• Zimbabwe introduces new umpires via T20 series (1084-5278).
• Taufel returns to on-field role for IPL series (1084-5279).
• Aussie first class umpires stand in state club finals (1084-5280).
• Fiji names its 'Umpire of the Year' (1084-5281).
1,085 - 5 April [5282-5286]
• ICC Playing Conditions amendment to cover 'Finn 'no ball' change (1085-5282).
• Two-year WCL Championship draws match officials from 17 countries (1085-5283).
• New IUP member tops NZ appointments list (1085-5284).
• Ground watering costs criticised as Maharashtra drought continues (1085-5285).
• 13 umpires to support NZ National Club Championships (1085-5286).
1,086 - 8 April [5287-5290]
• Indian umpires to the fore in IPL-6 (1086-5287).
• Badgers stop play 'indefinitely' (1086-5288).
• Kuwaiti, Thai umpires stand in ACC T20 final (1086-5289).
• Lots of 'unfinished business' for CA post-season meeting (1086-5290).
1,087 - 10 April [5291-5294]
• Finn welcomes lifting of stump-break 'grey areas' (1087-5291).
• South African season sees two make first class debuts (1087-5292).
• Busy season for CSA 'Franchise', 'Provincial' umpiring panels (1087-5293).
• Annual dinner 'stoush' leads to year-long bans (1087-5294).
1,088 - 12 April [5295-5302]
• Taufel juggling 'dual' IPL role, travel schedule, ICC work (1088-5295).
• No newcomers on Aussie first class scene (1088-5296).
• Few high-level opportunities for CA emerging umpires (1088-5297).
• Kiwi pair for Harare Tests (1088-5298).
• IPL captain fined $A20K for slow over rate (1088-5299).
• Bowler's action reported as 'suspect' (1088-5300).
• Match ends with tear gas, rubber bullets (1088-5301).
• Chips are 'up' for 'Billy' at 50 (1088-5302).
1,089 - 14 April [5303-5308]
• Pakistan announces bans for TV 'sting' operation umpires (1089-5303).
• On-field incident sees two IPL skippers warned (1089-5304).
• 'Obstructing the Field' appeal turned down (1089-5305).
• Lab tests find Queensland seamer's action 'illegal' (1089-5306).
• Ghanan's bowling action reported as 'suspect' (1089-5307).
• Doubt about validity of Westfield High Court summons (1089-5308).
1,090 - 18 April [5309-5311]
• Ten-year suspension 'too harsh' and 'inconsistent', claims Bangladeshi (1090-5309).
• CAS rejects Butt, Asif appeals against long-term bans (1090-5310).
• Social media comments lead to year-long ban (1090-5311).
• ICC Board briefed on umpire 'performance, assessment and training' (1091-5313).
• Former Test umpire leaves the first class game (1091-5314).
• Kaneria 'hopeful' hearing will overturn life-time ban (1091-5315).
• Improved oversight of umpires needed in Pakistan, claims former Test official (1091-5316).
1,092 - 22 April [5317-5321]
• Caribbean, Australian communication initiatives both stall (1091-5317).
• Former international match referee Mike Denness dies (1092-5318).
• WCL mentoring role for EUP candidate (1092-5319).
• Crows seeking grubs stop play (1092-5320).
• Work starts on new facility for Aussie 'Centre of Excellence' (1092-5321).
1,093 - 24 April [5322-5323]
• Banned Pakistan pair urged to 'admit their guilt' (1093-5322).
• Westfield attending Kaneria appeal hearing under protest (1093-5323).
1,094 - 25 April [5324-5227]
• NSW umpire to become state's next Parliamentarian? (1094-5324).
• Player abuse driving umpires from the game, says NT official (1094-5325).
• Taufel makes his debut as a TV commentator (1094-5326).
• 'Insensitive' 'tweet' leads to three-match ban (1094-5327).
1,095 - 27 April [5328-5332]
• Kaneria fails in life-time ban appeal, but further submissions planned (1095-5328).
• CA 'grass roots' push to include umpires, scorers? (1095-5329).
• Gould replaces Bowden for second Harare Test (1095-5330).
• Caribbean's youngest umpire for England exchange visit (1095-5331).
• Batsman joins the 'six sixes in an over' group (1095-5332).
1,096 - 29 April [5333-5336]
• Increased presence of Indian umpires in IPL-6 continues (1096-5333).
• Bangladesh opener fined for 'dissent' (1096-5334).
• PCB confirm use of 'vigilance expert' for England tour (1096-5335).
• Batsman hits six consecutive deliveries from same bowler for six (1096-5336).
1,097 - 30 April [5337-5343]
• PCB lawyers to examine Kaneria appeal judgement (1097-5337).
• Limited Test experience amongst current Indian domestic referees (1097-5338).
• Four matches for Windies exchange umpire (1097-5339).
• Slow over rate fine for IPL skipper (1097-5340).
• Tests cancelled in favour of one-day fixtures (1097-5341).
• Seven months on Lankan 'sting' judgements still awaited (1097-5342).
• Protesters dig up pitch, but tournament proceeds (1097-5343).
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
ZIMBABWE INTRODUCES NEW
UMPIRES VIA T20 SERIES
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) gave senior match debuts to five umpires in its domestic Twenty20 (T20) tournament during the 2012-13 season, however, on-field positions in the 41 matches played in its Logan Cup first class and 50-over one-day series were limited to members of a 10-man panel. Those who made their T20 debuts over the past six months were: Prince Butuwo, A Magodo, Walter Musakwa, J Mutapure, and R Mutaramutswa.
Five years ago many countries used their home T20 series to expose new umpires to senior cricket for the first time, but that was before the financial rewards on offer for a team who wins their domestic event skyrocketed, plus the access such a win provides them to the lucrative Champions League (CL) series. As a result these days nations such as Australia, England and New Zealand only appoint their most senior domestic umpires to such short format games; however, the winner of Zimbabwe's T20 tournament does not have access to significant monetary rewards of the CL. .
ZC's senior 10-man panel in 2012-13 was: Inow Chabi 38; Owen Chirombe 39; Lucky Ngwanya; Jerry Matibiri 41; Bothwell Mandiya 30; Christopher Phiri 37; Trevor Phiri 38; Langton Chiromba 27; Sifelani Rwaziyeni; and Russell Tiffin 53. Of the 10 only Christopher Phiri has played the game at senior level, that being a single List A game for Westerns in March 2007.
Matibiri topped the season's domestic first class list with 7 games, Chirombe and Rusere had 6 each, Tiffin 5, Chabi, Mandiya and Rwaziyeni all 4, Christopher Phiri 2, and Ngwanya and Trevor Phiri both 1. In the domestic one-day competition, Chirombe stood in 8 games, Matibiri, Rusere and Tiffin all 6, Rwaziyeni 5, Mandiya 4, Chabi 3, Christopher Phiri 2, and Ngwanya and Trevor Phiri again both 1.
Chirombe, Rwaziyeni and Tiffin headed the T20 list with 5 games, then came Mandiya with 4, Matibiri and Mandiya both 3, and Ngwanya and Rusere each 2. Of the newcomers Mutapure had 2 and Butuwo, Magodo, Musakwa and Mutaramutswa all single games. Other T20 umpires, all of whom have stood at first class level in previous seasons, were Stanley Gogwe and Alister Zowe, who were given 2 and 1 games respectively.
Chirombe topped ZC's overall senior domestic appointments for the season with 21, then came Matibiri and Chirombe Rusere on 19, Tiffin 17, Rwaziyeni 15, Mandiya 12, Christopher Phiri 11, Chabi 9, Trevor Phiri 7 and Ngwanya 6. Matibiri stood in the finals of ZC's one-day and T20 competitions, Chirombe being his partner in the 50-over match and Rusere in the 20-over fixture.
Tiffin and Chirombe are on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, and Matibiri a third umpire member.
TAUFEL RETURNS TO ON-FIELD
ROLE FOR IPL SERIES
Former Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who is now the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, will be on-field for the opening match of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 series in Kolkata later today. Taufel is to stand with Indian umpire Ravi Sundaram, his countryman Sudhir Asnani will be the third umpire, and another Australian, David Boon, the match referee.
In addition to umpiring, an article posted on the 'India Today' web site yesterday states that Taufel has "been invited" to join the television commentary team for this year's series. IPL organisers have four separate crews of commentators lined up for the event and they will each cover three of four cities during the 76-match, 54-day event, but Taufel "will not necessarily move with any particular crew", runs a quote attributed to an official from the IPL's owners, the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Boon is normally a member of the ICC's top match referees panel, Asnani an on-field member of the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel and Sundarm a third umpire member of that group. Taufel retired as a member of the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel late last year, primarily because he wanted to spend more time with his family (PTG 995-4833, 27 September 2012).
AUSSIE FIRST CLASS UMPIRES
STAND IN STATE CLUB FINALS
Six members of Cricket Australia's 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) have been appointed to first Grade season-ending club Grand Finals across that country's six states over the last three weeks. Those involved were Damien Mealey in Brisbane, Paul Wilson in Adelaide, Sam Nogajksi in Hobart, Ian Lock in Perth, and Geoff Joshua and Tony Ward who stood together in Melbourne.
Mealey stood with Jay Kangur, Wilson with Luke Uthenwoldt, Lock with Nathan Johnstone, and Nogajski with Mike Graham-Smith. NUP members who did not feature in first grade Grand Finals were Simon Fry in Adelaide, Mick Martell in Perth and John Ward in Melbourne as their respective state finals coincided with their work in the Sheffield Shield first class final in Hobart, and Paul Reiffel in Brisbane as he was on Test duty in New Zealand. Ash Barrow (Melbourne) and Gerard Abood (Sydney) were reportedly unavailable due to personal committments.
In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Terry Keel and Yohan Ramasundara looked after the first Grade final, while Sydney's first Grade final, which is to be played this coming weekend, will see NUP aspirants Greg Davidson and Anthony Wilds on the field. The latter pair plus Graham-Smith and Kangar featured in CA's annual Under-19 men's national championship series earlier this year, a key event on Australia's umpire development pathway. Of the others who took part in that U-19 series, Todd Rann stood in the second Grade final in Perth and Jamie Mitchell the equivalent game in Hobart, but Simon Lightbody is missing from Sydney's appointment list posted on the web yesterday.
CA Project Panel member Shawn Craig, who was also at the Under-19 national event, plus Richard Patterson another contender for NUP selection, both stood in first Grade semi finals in Melbourne; Craig with Tony Ward and Patterson with Joshua.
Information available indicates that two former first class umpires, Darren Goodger and Greg Lill, continue to serve the game at club level, the former being set to stand this weekend in Sydney's fourth Grade final and Lill the fifths. The ACT's Keel has in the past stood in List A, Under-19 Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) as well as womens' ODIs.
FIJI NAMES ITS
'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'
Mohammed Ali Maqbool was named as his country's 'Umpire of the Year' at Cricket Fiji's (CF) Annual Awards Night in Suva on Saturday. Maqbool, who served for a number of years as CF's Operations Manager, is a member of the International Cricket Council's East Asia Pacific (EAP) Supplementary Panel (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013). Over the last few years he has stood in an EAP Under-15 tournament in Indonesia and in that region's Under-19 series in south-east Queensland in both 2009 and 2011.
ICC PLAYING CONDITIONS AMENDMENT
TO COVER 'FINN' 'NO BALL' CHANGE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to amend Playing Conditions for games played under its auspices to cover a planned Laws change that require 'Finn' stump-strike situations to attract a 'no ball' call. ICC's change, which will apply from the end of this month, will come ten Tests, ten One Day Internationals, five Twenty20 Internationals and nine weeks, since the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced the Laws change (PTG 1064-5173, 22 February 2013).
ICC General Manager-Cricket Geoff Allardice said in a press release issued yesterday that the ICC's Cricket Committee "noted the MCC's decision and recommended that an ICC playing condition, mirroring the new 'no ball' Law, be introduced to international cricket as early as possible". The ICC's Chief Executives Committee is said to have approved the recommendation at its meeting in Dubai last month, but there was no publicity about that at the time.
The change removes the possibility that a batsman can be given out when a bowler breaks the wicket at the non-striker's end except if he handles the ball, hits the ball twice, obstructs the field or is run out. The batsman will, unlike when 'dead ball' is called in such situations, also be rewarded with any runs he or she makes from such a delivery.
The issue first arose last August when English fast bowler Steven Finn was denied wickets, and batsmen runs, because of umpiring calls of 'dead ball' when he knocked the non-striker's stumps in delivering the ball (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012). At the time some observers pointed out that bowlers have probably been accidently removing the bales that way since the game first began, and expressed the view that 'gamemanship' on the part of the batsman concerned provoked the 'dead ball' call (PTG 972-4716, 6 August 2012).
Allardice also said yesterday that "the recent interpretation used in international matches to call 'dead ball' when a bowler breaks the wicket during a delivery has not adequately dealt with this situation". According to him the Playing Condition amendment is being made five months before the MCC's Law change comes into effect on 1 October "because there is a lot of important cricket to be played before [then], including the Champions Trophy [one-day] series in June".
ICC's General Manager-Cricket does not mention the ICC's "important cricket" that has been played since last August, a period during which there has been considerable confusion as to what rule did actually apply to such games (PTG 1059-5150, 15 February 2013).
With the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) season about to get underway today, a check of 2013 County Playing Conditions posted on their web site shows that the ECB has not followed the MCC's or ICC's lead. Soon after Finn transgressed in a Test at Headingley, (ECB) umpires’ manager Chris Kelly advised his first-class umpires that they should not call 'dead ball' in such situations.
“Some umpires asked questions about the interpretation of the law after Headingley but we have not had a problem and the advice is for them to carry on doing what they have been doing", runs the quote attributed to Kelly, who is a member of the MCC Laws sub-committee that later came up with the planned Laws change (PTG 975-4730, 10 August 2012).
The first match to be played under the new Playing Condition will be the One Day International between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in Bulawayo on 3 May. Just why it will not apply to the two Test matches those sides are to play in Harare in the period between the 17th and 29th of this month is not clear.
TWO-YEAR WCL CHAMPIONSHIP DRAWS
MATCH OFFICIALS FROM 17 COUNTRIES
A total of 27 match officials from 17 countries were appointed to the 40 One Day Internationals (ODI) that made up the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2011-13 World Cricket League (WCL) Championship for second-tier nations, the last two matches of which are to be played in Namibia next week. Thirteen of those officials came from the 13 members of the ICC's International Umpires Panel (IUP), 9 from the world body's 11 member third-tier Affiliates and Associates Umpires Panel (AAUP), and 5 from its second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP)
Each of the 8 sides in the competition, Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have played 10 ODIs over the course of the last two years. Fourteen of the games were played at grounds in Europe, 12 each in southern Africa and the UAE, and 2 in North America.
