he says, although he doesn't believe "you should be able to adulterate the ball to a ridiculous degree but you should be able to do something to it, surely".

 

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and coach Graham Ford have over the last few days distanced themselves from suggestion made by team manager Charith Senanayake about ball tampering in Hobart say reports, and have expressed the hope that the allegations do not impact on the relationship their side has with the Australians during the remainder of their tour.  

 

The ICC declared the matter closed on Wednesday night, a spokesman telling a journalist with the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age that ''We have not received any new [television] footage, and we are not expecting to receive any new footage relating to incidents from the Hobart Test".

 

BALL HEADED FOR 'SIX' HITS STADIUM 

ROOF SO 'DEAD BALL' CALLED  

[PTG 1031-5007]

 

Melbourne batsman Aaron Finch had what would normally be a 'six' denied him after he hit part of the roof that covers the Dockland stadium in Melbourne last night during the latest match in Cricket Australia's Twenty20 series.  On-field umpires Sam Nogjaski and John Ward conferred with television official Paul Wilson before deeming it a 'dead ball' under ground rules, Nogjaski eventually signalling the decision to the boos of the parochial home town crowd.  

 

Finch's shot off Hobart fast bowler Doug Bolinger's second over, that reports say "looked certain to land in the top deck of the stand", hit a horizontal beam structure 25 metres up that supports the roof on the way and fell back well inside the boundary.  That has happened at the ground only once before when Australian batsman Mike Hussey did it in a One Day International against a World XI in October 2005, only for on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Darrell Hair and third umpire Simon Taufel to make the 'dead ball' call.

 

Finch said after last night's game that he wished the roof hadn't been there but that he knew the rules.  "I realised straightaway when it bounced back", he said, as "we'd been talking about it [before the game]".  He says though he is happy for the rules to stay as they "there's no 'Was it over the line or wasn't it?' [argument and] it's good that they're consistent with the rule".

 

Hobart skipper George Bailey said common sense decreed that it should have been six "particularly [given] that beam [is probably] over the rope already".  "But having said that, if it hits the roof [and falls back inside the boundary] you're probably going to be caught out so it probably goes both ways for [a batsman]".

 

'DEW FACTOR' LEADS TO START TIME 

CHANGES FOR INDIA-ENGLAND ODI SERIES   

[PTG 1031-5008]

 

The 'dew factor' has led to the start times of the four of the five India-England One Day Internationals next month being brought forward several hours in order to "ensure the best playing conditions for both teams".  Day-night matches scheduled for Rajkot, Kochi, Ranchi and Mohali in the period from 11-23 January are to commence at noon local time with close of play listed for 7.45 p.m. just over an hour after the sun sets; but the last of the series in Dharamsala will commence at 9 a.m. as previously planned and conclude by 4.45 p.m. one hour before sun set is due.

 

SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DEBUT 

FOR INDIAN UMPIRE    

[PTG 1031-5009]

 

Indian umpire C Shamsuddin will make his debut in a senior international in Pune later today in the first game of the two match Twenty20 International (T20I) series between India and England.  Shamsuddin, who was appointed as an Indian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) this year, will be on the ground with fellow IUP member Sudhir Asnani.

 

Vineet Kulkarni will be the third umpire and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the match referee in today's game, Kulkarni moving to an on-field spot in the second and last game of the series in Mumbai on Saturday in what will be the second T20I of his career.  Ravi Sundarum will be his partner in that game while Asnani will work as the third umpire and Crowe again as the match referee.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,032
Monday, 24 December 2012 


BCB COMMITTEE FAILS TO ISSUE REPORT

ON UMPIRE CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS 

[PTG 1033-5015]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is said to be "thinking of launching" a fresh investigation into match fixing allegations levelled against two of its top umpires (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012).  The Dhaka-based English language 'New Age' newspaper reported on Monday that the "special committee" the BCB set up to look into the allegations, which were made by an Indian television station nearly three months ago, had not submitted a report into the matter.

 

That three-man "special" panel was former by the BCB a week after its umpires Nadir Shah and Sharfuddoula Shahid were named by  'India TV', and a press release issued by the Board a fortnight after that indicated that it had been asked to table a report by early November (PTG 1013-4923, 1 November 2012).  The 'New Age' article, which is based on an interview given to it by the BCB's acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nizamuddin Chowdhury, says the committee did not report because its work was overtaken by significant changes to the membership of the BCB's board of directors that were made for reasons unrelated to the umpire enquiry.

