1,050 - 1 February [5107-5110]
• Long-serving umpire preparing for 500th match (1050-5107).
• ECB looking at domestic T20 Playing Conditions ahead of 2014 'revamp' (1050-5108).
• No news of reported push for home board veto on UDRS use (1050-5109).
• Model withdraws Rauf sexual exploitation charge (1050-5110).
1,051 - 2 February [5111-5113]
• CA wants umpires to 'think of the fans' after rain delays (1051-5111).
• BCCI vetoes push for home boards to decide UDRS use (1051-5112).
• Bowler confident 'reworked' run up will keep him out of the 'Protected Area' (1051-5113).
1,052 - 4 February [5114-5118]
• Four months on six Asian umpires still appear 'in limbo' (1052-5114).
• 'Hot Spot' data used 'inconsistently', suggests report (1052-5115).
• Senior international debut for Kiwi umpire (1052-5116).
• What now for 'Duke' balls in Australia? (1052-5117).
• Former Aussie first class umpire dies (1052-5118).
1,053 - 6 February [5119-5121]
• India appears 'more right than wrong' on UDRS, says Aussie columnist (1053-5119).
• CA looking to tighten doubtful bowling actions procedure (1053-5120).
• Banned pair's CAS appeals to be heard tomorrow (1053-5121).
1,054 - 7 February [5122-5128]
• Real time 'Snicko' data could enhance UDRS package, says developer (1054-5122).
• Utilisation of 'Hot Spot' data in Joburg flawed, claims report (1054-5123).
• Umpires named for 'Super Six' stage of Womens' World Cup (1054-5124).
• Aussie fined after expletive-laced 'send off' (1054-5125).
• Umpires 'gun shy' about reporting suspect actions, says players' union (1054-5126).
• Results of CA umpire survey still awaited (1054-5127).
• Poor practice technique blamed for bizarre run of no balls (1054-5128).
1,055 - 9 February [5129-5132]
• Player's mental condition queried after on-field head, chest butts (1055-5129).
• Skipper cleared of ball tampering charge (1055-5130).
• List A debuts for three Caribbean umpires (1055-5131).
• Umpires from three countries on exchange in South Africa (1055-5132).
1,056 - 11 February [5133-5140]
• Crime Commission report shocks Australian sport (1056-5133).
• PCB objects to 'Hot Spot' use, Davis appointment (1056-5134).
• First class debuts for Caribbean trio (1056-5135).
• South African completes New Zealand exchange (1056-5136).
• Kumar banned pending 'show cause' advice (1056-5137).
• Reprimand handed out for dissent (1056-5138).
• Six match officials for five-match Australia-England 'A' series? (1056-5139).
• PCB T20 postponed for indefinite period (1056-5140).
1,057 - 12 February [5141-5144]
• Shah found guilty, could face ten-year ban, claims report (1057-5141).
• Concerns raised about quality of WWC umpiring (1057-5142).
• Absent batsman throws up what league calls a 'unique' result (1057-5143).
• UK players' union targets gambling addiction issues (1057-5144).
1,058 - 14 February [5145-5146]
• 'Absent batsman' game a draw, says MCC (1058-5145).
• Three 'neutrals' for NZ-England ODI series named (1058-5146).
1,059 - 15 February [5147-5152]
• Players critically injured when lightning strikes (1059-5147).
• ICC second, third-tier umpires on-field for initial WWC deciders (1059-5148).
• Six 'neutrals' appointed for India-Australia Test series (1059-5149).
• Finn still uncertain about 'stump strike' rules (1059-5150).
• Australia-England 'A' match officials confirmed (1059-5151).
• Former first class umpire for Xhosa commentary team (1059-5152).
1,060 - 17 February [5153-5157]
• 'Extremely rare situation' led to 'honest error', says ICC (1060-5153).
• Indian, South African, umpires on-field for WWC final (1060-5154).
• Lightning strike victims remain in hospital (1060-5155).
• First class debut for fourth Caribbean umpire in a week (1060-5156).
• ECB umpire starts Windies exchange visit (1060-5157).
1,061 - 19 February [5158-5161]
• Match abandoned after lightning knocks players to the ground (1061-5158).
• First class debuts for three New Zealand umpires (1061-5159).
• Obscene outburst attracts CA reprimand (1061-5160).
• 'Special counselling' on integrity issues for South Australians (1061-5161).
1,062 - 20 February [5162-5169]
• Reiffel's NZ-England Test appointments prelude to EUP selection? (1062-5162).
• 'Walking' the 'right thing to do', says young batsman (1062-5163).
• Club acknowledges player's umpire abuse, but calls penalty 'inconsistent' (1062-5164).
• No changes expected to ECB panels for 2013 (1062-5165).
• Moni, Proctor, again look after BPL decider (1062-5166).
• Thirty/30 format way to 'keep kids interested in the game', suggests Warne (1062-5167).
• Batsman 'run out', but four runs 'scored', claim onlookers (1062-5168).
• Decision awaited on player's on-field 'melt down' (1062-5169).
1,063 - 21 February [5170-5172]
• CA to review the way it manages integrity issues (1063-5170).
• Ponting bat throw leads to fine (1063-5171).
• Finn again hits sumps but no 'dead ball' call made (1063-5172).
1064 - 22 February [5173-5174]
• New 'no ball' Law for Finn 'stump strike' situations (1064-5173).
• Test debut for Sri Lanka's Martinecz (1064-5174).
1065 - 23 February [5175-5180]
• CA T20, disciplinary, marketing, links under the spot light (1065-5175).
• Lightning strike victim remains in intensive care (1065-5176).
• Third senior ODI 'neutral' appointment for South African (1065-5177).
• Pink balls, day-night format, for BCB final (1065-5178).
• CA one-day final appointments indication of top NUP rankings (1065-5179).
• CAS decision on Butt, Asif, appeals due next month (1065-5180).
1066 - 25 February [5181-5185]
• Corruption, technology, Laws issues, on WCC meeting agenda (1066-5181).
• NZ names its 'favourite' 'grass roots' umpire (1066-5182).
• Two-match ban handed to Sreesanth (1066-5183).
• Political protesters in Chennai target Dharmasena (1066-5184).
• 'Too many logos' results in fine (1066-5185).
1067 - 26 February [5186-5189]
• ICC withdrawals from day-night Test ball development work (1067-5186).
• Finn's coach supports planned Law change (1067-5187).
• Player dies mid-match while batting with his son (1067-5188).
• Referral mistakes all round (1067-5189).
1068 - 28 February [5190-5196]
• Corruption called the game's 'single biggest challenge' (1068-5190).
• UDRS no longer just for 'howlers', says WCC (1068-5191).
• MCC to investigate bat size, thickness, issues (1068-5192).
• 'Senior administrator' reported after 'confronting' umpire (1068-5193).
• Player's on-field death not the first this Aussie season (1068-5194).
• ECB to target player use of recreational drugs (1068-5195).
• Another player fined for logo offence (1068-5196).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 1 February 2013
LONG-SERVING UMPIRE PREPARING
FOR 500TH MATCH
Tasmanian umpire Mark Gillard is to stand in his 500th match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) this weekend, the latest milestone in a career that has seen him serve the game in the south of that Australian State each austral summer for the past twenty-four years. Gillard will join two other TCUSA members, Brian Pollard and Don Heapy, in the '500 Club', as well as a number of other umpires around the world who have reached the 500 mark in recent years.
Gillard told Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Will Braid recently that he was never much of a player, having started with Gretna in the Derwent Valley Association (DVA) in country Tasmania. "I had one year of playing [but] was no good and [in 1987] I turned to umpiring" in the DVA, moving after two seasons to the turf-based Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) competition, a league that feeds Tasmania's first class side.
When he joined the TCUSA, umpires were paid $A43 per day in TCA first grade games, as opposed to $110 at present, and the TCA had an office staff of just three, but today it is more like fifty. There have been changes in the make-up of TCA competitions over the years, the "training [provided to TCUSA members] is better" nowadays, and there has also been what he describes as the "significant changes" that were made to the Laws of Cricket in the year 2000.
Over most of the last quarter-of-a-century, Gillard's matches have included ten grand finals across CTPL competitions as well as in the Oatlands District Cricket Association in country Tasmania. In terms of the unusual dismissal he says he has so far avoided 'timed out', 'handled the ball', 'hit the ball twice' and 'hit wicket', but he has given a player out for 'obstructing the field'. Along the way he has been recognised for his service with four TCUSA awards, including 'Most Dedicated Umpire' in 1993 and the 'Advisors Merit Award' in 1995 and 2005, capping those off with TCUSA Life Membership in 2008 for his dedication to the game.
Tomorrow Gillard, who has no plans to retire anytime soon, will stand with Heapy in game 500, a women's match at the New Town Oval, one his favourite grounds. The pair stood together in what was Gillard's first second grade game over twenty years ago, a match that finished with both teams thinking it was a tie. On that occasion the two umpires went through the scorebook and found a mistake such that one of the sides had in fact won by one run, and they will be hoping for less confusion during their match at New Town this weekend.
ECB LOOKING AT DOMESTIC T20 PLAYING
CONDITIONS AHEAD OF 2014 'REVAMP'
"Tinkering" with Twenty20 (T20) Playing Conditions is seen by some as the key to a "radical revamp" of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) domestic competition in 2014, according to an article by journalist Nick Hoult in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday. Flashing bails, substitutes, lifting restrictions on the number of overs permitted for each bowler, bonus points to promote good pitches and fast scoring as well as "tactical time-outs", are among ideas to be discussed next week by an ECB working party set up to examine how to "breathe new life" into the ten-year-old domestic T20 game, writes Hoult.
According to the 'Telegraph' the committee, which is to be chaired by Essex chairman Nigel Hilliard and includes a number of county chief executives, will be "primarily [conducting] a marketing exercise but ideas about changing the Playing Conditions will also be on the agenda. “We want to think outside the box for a change", says Hillard, and "nothing is off the agenda", for "we just want to think about how we can improve the competition and see what ideas are out there, [and] the question is whether the competition is for players or for spectators".
“When we first started [the competition] it was a commercial opportunity and the fans loved it but once we agreed to take part in the Champions League and big prize money became a possibility, counties started taking it more seriously". "In recent years we have seen a lot of slow wickets and 110 runs playing 110 runs", continued Hilliard, but "that is not what people want", as in his view "they want to see the ball disappearing out of the park".
Hoult says that any changes to T20 Playing Conditions would have to be approved by the ECB’s cricket committee and "key stakeholders such as the board’s broadcast partner, Sky Sports, will also be consulted". He says that the pressure is on the ECB to produce a new-look Twenty20 competition at a time when other boards around the world are embracing the franchise format.
Cricket Australia's recently completed 2012-13 domestic T20 competition featured flashing bails, cameras fixed to the batsmen and umpires head, and bowlers with microphones so they could talk through their overs with the commentators in the studio. Last year the ECB agreed to a T20 framework for the 2014 competition in which counties play fourteen T20 , predominantly on Friday evenings, with a quarter-final round and the existing finals day.
NO NEWS OF REPORTED PUSH FOR
HOME BOARD VETO ON UDRS USE
The first of four meetings scheduled for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board in 2013 concluded in Dubai on Wednesday, however, it appears that details of the full range of discussions involved over the two days have not been released. Significantly, there was no mention in the ICC press release that outlined the results of the meeting of suggestions earlier this month that home boards would be given the right to decide whether the Umpire Decision Review System will be used in a bilateral series or not (PTG 1039-5048, 12 January 2013).
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said rather blandly after the meeting ended that "we had a constructive meeting in which many wide ranging subjects affecting international cricket were thoroughly discussed and those discussions will continue through the future Board meetings as well as the ICC's Chief Executives’ Committee".
Four meeting outcomes were outlined in the ICC press release yesterday: the allocation of $A600,000 to New Zealand Cricket to support a program of ‘A’ Team cricket and the development of coaching and sports science expertise; agreement that domestic Twenty20 leagues "can add to the game as a whole" but that further deliberations should be conducted in order to attain "co-existence between domestic T20 leagues and the international game”; the need to combat the "illegal and unauthorised streaming of broadcast footage over the internet", and that the ICC's Annual Conference week in 2013 will be held in London in June immediately following the Champions Trophy One Day International event.
MODEL WITHDRAWS RAUF SEXUAL
Mumbai-based model Leena Kapoor has withdrawn her complaint against Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf who she accused five months ago of exploiting her sexually with false promises of marriage. At the time Rauf strongly denied having any relationship with Kapoor describing her claims at "preposterous" (PTG 979-4746, 17 August 2012). An 'Indian Express' report yesterday stated that twenty-one-year-old Kappor made her decision known to police who were looking into the issue earlier this week.
CA WANTS UMPIRES TO 'THINK
OF THE FANS' AFTER RAIN DELAYS
Last month's abandoned One Day International (ODI) between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) prompted Cricket Australia (CA) to ask the International Cricket Council (ICC) "to relax its standards" for getting teams back on the field after rain, says an article in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' this morning. CA chief executive James Sutherland is said to have written to the ICC to request that umpires in internationals be instructed to take "a less conservative approach" to an issue that has caused "frustration to spectators and broadcasters" in recent years.
Sri Lanka's touring team was denied a chance to win the one-day series against Australia because of a damp outfield after ninety minutes of drizzle at the SCG three weeks ago, then last Monday a subsequent Twenty20 match in Melbourne was shortened, and delayed by longer than many felt necessary, because of showers, writes journalist Chloe Saltau (PTG 1049-5099, 31 January 2013).
CA spokesman Peter Young is quoted as saying that "we have been campaigning for a fan-centric approach to managing the resumption of play", adding that matches should resume as soon as the umpires are satisfied the ground is not dangerous. ''We are pushing for the umpires to take a very conscious view about putting the fans first [and] our concern is that there's an innate tendency among match officials towards being ultra-conservative".
Reports at the time indicated that Sri Lanka planned to express its frustration about the situation that led to the abandonment of the ODI at the SCG, their skipper Mahela Jayawardene calling the ICC's approach to rain issues as "inconsistent" (PTG 1044-5075, 22 January 2013).
BCCI VETOES PUSH FOR HOME
BOARDS TO DECIDE UDRS USE
It might not have been lmentioned in the press release issued after the latest meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Board in Dubai this week (PTG 1050-5109, 1 February 2013), but it appears a proposal that home boards alone be given the right to decide whether the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) will be used in a bilateral series or not was in fact discussed. Current ICC Playing Conditions require both countries to approve UDRS operation for matches between their respective sides.
A 'Cricinfo' report yesterday makes the claim that India's representative on the Board vetoed the suggested change, which had been formulated and agreed to by all except the Indian member of the ICC's Chief Executive Committee in early December. Journalist Nagraj Gollapudi writes that the head of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), Narayanaswami Srinivasan, "shot down the proposal", by "threatening to pull out of any tour in which the host country insisted on using the technology".
Gollapudi makes the claim that the England and Wales Cricket Board's Giles Clarke "was the only [person] that spoke in favour of the proposal" at the Board meeting, and that no one else present in Dubai "chose to make a stand" against Srinivasan's position. As a result "in the end there was no vote" on the issue, Srinivasan's concerns being said to be a belief that UDRS technology could be "easily manipulated and is unreliable".
The ICC agreed to make UDRS "compulsory" in all forms of senior international cricket nineteen months ago after two years of discussions (PTG 783-3830, 28 June 2011), however, the BCCI forced a move back to the current 'bilateral agreement' approach four months later (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2011), and it has remained thus ever since.
BOWLER CONFIDENT 'REWORKED' RUN UP WILL
KEEP HIM OUT OF THE 'PROTECTED AREA'
South Australia fast bowler Kane Richardson believes his reworked run-up will allow him to avoid running into the Protected Area when he returns to senior domestic cricket in Australia. Richardson, who was removed from the attack in his debut One Day International (ODI) last month (PTG 1040-5052, 15 January 2013), told the 'Adelaide Advertiser' that despite what his coach called his "longstanding fault", up until the ODI he'd only received "the odd warning here and there" from umpires in club and first class cricket.
Richardson told journalist Scott Walsh that he feared "his dubious follow-through might be exposed on the world stage" the night before he was removed from the Australian ODI bowling line up after transgressing for a third time. "I actually did think that maybe I would have a few issues with it because I have in the past", which if true suggests he should have received more than the "odd warning" along the way. But "in international cricket", says Richardson, "they don't miss those kind of things [for] the umpires had a job to do [and there] are rules they have to enforce".
In the three weeks since the ODI, the former Australian Under-19 player has been confined to grade cricket and intensive net sessions with South Australian bowling coach Rob Cassell in order to iron out the "kinks" in his follow-through. He's confident straightening his angled run-up and delivery stride will not eliminate his pace and movement with the ball. "I used to run a bit wider, now it's a bit more straight [but it's hard] because I've always run in on an angle and bowled on an angle", said Richardson.
FOUR MONTHS ON SIX ASIAN
UMPIRES STILL APPEAR 'IN LIMBO'
Four months on there is still 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 suggested 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).
In late December the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was reported to be "thinking of launching" a fresh investigation into the allegations levelled against Shah and Shahid as the original "special committee" set up to investigate the matter had not submitted a report (PTG 1033-5015, 27 December 2012).