Umpires from 8 of the 10 ICC full members who have representatives on the IUP, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, were appointed to WCL matches, but those from the other two, Australia and Bangladesh, were not. The 13 IUP members were: Rob Bailey (England); Vineet Kulkarni (India); Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand); Ahsan Raza (Pakistani); Ranmore Martinesz and RSA Palliyaguruge (Sri Lanka); Johannes Cloete and Shaun George (South Africa); Gregory Brathwaite, Peter Nero and Joel Wilson (West Indies); and Owen Chirombe and Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe).
AAUP members from 7 countries were selected for matches, they being: Neils Bagh (Denmark); Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal); Richard Smith and Mark Hawthorne (both Ireland); Ian Ramage (Scotland); Jeff Luck and Wynand Louw (Namibia); David Odhiambo (Kenya); and Sarika Prasad (Singapore).
Of the 80 on-field positions available, IUP members were allocated 43, Brathwaite, Chirombe, Martinesz, Nero, Palliyaguruge, Raza, Wilson all having 2 matches, Bailey, Cloete, Gaffaney and Kulkarni each 4, Tiffin 6 and George 7. The other 37 spots went to AAUP members, Pradhan being given 6 games, Odhiambo 5, Bagh, Hawthorne, Smith, Prasad and Ramage all 4, and Luck and Louw both 3.
RRP panel members for the series were: Steve Barnard (Australia); Devdas Govindjee (South Africa); Adrian Griffiths (West Indies); David Jukes (England); and Graeme Labrooy (Sri Lanka). Jukes oversaw 16 games, Govindjee 12, Labrooy 8, Barnard 2, and also Griffiths 2 before he took the ICC's umpire and referees administration manager position in Dubai eight months ago (PTG 963-4684, 18 July 2012).
The two sides who top the WCL Championship, probably Ireland and the Netherlands, will qualify for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand alongside teams from the ICC's ten full members who will automatically be involved. The final two participants will be determined at a World Cup Qualifier event scheduled for New Zealand early next year.
NEW IUP MEMBER TOPS NZ
Former Otago all-rounder Derek Walker, New Zealand's new third umpire on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), topped the numerical list of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) umpiring appointments for the 2012-13 austral summer. Walker was one of 16 umpires NZC used across the 30 first class, 28 one-day, 32 Twenty20 domestic fixtures and eight tour games it was responsible for, 5 of those 16 also supporting the nine senior internationals played there in February-March.
Of the 235 positions NZC needed to fill, 211 on-field, 15 television and 9 fourth umpire, 220 were allocated to the 9 members of its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), 9 to 4 from its 12-man second-tier 'A' Panel, and 6 to the 3 exchange umpires who visited from Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Of the four 'A' Panel members three debuted at both first class and senior one-day level (PTG , however, appointments to NZC's domestic T20 competition were limited to established first class umpires.
EUP members involved in 2012-13 were: Phil Agent 52; Gary Baxter 61; Barry Frost 55; Chris Gaffaney 37; Phil Jones 63; Wayne Knights 42; Tim Parlane 55; Walker 53; and Evan Watkin 61; while the 'A' panelists were Chris Brown 39, Peter Gasston 52, Tony Gillies 42, and Ashley Mehrotra 43. Of those thirteen, Gaffaney, Brown and Walker are all former first class players.
Overseas exchangees during the season were Karl Hurter (South Africa), Mick Martell (Australia), and Ravindra Wimalasiri (Sri Lanka), Agent, Walker and Knights respectively going in the opposite direction. All except Walker stood in two first class games during their visits to each other's countries, his visit to Australia consisting of single first class and List A matches (PTG 1061-5159, 19 February 2013).
In terms of overall senior appointments handed out by NZC, Walker received 28, Gaffaney 27, Baxter and Frost both 26, Knights 25, Parlane and Watkin each 24, Jones 21, and Agent 19, Brown, Gillies and Mehrotra all 3, Hurter, Martell and Wimalasiri each 2, and Gasston 1.
The Plunket Shield first class competition saw Knights stand in 8 games, Parlane and Watkin both 7, Walker 6, Baxter, Frost, Gaffaney and Jones all 5, Agent 3, Hurter and Wimalasiri 2, and Brown, Gasston, Gillies, Martell and Mehrotra all 1. Walker also had 2 first class tour games, and Agent, Baxter, Gaffaney and Parlane 1 each.
Parlane was on-field in 9 domestic one-dayers, Frost and Watkin 8, Agent and Jones 7, Walker 5, Gaffaney 4, Baxter 3, while Gilles and Mahrotra had 2 and Brown 1; Baxter looking after the one television spot which was in the final, the on-field umpires then being Gaffaney and Walker. Apart from the domestic competition Knights and Frost both had two one-day tour matches to manage.
EUP members plus Martell looked after NZC's T20 competition, Frost being involved in 10, 7 on-field and 3 in the television suite (7/3), Baxter and Jones 9 (9/0 and 8/1 respectively), Gaffaney and Knights both 8/0, Watkin 6/2, Parlane 7/0, Agent 6/0, Walker 4/1 and Martell 1/0; Gaffaney and Baxter being on-field for the final with Walker as third umpire.
As IUP members Baxter, Gaffaney, and Walker looked after 18 of the 21 spots available across the 3 Tests, 3 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 3 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) New Zealand and England played. Gaffaney, Baxter and Walker were each on the field in 2 T20Is and the television umpire in 1, Gaffaney stood in 2 ODIs and Baxter 1, while the trio also worked as fourth umpires in 1 Test each.
GROUND WATERING COSTS CRITICISED
AS MAHARASHTRA DROUGHT CONTINUES
In order to keep the playing surface green for Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Mumbai, water is being supplied to the Wankhede stadium at subsidised rates, claims a 'Zee News' report. It says the 25,000-26,000 litres needed at the ground is being supplied at a rate of 400 Rupees ($A7) a tanker, in contrast to farmers in the state’s drought-hit regions who reportedly have to pay as much as 1,500-3,000 Rupees ($A26-53) for each load.
Opposition political parties in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, are calling for IPL games to be moved elsewhere to save water during what reports say is the worst drought in the region in four decades. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinod Tawde wrote to IPL chief Rajeev Shukla to say that “Maharashtra is reeling from a drought" and asked whether it is "right that hundreds of thousands of liters of water should be wasted for matches that are solely for entertainment?” A total of seven games are scheduled to be played in Mumbai during this year's IPL series.
Three other opposition leaders also cited similar reasons in expressing their objections to IPL matches. Last week one of them, the Shiv Sena party, asked the owners of IPL teams to contribute 5,000 million Rupees ($A90 M) of the revenue generated from the event for use in drought relief work.
13 UMPIRES TO SUPPORT NZ
NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
A total of 13 umpires will be used to support New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) National Club Championship finals in Auckland next week. Reports say that one umpire from each of NZC's six major associations will take part, representative, along with three from the national second-tier 'A' panel, another three from the Auckland Cricket Association, plus an umpire from Australia, but as yet the names of those involved are not available. Umpires will be accessed in each game with the top six being appointed to playoff games on Sunday week, say reports.
INDIAN UMPIRES TO
THE FORE IN IPL-6
Umpire appointments across the first eight games of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL-6) series are markedly different to those of the five previous events with Indian nationals chosen for two-thirds of the on-field positions. Last year's IPL saw Indians allocated one-third of on-field and two-thirds of the third umpire spots overall, a similar balance to that which prevailed in the four seasons prior to that.
During IPL-5 in 2012, event organisers contracted a total of 16 umpires for on-field and third umpire positions and 8 match referees. Seven of the 16 umpires and 4 of the 8 referees hailed from India, but as was the case then and for several years before that, none of the local umpires featured in the finals of the event (PTG 940-4571, 22 May 2012). This year to date, 8 of the 11 umpires assigned to on-field positions, and all of the television spots, have come from India's pool of first class umpires.
Whether the trend to local umpires that is currently apparent will continue over the 76-day, 54-match event remains to be seen. If it does it could indicate either a new-found confidence by IPL organisers in the ability of their own umpires, the unavailability of International Cricket Council (ICC) officials from other countries, or alternatively a desire to reduce the costs likely to be involved in attracting high-profile members of ICC panels to IPL contracts.
Those appointed to the first nine matches have been Sudhir Asnani, Anil Chowdhary, Subrat Das, Vineet Kulkarni, CK Nandan, Chettithody Shamsuddin, Krisnaraj Srinath and Ravi Sundaram, who are all from India, plus Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa) and Simon Taufel (Australia) (PTG 1084-5279, 3 April 2013).
Dar and Erasmus normally work as members of the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel, and Asnani, Kulkarni, Shamsuddin and Sundaram its second-tier International Umpires Panel, while Taufel is the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager. So far in IPL-6, Sundaram and Taufel have stood in 3 matches, Das, Shamsuddin and Kulkarni all two, and the others one each.
In contrast to the Indian trend in umpiring, to date only one of the four match referees who have overseen games is from the sub-continent, those with IPL contracts this year being: David Boon (Australia); Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe); Javagal Srinath (India); and Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).
For Srinath its his sixth-straight IPL series, Pycroft his fourth, Madugalle his second, while Boon is taking part in the event for the first time. All previously played the game at Test level and normally work as members of the ICC's top referees panel.
Political action in Chennai would appear to rule out Madugalle from looking after any of the 9 matches scheduled there this year, including the first two games of the four-match final series next month (PTG 1082-5271, 29 March 2013). However, the final two fixtures, including the final itself, are to be played in Kolkata, in contrast to 2012 when both were overseen by Madugalle in Chennai.
BADGERS STOP PLAY 'INDEFINITELY'
One of the oldest clubs in England has had to suspend play at its ground indefinitely as a result of an unprecedented ground invasion by a colony of badgers, say media reports from London on Saturday. Over the last few months turf at the Rickmansworth Cricket Club's (RCC) ground in Hertfordshire has been ripped up and turned into a "mud bath" by the animals, which are a protected species in the UK.
Mark Raine, the chairman of the 226-year-old club, described the scene as looking "like the [aftermarth of the] Battle of the Somme as it is covered in huge holes and mounds of earth". "We have bought some sonic alarms to try to frighten them away, but they are proving totally inadequate and we are powerless to do anything else" because as it is illegal to kill, injure or disturb badgers or to destroy their dens.
The badgers are believed to have been attracted to the turf by crane flies, which lay their larvae in the grass. "Apparently they really like the larvae and they have been tearing up large swabs of the ground in search of them", says Raine. The club usually sprays the ground to clear the insects, however, the treatment only works at temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius and it has been too cold to date this year to conduct that work.
"In the whole history of the club a game has never been cancelled due to badgers before", continued Raine, and "it looks like we will have to re-turf the whole pitch, which will be really expensive". Club secretary Paul Blackwell estimates it could cost as much as £5,000 ($A7,300) to solve the problem, around £1,000 ($A1,500) having been spent so far.
However, after last year's wet summer club finances are being rapidly depleted, says Blackwell. "We are worried our players, who obviously want to play cricket, will go elsewhere. They play on a pay-to-play basis, so we don't have annual subs we can delve into to try and sort it". "If there's no cricket, there's no bar money either, so we are really stuck at the moment [and as yet] we haven't found another ground where we can play".
According to Blackwell "The most likely scenario is that we will just have to wait until June when the weather gets warmer and the pitch starts to harden, so they won't be able to get to the bugs". The club indicated it had been offered so far unspecified help by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Founded in 1787, the same year as the Marylebone Cricket Club, Rickmansworth hosted the Australian team of 1882 that nine days later beat England at the Oval, a win that gave rise to the Ashes. The club, which currently has five teams in the Hertfordshire Cricket League, may date back even further than 1787 though as there are records of games it has been involved in as far back as 1760; a time that is well before the founding of most present-day cricketing nations.
KUWAITI, THAI UMPIRES
STAND IN ACC T20 FINAL
Imran Mustafa of Kuwait and Thailand's I Kamaruzzaman were on the field for the final of the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) Twenty20 tournament in Nepal last week between the home side and Afghanistan, while the match referee was former Sri Lankan Test player Rumesh Ratnayake.
Other umpires who took part in the week-long event were Adachani Srinivasan of Oman and Nepalese Himal Giri, plus Nepalese nationals Vinay Kumar Jha, Basu Karn, Shailendra Nepal, Adhip Pradhan, Buddhi Pradhan, Durga Subedi and Ram Yadav. In addition to Ratnayake the other referees were locals Karn who also umpired during the event, Manohar Adhikari, Mohammed Shafique and Satyajit Sarkar.
LOTS OF 'UNFINISHED BUSINESS'
FOR CA POST-SEASON MEETING
Cricket Australia's (CA) annual post-season meeting with State and Territory Directors of Umpiring (SDU) is expected to be held in Melbourne sometime in the next few weeks. No details of the timing or focus of what is normally a two-day gathering have been made public, but a range of key issues, particularly those that relate to the recruitment, training and retention of umpires and scorers who work below national 'elite' level, are likely to be on the agenda.
Many observers acknowledge the key work CA conducts to train and develop match officials for higher-level cricket, however, there has been concern over the last few years about what some see as the national body's apparent lack of attention to issues that relate directly to match officials who work at senior club and other 'grass roots' levels of the game.
Observers in several states have told 'PTG' that there will be, in the words of one, a lot of "unfinished business" on the meeting's agenda because of what he described as "false starts" on a number of key projects. Programs that are seen as having stalled in recent years include: the provision of on-line learning; better coordination of umpire development; general communications with the Australia-wide umpiring community; and with research into how umpires around the country see recruitment, training and retention issues and solutions to the problems they believe current exist.
Projects like those have so far produced "little if any results" in recent years, claimed another observer, who pointed to the important role CA's Umpire Educator has in many aspects of the work involved. In that regard CA should have some idea of the calibre of who is in the running to fill its now vacant Educator position by the time the meeting is held, as applications for that job close later today in Melbourne (PTG 1082-5273, 29 March 2013).
The Educator role is seen by many as pivotal in providing a key range of support to SDU members in their work in improving the standards of those who support the game at club level, an area that is not only important for the game as a whole, but is where future candidates for CA's national-level positions usually always come from.
