Share:
 
          MAY 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 17 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5344-5423)

Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,098  1,099  1,100  1,101  1,102  1,103  1,104  1,105  1,106  
1,107  1,108  1,109  1,110  1,111  1,1112  1,113  1,114

1,098 - 2 May [5344-5349] 

• BCCI nomination, manoeuvring, part of anti-UDRS push, suggests writer     (1095-5344).

• ODI debut for Zimbabwean umpire    (1095-5345).

• Llong latest EUP member to join IPL-6    (1095-5346).

• Fifth match for Windies exchange umpire    (1095-5347).

• Zimbabwe fined for slow over rate in Test     (1095-5348).

• Police 'scratch the surface' of Indian betting activities    (1095-5349).

1,099 - 4 May [5350-5353]

• BCCI candidate 'likely' to win ICC committee seat, says Mumbai report   (1099-5350).

• ECB targeting LBW related dissent   (1099-53551).

• Appeal launched after 'noise' issues curtail play   (1099-5352).

• Refusal to shake hands results in warning, reprimand   (1099-5353).

1,100 - 7 May [5354-5358]

• Sivaramakrishnan confirmed as ICC Cricket Committee member   (1100-5354).

• LBW-related 'serious dissent' sees Bangladeshi fined   (1100-5355).

• CPL to contract match officials from outside the Caribbean?  (1100-5356).

• News of key Aussie umpire pathway event awaited   (1100-5357).

• Tucker joins IPL-6   (1100-5358).

1,101 - 8 May {5359-5365]

• Australia reported looking to boost female umpires' profile, numbers   (1101-5359). 

• Guyanan, Jamaican named for Windies first class final   (1101-5360).

• FICA questions ICC ethics following Cricket Committee changes   (1101-5361).

• 'VJD' rain rule inventor again calls for reevaluation of his system   (1101-5362). 

• Bermuda-Malaysia combination manage main WCL-3 final   (1101-5363).  

• CA Umpire Educator position falls vacant, new appointment awaited   (1101-5364). 

• A 'hat trick' with a difference in Mohali   (1101-5365). 

1,102 - 10 May [5366-5370]

• Voting process 'confusion', not pressure, behind Cricket Committee revote, says ICC    (1102-5366).

• Stop spitting or face disciplinary action, says ECB Discipline Commissioner    (1102-5367).

• May 'has done his bit', says Sivaramakrishnan   (1102-5368).

• Officials named for England-NZ Tests, ODI series   (1102-5369).

• Busy season for Pakistan's first class debutants    (1102-5370).

1,103 - 13 May [5371-5374]

• Sri Lanka gives seven their first class debuts    (1103-5371).

• Umpire defends his LBW decision thirty years on   (1103-5372).

• Stand-alone 'carnival' for CA domestic one-day series?    (1103-5373).

• 'Independent' panel set up for Lankan IUP selections    (1103-5374).

1,104 - 16 May [5375-5382]

• Former Test pair listed as ICC 'Umpire Coaches'  (1104-5375).

• Pakistan, Sri Lanka describe allegations BCCI forced ICC re-vote as 'baseless'  (1104-5376).

• LBW decision leads to team forfeiting match    (1104-5377).

• Crowe, Illingworth neutrals for Scotland-Pakistan ODI series.    (1104-5378).

• CA reported looking at scorer training, accreditation systems    (1104-5379).

• Four newcomers on Bangladesh first class scene    (1104-5380).

• Match points to decide womens' Ashes series   (1104-5381).

• Botham, Gower set for umpiring roles    (1104-5382).

1,105 - 17 May [5383-5386]

• BCCI suspends three as Police investigate IPL spot-fixing allegations    (1105-5383).

• 'Live' ball kick results in 'Obstructing the Field' dismissal    (1105-5384).

• Champions Trophy match officials named    (1105-5385).

• 'CMJ' 'Spirit of Cricket' awards announced    (1105-5386).

1,106 - 18 May [5387-5388]

• Covert recording submitted in umpire ratings disciplinary case    (1106-5387).

• IPL trio used on-field signals in spot-fixing scam, say Indian Police    (1106-5388).

1,107 - 21 May [5389-5391]

• Police widen IPL spot-fixing investigation, BCCI launches inquiry    (1107-5389).

• Indian umpires for key IPL finals positions for the first time?    (1107-5390).

• Neutral officials for Dublin, Amsterdam ODI games named    (1107-5391).

1,108 - 22 May [5392-5395]

• Aussie female players get pay boost, umpire initiative next?    (1108-5392).

• India's Supreme Court sets deadline for BCCI spot-fixing inquiry    (1108-5393).