All six umpires were suspended from standing at any level of cricket conducted by their respective national boards, or in internationals, pending the outcome of each of the enquiries. Only the two Bangladeshis are current international umpires being members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and when the ICC up-dated the IUP list on its web site last month their names had asterisks against them with the comment: "confirmation of [their] appointment is pending [the outcome of] a Bangladesh Cricket Board enquiry" (PTG 1035-5026, 5 January 2013).
Those asterisks and associated comment have now been removed from the ICC list, however, there has been no indication from the ICC or the boards of the three countries involved, that any or all of the six have been cleared of the allegations levelled against them.
'HOT SPOT' DATA USED 'INCONSISTENTLY',
A 'Cricinfo' report from South Africa yesterday claims that information provided by 'Hot Spot' technology may have been used inconsistently in decision making during the opening days of the first Test against Pakistan in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday. All four decisions involved went against the visitors and team manager Naveed Cheema and coach Dav Whatmore are said to have been seen in what was termed "animated discussion" with third umpire Steve Davis of Australia after the second day's play.
The first incident occurred when Misbah-ul-Haq was given 'not out' on the field after a caught behind appeal, only for that decision to be overturned on review as a faint 'Hot Spot' signature, which disappeared quickly, appeared on his bat. Then in South Africa's second innings Faf du Plessis was given 'not out' in similar circumstances even though a faint 'Hot Spot' mark appeared on his bat, a caught behind appeal against AB de Villiers was also being rejected. AB survived again later after being given out LBW, that decision being overturned despite nothing being visible on his bat on 'Hot Spot'.
Neither Cheema, Whatmore not any other player or team administrator would comment in any detail on the situation. At an end-of-day press conference Whatmore is said to have been reluctant to talk about 'Hot Spot', saying simply it's "part and parcel of umpiring decisions [and] any comments will be done [via] the right channels". Whatmore is said to have been "visibly upset" after Misbah-ul-Haq was dismissed, the batsman himself showing his annoyance as he walked off.
The 'Cricinfo' report quotes a local television producer as saying that the 'Hot Spot' cameras used were in "perfect working condition", but that in the current "atmospheric conditions," which included heat and bright sunshine, faint edges would only show up slightly. What was called "a match official" is said to have confirmed that the umpires and match referee, Jeff Crowe, were "satisfied with the technology available to them".
SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DEBUT
FOR KIWI UMPIRE
Former Otago all-rounder Derek Walker, who was promoted to New Zealand's third umpire spot on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last August (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012), is to make his on-field debut in a senior international in Auckland on Saturday. Walker, 53, is to stand in games one and two of the three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) New Zealand and England are to play over a seven-day period, then work in the television spot for the third and final match.
New Zealand's three IUP members, Walker, Gary Baxter and Chris Gaffaney will each be on the field twice and in the third umpires spot once during the series, Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka being the match referee for each game. While Walker will be on debut, Gaffaney will have stood in twelve T20Is and Baxter thirteen by the time the three games have been played, while for Mahanama his T20 record as a referee will have moved on to twenty-six.
WHAT NOW FOR 'DUKE'
BALLS IN AUSTRALIA?
Trials of England-made 'Dukes' balls in Cricket Australia's (CA) under-age championships over the last two months appear to have produced positive results with reports that they retain their condition much longer than those manufactured by Australian manufacturer 'Kookaburra'. Red 'Dukes' were used in eight two-day games across CA's Under-17 and Under-19 national series in December-January, and the white variety in the same number of fifty-over one-day matches in both tournaments, however, just what CA's plans are to use them from here are not yet known.
CA's senior cricket operations manager Sean Cary said in October that the decision to trial the 'Dukes' balls was part of an approach aimed at giving Australian teams a competitive advantage in series overseas where balls other that the 'Kookaburra' brand are used, an rationale that was queried by some observers (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012). Cary also acknowledged though that there was an economic rationale for introducing a competitor to the Australian market for the 'Dukes' balls are less expensive than those produced by 'Kookaburra'. The quality of the Australian variety have been questioned at times in recent years.
"The first step", said Cary three months ago, "is to find out whether the ['Dukes'] ball can handle our conditions, and we can do that in under-age championships", and that if they perform satisfactorally in those series CA will then work out "a strategy to introduce them into senior competitions". He suggested then that is the feedback received was positive 'Dukes' could be use the balls in some of its State Second XI matches and possibly late season Sheffield Shield games this austral summer. Three more Second XI and a dozen Shield games remain to be played during the current season.
While CA is looking at an English manufacturer's ball, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced in October that the Australian brand would replace locally made 'Gray' balls in its domestic first class and limited over competitions (PTG 1007-4896, 24 October 2012).
FORMER AUSSIE FIRST
CLASS UMPIRE DIES
Former Australian first class umpire Ron Harris, who stood in thirteen matches at that level in the period from 1978-87, passed away on the weekend. Harris, who was a long-serving Life Member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), celebrated his eightieth birthday last September.
Record available suggest that Harris' umpiring career started in the 1960s and that he stood in a number of matches in Canberra that involved NSW country and touring international sides in the early 1970s. He made his first class debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sheffield Shield match in December 1978, going on over the next nine years to stand in a total of ten in that competition, plus three other first class fixtures that featured touring sides from England, Pakistan and Sri Lankan.
In addition, Harris was on the field in six List A fixtures, five of them Australian domestic matches and the other a One Day International (ODI) between Australia and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November 1979. Players involved in that ODI included the likes of Greg Chappell, Joel Garner, Dennis Lillee, Clive Lloyd, Rod Marsh, Vivian Richards and Andy Roberts.
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
INDIA APPEARS 'MORE RIGHT THAN WRONG'
ON UDRS, SAYS AUSSIE COLUMNIST
India's opposition to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) appears "more right than wrong", according to column written by journalist Patrick Smith in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday. Smith, who is well-known for his hard-hitting writing on sport, centres his comments around UDRS-related issues that came to the fore in last Sunday's One Day International between Australia and the West Indies in Perth.
Smith says that the public's perception is that India wants to "control cricket utterly" and its resistance to the UDRS is just another example of its administration being "ornery and executing its influence, well, because it can". "Yet as the summer [in Australia] has progressed it would appear India's position [on the referral system] is more right than wrong [and] its reading of the potential problems around the UDRS more canny", he says. "Dissatisfaction is growing" more widely around the world that the referral system "is not always accurate and [is also] too intrusive".
Smith calls "the eventual dismissal" of West Indian wicketkeeper Devon Thomas on Sunday "bewildering and unjust". Given 'not out' after a "reserved query" from the Australians for a catch at the wicket, Thomas was then ruled out by the third umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan after a referral. "Rauf took an unusually long time to make a wretched decision", says Smith, and "there appeared [to be] no evidence at all that the ball had caught [Thomas'] glove on its way to [the] wicketkeeper".
The third umpire can look at just about "everything except Playboy" during a review situation, says Smith, who goes on to quote the ICC rules on the matter. They say in part that when the UDRS is operational an ICC third umpire has: "slow motion replays from all available cameras, super slow motion replays from all available cameras, ultra motion camera replays from all available cameras, sound from the stump microphones with the replays at normal speed and slow motion, and approved ball tracking technology".
Rauf, who Smith labels "an over officious umpire", "erred on a grand scale and thus so did the UDRS", for he "went looking for a clue and returned with a puzzle". 'The Australian' journalist also points to what he calls "the ghoulish look of players gathering in a vulture flock to await the review decision on the scoreboard", something he believes "is belittling for the umpires and undermines their status".
Some commentators want the power of referral taken out of the cricketers' hands and make it the umpire's job, says Smith (PTG 1048-5090, 28 January 2013). Others, he continues, are happy with it to stay with the players [but] on Sunday [in the ODI] we saw how much of a burden that can be". "West Indies opener Kieran Powell had to keep suggesting to his teammates that they not refer LBW decisions to the third umpire [for] "plum is plum is plum". But, Powell "seemed to crumple under pressure and suggested a review when Darren Bravo was given out leg before". "On review, middle stump was a goner and so was Bravo, [which indicates that] Powell should have held his nerve".
If the UDRS is to "be successful, helpful and wanted", says Smith, "then the options and time allowed for a third umpire review must be whittled down". If its purpose is to rid cricket of the "shocking decision" then such a judgment should be apparent immediately, therefore "if a third umpire cannot tell whether a player is definitively out by looking at one slow motion replay, one look at 'Hot Spot' and one check for a sound, then the batsman gets the benefit of the doubt". That way the "vultures" will "not have time to gather and play will recommence after a tolerable delay".
Ultimately though concludes Smith, it does not matter who refers decisions to the third umpire because the UDRS will be judged good or bad, essential or a gimmick, by the quality of the decision-making that is applied to the information it provides. Reports from South Africa on Monday say that the Pakistan touring side has lodged a report with its home board about what they see as inconsistencies in the way 'Hot Spot' was utilised during the first Test in Johannesburg (PTG 1052-5115, 4 February 2013).
CA LOOKING TO TIGHTEN DOUBTFUL
BOWLING ACTIONS PROCEDURE
Cricket Australia (CA) is planning to introduce a "tougher regime for dealing with illegal bowling actions" in its domestic competitions, according to an article posted on the 'Sydney Morning Herald' ('SMH') web site overnight. Journalist Chloe Saltau writes that "the move comes amid growing angst from state coaches", who are said to "perceive a problem with suspect actions that extends beyond the allegations levelled against Jamaican Marlon Samuels during CA's recent Twenty20 series.
Saltau's article says that a review of the issues involved will be headed by CA's Sean Cary, the national body's former Umpire Manager, with input from coaches, umpires and staff at CA's 'Centre of Excellence' in Brisbane; however, just when the review is scheduled to be completed by was not mentioned. Cary is said to have denied Australian cricket had a significant problem with throwing, however, the 'SMH' report says that "privately, state officials have expressed concern about at least three bowlers this domestic season while questioning the will of CA to confront the problem".
Cary admitted though that CA's current doubtful bowling actions procedure can take sometime to "kick in". It normally requires three separate mentions by umpires in the course of a season before an individual is tested in a laboratory to see if their delivery action is "legal". Umpires can short-circuit that time-line and report a bowler straight away if they are convinced he is throwing, but Saltau says they have been reluctant to do that because of the "stigma attached to the issue". Currently the CA system does do not take account of reports made in international cricket or other domestic competitions such as the Indian Premier League.
The planned review, says Cary, is aimed at "tightening the process so that it can be effective in competitions that run over short periods of time", a clear reference to CA's six-week long T20 event. "If there is a doubtful action report or mention [during a short series], then we need a procedure that deals with it there and then, so if there is an effect as a result of that, it doesn't impact the competition".
In December, Queensland and Brisbane T20 coach Darren Lehmann was reprimanded and given a suspended fine of $A3,000 for breaching CA's code of conduct after he questioned the legitimacy of Samuels' quicker ball (PTG 1032-5010, 24 December 2012), while Adelaide coach Darren Berry was involved in an on-field exchange with Samuels over the same matter (PTG 1044-5073, 22 January 2013).
Australian officials are said to "hold great hope" for new 'Wearables' technology that would measure bowling actions in match-conditions. Marc Portus. the biomechanist leading the project, has said the innovation would help rid the game of illegal actions, and remove some of the emotion from the issue by fixing flawed actions before bowlers reached international level. It would also guard against bowlers modifying their bowling to meet the legal standards in a laboratory, then bending the rules while straining for wickets during a match.
The International Cricket Council indicated last August that the 'Wearables' project will not be completed before the end of 2014 at the earliest (PTG 985-4780, 28 August 2012). It said at that time though that it was "encouraged by progress made so far" on the development of a "light, cost effective and wearable" device that is capable of "assessing the legality of bowling actions in match and training conditions" (PTG 983-4770, 24 August 2012).
BANNED PAIR'S CAS APPEALS
TO BE HEARD TOMORROW
Pakistan duo Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt will make a final attempt to have their world-wide suspensions lifted when they attend hearings at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland tomorrow. The pair, together with Mohammad Amir, were found guilty by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal two years ago of spot-fixing in a Test at Lords in August 2010 and given lengthy suspensions, after which they were also convicted and jailed for corruption by a British court (PTG 856-4184, 4 November 2011).
All three were caught in a 'sting' operation conducted by the now-defunct British paper the 'News of the World' which arranged for three 'no balls' to be bowled at pre-agreed times during England’s first innings of the Lord’s Test in exchange for £150,000 ($A225K). As a result of the ICC enquiry, Butt was banned for 10 years, with five years suspended, Asif for seven years, two-years of which were suspended, and Amir for five years (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011).
Reports say that Asif will tell the CAS that the no-ball he delivered at Lord’s "was an accident" and he was not part of the spot-fixing plan orchestrated by Butt and his agent Mazhar Majeed. His lawyer, Ravi Sukul, told London's 'Daily Telegraph' that his client had bowled four no-balls in Test at the Oval a few days before the game at Lord's and that they "were never questioned by anyone". Asif has consistently maintained that story line, however, the jury at his trial apparently did not believe him.
Former captain Butt was sentenced two-and-a-half years jail by the British court, Asif for twelve months and Amir for six. Butt only spent eight months in jail (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012) and Asif six months, while Amir was released after after serving half of his sentence (PTG 896-4366, 2 February 2012).
Sukul is quoted as saying that the ICC "moved mountains to prosecute these men" and is arguing as a point of law that some of the evidence at the tribunal was inadmissible. “The basis of the appeal is that the ICC tribunal acted unlawfully in the course of their procedures", he said.
REAL TIME 'SNICKO' DATA COULD ENHANCE
UDRS PACKAGE, SAYS DEVELOPER
Australian company BBG Sports, the marketers of 'Hot Spot' technology, are currently working to develop an enhanced 'Snickometer' system that will produce results within five to ten seconds of an appeal and can be used as part of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). Journalist Nagraj Gollapudi says in an article posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site overnight, that the near real time marrying of 'Snicko' data with 'Hot Spot' images has the potential to increase certainty over whether a batsman has edged a ball or not.
Currently it takes too long for 'Snickometer' data, which comes from stump microphones, to be processed and matched up with video images, but even then there are risks the results are inconsistent. BBG Sports head Warren Brennan says that the new system is envisaged as being fully automatic and he is "hopeful that it will improve fine-edge detection dramatically" as it will give third umpires two points of reference so "there can be more consistency that way".
Brennan says that the new system requires having "our own server hardware recording a minimum of twelve different camera channels plus two stump mics", then "a robust procedure whereby audio and video synchronisation could be guaranteed without the need for manual intervention". A "daily pre-match calibration process that will be supervised by the third umpire" is also envisaged, he says.
Gollapudi says that the inability of 'Hot Spot' to detect a fine edge especially when the fast bowlers are operating, and the issue known as the 'motion blur' created by the speed of the ball, has been an issue for sometime, the most recent being in last week's Johannesburg Test (PTG 1054-5123 below). Brennan believes "the strength" of real time 'Snicko' will be for faster bowlers where the wicketkeeper is standing twenty-plus metres behind the stumps. From that position the noise of the 'keeper moving his feet creates little problem, unlike the situation that prevails when he is standing up-to-the-stumps for a spin bowler when his movements are more obvious.
The idea for the enhanced system came in 2011 after Brennan held discussions with English computer scientist Allan Plaskett who invented 'Snickometer' in the late 1990s. Tests of the new technology have been carried out "in the last twelve months in trials across Australia and the UK", and Brennan and Plaskett plan to meet with the ICC to discuss it next month. Even if is eventually approved for inclusion in UDRS packages though, Brennan does not anticipate it being used prior to the 2014 Ashes series in England.
UTILISATION OF 'HOT SPOT' DATA
IN JOBURG FLAWED, CLAIMS REPORT
South African journalist Ken Borland says that "inconsistent application and performance of 'Hot Spot' technology" in his country's opening Test against Pakistan in Johannesburg has sparked new controversy over the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and the use of technology in cricket. Five 'Hot Spot' related decisions went against Pakistan during the match, four coming over the first two days of the game (PTG 1052-5115, 4 February 2013), and a fifth on the final day when Umar Gul was given out caught behind on review "despite no 'Hot Spot' mark showing on his bat".
Boland, who writes for the 'Daily Maverick' news web site, says that match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand told journalists third umpire Steve Davis of Australia was "looking at direct-feed, super-enhanced images different to what everyone else saw on TV" during the Test. If that is so, Boland continues, that would "totally defeat the object of the UDRS as it "was introduced to put an end to obviously bad decisions that were [shown by] television replays".
In Boland's view Crowe's is a "disingenuous justification" that is tantamount to the public being told “don’t worry, you’re not seeing the whole picture”. The scoreboard at the ground "runs on the same direct feed the third umpire gets" and was "showing images identical to the ones broadcast on TV", says Boland. The 'Maverick' journalist states that directly contradicts Crowe's advice.
The UDRS "is there to reduce controversy in international cricket, by taking away the 'howler', but with the players now using [it] tactically and the umpires sometimes not having the nous to use it correctly, the technology is often stealing the limelight unnecessarily", says Boland. Those comments are similar to those made by Australian journalist Patrick Smith in regard to use of the system in a One Day International in Perth last Sunday (PTG 1053-5119, 6 February 2013).