Funding support that will be available in CA's 2013-14 budget for scorer and umpiring activities will underpin any discussions that are planned, but whether the year after CA reported a record profit (PTG 932-4533, 26 April 2012), extra resources will be available for such activities as a whole, is a subject of some conjecture.
CA's combining of its Educator's role with membership of its Umpire High Performance Panel, which some say occurred in part as the result of cost cutting two years ago, is seen by many now as having been a contributor to the lack of action in a range of key areas over the last few years.
PLAYING THE GAME
FINN WELCOMES LIFTING OF
STUMP-BREAK 'GREY AREAS'
England bowler Steven Finn has welcomed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) move to introduce a new Playing Condition into its games that covers the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) planned Laws change to bowler stump-strike situations (PTG 1085-5282, 5 April 2013). The issue, which had been a little noted feature of the game for a century or more, came to the fore last August when Finn was denied wickets, and batsmen runs, because of umpiring calls of 'dead ball' when he knocked the non-striker's stumps whilst delivering the ball (PTG 970-4710, 3 August 2012).
Finn, 24, is quoted in yesterday's edition of the UK newspaper 'The Independent' as saying that while he "shouldn't have being doing it" there "were a lot grey areas" involved (PTG 1063-5172, 21 February 2013), however, "now that there’s a set rule and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, that suits me far better". The Middlesex fast bowler said that in order to try and permanently eradicate the issue for himself, he is continuing to work on a run-up that is five metres shorter than he previously had, and the he is happy with the early results he has achieved, particularly in the one-day format.
Former England bowler Angus Fraser, who is now a MCC committee member and also Finn's coach at Middlesex, said in February that he is satisfied with the MCC's decision to require umpires to call 'no ball' in Finn-type situations (PTG 1067-5187, 26 February 2013). Fraser described the situation that will prevail in ICC matches up until the 30th of this month, and in the Laws proper until 1 October, as "unsatisfactory" for "you leave yourself open to potentially embarrassing situations". In his view the original decision to use the 'dead ball' Law for instances where Finn disturbed the stumps "was the wrong one".
While happy with the Laws change, Finn told the Independent's George Flood flippantly that “as long as they name the Law after me" he "doesn't care".
SOUTH AFRICAN SEASON SEES
TWO MAKE FIRST CLASS DEBUTS
Cricket South Africa (CSA) appointed a total of 38 umpires to the 558 on-field positions available across the 121 domestic first class, 76 List A and 81 Twenty20 senior domestic matches run under its auspices during the 2012-13 austral summer, a period that saw two new umpires introduced to the first class game. Of the umpires used, 12 were from CSA's National Panel, 23 from its second-tier Provincial group, two of whom were from Namibia, while the three others were on exchange, one each from Australia, India and New Zealand.
Games in all three formats were spread across CSA's top Franchise-based competition which consists of 6 teams, and its second-tier 'Provincial' tournament whose 14 sides are based around the former state-based structure of a decade ago plus Namibia. Franchise teams played a total of 30 first class, 33 List A and 32 Twenty20 games, and those at Provincial level 91, 43 and 49 matches respectfully; the difference in formats being that Franchise first class games were played over four days, and Provincial over three.
Those on the National Panel in 2012-13 were: Murray Brown 46; Johannes Cloete 41; Marais Erasmus 48; Shaun George 44; Earl Hendrikse 45; Adrian Holdstock 42; Ian Howell 54; Karl Hurter 48; Brian Jerling 54; Gerrie Pienaar 53; Dennis Smith 41; and Brad White 42; while the three exchange umpires were Phil Agent (New Zealand), Anil Chowdhury (India), and Mick Martell (Australia). CSA's Smith, Holstock and Hurter respectively travelled in the opposite direction during the season.
Half of CSA's National Panel, Erasmus, George, Holdstock, Howell, Smith and White, all played first class cricket before taking up umpiring. In contrast, only one of the 23 strong Provincial group have played the game at that level, that exception being Allahudien Paleker, 34, who went on an umpiring exchange to New Zealand two years ago.
In addition to Paleker the others in the Provincia group were: Rudi Birkenstock 49; Christo Conradie 53; Adrian Crafford 46; Lourens Engelbrecht 48; Rod Ellis 36; Babs Gcuma 36; Bernard Harrison 55; Stephen Harris 32; Clifford Isaacs 45; Bongami Jele 26; Clive Joubert 53; Wynand Louw 51; Brian Mantle 46; Jack Morton 44; Stephen Rex 41; Faizel Samsoodien 54; Claude Thorburn 26; Irvin van Kerwel 49; Wessie Westraadt 55; Robin White 51, uncle of Brad; Lawrence Willemse 50; and Jeff Wolhuter 31. Thorburn and Louw were the Namibians, the latter earlier this year being named as a member of the International Cricket Council's third-tier umpires panel for the first time (PTG 1035-5025, 5 January 2013).
Records available indicate that of the 33 South Africans, one debuted at first class level during the season, as did one of the two Namibians. The newcomers were Wolhuter and Thorburn, the former also standing in his first List A and senior Twenty20 fixtures, and the latter List A, all of those games being at Provincial level.
Gcuma, Jele, Paleker and Willemse are the only members of the current Provincial group known to have stood at Franchise first class level, however, all those appointments occurred two-and-half-years ago and were limited to either one or two games. None of the Provincial group were on-field in CSA Franchise first class matches during the 2012-13 summer (PTG 1087-5293 below).
BUSY SEASON FOR CSA 'FRANCHISE,
'PROVINCIAL' UMPIRING PANELS
Cricket South Africa (CSA) National Panel member Dennis Smith, who visited Australia on exchange earlier this year (PTG 1069-5200, 1 March 2013), led CSA's combined list of home domestic on-field and television umpire appointments during the recent austral summer. Smith 41, a former first class player, stood in 11 first class games in South Africa, 9 in the top Franchise competition and another 2 in the second-tier Provincial series (PTG 1087-5292 above), plus 7 Franchise List A games, three as the television umpire, and 9 Twenty20 fixtures, 6 on-field and 3 television.
Apart from Smith's 27, overall CSA National Panel domestic on-field and third umpire appointments saw Karl Hurter with 25, 19 on-field and 6 television (19/6), then came Earl Hendrikse and Brad White both 22 and 19/3, Gerrie Pienaar 21 (20/1), Ian Howell 21 (19/2), Adrian Holdstock 20 (18/2), Johannes Cloete 20 (14/6), Mark Brown 18 (17/1), Brian Jerling 17 (14/3), Shaun George 17 (13/4), and Marais Erasmus 9 (9/0). Cloete, George, Holdstock, Howell and Hurter were also appointed by CSA to positions that were available to it in the 17 internationals that were played in South Africa during the season.
Provincial on-field appointments, none of which involved television duty, saw Babs Gcuma and Clifford Isaacs lead with 23 each, then came Rudi Birkenstock and Stephen Rex with 22, Bernard Harrison 21, Brian Mantle 20, Lourens Engelbrecht 19, Faizel Samsoodien 18, Adrian Crafford, Rod Ellis and Stephen Harris 16, Jack Morton 15, Clive Joubert, Irvin van Kerwel, Lawrence Willemse and Jeff Wolhuter 13, Jele and Paleker 12, Christo Conradie, Wynand Louw and Robin White 10, Wessie Westraadt 6, and Claude Thorburn 5.
Apart from Smith's 9 Franchise first class games, of the South Africans Howell had 7, Hurter 6, Hendrikse and Pienaar 5, Brown, Holdstock, Jerling and White 4, Cloete 3, George 2, and Erasmus 1. Nine of that group also stood in Provincial first class games, Pienaar and White having 6, Hurter and Smith 2, and Brown, George, Hendrikse, Howell and Jerling all one each. Of those from the second-tier group Birkenstock and Isaacs were each allocated 13 Provincial first class games, Harrison and Rex 10, Gcuma and Joubert 9, Mantle, Harris and Willemse 8, Paleker, Samsoodien and Wolhuter 7, Crafford, Engelbrecht, Ellis and van Kerwel 6, Jele, Louw and Morton 5, Conradie and Robin White 4, Westraadt 3 and Thorburn 2.
The Franchise List A series saw the National Panel's Cloete stand in 9, and his colleagues George in 7, Erasmus and White 6, Holdstock and Hurter 5, Brown, Hendrikse, Howell, Jerling, Pienaar and Smith all 4, while Gcuma, Isaacs, Jele and Paleker from the Provincial group all had one game at the higher level. Only 19 of the 33 Franchise one-day games had television umpires, all of those coming from the top panel.
Of the 43 Provincial List A games, where there were no television umpires, Hendrikse had 2 and Holdstock 1, while of the Provincial group Mantle was given 7, Harris and Rex 6, Engelbrecht, Ellis, Harrison and Samsoodien 5, Birkenstock, Crafford, Gcuma, Isaacs and Morton 4, Conradie, Jele, Thorburn, van Kerwel, White, Willemse and Wolhuter 3, Paleker 2 and Louw and Westraadt 1.
Only Jele and Paleker were allocated matches in the Franchise Twenty20 series, each having 2 games, the rest going to the National Panel's Holdstock with 10, 9 on-field and one in the television suite (9/1), Hurter 10 (5/5), Brown 9 (8/1), Howell 9 (7/2), Smith 9 (6/3), Hendrikse 8 (7/1), Jerling 7 (5/2), Pienaar 4 (4/0), White 4 (2/2), George 3 (3/0), Cloete 3 (2/1) and Erasmus 2 (2/0). Records available indicate that just 18 of the 32 games had television umpires, all again coming from the National Panel.
For the Provincial Twenty20 series, where again there were no television umpires, Gcuma was on the field in 9 games, Engelbrecht 8, Crafford, Harrison, Morton, Rex and Samsoodien 6, Birkenstock, Ellis, Isaacs and Mantle 5, Joubert, Louw and van Kerwel 4, Conradie, White and Wolhuter 3, Harris, Westraadt and Willemse 2, and Jele 1, the latter the same number as National Panel members Pienaar and White.
On the international scene CSA had a total of 41 positions to fill during the Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) their national side played against New Zealand and Pakistan over the summer. Current International Cricket Council second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) members Cloete, George and Holdstock were allocated most of the positions, former IUP members Jerling and Hurter also being involved.
Cloete and George worked as fourth umpires in two Tests each and Holdstock one, Jerling being given that role three T20Is and Hurter two. Cloete was on the field in three ODIs, and George and Holdstock two each, the latter's games including his debut at that level; while the trio also had ODI fourth umpire positions as well. George led the on-field appointments to T20Is with four with Cloete and Holdstock having three each, and they all also had stints as television umpires across the five such games that were played.
ANNUAL DINNER 'STOUSH'
LEADS TO YEAR-LONG BANS
Two players in the Mersey Valley Cricket Association (MVCA) in northern Tasmania have been banned for 12-months while another ended up with a five-week suspension after a fight erupted at the Association's Annual Dinner dinner in Spreyton late last month. Reports indicate that "there was a fair bit of heat" in a match between the Sassafras and Don Steamers clubs towards the end of the 2012-13 season and some of those involved made their feelings about each other's club known at the dinner.
The situation is said to have developed after Sassafras player Andrew Boon, who was on stage at the dinner accepting an award, wished all teams who were playing in the MVCA finals good luck, however, he also made it clear that felicitation did not apply to the Don Steamers side. Later, the Don side's Graham Appleby retaliated verbally while accepting an award, then shortly after that another Sassafras player, Boon's son Christopher, publicly added his thoughts about the situation while he was accepting an award he had won.
Boon junior's comments are said to have been "the straw that broke the camel's back", and that's when the fight is said to have broken out. No details are available about just what the awards were that the three players won, but presumably they did not include the MVCA's 'Spirit of Cricket' trophy for the season.
A MVCA hearing subsequently gave Appleby and the younger Boon year-long bans for their parts in the confrontation while Boon senior was initially suspended for 10 weeks. All three appealed their sentences to the MVCA's executive, the two longer suspensions being confirmed but Boon senior's was reduced to five weeks with the other five suspended provided he is of good behaviour during that time. MVCA regulations are believed to provide an avenue for all three to appeal again, this time to Cricket North West, Cricket Tasmania's peak body in that part of the state.
As far as it is known the two Boons are not related to the former Tasmanian and Australian player David, who now works as a match referee with the International Cricket Council and is currently looking after games in the Indian Premier League's sixth season (PTG 1086-5287, 8 April 2013). The more well-known Boon grew up and played his first cricket in the city of Launceston which lies around 100 km to the east of where the MVCA's competition is based.
TAUFEL JUGGLING 'DUAL' IPL ROLE,
TRAVEL SCHEDULE, ICC WORK
Former Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who is now the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), says he has a "dual role as an umpire and umpire coach" during this year's Indian Premier League (IPL-6) series. Taufel, who retired as a ICC umpire last October to take up the UPTM position, also said in a blog posted on the Australia-based 'International Cricket Hall of Fame' web site yesterday, that "it was good to be back on the park again" in IPL-6's opening game in Kolkata last week, where "the atmosphere was electric" (PTG 1084-5279, 3 April 2013).
Taufel arrived in Kolkata five days ahead of the opening IPL game and in his words "hit the ground running", for he delivered a two-day pre event workshop at Eden Gardens for the "19 Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) umpires" who have been chosen to support this year's tournament. He writes that "we all had a good time working through various training topics and testing our skills" and that those involved are "a great group of guys who will do well".
In the 14 matches played to date a total of 18 BCCI umpires have been used, 9 being assigned 'travelling' on-field and third umpire positions while the other 9, who are all experienced at domestic first class level in India, have been limited to fourth umpire roles, mostly in their respective home cities. Unlike previous years the top 9 are continuing to look after two-thirds, not one-third, of the on-field spots, plus all, not two-thirds, of the third umpire positions (PTG 1086-5287, 8 April 2013). Yesterday saw Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf become just the fourth non-Indian umpire involved, the others so far being his countryman Aleem Dar, South African Marais Erasmus and Taufel.
The Australian says that "time is very tight in this tournament". "[IPL] scheduling doesn’t help but that’s the nature of the beast" he says, a fact illustrated by his match-related travels after the opening game in Kolkata in India's far north-east. Since then he has travelled a distance close to 3,000 km, first 1,500 km south-west to Hyderabad, then 590 km further west to Pune near India's mid-west coast, and then another 860 km south to Bangalore.