 

Both umpires, who are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, were barred by the BCB from working at either domestic or international level while the "special committee" conducted its investigation.  Each have publicly protested their innocence on a number of occasions.  Shahid is said to have rejected overtures made to him by 'India TV', however, while he told the BCB's umpires manager about the approach, reports suggest that Shah did not (PTG 10004-4877, 16 October 2012).

 

The original panel included the then chairman of the BCB's disciplinary committee Sirajuddin Mohammad Alamgir, Mesbahuddin Serniabat as its "security consultant", and one other individual.  The new group appears likely to be headed by Gazi Golam Murtaza, the BCB's new disciplinary chairman, Khaled Mahmud the new chair of its umpires committee and a former Bangladesh captain, Serniabat again as the "security" expert, plus a yet-to-be-identified retired judge, although Chowdhury emphasised that "nothing has been finalised".  

 

All Chowdhury would say about the new group was that "we will do everything according to the ICC Anti Corruption guideline".  Murtaza apparently told the 'New Age' that the reconstituted committee would "grill the accused freshly" once it is formally established, the words used indicating that the two umpires were questioned by the original three-man group.   

 

'India TV' carried out the 'sting' operation in July, August and September, and the operation included five other Asian umpires besides the Bangladeshis, they being Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, and Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka.  Like Bangladesh, both Pakistan and Sri Lanka banned their umpires while their own investigations were conducted, but as yet there has been no announcement as to just how either of those enquiries is proceeding.

 

RETURN TO BACK FOOT, BOWLING CREASE, 

FOR 'NO BALL' CALLS, SAYS 'CHAPPELLI'     

[PTG 1033-5016]

 

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has called for foot fault no balls to be judged on where a bowler's back foot is in regard to the bowling crease, rather than the current situation where it is the front foot and the popping crease that are involved.  Writing for the 'Cricinfo' web site last weekend, Chappell claims such a change "would reduce the number of illegal deliveries bowled, improve over rates, and give umpires more time to spend on the important decisions".

 

Until 1963 the Laws required that a 'no ball' be called when the bowler's back foot landed over the bowling crease, a situation that explains why that crease has that name.  Chappell writes that the change to the front foot and the popping crease "was the administrators' answer to the perceived problem of dragging, where [tall fast] bowlers [in particular] occasionally delivered the ball with their front foot in advance of the [popping] crease while still adhering to the back-foot regulation".  

 

Following the 1963 Law change there was an immediate increase in the number of foot fault no balls called, the 1962-63 Ashes series in Australia for example producing just five under the old Law while the next in England a few years later with the new one saw twenty-five called.  Chappell points to the "massive rise in the number of illegal deliveries" in his article, saying that the 529 Tests played prior to 1963 saw "only 15 instances of 20 or more no-balls (not scored off) bowled in a match", but in the 1,500 such fixtures since there have been "no less than 803 instances".

 

In Chappell's view there would be a number of "positive side effects on the game" if the version that applied fifty years ago was adopted once again, they being: a significantly reduction in the number of no balls; the provision of "extra time" to a batsman [following a 'no ball' call] that would result in some big hits "which would excite the fans and act as a deterrent to bowlers"; and "improve over rates and hopefully eradicate overtime, which is a tedious blight on the game in addition to being a sore point with television networks".

 

The former Australia captain and now cricket commentator and columnist, who is not known for his umpiring skills, argues that the current Law "creates" no-balls "because of the 'awkward angle' from which an umpire views the bowler's front foot"; although he makes no mention of the situation involved when it is the bowling crease that has to be watched.  In his assessment having to keep an eye on the popping crease "detracts from the time the umpire has to focus on the striker's end for a possible decision", and the old Law would allow [umpires] more time to focus on the decision-making process [at the other end], which should bring improved results".  

 

The only objection Chappell says he's heard to the reintroduction of the back-foot no-ball Law could be overcome by "the side-on run-out cameras being used to ensure that draggers aren't gaining a foothold in the game", but he makes no reference to the fact that the cameras, which are fixed, would be looking at creases 1.22 m apart.  There is also no mention of the ability of the tall bowler to overstep the popping crease whilst at the same time meeting the back foot requirement. 

