• Two Aussies for ICC umpire coach roles (1069-5197).
• World Test Championship again pushed by WCC (1069-5198).
• NZ to establish on-line cricket network (1069-5199).
• South African to stand in two Sheffield Shield games (1069-5200).
• Women's cricket now part of the game's 'fabric', says WCC (1069-5201).
1,070 - 2 March [5202-5208]
• National scholarships awarded to two Australian umpires, say reports (1070-5203).
• Umpires from Indonesia, Japan promoted to top EAP panel (1070-5204).
• IUP members appointed to second-tier fixtures (1070-5205).
• Latest Reiffel Test appointments confirmed (1070-5206).
• ICC to 'tweak' Playing Conditions to cover 'Finn' no balls (1070-5207).
• Cook winding up Caribbean visit (1070-5208).
1,071 - 6 March [5209-5215]
• Two-tiered league system needed for Tests, says Vaughan (1071-5209).
• 'Fate' of Bangladeshi 'sting' umpires to be decided today? (1071-5210).
• Drug testing introduced for Indian domestic matches (1071-5211).
• Lankan umpire makes first class debut (1071-5212).
• Windies-Bangladesh exchange program continues (1071-5213).
• Sunday league to introduce player identity cards (1071-5214).
• Third player fined for logo offence (1071-5215).
1,072 - 7 March [5216-5215]
• Decisions on Bangladeshi 'sting' umpires deferred pending ICC advice (1072-5216).
• UDRS use in Indian domestic matches suggested at BCCI meeting (1072-5217).
• Lankan-NZ exchange program proceeding (1072-5218).
• NSW stalwart notches up 250th Premier League game (1072-5219).
• PNG, Fijian umpires awarded scholarships (1072-5220).
• Two matches in one day results in fine (1072-5221).
• Kaneria's lifetime ban could be overturned, claims report (1072-5222).
1,073 - 9 March [5223-5225]
• Two more Tests for England's Illingworth (1073-5223).
• Windies 'Emerging Panel' being expanded (1073-5224).
• Disputed 'gentleman's agreement' sees match result overturned then reinstated (1073-5225).
1,074 - 12 March [5226-5227]
• Bowden pushes towards 200 ODI mark (1074-5226).
• Kumar returns one-month on after 'severe reprimand' (1074-5227).
1,075 - 13 March [5228-5230]
• Basin Test marks Wellington scorer's 50th year (1075-5228).
• Over's seventh ball sees key wicket fall in Bridgetown (1075-5229).
• Three consecutive first ball LBW dismissals for English visitor (1075-5229).
1,076 - 14 March [5231-5232]
• 17-ball over equals one-day format record (1076-5231).
• Fine, reprimand for 'arm point' after dismissal (1076-5232).
1,077 - 18 March [5233-5241]
• ICC 'approves' umpire 'sting' report, BCB reviewing 'legal' issues (1077-5233).
• Bat thickness concerns 'unfounded', claims Vaughan (1077-5234).
• Crowd, commentators think 'Mankad', but ball already 'dead' (1077-5235).
• Sheffield Shield final appointments appear clear cut (1077-5236).
• 'Four' signal revoked after 'thick grass' stops ball (1077-5237).
• Substitute sent from field in 'Joburg' ODI (1077-5238).
• 2013 European umpire, scorer panels announced (1077-5239).
• 'Kookaburra' still working to find day-night Test ball (1077-5240).
• Hair sample tests added to ECB anti-drugs program (1077-5241).
1,078 - 22 March [5242-5245]
• PCB enquiry finds 'sting' umpires guilty; Shah to appeal 10-year ban (1078-5242).
• Third CA 'Umpire Award' in six years for Oxenford (1078-5243).
• Stratford named Shield final referee for the third time (1078-5244).
• Pakistan's Hafeez dismissed 'Obstructing the Field' (1078-5245).
1,079 - 23 March [5246-5251]
• Aussie summer schedule 'deeply unsatisfactory', says former Test batsman (1079-5246).
• Senior WA administrator fined for on-field umpire confrontation (1079-5247).
• Third straight 'Spirit' award for NSW women (1079-5248).
• ICC rejects Pakistan concerns about UDRS operation, umpire's performance (1079-5249).
• Dubai anti-corruption workshop described as 'extremely useful' (1079-5250).
• Swings and roundabouts (1079-5251).
1,080 - 24 March [5252-5259]
• BCCI a 'long way' from accepting UDRS use, says ICC chief (1080-5252).
• Dravid pushes day-night Tests ahead of County season opener (1080-5253).
• Shah's name scrubbed from IUP list (1080-5254).
• Six plus decades of umpiring earns community award (1080-5255).
• Sandstorm stops play in Dubai (1080-5256).
• Ball 'kick' earns batsman a run, but no overthrow involved (1080-5257).
• ICC outlines basic World Test Championship timetable (1080-5258).
• Kumar 'regrets' and 'won't repeat' on-field boil over (1080-5259).
1,081 - 26 March [5260-5268]
• Bee invasion, floodlight failure, both stop play (1081-5260).
• Fourth Bangladesh-Windies exchange visit underway (1081-5261).
• 'Monetary incentives' for Ranji Trophy outright wins? (1081-5262).
• Ten Asian umpires selected for ACC T20 event in Nepal (1081-5263).
• Africa-based referee manages Americas T20 series (1081-5264).
• 'Send off' attracts fine in Delhi Test (1081-5265).
• Rauf replaced by Davis for final NZ-England Test (1081-5266).
• Late disciplinary hearing irks player, prompts social media outburst (1081-5267).
• 'Twilight' period issues 'a bit of a myth', says Warwickshire seamer (1081-5268).
1,082 - 29 March [5269-5273]
• Ball 'kick' observations wrong, run entirely appropriate (1082-5269).
• Queensland seamer reported for 'suspect' bowling action (1082-5270).
• Politics to keep Lankan IPL match officials from Chennai (1082-5271).
• Vanuatu, Nepalese umpires for one-day WCL series in Africa (1082-5272).
• CA to split Umpire Educator, UHPP roles (1082-5273).
1,083 - 31 March [5274-5277]
• Umpires 'holding Nairobi cricket to ransom', claims official (1083-5274).
• Busy season for Diamond Valley tribunal (1083-5275).
• Play women in Aussie T20 series, says Waugh (1083-5276).
• Weight loss enables return to umpiring (1083-5277).
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 1 March 2013
TWO AUSSIES FOR ICC
UMPIRE COACH ROLES
Denis Burns and David Levens, who are both current members of Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), are to become Umpire Coaches with the International Cricket Council (ICC), say reports from Melbourne yesterday. The pair will work under former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager (PTG 995-4833, 27 September 2012), however, just when they will take up their new roles has not yet been announced.
Levens, 63, was an inaugural UHPP member when that group was established in 2008 (PTG 274-1464, 11 July 2008), coming to that position after extensive experience in the education of officials in numerous sports. A former Umpires Coach for the Australian Football League (AFL), Levens developed and implemented the AFL's Umpire Coach Professional Development Program. He was responsible for the development of CA's Level One Umpire Program for school teachers and lower-level coaches, and since joining the UHPP has worked as a match referee, umpire observer, and in the development of up-and-coming umpires.
Lancashire-born Burns, 62, joined CA from England in the then new position of 'Umpire Educator' in January 2009 after making significant contributions to educational materials produced by the then named Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers. The Educator job at the time had dual responsibilities, one involving the development and delivery of umpiring programs within Australia, and the other servicing CA's overseas game education contract work in Asia, an area in which he worked on numerous occasions (PTG 357-1901, 5 December 2008). By 2011 the latter tasks had ceased and in July that year Burns was given a UHPP position (PTG 788-3857, 4 July 2011), work that he has undertaken since in parallel with his umpire education and accreditation roles.
While Burns and Levens have apparently been successful in their applications to the ICC, four Umpire Coach jobs were advertised by the world body in mid-December, but as yet just who will occupy the other two positions is not clear. Those four jobs are to replace the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Managers (RUPM) system, which was originally a five-man geographic-based structure when it was set up in mid-2008 (PTG 262-1417, 26 June 2008). It is possible, say some observers, that current RUPM members Barry Dudleston of England and Peter Manuel of Sri Lanka could be in line for the other two appointments alongside the Australians.
According to the ICC advertisement for the four jobs the work involved will include: the development of individual coaching plans for the nearly fifty members of the ICC's top Elite and second-tier International umpiring panels; development and facilitation of umpire coaching programs and content for those umpires; and working with ICC member countries to deliver "umpiring programs and content" (PTG 1029-4998, 14 December 2012). Those involved are to "work from home", however they must be prepared to travel internationally for "approximately 100 days" each year.
The departure of Burns and Levens will, of course, leave two vacancies on CA's UHPP. Possible candidates to replace them include former Australian international umpire Daryl Harper, 61, who CA said on his retirement from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel in June 2011 could be used in education and training programs (PTG 786-3844, 1 July 2011). In addition there is former first class umpire Bob Parry, 60, who retired from that level of the game almost twelve months ago (PTG 919-4475, 23 March 2012), although he currently has two other roles, the first as Victoria's umpire manager and the other a similar role with the ICC's East Asia Pacific region.
WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP
AGAIN PUSHED BY WCC
The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) again underlined its support for the World Test Championship (WTC) and the importance of keeping Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game, during its meeting in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday, however, it also acknowledged there is a need for Test, Twenty20 and One Day Internationals formats to co-exist on the world scene. The inaugural WTC is scheduled for 2017 then every four years, but as yet its structure has not been decided, although a "timeless Test" concept for the final was floated two years ago (PTG 800-3910, 19 July 2011).
David White, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive, is said to have addressed WCC members about an idea floated by some that the WTC be a two-tier championship involving promotion and relegation. In his view such an arrangement "would be catastrophic for the long-form of the game in the nations outside the top four in the world". The MCC's summary of the Auckland meeting does not mention WTC formatting issues, only that the event should be "well marketed to cricket enthusiasts around the world".
White also spoke about the "co-existence" of the three forms of the game. He is said to have advocated the '3/3/3' model of playing three matches of each format when a national side tours another country, as is the case during England’s current visit to New Zealand. A year ago the WCC said that it was disappointed several Test series in recent years had consist of only of two matches, a move it believed went against efforts to keep Tests as the highest level of the game (PTG 885-4316, 11 January 2012).
Meanwhile, former Australian captain Greg Chappell fears Test cricket is in danger of losing its "soul" if the Twenty20 game is allowed to overshadow the five-day format, and he challenged the International Cricket Council not to let Tests "fall by the wayside" in the "face of the T20 threat" in a talk he presented in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The Australian's address came a week after former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar proclaimed Test cricket as the ultimate barometer of a player's cricketing ability. "T20 is the [format] that is helping to globalise the game", said Gavaskar, for it is "taking it to emerging countries like America and China and maybe Europe as well". "However", he still believes Test cricket is the "pinnacle of the game" and that the onus is on administrators is to retain the primacy of Test cricket.
NZ TO ESTABLISH ON-LINE
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is to establish an on-line scoring and a database system for its clubs and associations. The new system is expected to be similar to England's 'Play-Cricket' and Australia's 'My-Cricket' web-based tools, both of which have revolutionised the way clubs in those jurisdictions are able to look after a range of activities pertinent from individual matches right up to the overall management of competitions as a whole.
Craig Presland, NZC's chief operating officer, says that Wellington-based cricket technology company CricHQ is to lead the project which "is great news for everyone involved in cricket around the country". “After each match electronic score sheets will be able to be sent to the relevant administrators, then collated with other team results, points tables updated, and player aggregates and averages re-calculated, [while] the competitions' management component will lead to improved communication in relation to match scheduling", he says.
CricHQ was founded three years ago and today has fifty-eight staff across seven countries. Its chief executive Simon Baker said the NZC project was a major milestone for his company and that the new platform could in future provide NZC and the NZ cricketing community with "loads of functions and tools that had previously only been accessible to elite cricketers". NZC plans call for the new system to be operational prior to the 2013-14 austral summer.
SOUTH AFRICAN TO STAND IN TWO
SHEFFIELD SHIELD GAMES
South African umpire Dennis Smith is to stand in two matches in Cricket Australia's (CA) Sheffield Shield competition next month as part of an on-going exchange program being conducted by CA and Cricket South Africa (CSA). Smith will stand in the match between South Australia and Western Australia at the Adelaide Oval starting next Thursday, and then at Bellerive Oval in Hobart in mid-month when Tasmania plays Victoria.
Smith, 41, played twenty-eight first class and thirty-six List A games for Northern Transvall in the period from 1993-2000. He made his first class umpiring debut just over four years after his retirement in CSA's province-based, three-day competition, then in its top, four-day franchise-based series early in 2007, and currently has been on the field in thirty-one first class, fifty-six List A and thirty-one Twenty20 games.
CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member John Ward is to stand with Smith in Adelaide, and the pair will be hoping for better weather than when they were last scheduled to work together. That game, a CSA first class match in East London in February last year when Ward was on exchange, was completely washed out without a ball being bowled (PTG 908-4414, 3 March 2012). In Hobart, Smith's on-field partner will be NUP member Gerard Abood.
Abood, Smith and Ward are amongst ten umpires and four match referees who were yesterday named to look after the final six Shefield Shield game that are to be played prior to the final of this austral summer's competition at the end of the month. Notable for his absence is NUP member Paul Reiffel, who reports say will be working in the NZ-England Test series over the next month (PTG 1062-5162, 20 February 2013). That appointment is yet to be officially confirmed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), even though it has announced the match officials for two Tests in the Caribbean that start a week after the first NZ (PTG 1064-5174, 22 February 2013).
Of the ten umpires Smith and John Ward have two games each, while Abood and his fellow NUP members Simon Fry, Geoff Joshua, Ian Lock, Mick Martell, Damien Mealey, Tony Ward and Paul Wilson, all have one match.
Match referee duties go, as usual, to CA Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) members Ric Evans, David Levens, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford, the fifth UHPP member Denis Burns not having been assigned a game to look after. Evans and Stratford have two matches each, the other two having one. Leven's game, at the Gabba in Brisbane, is expected to be his last with CA prior to he and Burns' departure to take up ICC Umpire Coach positions (PTG 1069-5197 above).
WOMEN'S CRICKET NOW PART OF
THE GAME'S 'FABRIC', SAYS WCC
Last month's Women's World Cup in India "was in the main a great success and an increase in standards was in evidence throughout the competition", says the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC). The committee found it "is heartened to learn" of the "great increase" in the number of television viewers who watched the event compared with the last such series in 2009, and the WCC "believes that, where once the international women’s game sat apart from the rest of the game, it is now firmly integrated within the sport around the world".