"Blame for the apparently inconsistent application of the UDRS cannot be dumped at the door of technology, continues Boland, for the 'Hot Spot' errors in Johannesburg were "human". "If we accept that technology is now part of the furniture in cricket’s living room, should we be blaming the system when some incompetent human uses it incorrectly and falls off the couch?", he asks.
Borland concludes by saying that Pakistan's team management have asked their board to take up the "numerous dubious 'Hot Spot' decisions" given against them with the International Cricket Council. Warren Brennan, head of 'Hot Spot' provider BBG Sports said in a recent interview that "not even the best infrared cameras on the planet could avoid the occasional missed fine edge".
UMPIRES NAMED FOR 'SUPER SIX'
STAGE OF WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Gregory Brathwaite of the West Indies and Ian Ramage of Scotland will be standing in today's match between India and Pakistan to decide seventh and eighth places in this year's Womens' World Cup in Cuttack, Mark Hawthorne of Ireland being the third umpire. The match comes after the twelve Group stage games played over the last week and ahead of the nine Super Six fixtures scheduled over the next six days in the lead up to the play-offs for third and fifth spots tomorrow week, and the final itself the Sunday after that.
Shaun George of South Africa, Vineet Kulkarni of India, Ruchira Palliyaguru from Sri Lanka, Ahsan Raza of Pakistan and C. Shamshuddin of India, all members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), New Zealand emerging panel umpire Kathy Cross, and Nepal's Buddhi Pradhan, are all to stand in two matches in the Super Six stage. Brathwaite, also a IUP member, plus Hawthorne, Shahul Hameed of India and Sarika Prasad of Singapore, who like Pradhan are all members of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires panel, have each been allocated one Super six match on the field.
AUSSIE FINED AFTER
EXPLETIVE-LACED 'SEND OFF'
James Faulkner of Australia has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during his side's One Day International against the West Indies in Canberra yesterday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that the fine relates to Faulkner's actions after he bowled Windies' batsman Chris Gayle and gave him a verbal 'send off'.
Match referee Ranjan Madugalle said in an ICC statement that "There is no place for this type of behavior anywhere near the game, players are expected to respect the opponents all the time, [and] in this particular incident, James crossed the line and I'm sure he will learn from this incident".
Faulkner pleaded guilty to the charge, which was laid by the on-field umpires Asad Rauf of Pakistan, Simon Fry of Australia, third umpire Nigel Llong of England and another Australian fourth umpire Paul Reiffel, and accepted the sanction proposed by the Match Referee. As a result there was no need for a formal hearing.
UMPIRES 'GUN SHY' ABOUT REPORTING
SUSPECT ACTIONS, SAYS PLAYERS' UNION
Australian Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh believes the problem of throwing has become so entrenched that empowering umpires to report bowlers with suspect actions is no longer sufficient. Marsh is quoted in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) as saying "you hear players, coaches talking about there being an issue and in world cricket we see that the problem is increasing" and that "from the players' perspective we feel it is a blight on the game that needs to be addressed".
Marsh told 'SMH' journalist Chloe Saltau that the issue is difficult "and players' careers are at stake if umpires get it wrong". "I think umpires feel that, and I think they also feel significant political pressure around this particular issue, and hence I think they are a bit gun shy to go down the path of reporting players". Saltau says that there has been just one official ''mention'' by an umpire of a flawed action in Australian cricket this summer, but neither she or Marsh back their comments up with any specific details.
Earlier this week reports surfaced that Cricket Australia is planning to introduce a more efficient regime for dealing with illegal bowling actions in its domestic competitions (PTG 1053-5120, 6 February 2013), but that will not include the use of 'Wearables' technology, which Marsh sees as the ultimate answer, until the end of 2014 at the earliest (PTG 985-4780, 28 August 2012).
RESULTS OF CA UMPIRE
SURVEY STILL AWAITED
Results of the on-line survey of umpires conducted by Cricket Australia (CA) four months ago remain under wraps. As yet there has been no indication as to how the data received is being collated, when the results can be expected, whether the outcomes will be made public, or what the next step in responding in a practical way to the issues raised by the umpiring community around Australia may be.
The survey, the original of which was circulated almost two years ago (PTG 758-3723, 15 April 2011), was sent to umpires who are on CA's data base right around the country as part of moves to try and develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of match officials at local or club level (PTG 1005-4866, 18 October 2012).
Close to 1,000 people are reported to have provided their view to survey questions developed by CA and the Melbourne-based independent research consultancy 'SportINFO''. Despite problems experienced with the structure of the original version, October's edition appeared to be very similar in style and scope to the 2011 edition.
POOR PRACTICE TECHNIQUE BLAMED
FOR BIZARRE RUN OF NO BALLS
New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult took 8/37 in a one-day club match last Saturday but his figures could have been even better, says an article in the 'Bay of Plenty Times' on Monday. Boult's eight wickets included seven batsmen bowled and one LBW, but on five other occasions he clean bowled batsmen on foot fault "no balls", and three times more on the 'free hit' deliveries that followed; two of the 'free hits' going to the boundary after deflecting from the stumps.
Boult, who has been selected in New Zealand's Twenty20 and One Day International squads to play England over the next three weeks, told journalist Peter White that he puts his overstepping down to "too much training and not enough action out in the middle". "I'm not sure why but I think at the net training I have been doing I have been getting over [the crease] a little bit, and I haven't played the game for a while so maybe that's why, he said.
On the same weekend in Australia another bowler achieved a different feat in that he took two hat-tricks in two days in two separate matches. Brisbane Souths second grade bowler Rhys Yorke took three wickets in three balls on the Saturday before repeating the dose the following day. He told the 'Courier Mail' newspaper that "on the first day I just hit three blokes on the pads in a row and they were all given out LBW", and "the good thing was I thought they were all absolutely plumb".
PLAYER'S MENTAL CONDITION QUERIED
AFTER ON-FIELD HEAD, CHEST BUTTS
Uttar Pradesh and India swing bowler Praveen Kumar has been reported for butting the head and chest of a batsman during a Corporate Trophy (CT) match played in Bhilai last Monday. During the third-last over of the match's first innings, Kumar reportedly made an offensive gesture and resorted to “violent physical contact” against batsman Ajitesh Argal.
According to a 'Daily News Analysis' (DNA)' report, umpires Adjit Datar and Kamlesh Sharma are said to have written in their report that "after bowling the first ball" of the over Kumar "advanced aggressively towards the striker and made violent physical contact with him". He "is very aggressive and gets hostile with little trigger", they continued, following that up with the apparent assessment that he “is not in a mental frame to play the game”.
The last time Kumar, 26, was in the news was during India’s Test series in England in 2011 where he had reacted angrily to fans’ gibes in a tour game against Northants. During the teams tour of the West Indies the same year, he had a similar confrontation with a spectator in Port of Spain, and 'DNA' says that during the first match of this year's CT series in Raipur "he had a spat with the spectators".
The Corporate Trophy is a fifty-over one-day match based, Board of Control for Cricket in India tournament, that involves teams representing a range of businesses from around the country. When available, top Indian cricketers are expected to play in the series along with other first class and academy-level players. Kumar played in only the first of Uttar Pradesh's nine matches in the recently completed 2012-13 Ranji Trophy series.
SKIPPER CLEARED OF BALL
Justin Ontong, the captain of South African side the Cape Cobras, has been found not guilty of ball tampering during his side's first class match against the Lions in Cape Town in mid-January (PTG 1041-5059, 18 January 2013). The ball involved was sent to its Australian manufacturer 'Kookaburra' for tests (PTG 1049-5100, 31 January 2013), however, they proved inconclusive and the case against Ontong was dismissed on Thursday.
'Kookaburra' director Rob Elliot is reported to have said the damage to the ball, the seam of which had the "superficial appearance" that it had been interfered with, "could be a manufacturing anomaly in so far as the stitch has pulled through the leather". As a result Cricket South Africa disciplinary commissioner Professsor Rian Cloete found that there was "no conclusive evidence substantiating the allegation of ball tampering as stated in the Match Report".
During the Cape Town match umpires Brian Jerling and Shaun George decided to change the ball after concluding that its condition had been altered and offered Lions batsman Quinton de Kock the choice of a replacement. Cobras' players were unhappy with the substitute ball, believing it was significantly older than the one it replaced, and De Kock was subsequently involved in a related on-field scuffle that saw him banned for one first class match (PTG 1047-5087, 26 January 2013).
LIST A DEBUTS FOR THREE
Three West Indian umpires, Leslie Reifer of Barbados and Trinidadians Danesh Ramdhanie and Zahid Bassarath, all made their List A debuts in the opening matches of the Caribbean's 2013 one-day, fifty-over, competition on Thursday. Reifer stood with Trinidad's Peter Nero in Barbados, Ramdhanie with compatriot Joel Wilson in Antigua, and Bassarath with Guyan's Nigel Dugiud in Saint Lucia.
Reifer, 23, Bassarath, 29, and Ramdhanie, 46, were all promoted to the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) five months ago, along with Jamaicans Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith and Guyana's Nandkumar Shivsankar (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012). Reifer stood in the WICB's Twenty20 competition last month, as did Shivsankar and Gustard, the latter standing in the final of that event (PTG 1042-5066, 19 January 2013).
The Caribbean's 'domestic' first class season is due to get underway today with the same teams playing each other at the same venues as their one-day matches. Umpiring appointments for those games have not yet been released, however, one news report this week said that Carl Tuckett, the former Leeward Islands and West Indies all rounder, "will be making his debut as a regional umpire" in the Barbados-Jamaica fixture.
Tuckett, 42, played forty-one first class and a single One Day International in the ten years from 1994-2004, and is the only current West Indian senior umpire to have played the game at international level. He has served as the reserve umpire in four first class games to date, and as far back as February 2003 was the match referee in a single first class game. As far as it is known he is not a current SUP member.
UMPIRES FROM THREE COUNTRIES
ON EXCHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Umpires from Australia, India and New Zealand are currently standing in domestic first class matches in South Africa as part of exchange agreements between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and their respective boards. Those taking part in this year's visits to the western side of the Indian Ocean are: Mick Martell of Australia, who went on exchange to New Zealand two months ago (PTG 1025-4981, 4 December 2012), and Phil Agent of New Zealand and Anil Chowdhury of India, who are both on their first exchanges.
Martell, 46, is currently standing in the Knights-Cobras match in Bloemfontein with South African international umpire Marais Erasmus, a fixture that is due to end tomorrow. He has been in country since late January, his first match there being the Titans-Cobras game in Benoni with local Adrian Holdstock; the two games taking his first class record to twenty-seven games. His next matches will be back home in Australia, the first a one-day domestic match at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow week followed after a one-day break by a domestic first class match.
Chowdhury, 47, has had a match timetable similar to Martell, his first game in Kimberley involving the Knights and the Lions and the second in Johannesburg the Dolphins and the Titans, matches that take his first class record to thirty-five games. His on-field partner in the first match was former Northern Transvaal all-rounder Dennis Smith and for what was his second and thirty-fifth first class match, Johannes Cloete.
Agent, 52, is currently in Port Elizabeth with Smith in the Lions-Warriors match, having the week before stood in Durban with Ian Howell in the Dolphins-Warriors fixture. The two games take his first class record to double figures in what is his first season on New Zealand Cricket's Elite Panel (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012). Agent moved to Dunedin in 2011 to manage a hotel there after his home in Christchurch was destroyed in a precursor earthquake to the even more serious event five months later that killed 185 people (PTG 983-4768, 24 August 2012).
CSA's Adrian Holdstock stood in two Ranji Trophy games in India last month (PTG 1042-5067, 19 January 2013), while just who from South Africa will travel Australia and New Zealand in March have not been named. None of the national bodies involved have given any publicly to their exchange visits this austral summer.
CRIME COMMISSION REPORT
SHOCKS AUSTRALIAN SPORT
Cricket Australia (CA) says constant vigilance is needed to protect the integrity of sport and that it's important major sports and government agencies in Australia work together on an urgent, national approach to sports integrity. CA's comments followed the release of an Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report on Thursday that, after a year-long investigation, says scientists, coaches and support staff have been involved in the provision of drugs across multiple sporting codes, organised crime syndicates are involved, and related match fixing is a possibility; however, precise details of the ACC's findings were not released.
Australian Federal Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare described the findings as "shocking" and that they "will disgust Australian sports fans". "Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations", said Clare. "It's cheating but it's worse than that, it's cheating with the help of criminals" and is a "disturbing reminder" of the need for an integrated government-sport approach to national sports' integrity, he said.
CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said he was shocked when briefed late last week about the ACC report. "There was no specific evidence or links suggested to Australian cricket, which has a record of proactive management on issues such as anti-doping, illicit drugs, anti-corruption and bans on cricketers and cricket employees betting on cricket", he said, "but no sport can afford anything other than constant vigilance".
Sutherland says his organisation is committed to work actively with other major sports on the issue and that CA will "immediately implement a review of our own integrity systems, controls and processes to ensure Australian cricket is fully equipped to deal with the heightened integrity risks that have come to light this week", he said, and there are plans to "ramp up" surveillance of its Twenty20 league.
CA's chief says he is ''as confident as we can be'' in the integrity of that tournament, although senior cricket figures are said to recognise it is vulnerable to corrupt activity because the games are televised live to the sub-continent where there is a significant and unregulated illegal betting industry. Australian company 'Tattsbet' estimates punters in Australia alone gambled between $A2 million and $A5 million on each CA T20 game, an increase of between twenty-five and thirty-three per cent on figures for the previous season. In December, CA was reported to have asked Australian bookmakers to refrain from offering the type of bets that have the potential of being exploited by players (PTG 1030-5003, 19 December 2013).
Sutherland said that the ACC report had prompted CA to reconsider how prominently betting agencies and their services were now featured around professional sport. The 'Bet365' online gambling firm has a presence at Australian grounds through dual deals with CA and television broadcaster Channel Nine, but Sutherland says CA "will consider whether it's appropriate or not". Despite that he feels current commercial arrangements CA has with betting firms provide a major deterrent to corruption in that they can provide a means of picking up unusual trends or financial relationships that contravene the rules.
CA is a foundation member of the Coalition of Major Participation and Professional Sports (COMPPS) and supported a proposal put forward by that body in 2011 to Australian Federal and State Governments that they introduce criminal penalties for match fixing. In August last year COMPPS commended the New South Wales Government after it announced the introduction of "tough new laws" designed to safeguard the integrity of sport in that State, legislation that has a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment for anyone found to have engaged in or facilitated conduct that corrupts the outcome of a sporting event (PTG 979-4745, 7 August 2012).
COMPPS Executive Director Malcolm Speed, a former International Cricket Council Chief Executive Officer (PTG 235-1297, 27 April 2008), said at that time that he looked forward to other Australian States and Territories who have been looking at the issue for several years now (PTG 770-3773, 5 June 2011), following suit to establish a nationally consistent approach.
Despite the "shock" expressed by many over the last few days, noted Australian journalist Gideon Haigh says in a column published in 'The Australian' this morning that there have "been ample warnings" about the situation. Three years ago, he says, the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association conference was told by Declan Hill, the author of a book on corruption in football in Asia and Europe, that "the people who are doing this have targeted your country and will be destroying your sports within three to five years".
PCB OBJECTS TO 'HOT SPOT'
USE, DAVIS APPOINTMENT
Pakistan has objected to the use of 'Hot Spot' technology and the appointment of Australian umpire Steve Davis in the ongoing Test series in South Africa, according to a report in the daily 'Express' newspaper on Sunday. The newspaper says that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to outline their concerns after five 'Hot Spot' related decisions went against their team in the opening Test against South Africa last week (PTG 1054-5123, 8 February 2013).
The 'Express' story quotes an unnamed PCB official as saying that their touring side's "team management have clearly stated they don't want the ICC to post Steve Davis again in the series and that the Hot Spot technology should also be dropped for the remaining matches of the series". Davis was the third umpire in Johannesburg when many of the referred decisions went against Pakistan. According to the report letter has, however, made it clear the PCB still supports the use of the Umpire Decision Review System in the series but not the 'Hot Spot' portion of it.
Davis is due to stand in the second and third Tests in Cape Town and Centurion over the next two weeks, the first fixture being scheduled to get underway on Thursday. His on-field partner in Cape Town is countryman Bruce Oxenford and in the second 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand (PTG 1048-5095, 28 January 2013).
FIRST CLASS DEBUTS
FOR CARIBBEAN TRIO
Three Caribbean umpires are currently standing in their initial first class fixtures during what is the opening round of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) twenty-four match 2013 'domestic' series. Leslie Reifer of Barbados and Trinidadians Danesh Ramdhanie and Zahid Bassarath, three of the six new members of the WICB's Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) for the current season, made their List A debuts last week (PTG 1055-5131, 9 February 2013).
Reifer, 23, Bassarath, 29, and Ramdhanie, 46, who stood with established SUP members Peter Nero, Nigel Duguid and Joel Wilson respectively in the WICB List A games, also have the same partners on the field in the three first class fixtures. Reifer and Nero are in Barbados where the home side is playing Jamaica, Bassarath and Duguid on the island of Saint Lucia where the Windward Island and combined Colleges and Campuses are in action, and Ramdhanie and Wilson in Antigua for the Leeward Islands fixture with Guyana.