• Oblique reference to umpiring, scoring in new ECB strategic plan   (1108-5394).

• IPL finals third umpire spot for local    (1108-5395).

1,109 - 23 May [5396-5398]

• IPL umpire 'very close' to bookies, claims newspaper report    (1109-5396).

• UK company becomes ICC 'match data' provider    (1109-5397).

• Show of bat results in fine    (1109-5398).

1,110 - 24 May [5399-5402]

• ICC withdrawals Rauf from Champions Trophy series    (1110-5399).

• CA considering opening up disciplinary hearings    (1110-5400).

• IPL umpiring error 'enraged' bookies, claims report    (1110-5401).

• Contenders for ECB's 2014 Full List stand in County Championship games   (1110-5402).

1,111 - 27 May [5403-5410]

• Rauf will fight to clear his name, says family    (1111-5403).

• Former international umpire offered £10,000 bribe to 'manipulate' ODI   (1111-5404).

• India to legislate against 'unfair practices' in sport    (1111-5405).

• 'Robust' anti-corruption approach needed, says CA integrity reviewer    (1111-5406).

• Fifth-straight IPL final for Taufel   (1111-5407).

• CA names five umpires for EPT replacement series    (1111-5408).

• Batsman fined after 'deliberate' collision with bowler   (1111-5409).

• Umpire wins NSW Parliamentary seat    (1111-5410).

1,112 - 28 May [5411-5413]

• Player 'agreed to loose a match' in BPL-1, claims report    (1112-5411).

• No Champions Trophy replacement for Rauf    (1112-5412).

• IPL skipper fined $A20K for slow over-rate   (1112-5413).

1,113 - 29 May [5414-5417]

• Rauf to brief media as Police 'leak' claims worsen    (1113-5414).

• ICC planning training course for umpire coaches, say reports    (1113-5415).

• ECB suspends two for 'illegal actions'    (1113-5416).

• African officials supporting continent's U-19 World Cup Qualifier event    (1113-5417).

1,114 - 30 May [5418-5423]

• Rauf denies corruption, ready to face ACSU probe    (1114-5418).

• Switch hit a 'legitimate part of the game', says ICC committee    (1114-5419).

• Minimum annual Test target recommended   (1114-5420).

• New ODI Playing Conditions a challenge, says Indian skipper    (1114-5421).

• BCB awaiting ICC report on BPL match-fix claims    (1114-5422).

• Pycroft, Llong for Netherlands ODI    (1114-5423).

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,098
       Thursday, 2 May 2013       

 BCCI NOMINATION, MANOEUVRING, PART 

OF ANTI-UDRS PUSH, SUGGESTS WRITER

[PTG 1098-5344]

 

Shelving of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) could be behind Indian manoeuvring to have their candidate elected as a player representative on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, suggests South African journalist and broadcaster Neil Manthorpe.  In a story in Johannesburg's 'Business Day' on Monday, Manthorpe writes that initial votes cast by the 10 Test captains saw former leg break bowler Laxman Sivaramakrishnan trail current player's union chief Tim May 1-9, however, after a lobbying campaign the outcome has, he says, now changed to 5-5 .

 

Manthorpe's article states that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) "already holds the purse strings of the global game and is able to influence its subordinate nations into voting whichever way it sees fit on a host of issues".  But, he continues, "up until  now", "the one area" the BCCI has not been able to control is the vote of the players, who he describes as the "game’s most important stakeholders".  

 

Players have two representatives on the ICC Cricket Committee, they currently being former Australian spinner May, who is president of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) and is up for reelection, and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.  International players from around the world make known their choice between the candidates on offer, in this case May and Sivaramakrishnan, via their respective Test captains, and it would appear that an initial vote saw all except Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni choose May.

 

Sivaramakrishnan, 47, played 9 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals for India in the period from 1983-86, and in more recent years has worked as a commentator.  Manthorpe says he is currently employed by the Indian Premier League's Chennai franchise, a unit that is owned by Indian industrialist and present BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan.

 

After the Test captains' "confidential votes" were cast and came down so solidly in favour of retaining May, "It was then that the BCCI started work", writes Manthorpe.  According to him Naasei Appiah "the acting [chief executive] of Cricket South Africa [CSA], was phoned to ask which way [national skipper] Graeme Smith had voted".  Appiah is not named by Manthorpe, but the "acting" CSA executive is said to have replied that Smith’s vote was private, was handled by the South African Cricketers Association, and had nothing to do with CSA. 