T20 CRICKET FOR 2024 OLYMPICS?
The inclusion of Twenty20 cricket on the program for the 2024 Olympic Games could lead to "a potential boost" for the world-wide profile of the sport, says the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC). While there are positives in such a move, the WCC acknowledged after its meeting in Auckland this week that "a great deal of effort may be needed to lobby for the inclusion of cricket in ", and that such a move, while attractive, would cost the game financially.
In 2011, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge encouraged cricket administrators to put forward a case for its inclusion in the Games, saying that his organisation "would welcome an application", although the process of acceptance is "tough". Cricket appeared in the Olympics only once before in 1900, while there was a cricket tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and may be again during the 2018 event on Australia's Gold coast (PTG 937-4561, 13 May 2012).
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 2 March 2013
NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO TWO
AUSTRALIAN UMPIRES, SAY REPORTS
Reports circulating in Australian umpiring circles indicate that Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Damien Mealey, and Shawn Craig from CA's Project Panel for former first class players, have been awarded National Officiating Scholarships for 2013 by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). To date neither CA or the ASC have publicised the selection of the pair for what are thought to be year-long, $A20,000 value awards that will if confirmed be the seventh and eighth to be given to cricket umpires over the last five years.
The aim of the AIS program, which is now in its eleventh year and encompasses all sports, is to support and encourage the professional development of emerging "high performance" match officials by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport in national and international competitions. As the governing body for cricket in Australia, CA would have had to given their support to Craig and Mealey's scholarship applications.
The scholarship year normally starts with all recipients, regardless of their sport, attending a multi-day professional development workshop, before they then go on to take part in individually tailored programs and a range of other ASC organised meetings during the course of a year. The latter period includes high level practical officiating experience, accreditation advancement, sports psychology services, sports recovery support services and other development opportunities.
Current NUP member Mick Martell became the first cricket recipient of a scholarship in 2008 (PTG 200-1098, 22 February 2008). Early in 2009 Paul Reiffel, who like Craig was fast-tracked into umpiring via the 'Project Panel' system, received the scholarship along with then CA emerging umpire Steven John (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009); however, John quit umpiring altogether at the end of the scholarship program after missing out on NUP selection (PTG 639-3183, 26 July 2010). In the time since then, current NUP members Ian Lock, Simon Fry, and Sam Nogajski were awarded scholarships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Both Martell and Nogajski were given their scholarships the year prior to their appointment to the NUP. On the other hand Reiffel, Fry and Lock were four, six and seven years into their time on the NUP respectively when they came to be selected, the first two in fact already being members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel at the time their scholarships were announced.
UMPIRES FROM INDONESIA, JAPAN
PROMOTED TO TOP EAP PANEL
Indonesian umpire Subramonia Gopalakrishnan and Chris Thurgate from Japan have been promoted to the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region's top Umpires Panel for 2013, while Helen Atal from Papua New Guinea, Mervyn McGoon of Fiji and Samoa's Tavita Sasi of Samoa are new members of the EAP's Supplementary Panel for the year ahead. The elevation of Gopalakrishnan and Thurgate increases the size of the top panel from seven to nine, while the second-tier group has been reduced from nine to seven members.
This year's Umpires Panel is made up of, in addition to Gopalakrishnan and Thurgate: Shahul Hameed (Indonesia); Neil Harrison (Japan); Geoff Clelland, Grant Johnston and Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu); and Clive Elly and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea). Hameed is ranked one (two last year), Harrison two (one), Morrison three (four), Oala four (three), Clelland five (five), Johnston six (seven), Gopalakrishnan seven, Thurgate eight and Elly nine (six).
Supplementary Panel members for 2013 are: Alu Kapa (Papua New Guinea); Suresh Subramanian (Indonesia); Mohammed Ali Maqbool and Walesi Soqoiwasa (Fiji); plus newcomers Atal, McGoon and Sasi. Kapa is rated number one on the panel (four last year), Subramanian two (three); Ali Maqbool three (eight); Soqoiwasa four (seven); then come Sasi in fifth place, Atai sixth and McGoon seventh.
Greg Walton of Vanuatu, Peter Poulos from Samoa and Brendon Fiebig from the Cook Islands, who were members of the Supplementary Panel in 2012 are missing from the group for 2013.
IUP MEMBERS APPOINTED
TO SECOND-TIER FIXTURES
Nine match officials from eight countries have been named to look after the three first class, six One Day Internationals (ODI) and five Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) that six second-tier nations are to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next three weeks. Over the next twenty-one days, Afghanistan will play Scotland, Kenya is to meet Canada, and the UAE will host Ireland in the latest series of matches in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Intercontinental Cup and ODI-based World Cricket League (WCL) series, as well as in the twenty over game.
Four of the seven umpires, Rob Bailey (England), Vineet Kulkarni (India), Ruchira Palliyaguru (Sri Lanka) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan), are members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, while David Odhiambo (Kenya), Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal) and Sarika Prasad (Singapore), come from its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel, and match referees Graeme La Brooy (Sri Lanka) and Steve Bernard (Australia) from the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.
During the next three weeks, Pradhan is to stand in two of the first class games but none of the ODI or T20I fixtures (2/0/0), Kulkarni, Odhiambo and Prasad 1/2/2, Raza 1/0/0, Bailey 0/4/2 and Palliyaguru 0/2/2, while Le Broy is listed to manage 2/4/4 and Bernard 1/2/1. When the current WCL series for second-tier nations ends later this year, the top two teams will automatically join the ICC’s ten Full member sides in the 2015 World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
LATEST REIFFEL TEST
Reports two weeks ago that Australian umpire Paul Reiffel had been appointed to stand in his third and fourth Test matches in the series between New Zealand and England over the next four weeks were confirmed by the International Cricket Council yesterday (PTG 1062-5162, 20 February 2013). Reiffel is to stand in the first Test in Dunedin with Pakistan's Asad Rauf and in the third in Auckland with his countryman Rod Tucker, while the second Test in Wellington will see him in the third umpire's suite, Rauf and Tucker being together out on the field.
Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka will be the referee for a three-match Test series that features four match officials who have all played first class cricket, Reiffel and Mahanama doing so at Test level. The quartet featured in a total of 261 first class games during their playing careers, 87 of those being Tests, and since taking up work as match officials they have to date managed between them a total of 112 Tests and 138 other first class fixtures.
ICC TO 'TWEAK' PLAYING CONDITIONS
TO COVER 'FINN' NO BALLS
Playing Conditions for matches played under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC) will soon be amended to cover Finn-type 'no ball' situations. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced late last month that the Laws are to be revised such that umpires will be required to call 'no ball' when a bowler breaks the stumps whilst delivering the ball, however, that amendment will not come into force until October, hence the ICC's move (PTG 1064-5173, 22 February 2013).
ICC chief executive David Richardson said after attending this week's MCC World Cricket Committee meeting in Auckland that the Playing Conditions change would most likely occur in April. If so that means that the twenty-three ICC top-tier matches scheduled for this month, eight Tests, ten One Day Internationals and five twenty20 Internationals, will be played under the game's current Law whereby umpires can call 'dead ball' should they judge that a batsman has been distracted by a bowler breaking the stumps in his follow through. The MCC said in announcing the change that the new Law "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".
Richardson said the Law change made "good logical sense", for "If you overstep too far, it’s a 'no ball'; if you go too wide, it’s a 'no ball'; and now, if you go to oclose to the stumps and dislodge the bails, it’s a 'no ball". The former South African wicketkeeper, who sits on the MCC Laws sub-committee that recommended the Laws change, has attended WCC meetings as an ICC observer since the committee's inception in 2006, before becoming a fully-fledged member in 2009.
Former South African batsman Barry Richards, who is also a WCC member, says that the new Law brings clarity to the stump strike problem. “If it becomes an issue on the field, it’s not good for the game", said Richards, while the MCC's Head of Cricket John Stephenson said the decision was "further proof" his Club is "a strong custodian of the Laws of the game".
COOK WINDING UP
TWO-TIERED LEAGUE SYSTEM NEEDED
FOR TESTS, SAYS VAUGHAN
Former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested that a two-tiered league system supported by appropriate financial rewards for players is needed if Test cricket is to survive as the pinnacle of the game. Vaughan says in an article published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on the weekend that if introduced such an arrangement could persuade players to retain an interest in Test cricket rather than the increasingly popular Twenty20 format.
Vaughan "does not blame" the modern player if they prioritise T20 cricket over Tests for he "would be the same", however, in his view "if the incentives do not change then in fifteen years’ time Test cricket will be under huge threat". "You have only to look at the May Test series in England [in] that [it] clashes with the Indian Premier League [IPL]". "At the moment there is no incentive for visiting players to skip the IPL and play Tests for their country in England", and "the prestige of playing a Test at Lord’s only goes so far when weighed against a big IPL contract", says Vaughan.
A two-tier split system would enable "the best teams" to play against each other more often, says Vaughan, while a promotion-relegation system would see one team go up and another down every two years. Vaughan's suggested 'Division One' is made up of Australia, England, India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and 'Division Two' Bangladesh, New Zealand, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Kenya. The incorporation of non-Test teams such as Ireland and Kenya into Division Two would raise the standard of the game around the world, says Vaughan.
Teams would win points for each Test victory, an approach he believes would mean matches in a dead rubber would retain importance, and in addition there might also be extra points available for a series win.
But warns Vaughan, nothing in world cricket happens without Indian support and administrators there may fear that it could threaten to its [IPL] "cash cow and kill it off", while "any prospect of India being in the second division would doom the project, too". In addition, "those ranked in the second division at the outset would need a hefty financial break to persuade them to vote it through".
Vaughan made his comments just a few days after the latest meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) which again underlined its support for the World Test Championship (WTC) structure the International Cricket Council is to introduce in 2017, although as yet just how it would operate has not been decided.
During the WCC David White, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive, is said to have called a two-tier WTC arrangement that involved promotion and relegation "catastrophic for the long-form of the game in the nations outside the top four in the world" (PTG 1069-5198, 1 March 2013).
'FATE' OF BANGLADESHI 'STING'
UMPIRES TO BE DECIDED TODAY?
"The fate" of Bangladesh umpires Nadir Shah and Sharafoudulla Ibne Saikat, who were exposed in a sting operation by an Indian television channel last October (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012), is likely to be decided by the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) executive committee today, says a report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning. What are called BCB "sources" are reported to have told a journalist that Nadir Shah could, as recommended by a committee that investigated the allegations against the pair, face a ban from the game of up to ten years, while Saikat is likely to be pardoned (PTG 1057-5141, 12 February 2013).
While Bangladesh's consideration of the corruption allegations appears to be reaching an end, there is still no sign five 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).
DRUG TESTING INTRODUCED FOR
INDIAN DOMESTIC MATCHES
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has for the first time been conducting drug testing of randomly selected players taking part in, and training for, this season's domestic Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day series. Reports say that the program is to continue during the forthcoming Deodhar and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophiy competitions as well as the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League, results of tests being available within forty-eight hours of samples being taken.
Dr Vece Paes, a former Indian Olympian, who has worked on anti-doping procedures with the Asian Cricket Council in the past, was invited by the BCCI to oversee and administer the drug testing. Paes told 'Wisden India' that the International Cricket Council has been conducting dope tests for a decade, and that “not a single Indian player has tested positive" in that time.
When asked what would happen if a test returned a positive result, Paes said that the BCCI would decide "if there is a case to be made [and if so] will then decide what sanctions to impose on the player in question", but he also pointed out that "there is an elaborate process of appeals even after the sanctions, if the player chooses to go that way".
While the BCCI is not averse to having their players undergo drug tests it remains opposed to cricket being brought under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. Their particular objection is WADA's ‘whereabouts’ clause which requires players to keep officials informed about where they plan to be at all times so that out-of-competition testing can be undertaken without notice.
LANKAN UMPIRE MAKES
FIRST CLASS DEBUT
Susantha Dissanayake, who played twelve first class games for three teams in Sri Lanka in the period from 1995-2006, made his umpiring debut at that level in the match between the Sinhalese Sports and Sri Lanka Ports Authority clubs on the weekend. Dissanayake, 38, is one of 34 umpires Sri Lanka Cricket has used in the 50 three-day matches played in its Premier Championship first class series so far this season, but to date is the only newcomer to the first class scene. Of the umpires used in the 50 games played so far, 17 or exactly half have played first class cricket with former international umpire Asoka de Silva the only one to have played at Test level.
West indian umpire Nigel Duguid spent almost three weeks in Bangladesh in November-December as part of an exchange agreement between the West Indies and Bangladesh Cricket Boards. During that time Guyana-based Duguid stood in three first class matches in Bangladesh's National Cricket League, the first in Mirpur, the second in Rajshahi and the last in Bogra, his on-field colleagues being locals Moniruzzaman, Tanvir Ahmed and Masudur Rahman respectively.
Duguid follows his Caribbean colleagues Peter Nero, Joel Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite on exchange to Bangladesh. Nero kicked off the WICB-BCB arrangement, standing in three first class matches there early in 2010, Wilson had a similar visit in 2011, and Brathwaite in 2012. BCB umpire Gazi Sohel travelled to the Caribbean in 2010, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid in 2011 and Anisur Rahman in 2012, however, who the exchangee will be this year has not yet been announced.
SUNDAY LEAGUE TO INTRODUCE
PLAYER IDENTITY CARDS
A Sunday league competition in Bradford, England, have decided to introduce identity cards for its players for the first time this northern summer. The cards, which have been under consideration since 2010, will be limited to featuring a photo and the player’s name.
It will be up to the opposing captains to check the names and photos before matches, says identity cards co-ordinator Zaheer Ahmed, and "if there is any dispute then the umpire or umpires would become involved", League secretary Taj Butt said that each team in the competition are to receive fifteen cards free while any additional ones will cost £2.50 ($A4) each.
THIRD PLAYER FINED
FOR LOGO OFFENCE
South Africa's Christopher Morris has been reprimanded for a “breach of the International Cricket Council's [ICC] Clothing and Equipment Regulations during an International Match”. The ICC says that Morris was found to have "exceeded the permitted number of manufacturers' logos" when he went out to bat with an additional logo on his helmet during the Twenty20 International against Pakistan at Centurion on Sunday.
Morris accepted the Level 1 charge brought against him by South African umpires Johan Cloete, Shaun George, Adrian Holdstock and Karl Hurter as well as the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand . Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and new Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques were each fined ten per cent of their match fees for similar offences late last month (PTG 1068-5196, 28 February 2013).