SOUTH AFRICAN COMPLETES
NEW ZEALAND EXCHANGE
Veteran South African umpire Karl Hurter completed his two-week exchange visit to New Zealand yesterday, a time during which he stood in two Plunket Shield first class matches. Hurter's first match was in Queenstown where Otago played Northern Districts and the second in Wellington, a fixture that involved the home side and Auckland.
Port Elizabeth born Hurter, who turns forty-nine tomorrow, made his first class debut at the age of thirty-one in February 1998 and the two New Zealand matches, his first overseas, took his first class tally to 109. He stood in four One Day Internationals early last decade whilst a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).
In Queenstown his on-field partner was current Kiwi IUP member Gary Baxter and in Wellington New Zealand Cricket (NZC) Elite panel member Phillip Jones. Hurter replaced Barry Frost and Phil Agent who were originally appointees to those games preseason, but the latter is currently on exchange in South Africa (PTG 1055-5132, 9 February 2013).
The exchange agreement between NZC and Cricket South Africa under which Hurter and Agent travelled to each other's countries is in its ninth year.
KUMAR BANNED PENDING
'SHOW CAUSE' ADVICE
Indian cricketer Praveen Kumar has been "temporarily banned' by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and asked to provide an explanation, or "show cause", for his actions during a Corporate Trophy match played in Bhilai last Monday. During the game Kumar made an offensive gesture to a batsman then butted him in the head and chest and was later reported by the umpires for resorting to “violent physical contact” (PTG 1055-5129, 9 February 2013).
'Widen India' says the incident occurred after the batsman approached the umpire to check whether a full-pitched Kumar delivery should have been called a no-ball for height. News reports from the sub-continent yesterday do not state how long Kumar, 26, has to provide his views of the situation to the BCCI, or whether, and if so when, any hearing into match incidents will convene.
OUT FOR DISSENT
New South Wales player Trent Copeland was handed an official reprimand for breaching Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour during his side's Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart on Friday. Copeland was reported for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision after being given out LBW, but as it was his first offence in the last eighteen months and he pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him, only a reprimand was applied.
SIX MATCH OFFICIALS FOR FIVE
AUSTRALIA-ENGLAND 'A' FIXTURES?
Four of the five top umpires on Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic umpires panel look likely to stand in the five one-day fifty over matches Australia A and England A, otherwise known as the English Lions, are to play in Hobart and Sydney in the week that starts next Saturday. John Ward, CA's newest member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is thought by separate reports from Melbourne over the last few days to have been appointed to four of the games, his colleague on the IUP Simon Fry to two, and CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Paul Wilson and Mick Martell to three and one respectively.
CA is yet to release details of match allocations for the series, but if information provided to 'PTG' is correct, they and other appointments in recent times suggest that Martell and Wilson are four and five on CA's NUP umpire ratings list respectively at the present time behind IUP members Paul Reiffel, who is in first place, Fry second and Ward third. Indications are that CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Ric Evans will be the match referee for the three Hobart matches and his UHPP colleague Peter Marshall for the two in Sydney.
PCB T20 POSTPONED
FOR INDEFINITE PERIOD
The decision of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to postpone its planned franchise-based Twenty20 tournament for an indefinite period to solve management issues will leave match officials who had agreed to support the event over two weeks in late March and early April out of a job. Last month three former members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top referee and umpire panels, Mike Proctor, Rudi Koertzen and Russell Tiffin, were reported to have signed contracts to work in what is known as the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and Pakistan's two top international umpires Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, were also said to have been involved.
Plans for the PSL, which were unveiled in early January, involved five teams with a maximum of six foreign players and a total of twenty-three matches. Players were to be paid according to their status and experience across five categories comprising what are termed 'Diamond' ($A100,000), 'Platinum' ($A70,000), 'Gold' ($A50,000), 'Silver' ($A25,000) and 'Emerging' ($A5,000-10,000), and match officials are likely to have also been offered a five-figure sum for their participation. In order to encourage foreign players to take part in the event in a country where there are security concerns, PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf also offered participants insurance cover worth $A2 million (PTG 1048-5097, 28 January 2013).
SHAH FOUND GUILTY, COULD FACE
TEN-YEAR BAN, CLAIMS REPORT
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah has been found guilty of match-related corruption and could be banned for up to ten years, claims a report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning. Shah, countryman Sharafudoullah Ibne Saikat, who has been acquitted of corruption claims, and umpires from Pakistani and Sri Lankan, were caught in a 'sting' operation carried out by an Indian television channel in October which alleged they were prepared to "fix games" (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012).
A second "special committee" set up by the Bangaladesh Cricket Board (BCB) reportedly quizzed Nadir and Saikat late last month after an earlier investigation failed to produce a report (PTG 1033-5015, 27 December 2012). The latest enquiry was carried out by retired district judge and head of the BCB's umpire committee Jamil Mahmud, former Bangladesh captain Shakil Kashem, and BCB security consultant Mesbahuddin Serniabat.
According to the 'New Age' story an ad-hoc meeting of the BCB's board discussed the special committee's report last Wednesday. Opinions amongst board members about the punishment that should be handed to Shah are said to have differed, but BCB president Nazmul Hasan apparently took "a firm stand which could end up with maximum punishment for the umpire". However, BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury was not ready to provide any details at this stage, telling 'New Age' that "this is still an ongoing process [and] we will let you know if any decision is made".
While Bangladesh's consideration of the corruption allegations appears to be reaching an end, there is still no sign four-and-a-half months on of the Pakistan Cricket Board's investigation into umpires Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, or Sri Lanka Cricket's into umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage (PTG 1052-5114, 4 February 2013).
CONCERNS RAISED ABOUT
QUALITY OF WWC UMPIRING
Questions have been raised about the standard of some umpiring currently on display in the Womens' World Cup (WWC) in India, a number of media reports over the last week expressing concerns after a number of key errors that have occurred at critical stages of games. Thirteen umpires from eleven countries are working in the event, seven from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), five from its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel (AAUP), plus the only female chosen, Kathy Cross of New Zealand (PTG 1048-5091, 28 January 2013).
A report from New Zealand's key match against the West Indies yesterday, which the Kiwis lost, talks of a number of a "dreadful umpiring display". Mention is made of four LBW decisions, one that involved a "thick inside edge", another that was "outside the line", and two that ball tracking technology indicated were "headed down the leg side". "New Zealand may or may not have lost the match even if the correct calls had been made, but there is no escaping that the decisions influenced the game heavily", says a 'Cricinfo' report.
Prior to yesterday's game England captain Charlotte Edwards drew attention to two umpiring calls that had gone against her team in a crucial match against Australia on Thursday. LBWs were again involved, replays showing both deliveries would have missed leg stump. Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguruge of the IUP and Singapore's Sarika Prasad from the AAUP stood in that match.
'Cricinfo' journalist Abhishek Purohit says Indonesian and AAUP umpire Shahul Hameed made three of the decisions given against New Zealand yesterday, and Indian IUP member Vineet Kulkarni the other. Purohit says Hameed stood in the 2009 WWC and that although he has officiated in lesser ICC matches since then, 2009 was his last higher-level international before the current event. The Indonesian has officiated in ten men's second-tier One Day Internationals, the last of which was played in July 2007, and Purohit questions the appropriateness of that appointments regime in the lead up to a major ICC tournament.
Purohit says that "you won't see an umpire in a men's World Cup whose last international came in the previous edition", and asks why members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) are not standing in the WWC. In his view if EUP members had been standing in the current series "they might have made worse or better or the same decisions than Hameed and Kulkarni, but at least the players in question could have had the satisfaction of knowing that the best umpires the ICC has to offer had decided their fate".
"Women's cricket is not high on priority lists, and even the biggest tournament in their game operates on a tight budget", writes Purohit. He says he understands elite umpires "come at a considerable cost placing greater burden on the budget, but the last thing anyone wants is for the [WWC] final to turn on the basis of a shocker made by an umpire who is not considered good enough for a match in the men's World Cup". However, that is unlikely to occur, as the umpires for this Sunday's final will almost certainly come from the seven-man IUP group, all of whom regularly stand in first class cricket in their respective home countries.
ABSENT BATSMAN THROWS UP WHAT
LEAGUE CALLS A 'UNIQUE' RESULT
Cricket Wellington (CW) says that it will "take some time" to arrive at a definitive result for a two-day Premier League match between the Petone-Eastbourne and Naenae Old Boys clubs that was played Lower Hutt over the last two Saturdays, says a 'Fairfax NZ' report published yesterday. Petone set Naenae a target of 191 for an outright win, but they lost their ninth wicket on the final ball of the day with the score on 125, one of their players being absent as he had to leave for work.
CW's senior cricket co-ordinator Clinton Butler told journalist Hamish Bidwell that everyone had been informed that Naenae player Cameron Cross would have to leave for work prior to their final innings starting and that his side would only bat to ten as a result. When the ninth wicket fell Petone thought they'd won outright and Naenae were of the view that it was a draw, but CW itself is unsure. Butler called the situation "an interesting one". "There's no doubt that if the ninth wicket fell with three balls [of the game] left that it would've been an outright result given the guy wasn't there to bat, but because's it's the last ball of the game I don't really know".
New Zealand's most experienced first-class umpire Evan Watkin, who regularly stands in CW matches, said he hadn't come across anything quite like this. "Potentially that's all out because there were no more players" available to bat, Watkin said. "If a player is not there he's 'absent out' and my feeling, off the top of my head, would be that it's an outright win [to Petone]". "You would think it wouldn't matter if there was no balls or a hundred left [as] Cross wasn't there, so he should be listed as absent out".
Butler says that he willl "check with some other associations and probably New Zealand Cricket to see if they've had any experience with" what he called "a unique" result.
UK PLAYERS' UNION TARGETS
GAMBLING ADDICTION ISSUES
Players in England are being urged to seek help to overcome gambling addictions by a Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) campaign designed to highlight the symptoms involved and how the problem can be tackled. Former New Zealand batsman Craig Spearman, who has had a gambling problem, is being used as a "poster boy" for the campaign and the PCA has a confidential helpline its members can call with personal problems.
Stephen Brenkley of 'The Independent' says that "several players have admitted difficulties with gambling", although there is no suggestion that it is linked with illegal betting activities in Asia on cricket matches, however, the PCA are very much aware that a player in debt is a player exposed to other forces. Spearman himself says that his addiction "caused me and people around me huge heartache", but "in recent times learning and understanding myself as an individual and adhering to strict disciplines has led me away from gambling and onto a better path for the future".
PCA's assistant chief executive, Jason Ratcliffe, who is orchestrating the campaign, told Brenkley that "this is not an anti-gambling crusade". "We are [all] bombarded with the chance to bet [for it's] all around us and it is very easily accessible", but the PCA's unspoken fear is said to be that young players may be especially susceptible to betting far beyond the traditional game of poker in rain breaks. Spearman has gone public about his addiction in part because he thinks he can send a message to other players that cricket, gambling and Asian betting markets are a potentially explosive mix for any individual.
The PCA says that although there is no concrete evidence to suppose there are any more gambling addicts in cricket than in the rest of the society, the stresses and temptations for players are different. Ratcliffe hopes that the campaign will raise awareness of the issues involved and "alert the government to the serious dangers of gambling".
'ABSENT BATSMAN' GAME
A DRAW, SAYS MCC
A two-day Cricket Wellington (CW) Premier League match that ended with players uncertain of the result last Saturday, when a side chasing an outright lost their ninth wicket on the last ball of the day with batsman number eleven absent because of work commitments, was a draw and not an outright win, says the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). In addition, suggestions that the CW match situation was "unique" have been scotched, as a similar incident occurred in a County Championship match in England just over three years ago.
CW's senior cricket co-ordinator Clinton Butler said on Sunday that it will "take some time" to arrive at a definitive result of the match (PTG 1057-5143, 12 February 2013), however, Fraser Stewart the MCC's Laws and Universities Manager, pointed out to 'PTG' yesterday that the Laws of the game make it very clear that a draw is the result that should apply.
Stewart, who is believed to have contacted CW regarding their dilemma, first points to Law 21.1 which states that to win a two-innings match one side must score a total of runs in excess of that scored in the two completed innings of the opposite side. In the CW game Naenae Old Boys, who were batting for an outright win, did not in fact have two completed innings.
The latter applies because Law 12.3 says in section (b) that a side’s innings is to be considered as 'completed' if at the fall of a wicket, further balls remain to be bowled, but no further batsman is available to occupy the crease. If the ninth wicket falls off the last ball of a match, it does not matter if the number eleven is not able to take to the field or not, as the fielding side would not have had the chance to get him out, even if he had been fit and able to bat.
Stewart also points to a similar incident that occurred in a County Championship match at The Oval between Surrey and Middlesex in 2009. The latter were chasing an outright win but lost their ninth wicket to a 'run out' from the last ball of the game while still two runs short. The controversy at that time centred on Tim Murtagh, Middlesex's number eleven batsman, for he had been carried off the field earlier on the final day after injuring his hamstring and there were reports that he was not able to bat, even if a runner was provided.
At the time the MCC, as the guardians of the game's Laws, received inquiries from several Surrey supporters and a journalist as to whether the official result to that game, a draw, was in fact correct. Those asking the questions are said to have argued that if Murtagh was unable to bat Middlesex were all out and Surrey should win outright, however, Stewart set out just what the Laws say about the situation in an edition of the then named 'Wisden Cricketer Magazine'.
THREE 'NEUTRALS' FOR
NZ-ENGLAND ODI SERIES NAMED
Indian umpire Ravi Sundaram, is to stand in two of the three One Day Internationals (ODI) New Zealand and England are to play over the next two weeks in what is his first appointment as a 'neutral' umpire in a senior international series (PTG 1048-5094, 28 January 2013). Asnani's 'neutral' colleagues for the series will be Australian umpire Rod Tucker and match referee Roshan Manahanama from Sri Lanka.
Sundaram, 46, who is a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will stand in the first match in Hamilton with Gary Baxter a New Zealand IUP member and in the third in Auckland with Baxter's colleague on that panel Chris Gaffaney. Gaffaney is to stand with Tucker in the second game in Napier when Asnani will be in the television suite, Tucker working in that role in ODIs one and two.
While Sundaram has been standing at first class level in India for just over two decades, he only made his ODI debut in December 2011, the games in New Zealand taking his on-field record in that format to seven and as a third umpire to nine. However, he has experience outside the cub-continent in that he stood in two South African domestic first class games in January 2011 (PTG 725-3570, 8 February 2011), a second pair in England's county championship last July (PTG 961-4676, 13 July 2012), and a number of matches in Australia in last August's Under-19 World Cup event (PTG 984-4776, 25 August 2012).
Tucker, who made his ODI debut in January 2009, was given his first overseas appointment as a neutral in a senior international just eleven months later, a similar time frame to Asnani. The Australian's ODI tally will move on to twenty-seven as a result of the series in New Zealand, and as a third umpire to fourteen, and Mahanama's record as an ODI referee to 187 matches. Baxter 's ODI tally will move up to thirty-six games and Gaffaney's to thirteen.
New Zealand's IUP third umpire member Derek Walker, who was elevated to that panel last year and made his senior debuts in two Twenty20 Internationals this week (PTG 1052-5116, 4 February 2013), has not been given a match during the ODI series.
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 15 February 2013
PLAYERS CRITICALLY INJURED
WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
Two first team players from the 'King Edward VII' school in Johannesburg were critically injured and seven others admitted to hospital when lightening struck as they were covering a pitch on Tuesday. The critically injured pair are thought to have been "clinically dead" and had to be resuscitated prior to being taken to hospital where they were admitted to the intensive care unit, but the others were released on Wednesday after a night under observation.
Mike Russell, a trained paramedic whose son was to play in the game used CPR on the two boys, who were some forty metres apart when struck. Both had gone into cardiac arrest and Russell later told journalists that "fortunately we were able to get a pulse and spontaneous respiration back in a relatively short space of time".
Professor Walter Kloeck, chairman of the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa, speculated that the injuries were caused by a 'rebound strike', where the lightning hits the ground first and then bounces up and hits the person, as a 'direct strike' is he says "normally instantly fatal". According to Kloeck a 'rebound strike' normally enters through a finger and exits from the other arm or a leg causing damage to body tissue along the path it travels, however, it leaves the rest of the person "relatively intact".
Climatologist Simon Gear told 'The Star' newspaper that the Johannesburg area has the highest incidence of lightning strikes in the world in relation to area. A spokesman for the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said that around 260 people are killed that way in the country each year, records showing that 2,375 lightning related deaths were reported over the eight years from 1999.
The SAWS officer told journalists that "if thunder could be heard, even in the distance, it was wise to take precautions, because lightning can strike from a distance, [and] it is a common misconception that lightning mainly struck during heavy rain". However, Gear told told 'The Star' that it is not always easy to judge just when to stop play, saying that "if sport is stopped every time there are thunderclouds [in the area], there'd be no sport played".