 

AUSSIE EUP MEMBERS AGAIN 

LISTED FOR CA T20 SERIES

[PTG 1033-5017]

 

Two members of the world's top umpire panel will again support matches in the second half of the home-and away section of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition.  The twelve members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) will be joined by the Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford, both members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) who also took part in games played pre-Christmas (PTG 1026-4986, 7 December 2012). 

 

NUP member Mick Martell tops the list of appointments over the next fortnight with 6, four on the field and two as a television umpire (4-2), then comes Geoff Joshua 4-1, Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski both 3-2, Damien Mealey and Paul Wilson 3-1, Gerard Abood, Ashley Barrow and Simon Fry 2-1, Tony Ward 1-2, Davis 2-0, Oxenford and Paul Reiffel 1-1 and John Ward 1-0.

 

The five members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, Denis Burns, Ric Evans, David Levens, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford will again be joined by former EUP member Daryl Harper in working as match referees and umpire observers.  Burns has four games to look after, Levans, Marshall and Stratford three each, Evans two and Harper one.

 

HOBART BATSMAN REPRIMANDED 

GROUND FIXTURE 'ABUSE'    

[PTG 1033-5018]

 

Hobart Twenty20 batsman Travis Birt was reprimanded for breaching the Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour (CoB) during his team’s match against a Sydney side in Hobart on Sunday.  Birt was charged under the CoB Rule 1.1 which relates to "Abuse cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings. 

 

CA laid the charge after Birt hit the boundary signage with his bat when leaving the field following his fourth ball caught behind dismissed for a 'duck'.  Birt is said to have "acknowledged his guilt and accepted the official reprimand" handed to him by match referee Denis Burns.

 

SUSPENSION NO BAR TO 'TEAM 

OF TOURNAMENT' SELECTION   

[PTG 1033-5019]

 

Reports received over the last few days suggest that the player suspended during Cricket Australia's (CA) 2012 Under-17 men's national championship series in Hobart last week was disciplined for showing serious dissent at an umpiring decision (PTG 1032-1512, 24 December 2012).  Spectators watching the South Australian side play its second-last match of the two-week long series have told 'PTG' that opening batsman Hayden Mullins made his view of an LBW decision given against him "very clear", both before and after he left the ground.

 

Mullins is said to have "showed his bat" to the umpire concerned when given out, followed that up with a "loud abusive verbal indication" that he was not happy with the decision as he left the crease, then on reaching the dressing room he apparently continued to "make his feelings known" in an "unmistakable manner".  CA has not made any announcement as to how the matter was handled, however, score sheets indicate that Mullins was missing from his side's final match.  His transgression didn't stop him though from being named in the event's "team of the tournament" the day after.

 

HEARING INTO 'SUSPECT ACTION' 

REMARKS DUE TODAY

[PTG 1033-5020]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour hearing into Brisbane Twenty20 coach Darren Lehmann comments about Melbourne's Marlon Samuels' bowling action in a match played last Saturday is to be held later today, according to media reports.  Lehmann suggested that because Samuels' had been "banned from bowling" in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) he should not be allowed to do so in CA's current competition (PTG 1032-5010, 24 December 2012).

 

While Samuels was reported for a suspect action during the IPL, he was not actually banned as suggested by Lehmann.  Despite that several media reports this week have continued to indicate that he was, one saying that he was "banned from the [IPL] but has been cleared to play in [CA's current competition]".

 

FINES HANDED OUT AFTER 

ON-FIELD ALTERCATION

[PTG 1033-5021]

 

India bowler Ishant Sharma and Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal have been fined after being found guilty of  Level 1 breaches of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct as a result of an altercation during the side's opening Twenty20 International played in Bengaluru on Tuesday.  Akmal, who was batting at the time, got in to a heated argument with Sharma after being caught off a "no ball' then beaten by the next delivery, and the umpires and Indian players had to intervene and separated the pair.

 

Akmal pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him and was was fined five per cent of his match fee by match referee Roshan Mahanama from Sri Lanka.  Sharma also pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the same charge but appealed the penalty and a hearing was therefore held. After reviewing video footage Mahamana is said to have "re-confirmed his view that Sharma initiated the incident", and as a result he lost fifteen per cent of his match fee.