Taufel, a five-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year' who is thought to be working in the series on a BCCI-IPL contract, says that in addition to his IPL umpiring and coaching role and the travel involved, he also has to "progress my ICC work". One of his first priorities in taking up the UPTM position last year is likely to have been to fill the four Umpire Coaches positions who are to work under him (PTG 1029-4998, 14 December 2012), but just what stage that work is at is not known.
News surfaced six weeks ago that two former Cricket Australia employees, Denis Burns and David Levens, had been selected for two of the positions (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), however, the ICC has so far given no publicity to either their recruitment or in regard to the other two spots.
NO NEWCOMERS ON AUSSIE
FIRST CLASS SCENE
Of the 63 umpiring positions available in Cricket Australia's (CA) 31 domestic first class matches during the season just completed, National Umpire Panel (NUP) members were allocated 57, one went to Australian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) Bruce Oxenford, and the other five to exchange umpires Vineet Kulkarni (India), Dennis Smith (South Africa) and Derek Walker (New Zealand). That meant none of Australia's emerging umpires were trialled at first class level during the six-month season (PTG 1088-5297 below).
Those domestic first class games saw NUP members Ian Lock and John Ward on the field in 6, Gerard Abood, Simon Fry, Geoff Joshua, Tony Ward, and Paul Wilson all had 5, Ash Barrow, Mick Martell, Damien Mealey and Sam Nogajski each 4, Paul Reiffel 3, Kulkarni and Smith each 2, and Oxenford and Walker both 1; Fry and John Ward looking after the final with Martell in the television suite. Martell also stood in two first class games in South Africa and a third in New Zealand on exchange and Fry in two in India, while Reiffel's domestic count was limited by his absence on Test duty with the ICC.
In CA's 25 one-day fixtures, Walker stood in one and emerging CA umpire Nathan Johnstone another, the remaining 48 on-field spots going to the NUP; as did 20 or the 21 third umpire spots, Johnstone being the recipient of the other one. In CA's Twenty20 series it was all NUP members as they were allocated all 70 on-field and 35 television spots that were on offer.
The 50-over based one-day competition saw Joshua work in 9 games, 5 on-field and 4 as third umpire (5/4), Barrow 7, Lock and John Ward 6 (5/1), Abood, Mealey and Nogajski all 6 (4/2), Fry and Tony Ward both 5 (4/1), Reiffel, Wilson and Martell all 4 (4/0, 3/1 and 2/2 respectively), Johnstone 2 (1/1) and Walker 1/0. Fry, John Ward and Martell filled the same positions in the final of that series as they did in the first class final. Abood, Joshua, Lock and Tony Ward also each had single appointments in one-day tour matches involving Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
In matches in the game's shortest form, CA's 35-match Twenty20 competition, Wilson topped the list with 10, 6 on-field and 4 third umpire (6/4), then came Martell with 9 (7/2), Abood and Joshua also having 9 (each 5/4), Fry, Mealey, Barrow, Lock, Nogajski and Tony Ward all 8 (6/2, 6/2, 5/3, 5/3, 5/3 and 5/3 respectively), John Ward 7 (5/2), Reiffel 6 (4/2), Oxenford 4 (3/1), and his EUP colleague Steve Davis three (3/0). Fry and Martell, the later who also notched up a 10th T20 game while on exchange in New Zealand, were on the field for the final with Wilson the third umpire.
FEW HIGH-LEVEL OPPORTUNITIES
FOR CA EMERGING UMPIRES
Cricket Australia (CA) did little to expose its next crop of National Umpire Panel (NUP) candidates to higher-level games in its three senior domestic competitions during the just completed 2012-13 austral summer season. Of the 239 positions available across its 31 first class, 25 one-day and 35 Twenty20 domestic fixtures, 182 being on-field and 57 in the television suite, the twelve current NUP members accounted for 223, Australian international umpires 8 and exchangees 6, just two being left for a single CA emerging umpire (PTG 1088-5296 above).
Over the last three years, members of CA's most recent emerging group, Nathan Johnstone, Michael Kumutat, Damien Mealey and Sam Nogajski, were progressively allocated first one-day television positions, one-day games themselves, then Twenty20 fixtures. Just over twelve months ago Nogajski and Mealey went on to make their debuts at first class level, and after satisfactory performances in those games were elevated to the NUP last June and October respectively (PTG 1006-4887, 19 October 2012).
Despite being given a range of one-day appointments over the last few years, Johnstone only had one on-field and one third umpire appointment in separate senior one-day games during the 2012-13 season; although CA also selected him for four women's One Day Internationals (ODI) between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney in December, a series that is unlikely to have been a significant test of his abilities. On the other hand Kumutat was completely overlooked by CA for games at senior interstate level.
Analysis and reports suggest that since Mealey and Nogajski were promoted, Perth-based Johnstone together with Victorian Richard Patterson, are now at the top of CA's current emerging group. Patterson is not inexperienced at senior levels though for he stood in 22 first class matches in the period from 1999-2004, then missed out for several years before coming into consideration again a few seasons ago.
In addition to a one-day game between the 'A' sides of Australia and England earlier this year, Patterson was also involved in the women's ODI series with Johnstone, the pair working on-field with and being watched at close quarters by, now International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford, and former EUP member Daryl Harper who was the match referee.
Some observers are suggesting that Patterson, with previous experience that includes working as a third umpire in a Test, may be seen by CA as ready for the NUP should, for example, current panel member Paul Reiffel be asked to join the EUP by the ICC, either over the next month or so, or in a year's time.
The potential for Reiffel to be moved up from NUP to ICC ranks was flagged in August last year prior to CA's 2012-13 season when the world body allocated him the first of what is now his four Tests. As a result some observers anticipated CA taking the opportunity to further probe the abilities of Johnstone and Patterson by allocating them a number of first class, one-day and Twenty20 games this austral summer. Just what CA's strategy was in the approach it too is unclear.
KIWI PAIR FOR HARARE TESTS
New Zealand umpires 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill will be on the ground during the two-Test series Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are to play in Harare over the next three weeks, while Chris Broad of England will be the match referee. Records available suggest it will be Hill's first visit to Zimbabwe for cricket, but Bowden and Broad have each been involved in managing three Tests there previously, while the forthcoming series taking Bowden's Test umpiring record to 76, Hill's to 38, and Broad's as a match referee to 60.
Following the Tests, South African Johannes Cloete, 41, one of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) emerging umpires, will be the neutral umpire for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) the two sides are to play in Bulawayo in the first half of May. Cloete's selection is the fifth time he has been chosen as the neutral umpire in an ODI by the ICC in the last two years, the others being twice to Bangladesh, and once each to the Netherlands and the West Indies.
Broad will be the match referee for the ODIs plus the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) that will follow. The ODIs will take Cloete's record in that format of the game to 25 matches and Broad's as a match referee to 216, while the T20Is will be the latter's 47th and 48th in that role.
Zimbabwean members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Russell Tiffin, Owen Chirombe and Jerry Matibiri, are expected to work as third and fourth umpires in the two Tests, and in on-field, third and fourth umpire roles in the ODIs and T20Is (PTG 1083-5278, 3 April 2013). Details of just what their appointments for the Bangladesh visit are have yet to be announced.
IPL CAPTAIN FINED $A20K FOR
FOR SLOW OVER RATE
Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Bangalore franchise's side, has been fined $A20,000 because his team maintained a slow over rate during Tuesday's home match against Hyderabad. Kohli's side was assessed by match referee David Boon, after allowances were taken into consideration, to be three overs behind the required rate.
Captains and players were fined a total in excess of $A200,000 because of slow over-rate issues in last year's IPL series. Like Kohli this year the basic fine was $A20,000, but 12 months ago Sourav Ganguly, the captain of its Pune franchise, lost a total of $A60,000 for several such offences, the second of which cost him $A40,000 (PTG 938-4565, 15 May 2012).
BOWLER'S ACTION REPORTED
Bangladesh womens' spinner Ayesha Rahman Shuktara was reported by on-field umpires Jayaraman Madanagopal and Ulhas Gandhe for a suspect bowling action after her side's opening one-day match against India in Ahmedabad on Monday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a press release yesterday that she is now required to submit to an independent analysis of her bowling action by a member of the ICC's panel of human movement specialists.
Chair of the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s women’s division Enayet Hossain Siraj is reported to have called a meeting on Monday to discuss the matter and take a decision about "the rehabilitation process required for Shuktara". Siraj told Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday that "there is no video footage of her bowling action so we cannot decide immediately [what is needed] to help her with the problem".
MATCH ENDS WITH TEAR
GAS, RUBBER BULLETS
[PTG 1088-5301 ]
Police had to lob teargas shells and fire rubber bullets to bring a riot under control after fights broke out during a match between two villages in the Bangladesh state of Brahmanbaria on Wednesday, according to local news reports. At least 20 people from the Sharifpur and Maijahati village teams are said to have been injured and needed medical treatment. Just what was behind the fracas has not been reported and as yet no one has been arrested by police.
CHIPS ARE 'UP' FOR
'BILLY' AT 50
New Zealand international umpire 'Billy' Bowden is to feature, along with a number of prominent Indian players, in a new advertising campaign for a brand of potato chips that are produced on the sub-continent. India's 'Economic Times' said yesterday that the chip company's aim is "establish its range of six flavours in the Indian public's mind".
Vidur Vyas, its Executive Director, told the 'Times' that "cricket is a passion in India" and the advertisements will show how "consumers" can "enjoy the chips with friends while watching the game". Just what Bowden's role in the advertisements will be was not made clear, however, his involvement in other advertising campaigns has usually seen an emphasis on his right index finger (PTG 725-3580, 16 February 2011).
Whether the campaign is linked to his participation in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series is not known, however, if so its won't be until next month as yesterday he was named as one of the umpires for the two tests Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are to play in Harare over the next three weeks (PTG 1088-5298 above). Bowden, who worked in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 IPL events, turned 50 yesterday.
PLAYING THE GAME
Sunday, 14 April 2013
PAKISTAN ANNOUNCES BANS FOR
TV 'STING' OPERATION UMPIRES
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has suspended umpire Nadeem Ghauri for four years and his countryman Anis Siddique for three for agreeing to "extend undue favors for material gain" during a sting operation carried out by a Indian television channel last year (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012). Reports last month said that the pair, who were two of six Asian umpires named in the broadcaster's 'sting' operation in October, have been found guilty of misconduct by a PCB investigation and were to face punishment as a result (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013).
PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf said in a press release issued yesterday that the board was harsher on Ghauri as he is a former Test cricketer who went on to stand in five Tests and 43 One Day Internationals whilst a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel over a period of 13 years. The ruling on Siddiqi was "more lenient" because only officiated at seniot domestic level in Pakistan and only had eight years experience.
In reaching its conclusions the PCB committee that examined the issue studied the raw, unedited footage of the 'sting' operation provided by India TV, used evidence provided by the ICC, and utilised the services of Pakistan's Punjab Forensic Science Agency.
The Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka boards announced investigations following the broadcast of the sting operation in October, Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah being a ten-year ban by his board last month (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013), although he plans to appeal, but the outcome of the Sri Lankan boards investigation into their three umpires, Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage, is unknown.
ON-FIELD INCIDENT SEES
TWO IPL SKIPPERS WARNED
The captains of two Indian Premier League (IPL) sides were involved in an ugly mid-pitch confrontation in Bangalore on Thursday were later warned about their angry demeanour by match referee David Boon of Australia. Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir and his Bangalore counterpart Virat Kohli clashed after Gambir "broke into a wild celebration" when Kohli was dismissed and the pair, who normally play first class cricket together with Delhi, exchanged angry words and had to be separated by another Delhi teammate and Delhi-based umpire Anil Chowdhary.
Television commentator Sunil Gavaskar blamed the situation on "the intensity with which the IPL is played and how the players want to win", before going on to stress that "any kind of bad language is certainly not acceptable" and it's "sad that two players [who normally play together] were involved". Both men later admitted to an IPL Level 1 offence of "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting". Gavaskar and fellow commentator Dean Jones suggested that it may have been cause by "the surfacing" of some "old issues" and may not be a simple "heat-of-the moment" incident.
As was the case in the five previous IPL tournaments, prior to this the start of this year's series each of the ten participating teams signed a “Captain’s Charter” which is designed "to ensure" all players uphold the 'Spirit of Cricket' ethos of, “Play Hard, Play Fair” throughout the 76-match event. Also, as in previous years, a 20-second 'Spirit of Cricket' animated advertisement is being broadcast in-ground at all matches.
Speaking about the ongoing relationship the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has with the IPL in regard to 'Spirit' issues, John Stephenson the London club's Head of Cricket, said before this year's series began that the “MCC is delighted to continue to partner the [IPL] for a sixth successive year". "The competition brings together some of the best cricketers from across the world, and presents a perfect opportunity for the players to demonstrate that you can win, and win well, by adhering to the doctrines underpinning the MCC Spirit of Cricket message", said Stephenson.
'OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD'
APPEAL TURNED DOWN
The Delhi Indian Premier League (IPL) side's appeal for an 'Obstructing the Field' decision against Hyderabad batsman Amit Mishra on Thursday was turned down after a third umpire referral. Mishra went for a quick single late in his side's innings after attempting a paddle shot and was hit in the back by a ball thrown at his stumps, and that led both Delhi's captain Mahela Jayawardene and Irfan Pathan to launch their appeal.
Umpires Aleem Dar and Subrato Das asked third umpire Chettihody Shamsuddin to evaluate the situation but replays showed that Mishra was running straight through with his head down and the appeal was rejected. The International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions, which are used by the IPL, were changed in October 2011 say that "if the umpire feels that a batsman, whilst running between the wickets, has significantly changed his direction without probable cause thereby obstructing a fielder's attempt to run him out, the batsman should be given out obstructing the field". shall not be relevant whether a run out would have been affected or not".
It is still possible under those Playing Conditions for a batsman to be given out 'Obstructing the Field' in circumstances where he has not significantly changed his direction of running provided that the umpire feels that by some other action or actions it is clear that the batsman had intended to obstruct the field. The ICC said when it introduced what it called a "clarification" that the Playing Condition is aimed at "enhancing" Law 37 not place it.
LAB TESTS FIND QUEENSLAND
SEAMER'S ACTION 'ILLEGAL'
Queensland seamer Cameron Gannon's bowling action has been found to be illegal by Cricket Australia (CA) and he has been barred from bowling in domestic matches pending possible rehabilitation and a reevaluation prior to the 2013-14 season Gannon was reported four times by Australian umpires across the recent austral summer, including twice in the Sheffield Shield final, and CA's current regulations require bio-mechanical testing after three such reports (PTG 1082-5270, 29 March 2013).