 

"Other responses were less forthright", continues Manthorpe's article.  It claims that the West Indies Cricket Board were asked to "persuade" their captain Darren Sammy to change his vote and that Sri Lanka’s Angelo Matthews "was leant on".  Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim "had his arm twisted by his board" and Misbah-ul-Haq of Pakistan is said to have been "reminded to think about where his bread was buttered", but there is no mention of a change in Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor's vote which would have tipped the scales 6-4 in Sivaramakrishnan's favour.

 

It is not possible to determine the accuracy of Manthorpe's version of events, however, he is a veteran observer of the game who has his own sports agency, is the author of five books, and has covered more than 40 tours and 120 Test matches since South Africa returned to international cricket and Zimbabwe's initial elevation to Test status.  He is also a regular commentator for South African radio and television and has been a member of radio teams in Australia, England New Zealand the West Indies.

Manthorpe asks the question as to why the BCCI "is so keen to get their man on the cricket committee?"  He says that "Apart from the obvious [of obtaining] yet more power and influence" the "answer may be the [UDRS]".  "Sangakkara’s playing commitments mean he cannot dedicate sufficient time to his committee commitments" and as a result "he has relied on May to harvest global player opinion". 

 

May has indicated publicly on a number of occasions that FICA members around the world support the UDRS being used on a consistent basis, saying such things as the system "is not perfect but nothing is" and that it "works well" (PTG 803-3926, 25 July 2011).  Should May be removed, states Manthorpe, "Sivaramakrishnan may be able to tell the committee that 'the players do not want UDRS any more', and that could be that".

 

Manthorpe does not explain though just how Sivaramakrishnan's addition to the ICC's Cricket Committee would be enough to influence any decision to do away with the UDRS.  The group is currently chaired by former Indian captain Anil Kumble, who is also the chair of the BCCI's technical committee (PTG 1072-5117, 7 March 2013), and another Indian skipper, Ravi Shastri, is there as a media representative.

 

However, there are 14 others on the committee, most of whom are likely to have firm views about UDRS use.  Its meetings are attended by the likes of: ICC President Alan Isaac, its chief executive David Richardson, former international players Andrew Strauss and Mark Taylor, current ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Steve Davis, and the Marylebone Cricket Club's John Stephenson.  

 

Richardson is probably the key proponent behind the UDRS, and the likes of Davis, Madugalle, Stephenson, Strauss and Taylor, to name just some, have in the past expressed their support for the system's on-going use in the international game.

 

In addition, while the ICC Cricket Committee's role is to discuss and consult on any cricket-playing matter and formulate recommendations it does not make the final decision on such things.  Any views it forms do not take effect until they are ratified first by the ICC's Chief Executives Committee and then finally by the ICC Board itself.

 

ODI DEBUT FOR 

ZIMBABWEAN UMPIRE

[PTG 1098-5345]

 

Zimbabwean umpire Jerry Matibiri is to make his One Day International (ODI) debut in the third and last match of the Zimbabwe-Bangladesh series in Bulawayo next Wednesday.  Matibiiri wil be sharing on-field duties during the three match series with fellow Zimbabwean members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Russell Tiffin and Owen Chirombe, the second umpire on the field during each game being the 'neutral' South African Johannes Cloete (PTG 1088-5298, 12 April 2013).

 

Matibiri, who turns 42 on the last day of this month and has umpired a number of times in Tasmania during visit there, made his first class debut in April 2005 and has since gone on to stand in 36 such games, plus 38 List A and 29 Twenty20 matches in Zimbabwe's senior domestic competitions.  He first worked at senior international level in June 2010 as the television official in a Twenty20 International (T20I), making his on-field debut in that format September 2011.  Third umpire spots in ODIs followed and by the time he takes the field next week he will have worked in that role 12 times, plus four at Test level.

 

For former ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Tiffin, who will join Cloete on the field in first match one tomorrow, its his 127th ODI, while for Chirombe, who turned 40 last month, it will be ODI number 9.  Cloete will have taken his ODI tally to 25 by the time the series ends, while match referee Chris Broad's record in that role in that form of the game will move on to 216. 

 

Matibiri will work as the third umpire in the first two Zimbabwe-Bangladesh ODIs tomorrow and on Sunday, Chriombe being the fourth official in match one and Tiffin in the second.  After the ODIs, Chriombe will be on field in both Twenty20 Internationals, Tiffin being his partner in the first and Matibiri the second.  It will be the fifth and sixth T20I on the field for Chirombe and fifth for Matibiri and Tiffin. 