PLAYING THE GAME
DECISIONS ON BANGLADESHI 'STING'
UMPIRES DEFERRED 'PENDING ICC ADVICE'
Decisions on the fate of two Bangladeshi umpires who were caught in a 'sting' operation by an Indian television channel last October have been delayed "pending advice" from the International Cricket Council (ICC), say reports from Dhaka overnight. There were indications earlier this week that the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) executive committee was to have finalised the matter yesterday (PTG 1071-5210, 6 March 2013).
BCB president Nazmul Hasan is quoted by Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper today as saying after yesterday's meeting that "We are still unable to announce our decision regarding umpire Nadir Shah as the matter is now at the hands of the ICC". In early February, four months after the 'sting' operation came to light, Shah was reported to have been found guilty of match-related corruption by a specially convened BCB committee, and the claim was made then that he could be banned for up to ten years, but that the other Bangladeshi umpire involved, Sharafudoullah Ibne Saikat, would be acquitted (PTG 1057-5141, 12 February 2013).
"We sent [that special committee] report to the ICC [together with] our [own] observations" on the matter, said the BCB president without indicating just when the report was forwarded to Dubai, and "they are making certain queries before drafting their [their reply, and until we get that] we cannot make a decision on the matter". A dot point summary of the outcomes of the BCB executive committee meeting posted on the ICC's web site yesterday afternoon says simply: "The BCB investigation and findings [are] to be forwarded to the ICC for further direction", a phraseology that suggests that is yet to occur.
Umpires in addition to Shah and Saikat the Indian television report claimed were "corrupt" are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage. All of those accused have protested their innocence, but there were indications that only Sharfuddoula refused outright to give any favour in lieu of the money allegedly offered by the undercover reporters, and was alone in reporting the approach to his national board.
Just what the status of the Pakistani and Sri Lankan investigations into the matter are is not known at this time. The ICC was said to have launched an "urgent investigation" into the Indian television reports last October and at the time urged the national boards of the players involved to expedite their probes into the matter (PTG 1002-4867, 11 October 2012).
In May last year a similar 'sting' operation carried out by the same television channel alleged that five Indian domestic players had been involved in match-fixing and salary violations (PTG 939-4566, 17 May 2012). One player was subsequently banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for life, another for five years, and the remaining three all for one-year (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012).
UDRS USE IN INDIAN DOMESTIC MATCHES
SUGGESTED AT BCCI MEETING
Umpiring standards, match referee issues, match scheduling, and somewhat surprisingly the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in Indian domestic games, were some of the issues raised during the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) annual meeting with captains and coaches held in Mumbai on Tuesday, according to a report published in the 'Mumbai Mirror' yesterday. BCCI officers present at the meeting included president Narayanaswami Srinivasan, secretary Sanjay Jagdale, general manager for cricket development Ratnakar Shetty, technical committee chairman Anil Kumble, and the Indian Premier League's (IPL) chief operating officer Sundar Raman.
One of the most important matters raised on Tuesday is said to be the greatly compressed time table of Ranji Trophy four-day first class games this year that saw each team play eight matches in a two month period, often with as little as three days between fixtures. That scheduling is said to have impacted on player fitness and resulted in some teams being happy with a first-innings win rather than trying for an outright victory, and those present are said to have pushed for at least four-day gap between games. The 'Mirror' points out though that the BCCI faces a challenge in that regard given that it has to find a two month window for the IPL each year.
Concerns about umpiring in this season's Ranji Trophy first class series are said to have centred around "the decision-making abilities of umpires" and issues regarding the "uniformity" in judging the quality of light during matches. However, Kumble said simply after the meeting that "the teams who were affected expressed their concerns", then went on to state that in his assessment "the overall standards of umpiring have improved". The BCCI used a total of 39 umpires during the Ranji series with three, Abhijit Deshmukh, Nitin Pandit and Chettihody Shamsuddin, none of whom have played first class cricket, standing at that level for the first time.
The 'Mirror' also story also says there were suggestions that the UDRS be put in place at the domestic level in India. Srinivasan is said to have "explained the BCCI’s stand" with regard to technology, and in an explanation that does not appear to have been aired in public before, "revealed that the board has gone by the word of Srini Venkataraghavan, a former International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member, who has studied the system thoroughly". Venkataraghavan is the BCCI's head of umpiring and as far as it is known is still on the ICC's umpire selection panel.
According to the 'Mirror' story "someone' at the meeting said that Ranji match referees "should be a little more lenient", apparently citing a situation where "one particular" unnamed match referee did not allow a side's coach and extra players to move around the ground while the match was in progress. The referee is said to have "wanted the support staff and players to sit in one place" during that time.
Suggestions put forward at Tuesday's meeting will now go to the BCCI's technical committee at its gathering in two weeks time. It will formulate policies for consideration by the national body's full board later this year.
Reports five months ago that Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) umpires committee's plan to send officials to stand in first-class matches in Bangladesh, New Zealand and South Africa early this year on exchange had been "put on hold" for financial reasons appears to have been only partially correct (PTG 969-4707, 1 August 2012). The SLC has umpire exchange agreements with the national Boards of all three countries, but to date it appears only the link with New Zealand will be operational this year.
The agreement signed by SLC and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was first announced in 2010 (PTG 684-3354, 19 October 2010), and this year the exchangees have been Colombo-born Ravindra Wimalasiri, 43, and Wayne Knights, 42, from Auckland.
Wimalasiri, who played in 86 first class games in the period from 1990-2006 before taking up umpiring, stood in two NZC Plunket Shield matches in late January and early February, the first in Dunedin between Otago and Wellington, and the second in Auckland between the home side and Central Districts. Knights was on the field with him in Dunedin and Phil Jones in Auckland in what were his 35th and 36th first class matches as an umpire.
Knights, 42, who was elevated to the NZC's domestic 'Elite' umpires panel 19 months ago (PTG 822-4023, 31 August 2011), was sent to South Africa on exchange in February last year where he stood in two first class games (PTG 887-4329, 15 January 2012). His first game during his current visit to Sri Lanka was a three-day first class match between the Colts and Burgher Recreation clubs in Colombo last Friday-Sunday, Wimalasiri being his on-field partner. It would appear his second will be one of the ten first class domestic fixtures that are scheduled to start tomorrow, and it and the Colombo game will take his first class match record to 22 games.
While Cricket South Africa's (CSA) prime first class tournament has ended without any sign of a Sri Lankan visitor, there are still 20 Provincial three-day first class matches scheduled between now and early April. Similarly, there are 41 SLC Premier League three-day first class series to be played in the same time period, therefore it is possible that the CSA-SLC exchange may still proceed. However, Bangladesh's first class season has been completed without it would seem any sign of a Sri Lankan umpire.
NSW STALWART NOTCHES UP 250TH
PREMIER LEAGUE GAME
New South Wales umpire John Evans reached a milestone late last month when he officiated in his 250th Sydney Cricket Association first grade game, a competition that feeds NSW's first class side and is equivalent to Premier League cricket elsewhere in the world. Evans made his debut at first grade level in 1998 and since then has also officiated in Cricket Australia's (CA) Women's National Cricket League, four CA Cup matches involving state second XIs, two women's limited overs internationals between Australia and England, and as the television umpire in a Sheffield Shield first class match.
During his 250th SCA first grade match, which was between the Campbelltown Camden and Randwick Petersham clubs, Evans was honoured by both clubs with a guard of honour of players as he left the oval at the end of the game. He told a local newspaper that "it was very touching to be acknowledged by Sydney's elite players", something he didn't expect and called "very overwhelming". Evans has been a supporter of school cricket and the Camden and District Association Umpires Association since retiring as a player.
PNG, FIJIAN UMPIRES
Papua New Guinean (PNG) umpire Helen Atai became the first female umpire from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East Asia-Pacific (EAP) region to travel abroad when she stood in the Women's division of Cricket Australia's annual Indigenous tournament the Imparja Cup in Alice Springs last month. Atai, 29, who played for PNG in 2006 and during the Women's World Cup Qualifying Series in South Africa in 2008, was appointed to the EAP's 2013 Supplementary Umpires Panel (SUP) earlier this year (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013), and awarded a scholarship designed to "fast track her readiness for international competition".
Atai began her umpiring career in PNG in 2006 and has been standing in junior, men's and women's competitions around Port Moresby in the time since, although she still also plays club cricket there. The EAP regional office, which is headquartered in Melbourne, hopes that Atai's appointment to the SUP "will inspire more women to become involved in umpiring in the region, and lead to the first female umpire being selected for region's top Umpires Panel.
The Imparja series "is definitely the highlight of my umpiring career, and stands equally alongside my best playing moment when making the PNG teams in 2006 and 2008", says Atai, and she hopes to use what she learned in Alice Springs to improve her umpiring and also share her new knowledge and skills with other umpires at home. She urges "all people interested in cricket both male and female to take up umpiring [as] it is and can be very rewarding".
Atai umpired in four Imparja women's round-robin games and both semi-finals, being mentored throughout the week by former Australian international umpire Daryl Harper. According to an EAP press release "Harper was full of praise for Atai's performance and [is said to] believe she has plenty of potential to progress through umpiring ranks in the region".
Part of Atai's scholarship involves the opportunity to officiate in the EAP Under 19 Championship on the Sunshine Coast in south-east Queensland in July. Fellow scholarship holder Mervyn McGoon from Fiji, who was also appointed to the region's SUP for the first time this year, will also attend that tournament where both umpires will have an opportunity to learn from more experienced members of the SUP and work with EAP Umpires Consultant, and former first class and international umpire, Bob Parry.
McGoon, 37, played for Fiji in the 'Pacifica Championship' 50-over format series in 2002, a competition that saw the likes of Parry, current New Zealand first class umpire Phil Jones, and now ICC Elite Umpire Panel members 'Billy' Bowden and Rod Tucker, standing in matches.
TWO MATCHES IN ONE
DAY RESULTS IN FINE
Bangladesh batsman Jahurul Islam has been fined half of his match fee by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) because he played in a university match without the BCB's permission during last month's day-night Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) first class final. With the BCL final starting each day at one o'clock local time (PTG 1065-5178, 23 February 2013), Jahurul played for Dhaka University in an indoor eight-overs-a-side tournament in a nearby stadium on the morning of the third day, returning to the ground where the BCL match final was being played two hours prior to the start of the day's play.
As he is a BCB contracted player, and is amongst the Bangladesh squad for its current tour of Sri Lanka, a disciplinary committee said he should have been more aware of the terms of his contract. "As captain of a side playing in the final of a first-class event, he should have displayed a more responsible attitude, not only to his team-mates, but also to the outcome of the match", said the committee. "By playing in an unauthorised capacity, in an unfamiliar format, he had exposed himself unnecessarily to the risk of possible injury, thereby jeopardising the selection process of the Bangladesh Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka", said the BCB.
Jahurul was warned that a similar incident in the future will result in him being handed "an automatic two-match ban".
KANERIA'S LIFETIME BAN COULD BE
OVERTURNED, CLAIMS REPORT
Former Pakistan and Essex spinner Danish Kaneria’s lifetime ban for match fixing could be overturned at his appeal hearing after it emerged former Essex player Mervyn Westfield, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) key witness in the case, has not responded to requests to appear at the tribunal, says a report published in yesterday's London 'Daily Telegraph'. The ECB has set a late April date for Kaneria’s appeal against the ban and £100,000 ($A150,000) hearing costs order given against him for involvement in a spot-fixing case that saw Westfield spend time in jail (PTG 903-4387, 20 February 2012).
Kaneria was found guilty by the ECB of "cajoling and pressurising" then team mate Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in a one-day county match in 2009. 'Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult's story says that an unnamed "source has described Westfield as 'disappearing off the scene' over the past few months as the ECB looks to defend their case against Kaneria". That hearing was due to be heard late last year but was postponed at the last minute (PTG 1028-4998, 12 December 2012).
Hoult writes that Kaneria’s lawyers have told him they will appeal to the UK's High Court to have a deadline set for the hearing if the date in April is moved again. “At the first disciplinary hearing [when Kaneria was banned] Westfield was their star witness and was subjected to cross examination by us,” says Farogh Naseem, Kaneria’s lawyer, "but that testimony will not be available to the ECB unless they are able to produce him at the appeal so we can cross examine him again".
Westfield was banned for five years by the ECB but can play club cricket in the final two years of his suspension. That sentence is said to have been "harsher than expected" and without any incentive to cooperate with the authorities he is believed to have severed his ties with the sport, says Hoult, although initially there had been hopes he would help the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association in their anti-corruption education programs (PTG 907-4412, 28 February 2012).
Kaneria was banned by the ECB and not the International cricket Council because his offences occurred in county cricket. All national boards have an agreement to respect suspensions handed down by fellow boards and he has thus been prevented from playing domestic cricket in Pakistan pending the outcome of his ECB appeal.
TWO MORE TESTS FOR
Former England spinner Richard Illingworth has been appointed to stand in the two Tests Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are currently playing, his third and fourth since his debut at that level last November (PTG 110-4910, 29 October 2012). Illingworth's appointment means that three candidates for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) are in action in Tests this month, Sri Lanka's Ranmore Martinecz making his debut in the West Indies (PTG 1064-5174, 22 February 2013), while Australian Paul Reiffel is in New Zealand (PTG 1070-5206, 2 March 2013), however, Bangladesh's Enamul Hoque Moni's rise may have stalled.
Illingworth, 49, will be partnered in the two Tests between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the first in Galle and the second in Colombo, with countryman and EUP member Nigel Llong, while Australian David Boon will be the match referee for both games. With the Umpire Decision Review System not in operation Tyron Wijewardene, a Sri Lankan member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is working as the third umpire in Galle, and his IUP colleague Ruchira Palliyaguruge will do so in Colombo.
The series will take Llong's umpiring Test record to 18 matches and Boon's as a match referee to 16, while for Wijewardene, who stood in four Tests in the first half of last decade, it will be his 16th in the third umpire slot, and Palliyaguruge's third since his debut at that level last June. Boon and Illingworth both played Test cricket for their countries, while Llong, Palliyaguruge and Wijewardene all had domestic first class playing careers. Reiffel's Tests in New Zealand are being managed by a similar group of past Test and first class players.
Boon and Llong are to stay in Sri Lanka following the Tests for the three-match One Day International (ODI) series the two countries are to play in Colombo and Pallekele in the last week of this month, matches that will take Llong's ODI umpiring tally to 62 and Boon's as a referee to 24. Palliyaguruge and Wijewardene are expected to be appointed to those matches in both on-field and third umpire role, and its is possible that Martinecz, another former first class player, will be back from the West Indies in time for at least the final game.