That testing, which was conducted at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra recently, showed that Gannon's elbow extension in all his deliveries was beyond the allowable 15-degrees, the average being 24 degrees; a result the comes after what some media reports suggest were previous tests last year that showed him to be acceptable. CA said in a statement that "As such, Gannon is now suspended from bowling in interstate cricket until he passes another analysis of his action in accordance with the provisions set out in [CA] Doubtful Bowling procedures".
Under those rules Gannon will not able to request a fresh analysis of his action for a period of at least 90 days, which equate to sometime in mid-July, well ahead of Australia's 2013-14 season getting underway.
GHANAN'S BOWLER ACTION
REPORTED AS 'SUSPECT'
Ghana's Peter Ananya has been reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) because of a suspected illegal bowling action. Ananya was reported by on-field umpires Johan Cloete of South Africa and Claude Thorburn of Namibia at the conclusion of the World Cricket League Division 7 group match between his side and Germany in Botswana last Tuesday, and is now required to submit to ananalysis of his bowling action by the Ghana Cricket Association.
DOUBT ABOUT VALIDITY OF
WESTFIELD HIGH COURT SUMMONS
Former Essex player Mervyn Westfield has been issued with a summons from the High Court in London compelling him to appear at Danish Kaneria's appeal against the lifetime ban he received from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for match fixing. Kaneria was found guilty by an ECB committee in June last year 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 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).
Westfield, who was jailed for his role in the case, gave evidence against Kaneria at the original hearing and concerns were expressed seven weeks ago that as the ECB's key witness his non-attendance at the forthcoming hearing could see Kaneria's appeal against the ban, and the £100,000 ($A150,000) hearing costs order given against him, quashed (PTG 1072-5122, 7 March 2013). Reports from London this week say that the High Court summons is unusual and that some legal experts are unsure whether that body has any jurisdiction in a sporting body's disciplinary procedure.
Both the ECB and Kaneria are said to insist they want Westfield to appear at the appeal but Westfield's lawyers are currently reported to be considering their reaction to the summons to attend Wednesday week's scheduled hearing. Westfield is said to be reluctant to appear, reportedly because he feels that the harshness of his penalty from the ECB did not reflect the fact that he pleaded guilty and gave evidence and helped the authorities with their investigations. The ECB banned him from playing first class cricket for five years, although he is allowed to return to club cricket after three.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 18 April 2013
TEN-YEAR SUSPENSION 'TOO HARSH',
'INCONSISTENT', CLAIMS BANGLADESHI
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who was suspended for 10 years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for corruption last month because of the way he responded to an Indian television channel's undercover operation, says the BCB's suspension is "too harsh", particularly in the light of more recent bans handed to Pakistan umpires. Shah's comments came the day after two Pakistanis, Nadeem Ghauri and Anis Siddique, were banned for four and three years respectively by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for what he is suggesting are a similar set of sting-related offences (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).
Shah described Ghauri and Siddique's bans as "lenient" when compared to his own in an interview he gave to Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper on Monday. "There cannot be two sets of laws for the same mistake", he said, and the fact that they "have punished me so severely indicates [the BCB's] double-standard about certain issues". Shah went on to indicate that he is "still waiting" formal advice from the BCB about his ban and that until he receives it he cannot lodge his planned appeal against the decision (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013).
Meanwhile, Ghauri has suggested that in reaching its decision the PCB had acted "under pressure" from the International Cricket Council and has also indicated that he plans to lodge an appeal with his board in order to "get justice". He claimed that he was "heard only once by the PCB's inquiry committee" and never had the chance to appear before its integrity committee, the panel that actually imposed the ban on him.
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. Ghauri told journalists that it was Shah who actually introduced him to a man who he later spoke to via 'Skype' about what he says was a contract to work in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SPL); that man being an undercover reporter from India TV.
That SPL contract, which Ghauri now says was worth $A4,500 per match plus $A1,000 as a monthly salary, was described by him as "lucrative", however, it was "not dependent on [him] helping to rig matches". He says he didn't inform the PCB of the contract or his plans to umpire in Sri Lanka because he was "not under contract with [the PCB] at the time", although records available show that he stood in a PCB domestic first class game the week before India TV's story went to air.
Like Shah, Ghauri also descibed his "punishment" as "too harsh", his rationale for that comment being in part that he didn't actually take charge of any matches in the SPL. He also indicated that Siddique, who has not umpired at first class level in Pakistan since 2008, was also considering an appeal.
Former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani yesterday backed the PCB's decision to suspend Ghauri and Siddiqui. He said that “Ghauri is an experienced umpire and was on the ICC [second-tier International Umpires Panel] when I was the president, and his excuse that he has been punished for a crime he has not committed is unacceptable". "An umpire with his experience and status should have reported it to the relevant officials straightaway [and] if I was the authority I would have banned him for life".
Mani also suggested that the PCB should monitor the players and officials closely in its domestic tournaments as there have been reports of "foul-play during the ongoing season".
CAS REJECTS BUTT, ASIF APPEALS
AGAINST LONG-TERM BANS
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt believes he can return to international cricket despite the fact that he and his team-mate Mohammad Asif have lost their appeals to The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against lengthy suspension handed to them almost three years ago by the International Cricket Council (ICC). CAS yesterday dismissed the pair's challenges to the bans, which relate to spot-fixing activities in a Test against England at Lord's in August 2010, and the world body later "welcomed the decision in what it said was an "important, sensitive and high-profile matter".
Butt was handed a 10-year ban and Asif one of 7 years by the ICC in 2011, however, both can return to playing after 5 years. "I have already served two years and eight months [of the ban] and after another two years and four months I can still play", said Butt soon after Switzerland-based CAS rejected both appeals. In addition to the ICC ban, Butt, Asif and another team-mate Mohammad Amir, were also found guilty in an English criminal trial of arranging to bowl no-balls for betting scams during the Test, and all later served time English jails.
CAS said that is was satisfied "beyond reasonable doubt" that Mohammad Amir the third Pakistani involved who didn't appeal his 5-year ICC sanction, "was party to a spot-fixing conspiracy", and that "no evidence" to the contrary was provided and that the chain of circumstantial evidence involved did not in any way undermine the reasoning contained in the ICC's decision". CAS verdicts can be challenged at Switzerland's supreme court, but it can only overturn decisions if incorrect legal processes are involved.
The day CAS announced its findings, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was said to rbe working on a plan to send a "vigilance expert" with its team to England for The Champions Trophy series later this year in order to help ward off potential match fixers. An unnamed PCB official, who is said to have spoken on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press yesterday that "The purpose of sending a vigilance expert is to monitor the presence of any unwanted men around the team in England".
Such a person "will not be undercover for if he goes to England he will be part of the team management", continued the PCB official, and will work alongside PCB security manager Waseem Ahmed who has been travelling with the team since being appointed soon after the 2010 spot-fixing scandal in a Test at Lord's. The previous incumbent in that role resigned soon after the 2010 tour ended.
SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS
LEAD TO YEAR-LONG BAN
The Bathurst District Cricket Association (BDCA) judiciary in New South Wales has suspended St Pat’s Old Boys captain Nathan Dennis for a year as a result of comments he posted on social media soon after receiving a one-match ban last month (PTG 1081-5267, 26 March 2013). Dennis complained about the timing of the hearing into the original ban, which was for "unnecessary and forceful contact" with a batsman during play, making his feeling known first to the 'Western Advocate' newspaper and then on 'Facebook'.
Dennis admitted to the "forceful conduct" charge and had hoped to avoid a suspension, but he was handed a one-match ban for that offence, the game involved being a key BDCA preliminary final which his side lost two days after his suspension was handed down. He told the 'Advocate' then that those who conducted the hearing "need a good, hard look at themselves" and while that and other comments he made to the 'Advocate' were highly critical, those he made on social media are said to have been "even harsher".
The 'Facebook' comments were later removed, but not before they had been seen by members of the BDCA committee, and the 'Advocate' story says that they are "understood to have been extremely disappointed about [what Dennis wrote]". Dennis was charged under the Asociation's Code of Conduct rule which states "engaging in any form of conduct or behaviour detrimental to the spirit of the game or likely to bring the game into disrepute is a punishable offence".
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', was handed a ten-week suspended sentence by that association's disciplinary tribunal (PTG 1048-5092, 28 January 2013).
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 20 April 2013
BCCI LOOKING TO LIFT DOMESTIC
MATCH REFEREE STANDARDS
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is said to be "concerned" about "the inadequate number of competent match referees" available to manage games in its senior domestic competitions, says a 'Times of India' (TOI) article published yesterday. As a result the BCCI, which has appointed non-Indian match referees to 21 of the 25 Indian Premier League (IPL) games played so far this year, is reported to be looking to recruit "former cricketers who have played at least 20-25 Test matches" and train them as match referees.
What the 'TOI' called "a top BCCI official" is said to have told it that the board has asked "officials around the country to look out for former cricketers who would be interested in the job", and it "is thinking of offering a very attractive package" that "could be at par with what a national selector" receives in India. Also under evaluation at the present time is the type of training those chosen will be required to undertake, one suggestion being to conduct a coaching camp for referees at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.
The 'TOI' report quotes "sources" as indicating that the BCCI "may engage" Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, to train the referees at the NCA. Taufel is currently working for the BCCI as an umpire and umpire coach in its 2013 IPL series (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013), and before that conducted a series of umpire and umpire coach training workshops in India five years ago as part of a contract Cricket Australia then had with the Indian board (PTG 117-632, 15 October 2007).
Despite that some on the Indian board are reported as being "not so keen" about again engaging an outsider and think "that an Indian could do [the] job [of training match referees] very well". The names of those who could potentially conduct the training are expected to be discussed by the BCCI during a meeting scheduled for Mumbai on Monday, says 'TOI', however, it appears probable at this stage that no decision will be made then on just how to proceed with issue.
Apart from a domestic focus, the BCCI is also said to be looking for another of its nationals becoming a member of the ICC's match referees panel as the world body is, according to the 'TOI' report, "currently considering increasing the size" of that group from seven to perhaps as many as nine.
In addition to India's Javagal Srinath, the panel is currently made up of Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama, David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand) and Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe), all of whom have played Test cricket for their countries; and the BCCI is said to be "only too happy to be of help with some Indian names" should panel numbers actually be increased.
Apart from Srinath, who has been on the panel for the past seven years, the only other Indian national to serve as a senior ICC match referee was Gundappa Viswanath, another former Indian Test player, some ten years ago.
Six months ago Mumbai Cricket Association president Ravi Savant was reported to be pushing the BCCI to nominate former national captain Dilip Vengsarkar, a member of India's 1983 World Cup winning side, for membership of the ICC's referees' panel (PTG 1004-4878, 16 October 2012). Vengsarkar, now 57, played 116 Tests and 129 One Day Internationals over the sixteen years from 1976-92.
Reports last year said that the BCCI had considered nominating Vengsarkar for an ICC referee position in both 2002 and 2006. Records available on line do not indicate that he has to date worked as a match referee in India, however, neither had the seven current members of the ICC referees panel.
ICC BOARD BRIEFED ON UMPIRE
'PERFORMANCE, ASSESSMENT AND TRAINING"
"Presentations on umpire performance, assessment and training" were given to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board's second meeting of the year held in Dubai earlier this week. Other than those seven words, no details of just what was discussed or may have been decided during that part of the meeting were made public, the press release that summarised the overall outcomes of the board's two days of deliberations being limited to just 250 words.
While it is pure supposition at this stage, it is likely that the "performance, assessment and training" of umpires refers to the work being carried out by the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel in setting up and implementing the planned new structure and arrangements for such work. Reports six weeks ago indicated that two former Cricket Australia employees had been selected for two of the four new ICC Umpire Coach positions Taufel will supervise (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), however, no publicity has been given to date about just what is happening with regard to any of those spots or work being conducted in the area itself.
Last October, Taufel stressed that in his new role he "will not have or will seek to have involvement in the selection process for International or Elite Panel umpires" (PTG 1009-4902, 27 October 2012). Rather, he emphasised then that the key task he and his four colleagues would be "on helping international umpires be the best they can be" by helping "develop and improve their skills" so that they can "deliver a higher standard to the game". He warned that "given the amount of change [proposed] and [the] limited resources" that are available, setting up the new system in the short to medium-term "is going to be challenging for all involved".
It is possible that the board was also given a summary by its Umpire and Referees Department of the performance of its twelve current Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members over the last year, together with recommendations for the six or so up-dated or new EUP contracts that are being proposed for the next twelve months. In the last half-a-dozen years the ICC has announced who will be on the EUP for the year ahead in the period from late April to late June, and several yet-to-be-confirmed reports are suggesting that as many as two umpires could join, and two leave, the EUP, this year.
Other issues examined in the ICC board meeting are said to have been: an update on anti-corruption matters; consideration "a range of relevant cricket issues"; reports from the ICC's finance, audit and governance review committees; and agreement that the Afghanistan Cricket Board be provided with just over $A400,000 to assist with the game's development in that country. The board "also noted and welcomed" the changes made by the Pakistan Cricket Board to its constitution that are designed make the process of electing its chairman "more democratic and reducing the risk of inappropriate government interference".
The ICC Board consists of the president or chairman of each of its ten Full Members plus three Associate Member representatives. Also present at its meetings are the ICC President, who chairs proceedings, its Vice-President and Chief Executive.
FORMER TEST UMPIRE LEAVES
THE FIRST CLASS GAME
Former Pakistan Test and One-Day International (ODI) umpire Saleem Babar is to retire from his country's domestic circuit next month when he turns 60, the compulsory retirement age under PakistanCricket Board (PCB) regulations. During his 35 years as a PCB umpire, Babar stood in five Tests and 29 ODIs, and a total of 272 first class, 227 List A and 36 Twenty20 senior games overall, and he also worked in matches played at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998.
Babar, who made his first class debut in 1978, was as per the PCB's policy on such retirements, presented with a cheque for one million Rupees ($A10,000) by PCB Director General Javed Miandad during a ceremony at Karachi's National Stadium yesterday where he was serving as a television umpire in the final of President's Cup. He said it "was a great honour" to be involved with the game and he has "always enjoyed my job as an umpire and served the game with the best of my abilities".
His "most memorable" match as an umpire was he says his debut Test between Pakistan and Australia in Lahore in October 1988, a match that now International Cricket Council match referee David Boon played in.