 

LLONG LATEST EUP 

MEMBER TO JOIN IPL-6 

[PTG 1098-5346]

 

Nigel Llong, one of three English members of the International Cricket Counci's 12-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is to make his debut in the Indian Premier League later today.  Llong, 43, will work tonight as the third umpire in a game in Chennai, but is expected to join fellow EUP members Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa) and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), plus former member Simon Taufel, in looking after games on the field over the next three weeks (PTG 1096-5333, 29 April 2013).

 

FIFTH MATCH FOR WINDIES 

EXCHANGE UMPIRE

[PTG 1098-5347]

 

West Indian exchange umpire Leslie Reifer Junior will stand in five games during his exchange visit to England this month, not four as previously reported (PTG 1097-5339, 30 April 2013).  Reifer's first game, which commenced yesterday, is a three-day Marylebone Cricket Club University (MCCU) series fixture between Oxford MCCU and Worcesthire's first XI which is being played in the university city.

 

Reifer's on-field colleague in the present game is Trevor Jesty, a veteran of 490 first class games as a player, who is standing in his 256th match as an umpire at that level.  Other games that will follow during the Barbadian's visit are two in the England and Wales Cricket Board's county second XI competitions, and the final two in two other MCCU first class games.

 

ZIMBABWE FINED FOR SLOW 

OVER RATE IN TEST 

[PTG 1098-5348]

 

The Zimbabwean side has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second Test against Bangladesh that ended in Harare on Monday.  Match referee Chris Broad from England imposed the fines after Brendan Taylor’s side was, after time allowances were taken into consideration, ruled to be three overs short of its target at the end of the match.

 

Under International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, and their captain double that amount.  As such, Taylor was fined 60 per cent of his match fee while his players lost 30-per-cent of their fees.  The penalty was accepted by Zimbabwe without contest so there was no need for a hearing.

 

Earlier in the match Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was fined 10 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire's decision (PTG 1096-5334, 29 April 2013).

 

POLICE 'SCRATCH THE SURFACE' OF

 INDIAN BETTING ACTIVITIES

[PTG 1098-5349]

 

Police in Andhra Pradesh are said to have "cracked the whip on persons involved in cricket betting" during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) series, according to an article posted on 'The Hindu' web site overnight.   Officers in the city of Vijayawada are reported to have arrested 33 individuals at a number of suburban locations and "opened suspect sheets" against the accused after finding that cricket betting is being organised through telephones and online money transactions. 

 

Last month in the state of Maharashtra, 12 bookmakers were arrested for betting on IPL matches, a considerable amount of cash, and "goods" worth nearly 200,00 Rupees ($A3,700), seized after a raid.  The goods are said to have included a briefcase containing 43 mobile phones, two coolers, a TV set, a printer, laptop, and what was called "gambling" material.  All the accused were remanded in police custody by a local court.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,099
Saturday, 4 May 2013    

 

 BCCI CANDIDATE 'LIKELY' TO WIN ICC 

COMMITTEE SEAT, SAYS MUMBAI REPORT 

[PTG 1099-5350]

 

A report in yesterday's 'Mumbai Mirror' says "it is likely" Chennai-based player-turned commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (Sivar) will win a player representative spot on the International Cricket Committee's (ICC) Cricket Committee in place of former Australia spinner Tim May, the current president of the international player's union.  A story in a South African newspaper this week suggested that in putting Sivar's name forward the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had as its focus a desire to get rid of the Umpire Decision Review System (PTG 1095-5344, 2 May 2013), but May has a different perspective.  

 

May told the 'Mirror' that "this is not about the Cricket Committee but [rather] about the BCCI's opposition to [the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA)]", the player's union, and its work.  A "source" who 'Mirror' journalist Vijay Tagore says is "well-versed with developments in international cricket", is quoted as saying that the BCCI has "already managed to keep [FICA] away from the [ICC's] annual cricket awards, [and] now they want the union's representative out of the Cricket Committee as well". 

 

May said that he had "no idea who have voted for whom but I can understand that some countries will have voted in favour of the BCCI".  The South African story said that the BCCI had pressured a number of countries about changing their vote from May to Sivar, and yesterday's 'Mirror' story says "it is understood that Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan besides Zimbabwe, have voted in favour of India", and that "even the West Indies, which needs India's support, may also have [done so]".  

 

What the 'Mirror' called "top BCCI officials" were said to be unwilling to discuss Siva's chances of being elected, but then makes the claim "that it is not often ICC members vote against an Indian interest".  May is quoted as saying that "It is obvious that countries which are in need of BCCI's largesse will vote in favour of the BCCI candidate".  

 

An announcement of the result is likely to be made next week, say a number of Indian media reports.  The Cricket Committee's 2013 meeting is scheduled to be held in London at the end of this month. 