Enamul Hoque Moni's only umpiring appointment to a Test to date was fourteen months ago in New Zealand, after which he stood as a neutral in a One Day international series in that country (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012). The former Bangladeshi Test player's next senior appointment from the ICC came eleven months later in January's ODI series between South Africa and Pakistan (PTG 1043-5071, 21 January 2013).
WINDIES 'EMERGING PANEL'
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is currently working to increase the size of its domestic Emerging Umpires Panel (EUP) from the 21 of last year to 24. Three of those two dozen, who missed out on promotion to the WICB's Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) late last year, Jonathan Blades, Christopher Taylor and Carl Tuckett, have been designated as a "special group" within the EUP and are to stand in 'domestic' Caribbean one-day matches when SUP members "are not available"; Blades making his List A debut last month.
Six members of the previous EUP, Zahid Bassarath and Danesh Ramdhanie (Trinidad and Tobago), Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith (Jamaica), Leslie Reifer Jr (Barbados), and Nandkumar Shivsankar (Guyana), were promoted to the 12-man SUP late last year in what was a major shake-up of that group (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012). Blades (Barbados), Taylor (Jamaica) and Tuckett (Windard Islands), were also recommended for inclusion on the WICB's top panel, however, only six spaces were available at that time and they therefore missed out.
In addition to those three, the other current EUP members are: Athol Hamilton (Jamaica); Ricardo Brathwaite and Ryan Willoughby (Barbados); Colin Alfred, Shannon Crawford, and Gyanandad Sukhdeo (Guyana); Bernard Joseph, Michael Morton and Whycliff Mitchum (Leeward Islands); Francis Maurice and Erickson Delgalerie (Windward Islands); and Anthony Sanowar and Lyndon Rajkumar (Trinidad and Tobago). Plans apparently call for them to be "retained for another two years", after which "decisions will be made [with regard to their] promotion and demotion".
Nine additional umpires are to be added to those already on the EUP, but to be considered they must be younger than 40. Two of those nine will come from the Windward Islands as they only had two representatives on the previous panel at a time when the other WICB regions had four, plus one each from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.
To round out the nine "one female umpire" and one from 'the Americas' are to be selected. The Americas region covers Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands and the United States of America (US). However, while umpires were to be selected from each of those states, with "only one representing the Americas [in WICB events] at any one time", the only nomination that is believed to have been received was from the US, "as the other countries could not fulfill the requirements", according to West Indies Cricket Umpires Association secretary Vivian Johnson.
Submissions regarding female umpires, one of whom could be Lorna Kirby-Alleyne from Trinidad and Tobago, and in regard to the two new umpires from the Windward Islands, had been received at last report. It is possible, even though he does not fit the age requirement, that the US nominee could be India-born and now US resident Sameer Bandekar who was appointed to the International Cricket Council's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel in January. Bandekar, 48, stood in 60 first class games in India in the years from 1992-2011 (PTG 1035, 5025, 5 January 2013).
News that Tuckett, 42, the former Leeward Islands and West Indies all rounder, is in the special group explains reports that he "will be making his debut as a regional umpire" this season (PTG 1055-5131, 9 February 2013). Of the others, records readily available show that: Alfred has stood in 12 first class games and Mitchum 13 since 2001; Brathwaite one in 2010; Sanowar one in 2011; and Maurice, who played first class cricket for the Windward Islands from 1984-93, two, one each in 2009 and 2010.
Of the half-a-dozen new SUP members, Bassarath, Ramdhanie, Reifer and Shivsankar made their first class debuts last month (PTG 1056-5135, 11 February 2013 and 1060-5156, 17 February 2013), while Gustard's first at that level was three years ago. Verdayne Smith, the last of the six, made his first class debut this week in the match between the Windward Islands and Jamaica in Grenada, his on-field colleague being, somewhat surprisingly, Ramdhanie in what is only his second first class fixture.
DISPUTED 'GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT' SEES MATCH
RESULT OVERTURNED THEN REINSTATED
An argument about what one club says was a "gentleman's agreement" regarding the substitution of a player for the second and last day of a match in south-east Queensland last weekend went to two hearings this week before the issue was resolved. The Brothers side lost the match, then had the result overturned by the Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association because Taipans player Justin Miller took part in day two of the game, but Queensland Cricket's South East Division (SEQ) later returned the match points to the Taipans, says a 'Sunshine Coast Daily' report yesterday.
Miller claims it was agreed that he would play on day two "if available, but be subbed for if not", but Brothers captain Dave Lewis denied any such agreement existed. According to Taipans club president Brad Hines the SEQ "ruled there had been a gentleman's agreement but it couldn't prove it either way". That hearing is said to have reached its decision after hearing evidence from Lewis, Miller and umpire Gregory Duck. The newspaper report says that the outcome has "big ramifications for Taipans", who have as a result been restored to third on the ladder and a spot in the finals this weekend.
BOWDEN PUSHES TOWARDS
200 ODI MARK
New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden's One Day International (ODI) match record will have moved to 179 games by the time the series between South Africa and Pakistan comes to an end in two weeks time. Bowden, fellow umpire Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka and match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe have been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the neutral officials for the five matches involved, while Cricket South Africa have nominated Johannes Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock, members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, for the series.
Bowden has been assigned to on-field positions in matches one, three and five in Bloemfontain, Johannesburg and Benoni with Cloete, George and Cloete again respectively, Dhamasena working as the third umpire in those games. When Dhamasena takes the field in games two and four with Holdstock in Centurion and then George in Durban, Bowden will be in the television suit, the latter being the Kiwi's 50th in that role in an ODI.
For Pycroft the series will take his ODI tally to 82, Dhamasena to 45 on field and 24 as third umpire, Cloete to 22, George to 7 and Holdstock, who made his debut at ODI level in January, two. Bowden's move to 179 matches puts him well clear of the next umpire who is still active in ODIs, Aleem Dar of Pakistan on 152, but still behind former West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor's 181, and record holder Rudi Koertzen of South Africa who retired on 208.
KUMAR RETURNS ONE-MONTH
ON AFTER 'SEVERE REPRIMAND'
Indian bowler Praveen Kumar, who was suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) because of misconduct in match a month ago (PTG 1055-5129, 9 February 2013), has now been "severely reprimanded" and is likely to return to domestic cricket in India next week. Kumar is now eligible to play for Uttar Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, a Twenty20 series for Indian state sides, as well as his franchise side in the Indian Premier League.
Kumar was reported to the BCCI following the game in Bhilai and was subsequently served with a "show cause" notice that required him to explain his actions (PTG 1056-5137, 11 February 2013). The incident is said to have occurred after the batsman approached the umpire to check whether a full-pitched Kumar delivery should have been called a no-ball for height, an action led to the bowler first abusing the batsman and later both of the umpires. He later apologised for his conduct and an unnamed BCCI official quoted by the 'Indian Express' said a BCCI disciplinary committee had told him "in no uncertain terms that any kind of misbehavior henceforth will not be tolerated".
As a result of his suspension Kumar missed all five matches Uttar Pradesh played in India's Vijay Hazare Trophy, a fifty-over one-day match competition that involves all 27 of the country's first class sides.
BASIN TEST MARKS WELLINGTON
SCORER'S 50TH YEAR
[PTG 1075-5228 ]
Wellington scorer Ian Smith will celebrate a remarkable fifty years in that role when he records the details of the second Test between New Zealand and England at Basin Reserve starting tomorrow, his 212th first class match. Smith, who began his scoring career in 1962-63 for the Kilbirnie Cricket Club’s senior men’s team, has during the last five decades also been a statistician and club cricket administrator, says New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
England-born Smith, 69, debuted as a first class scorer in 1963-64 at the Basin Reserve, a venue which would become his working home for decades to come, his first Test coming in 1968 when New Zealand hosted India, the NZ-England Test over the next five days being his 45th. Since his international debut has only missed one Test at the Basin Reserve, that being the 1990 match against Australia when he was looking after his wife Elizabeth who was ill. He has also recorded the details of 202 List A matches, 44 of them One Day Internationals, as well as seven Twenty20 Internationals.
In addition to his work as a scorer, Smith has been co-editor of the New Zealand Cricket Almanack since 1983, and also currently serves as Cricket Wellington’s club cricket administrator.
NZC’s Cricket Technology Manager and head of scoring Pete Mayell said Smith’s contribution over the years had been invaluable. “On behalf of [NZC] I would like to congratulate Ian for his extraordinary service to cricket scoring, and the game of cricket in general, at club, domestic, and international level, a service which he has delivered with great passion and expertise".
“To have reached 50 years in his role is one of the biggest achievements this game has seen on or off the field, the fantastic job he has done deserves recognition" and "his incredible knowledge of cricket scoring is an absolute asset". Mayell also said that he "would also like to recognise Ian’s willingness to pass that knowledge on to upcoming scorers in the Wellington region through his role as an NZC Regional Scoring Manager since 2005". "NZC thanks Ian for his tremendous contribution over half-a-century, and looks forward to his on-going involvement in the game".
OVER'S SEVENTH BALL SEES KEY
WICKET FALL IN BRIDGETOWN
The West Indies lost two wickets in two balls near the end of the opening day's play in the first Test between West Indies and Zimbabwe in Bridgetown yesterday, the second dismissal being every umpire's nightmare for it occurred on the seventh ball of the over. Both Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford, who was at the bowler's end and gave both batsmen out, and his on-field partner, debutant Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, appear to have miscounted the number of deliveries in what was the 84th over of the day.
Zimbabwean Kyle Jarvis had Kieran Powell LBW on the six ball of his fourth over, and then got rid of nightwatchman Kemar Roach the same way with his very next ball. Powell asked for a review of Oxenford's call on his dismissal, but third umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand could not find anything that suggested the original decision was wrong, but as Roach was hit deep on the back leg whilst well in his crease his side did not ask for a second review.
THREE CONSECUTIVE FIRST BALL LBW
DISMISSALS FOR ENGLISH VISITOR
Visiting Englishman Liam Musselwhite was dismissed LBW first ball in his third consecutive innings with George Town's first grade side in a Northern Tasmania Cricket Association game at Westbury on the weekend. The trio of golden ducks, which were spread across two games, the second of which was a league semi final, were all claimed by the same Westbury bowler and by coincidence were watched over by the same umpires, Brent Jones and Roy James.
Jones gave the Englishman out the first time he was dismissed and James in his second and third brief visits to the crease. James, who has been involved in cricket for over 40 years, says he has seen 'king pairs' and 'diamond ducks' in that time but he is "not too sure", apart from "horrible", "what you call three first ballers in a row [that are] all LBW"? With the Australian side currently in turmoil and the next Ashes series ahead, perhaps its one small piece of positive news at the present time for that nation's followers in relation to an English cricketer's batting technique?
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 14 March 2013
17-BALL OVER EQUALS
ONE-DAY FORMAT RECORD
Mumbai bowler Abhishek Nayar equalled the record for the most number of balls in an over during a Deodhar Trophy 50-over one-day match between India's West and South Zones on Tuesday. It took Nayar 17 deliveries before he was able to complete the over, one being a foot fault 'no ball', while another 10 were called 'wides', seven of those being of the off-side variety.
Nayar took a wicket off the first ball of what was his fourth over in the game, but his third delivery was called wide, a decision that apparently did not please the bowler. Off the next ball an appeal for LBW was turned down and then the run of wides commenced with three consecutive deliveries drifting to the off side, then there was a dot ball followed by another off-side wide. The legitimate fifth ball was also a 'dot' but he had to bowl the sixth seven times, one of which was the no-ball that attracted a 'free hit'.
After that sequence, which yielded a total of 13 runs, Nayar was removed from the crease but was brought back for the 18th over during which he bowled two more wides, then two others after that, eventually finishing up with 14 for the day and the not-too-bad figures of 2/49 overall.
Nayar played down the situation after the match, blaming the wides on lack of match-practice. “These things happen. I had a bad day and I was not provoked by the umpire’s call", Nayar told the 'Mumbai Mirror", and he “was a little rusty initially but I’m happy with my figures for the day".
Media reports from the sub-continent yesterday say that while there is no suspicion of foul play, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's umpires sub-committee "could revisit television footage" and that Nayar may be charged with showing dissent during the over.
Nayar's 17-ball over equalled the record in the 50-over game as Pakistan's Mohammad Sami took the same number of balls in a One Day International against Bangladesh in Colombo in 2004 (7 wides and 4 no balls). In Tests, Curtly Ambrose of the West Indies took 15 balls in a match against Australia in 1997, all 9 being no balls.
FINE, REPRIMAND FOR
'ARM POINT' AFTER DISMISSAL
Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee and reprimanded after showing dissent on the fourth day the opening Test between his side and Sri Lanka in Galle on Monday. Sohag pointed to his arm to indicate that the ball had struck him rather than his bat after he was given out caught during Bangladesh's first innings.
Sohag, who admitted the offence, was found guilty of "showing dissent at an umpire's decision during an international match" by match referee David Boon from Australia. The charge had been laid by the on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, third umpire Tyron Wijewardene and fourth umpire Sena Nandiweera.
ICC 'APPROVES' UMPIRE 'STING' REPORT,
BCB REVIEWING 'LEGAL' ISSUES
The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) investigation into two umpires caught in an Indian television station's 'sting' operation last October has been "approved" by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and one of them, Nadir Shah, faces a multi-year ban, says a report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday. The BCB sent its report into the matter to the ICC just over a week ago (PTG 1072-5116, 7 March 2013), and the latter is believed to have provided its views on the issues involved on Thursday.
The BCB "special committee" that investigated the allegations lodged against Shah and his colleague Sharafudoullah Ibne Shahid included retired district judge Jamil Mahmud, former player Shakil Kashem and BCB security consultant Mesbahuddin Serniabat. According to the 'New Age' story they found Shah guilty of being "ready to fix any match, whether it be international, county or league game". The article also states that Shah "offered to give decisions like ‘out’ and ‘not out’ in any format of the game" to the undercover journalists from the 'India TV' channel.
'New Age' says that now that the BCB has received "a green signal from the ICC" in regard to the special committee's report, it "is all set to take action", although a further "look into the legal side of our decision" is needed before the final result is announced, said an unnamed Board "source". That person is said to have emphasised that Shah's ban "won’t be more than 10 years or less than three years". In contrast to what appears to be Shah's fate, Shahid is likely to be exonerated as he is believed to have refused outright to give any favour in lieu of the money allegedly offered by the undercover reporters, and also advised the BCB of their approach.