KANERIA 'HOPEFUL' HEARING WILL
OVERTURN LIFE-TIME BAN
Former Pakistan and Essex leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is hoping to overturn a lifetime ban imposed on him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) at an appeal hearing in London on Monday. Kaneria, 33, was found guilty last year of pressuring former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into spot-fixing during a one-day game in 2009 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).
The hearing into Kaneria's appeal was initially set for December, but was deferred when the ECB failed to persuade Westfield to appear before the committee as he is considered a key witness in their case against the Pakistani (PTG 1089-5308, 14 April 2013). Reports from London yesterday say it is still unclear whether Westfield will attend the hearing, but Kaneria is said to believe evidence provided by his former team-mate, who served two months of a four-month jail sentence as a result of the related civil case, will benefit his own cause.
Kaneria told journalists in Karachi on Thursday that his "livelihood is stuck due to the ECB's ban" but he has "high hopes the [appeals] panel will be independent and neutral in this hearing". The Pakistani, who took 261 Test wickets between 2000 and 2010, has been unable to play any form of cricket world-wide since he was found guilty and handed the ban by the ECB disciplinarily panel.
IMPROVED OVERSIGHT OF UMPIRES NEEDED
IN PAKISTAN, CLAIMS FORMER TEST OFFICIAL
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to take "drastic measures to curb wrong doing" by umpires in its domestic competitions, says former Pakistan umpire Mian Mohammad Aslam. Aslam, who stood in 264 first class matches in the period from 1975-2009, 8 of them Tests, told the Dawn.com web site this week, that the "common practice" of players giving what he called "various kinds of gifts to umpires" overseeing their matches, "must be stopped".
Aslam, 64, who was speaking a few days after the PCB announced multi-year bans for umpires Nadeem Ghauri and Anis Siddiqui (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013), went on to also claim that often "there is a race amongst PCB officials to appoint their favourite umpires in domestic matches [a practice that] should also be stopped". In his view "the PCB needs to form an independent committee which must [keep] a vigilant eye on the performances of [its] umpires both on and off the field".
In addition to his general comments, Aslam also rejected Ghauri’s claim that he did nothing wrong in the way he handled the approach from what turned out to be an undercover reporter from India TV, saying that he's “really disappointed by what has ensued regarding the umpires as it has earned a bad name for the country". His countryman and former International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani expressed similar views earlier this week (PTG 1090-5309, 18 April 2013).
PLAYING THE GAME
Monday, 22 April 2013
CARIBBEAN, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATION
INITIATIVES BOTH STALL
Separate attempts to improve communications at all levels of the umpiring communities of the Caribbean and Australia over the last two years appear to have stalled, while after a rocky start efforts in that area by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) are bearing fruit. The West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) launched a web site in mid-2011 and Cricket Australia (CA) an e-mail based newsletter last August, however, the former never really got going and now appears to be lying idle, while the latter has not been seen for nearly five months.
In September 2011, the WICUA said that the establishment of a web site, which was undertaken by Robin Ford of Barbados, had been on its agenda "for years". It was developed, said WICUA president Cecil Fletcher at the time, "in order that we can reach the general membership and others outside of our arena in a tangible way, [and] so that the information flow keeps abreast of these modern times". Fletcher also made all WICUA Area Vice Presidents aware then of the importance of obtaining and collating information from their respective territories for the site.
Over the last two years Fletcher's 'Quarterly Reports' have formed the backbone of the web site, six having been posted on line every three months up until last January. In last September's post Fletcher expressed "a sense of disappointment" that the site "is being underutilised" and "is void of current happenings within the association", and he pleaded with members to help turn that around. September's and other Quarterly Reports prior to it provided some interesting information on WICUA activities, however, January's contained little except thanks to a range of officials for their work, and the edition that was due at the end of March is yet to appear.
CA's umpire newsletter has so far been produced twice, the first last August and the second in December, there being a total of 12 stories in each edition. The newsletter concept, which was endorsed by State and Territory Director of Umpires (SDU) at CA's annual post season meeting in April last year as part of attempt to improve the recruitment and retention of club level match officials (PTG 933-4538, 2 May 2012), was seen then as containing such items "news on umpiring courses, CA appointments of interest, Law changes and useful information for umpires at any level".
Meanwhile, the fifteenth edition of the ACO's newsletter, which was set up in 2009 the year after the Association was formed, appeared last week. After a spasmodic start it now appears quarterly, the most recent edition totalling 32 pages, and it is available to members via post in hard copy and on line in an electronic format.
FORMER INTERNATIONAL MATCH
REFEREE MIKE DENNESS DIES
David Richardson, the Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has paid tribute to former England captain and ex-ICC match referee, Mike Denness, who passed away after a long battle with cancer on Friday at the age of 72. Scotland-born Denness represented England in 28 Tests, 19 as captain, and also played in 12 One Day Internationals (ODI), including as skipper in the inaugural World Cup in England in 1975, and after retiring worked as an ICC referee in 14 Tests and 35 ODIs in the period from 1996-2002.
As a match referee Denness will probably be remembered in the main for handing out fines and bans to six Indian players during the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 2002. They included one Test suspensions each to Deep Dasgupta, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Shiv Sunder Das and Sachin Tendulkar, plus a one Test and two ODI suspension to captain Sourav Ganguly, all six also being docked three-quarters of their match fee.
The furore that followed, which included a push from both countries to replace Denness for the third and last Test of the series, saw the ICC refuse to do so and the match, whose Test status was then revoked by the world body, was managed by non ICC officials. The Scotsman summed up the situation by saying "it was easier [as a player] facing Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson". After the controversy Denness only served as match referee in two more Tests and three ODIs and was not reappointed by the ICC for the following year; the world body rescinded most of the Port Elizabeth suspensions.
Richardson described Denness in a statement issued on Saturday as "a fine cricketer, a successful administrator at the Kent County Cricket Club and a vital member of our panel of match referees in the mid-90s", and that he "will always be remembered as an outstanding servant of our sport".
WCL MENTORING ROLE
FOR EUP CANDIDATE
Match officials from Asia, the Americas and Europe are to manage the six-team, 18-match, World Cricket League Division 3 tournament on the island of Bermuda next week. England's Richard Illingworth, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel and a candidate for elevation to its top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) within the next year (PTG 1073-5223, 9 March 2013), has been included in the six-man umpiring panel for the event, his role in addition to umpiring being to act as a mentor to the others in that group.
Apart from Illingworth the umpires are: Courtney Young of the Cayman Islands; Niels Bagh from Denmark; Malaysia's Viswanadan Kalidas; Silvan Taylor from the United States; and Bermudans Roger Dill and Steven Douglas; while David Jukes of England will be the match referee for all games. Two other Bermudans, Richard Austin and Kent Gibbons, have been appointed as reserve umpires for the series. Bagh and Young are members of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel, Dill being a former member of that group, while Jukes is on the world body's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.
In addition to the hosts, teams from Italy, Nepal, Oman, Uganda, and the United States will compete next week, with the top two sides at the end of the event winning opportunities via other ICC tournaments to in theory at least advance all the way to the World Cup of 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
GRUBS STOP PLAY
A Minor Counties one-day match that was scheduled to be played at the March Town Cricket Club's (MTCC) ground in Cambridgeshire yesterday, had to be moved after crows caused "devastating" damage to the pitch while feeding on grubs. Club member Pat Ringham, who has been involved with the club for almost 60 years, told the BBC that the crows caused more damage than "50 hooligans let loose with golf clubs", and it was the worst damage he had seen in his time with the club.
Head groundsman Mel Pooley said that "The grubs hatch in the grass and eat the roots, then the crows spot them and literally rip out chunks of grass to get to them", and while the area had been sprayed "the recent cold weather meant that the chemicals used had not worked properly". "It now looks like someone's just come in with a turf cutter and peeled back all the grass", said Pooley, and "it's very annoying when you spend your life tending [the ground], then something completely out of your control wrecks it". Club members are hoping the grass will grow back by early May.
Damage to the MTCC's ground comes two weeks after one of the oldest clubs in England had to suspend play at its ground indefinitely as a result of an unprecedented ground invasion by a colony of badgers. The badgers are believed to have been attracted to the turf by crane fly larvae in the grass, and like March Town cold weather in Hertfordshire meant that chemical treatments to kill the targets of the badger's digging frenzy would not work (PTG 1086-5288, 8 April 2013).
WORK STARTS ON NEW FACILITY FOR
AUSSIE 'CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE'
Construction work on Cricket Australia's (CA) new building for its 'Centre of Excellence' (COE) in Brisbane commenced recently and the facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of September. CA says that the building will offer "a new sports medicine, injury rehabilitation and physical preparation program", and in addition "will host national coaching and umpiring education programs".
The umpire education programs referred to are likely to be associated with professional development workshops conducted during what is normally the annual Emerging Players Tournament (EPT) in July-August, but the construction timetable announced suggests that will not be the case this year. The EPT is a key link in CA's senior umpire development program, but whether they have any plans for such training programs for other umpiring groups at the facility is not known at this time.
As the Under-19 World Cup was held in Australia last August no EPT event was held in 2012, however, a four-team U19 international series held in Townsville last April served in that capacity (PTG 929-4519, 17 April 2012). So far there has been no announcement as to whether the EPT, which is usually based at the 'COE', will be played this July-August.
Spread over 6,800 square metres and four levels, the new COE structure will feature a gymnasium, indoor practice wickets, a 25 m indoor lap pool, and sports science facilities. It has been designed to "integrate sports science, coaching and new technology such as virtual reality tools for decision making and biomechanical equipment for technique analysis, research and skill development.
Funding for the complex's construction was provided largely by the Australian federal government who allocated $A17.5 million for the work involved, and the Queensland state government which provided $A5 million. The now COE was originally set up as a joint initiative of the Australian Institute of Sport and CA's predecessor the Australian Cricket Board. It began its life as the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide in 1987 and was given its current title when it was moved to Brisbane in 2004.
BANNED PAKISTAN PAIR URGED
TO 'ADMIT THEIR GUILT'
Pakistan duo Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have been urged to "publicly accept their parts" in corruption and to cooperate with the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) and begin a rehabilitation program by ICC chief executive David Richardson. Butt and Asif had appeals against their life bans from cricket dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week (PTG 1090-5310, 18 April 2013).
Reports indicate that CAS's written decisions on the Butt-Asif appeals indicate that Butt admitted for the first time that he had been involved in spot-fixing during the Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's in 2010. Richardson said in a statement issued yesterday that "The guilt of these men has now been established on three separate occasions, in three separate sets of proceedings, and in three separate forums". As a result "the time has now come for them to stop misleading the members of the public, especially the supporters of the Pakistan cricket team, and to publicly accept their parts in this corrupt conspiracy".
Richardson said that he is "certain that both Mr Butt and Mr Asif have information that can be of great assistance to the ACSU and its ongoing fight against corruption in cricket". "I would, therefore, urge them, without any further delay, to start the process of rebuilding their lives and reputations by apologising for their actions and meeting with ICC's anti-corruption officials to come clean about what actually happened".
In their submissions to CAS, Asif asked for the ICC's ban on him to be overturned while Butt wanted his to be reduced, however, the Switzerland-based body said it found no evidence to support either of their submissions
The ICC chief continued by saying that his organisation is pleased to note that the CAS panel rejected each and every one of the allegations that were made of prosecutorial misconduct by the ICC, and bias and incompetence on the part of the independent anti-corruption tribunal, thereby reinforcing that the players were treated fairly and in accordance with the principles of natural justice at all times". "In addition to the CAS finding Mr Asif a party to the conspiracy to act corruptly, it is also pleasing to note from the decisions that Mr Butt acknowledged his part in the fix before the CAS panel".
WESTFIELD ATTENDING KANERIA
APPEAL HEARING UNDER PROTEST
After a period of uncertainty, banned and jailed bowler Mervyn Westfield is attending this week's hearing in London into his former Essex team-mate Danish Kaneria's appeal against the life-time handed to him by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel last year. Westfield, who reports say is the ECB's key witness in the appeal, was compelled by a UK High Court summons to take part in the hearing that stared on Monday and is expected to be wrapped up tomorrow (PTG 1089-5308, 14 April 2013).
Westfield said in a statement before the appeal hearing commenced that he has "made it abundantly clear to the ECB that I have no desire to participate in this hearing or to provide any further evidence to that which I had previously done in June 2012". "The ECB have this time decided to take the hostile route in seeking the help of a High Court Judge who has signed a court summons in order to secure my attendance". "As I understand, by not attending, the ECB would return to the High Court and a warrant for my arrest would be requested".
The former Essex bowler made it clear that he is attending "not because of the summons, nor because of any other party". Instead he is there in order "to bring to an end the pain and suffering that I am forced to continuously suffer and in the hope that after today my family and I will never be subjected to the humiliation and hurt we have gone through in the last three years". He also stated, but provided no evidence to back up his claim, that neither the ECB, Essex or the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) have helped him over the last three years, a point of view the PCA later rejected.
Westfield was banned from county-level five years but will be allowed to participate in club cricket after three. He also served two months of a four-month jail sentence last year after a civil trial found him guilty of the spot fixing charges that are behind the ECB ban. Kaneria's lifetime ban is recognised internationally, but he said last week that he was hopeful of winner his appeal (PTG 1091-5315, 20 April 2013).
NSW UMPIRE TO BECOME STATE'S
Adam Marshall, a member of New South Wales' (NSW) Country Panel and the state's 'Country Umpire of the Year' in 2008, could become the latest umpire to be elected to a Parliament in Australia. The former Mayor of Gunnedah won preselection for the National Party on Sunday for what one report described as the "unlose-able" NSW lower house rural seat of Northern Tablelands, and now faces a by-election on the last Saturday in May that was called following the sudden resignation of the previous incumbent last month.
Marshall, a member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, has been on that state's Country Cricket Association Representative Umpire Panel since the austral summer of 2007-08. In the time since, apart from standing in games in his local association, he has been selected to officiate in an Australian Country Cricket Championship series, a NSW Cricket Association Under-19 State Challenge tournament, a NSW Country Colts Carnival, and a Cricket Australia four-day State 2nd XI match between NSW and Western Australia.
While the list of umpire-politicans in Australia over the years is hard to collate, the most eminent to date is Edmund Barton the country's first prime minister, who served in that capacity from 1901-03, before spending the last 17 years of his life as a High Court Judge. Born in a Sydney suburb in 1849, Barton stood in the first of what were his four first class matches in the period from 1874-79 at the age of 25, three being interstate fixtures involving NSW and Victoria and the other a tour match between NSW and Lord Harris' XI; the latter ream also representing England in the 1878-79 season in what was only the third Test ever played.