A player in New York who was struck by lightning during a match in 2009 was so badly injured that he was not able to commence rehabilitation for nearly five months (PTG 533-2730, 16 December 2009). Stephen Gibson, who was forty-one at the time, remained in a coma for almost a month after the strike and was not able to speak for six weeks.
In that case wild weather chased players off the field and Gibson was lagging behind the main group of fielders as they headed for the boundary when he was hit. The bolt struck the left side of his face, causing his brain to bleed and damaged his lung, kidneys and liver, and by the time paramedics arrived at the ground, he was barely breathing and needed CPR (PTG 463-2407, 28 July 2009).
ICC SECOND, THIRD-TIER UMPIRES
ON-FIELD FOR INITIAL WWC DECIDERS
Eight of the twelve umpires currently standing in the Womens' World Cup (WWC) in India have been selected to officiate in today's two matches to decide third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, but as yet there is no indication as to who will look after Sunday's final between Australia and the West Indies. England and New Zealand will face each other to decide third place and South Africa and Sri Lanka to settle who finishes fifth, India already having beaten Pakistan into seventh place last week.
Gregory Brathwaite of the West Indies, who is unlikely to be in contention for the final given his own side is playing in that game, is to stand with Singapore's Sarika Prasad in the South Africa-Sri Lankan game, Mark Hawthorne of Ireland being the third umpire and Ahsan Raza of Pakistan the fourth. India's Vineet Kulkarni and Shaun George of South Africa will be on the field for the England-NZ match, Ruchira Palliyaguru of Sri Lanka the third umpire and Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal the fourth.
Of the umpires named for today's games, Brathwaite, George, Kulkarni, Palliyaguru and Raza are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and Hawthorne, Prasad and Prahdan from the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel (AAUP). Those from the umpiring pool who have not been allocated matches today are Kathy Cross, a member of New Zealand's 'Emerging Umpires Panel' and the only female match official at the WWC, Shahul Hameed of Indonesia, Ian Ramage of Scotland and Indian Chettithody Shamshuddin. Hameed and Ramage are AAUP members while Shamshuddin is on the IUP.
David Jukes of England will be the match referee for both matches, being present at the ground for the England-NZ match in Mumbai on the west coast of India, and working what the ICC calls "remotely" for the South Africa-Sri Lankan game in Cuttack some 1,700 km away on the eastern coast of India.
SIX 'NEUTRALS' APPOINTED FOR
INDIA-AUSTRALIA TEST SERIES
Six 'neutral' match officials from four countries are to manage the four Tests India and Australia are to play in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mohali and Delhi over the next six weeks. Umpire Kumar Dharmasena and one of the match referees Ranjan Madugalle are from Sri Lanka, Richard Kettleborough and Chris Broad an umpire and referee respectively from England, with the other two being umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Marais Erasmus from South Africa.
Broad, Dharmasena and Erasmus will work together in matches one and two in Chennai and Hyderabad, before Madugalle, Dar and Kettleborough arrive for the final two games in Mohali and Delhi. The six will be supported by so far unnamed Indian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel who will look after third and fourth umpire positions, the Umpire Decision Review System not being operational due to the objections the Board of Control for Cricket in India has to its use.
The series will take Madugalle and Broad's Test records as a match referee to 141 and 58 matches respectively, the Sri Lankan's figure being the highest on record at this time. Dar's umpiring record in Tests will move up to 80, still fifth overall in the long-term records but by far the highest for those umpires still active on the Test scene, Erasmus to 17, Dharmasena 15 and Kettleborough 14.
FINN STILL UNCERTAIN ABOUT
'STUMP STRIKE' RULES
England bowler Steven Finn says that no one has spoken directly to him to spell out the rules international umpires are required to apply when he dislodges the stumps on his follow through, according to an article posted on the 'Sporting Life' web site yesterday. That somewhat surprising situation comes after a number of attempts by 'PTG' to clarify just how the International Cricket Council (ICC) expects its officials to approach such situations (PTG 1049-5101, 31 January 2013).
Finn, who is to play in the third and final Twenty20 International against New Zealand in Wellington later today, has only toppled the stumps once in the previous two games in Auckland and Hamilton over the last week. He says that he has been working on the issue for the past four months and is "trying different things" and that "its not happening as frequently as it used to". Finn hopes to "completely eradicated" the habit, but "given the amount of cricket" he plays he hasn't "had too much time to actually go away and spend a lot of time working on it".
The 'Sporting Life' article says that the stump strike in Auckland means "he has had his last chance for this series", but "no one's told me" just what is required for "it changes every single time ... it's the umpires' perogative", "but I'm sure it's a dead ball [straight away] from now on". "Whoever makes the rules, it's up to them to do that and for us to abide by them", but "the easiest thing is not to [hit the stumps] any more".
New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman and captain Brendon McCallum, who was a team-mate of Finn's when the seamer played for Otago between England tours last winter, says he does not remember any stump-kicking episodes then. Finn's stump strikes "can be slightly distracting", says McCallum, but believes the England bowler can sort out the problem.
There have been indications that Finn-type situations are one of the issues the Laws sub-committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club has on its agenda and that a formal approach on how to deal with such occurrences might be included in the next revision of the Laws, perhaps as early as next October (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012 and PTG 1036-5032, 7 January 2013). One approach being talked about is a first and final warning and then a 'no ball' call rather than 'dead ball' being made for any subsequent occurrence (PTG 999-4854, 4 October 2012).
AUSTRALIA-ENGLAND 'A' SERIES
MATCH OFFICIALS CONFIRMED
Match officials for the five fifty-over one-day games the 'A' sides from Australia and England are to play in Hobart and Sydney over the next week have been confirmed by Cricket Australia (PTG 1056-5139, 11 February 2013). John Ward, Australia's newest member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is to stand in all three games in Hobart and a fourth in Sydney, his IUP colleague Simon Fry both Sydney games, and CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Paul Wilson and Mick Martell the three in Hobart and one in Sydney respectively. CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Ric Evans will be the match referee in Hobart matches and for the first in Sydney, his UHPP colleague Peter Marshall looking after the second game there.
FORMER FIRST CLASS UMPIRE FOR
XHOSA COMMENTARY TEAM
Former South African first class umpire Zama Ndamane will be a member of the television commentary team when that nation's seven-week, thirty-two match domestic Twenty20 competition gets underway in Durban later today. For the first time ever, in a move that is designed to help grow the game, particularly in black African areas, the commentary will be provided in Xhosa, a language that is spoken by close to a fifth of South Africa's population of fifty million people.
Ndamane, 48, stood in thirty first class matches in South Africa in the period from 2004-10, eight in Cricket South Africa's (CSA) top-tier franchise-based series, and most of the others in CSA's second-tier, three-day match competition which is centred around the former provincial-based teams. He also stood in eight matches in the 2005 Womens' World Cup, which was played in South Africa, and was appointed to a single four-day Under-19 Test match in 2009, however, that entire game was washed out.
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 17 February 2013
'EXTREMELY RARE SITUATION" LED
TO 'HONEST ERROR', SAYS ICC
The International Cricket Council (ICC) says its 'Playing Control Team' (PCT) "made an honest error" in what it called an "extremely rare situation" involving South African batsman Jacques Kallis on the second day of his side's Test match against Pakistan in Cape Town on Friday. Kallis was given out caught bat-pad by on-field umpire Steve Davis of Australia but denied touching the ball and asked for a review which showed he hadn't edged it, however, third umpire 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand decided he was out LBW instead.
Reports say that Kallis was uncharacteristically "angry and refused to leave the field for a while", apparently arguing that he should have been 'not out', as the original decision was for a catch. As a result Davis had a further discussion with Bowden before the LBW verdict was finally confirmed and Kallis departed, however, that judgement was wrong and the ICC issued a statement yesterday to acknowledge the error.
Even though Davis' "umpire's call" 'caught' decision to appeals from the fielders was wrong, Bowden noticed that an LBW decision was appropriate and as a result "the umpires followed usual umpiring principles in giving Kallis out LBW", says the ICC. That is "because the normal principle [in a game of cricket] is that an appeal [from fielders] covers all forms of dismissal".
However, given the requirements spelt out in the rules that cover the operation of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), "that [approach] was wrong", continues the ICC statement. It points out that "Playing Conditions state that when the third umpire observes that the batsman could be out by another mode of dismissal, the decision being reviewed should be as if the batsman had been originally given not out".
South Africa team manager, Mohammad Moosajee, said that he had received a "satisfactory explanation" about Kallis' dismissal, although he could not comment in detail because of the ICC's Code of Conduct regarding the UDRS.
INDIAN, SOUTH AFRICAN, UMPIRES
ON-FIELD FOR WWC FINAL
Vineet Kulkarni of India and Shaun George of South Africa were yesterday named as the on-field umpires for today's Womens' World Cup (WWC) final between Australia and the West Indies in Mumbai. The pair, who are both members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be supported by another IUP member, Ruchira Palliyaguru of Sri Lanka, fourth umpire Sarika Prasad of Singapore from the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel, and Englishman David Jukes as the match referee. A total of thirteen umpires featured during what has been to date been a twenty-three match tournament (PTG 1048-5091, 28 January 2013).
LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS
REMAIN IN HOSPITAL
One of two players from the 'King Edward VII' school in Johannesburg who were critically injured when lightening struck as they were covering a pitch on Tuesday (PTG 1059-5147, 15 February 2013), was still in a hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) yesterday in a "critical but stable condition". The second player in fairing a little better, having been moved from the ICU to the what the South African Press Association says is a high care unit.
Both youths are thought to have been "clinically dead" following the lightning strike and had to be resuscitated prior to being taken to hospital. Seven other players who were affected were admitted to hospital after the incident were released on Wednesday after a night under observation.
The Gauteng Education Department (GED) told media outlets on Friday it does not believe staff at King Edward VII School were negligent, but that it intends to investigate the circumstances that led up to the incident and that a report is due by the end of the month. A spokesperson said it is important "to find out if the school had taken the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of such an incident". “We [need] to give assurances to the parents, learners of the school and to the public at large, that the incident was handled in the best way [possible]".
The GED's comments came shortly after a girl from another Johannesburg school, who was struck by lightening on the same day, died in hospital.
FIRST CLASS DEBUT FOR FOURTH
CARIBBEAN UMPIRE IN A WEEK
Guyanese umpire Nandkumar Shivsankar has become the fourth West Indian to make his first class debut over the last seven days. Shivsankar, 40, was one of six umpires that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) elevated to its twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) five months ago in what was a major shake-up (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012), three of his colleagues making their first class debuts last week (PTG 1056-5135, 11 February 2013).
Shivsankar, whose first direct exposure to senior 'domestic' cricket in the Caribbean was during the WICB's Twenty20 series last month (PTG 1042-5066, 19 January 2013), is currently standing with long-serving SUP member Lennox Abraham of Dominica in the first class match between the Windward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago on the island of Saint Vincent.
New SUP members Leslie Reifer of Barbados and Trinidadians Danesh Ramdhanie and Zahid Bassarath, have all made their List A, and like Shivsankar, their first class debuts in recent days, and the other new members, Jamaicans Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith are expected to be appointed to List A and first class matches over the next few weeks.
Gustard is not new to first class or List A cricket, his single games in both formats to date being three years ago, but Smith will be making his first class debut.
Apart from the six new members and Lennox, the other five current SUP members are: Norman Malcolm (Jamaica), Gregory Brathwaite (Barbados), Nigel Duguid (Guyana), and Peter Nero and Joel Wilson (Trinidad and Tobago); the last four being members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel.
ECB UMPIRE STARTS
WINDIES EXCHANGE VISIT
English umpire Nick Cook is expected to stand in either two or three matches in the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) 2013 regional four-day first class competition over the next few weeks. Cook is currently standing in the Barbados-Guyana fixture in Bridgetown, his on-field partner being Peter Nero, a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel.
Fifty-six year old Cook played fifteen Tests and three One Day Internationals for England as a finger-spinner in the 1980s, his overall first-class record being 356 games and one-day game tally 223 matches, three of which were One Day Internationals in the period from 1978-94. His last first class match was in September 1994 but he did not stand in his first game at County Second XI Championship until ten years later, and at first-class level in July 2006, the current match in Bridgetown being his sixty-first in the nearly seven years since.
Leicester-born Cook is the fifth England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) umpire to travel to the West Indies as part of an exchange program the ECB and WICB established just over four years ago (PTG 344-1822, 6 November 2008). Which of the WICB's umpires will travel to England later this year is not clear for over the last four years all of the current Caribbean members of the IUP, Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid, have stood in matches in England as part of the exchange program.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
MATCH ABANDONED AFTER LIGHTNING
KNOCKS PLAYERS TO THE GROUND
Players had to scurry for safety in a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association match in south-west Victoria on Saturday after a nearby lightning strike knocked them to the ground, says a report in yesterday's 'Warrnambool Standard'. The Division three game between Tomahawk Creek and Alvie was reaching a climax with Alvie needing just thirty-two runs off seven overs for a win and a chance of making next month's finals, however, although the thunderstorm was seen approaching players elected to press on in the hope of getting a result.
Tomahawk Creek captain Shaun Oborne told the 'Standard' that when the lightning struck "pretty well everyone on the field dropped to the ground and had pain in their feet". Then "after a silence we yelled ‘get off the ground’ and everyone just ran" and once back in the pavilion "everyone was in [a state of] shock". The game's score sheet has “abandoned due to weather” in the result section, but for players and spectators it was a moment they say they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
Indications are that a lightning struck a farm paddock close to the playing area, one fielder near the boundary saying he saw it split into three or four forks. According to Osborne "a thunderstorm was getting closer and we had been thinking of abandoning the game anyway", and he says that it is "fortunate the storm didn’t hit" the previous weekend "when hundreds of people were at the ground for a Batchelor and Spinsters ball".
Last week a lightning strike in South Africa struck nine schoolboy players as they were covering a pitch in Johannesburg leaving two of them seriously injured (PTG 1060-5155, 17 February 2013).
FIRST CLASS DEBUTS FOR
THREE KIWI UMPIRES
Cook Islands born Chris Brown, who played nineteen first class games for Auckland in the period from 1993-97, is one of three umpires from New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) second tier 'A' panel to have made his debut at first class level over the last two weeks. Brown, 39, who is thought to be the first Cook Islander to stand at first class level, was on the field for the Plunket Shield match between Canterbury and Northern Districts with NZC 'Elite' panel member Evan Watkin.
In addition to Brown, his 'A' panel colleague Tony Gillies stood in the Canterbury-Central Districts fixture while Ashley Mehrotra was in Dunedin in the Otago-Auckland game, domestic 'Elite' panel members Barry Frost and Phillip Jones being their respective partners. Gillies, 42, was born in Sydney, while Mehrotra, 43, originally hails from Uttar Pradesh in India.
NZC Elite panel members primarily cover the country's first class, one-day and Twenty20 series, and umpires from the A Panel who are considered ready for first class games are normally given such matches at this time of the season each year. NZC 'A' and third-tier 'Emerging' groups cover all other senior and junior national competitions around New Zealand each austral summer (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012).
ATTRACTS CA REPRIMAND
Cricket Australia (CA) has handed South Australian all-rounder Dan Christian an official reprimand for an obscene on-field outburst during Sunday's one-day match against New South Wales in Adelaide. CA said in a statement yesterday that Christian, who was reported by umpires Simon Fry and Mick Martell for his behaviour during the time his side were bowling, "pleaded guilty and received the prescribed penalty of an official reprimand given it was his first offence in the last eighteen months".
While it may have been the all-rounder's first CA offence in that time. Christian has been in trouble this season with the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA). Last November SACA suspended him for one Sheffield Shield game when he damaged dressing rooms on three separate occasions in CA matches and he has not been selected for a first class fixture in the time since (PTG 10231-4960, 22 November 2012).
When that ban was announced SACA cricket director Jamie Cox described Christian as "an emotional guy" and offered him anger management counselling. Christian was said to have apologised for his actions and paid for the repairs but his actions then did not attract a sanction from Australia's national body.
'SPECIAL COUNSELLING' ON INTEGRITY
ISSUES FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIANS
South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw has ordered "special counselling" for his players in the aftermath of the Australian Crime Commission's (ACC) on-going investigation of integrity in sport in that country (PTG 1056-11 February 2013). Bradshaw, who previously served as secretary and chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) , told the 'Adelaide Advertiser' that "we must educate our players and be vigilant" if those involved in criminal and other negative activities are to be kept at bay.
Bradshaw, who is said to have worked, in his MCC position, closely with UK detectives in the spot-fixing case brought against three Pakistani players and a player agent following a 2010 Test match at Lord's (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011), said it opened his eyes to the fact that a bet can be placed on anything. "A bet can be placed on how many players come out of the dressing room wearing short sleeves versus long sleeves, bowl wides or no balls", and "there is potential for anything in any match effectively, which is why we have to cover all forms of the game".
Cricket Australia established an Anti Corruption and Security unit fifteen months ago and Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) says education and protection is vital for players who have no concept of the devious ways criminal organisations can compromise them. "Quite often players are offered something that seems quite innocent and trap them in some way", says Marsh, a comment similar to that made by the ACA's UK equivalent twelve months ago which said match fixers "groom" players in a similar way to that used by paedophiles in their approach to potential victims (PTG 924-4499, 3 April 2012).
The UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) used that description last February when it launched an on-line multiple choice tutorial developed for its members and asked them to complete it as part of attempts to stamp out corruption in the game (PTG 907-4410, 28 February 2012). More recently the PCA released a package designed to assist members who have problems with personal gambling issues (PTG 1057-5144, 12 February 2013).
Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has set a late April date for the appeal by former Pakistan and Essex spinner Danish Kaneria's against the lifetime ban and £100,000 ($A150,000) hearing costs order given against him for involvement in a spot-fixing case that saw former Essex player Mervyn Westfield spend time in jail (PTG 903-4387, 20 February 2012).
No police charges have ever been brought against Kaneria, but he was found guilty by the ECB panel of inducing Westfield to under-perform in a 2009 limited-overs match and of bringing the game into disrepute, however, he has always maintained that he is innocent of the charges that were laid against him.
PLAYING THE GAME
REIFFEL'S NZ-ENGLAND TESTS
PRELUDE TO EUP SELECTION?
Normally reliable reports indicate that Australian umpire Paul Reiffel has been appointed, along with his countryman Rod Tucker and Pakistan's Asad Rauf, to the three Test series New Zealand and England are to play next month. Reiffel, who played Test cricket for his country before turning to umpiring a decade ago, has been in contention for elevation to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) over the past year, and the NZ-England Tests may well be a last 'audition' prior to him joining that body.
Reiffel, now 46, played thirty-five Tests and ninety-two One Day Internationals (ODI) for Australia in the 1990s, one of the latter games being a win in a World Cup final. Following retirement in January 2002, he was selected along with now EUP member Tucker as one of the original members of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Project Panel', the aim of that group being to "fast-track" first-class players into umpiring. He made his first-class umpiring debut in December 2004 and joined CA's National Umpires Panel six months later.
Early in 2009, soon after he was promoted to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 336-1770, 25 October 2008), Melbourne-born Reiffel won CA's 'Umpire of the Year' award for the 2008-09 austral summer (PTG 386-2048, 12 March 2009), around the same time being awarded a $A20,000 Australian Sports Commission National Officials Scholarship to further develop his officiating skills (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009).
Reiffel, who now resides in Queensland, made his umpiring debut at international level in January 2009 and has since then he has gone on to stand in two Tests, thirty ODIs, eleven of them being ICC appointments over the last fifteen months, seven in Bangladesh and five in Sri Lanka, plus nine Twenty20 Internationals.
What are expected to be his third and fourth Tests in New Zealand next month will be his fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh games as an umpire at first class level, forty-one of those matches so far being in Australia's Sheffield Shield competition, two of them finals, and another two during an exchange visit to South Africa in March 2010 (PTG 594-2989, 10 March 2010).
With the Umpire Decision Review System in operation, Dar, Reiffel and Tucker are expected to share on-field and third umpire duties during the series in New Zealand, with each being out on the ground in two Tests. That will take Tucker's record to twenty-five Tests and Rauf's to forty-eight, the latter a figure being equal to the number the late English umpire Frank Chester stood in in the period from 1924-55, and equal twelfth on the overall Test umpire's list.
'WALKING' THE 'RIGHT THING TO DO',
SAYS YOUNG BATSMAN
Ten-year-old Callum Snow 'walked' when given out caught behind by an umpire in an Under-11 representative game in New South Wales, last week, says a report published in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the weekend. Snow is said to have put his bat under his arm, removed his gloves and headed back to the pavilion without fuss, his opponents running to him to pat him on the back while the crowd applauded him as he left the field.
Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, who is well known for his views on 'walking', heard of Snow's action and made the effort to contact him by telephone. Gilchirst is said to have asked Snow what made him walk and he apparently replied: "I thought it was the right thing to do, was in the spirit of the game, and … I'd had a pretty good bat by that stage!"
CLUB ACKNOWLEDGES PLAYER'S UMPIRE ABUSE,
BUT CALLS PENALTY 'INCONSISTENT'
A club in Victoria's Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) admits that one of their players is guilty as charged of abusing an umpire in a game earlier this year, however, they intend to appeal what they see as the "inconsistent" nature of the three-match ban handed to him by a GCA disciplinary panel. St Albans-Breakwater club president John Irvine told the 'Geelong Advertiser' that his club believes that the penalty handed to Jay Addy was "unfair" given the situation that prevailed and when compared with other cases dealt with by the GCA over the last two years.
Irvine told the 'Advertiser' that the original hearing into Addy's case had been delayed as there were difficulties in fixing a date, and that in the meantime the club had suspended him from playing and "got him to help out with the juniors as punishment". When the tribunal eventually convened he was given another three matches, or "eight weeks in total", and that is one of the reasons the "severity" of the penalty is being challenged by the club. The tribunal is said to have acknowledged St Albans-Breakwater had acted strongly in giving Addy a club-imposed suspension.
GCA president Grant Dew told the 'Geelong Advertiser' that its "no secret that we've been concerned about player behaviour and we're trying to work with clubs to improve behaviour all around", and Irvine acknowledged that the GCA had made its approach clear twelve months ago. The case that is said to have sparked the GCA's "tough stance" occurred when another club's captain, Justin Miller, was given a two-match ban for abusing opposition players in a "heated" semi-final last March.
Irvine said Addy would have accepted a similar penalty to Torquay coach Andrew Murden, who earlier this season was given a two-match suspension after being 'red-carded' for abusing umpire Brian Jones during a match. Murden "was given two weeks and not only did he swear at the umpire, he was [also] waving his bat around in a threatening manner", said Irvine, who also pointed to Miller's two-match ban and compared both it and Murden's two weeks suspension to Addy's three.
Addy currently faces missing most of the club's finals campaign if he is unsuccessful at the appeal, although he would be available for the grand final if his side makes it that far. Irvine says that his club is seeking an "independent tribunal' to conduct the appeal hearing, a meeting that Dew says will be held sometime this week.
NO CHANGE EXPECTED TO
ECB PANELS FOR 2013
Reports from England suggest that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) plans to make no changes to the membership of either its Full or Reserve umpiring lists for the coming 2013 northern hemisphere summer. The ECB, which normally announces details of both panels in November-December each year is yet to do so for 2013, however, while no changes appear likely this year, its compulsory retirement age for umpires of sixty-five suggests that a number of vacancies will arise on both panels over the next two years.
The ECB's 2012 Full list was made up of twenty-four umpires: Rob Bailey; Neil Bainton; Mark Benson; Martin Bodenham; Nick Cook; Nigel Cowley; Jeff Evans; Steve Gale; Steve Garratt; Michael Gough; Ian Gould; Peter Hartley; Richard Illingworth; Trevor Jesty; Richard Kettleborough; Nigel Llong; Jeremy Lloyds; Neil Mallender; David Millns; Steve O’Shaughnessy; Tim Robinson; Martin Saggers; George Sharp; and Peter Willey. Gould, Kettleborough and Llong are also members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel, and Bailey, Illingworth, Gough and Robinson the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.
Eight of those twenty-four: Bailey; Benson; Cook; Illingworth; Mallender; Robinson; Saggers; and Willey; all played Tests for England in their playing careers; Gould at One Day International level; and Cowley, Gough, Hartley, Jesty, Kettleborough, Llong, Lloyds, Millns, O'Shaughnessy and Sharp at first class level in England; while Gale played Minor Counties cricket. Only four, Bainton, Bodenham, Evans and Garratt, have not played at the higher-levels of the game.
While no changes are reported to have been made for 2013, the ECB's umpire retirement age means there will be over the next twenty-four months. Jesty will turn 65 in June this year, Willey in December next year, and Sharp and Bodenmam in March and April 2015 respectively. That suggests Jesty will have to be replaced on the Full list prior to the 2014 season, and Willey and probably also both Sharp and Bodenmam for the 2015 season, a situation current members of the ECB's Reserve list are likely to be well aware.
The ten-man Reserve list for 2013 is expected to comprise the same individuals as last season, they being: Paul Baldwin 39, Mike Burns 44, Ismail Dawood 36, Ben Debanham, Mark Eggleston 49, Russell Evans
47, Graham Lloyd 43, Paul Pollard 44, Billy Taylor 36, and Alex Wharf 37. Seven of the group have played first class cricket: Burns having 154 matches on his record; Dawood 39; Evans 7; Lloyd 203; Pollard 192; Taylor 54; and Wharf 121.
In terms of first class matches as an umpire, Baldwin leads the list with twenty-four since 2005, half of which were ICC appointments as a Germany-based umpire in second-tier internationals, but since then thirteen in ECB games. Over the last four northern summers Dawood has stood in ten first class games, Lloyd nine and Eggleston six, and in the last two seasons Wharf and Evans six the three respectively. The other four made their first class debuts in 2012, Pollard now having three such games under his belt and Burns, Debanham and Taylor one each.
MONI, PROCTOR, AGAIN
LOOK AFTER BPL DECIDER
Bangladeshi Enamul Haque Moni and Englishman Richard Illingworth stood in last night's final of the Bangladesh Premier League's (BPL) 2013 Twenty20 tournament, with another local Masudur Rahman being the third umpire, while former South African player and international match referee Mike Procter had overall control of the match. Moni and Proctor worked in the same capacities in the inaugural BPL final twelve months ago, along with former South African and Australian umpire David Orchard (PTG 908-4415, 3 March 2012).
During the forty-six match league over the last five weeks Bangladeshi umpires filled two-thirds of the on-field positions, Illingworth and his countryman Jeremy Lloyds looking after the other third. Lloyds, who like Proctor took part in the BPL's inaugural season last year, was on the field most this year with twenty games, then came Illingworth with fourteen, Moni thirteen, Masudur Rahman and Anisur Rahman ten each, Mahfuzur Rahman and Tanvir Ahmed eight each, and Gazi Sohel nine.
Masudur Rahman and Tanvir Ahmed were both in the television suite for twelve games, and Anisur Rahman and Gazi Sohel each eleven.
THIRTY/30 FORMAT WAY TO 'KEEP KIDS
INTERESTED' IN THE GAME, SUGGESTS WARNE
Former Australian player Shane Warne believes that a 'Thirty30' format is the way to "keep kids interested in cricket", says an article by Nick Smart that was distributed by the News Limited Network on Monday. Warne says "there are so many distractions these days for children who are growing up in a society where everything is instant", and sees the thirty over format as a way of targeting such issues.
The former international spinner says he believes "a new school initiative needs to be put in place" in Australia as he is "not sure that the current programs are good enough". In his view "up to the age of fourteen [in any sport] it’s about enjoyment and participation, [and] after that, it’s about following your passion and becoming committed to becoming the best you can be if you want to pursue a sporting future".
Warne's suggested format, which he calls "the '30/30' School Cricket Program", is for players fourteen and under and would see teams playing thirty over a side matches with a ten minute change over between innings. Every player in a team, except presumably the wicketkeeper, "must bowl three overs each" when in the field, and when they bat they "must retire [if they reach] thirty". If played between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends, players, their siblings and parents would be "still have plenty of family time" left to enjoy, claims Warne.
In his view the difficulty in finding the correct development programs is obtaining the appropriate balance between giving everyone a go to keep them interested, while giving the "stand out players the attention they need and deserve".
BATSMAN 'RUN OUT', BUT FOUR RUNS
'SCORED', CLAIM ONLOOKERS
Australian batsman Peter Siddle hit a four during his side's tour match against India 'A' on Monday but was 'run out' on the same ball, claim a number of Indian media reports from Chennai yesterday. Siddle hit spinner Rakesh Dhruv towards the midwicket fence and fielder Manpreet Singh Gony fumbled the ball on the boundary such that it "bounced off the rope and into his hand at the same time his foot made contact with the rope", after which he returned the ball to the middle where Siddle was run out.
Umpire Anil Chowhdury referred the 'run out' to the third umpire, in this case match referee Balasubramoniam Kalyanasundaram, who found that Siddle was short of the crease, but no video was available of what happened on the boundary. Reports indicate that "the media contingent" watching on signalled that a boundary had been scored and Chowdhury is said to have asked Gony whether the four "was clean" or not, and he apparently indicated that he had not touched the rope, and therefore Siddle's dismissal was confirmed.
DECISION AWAITED ON PLAYER'S
ON-FIELD 'MELT DOWN'
A decision on what action the the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to take against India seamer Praveen Kumar, who was found guilty of a Level four offence in a match two weeks ago, is still awaited. Kumar is said to have sworn at an opposition batsman and head and chest butted him during a BCCI Corporate Trophy game, match referee Dhananjay Singh finding him guilty on both counts (PTG 1056-5137, 11 February 2013).
BCCI guidelines require that its chief administrative officer make a judgement on cases like Kumar's within seven days of receiving a referee's report, but so far Ratnakar Shetty has yet to announce his decision. Should Kumar be found guilty by Shetty he could be banned for up to four matches, say Indian media reports, although the match referee's apparent concern about Kumar's "mental condition" will be an additional factor for Shetty to consider.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 21 February 2013
CA TO REVIEW THE WAY IT
MANAGES INTEGRITY ISSUES
Cricket Australia (CA) has appointed Adrian Anderson, a former general manager of Australian Rules Football, to review the way it manages integrity-related issues. Plans call for Anderson to produce his report by the middle of this year, that timetable being set in order that any recommendations he makes can be considered, and where accepted implemented, prior to the start of the 2013-14 season in Australia.
CA said yesterday that Anderson will look at all aspects of integrity issues, including anti-doping policies, disciplinary processes, domestic cricket anti-corruption, and CA's involvement in the International Cricket Council's global anti-corruption program. The announcement of the review comes just over two weeks after Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report that highlighted the threat of match-fixing and doping concerns in Australian sport (PTG 1056-5133, 11 February 2013), and a few days after the South Australian Cricket Association said that it would organise special counselling on integrity for its players (PTG 1061-5161, 19 February 2013).
James Sutherland, CA's chief executive officer, said yesterday that the decision to conduct the review was made before the ACC released its report and that the timing of the announcement of Anderson's review was "coincidental". Sutherland pointed out that the document published by the ACC contained no evidence of cricket concerns, but that its publication is "a timely reminder that no modern elite sport is immune from risk".
"Public faith in the integrity of sports results they see on the playing field is absolutely critical and we want everything we do pressure tested by an independent specialist expert to be sure we are as good as we can be", said Sutherland.
PONTING BAT THROW
LEADS TO FINE
Tasmanian batsman Ricky Ponting has been fined $A250 for throwing his bat in the air as he was leaving the field after he was 'run out' in a mix-up for ninety-five in the one-day domestic match against Western Australia in Perth on Tuesday. Ponting's bat landed a couple of metres in front of him, says Cricket Australia (CA), and he was subsequently reported by umpires Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski for "Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings".
Although it was Ponting’s first offence in the last eighteen months, CA said in a statement issued late last night, that "given the nature of the incident it objected to the prescribed penalty of an official reprimand for a first time offender, and requested the charge be heard in front of a CA Code of Behaviour Commissioner". That hearing was conducted by Commissioner Rob O’Connor in Perth yesterday afternoon, and the decision to fine Ponting was made after he pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him.
FINN AGAIN HIT STUMPS BUT
NO 'DEAD BALL' MADE
England bowler Steven Finn broke the stumps at the non-striker's once during yesterday's One Day International against New Zealand in Napier and was hit for four by Brendan McCullum, however, umpire Rod Tucker of Australia did not call 'dead ball', say media reports. A 'Cricinfo' story claims that England captain Alistair Cook "received short shrift" when he asked Tucker if the delivery should have been called 'dead', the skipper telling journalists later that the fact that McCullum hit the ball for four "was proof [the stump knock] was not a distraction to batsmen".
Finn, who has been working to cure his stump strike habit over the last four months, said last week that no one has spoken directly to him to spell out the rules international umpires are required to apply when he dislodges the stumps on his follow through and that he was confused about the issue (PTG 1059-5150, 15 February 2013). Cook was also quoted as saying last night that "it frustrates me because it's one rule for Steve and one rule for everyone else".
Some six months after a Finn delivery was first called 'dead' because he knocked over the stumps in his delivery stride, it is still not clear to the general public just how the International Cricket Council expects its umpires to react in such situations (PTG 1049-5101, 31 January 2013).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 22 February 2013
NEW 'NO BALL' LAW FOR FINN
'STUMP STRIKE' SITUATIONS
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced yesterday that the Laws of Cricket are to be revised to require umpires to call 'no ball' when a bowler breaks the stumps whilst delivering the ball, no warning process apparently being involved. The change will come into effect world-wide in October this year, however, it is possible for the International Cricket Committee (ICC) will change the Playing Conditions to include the requirement for games that are played under its auspice almost immediately.
The decision to introduce the new Law, which was approved by the MCC Committee on Wednesday, comes after a string incidents involving England bowler Steven Finn rover the last six months, the first being during the second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley in August (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012). At the moment umpires only have recourse to Law 23.4(b)(iv) which states a 'dead-ball' should be called whenever a batsman is "distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery".
Since Hedingley, there has been considerable debate on the subject within the MCC, the ICC and the wider cricketing world. MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said in a statement yesterday that the decision "to make the breaking of the stumps during the act of delivery a 'no ball' provides clarity to the situation and removes the need for a subjective assessment to be made by the umpire as to whether the striker has been genuinely distracted or not". "It also ensures that the striker will still be credited with any runs that he scores from the delivery, and [as such it] will act as a significant disincentive to the bowler from doing it".