Shah, 49, made his first class debut in January 2002 and in the time since has stood in a total of 47 such games, one of which was an ICC assignment to Zimbabwe in 2009 for an Intercontinental Cup match between a Zimbabwean XI and Kenya in Kwekwe. During that visit to Africa he also stood in 5 One Day Internationals (ODI) between those same two countries, while a separate visit to that continent added 5 more to his ODI tally during a World Cricket League Division 1 series in Kenya.
During his higher-level career Shah worked as the television umpire in 6 Tests and 23 ODIs. He was on the field in 40 ODIs and 86 List A fixtures overall, plus three Twenty20 internationals, the same number of women's ODIs, and 15 Under-19 ODIs, 7 of which were in the 2010 World Cup for that age group in New Zealand (PTG 560-2848. 29 January 2010).
If Shah is banned then changes will be required to the Bangladesh section of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel. It is currently made up of Shah and Enamul Hoque Moni as the two on-field umpires and Shahid and Anisur Rahman in the two third umpire positions. Indications are that Shahid would move up to join Moni in the on-field sports leaving Rahman as the sole third umpire member.
BAT THICKNESS CONCERNS
'UNFOUNDED', CLAIMS VAUGHAN
Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes concerns about the thickness of modern bats and what some see as the impact they are having on the balance between bat and ball is "unfounded", telling the BBC last week that today's bats are "great for the game because scoring rates are faster". Late last month the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) recommended the thickness of present day bats be investigated, the MCC responding by announcing research would be conducted into the matter "over the coming months" (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013).
Vaughan, who is a WCC member but did not attend its Auckland meeting, acknowledged "bats are bigger and thicker" but doesn't "think there needs to be a limit on the thickness". These days "the ball flies out of the ground which is what we want to see [and] you should score more runs and more boundaries, but there is still a lot of skill involved" in the shots that a batsman has to play to achieve that result. "In this era of the game you can probably take quite a few off your average compared to 10, 15, 20 years [ago] because of technology", he says.
Former England, Middlesex and Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash says "bats are significantly bigger" in comparison to when he commenced his first class career in the late 1980s, but is of the view that "the balance between bat and ball has not swung too far". He explains the current big hit trend as being because "cricketers are a lot stronger physically these days, [as they] go down to the gym more than they used to, and also practice hitting sixes more because of the emergence of [the] Twenty20 [format]".
MCC head of cricket John Stephenson, a former Essex and England all-rounder, told the BBC that WCC members raised concerns about the balance between bat and ball in Auckland, particularly as the rise of Twenty20 cricket has seen an increase in the number of boundaries. Stephenson told the BBC that "there was an observation from one of the members [who was not identified] that it doesn't seem right that a batsman can aim to whip the ball over mid-on and it comes off the thick edge to go for six".
As a result "we thought it was the right time to do [some research but] we're not saying there is going to be a Law change", continued Stephenson, who went on to emphasise that the MCC's "job is to be the guardians of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket", part of which involves keeping "the balance between bat and ball for the good of the game".
Stephenson, who is the senior MCC executive responsible for the Laws, said the focus of the planned research had not yet been decided, but that it was likely to include anecdotal evidence from players, bat manufacturers, umpires and spectators; academics from Imperial College in London, which specialises in science and engineering, also possibly being involved. "The first stage of the investigation is the research", he says, and the data obtained from that work then has "to be thoroughly analysed before we go down the route of changing the Laws".
CROWD, COMMENTATORS THINK
'MANKAD', BUT BALL ALREADY 'DEAD
Commentators and spectators watching the third day of the third Test between India and Australia in Mohali on Saturday thought Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who went on to score a record rapid fire 'Century on debut', had been 'Mankaded' before the game's first ball had even been delivered. With Dhawan backing up at the non-striker's end as Mitchell Starc ran in to bowl the first ball of the Indian innings, the ball slipped from his hand as he neared the crease, going on to hit the stumps with the batsman backing up and out of his ground.
Under International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions, which differ from the Laws of Cricket in regard to 'Mankads' (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012), as Starc had not yet complete his delivery swing, Dhawan was liable to have been 'run out' for a 'diamond duck' in a straight-forward situation. However, as the ball had accidentally slipped from the bowler's hand, Law 23.4.b (viii) requires the umpire to call 'dead ball' in such a situation, and Dhawan therefore could not have been given out if an appeal had been made.
Commentators at the ground are said to have formed the view that Dhawan had been "let off" by the Australians, however, reports say they did not appeal. Skipper Michael Clarke is said to have "jokingly" signalled to umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Richard Kettleborough from England for a review, however, television umpire Sudhir Asnani of India was not needed.
SHEFFIELD SHIELD FINAL APPOINTMENTS
APPEAR CLEAR CUT
Umpiring appointments for the final of the current season's Sheffield Shield final between Tasmania and Queensland in Hobart later this week appear clear cut, if the pattern of Cricket Australia's (CA) selections for higher-profile matches over the last five months is any guide. With Paul Reiffel, CA's top-rated domestic umpire in New Zealand for that country's Test series against England (PTG 1070-5206, 2 March 2013), the on-field umpires in Hobart are expected to be Simon Fry and John Ward who are currently second and third behind Reiffel, with Mick Martell, who is next on CA's list the third umpire for the game.
Fry, 46, has stood in the last three Shield finals and previously this season was on the field for the finals of CA's one-day and Twenty20 (T20) competitions, Ward being his colleague on the ground in both the latter matches. If chosen Ward, 50, will be standing in his first Shield final, however, he has worked as the third umpire in the last two deciders; while Martell was the television umpire to Fry and Ward in this season's domestic one-day and T20 finals.
Martell was sent on exchange to both New Zealand and South Africa in the December-February period where he stood in three first class matches (PTG 1055-5132, 9 February 2013), Fry doing so in two during a visit to India in November (PTG 1023-4971, 28 November 2012).
'FOUR' SIGNAL REVOKED AFTER
'THICK GRASS' STOPS BALL
English umpire Nigel Llong signalled 'four' after Bangladesh opener Jahurul Islam hit the fifth ball of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday to third man, however, he had to revoke his decision soon after when everyone on the field realised that "thick grass" near the boundary had prevented the ball from crossing the rope. None of the slip fielders chased after the ball and the batsmen didn't bother running, actions that apparently led Llong to signal four to the scorers.
Overnight rain had slowed down the outfield at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday and a number of media reports say the conditions prevented "many drives, glides and edges that would have normally reached the rope" getting there. Middle-order Bangladesh batsman Mominul Haque claimed after the day's play that his side lost around 60 runs because of the conditions, while an observer at the game said the "outfield would stop a bullet fired from a machine gun".
SUBSTITUTE FIELDER SENT
FROM FIELD IN 'JOBURG' ODI
Pakistan were briefly reduced to 10 fielders when they were were refused permission to use a substitute during the third One Day International (ODI) against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium yesterday. Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who had been a doubtful starter for the match because of a hamstring injury, left the field after completing seven overs and Umar Akmal went on to substitute for him.
After Akram had been on the field for 20 minutes, umpires 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Shaun George of South Africa are said by reports to have told Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq that Akmal had to leave the field because "the maximum time allowed for treatment to a player with an existing injury had expired". Two overs were bowled with only 10 Pakistanis on the field before Irfan returned.
International Cricket Council Playing Conditions for ODIs say that "substitute fielders shall only be permitted in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons", however, there does not appear to be any reference in them to a 20-minute time limit.
2013 EUROPEAN UMPIRE, SCORER
Europe's top Elite umpiring panel for 2013 is made up of 14 men from four counties, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland, plus three areas with British links, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey. Below the Elite group is the 20-man European entry level panel which consists of 8 Irishmen, 3 from Scotland, 2 each from Guernsey and Norway, and one from Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Israel and Luxembourg; then comes an 8-person Probationary panel which this year has three from Scotland, and one each from Guernsey, Ireland, Italy, Israel and Spain.
Those chosen for the Elite Panel for 2013 are: Niels Bagh and Tim Jensen (Denmark); Ashraf Din and Huub Jansen (Netherlands); Alex Dowdalls and Ian Ramage and (Scotland); Louis Fourie, Mark Hawthorne, Charlie McElwee, Alan Neill and Richard Smith (Ireland); Martin Gray (Guernsey); Heath Kearns (Jersey); and David Kenworthy (Isle of Man). Bagh, Hawthorne, Ramage and Smith are also members of the ICC's third-tier 11-man Associate and Affilate Umpires Panel for 2013 (PTG 1035-5025, 5 January 2013).
Europe's Scorer Panel for 2013 consists of 72 individuals from 21 European countries, the British enclaves of Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey, as well as Euan West a first class scorer from New Zealand. Individuals from Ireland account for 11 positions, the Netherlands 8, Scotland 7, Austria, Denmark and Italy all 5, Guernsey 4, France, Germany and Jersey 3 each, Estonia, Israel, Malta and Switzerland all two, and there are one each from Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Gibraltar, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, and Slovenia.
The European Referee's Panel for the year ahead consists of Dick Auchinleck and Jim McClymont (Scotland), and Ray Holyer and David Jukes from ICC Europe; Jukes also being a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.
'KOOKABURRA' STILL WORKING
TO FIND DAY-NIGHT TEST BALLS
The quest by Australia's 'Kookaburra' company to find a coloured-ball suitable for day-night Tests is continuing even though the International Cricket Council (ICC) has stopped their trials, says a report in 'The Australian' newspaper this morning. The search for a ball suitable for use in such games appeared to have stalled after the ICC was reported last month to have handed responsibility for the development work involved back to its member nations (PTG 1067-5186, 26 February 2013).
Testing of balls of various colours, including pink, orange and yellow, over more than five years has failed to find a ball that holds its colour and shape, but 'Kookaburra' director Rob Elliot told journalist Andrew Faulkner "all we can do is keep trying and we never stop trialling". "Discolouration is an issue that's going to be very difficult to solve because the contamination comes externally", said Elliot, and "it's always going to be a difficult issue, but it doesn't mean it's impossible". He is "not sure how we can overcome that without fiddling with the ball during play".
Pink is said to have "firmed" as the most likely colour for day-night Tests, while white has all but been ruled out because it would force players into coloured clothes. Elliot says that the "sanctity of Test cricket" and all its long history and records, hinges on a ball that provides a fair contest" if such a game is to be played in a day-night format.
Elliot said the forthcoming day-night, pink ball, first class match between the a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and last year's County champion Warwickshire which starts in Abu Dhabi next Sunday, the fourth such game since 2010, will "generate data" to add to the information gleaned from Kookaburra's own trials and testing in England and New Zealand. "I think it's important that a body such as the MCC, that hasn't got an agenda, can do some trials and come up with a report", said the 'Kookaburra' chief.
HAIR SAMPLE TESTS ADDED
TO ECB ANTI-DRUGS PROGRAM
Hair samples are to be taken from County players this northern summer in order to determine if English cricket has a recreational drugs problem, say press reports from London. The results obtained over the next six months are expected to determine if such sampling will become a part of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) drug-testing regime in future years.
Last month the ECB pledged, following an inquest into the death of Surrey batsman Tom Maynard, to take all "reasonable steps" to stop players using recreational drugs (PTG 1068-5195, 28 February 2013). Maynard, 23, who was seen as a potential England international, was electrocuted on a railway line and struck by a train in 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.
The coroner who looked into Maynard's death urged the ECB to consider the use of hair sampling because it provides a much more reliable indicator of the use of recreational drugs. At the moment players are only tested for recreational drugs on match days and the analysis of the urine samples they provide only gives proof that drugs have been used in the preceding 24 hours.
Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, said "everybody thinks this is a reasonable thing to do considering the high-profile lives the players lead", and that "any positives will be treated confidentially and with counselling". The ECB’s medical department is said to be conducting a feasibility study into how a new drug-testing regime could work and the costs involved.
PLAYING THE GAME
PCB ENQUIRY FINDS 'STING' UMPIRES
GUILTY; SHAH TO APPEAL 10-YEAR BAN
Suspended Pakistan umpires Nadeem Ghauri and Anis Sadiq, two of six Asian umpires named in an Indian television station's 'sting' operation last October, have been found guilty of misconduct by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) investigation and are to face punishment as a result, claims a report aired by that country's NDTV channel. News of the PCB's investigation comes in the week Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah was banned for 10 years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) over the same issues, although in recent days he has indicated that he plans to lodge an appeal against the BCB's decision.
Ghauri and Sadiq were suspended by the PCB from all forms of the game in that country five months ago after 'India TV' allegations surfaced (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012). An unnamed PCB "source" is quoted by the NDTV report as saying that a PCB enquiry into their actions found them "guilty of misconduct and recommended some penalties be imposed on them". No details of what those penalties may be were provided and it would appear that those who conducted the investigation have been asked to face the Board "soon [to] explain on what grounds it has recommended the penalties", runs the quote attributed to the "source" by NDTV.
Once the PCB reviews its investigation committee's assessment and finalises whatever penalties it believes are appropriate for Ghauri and Sadiq, the report is to be forward to the International Cricket Council for their advice prior to the details being made public. The BCB followed a similar course of action with its report on Shah, and his now exonerated colleague Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid who was cleared to resume his umpiring career, before details of it were released (PTG 1072-5216, 7 March 2013).
Speaking after the BCB's ban on him was announced (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013), Shah said he is to lodge an appeal against it and that he was talking to his lawyer about his options. "The decision is totally wrong as there was no proof of my guilt", he says, for the BCB "can't take the decision on the basis of just video footage".
Shah is said to be the only umpire involved in the 'sting' who actually met India TV's undercover reporters in person; the others being contacted via internet-based video chats. The Bangladeshi said at the time that he went along with the plan proposed by the reporters, who he met in a Delhi hotel, because he felt "threatened" by them, a stand he maintained in public, although he is said to have admitted his "mistake" in that regard to PCB investigators.
While the enquiries conducted by the BCB and PCB are either complete or near completion, reports from Sri Lanka over the last few days claim that cricket authorities there are yet to start their investigation into claims made against Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage by India TV's covert operation now nearly six months ago.
THIRD CA 'UMPIRE AWARD' IN
SIX YEARS FOR OXENFORD
Queenslander Bruce Oxenford was named as the 2012-13 winner of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire Award' during the national body's State Cricket Awards ceremony in Hobart on Wednesday. For Oxenford, 53, who is currently working as the third umpire in the second Test between the West Indies and Zimbabwe in Dominica, its the third time he has won the award in the last six years, a period that has seen him moved from the Australian domestic scene to membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012).