According to a 'Sydney Morning Herald' article published five years ago, Barton played a key role in diffusing a riot that erupted during the NSW-Harris XI game. His on-field colleague George Coulthard is reported to have made a "controversial decision" against the home side after which "the crowd spilled onto the pitch and assaulted some of the English players", a situation that is said to have led to "international cricket's first riot".
The young Barton's presence of mind in defusing that situation reputedly helped him take his initial step towards becoming Australia's first prime minister, for later that year before he turned 30 he won a Sydney-based NSW state lower house seat. Marshall became the Mayor of Gunnedah four years ago at the age of 23, and should he win the Northern Tablelands contest next month he will have bettered Barton's achievement by claiming a state seat aged just 28.
PLAYER ABUSE DRIVING UMPIRES
FROM THE GAME, SAYS NT OFFICIAL
Abuse from players is one factor driving prospective umpires away from the game in Australia's Northern Territory (NT), says an article posted on the 'Northern Territory News' web site yesterday. Wolfgang Woerner, the president of the NT Cricket Umpires Association (NTCUA), told journalist Grey Morris that the attitude of players and work demands had meant that his organisation had lost six of the nine umpires it had for its Premier League competition last season.
Umpire shortage is a "common problem" in NT sport in general writes Morris, and Woerner says "all sport" seems to have deal with bad behaviour these days and that the problem "is growing". No matter what the sport is he says, match officials are there to make decisions and "sometimes they are not in your favour or sometimes [they are] completely wrong". He called on players, whatever the situation was, to "be a good sportsmen, respect the decision [and] set a good example", and said that the current trend is "something we're looking to address".
Only two umpires were originally available for the three NT Premier League matches last weekend, a situation that led to NT statistician John Marshall and the Nightcliff side's all-rounder Udara Weerasinghe being called in as replacements. As the Premier League competition is made up of just seven teams one of the sides has a bye each week as a result, and Woerner wants players whose side has the bye, to take their turn as an umpire. Weerasinghe did just that last weekend and the NTCUA president told Morris that "reports from both clubs on his performance were excellent".
Woerner went on to say that his association ran a Level 1 course this week that attracted seven potential umpires, but they will have to "start in the lower grades to gain experience and learn how to handle matchday pressures" before being exposed to Premier League action. Cricket in the NT is played in the 'dry season' from April to September, which is opposite to the timing in the southern part of the country.
Cricket's umpiring problem in the NT comes after a Rugby Union referee there was subjected to abuse from supporters, officials and players during an Under-16 match in the Darwin area last week. Similarly, the same week that a fight broke out at a cricket association's Annual Dinner in northern Tasmania last month (PTG 1087-5294, 10 April 2013), an umpire in an Australian Rules Football (AFL) match in that region was assaulted with an elbow to the neck by a player who was leaving the ground after being sent off. The player, who last year was involved as an AFL match official, was later given a life ban and reportedly has no plans to appeal.
TAUFEL MAKES HIS DEBUT
AS A TV COMMENTATOR
Former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance of Training Manager, made his debut as a television commentator during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match this week. Prior to the start of this year's IPL, an Indian official said that Taufel had been "invited" to join the commentary team (PTG 1083-5279, 3 April 2013), a role he now has in addition to that as an umpire, umpire coach and trainer for the series, and tasks associated with his ICC position (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013).
Taufel says in a blog that commentating is not something he was looking to do, but that "one of the things [the] IPL is becoming known for is its innovation and 'left field' thinking – so I decided to give it a go". His first game was with established commentators Harsha Bhogle, Sanjay Manjrekar, Simon Doull and Darren Ganga, and Taufel says they "looked after me very well as they took the lead role and nursed me through it".
An on-line poll conducted during that initial game asked the question "does Simon Taufel have a future career in the commentary box?" saw some 40,000 votes cast, 79 per cent replying 'yes' and 21 per cent 'no'; a result that led him to quip that he'd "like to thank my family for voting so many times!?" He has been in the commentary box in subsequent games and more appear scheduled during the remainder of this year's IPL.
Taufel also talked about the perception "some people" have about the impact his new ICC job has on umpire selections and promotions, making it clear as he said six months ago that he "will not have or will seek to have involvement in the selection process for International or Elite Panel umpires" (PTG 1009-4902, 27 October 2012).
Also mentioned was the match officials room in the stadium in Mohali which is “decorated” with "a few previous umpires" such as "Venkat, Koertzen, Doctrove, [fellow Australian Daryl] Harper and me", except that Harper's portrait "is now missing!?)" Harper, who stood in one Test, one One Day International and one IPL at the ground in Mohali during his career, was hounded out of the game earlier than scheduled after a series of quarrels and confrontations with the Indian side (PTG 785-3838, 30 June 2011 and PTG 802-3923, 21 July 2011); however, whether that is behind his picture's absence is not known.
'INSENSITIVE' TWEET LEADS
TO THREE-MATCH BAN
The two players in Australia who were disciplined for posting derogatory comments about an umpire and administrators on social media sites over the last few months (PTG 1081- 5267, 26 March 2013), have now been joined by Ireland's John Mooney. The all-rounder was suspended for three matches by Cricket Ireland earlier this week after he sent out what is described as an "insensitive" 'tweet' about the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Cricket Ireland's chief executive, Warren Deutrom, described the comments as "crass, insensitive and offensive" and Mooney was found to be in breach of his central contract, which prohibits public statements that "denigrate, are derogatory, or prejudicial to the interests of cricket; or are of a nature which brings the game of cricket or Cricket Ireland into disrepute".
Mooney, 31, who soon after the original tweet followed up with an apology, will now miss two inter-provincial matches in the first half of May as well as Ireland's first One Day International against Pakistan later in the month, but will be available again for the second a few days later.
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 27 April 2013
KANERIA FAILS IN LIFE-TIME BAN APPEAL,
BUT FURTHER SUBMISSIONS PLANNED
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced overnight that former Pakistan and Essex player Danish Kaneria has failed in his appeal to have his lifetime ban from cricket overturned during a four-day hearing conducted by an independent panel in London this week. Reports indicate though that a further appeal against the sanction and costs of £100,000 ($A150,000) related to the original hearing that found him guilty will be conducted at a later date, however, no details of the timing involved are available at this time.
Kaneria was found last June to have "cajoled and pressurised" his former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield to take part in spot-fixing activities in a county one-day match against Durham in 2009, and bringing the game into disrepute as a result (PTG 953-4627, 28 June 2012). The Pakistan Cricket Board said in July that he would not be able to play in his home country unless his appeal was successful (PTG 960-4673, 11 July 2012), an approach that has been applied across the international cricket community.
During his criminal trial last year Westfield named Kaneria as the figure who induced him into accepting £6,000 ($A9,000) from a bookmaker to under-perform in the 2009 match. Westfield served two months of a four-month prison sentence last year after admitting spot-fixing and was banned from professional cricket for five years, but he can play club cricket after three (PTG 887-4328, 15 January 2012).
Westfield's evidence was key to the ECB's case against the former Pakistan leg-spinner but, believing a five-year ban was too harsh, he only appeared as a witness at this week's appeal after the ECB went to the UK High Court for an order to force him to attend and give evidence (PTG 1093-5323, 24 April 2013).
Kaneria, who has continually disputed his involvement in the episode involving Westfield, said yesterday that once a written copy of the independent panel's judgement is available he will pursue a further appeal through the High Court in London. Media reports also say that Westfield will have an appeal he has lodged against the severity of the five-year period handed to him assessed at a hearing sometime later this year.
ECB chief executive David Collier said in a statement yesterday that he welcomes "wholeheartedly the independent panel's decision to dismiss Mr Kaneria's appeal and uphold the earlier decision made by the cricket discipline commission last summer. Corruption has no place in sport and the ECB will continue to be vigilant and adopt a zero tolerance approach in this area", he said.
CA 'GRASS ROOTS' PUSH TO
INCLUDE UMPIRES, SCORERS?
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has praised the efforts of those who support the game at the "grass roots" in Australia in an "open letter" sent electronically to the 'Australian cricket community' this week. In thanking all involved, Sutherland says that CA's Game and Market Development (GMD) department "has undergone a restructure designed to best serve the game’s grassroots", but it remains to be seen what if anything that will mean for the umpires and scorers who support the Australian game at club level.
After talking in his letter about the performance of the mens' and womens' senior national teams over the past six months, Sutherland declares in a wider sense that "Australian cricket is in good health". With some 880,000 people playing cricket last season "we have more participants than any other elite sport in Australia and are on the verge of significant media rights and commercial deals", he says.
"At the grassroots, where each of you dedicates your time and efforts", he goes on, "we continue to implement programs that will underscore the future of our game", and points to the GMD restructure as having "an emphasis on community engagement, inclusion, club development, player recruitment and retention, and the marketing of junior participation programs".
CA's chief executive does not mention support for umpire or scorer initiatives in his 500-word letter. Apart from a focus on the development of match officials for higher-level cricket in Australia, related efforts at grass roots level in the umpiring and scoring area, particularly those of recruitment and retention, have made little if any progress over the past few years.
The last six months has seen an initiative in the electronic scoring area slowly show promise, although not before severely trying the patience of those scorers who were exposed to its many glitches and the multiple programming versions that were issued for it last austral summer. CA chose to develop the 'Statsmaster' scoring program from scratch last June (PTG 958-4657, 7 July 2012), rather than use existing computer programs that had been well bedded down by scorers in at least one state over the previous three seasons.
In the umpiring area, initiatives that are seen as having stalled include: the provision of on-line learning and web based systems in general (PTG 930-4530, 22 April 2012); better coordination of umpire development; general communications with the Australia-wide umpiring community (PTG 1092-5317, 22 April 2013); and a survey of Level 2 umpires that was conducted twice around the country last year to seek feedback about recruitment, training and retention issues, a call that is reported to have been answered by around 1,000 people (PTG 1054-5127, 7 February 2013).
PTG has been led to understand that CA's annual post-season meeting with State and Territory Directors of Umpiring, which is likely to have addressed development programs as part of its purview, was held just over two weeks ago (PTG 1086-5290, 8 April 2013). No publicity has been given to either that meeting, its outcomes, or the current state of the range of initiatives that many observers say they hope have, at worst, only stalled temporarily.
Whether CA's "restructured" GMD department has been, or plans to be, involved in supporting initiatives in such 'grass roots' areas as umpiring and scoring, is not known at this time.
GOULD REPLACES BOWDEN
FOR SECOND HARARE TEST
English umpire Ian Gould has replaced New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden for the second and last Test between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh after the latter had to return home because of a family illness, say reports from Harare on Thursday (PTG 1088-5298, 12 April 2013). Gould, who had been scheduled by the England and Wales Cricket Board to stand in a county first class game in London starting on Wednesday, instead found himself flying to Harare for Thursday's first day's play in what is his 34th Test.
Reports on the opening day say that Gould was at the bowler's end when Zimbabwean bowler Kyle Jarvis twice broke the stumps on his follow through in the second over after tea. On the first occasions, Gould is said to have signalled 'no-ball', only to quickly change it to 'dead ball', but from next month in internationals the 'no ball' Playing Condition will apply. The Test is the last international to be played before umpires in such games will be required to call 'no ball' in what are known as 'Finn' broken wicket situations (PTG 1085-5282, 5 April 2013).
CARIBBEAN'S YOUNGEST FIRST CLASS
UMPIRE FOR ENGLAND EXCHANGE VISIT
Leslie Reifer Junior, the youngest Caribbean umpire to have stood in first class cricket, says he has been taken by surprise over his selection by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to officiate in England later this year as part of the on-going exchange agreement between the WICB and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The son of a former Barbados batsman and leading club cricketer, the younger Reifer is scheduled to leave Barbados tomorrow and is expected to stand in four matches in England over the next three weeks.
Reifer, 23, was one of three Caribbean umpires promoted to the WICB's Senior Umpires Panel last September is what was a major shake-up of that group (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012), and made his debuts in WICB regional first class, List A and Twenty20 competitions in January-February (PTG 1056-5135, 11 February 2013). He told a media outlet in Barbados on Thursday that he is "over the moon" about the visit to England, that he "wasn't really expecting it", that he's "come far in a relatively short space of time", and that "its a really good opportunity for me to progress".
Reifer is the fifth WICB umpire to visit England on exchange, the others over the last four years being Peter Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid, who unlike Reifer are all members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel.
BATSMAN JOINS THE 'SIX
SIXES IN AN OVER' GROUP
Lancashire batsman Jordan Clark has become the first Englishman, and only the fifth player in professional cricket, to hit six sixes in an over. The 22-year-old's achievement came in a second XI game against Yorkshire at Scarborough this week, the bowler being left-arm spinner Gurham Randhawa.
West Indies all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers was the first to hit six sixes in an over for Nottinghamshire in 1968, and since then India's Ravi Shastri and Yuvraj Singh, plus South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs have repeated the feat. Sobers and Shastri's accomplishments came in domestic first-class cricket, the latter for Bombay, Gibbs' was during the 2007 World Cup, the first time it had been achieved in international cricket, while Yuvraj joined the group at the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship series later that year.
Clark joined Lancashire's academy in 2008 and after making his one-day debut for the first team in 2010, was part of the county's Second XI Trophy-winning side last season. He is yet to make his County Championship debut but has featured in five one-day and nine Twenty20 matches.
INCREASED PRESENCE OF INDIAN
UMPIRES IN IPL-6 CONTINUES
With this year's Indian Premier League (IPL-6) series now at the half-way mark, home grown umpires are continuing to occupy close to two-thirds of the on-field positions, a ratio opposite to the five previous IPL seasons when Indians were allocated one-third and officials from other countries the rest (PTG 1086-5287, 8 April 2013). All-up to date, a total of 30 match officials have been used to support the series, 13 umpires, 8 Indian and 5 from other countries, 7 match referees, five from outside India, and 10 locals as reserve umpires.
During IPL-5 in 2012, event organisers contracted a total of 16 umpires for on-field and third umpire positions and 8 match referees. Seven, or less than half, of the umpires and half of the referees hailed from India, but as was the case then and for several years before that, none of the local umpires featured in the finals of the event (PTG 940-4571, 22 May 2012). Appointments over the first 39 games of this year's 76-match event suggest that more Indians will be involved in the finals this year.