There have been indications that the MCC's Laws sub-committee has had the issue on its agenda for some time and that a formal approach on how to deal with such occurrences would be included in the next revision of the Laws (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012 and PTG 1036-5032, 7 January 2013). One approach talked about was that a first and final warning and then a 'no ball' rather than 'dead ball' call being made for any subsequent occurrence (PTG 999-4854, 4 October 2012). Why the decision was taken not to have a warning process in the new Law was not explained.
Finn indicated last week that he is still confused about just what the process that current applies is (PTG 1059-5150, 15 February 2013), and was again two days ago when Australian umpire Rod Tucker did not call 'dead ball' in a One Day International in Napier (PTG 1063-5172, 21 February 2013).
The latest amendment to the Laws was recommended to the MCC Committee by its Laws sub-committee, a group that includes ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, and for Australian umpire Simon Taufel who is now the ICC's umpire performance and training manager.
TEST DEBUT FOR
SRI LANKA'S MARTINECZ
Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinesz is to make his Test debut in the two-match series the West Indies and Zimbabwe are to play in Barbados and Dominica next month and thus become the seventeenth person from his country to stand at the game's highest level. Martinecz is the fourth new umpire selected for Test duty by the International Cricket Council (ICC) since the start of last year, the others being Enamul Haque Moni of Bangladesh, Richard Illingworth of England and Paul Reiffel of Australia.
Martinecz, 45, played for his country in a single Under-19 One Day International (ODI) against Australia in the mid-1980s, Reiffel being one of the players in the latter's side. Despite a promising start his playing career was limited by a persistent back injury to just four domestic first class matches. Indications are that he took up umpiring in 1996, two years after his retirement, in 1999 he was standing in womens' One Day Internationals, while 2000 saw his debut in domestic first class and List A games; and to date he has stood in a total 120 and 118 matches respectively in those formats.
Colombo-born Martinecz's first experience outside Sri Lanka came in 2004 in Nepal and the ICC chose him again in 2006 for the EurAsia series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2008, he signed up for the 'non-official' Indian Cricket League (ICL), working in a total of forty-six matches, thirty-three on the field and the others in the third umpires' suite, over several different ICL series (PTG 425-2238, 18 May 2009).
By the end of 2009 Martinecz had been nominated by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 464-2413, 29 July 2009), and he stood in his first senior Twenty20 International (T20I) in February 2010 and in an ODI in August the same year. He first worked as a third umpire in an ODI in 2004, his overall ODI record currently standing at thirteen on the field and fifteen as third umpire, while at this time he has five Tests in the television suite under his belt, his first in that role being in 2007. His T20I tally now stands at eight matches on the field and two as the television official.
In February 2011, SLC sent him on exchange to New Zealand where he stood in two Plunket Shield games, then six months later the ICC selected him to stand in second-tier nation first class and ODIs in Namibia. In March last year Martinecz was in the UAE again at the ICC's behest, this time for a second-tier nation qualifying series for the 2012 World Twenty20 championship event, and last August he was sent to Australia for the Under-19 World Cup. His performances in the latter event were recognised with appointment to the final, Illingworth being his on-field partner for that game (PTG 984-4776, 25 August 2012).
Further indications that the ICC considered him as having the potential for higher honours came last October when he was appointed as the neutral umpire in a senior international series for the first time for the West Indies' visit to Bangladesh (PTG 1010-4913, 29 October 2012). His subsequent Test appointment suggests he could be seen as a future potential candidate for promotion to the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in the next one to two years.
That Test debut will be in Barbados with EUP member Bruce Oxenford of Australia, and he will also be on the field for the second match of the series in Dominica, this time with the EUP's Tony Hill of New Zealand. Hill will work as the third umpire in Barbados and Oxenford in Dominica, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand being the match referee for the two games.
Bangladeshi Moni has been overlooked for Test duties since his single match in January last year (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012), although he did receive an appointment as a neutral in an ODI series in South Africa last month (PTG 1010-4913, 29 October 2012). Illingworth was given two Tests last November after three separate senior ODI series as a neutral prior to that, but nothing from the ICC since, while Reiffel is to stand in his third and fourth Tests in New Zealand next month and may be on the way to EUP membership in a few months (PTG 1062-5162, 20 February 2013).
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 23 February 2013
CA T20 MARKETING, DISCIPLINARY,
LINKS UNDER THE SPOT LIGHT
There are "mounting concerns" within Cricket Australia (CA) about the management of disciplinary matters, claims a report published on the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday. Since a series of ugly incidents in CA's Twenty20 (T20) competition last month, writes journalist Daniel Bretting, "closer attention has been paid to player behaviour in domestic matches, as demonstrated by [the national body's] insistence that Ricky Ponting front a hearing and be fined for throwing his bat in Perth earlier this week (PTG 1063-5171, 21 February 2013).
One issue that Bretting says will be looked at by CA's review of its integrity systems over the next few months (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013), is the dual role Mike McKenna has as head of commercial operations and custodian of its disciplinary codes. Standards of on-field behaviour during T20 games across a number of games culminated in a serious on-field confrontation (PTG 1037-5034, 8 January 2013), and McKenna "was in the invidious position of trying to increase the commercial value of the tournament while also having oversight for the code of conduct hearings" (PTG 1038-5040, 10 January 2013). .
While Bretting states that "some elements" of CA are "content" to have the T20 competition "publicised by any means, others were unnerved by the appearance of poor player behaviour being effectively condoned". Amongst other issues "CA's 'Spirit of Cricket' initiatives" are said to have been "made to appear empty commitments to the conduct of the game" (PTG 1035-5027, 5 January 2013).
CA's integrity management review is looking at "anti-doping policies and disciplinary processes, domestic cricket anti-corruption and CA's involvement in the ICC's global anti-corruption program". The 'Cricinfo' report says that there is "the strong possibility McKenna's role will be re-shaped, with responsibility for disciplinary process moved elsewhere within the organisation to guard against conflict, and perceptions of conflict".
The review is being conducted by Adrian Anderson who, as general manager of operations at Australian Rules Football's governing body from 2003-12, was responsible for significant changes to the way that game is governed, including the reorganisation of its disciplinary processes.
LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIM
REMAINS IN INTENSIVE CARE
A school boy cricketer who was struck by lightning in Johannesburg ten days ago is still recovering in hospital. Nine members of 'King Edward VII' school's first-team were admitted to the hospital after they were struck while putting the covers over a pitch (PTG 1060-5155, 17 February 2013), and one still remains "in a critical state" in the hospital's "trauma intensive care unit" say local media reports. Seven of the boys spent a night in hospital after the lightning strike, while an eighth was there for six days before being released.
THIRD SENIOR ODI 'NEUTRAL' APPOINTMENT
FOR SOUTH AFRICAN
South African umpire Johannes Cloete has been handed a third appointment as a neutral umpire in a One Day International (ODI) series, and he may well be on the way to a Test spot later this year if his performance level holds and the International Cricket Council (ICC) follows its normal practices. Cloete is to stand in one of the three ODIs the West Indies and Zimbabwe are to play in Grenada this week, the other ICC appointment being Elite Umpire Panel member Ian Gould of England.
Cloete is to work as the third umpire in matches one and three and Gould in the second game. West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Joel Wilson, Peter Nero and Gregory Brathwaite, will be on the field in matches one, two and three respectively. The series will take Gould's ODI record to seventy-seven matches, Cloete to twenty, Nero twelve, Brathwaite six and Wilson four .
PINK BALLS, DAY-NIGHT
FORMAT, FOR BCB FINAL
Pink balls and a day-night playing schedule are being used for the five-day final of the Bangladesh Cricket League (BPL) in Mirpur, the first time such a format has been used at first class level in Bangladesh. The match is part of an on-going world-wide experiment that is aimed at the introduction of day-night formats in Tests, although in the last such game in South Africa six months ago there were problems with the pink balls which had to be changed frequently because of wear (PTG 990-4810, 10 September 2012).
A report in today's edition of Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper, says that while the pink ball was "not a worry during the day", spectators had difficulty keeping track of it under artificial light. However, Central Zones' Roqibul Hasan, who was eighth out some fifty minutes after the sun set after scoring 125, said he "did not find much difference between the red ball and the pink ball", and that it "behaved as usual and was easy to handle as long as their was some shine in it". North Zone batted for thirty minutes before the close of play, scoring twenty-three without loss in that time.
Neither side were able to train with the pink balls until the day before the game, say reports. Central's Marshall Ayub, who is currently the BPL's leading run-scorer, said after the training session that the balls were "visible enough under artificial lights", while Farhad Hossain from North Zone indicate that "so far I think it has been okay sighting the ball, even though one of the light towers [at the ground] wasn't [in operation]". "The main issue [is] it becoming discoloured [as it gets older], [which may] trouble the batsman because the ball will [need to] be changed [and newer ones] under lights can swing around", he said.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has scheduled the start of each day's play as 1 p.m., 'lunch' is from 3 p.m. to 3.40 p.m. and 'tea' from 5.40 p.m. to 6 p.m., the close of play being scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunset in Dhaka at this time of the year is within a minute or so of 6 p.m. therefore the whole of the last session is being played under lights. To guard against potential problems with the pink balls, particularly in relation to longevity, the BCB are reported to have thirty on hand at the ground.
Last September the BCB announced that an opening match of its 2012-13 National Cricket League first class season in October, as well as the final of the competition in April, were to be played with pink balls in a day-night format (PTG 989-4801, 6 September 2012). Despite that none of October's first class games were played under lights (PTG 1003-4875, 13 October 2012).
CA ONE-DAY FINAL APPOINTMENTS
FOLLOW TOP NUP RANKINGS
Appointments for the final of Cricket Australia's (CA) 2012-13 one-day competition in Melbourne on Tuesday confirm what many observers access as the top rankings of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) . The on-field umpires for the match between Victoria and Queensland will be Simon Fry and John Ward, while Mick Martell is the third umpire and CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Bob Stratford the match referee.
For Fry, Stratford and Ward its their second domestic one-day final, Stratford being the match referee in 2010, while Fry stood in the 2011 game and Ward last year. The two umpires have also each worked in a final in the third umpire's suite. Fry, Ward and Martell are thought to be ranked two, three and four in current NUP rankings, with Paul Reiffel, who is believed to be preparing for Tests in New Zealand next month (PTG 1062-5162, 20 February 2013), in first spot.
Should Reiffel be promoted to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel later this year, as is being suggested by some, it would seem likely that Ward would join Fry as an on-field member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the 2013-14 season, with Martell moving into the IUP third umpire sport.
CAS DECISION ON BUTT, ASIF,
APPEALS DUE NEXT MONTH
The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expects to hand down its verdicts on the appeals made to it by former Pakistan players Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif sometime next month (PTG 1053-5121, 6 February 2013). Butt is challenging a ten-year ban given to him by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and Asifa seven-year ban on Thursday, for spot fixing offences during a Test match in England in 2010. Apart from the ICC ban, Butt, Asif and team mate Mohammad Aamer were also jailed by a British court after being found guilty of those offences (PTG 856-4184, 4 November 2011).
PLAYING THE GAME
CORRUPTION, TECHNOLOGY, LAWS
ISSUES, ON WCC MEETING AGENDA
The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC), which is made up of individuals with a great deal of experience at the highest levels of the game, is to consider a range of cricket-related issues during its meeting in Auckland today and tomorrow. A detailed agenda for what is the WCC's fourteenth meeting, but first in New Zealand, has not been released, however, matters such as corruption, the use and operation of technology, the game's Laws and associated research, and women's cricket, are said to be set for discussion.
The MCC defines the WCC's aims as: "to debate all matters in the interests of cricket and cricketers; to consider at all times the balance of the contest between bat and ball and to assist [the] MCC's custodianship of the Laws of the Game; to protect the Spirit of Cricket; and, to be sure that governing body decisions never put cash or country interests before the good of the game". The group is also required to "conduct research, particularly into technological advances and bio-mechanical elements of the game and its players", the MCC providing the funding for such work.
At its last meeting at Lord's in August, the WCC called for "a robust accreditation process, as used in other sports", "to guarantee the quality of the technology" that it utilised in the Umpire Decision Review System (PTG 978-4741, 16 August 2012). It also discussed the then 'Finn' wicket strike situation (PTG 978-4740, 16 August 2012), and indicated there was "some support" amongst its members for amending the LBW Law to cover a 'switch hit' shot situation (PTG 978-4742, 16 August 2013).
In addition, members repeated their "strong support" for floodlit Tests, but only at what it called "some carefully chosen venues" (PTG 978-4744, 16 August 2012), "congratulated" the International Cricket Council (ICC) "players and umpires" for the way in which play "now continues for longer" in international matches when bad light situations apply (PTG 978-4743, 16 August 2012), and recommended that players in televised domestic matches be banned from using mobile phones during that time (PTG 979-4745, 17 August 2012).
The committee brings together people from many countries, five current members being from England, three South Africa, two each from Australia, India and the West Indies, and one each from New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; Bangladesh and Zimbabwe being the only Test playing nations currently without anyone on the group. Almost half of the membership have led their country in Tests, including the only women on the group, current England captain Charlotte Edwards, she being one of three on the WCC who are still playing at international level.
Most are there as a result of their playing experience but one, West Indian Steve Bucknor, was a Test umpire, he having stood in 128 such matches, a world record that is expected to stand for many decades, plus 172 first class games overall. Bucknor is not entirely alone though for two other members have some direct insight into the role and work of match officials, former Pakistani all-rounder Majid Khan having also refereed four Tests and umpired five first class matches, while past South African wicket keeper David Richardson has refereed three women's One Day Internationals. Importantly though Richardson is now the ICC's Chief Executive Officer and was for ten years the world body's General Manager Cricket, a position that included responsibility for international umpires and referees.
The WCC meets twice annually, one meeting taking place at Lord's in the northern summer immediately prior to a Test at that ground, and the second usually during the season in a Test-playing country elsewhere in the world.
NZ NAMES ITS 'FAVOURITE'
GRASS ROOTS UMPIRE
Kerry Firth from Hawera, the second-largest town in the Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island, has been awarded the title of 'New Zealand's Favourite Cricket Umpire' for 2013 following a nationwide search conducted by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) over the last three months. As part of his win, Firth received $A900 and was given flights, accommodation and tickets to attend last Saturday's One Day International in Auckland between New Zealand and England, NZC arranging for him to get a behind the scenes tour of Eden Park and to meet the match officials involved.
Firth, 47, who was awarded the title as a result of over twenty years of service as an umpire, says he has enjoyed "a lifelong love affair with cricket" and is at his happiest out on the ground. "I am not normally speechless, but I am humbled to have [won the award] as my focus is getting kids to love cricket the way that I do". "I never expected anything like this and hope it will encourage others to consider umpiring", said Firth.
Rodger McHarg, NZC's National Umpiring Manager and a former Test umpire, congratulated Firth and all of the finalists, saying "we are thrilled to be involved in this initiative to acknowledge the role of volunteer umpires in our sport". Graeme Edmond, Managing Director of the company that funded the search "to reward an unsung hero of club cricket", said the "competition highlights the amazing work of thousands of Kiwi volunteers like Kerry, who make grassroots cricket accessible to all New Zealanders". "Their contributions are invaluable [and] I just wish we could reward each and every one", said Edmond.
This is the second year NZC has conducted the 'favourite umpire' program, Rotorua-based umpire Colin Elstob being named the inaugural winner in January last year (PTG 892-4347, 27 January 2013).
TWO MATCH BAN HANDED
Former Indian bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has been suspended for two matches by the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) for a Level 2 offence committed whilst playing in a one-day tournament in Goa last week. Reports say that Sreesanth breached the BCCI's player Code of Conduct during Kerala's match against Tamil Nadu and that after consulting with on-field umpires Arun Kumar Basa and Adil Palia, match referee Kishore Sharma handed him the two-match ban.
Sreesanth is said to have been found guilty of arguing with one of umpires, but was also the subject of a formal complaint Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karth lodged with Sharma, the wicket-keeper-batsman apparently having been "targeted" by Sreesanth with a barrage of abuse whilst he was at the crease. Kerala-born Sreesanth, 30, has been involved in a string of on-field incidents during his career to date. In October 2009 the BCCI issued him with what it then called a "final warning" about his "on-ground belligerence" (PTG 506-2612, 15 October 2009).
Meanwhile, a separate report in the 'Indian Express' newspaper says that India and Uttar Pradesh bowler Praveen Kumar has apologised to the BCCI for his behaviour in a match earlier this month and indicated that he will not repeat such actions in the future. During that game Kumar reportedly made an offensive gesture and resorted to “violent physical contact” against the batsman at the crease, the BCCI subsequently handing him a "show-cause" notice that required him to explain his actions (PTG 1055-5129, 9 February 2013).
Kumar is currently banned from representing Central Zone in the on-going Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day domestic series as well as any other match organised by the BCCI. The 'Express' quotes what it calls "a top BCCI official" as saying "We have received Praveen's reply to the show-cause notice and this will now be forwarded to the disciplinary committee, which will take a final call". That committee, which is to comprise BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan, Arun Jaitley and Niranjan Shah, is expected to meet at the end of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai, a game that is currently scheduled to end tomorrow.