CA's unnamed "selection panel" for the award is understood to have considered three candidates this year, Oxenford and National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Gerard Abood and Mick Martell, and that its decision was based on an assessment of their contributions to the game off the field of play, their performance on it, and any milestones that they achieved during the 2012-13 austral summer.
Oxenford was cited for: his selection as an EUP member; willingness to stand in the women's One Day International series between Australia and New Zealand in December (PTG 1026-4985, 7 December 2012) and in CA's domestic first class and Twenty20 fixtures; and work off the field in assisting the development of younger umpires and personally hosting match officials visiting Brisbane. His achievements are said to be "widely recognised" and that "his attitude, leadership, and subsequent rise to the international level will motivate those seeking a transition to higher honours".
Martell, 46, who joined the NUP in 2008, is said to have "performed strongly" on-field in Australia and abroad in New Zealand and in South Africa on exchange (PTG 1055-5132, 9 February 2013), but also "worked hard" to support and promote umpiring and "helped to facilitate George Burgum’s umpiring debut on the WACA" ground in Perth. Burgum, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, was able to umpire a State squad match at the ground earlier late last year. Abood, 41, an NUP member since 2009, is said to have "complimented a strong year on-field" with his efforts as an ambassador for the 'Mosaic Program' in his home state of New South Wales, an activity that promotes the game to people from non-traditional cricket backgrounds.
Prior to this year Oxenford won the award in 2008 and 2011 (PTG 741-3636, 16 March 2011), and he thus now joins the retired Simon Taufel as a three-time recipient of the award, the latter being the inaugural winner in 2004, then again in 2006 and 2012 (PTG 915-4551, 15 March 2012). The other four winners of the award over its now ten-year life received it once, they being: Peter Parker (2005); Daryl Harper (2007); Steve Davis (2010); and Paul Reiffel (2009). All six winners have stood in Test matches, although Davis, Oxenford and Reiffel are the only ones still doing so, all except Parker, and to date Reiffel, attaining membership of the ICC's EUP.
STRATFORD NAMED SHIELD FINAL
REFEREE FOR THE THIRD TIME
Cricket Australia Umpire High Performance Panel member Bob Stratford, has been named as the match referee for the 2012-13 final of the Sheffield Shield competition between Tasmania and Queensland which gets underway in Hobart later today. For Stratford, 62, its his third Shield final, as he worked in that capacity in the games of both 2004 and 2009, both of which were played in Melbourne and featured Victoria and Queensland. Stratford's match official colleagues in the match will, as was anticipated, be Simon Fry, John Ward and Mick Martell, the first two being on the field in their fourth and first finals respectively, while the latter will be in the television suite in a Shield final for the first time (PTG 1077-5236, 18 March 2013).
PAKISTAN'S HAFEEZ DISMISSED
'OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD'
Pakistan opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez was given out 'Obstructing the Field' during his side's fourth One Day International (ODI) of the series against South Africa in Durban yesterday. South Africa fieldsmen appealed for obstruction in the second over of Pakistan's innings after Hafeez, who had yet to score, got in the way of a throw by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers as he ran to make his ground at the non-striker's end.
Umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Shaun George of South Africa conferred then referred the matter to third umpire 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand for his advice, which after a review of the situation was that Hafeez changed the course of his run in order to prevent a run out. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-haq later told journalists that while the decision lay with the umpires, in his view Hafeez "was just running in line, trying to shorten the length [and] he wasn't looking behind when AB threw the ball".
Hafeez becomes just the fourth player in ODIs to be given out Obstructing the Field, three of the four being Pakistanis, Hafeez, Rameez Raja, and Inzamam-ul-Haq, with India's Mohinder Amarnath the other. Raja was given out for hitting the ball away with his bat to avoid being run out as he was going for his century off the last ball of his side's innings in a match against England in 1987, Amarnath for kicking the ball away to avoid being run out in a fixture against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad in 1989, and Inzamam in Peshawar in 2006 when he stopped the return throw from a fielder with his bat after he had first driven the ball to mid off.
Records available indicate that England batsman Len Hutton is the only person to have been dismissed Obstructing the Field in a Test Match, that game being against South Africa at The Oval in 1951. In that case the ball is said to have hit his bat handle and popped up and as the ball came down toward his stumps, he hit it away, thus obstructing wicketkeeper Russell Endean from taking the catch, and after conferring umpires Frank Chester and Dai Davies gave him out.
Chester was standing in the 41st of what was eventually his 48 Tests and Davies his 10th of 22. Chester stood in an incredible 774 first class matches in an umpiring career that stretched from 1922-55, and Davies 404 such games in the period from 1946-61.
PLAYING THE GAME
AUSSIE SUMMER SCHEDULE 'DEEPLY UNSATISFACTORY',
SAYS FORMER TEST BATSMAN
Former Australian Test batsman Paul Sheahan, who is now the president of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), has described the 2012-13 season of cricket in Australia as deeply unsatisfactory in comments penned for the MCC's newsletter, according to a report in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' yesterday. Sheahan warns that cricket would fade from relevance if administrators continued to allow domestic Twenty20 (T20) leagues to shape what he called a ''staccato'' international fixture schedule similar to the one that applied this austral summer in Australia.
Sheahan says that schedule "seems to be dictated by the Indian Premier League, a forgettable form of the game if there is one, [Cricket Australia's (CA)] equally unmemorable T20 [competition], and the desires of television broadcasters to fit in with their global programming". The last six months has been ''one of the most unsatisfactory international cricket seasons at the [Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with] just 5½ days of international cricket played there: a one-sided Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka and [single] limited-overs games against that side and the West Indies".
''It seems inconceivable to me", continued Sheahan, "that Test matches finish[ed] so early in the season and that one of the competitors in the limited overs form of the game [the West Indies] sneaks into the country unannounced, is trounced and departs again before the public has been given a chance to gain some knowledge of who they are".
After that he asked a series of questions, which he does not provide answers to, such as: ''Is the public confused by the rather staccato manner in which the season unfolds?; ''Are they sick of paying high admission prices?"; "Are they tired of crowd behaviour that sometimes sweeps up the innocent with the guilty?"; [and] "Can they watch too much on television from the comfort of their homes?''
The final One Day International of the summer against the West Indies in early February "fell particularly flat", wrote 'Age' journalist Chloe Sattau as several first-choice Australian players had already left for India to prepare for the Test series there and the game drew a crowd of only 21,962. The MCG hosted four games in CA's domestic T20 series, including the Melbourne derby which attracted 46,581, a record for a domestic game in that format in Australia.
SENIOR WA ADMINISTRATOR FINED FOR
ON-FIELD UMPIRE CONFRONTATION
Brendan Reid, the chairman of the Western Australia Cricket Association's (WACA) District Cricket Council (DCC), believes he will not face "impeachment" by the WACA board despite being found guilty of unbecoming conduct. Reid, the chairman of the DCC, a group that runs WA's Premier League competition and a member of the WACA board, has been fined for going on to the field to confront an umpire during a recent third-grade match in Perth (PTG 1068-5193, 28 February 2013). .
John Townsend, a journalist at 'The West Australian' newspaper says that Reid, who is also the vice-president and coach of the Mount Lawley club, normally chairs the DCC disciplinary committee but "did not sit on his own case". He is said to have accepted a $A100 fine handed to him after the hearing and he is quoted as saying that he "was at a [WACA] board meeting the other day and no one said anything about it". Under the WACA constitution the board may remove a member who has "engaged in conduct detrimental to the interests of the association", but Townsend writes that "no one has been forced to stand down in the association's 128-year history".
Reid is reported to be "the architect of a review [of] district cricket that was to be considered by WACA officials last Wednesday. "Several senior WACA board members" are said to be "highly concerned about the direction and operations of the competition since it was forced to sever its official ties with the WACA last decade".
Currently the DCC has "a contractual relationship" with the WACA, rather than its previous status as a pivotal element in the organisation, however, it has lost "a group of highly-regarded administrators" who worked closely with the association to maintain the strength of grassroots cricket, says the 'West Australian' story. Townsend's assessment is that the DCC is now "mostly represented by well-meaning but overwhelmed volunteers". Last month he claimed there were concerns over "deteriorating player behaviour", "questionable bowling actions", "poor umpiring standards" and "poor pitches" at some grounds in the competition.
THIRD STRAIGHT 'SPIRIT'
AWARD FOR NSW WOMEN
New South Wales has won Cricket Australia's women’s 'Spirit of Cricket' award for the third year in a row (PTG 915-4452, 15 March 2012), while Tasmania took out the men's trophy for 2012-13. The awards are decided on a tally of votes cast by umpires and recognise State sides that have best played in the spirit of the game, a recognition CA says shows that "elite cricket should be played hard but fair".
ICC REJECTS PAKISTAN'S CONCERNS ABOUT
UDRS OPERATION, UMPIRE'S PERFORMANCE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has rejected the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) concerns about a number of umpiring decisions and the way the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was used in their team's recent Test series in South Africa. A unnamed PCB official was quoted by media in Lahore this week as saying that the ICC concluded that "none of the umpiring mistakes were intentional and were part of the game", and that the UDRS "is working well and producing productive results".
After the first Test in Johannesburg last month the PCB had, at the request of its team officials in South Africa, written to the ICC raising concerns over some of the decisions and the performance of Australian umpire Steve Davis (PTG 1056-5134, 11 February 2013), and expressed reservations over the effectiveness of the 'Hot Spot' technology used as part of the UDRS (PTG 1052-5115, 4 February 2013). The PCB also asked the ICC not to select Davis for Tests two and three of the series, but he was on the ground in both games, his 43rd and 44th in Tests.
The PCB source said the ICC had repeated the oft mentioned statistic that the technology used in the UDRS had helped reduce the number of umpiring mistakes and that the correct umpiring decisions percentage had risen from 92 to 96 percent. In reference to the complaints about Davis, the ICC is said to have reminded the PCB that it had a "proper system in place to assess the performance of an umpire".
In an particularly interesting comment the source went on to say that "The ICC has said that umpires whose performance was under review were given only one year contracts and if they didn't improve they were released from the panel". That could be read to confirm recent judgements by some observers that Davis, who turns 61 in two weeks, may be in his last month as a member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, his countryman Paul Reiffel and England's Richard Illingworth being potential candidates to replace him (PTG 1073-5223, 9 March 2013).
DUBAI ANTI-CORRUPTION WORKSHOP
DESCRIBED AS 'EXTREMELY USEFUL'
This week's two-day anti-corruption workshop was "extremely useful" for "developing relationships", sharing "a lot of information", discussed ideas and looking ahead to the future, according to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption chief Yogendra Pal Singh. The heads of eight anti-corruption units from all but two of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) full member countries, and Sir Ronnie Flanangan the chairman of the ICC's anti-corruption group, attended the gathering in Dubai on Thursday and Friday.
Singh said in an ICC press release that "Those individuals who are motivated to corrupt the sport of cricket know no geographical boundaries and only a coordinated approach at international and domestic level will achieve success in our ongoing fight to protect the integrity of the sport". "With that in mind, positive discussions took place on how best to share information, address multi-jurisdictional threats, cooperate with one another in performing the necessary investigatory functions and ensure consistency of robust regulatory frameworks and effective education systems".
"There was great awareness amongst the group about the challenges the game is facing". "With the commitment and positive approach shown by the participants, I am confident that cricket as a whole is heading in the right direction in our fight against corruption and I would like to thank all the participants for engaging in the workshop with great enthusiasm". "The sport of cricket collectively has a zero-tolerance towards corruption and we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of our Great Sport", concluded Singh.
SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS
Zimbabwe opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza was reprieved on review after being given 'out' by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill on the first ball of a Tino Best over in his side's second innings in the Test match in Dominica yesterday, however, three balls later in the same over another review, this time by the fielding side, saw a 'not out' decision by Hill to another appeal for a catch also overturned.
The first ball saw a huge cry for caught behind to which Hill raised his finger but Masakadza asked for a review, however, while the ball is said to have been "very very close" to the outside edge, with 'Hot Spot' not available, and the ball showing no obvious deviation, third umpire Bruce Oxenford's advice led to Hill revoking his call. When Masakadza was given 'not out' three balls later replays showed that the ball deviated slightly as it passed his glove and Oxenford had to advise Hill his decision should be again overturned.
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 24 March 2013
BCCI A 'LONG WAY' FROM ACCEPTING
UDRS USE, SAYS ICC CHIEF
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still a "long way" from accepting the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), according to David Richardson the International Cricket Council's chief executive officer and one of the driving forces behind the system. Speaking in Auckland on Friday where he was watching the third Test between New Zealand and England, Richardson said persuading India's administrators will take time and that former player Anil Kumble could play a role if he could be convinced about the system's benefit.
Kumble was India's captain in 2008 when the UDRS was first trialled in Test series against Sri Lanka, a time when the technology was not as advanced as it is now, players were not used to it, and virtually all of the calls referred to the UDRS went against India (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008). "I think it was Sehwag or one of their star batsmen who was given out by mistake by ball-tracking" in that series, said Richardson, and people like Kumble, "the Tendulkars and the Dhonis need convincing", and after that "the administrators [in India] will follow".
Kumble holds two particularly key positions in that regard at this time, for he is not only on the BCCI's technical committee but is also the chairman of the ICC's own Cricket Committee.
DRAVID PUSHES DAY-NIGHT TESTS
AHEAD OF COUNTY SEASON OPENER
Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid "insists" that day-night Test match cricket has a future in the game, according to a story posted on the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) web site yesterday. Dravid's comments came ahead of today's start of the match between an MCC XI and last year's County champion Warwickshire which is to be played in a day-night format in Abu Dhabi, the fourth straight year the traditional English season opener has been played there as part of the MCC's push for day-night Tests.
In his comments Dravid, who is to play for the MCC in the game for the third year in a row, encourages administrators to be "courageous" in introducing the day-night timing at the game's highest level, remarks that are similar to those he expressed last year (PTG 911-4431, 8 March 2012). "I definitely do see a future for the day-night Test match format", he says, but "there’s still a need to experiment with it in different scenarios", however, "it definitely works out here in the [United Arab Emirates]". Dravid scored a Century under lights in last year's match.
The former Indian number three batsman indicated that "the only thing that might affect [such games] is the amount of dew that forms in different parts of the world in the evening". "I just hope that more and more people experiment with it, but it’s great that MCC have taken this as something that they want to try and achieve, and have put in a lot of time and effort in trying to make it happen".
Dravid, a member of the MCC's World Cricket Committee, called "the quality of the pink ball, and the concept [itself], fantastic". That comment comes a month after the International Cricket Council was reported to have withdrawn from work in developing a suitable ball (PTG 1067-5186, 26 February 2013), although one ball manufacturer indicated last week that it was continuing to look for a solution to the problem (PTG 1077-5240, 18 March 2013).