Indian umpires used during the 2013 series to date have been: Vineet Kulkarni with 9 on-field and one television spot (9/1), Ravi Sundaram 8/2, Chettithody Shamsuddin 7/4, Anil Chowdhary 7/2, CK Nandan and Krishnaraj Srinath both 4/6, Subrat Das 4/5 and Sudhir Asnani 3/7. For Nandan, Shamsuddin and Srinath its their first season as IPL on-field and third umpires, Chowdhary and Kulkarni their second, Das his fourth, and Asnani and Sundaram their fifth.
In their time, Das, Kulkarni, Srinath and Sundaram, all served as IPL fourth umpires for one season prior to moving up to their present work, Chowdhary and Nandan each three, while Asnani and one of this year's debutants Shamsuddin, skipped fourth umpire duties altogether and went straight into on-field and television spots. Of the eight, who are all first class umpires, only Nandan and Srinath played at first class level before turning to umpiring.
Umpires from other countries used this year have been: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) 9/0, Marais Erasmus (South Africa) 7/2, Simon Taufel (Australia) 7/0, Asad Rauf (Pakistan) 6/1, and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) 3/3. Its Dharamsena and Taufel's fifth IPL season, Dar and Rauf's fourth, and Erasmus' third. All except Taufel normally work as members of the International Cricket Council's top Elite Umpires Panel, the Australian being a member up until October last year. While the two Pakistanis are taking part, players from that country have been barred from doing so by Indian officials.
Of the 39 games played up until yesterday, 30 saw one Indian and an overseas umpire standing together, 8 featured two Indians on the field, while only one had two non-Indians in on field positions, the latter being the first of last night's two games when Taufel and Dar worked together in Chennai; that game being Taufel's 50th on-field in the IPL. Of the 39 television spots, 33 have been filled by the eight Indians, while Dharmasena has had 3, Rauf 2 and Erasmus 1.
Match referees used this season to date have been: Andy Pycroft from Zimbabwe with 11, Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama with 9 and 6 respectively, David Boon from Australia also with 6, and Indians Javagal Srinath 4, Rajendra Jadeja 2 and Raju Mukherjee 1. For Srinath its his sixth-straight IPL series, Mahanama and Pycroft their fourth, Mukherjee's third, Jadeja and Madugalle their second, and Boon's first.
Meanwhile, IPL organisers have decided to move the first two IPL finals playoff games, which were listed for Chennai in late May, to Delhi. The decision was taken because of political tension in the state of Tamil Nadu over the participation of Sri Lankan players and match officials in games played there (PTG 1082-5271, 29 March 2013). However, the final two fixtures, including the final itself, will still be played in Kolkata, in contrast to 2012 when both were played in Chennai.
FINED FOR 'DISSENT'
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal has been fined ten per cent of his match fee after he "showed dissent at an umpire's decision" during the second Test against Zimbabwe in Harare on Saturday. New Zealand umpire Tony Hill judged Iqbal to have been caught behind off the bowling of Zimbabwe's Shingi Masakadza, however, replays are said to have showed there was no contact between bat and ball and that bat on pad was involved.
Iqbal, who reportedly "stood his ground", shook his head and "slowly left the crease", was reported by Hill, his on-field colleague Ian Gould of England, third and fourth umpires from Zimbabwe, Owen Chirombe and Jerry Matibiri. Match referee Chris Broad of England applied the fine after the batsman pleaded guilty to the offence. Level 1 breaches such as that carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand right through to a maximum penalty of fifty per cent of a player's match fee.
Reports from Harare make reference to what they say were a number of incorrect decision by both Gould and Hill on the first three days of the game, a fixture that is being played without the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) being in operation. 'Cricinfo' journalist Firdose Moonda says in an article that the potential for reviews of decisions "is further clouded" by the small number of television cameras that are recording the action, just 9 as opposed to 24 in most Tests, and their positioning around the ground is also an issue, he claims.
"We already know that Zimbabwe Cricket does not have the funds to cater for UDRS, but they also seem intent on making sure this is the Test series technology abandoned", says Moonda, however, the absence of technology cannot be blamed "for the poor decision making" by the umpires. According to him "even the creaking cameras in operation here could tell that bat had not touched ball in [three of the dismissals given], rather, [he claims] it seemed a case of the more and the louder the umpire was yelled at, the more convinced, or even intimidated, he was into raising the finger".
PCB CONFIRMS USE OF 'VIGILANCE
EXPERT' FOR ENGLAND TOUR
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf announced on Friday that its players will be kept "under a strict vigil" during their tour of Scotland, Ireland and England later this year in order to avoid any repeat of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal that resulted in bans and jail for three players. The news comes ten days after a report that indicated the PCB was considering sending a "vigilance expert" with its team to England for The Champions Trophy series in order to help ward off potential match fixers (PTG 1090-5310, 18 April 2013).
Ashraf told journalists that corruption will not be tolerated in Pakistani cricket and "what mistakes we committed last time will not be repeated". He said he would personally brief the players on what was expected of them on the tour for "we don't want any unwelcome people around the team or the players being trapped into another scandal".
"We have to consider Pakistan's prestige and respect, and what is paramount for the image of the country", continued the PCB chief, and "we will develop a code and also consider whether it should be included in players' central contracts". "We want to keep the image of our team and the country clean and, for that, we will take strict measures which will be finalised soon".
Ashraf also said the "rehabilitation" of the three banned players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, would also start soon once "consultations with the International Cricket Council (ICC)" had been completed. Appeals from Butt and Asif against their ICC bans were rejected last week by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports (PTG 1090-5310, 18 April 2013).
Butt was quoted by the Reuters News Agency on Wednesday as saying that he has "informed the [PCB] that I am ready to undergo any rehabilitation program or attend any course as part of the ICC anti-corruption procedure". "I want to play cricket again once the ban ends because it is my passion". Butt was speaking the day after ICC chief executive David Richardson urged him, and his two colleagues, to start "coming clean about what really happened" in London in 2010 and help cricket in "the fight against corruption" (PTG 1093-5322, 24 April 2013).
Amir has previously spoken about his desire to resume playing in 2015 when his ban comes to an end. To date, the West Indies’ Marlon Samuels is the only player to return to international cricket after being banned for having links to a bookmaker. He was out of the game for two years before returning in 2010.
BATSMAN HITS SIX CONSECUTIVE DELIVERIES
FROM SAME BOWLER FOR SIX
On the same day that Lancashire's Jordan Clark hit six sixes in an over last week (PTG 1095-5332, 27 April 2013), Middlesex's Adam Rossington hit six consecutive deliveries he faced from Cambridge University leg break bowler Akbar Ansari at Fenners over the fence, however, unlike Clark the strikes were not all in the same over.
Rossington first hit sixes off the last five deliveries of the 100th over of Middlesex's innings, then dispatched the second ball of the 102nd over in the same manner after his batting partner Dawid Malan had scored a single off the first ball.
PCB LAWYERS TO EXAMINE
KANERIA APPEAL JUDGEMENT
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf says that his board's lawyers will analyse the written judgement from Danish Kaneria's appeal hearing against his life-time ban on charges of spot-fixing. Once "our lawyers" make their evaluation, said Ashraf on Saturday, "we will then decide what to do, but one thing is clear we are not going to tolerate corruption of any sort in our cricket".
In June last year an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel found Kaneria guilty of encouraging his Essex team mate Mervyn Westfield to under-perform in a county one-day match in 2009, handing him the life-time ban and awarding substantial costs against him. Last week an independent panel in London rejected the leg spinner's appeal against those sanctions (PTG 1095-5328, 27 April 2013).
The ECB said in a statement on Friday that Kaneria's further appeal against sanction and costs will be heard at a later date. As part of an agreement between the International Cricket Council and its member boards, the PCB last year suspended Kaneria from playing n Pakistan pending the outcome of his appeal hearings.
LIMITED TEST EXPERIENCE AMONGST CURRENT
DOMESTIC INDIAN MATCH REFEREES
Former first class players filled 50 of the 52 positions in the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) domestic match referees group during the 2012-13 season on the sub-continent. Two weeks ago the BCCI was said to be looking to lift the standard of the panel by recruiting "former cricketers who have played at least 20-25 Test matches" and train them as match referees (PTG 1091-5312, 20 April), none of those who were engaged in such duties last season meeting that specification.
Thirty-eight referees were used to manage the 97-match Ranji, Irani and Duleep Trophy first class games played in 2012-13, half of them also working in domestic List A fixtures and five in the non-Indian Premier League (IPL) all-india Twenty20 competition. A second group of eleven referees also looked after the List A games, all except two also standing in the T20 series, while a third group of three were limited to the latter competition.
Only two of the 52, Pranab Roy and Yograj Singh, have played Test cricket, the former featuring in two in England's 1982 tour of India, and the latter in a single match in Wellington in 1981, while Sanjay Raul played two One Day Internationals (ODI). Former first class umpires who are now referees are in addition to Roy, Anand Patel, Ravi Deshmukh and GA Pratapkumar, the latter also having stood in two One Day Internationals (ODI).
The BCCI has used two of the 52, Rajendra Jadeja and Raju Mukherjee, in this year's IIPL series to date, the former working in two matches and the latter one (PTG 1096-5333, 29 April 2013).
The only current Indian match referee who meets the 20-25 Test specification is Javagal Srinath who played in 67 from 1991-2002, and he is a member of the International Cricket Council's match referees panel. Records available indicate that apart from the IPL, where he has overseen 55 matches over the last six seasons, Srinath has never looked after an Indian domestic game, but over the last seven years he has in 24 Tests, 124 ODIs and 29 Twenty20 Internationals.
FOUR MATCHES FOR WINDIES
Leslie Reifer Junior, the latest West Indian umpire to travel to England on exchange, has been appointed to a single one-day, and three three-day matches during his visit over the next four weeks (PTG 1095-5331, 27 April 2013). Two of the games are in the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) county second XI competitions, and the other two, which both have first class status, in the Marylebone Cricket Club University (MCCU) series that involves MCC sponsored university cricket academies playing county first XIs.
Reifer's first game is a second XI one-day match between Middlesex and Sussex in Radlett 30 km north-west of London next Monday, and it will be followed that week at the same ground by a second XI three-day game between the same two sides. His third assignment is a MCCU three-day match between Cambridge MCCU and Gloucestershire in Cambridge, and last another fixture in the same competition between Oxford MCCU and Surrey in the university city.
In the first MCCU match Reifer will stand with ECB Full List umpire Neil Bainton in what will be the latter's 132nd first class game. His partner in the second is expected to be former Test player and umpire Peter Willey, for whom it will be first class match number 288 as an umpire. Those games will be Reifer's fourth and fifth at first class level since his debut earlier this year (PTG 1056-5135, 11 February 2013).
Reifer's appointments are similar to those given to Peter Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid, the four previous West Indies umpires to travel to England on exchange. Their first class games there were also limited to MCCU fixtures, and each also stood in one or two second XI one and three-day matches, while Braithwaite also featured in two second XI Twenty20 games.
SLOW OVER RATE FINE
FOR IPL SKIPPER
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai side in the Indian Premier League (IPL), became the second IPL skipper to be fined for a slow over rate in this year's event. Dhoni was fined $A$20,000 on Sunday after his side was found to be two overs behind the required rate by match referee Andy Pycroft in the match against Kolkata.
Earlier this month Virat Kohli, the captain of the Bangalore franchise's side, was also fined $A20,000 because his team was found to be three overs behind the required rate (PTG 1088-5299, 12 April 2013). Last year in the IPL captains and players were fined a total in excess of $A200,000 because of slow over-rate infringements (PTG 938-4565, 15 May 2012).
TESTS CANCELLED IN FAVOUR
OF ONE-DAY FIXTURES
No Tests will be played during Pakistan's tour of the West Indies in June-July, say reports from the Caribbean overnight. While dates for the series that will ensue have not yet been finalised, scheduling pressures mean it will be limited to five One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).
Original plans called for the tour to include two Tests, however, the West Indies Cricket Board scheduling of a tri-series involving India and Sri Lanka has had an impact. The decision to exclude Tests means that the West Indies side will play just five this year, three of them being during a tour to New Zealand in December.
Recent reports from New Zealand say that the Board of Control for Cricket in India is looking to reduce what is currently listed as a three Test series down to two, but negotiations are still underway.
SEVEN MONTHS ON LANKAN 'STING'
JUDGEMENTS STILL AWAITED
Seven months on there is still no news of the outcome of Sri Lankan Cricket's (SLC) investigation into three of their umpires who were exposed in a 'sting' operation conducted by an Indian television channel (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012). Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, plus Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, have been given multi-year bans by their respective boards over the last month for the way they reacted to the 'sting' approach (PTG 1090-5309, 18 April 2013), while another Bangladeshi, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, was exonerated; however, the results of the SLC's investigation into the part played by Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage, is still awaited.
Last October, Gallage, a member of SLC's top domestic umpires panel, reportedly agreed on video to "leak information on the pitch, weather, toss, and the playing elevens of India and Pakistan ahead of their World Twenty20 warm-up match in in exchange for 50,000 rupees [$A932]", a fixture in which he was to have worked in as the fourth umpire. His countryman Dissanayake reportedly claimed that "by providing liquor to [SLC] officials, one can get any work done", although just what that actually meant was not made clear at the time.
PROTESTERS DIG UP PITCH,
BUT TOURNAMENT PROCEEDS
The pitch at a ground in Rajkot, India that has hosted first class and One Day Internationals, was dug up on Saturday in a protest against the amount of water the Rajkot Municipal Corporation has used to prepare it for an inter municipal Twenty20 tournament that was scheduled to begin on Sunday. Members of the Congress Party in the region are said to have used "agricultural implements to dig up the entire pitch" to protest water use at a time the region is experiencing a "severe" drought.
Despite the best efforts of the protesters ground staff in Rajkot, in what must have been a major effort, managed to "patch up" the pitch and it was ready for a late afternoon start to the tournament on Sunday. The city's mayor Janak Kotak denied that water was being "wasted", while another political leader said that "there is no logic in demanding the cancellation of this tournament on the basis of shortage of water".
Earlier this month there were protests in Mumbai, which lies 550 km south-east of Rajkot, that were based around claims that water was being supplied to the Wankhede stadium there as it prepared for the Indian Premier League at subsidised rates (PTG 1083-5285, 5 April 2013). The 25,000-26,000 litres needed at the ground was said to be being supplied at a rate of 400 Rupees ($A7) a tanker, in contrast to farmers in the state’s drought-hit regions who reportedly have to pay as much as 1,500-3,000 Rupees ($A26-53) for each load.