POLITICAL PROTESTERS IN CHENNAI
A group that wants an independent Tamil-speaking state in Sri Lanka staged a protest against the presence of Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena in Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil-Nadu, on the second day of the opening India-Australia Test match on Saturday. Media reports say that fifty people were arrested by Police in what was the latest in a series of protests in the region against Sri Lanka and "any of its nationals" who visit visit Tamil-Nadu, which lies on the coast of India adjacent to northern Sri Lanka.
The match in Chennau is Dharmasena's fourteenth as an umpire in a Test and sixth in India to date. His debut at Test level was in Ahmedebad in November 2010, the other games since being in Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Nagpur and now Chennai, and he is due to add to that list when he stands in the second India-Australia Test in Hyderabad early next month (PTG 1059-5149, 15 February 2013).
'TOO MANY LOGOS' RESULTS IN FINE
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was yesterday fined ten per cent of his match fee for a “breach of the International Cricket Council's [ICC] Clothing and Equipment Regulations during an International Match”. The ICC said last night that Ashwin, who is currently playing in the India-Australia Test in Chennai, "exceeded the permitted number of manufacturers’ logos when he walked onto the field with four logos on the straps of his batting pads".
PLAYING THE GAME
ICC WITHDRAWALS FROM DAY-NIGHT
TEST BALL DEVELOPMENT WORK
The search for a ball suitable for use in day-night Tests appears to have stalled given the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to hand responsibility for the development work involved back to its member nations, says a report published in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday. Three years ago the ICC said it planned to play "an even more pro-active role in the development of a [day-night Test] ball" (PTG 610-3061, 24 May 2010), but an unnamed ICC spokesman told 'The Australian' that "the onus for ongoing testing now lies with the member boards", even though some of those boards have themselves tried and failed to find an appropriate solution.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has been at the forefront of the push for day-night Tests over the last five years (PTG 133-726, 14 November 2007), and last year it welcomed the ICC's decision to allow such fixtures provided both teams in a series agree and a suitable ball can be found (PTG 953-4629, 26 June 2012). Since 2009, there have been predictions from senior MCC officials on a number of occasions that day-night Tests could be played "in the next year" (PTG 457-2375, 16 July 2009), forecasts that have been subsequently put aside with declarations that there are too many technical challenges in developing a suitable ball (PTG 562-2855, 1 February 2010).
Over the last four years day-night first class games have been played in domestic-based competitions in England, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and particularly the West Indies, and another such match ended in Bangladesh yesterday (PTG 1065-5178, 23 February 2013). In addition, a game involving first class players was conducted in South Africa last September but concerns about the quality of the balls used arose (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012. Cricket Australia (CA), which was a strong supported of the concept until is passed the "very expensive" ball-hunt task to the ICC two years ago (PTG 760-3731, 21 April 2011), conducted day-night trials in state second XI games in 2010, the initial reaction then being reported as "negative" (PTG 567-2874, 8 February 2010).
Journalist Andrew Faulkner, who wrote yesterday's story in 'The Australian', states that ball manufacturers have been "unable to make a coloured ball that keeps its shine and is easy to see in twilight and after nightfall". He quotes what he calls an unnamed "former player" who was involved in ball trials as saying that "orange don't work, pink don't work" and that he's "never seen anything that comes close" to a suitable answer to the issue. "Finding a suitable ball, be it pink, orange or yellow, has proved to be cricket's equivalent of alchemy after more than five years of fruitless experiments", writes Faulkner.
CA's strategic communications adviser Peter Young told 'The Australian' that his organisation "ran a program for a number of years under [former general manager] Michael Brown", "but we haven't been doing much research on it since [Brown's project and are] not actively running a coloured-ball research program". CA chief executive James Sutherland said last October 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, and it has not yet been possible to predict when such a ball might be available".
Faulkner says "much is at stake" with CA's television broadcast rights agreement up for bidders next month, for "day-night Tests would draw greater audiences as much of the play would be on TV when fans arrive home from work or school". "Including day-night Tests in the scheduling will greatly influence the price paid by the successful bidder", he says, however, "the prospect of [such games] being played in upcoming series appears a forlorn hope".
The MCC has scheduled the traditional county season opener between its side and last year's county champion in the UAE next month as a day-night first class game for the fourth year in a row. With that organisation still keen on day-night Tests it is likely, despite the ICC's decision to stop its work on ball-related issues, that there will be further discussions on the issue during the current meeting of its World Cricket Committee (WCC) in Auckland (PTG 1066-5158, 25 February 2013). ICC chief executive officer David Richardson is a member of the WCC.
FINN'S COACH SUPPORTS
PLANNED LAW CHANGE
Former England bowler Angus Fraser, who is now a committee member at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and also current England bowler Steven Finn's coach at Middlesex, says he is satisfied with the MCC's decision to require umpires to call 'no ball' when a bowler breaks the stumps whilst delivering the ball (PTG 1064-5173, 22 February 2013). Fraser told 'Lord's TV' he thinks the situation that currently prevails in such situations "is unsatisfactory" for "you leave yourself open to potentially embarrassing situations".
Fraser indicated that in his view the original decision to use the 'dead ball' Law for instances where Finn disturbed the stumps "was the wrong one", but said that "now the 'Genie is out of the bottle' the right move has been made". "Something needed to be done", he said, for "we've reached a situation now where every batsman would complain about being distracted" when the stumps are disturbed by a bowler. "I'd rather not see the bowler punished but... I think the fact that it becomes a 'no-ball' and the batsman does not lose the benefits he could have got from that delivery is correct".
PLAYER DIES MID-MATCH WHILE
BATTING WITH HIS SON
A player in suburban Melbourne died whilst batting with his son in a G-grade 'City of Moorabbin Cricket Association' match on Saturday. Ricky Hart was playing for Aspendale when he collapsed, and despite trying for over half an hour, ambulance officers called to the ground were unable to revive him. Hart, 47, who was head of junior cricket at his club and an all-round sportsman and community figure, had come out of retirement this season in order that he could play with his son. The match itself was quickly abandoned.
REFERRAL MISTAKES ALL ROUND
West Indian umpire Peter Nero's decision not to refer what reports say was a close 'run out' call in the One Day International between the West Indies and Zimbabwe in Grenada on Sunday was somewhat unusual, given the tendency umpires in televised matches have nowadays of going to replays, sometimes even in the most obvious of cases. Viewers at home saw that Windies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan was caught seven or eight centimetres short of his crease by a direct throw, but instead of referring it to third umpire Ian Gould of England, Nero is said to have immediately shaken his head when Zimbabwe appealed.
While reports say that the umpire made the wrong call so did the Zimbabweans, for they did not exercise their right to have the matter referred prior to the next ball being bowled. At the time Sarwan, who had opened the innings, was on fifty-three, and he was still there 'not out' on 120 when the West Indies overhauled Zimbabwe's score of 273 with one over to spare.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 28 February 2013
'CORRUPTION' CALLED THE GAME'S
'SINGLE BIGGEST CHALLENGE'
The "single biggest challenge" facing cricket today is corruption and more needs to be done to combat the threat it presents to the game, says the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC). Illegal activities and ways to tackle them are said to have "dominated" discussions at the committee's meeting in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday (PTG 1066-5181, 25 February 2013)
For "the most part international cricket seems to be clean, and is almost certainly cleaner than it was", says the WCC. However, in the committee's assessment it is the domestic game, and the Twenty20 format in particular, that is becoming more of a target for corruption than internationals. As a result more needs to be done "to scrutinise owners, selectors and administrators" involved in such competitions", and the establishment and strengthening of individual national Anti Corruption and Security Units" (ACSU) are the keys to such an approach.
The WCC called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and national boards to "harness intelligence from players, bookmakers and betting exchanges". It believes such information should be used to "develop software to monitor and assess probabilities of certain outcomes in the four areas of the game that attract betting from illegal bookmakers: results; lunch and tea scores; brackets, which are specified periods of play; and end-of-innings scores".
Players must be fully included, via domestic and international players’ associations, in such efforts, says the committee, and "must feel committed to reporting with confidentiality assured of any irregularities and rumours. Captains are particularly vital in the fight against corruption, says the WCC, and "care should be taken to protect players from the attentions of dubious individuals at post-match parties, and education efforts must be redoubled, especially in local languages".
The committee noted that a meeting of national ACSUs is to be held in Dubai in next month. That gathering is, says the WCC, important for growing the trust between the various national units and will enable them to discuss the methods they use and the way information available to them is coordinated. Former England captain Mike Brearley, the WCC's chairman, said that "the threat of corruption won’t go away, complacency is the biggest risk, [and] we need to be resourceful and vigilant" about such issues.
URDS NO LONGER JUST FOR
'HOWLERS', SAYS WCC
The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) used in international cricket is no longer there just for umpire "howlers" as originally envisaged, says the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC). In its view "the remarkable speed of technological development in the game, with greatly-improved cameras now in evidence, and the way their application has evolved since the inception of the [UDRS]", now contributes to "protecting the integrity of the game".
Technology used in today’s game often "reveals things which the human eye cannot pick up on the field", says the WCC, who point to statistics that show an increase the percentage of correct decisions that are made in international cricket as a result. "Furthermore", says the committee, "it notes that the game as a whole is worse off when available technology is not used and calls for the universal application of ball tracking, 'Hot Spot' and, subject to satisfactory trials, 'Snickometer' technologies" (PTG 1054-5122, 7 February 2013).
In supporting technology though, the WCC says its also "believes that more training is required for third umpires, possibly to the extent whereby the International Cricket Council (ICC) should consider the introduction of a cadre of third umpires who specialise in television decision reviews only". Such an approach was first mentioned three years ago by then ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat, who also later suggested on another occasion that the UDRS might one day do away with the need for 'neutral' umpires in Tests.
Part of the WCC's consideration of the technology issues involved presentations by Warren Brennan, the head of the Australian company that markets 'Hot Spot', and Ian Taylor, the chief executive of New Zealand firm Animation Research Ltd which manufactures 'Virtual Eye' ball tracking technology, on how their respective technologies work and are used in cricket.
There was no mention in the post-meeting press release about the research the ICC commissioned into the accuracy of 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Virtual Eye' ball tracking technology just over twelve months ago (PTG 898-4370, 6 February 2012). The ICC said then that it hoped, to date unsuccessfully, the results would persued the Board of Control for Cricket in India about just how accurate the information such systems provide are. Later that year a preliminary report into fourteen "situations" that occurred in Tests indicated that the results obtained were in "100 per cent agreement" with the data provided by the ball tracking system in real-time (PTG 943-4584, 2 June 2012).
ICC pronouncements at the time indicated that research was to continue, however, in the time since no publicity has been given to that work and whether it continued, or is continuing, at the present time.
MCC TO INVESTIGATE BAT SIZE,
The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) has recommended that the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, needs to be investigated, and the MCC says that it is to conduct research into the matter "over the coming months". Discussion of bats came as part of the WCC's consideration of a number of Laws-related issues during its meeting in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday (PTG 1066-5181, 25 February 2013).
The WCC says that the "balance" between bat and ball in the game is an issue of "paramount importance". There have been concerns in many quarters for some time that present day bat manufacturing technology has shifted the advantage in the game towards batsmen and away from bowlers (PTG 1026-4984, 7 December 2012). Currently, Law 6 talks about what materials can be used to make a bat as well as the length and width that is permissible, but thickness issues as they relate to the blade itself are not mentioned.
After indicating last August that there was "some support" amongst its members for amending the LBW Law to cover a 'switch hit' shot (PTG 978-4742, 16 August 2013), the WCC now says that its "reaffirmed its support for the switch-hit" at this week's meeting. Its latest assessment is that the "difficulty and the high risk of playing the shot outweigh the need to legislate against it, either through banning it or amending the LBW Law when the shot is attempted".
The committee looked again at the the International Cricket Committee's (ICC) ban on runners when a batsman is injured, indicating in its view that approach produces "a risk of a player aggravating an injury by having to bat without a runner". The ICC made the change its Playing Conditions in 2011 due to concern that batsman were using runners inappropriately (PTG 784-3833, 29 June 2011), having cracked down on batsmen with cramp being allowed a runner two years before that (PTG 498-2569, 29 September 2009).
While the MCC has always resisted a change to the Laws as they relate to runners for batsman (PTG 732-3601, 25 February 2011), the WCC says that when it comes to substitutes for fielders the Law is "still widely abused at international level". While it believes that "a Law change is [also] not necessary" in the case of fielders "as the problem does not exist in the amateur game", it does recommend that ICC introduce a Playing Condition that states that a substitute fielder in internationals "should only be allowed in cases of serious injury or illness".
The WCC also said its "strongly supports" last week's decision by the MCC to have umpires call 'no ball' when a bowler breaks the wicket whilst delivering the ball. It called the move "a sensible solution to a situation that currently causes confusion" (PTG 1064-5173, 22 February 2013).
'SENIOR ADMINISTRATOR' REPORTED
AFTER CONFRONTING UMPIRE
Perth newspaper 'The West Australian' reported yesterday that an unnamed individual it calls a "senior association administrator" was reported last week for confronting an umpire during a third-grade Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) match. No details were provided about just what occurred or what if any disciplinary action is being taken over the matter, but the article says that the WACA is "concerned" about the matter.
Journalist John Townsend claims in his article that there are also concerns over what he called "deteriorating player behaviour", "questionable bowling actions", "poor umpiring standards" and "poor pitches" at some grounds, in the WACA's top club-level competition. Such issues have, he says, been "exacerbated by fears results [are] being contrived as the season [in Western Australia] comes to an end".
Townsend writes that the results "issue came to a head last Sunday in a game between Bayswater and Midland-Guildford when two declarations set up an outright result for the home team". Those watching the match are said to have been "aghast at the tactics used to bring on Bayswater's declaration", and what are called "senior players" say they were "embarrassed" when Midland fielders "allowed the ball to run to the boundary" as Bayswater openers Aaron Todd and Simon Allison put on an unbeaten century stand in a match that went down to the last over.
WACA coach and former Australian opener Justin Langer is quoted by Townsend as being "wary of allowing the worst traits of county cricket to creep into [WA's top club] competition". Langer's view is said to be that "club cricket will be the foundation of WA's success going forward", but he is "not a fan of the ball being thrown up to set up a target which happens in county cricket".
Langer also expressed concern about pitch standards, saying that there have been "a lot of outright results and a lot of bowlers getting wickets cheaply and I wonder whether that is due to the quality of the players or the pitches". Townsend says that top grade teams have been dismissed for 104 or fewer 21 times this season, the lowest three scores being 23, 38 and 58.
PLAYER'S ON-FIELD DEATH NOT THE
FIRST THIS AUSSIE SEASON
The death of a player while he was batting with his son in a match in suburban Melbourne last Saturday was unfortunately not the first such tragedy this Australian summer (PTG 1067-5188, 26 February 2013). Ricky Hart, 47, died on the weekend, but back in December in country New South Wales, Warwick Rapley passed away in similar fashion in a Dubbo Cricket Association third grade game.
Rapley, 51, was playing with South Dubbo's youth development side alongside his youngest son when he collapsed on the field, and despite the efforts of fellow players and paramedics he could not be revived. He left behind his wife Debbie and four children, while Hart's wife Maxine has two children.
ECB TO TARGET PLAYER USE
OF RECREATIONAL DRUGS
The England and Wales Cricket Board has pledged to take all "reasonable steps" to stop players using recreational drugs following an inquest into the death of Surrey batsman Tom Maynard last year. Maynard, 23, who was tipped as a future England international, was electrocuted on a railway line and struck by a train last June as he attempted to flee police, a post-mortem revealing that alcohol levels in his body were nearly four times above the legal driving limit and that he had taken cocaine and ecstasy after a night out.
Following a coroner's verdict of accidental death yesterday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that it "accepts that recreational drug use is a part of modern society" but will take all reasonable steps to prevent the use of such substances within the game. Former England captain Michael Vaughan hopes that Maynard's death will "frighten" other cricketers who are using drugs.
The ECB board recently agreed to develop, in co-operation with the UK Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), an out-of-competition testing program that will encompass recreational drugs. Such a program will "supplement [the] ECB's existing anti-doping program that applies to all registered county players and involves in- and out-of-competition testing that is compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency code. The ECB also provides financial support to the PCA for player education and support programs on such issues.
ANOTHER PLAYER FINED
FOR LOGO OFFENCE
New Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for a “breach of the International Cricket Council's [ICC] Clothing and Equipment Regulations during an International Match”. The ICC said last night that Henriques, who made his Test debut in the recently concluded India-Australia match in Chennai, was found to have had a manufacturer`s logo on the chin strap of his helmet during the fourth day`s play on Sunday.
Henriques accepted the Level 1 charge brought against him by on-field umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri lanka, plus third and fourth umpires Vineet Kulkarni and Krishnaraj Srinath from India, as well the sanction proposed by match referee Chris Broad of England. Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was fined ten per cent of his match fee for a similar offence earlier this week (PTG 1066-5185, 25 February 2013).