The umpires for the game over the next four days are Trevor Jesty and Peter Willey who will be standing in their 254th and 286th first class match respectively. The forthcoming northern summer will be Jesty's last before his retirement while Willey has two more years before he departs the English umpiring scene (PTG 1062-5165, 20 February 2013).
SHAH'S NAME SCRUBBED
FROM IUP LIST
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who was banned for 10-years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board this week but plans to appeal the decision (PTG 1078, 5242, 22 March 2013), has been scrubbed from the list of umpires on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP). Shah's name has been removed from the IUP list on the ICC's web site but as yet no one has been named in his place.
Enamul Hoque Moni remains in Bangladesh's other IUP on-field position with Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, who was cleared by the same investigation that censured Shah, and Anisur Rahman, in the two third umpire positions. Shahid looks set to move up to join Moni, however, just when the issue will be resolved is not known at this time (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013).
ICC chief executive David Richardson said via a press release soon after the decisions on Shah and Shahid were announced that "the ICC takes no pleasure from the fact that an umpire has been found to have acted inappropriately and sanctioned accordingly, however, the decision reflects the commitment of the ICC and its members to root out corruption from our Great Sport".
"This decision also reiterates cricket's zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and should serve as a reminder to all stakeholders, be they umpires, players, curators or administrators, of the risks and challenges the sport faces", he continued, and "we can only beat the corruptors by remaining vigilant and by following the procedures and protocols which are in place".
SIX PLUS DECADES OF UMPIRING
EARNS COMMUNITY AWARD
Charlie Fenton, who retired from umpiring aged 92 last year after more than six decades managing matches in the Derbyshire and Cheshire League (DCL), has been honoured by his local Rotary Club for services to the game and the local community. Fenton was forced to stop umpiring when the DCL discovered its insurance policy only covered its members up to the age of 85 (PTG 1008-4901, 25 October 2012), and an offer by a major betting firm to cover the costs appears not to have been taken up (PTG 1016-4941, 7 November 2012).
Fenton told his local newspaper this week that “It was ridiculous why I had to stop umpiring but I suppose it’s time for a break". Although he won’t be umpiring again, when the season starts in England next month he’ll be "keeping an eye on things" and teaching a new generation how to umpire. “I have a friend [who's] over 70, I’ve umpired with him for many years and I’ll be going along to one or two [games] just to watch", said Fenton. “Everyone at the [Rotary] awards was amazed" at his fitness level and "two doctors there said I was walking around like I owned the place".
SANDSTORM STOPS PLAY IN DUBAI
An early lunch was taken on the last day of the Intercontinental Cup match between Kenya and Canada and Dubai on Thursday when a sandstorm arrived at the International Cricket Council's Global Academy ground. Strong winds from the interior of Saudi Arabia known as 'Shamal' in Arabic can produce sandstorms that can last for several days, however, in this case play was able to resume and the match ended with Kenya securing an outright win.
BALL 'KICK' EARNS BATSMAN A RUN,
BUT NO OVERTHROW INVOLVED
Tasmanian batsman Luke Butterworth appears to have been gifted a run by the umpires in the Sheffield Shield final in Hobart yesterday when he kicked the ball away from the stumps and was called through for a run by batting partner James Faulkner. Butterworth edged a ball from Queensland bowler Ryan Harris down to his crease and as it spun towards his stumps he lustily kicked it away and ran after Faulkner shouted to him to do so, but it appeared to those watching the game that no overthrow from the fielders was involved.
Umpire Simon Fry, who was at the bowler's end, looked towards his partner John Ward at square leg who touched his hands together to indicate Butterworth had hit the ball, but no attempt was made to call 'dead ball' or make the batsmen return to their original ends. While the Laws allow the batsman to protect his stumps the way Butterworth did, Law 34.4 only allows him to benefit by scoring a run if an overthrow from fielding side is involved.
ICC OUTLINES BASIC WORLD TEST
Every Test series played in the four-year period from 2013-17 looks likely to be part of qualification arrangements for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) planned World Test Championship (WTC), according to ICC chief executive officer David Richardson. Richardson indicated in Auckland on Friday that the top four at the "cut-off time" at an as yet undefined month in 2016 or early 2017, will "go through to semi-finals that are to be played in England in June or July in 2017".
Last month the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee again expressed its support for the WTC concept (PTG 1069-5198, 1 March 2013), although different views have been floated about whether a one or two division arrangement should apply (PTG 1071-5209, 6 March 2013). The tournament was initially scheduled for 2013 but was delayed due to the ICC's commitments to its broadcaster and sponsors, and Richardson's comments throw a little light on how it might actually work later this decade.
KUMAR 'REGRETS' AND 'WON'T
REPEAT' ON-FIELD BOIL OVER
Indian and Uttar Pradesh bowler Praveen Kumar has vowed not to repeat the type of behaviour that saw the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) ban him from playing for over a month earlier this year. Kumar, who abused an opposition batsman and then the umpires during a match in January and was later "severely reprimanded", told the 'India Times' that he "was wrong, the episode should not have happened", and that he "regrets it now" (PTG 1074-5227, 12 March 2013).
Kumar, 26, said that he has since "learnt how to control my anger [and that] I need to be cautious while expressing my emotions on the field". "It happens sometimes when things do not go your way". As a result of his suspension Kumar missed all five matches Uttar Pradesh played in India's Vijay Hazare Trophy, a fifty-over one-day match competition that involves all 27 of the country's first class sides. Over the last week though he has played three games for Uttar Pradesh in the BCCI's Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 competition.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
BEE INVASION, FLOODLIGHT
FAILURE, BOTH STOP PLAY
A swarm of bees invaded the field in the area of the third man position and stopped play in the opening hour of the first One Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Hambantota on Saturday. Fielders on the offside of the pitch, the two batsmen and square leg umpire Nigel Llong of England, ran from the area and then lay down until the insects moved off and play could resume, but the interruption only lasted a few minutes.
Sri Lankan officials at the ground were reportedly surprised at the visit by the bees, the venue's manager saying while there is a beehive near the ground the bees never flew into the area or "let alone interrupted a game". "Perhaps a noise made them leave the hive", he said. Such situations are not unknown in the game though, for bees interrupted play in a Test match between India and Australia in Delhi in October 2008, an England-Sri Lanka Test in Kandy two months later, and in Vishakhapatnam during an India-Pakistan ODI in April 2005.
During a match between Oxfordshire and Worcestershire in June 1962 the situation got so bad that the players had to hide in the dressing-room until a beekeeper was summoned. But in 1981 a game was actually abandoned in Bangalore after thousands of bees, reportedly disturbed by children throwing stones, swarmed across the field and took revenge, and six players and an umpire needed hospital treatment.
Bees were not the only inconvenience during last Saturday's Hambantota ODI though. Play was affected when one floodlight tower lost power after the 41st over of the Bangladesh innings, then the lights on both towers on the western side of the ground went out during the innings break, causing the 85-minute delay. Sri Lanka's innings was curtailed to 41 overs as a result, and match referee David Boon of Australia adjusted their target using the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The generators providing the power were tested by state owned power company Ceylon Electricity Board the day before the game and were "fully functional" at that time said Sri Lanka Cricket, who afterwards apologised "to the millions of viewers and the general public for the inconvenience caused due to this technical fault".
EXCHANGE VISIT UNDERWAY
Former Bangladesh first class player Masudur Rahman is the latest umpire from his country to visit the Caribbean as part of an exchange program organised by the Bangladesh and West Indies Cricket Boards. Rahman is currently in Bridgetown, Barbados, where he is standing in first class match between the home side and the Windward Islands, his on-field colleague being Guyana's Nigel Duguid who stood with Rahman in the last of the three first class games he featured in during his visit to Bangladesh last November-December
Rahman, 37, played twelve first class and thirty List A games in his home country in the first half of last decade. His last game in a first class fixture was in April 2005, he made his debut as an umpire in a List A match in November 2007, then at first class level in December 2008. The current game in Barbados is his 22nd first class fixture, three of which were whilst on exchange in Sri Lanka in February-March 2011, and he has also stood in thirteen List A and nineteen Twenty20 matches in Bangladesh.
With the Barbados-Windward match due to finish later today it is likely that Rahman will also stand in one of three first class matches that are due to start either Saint Kitts, Jamaica or Guyana this coming Saturday, and possibly a one-day fixture involving the same two sides a few days after that. Rahman is the fourth umpire from his country to travel to the Caribbean under the exchange program set up by the WICB and the Bangladesh Cricket Board in 2009 (PTG 562-2857, 1 February 2010).
'MONETARY INCENTIVES' FOR
RANJI TROPHY OUTRIGHT WINS?
The introduction of "monetary incentives" for teams that put in "an extra effort" to register outright wins in India's Ranji Trophy was discussed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) technical committee at its meeting in Mumbai last Friday, say local media reports. Members are said to have agreed that most teams opt to take "the safer route" in games "thus making the four-day matches drab", however, just three weeks ago a meeting of Ranji Trophy captains and coaches claimed the event's hectic match schedule was to blame (PTG 1072-5117, 7 March 2013).
What was described as a "member of the technical committee" is quoted as saying that "[championship] point-based incentives are not good enough these days [and] if there [was] prize money for the maximum number of wins, the players may feel the urge to try something more than get a first innings lead". "We want to discuss the issue further and put forth a proposal to the [BCCI's] working committee", said the official, but the group is also said to be "seriously contemplating increasing the gap between [Ranji] matches so that players get adequate rest".
Reports from the meeting, which is chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble, also say the technical committee is proposing to use S G Test balls for BCCI's CK Nayudu [Under-25] Trophy matches so that the players involved can "get the feel of first-class cricket".
TEN ASIAN UMPIRES SELECTED
FOR ACC TWENTY20 EVENT IN NEPAL
Seven umpires from Nepal, and three others from Kuwait, Oman and Thailand, are to officiate in Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) Twenty20 tournament in Nepal over the next nine days. This week's ten team, twenty-four match tournament, that will see matches played in both the morning and afternoon each day, is being run as a pre-qualifier for the T20 World Cup qualifiers that are be held in November this year in the lead up to the event proper in April next year in Bangladesh.
Ten national sides are taking part in the pre-qualifier, they being: Afghanistan; Bahrain; Hong Kong; Kuwait; Malaysia; Nepal; the Maldives; Oman; Singapore; and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a nation that plays One Day Internationals Afghanistan is already scheduled to take part in November's final qualifier as are the UAE as the hosts of that event. The top two of the other eight teams currently in Nepal will also earn the right to be in the UAE in November.
ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura, who has been in Kathmandu overseeing preparations for this week's event, says that conditions in that city mean that the best time to bat is second in the morning matches, and first in the afternoon matches, as the pitches are reported to be slow at either end of the day.
Meanwhile a new LED scoreboard has been installed by the Nepali Cricket Fan Club (NCFC) at the Tribhuvan University ground to replace the aged manual board, and it will be used for the first time today in the series' opening round total.
NCFC President Birat Rayamajhi told local media that the new board cost Rs 130,000 Rupees ($A1,500), enthusiast Sanjiv Khadka raising three quarters of that amongst Nepali expatriates in the UAE, while Ramesh Bhandari collected the rest "from South Korea". "The scoreboard could not be viewed clearly in the past" said Rayamajhi yesterday, and with "the spectators used to watching matches live in the television they wish to see results [at the ground] in the same way".
AFRICA-BASED REFEREE MANAGES
AMERICAS T20 SERIES
Umpires from three countries and two British Overseas Territories plus a match referee from southern Africa looked after the World Cricket League Americas Region Division One Twenty20 tournament in Florida last week. The twenty match event featured teams from the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Suriname and the United States of America.
The umpires were: Hubert Smythe (Cayman Islands); Umar Babary (Canada); Roger Dill and Richard Austin (Bermuda); and Sameer Bandekar and Sylvan Taylor (United States); while Devdas Govindjee, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP), was the match referee for all games. Taylor stood in five games and the other four umpires in seven each.
The presence of Govindjee at an ICC tournament in the Americas region suggests the world body is yet to replace former West India player Adrian Griffiths who was that area's match referee until he took up the ICC's umpire and referees administration manager position in Dubai eight months ago (PTG 963-4684, 18 July 2012).
'SEND OFF' ATTRACTS
FINE IN DELHI TEST
India fast bowler Ishant Sharma has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for giving an Australian batsman a 'send off' during the third day’s play in the fourth and last Test against Australia in Delhi on Sunday. After bowling James Pattinson in Australia's second innings, Sharma repeatedly gestured towards the pavilion while still in his follow through.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that Sharma admitted to the charge and accepted the sanction imposed by match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, and as such there was no need to convene a disciplinary hearing. Madugalle said in a statement that “Ishant’s reaction after [the dismissal] was inappropriate and clearly in breach of the [ICC] Code [of Conduct]", and he's "sure [he] will learn from this incident and ensure such actions are not be repeated in the future".
On-field umpires Aleem Dar from Pakistan and Richard Kettleborough of England, plus third umpire S Ravi and fourth umpire Anil Chowdhary, both of whom are Indian, brought the charge against Sharma. All Level 1 breaches for this type of offence carry a penalty of a warning-reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to fifty per cent of a player's match fee.
Earlier in Australia's second visit to the crease Ravindra Jadeja started celebrating opener David Warner's LBW dismissal before Kettleborough's finger was raised, an action that is said to have led to him being cautioned directly by Dar. He is also said to have spoken to Sachin Tendulkar who in turn spoke to Jadeja.
On Saturday, while batting in India's first innings, Jadeja had been involved in a verbal spat with the Warner after the Indian had complained about the Australian's "chatter" on the field, and both skippers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was also batting and Shane Watson, had to intervene. Also during that day Dar gave Watson his radio and the acting Australian captain could not stop laughing as he listened to a message. Reports say it was match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lankan "jokingly telling the captain to speed up the over-rate or he would send him home".
RAUF REPLACED BY DAVIS FOR
FINAL NZ-ENGLAND TEST
Pakistan's Asad Rauf, who had been named as the third umpire for the third and final Test between New Zealand and England in Auckland, has been replaced by Australian Steve Davis. Rauf stood in the first and second Tests in Dunedin and Wellington as scheduled and was to have been the television official in Auckland (PTG 1070-5206, 2 March 2013).
The International Cricket Council has not indicated when or why the original appointments were altered, a change that sees three Australians, Davis, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, umpiring together in a Test. The last time that happened was at The Oval in August 2011 in an England-India Test where now retired Simon Taufel and Tucker were on the field with Davis in the third umpires box.