 

Mahanama said in an ICC statement issued early this morning that: “This is clearly a high profile and high intensity series and the players on both sides have been reminded of their responsibility".  "Both players recognised their duty to set the right type of example through their on-field behaviour and they have accepted that they fell short of the level of conduct required".  “The game was played in the true spirit till this incident was initiated by Ishant, who is an experienced cricketer, which led to the umpires and his team mates having to intervene".
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,033
Thursday, 27 December 2012 


COACH FACES CHARGES AFTER 

'SUSPECT ACTION' COMMENTS  

[PTG 1032-5010]


Darren Lehmann. the coach of the Brisbane side in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition, has been charged with breaching CA’s Code of Behaviour (CoB).  Lehmann's charge relates to making "detrimental public comments" after he questioned the legality of Melbourne player Marlon Samuels' action following the two side's match in Melbourne on Saturday evening.


Lehmann, whose side lost the game, made his concern public in an interview he gave after Saturday's game.  "If [Samuels is] deemed legal, I'm totally understanding of that", said the coach, "but from my point of view from 20 years' cricket, I've got a problem with [balls delivered at] 120 km/h off no steps".  He says he'd "spoken to the umpires about" the situation and he "just want's something done" about it.   


The Brisbane coach is also said to have stated that Samuels was "suspended from bowling" in the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year, and feels officials running CA's competition should have similar concerns.  "He couldn't bowl in the IPL yet he can bowl" here, and "we've got to seriously look at what we're doing. Are we here to play cricket properly or what?


However, while Samuels was reported for a suspect action whilst playing for Pune in this year's IPL series, one of the umpires involved in that report being Australian Bruce Oxenford who coincidently also on the field for Saturday's CA match (PTG 928-4514, 16 April 2012), he was not actually suspended as he went on to bowl in four other IPL fixtures for Pune in that series.


Samuel's "fast deliveries" led to him being reported for a suspect action following a Test match in Durban in January 2008 (PTG 192-1043, 7 February 2008), but last year, following "significant remedial work", an independent test found his action to be legal and he was cleared by the International Cricket Council for bowling in international cricket (PTG 840-4105, 30 September 2011).  


CA's CoB says in part that a player or official must not "denigrate or criticise another player or denigrate or criticise an official, umpire, referee or team against which they have played or will play, whether in relation to incidents which occurred in a match or otherwise; denigrate or criticise another player or official by inappropriately commenting on any aspect of his or her performance, abilities or characteristics".


On hearing about Lehmann's views, Melbourne coach Simon Helmot said "It's disappointing to have comments made like that [and] we'll take it up with [CA on Sunday]".  CA said in a statement issued yesterday afternoon that as the matter is now before the CoB Commissioner, it will not be making any comment on the charge and that the date and time of the hearing into the matter has yet to be determined.


CA has a Doubtful Bowling Action Procedure and according to it any bowler mentioned by three different umpires in the same season is reported, although umpires also have the option to bypass the "mentions process" and lodge a report directly if they feel it is warranted.


'ROOF HIT' 'DEAD BALL' 

RULES AMENDED   

[PTG 1032-5011]


Managers of Cricket Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition have amended the unique ground rule that requires umpires to call 'dead' a ball that hits the retractable roof and its associated structures that cover the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne.  On Wednesday, Melbourne batsman Aaron Finch had what would normally be a 'six' denied after one of his shorts hit part of a horizontal truss some 25 m above the playing surface and almost directly above the mid-wicket boundary (PTG 1031-5007, 20 December 2012).


Now when the roof proper, which is itself 38 m above the playing area, is closed for matches played at Docklands, a 'dead ball' will be called if a ball makes contact with the actual retractable section of the roof, but 'six' will be awarded by the umpires if it hits any of the roof's permanently fixed support beams.  On the other hand when the 16,000 square metre roof is fully open for a match, a ball that hits any part of the folded back roof or its support structure will straight away earn six runs for the batsman.   


The competition's Anthony Everard said in announcing the changes on Friday that "No-one wants to see" what he called "an incredible piece of skill, such as Aaron’s Finch’s shot on Wednesday night, go unrewarded".  "The umpires made the correct decision [on Wednesday] but this change is in the best interests of the game and the fans", said Everard.  One media report yesterday stated that "match officials have been instructed to interpret [the local rule] in a more fan-friendly manner".