LATE DISCIPLINARY HEARING IRKS PLAYER,
PROMPTS SOCIAL MEDIA OUTBURST
A player in the Bathurst District Cricket Association (BDCA) in New South Wales was given a one-match ban by a disciplinary committee last Friday evening just over twelve hours before he was to play in a key BDCA preliminary final the next day. St Pats' Nathan Dennis had been charged the previous Saturday with making "unnecessary and forceful" contact with a batsman while the latter was taking a run off his bowling, and it took six days for the hearing into the matter to be heard, according to a story in yesterday's 'Western Advocate' newspaper.
A three-man panel heard Dennis state his case on Friday evening, a meeting during which the 'Advocate' says he "admitted to the charge" but "was hoping that the severity of it would not be enough to get him suspended". The batsman "made contact with me first, Graeme [Glazebrook, the only umpire] didn’t see it, but he said he did hear a thud", said Dennis on Saturday afternoon, and "All I did was retaliate and said ‘I can hold my line, [expletive] off’, after which the batsman said ‘What are you doing [expletive]?"
The panel eventually decided to hand Dennis the one-game ban thus ruling him out of the preliminary final, a move that is said to have "prompted an aggressive response from [Dennis] on a social media site", comments that were later removed.
Speaking from the sidelines as he watched his side play last weekend's game, a match St Pats eventually lost and thus missed out on next weekend's grand final, Dennis is said by journalist Sam Debenham to have "hit out" at the charge and the process which saw him suspended, his main concern being the timing of the decision. “I think the judiciary meeting was a joke for how can I appeal it on a Friday night at 7.30pm?"
No members of the BDCA committee were available for comment when approached, writes Debenham, and whether Dennis' subsequent public expressions of concern and the social media posting will attract censure is not known at this time. In January, a player in the Orange District Cricket Association sixty kilometres to the west of Bathurst who posted a derogatory comment about an umpire on 'Facebook' after a match, was handed a ten-week suspended sentence by a disciplinary tribunal (PTG 1048-5092, 28 January 2013).
'TWILIGHT' PERIOD ISSUES 'A BIT
OF A MYTH', SAYS WARWICKSHIRE SEAMER
Warwickshire seamer Chris Wright thinks that previous concerns about the impact of the twilight period on the outcome of pink ball day-night matches may be a "bit of a myth". His side batted through it "without much of a problem" on the first day of the match against a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and in the same period yesterday when Warwickshire were in the field they "didn't actually take [an MCC] wicket until the lights came into full force".
PLAYING THE GAME
Friday, 29 March 2013
BALL 'KICK' OBSERVATIONS WRONG,
RUN ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE
Tasmanian batsman Luke Butterworth was not "gifted a run" by the umpires in the Sheffield Shield final in Hobart last Saturday as thought by some watching the game for what most people at the ground thought they saw did not actually happen. Butterworth was reported to have kicked the ball away from his stumps to protect his wicket and then ran as the ball went into the field, a score the Laws say is not allowed unless an overthrow from the fielding side is involved, which was not the case (PTG 1080-5257, 24 March 2013).
It has now come to light that while Butterworth aimed a lusty kick at the ball he did not actually make contact with it and therefore umpires Simon Fry and John Ward were quite correct in their handling of the situation. The spin of the ball actually took it away from Butterworth's lunge at it, the timing involved creating the illusion for those watching from a distance that it was his boot that propelled the ball into the field. Seeing what had happened James Faulkner, who was Butterworth's batting partner at the time, called him through for a sharp single.
QUEENSLAND SEAMER REPORTED FOR
'SUSPECT' BOWLING ACTION
Queensland seamer Cameron Gannon has been reported for a suspect bowling action and is to undergo bio-mechanical testing. Gannon's action was mentioned twice by umpires Simon Fry and John Ward during this week's Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania, the third and fourth times such reports have been lodged against him during the just completed season in Australia.
Under Cricket Australia's (CA) current doubtful bowling actions procedures it takes three mentions from umpires during a single season before a bowler is subject to detailed scrutiny. As a result the 24-year-old will be tested in a laboratory in Perth within the next three weeks to determine if he straightens his elbow by more than the 15-degree limit that is used around the world to delineate whether an action is acceptable or not. Queensland expressed strong support for Gannon, saying that "he's a fine young cricketer and we will provide whatever support and assistance that is necessary".
In February, CA said it would seek to toughen its regime for dealing with suspect actions, a move that came amid concern from players and coaches about throwing in Australian domestic cricket. Such rumblings are reported to have grown since the inception of CA's domestic Twenty20 series which featured several international players whose actions had been queried at international level. West Indies allrounder Marlon Samuels is said by reports to have been mentioned by one umpire before Queensland coach Darren Lehmann publicly questioned his action and was subsequently reprimanded, however, the disquiet was apparently not confined to overseas players (PTG 1053-5120, 6 February 2013).
The 'Sydney Morning Herald' ('SMH') reported six weeks ago that the review into current procedures and requirements was to 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. Just what the timetable for that work is is not known at this time.
At the time Cary is said to have denied Australian cricket had a significant problem with throwing, however, the 'SMH' report stated 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".
POLITICS TO KEEP LANKAN IPL
MATCH OFFICIALS FROM CHENNAI
Politics looks like keeping match officials or players from Sri Lanka who are taking part in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series from involvement of any fixtures played in Chennai, the capital of the south-east state of Tamil Nadu. That state's chief minister says that if such individuals visit that region it will aggravate a situation that has seen widespread protests over the alleged ill treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka, including during the visit of umpire Kumar Dharmasena for a Test match last month (PTG 1066-5184, 25 February 2013).
Just who the match officials will be for this year's IPL series, which is due to start next week, has not yet been made public, but they could include in addition to Dharmasena match referees Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Madugalle. Dharmasena has taken part in the last four IPL series during which he worked in 51 matches, 36 on the field, Mahanama the last three seasons when he has looked after 25 games, including the 2011 final, while Madugalle appeared for the first time last year when the final of that event was amongst his 16 games.
VANUATU, NEPALESE UMPIRES FOR WCL
ONE-DAY SERIES IN AFRICA
Vanuatu umpire Nigel Morrison and Vinay Kumar Jha from Nepal are to travel to the African nation of Botswana next week to take part in the World Cricket League's (WCL) Division 7 one-day series, an event that will be supported by match officials from seven countries. Fiji, Germany, Ghana, Nigeria, Vanuatu plus host Botswana will play a total of eighteen 50-over matches during the week-long tournament, with the two sides who top the event being promoted to play in the WCL Division 6 series in Jersey In late July.
Devdas Govindjee of South Africa, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP), is to oversee the event. His countryman Johan Cloete, a first class umpire from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, will take part as a mentor to the other six umpires, who are in addition to Morrison and Jha: Ravi Angara (Botswana), Munir Khan (Kenya), Johnny Gomez (Gambia), and Claude Thorburn (Namibia). The latter made his first class debut in Cricket South Africa's Provincial three-day competition this austral summer.
The last Division 7 series was also played in Botswana, that being two years ago. The referee then was David Jukes of England, a RRP member, and the umpires Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, who was then the ICC's Regional Umpire Performance Manager, Lalji Bhudia (Kenya), Wynand Louw (Namibia), Patric Makumbi (Uganda), Steven Douglas (Bermuda), and Rockie D'Mello and David Odhiambo (Kenya). Louw and Odhiambo have since gone on to be named as members of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (PTG 1035-5025, 5 January 2013).
CA TO SPLIT UMPIRE
EDUCATOR, UHPP ROLES
Reports from Melbourne this week indicate that Cricket Australia (CA) is to keep the roles of its next Umpire Educator separate from activities associated with its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP). Denis Burns, CA's Umpire Educator over the last three years who is soon to become an International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpire Coach (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), had the UHPP role added to his duties 18 months ago, a situation that many observers believe played a role in limiting his ability to address educational tasks beyond CA's elite level programs.
CA released its call for applications for its Educator position yesterday and the closing date for submissions is set as Monday week. The person who is chosen will "be responsible for the development and implementation of umpire training resources and the professional development programs to meet the needs of Australian Cricket". He or she is to work with national and state based organisations to develop and implement systems and education for the improvement of cricket umpires and umpiring across all levels of the game.
Key responsibilities listed for the position include: education and leadership of umpiring in Australian cricket; setting clear goals and performance standards; seeking new and advanced training techniques and methods that develop Australian umpires to be the best and most respected match officials in the world; and the development and implementation of Australian umpire education and training programs and resources.
Previous umpiring experience is not a prerequisite for the position, however, applicants "should possess": knowledge of the game and the laws of cricket; a demonstrable understanding of elite sport; outstanding leadership, communication and presentation skills; an ability to build and manage relationships with a large variety of stakeholders; and appropriate tertiary qualifications. There is a requirement for regular interstate travel and the need to work flexible hours to suit the needs of cricket's activities, says CA.
The departure of Burns and his colleague David Levens to ICC Umpire Coach positions means that two vacancies now exist in what has been a five-man UHPP group, but some reports are suggesting that recruitment action for them is on hold at the present time. One set of rumours, which appear to make sense, say that moves to fill those two jobs are to await completion of CA's review of the way it manages integrity-related issues. That is presumably because the review, which is due to report by the middle of this year (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013), has the potential to recommend changes that might have an impact on associated CA staffing arrangements and structures.
The ICC is yet to make any public reference about the appointment of Burns and Levens to their new positions, and there is no solid news as to who the other two persons are who will also take up those roles under ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel.
UMPIRES 'HOLDING NAIROBI CRICKET
TO RANSOM', CLAIMS OFFICIAL
The standoff between the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) and the Kenya Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (KCUSA) has taken a new twist, with the former accusing the umpires body of “holding Nairobi Cricket at ransom”, says a story published in yesterday's edition of Nairobi's 'Daily Nation' newspaper. The KCUSA has been refusing to stand in the NPCA's 50-over tournament since January because the two bodies have failed to reach an agreement over umpire pay levels (PTG 1049-5105, 31 January 2013).
On Thursday, NPCA honorary secretary, Asad Malik, described the umpire's decision to boycott the 50-over competition as “unreasonable and greedy”. He is quoted by the 'Nation' as saying that the KCUSA "had an agreement on remunerations from [the] NPCA for umpiring any locally organised matches, however, at the eleventh hour [prior to the 50-over event starting it] demanded a 400 per cent pay increase, a timing that left no time for us to conclude the matter".
KCUSA chairman Munir Khan countered by saying that the umpires had not boycotted matches as "before [the series] started we sat down with [the NPCA] and tabled a figure, and they promised to get back to us after consulting with the NPCA committee". "So far they have failed to do so", he continued, and "if they want us to do business with them, they should put all their cards on the table". "Other than that, we have no quarrel with them", said Khan.
In January, the KCUSA is said to have requested a minimum rate of 4,500 Kenyan Shillings (KES) ($A50) per umpire per day but the NPCA, which is an affiliate of Cricket Kenya, apparently indicated they would only pay 2,800 KES ($A30); figures that if correct represent far less than Malik's claimed "400 per cent" rise.
BUSY SEASON FOR DIAMOND
Members of the Diamond Valley Cricket Association's (DVCA) disciplinary tribunal, a competition that covers the outer north-eastern region of Melbourne, have had a busy six months during which they handed out suspensions to ten players from seven clubs. According to their web site, one player will miss the whole of the DVCA's 2012-13 season and half the following one, three others half of next austral summer's games, and another the opening round of 2013-14.
Travis Pipe of Lower Eltham received the most significant censure in that he was suspended until the first day of 2015 for "Abusing an umpire [and] opposition player" when he used "threatening behaviour" to make his feelings known. Three players, Robert and Adam Fletcher of Epping and Paul Baker from the Mernda side, will not be able to play again until late January next year because they brought the "DVCA into disrepute" through an "Act of violence on or off the field".
Danny Pougios from Camrea Taipans is out until after the first round of the 2013-14 summer because of "Abuse of an umpire" and "showing dissent". Those who were suspended for a week or more during the season just ended included: Alex Asdagi of St Paradians/St Francis (OPSF) for "Distracting a player verbally or by harassment"; Adam Sing of Bundoora for "Criticising or disputing an umpire's decision"; Warren Stewart of Mill Park for "Unsportsmanlike behaviour"; and Blake Dobbin of Epping for "Conduct bringing the game and the DVCA into disrepute".
Finally, John Bubis or Epping was given a two-week suspended sentence that will be in forced until the end of the 2013-14 season for "abusing an umpire".
PLAY WOMEN IN AUSSIE
T20 SERIES, SAYS WAUGH
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh believes it is time to consider adding one female player to the team rosters of each of the eight sides that play in Cricket Australia's (CA) senior domestic mens' Twenty20 competition, according to an article published in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' on Friday. Waugh said earlier in the week that while the idea "was a bit out there", the success and ability of Australia's senior women's players, who won their gender's World Cup last year, justified consideration of such a move.
There was a similar suggestion in 1994 after Western Australia's Zoe Goss scored 29 in a charity game at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a match which included Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Sunil Gavaskar, David Hookes, David Gower, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock.
Her effort to dismiss West Indian player Brian Lara, who that year had scored 375 against England and 501 for Warwickshire in a County match, led the then organisers of CA's one-day competition to consider including a female to each Australian state's one day team. However, that plan was eventually dropped as the idea of a woman facing up to bowler Brett Lee's express deliveries was considered "too great a risk".
A poll that ran on the 'Herald Sun' web site on Thursday-Friday attracted over 3,000 'votes', over 80 per cent of those lodged being in favour of Waugh's suggestion. The poll is accompanied by a disclaimer that reads: "These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate".
WEIGHT LOSS ENABLES
RETURN TO UMPIRING
Londoner Anthony Cohen, who had to give up umpiring two years because he weighed 195 Kg and couldn't stand out on the ground for the required length of time, is now down to 120 Kg and hopes to return to what he describes as his "favourite hobby" this northern summer.
Cohen, 51, told his local newspaper that “It got to the stage when I couldn’t walk 100 yards without getting out of breath [or] get clothes from anywhere but a catalogue and [even] size 5XL felt tight". He finally decided to do something about his size after a four-hour overseas flight during which he had to occupy two seats and was unable to get a seatbelt on.
In addition to the impact on himself, Cohen said he did not realise until after he had lost weight how badly it had affected my family. "My sons were embarrassed to see their dad, who was the size of a small barge, watching them play sport", but "they are [now] so proud of me and keep asking me when I’ll become involved in cricket and football again".