IGNORANCE OR 'SHARP PRACTICE'?   

[PTG 1032-5012]


Umpires standing in a match in Cricket Australia's (CA) 2012-13 Under-17 championship series in Hobart last week had an unusual situation to deal with apparently as a result of either a very poor understanding of the game's Laws by the players involved, or if not what could be construed by some as what the 'Spirit of Cricket' preamble calls "sharp practice".  


Those involved in the game are reluctant to talk about the situation but reports from others at the ground indicate that after a ball delivered by a bowler beat both the batsman and the wicketkeeper, a fielder called out something along the lines of "you can't run on a bye'' as the two batsmen started up the pitch.  Observers who have talked to 'PTG' say that the call led to at least one of the batsman being confused as to whether or not he should be running, and he was subsequently out of his ground at the bowler's end when the wicket there was put down after the ball was relayed from the field via the wicketkeeper. 


While full details are not available, the two on-field umpires are said to have conferred about the situation and agreed to ask the fielding captain if he wanted to continue with the 'run out' appeal.  The skipper decided not to proceed and the batsman concerned continued his innings, and is perhaps a little more enlightened now about just what he can do in such circumstances.


Another incident during the two-week U17 series is said to have resulted in a player being suspended for a match after showing what sketchy reports available indicate was a show of serious dissent after being given out LBW.  CA is yet to publicised the incident or the suspension and precise details of what was involved are not available for publication at this time.


NSWCUSA FILLS VACANT EXECUTIVE

 OFFICER POSITION

[PTG 1032-5013]


Former first class umpire Darren Goodger has been appointed as the Executive Officer (EO) of the New South Cricket Cricket Umpires and Scorers' Association (NSWCUSA).  Goodger, who joined the NSWCUSA's staff in 2008 and has served since as its Education and Development Manager (EDM) and as of March this year also as the NSW State Director of Umpires (SDU), replaces former incumbent Nick Carson who left the position in late October (PTG 1007-4897, 24 October 2012).


Goodger, 41, who has been acting in the EO position since Carson's departure, and also covered that job for the best part of six months a year ago after the NSWCUSA's Board passed a 'no confidence' motion in Carson's predecessor, former international umpire Darrell Hair (PTG 824-4028, 3 september 2011).  Reports from NSW indicate that during both those periods Goodger also had to cover the EDM role.  


In announcing the EO appointment this week, NSWCUSA Board chairman Stephen Poole said that the move "is just reward for [Goodger's] dedication and commitment", however, whether the new EO will also be continuing in both the SDU and EDM positions was not made clear.   Poole said simply that "further news regarding NSWCUSA staffing will be advised to members and affiliates in the near future".


Goodger's home town newspaper the 'Clarence Valley Daily Examiner' says that he has stood in a number of Sydney first-grade finals and has won the NSWCUSA's George Borwick Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the association seven times in the past eight seasons.  The 'Examiner' says he was awarded life membership of the NSWCUSA in 2009.

 

CHOPPER-BASED CAMERAS 

PROVIDING NEW ANGLE ON PLAY

[PTG 1032-5014]


"FoxKopter", which the Fox Sports pay TV channel describes as an ''eight-pronged, pilot-driven [camera] that provides never-been-seen-before aerial vision'', was used for the first time during the telecast of one of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition matches in Melbourne on Friday evening.  Unlike 'Spidercam', an aerial device that runs across the ground on wires (PTG 1012-4922, 31 October 2012), Fox's 75 cm remote-controlled helicopter flies free of any connection with the ground.


News of the latest television-related gimmick first surfaced a year ago, but "insurance and health and safety issues" delayed its formal launch until now (PTG 888-4333, 16 January 2012).  Earlier this month as the T20 season approached, Fox was still waiting for approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority for its use, as well as guidelines for its operation from CA, but both of those hurdles have now been overcome.  


Fox says its the first time a genuine camera drone of its type has been approved for use above the playing arena during a match.  According to the broadcaster it will be using the new device to obtain "all the action during play within the confines of the stadium, offering a genuine bird's eye view of the match".

End of December 2012 News file