 

ECB TARGETING LBW 

RELATED 'DISSENT'  

[PTG 1099-5351]

 

England and Nottinghamshire off-spinner Graeme Swann has become the first player to be punished as a result of what UK media reports say is the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) "crackdown on dissent at LBW decisions".  Swann is said to have "raised his bat above his head" and "appeared to exchange words" with umpire Steve Garratt, after he was given out leg before in his side's first class match against Durham at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

 

London's 'Daily Telegraph' said yesterday that Swan's offence came just two days after ECB discipline commission chairman Gerard Elias QC wrote to all counties to warn that such dissent will "not be tolerated".  Elias stated that “the ECB has available to it a vast library of video footage of first-class cricket", and that "one area of on-field behaviour" it highlights is the "increasing tendency for batsmen given out LBW to walk from the crease waving the bat and/or touching the edge of it to indicate the belief that the ball had hit the bat".  

 

In his letter Elias describes some of the footage he has seen as "startling", and says that he has “discussed the matter with the umpires and I want to give this clear message so there can be no misunderstanding: such conduct will be regarded by umpires as dissent and will [attract disciplinary] penalty points in the usual way, and in more serious cases will be reported to the CDC [Cricket Discipline Commission] for consideration of further action".  

 

“Promptly walking from the crease is a requirement of our regulations in relation to dissent but it is not the only requirement [for] waving the bat en route to the pavilion is a show of dissent which is not acceptable", concludes Elias.

 

Swan, whose breach was deemed as showing "serious dissent", was called in to the umpires’ room to see Garratt, a former Nottingham policeman, and his colleague Peter Willey, at the close of play on Thursday.  He has since been penalised three points under the ECB’s ‘totting-up’ disciplinary procedure.  Under that system, players who accumulate nine or more points in any two-year period receive an automatic suspension, however, when he is playing for England, Swan is subject to International Cricket Council regulations. 

 

APPEAL LAUNCHED AFTER 

NOISE ISSUES CURTAIL PLAY

[PTG 1099-5352]

 

Peter Savill, the businessman-owner of a cricket ground in County Wicklow in Ireland, has begun a High Court challenge to restrictions imposed on the facilitiy's use by a District Court Judge in February following complaints by his former neighbours.  The restrictions limited to 60 the number of players, umpires and spectators that could attend the venue, and came after neighbours Tim and Lesley Stevens complained about noise levels at the ground and "congregations of people" outside their nearby home.

 

The 'Irish Independent' says that Oak Hill Cricket Club is a "state-of-the-art facility" that was built in 2008 on the grounds of Savill's large estate.  In addition to limiting numbers, February's judgement also ordered that the batting practice area at the ground be moved and that the venue could only be used for ten weekends a year.  It also restricted the number of hours that the pitch could be mowed and said that people attending matches could not congregate along the Stevens' boundary fence.

 

Since it was established the ground has hosted matches between Ireland and teams from South Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Irish club matches.  Peter Broughton, Savill's lawyer, said his client fears the restrictions mean he will be unable to fulfil his obligations to Cricket Ireland, and that Savill made a "significant investment in the ground" which includes a practice area, pavilion, car park and cricket field.

 

Locals told the 'Independent' that the Stevens moved out from the house around eighteen months ago.  The next hearing into the matter has been scheduled for next month.

 

'REFUSAL' TO SHAKE HANDS RESULTS 

IN WARNING AND REPRIMAND 

[PTG 1099-5353]

 

United States' player Timroy Allen has been handed an official warning and reprimand after pleading guilty to a charge of "conduct that is contrary to the 'Spirit of the Game' and that brings the game into disrepute", during his side's World Cricket League match against Oman in Bermuda on Thursday.  

 

The International Cricket Council said in a statement yesterday that the charge was laid by umpires Niels Bagh of Denmark and Roger Dill of Bermuda after "Allen refused to shake" Bagh's hand at the end of the game, the sanction being decided my match referee David Jukes of England.

 

English umpire Richard Illingworth, who is taking part in the tournament in a mentoring capacity, had up until Thursday stood with four of the six other umpires involved: Malaysia's Viswanadan Kalidas; Silvan Taylor from the United States; and Bermudans Dill and Steven Douglas  (PTG 1092-5319, 22 April 2013).  The last six games of the series are to be played today and tomorrow so there is still time for Illingworth to stand with the other two, Bagh and Courtney Young of the Cayman Islands. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,100
Tuesday, 7 May 2013 

 

  SIVARAMAKRISHNAN CONFIRMED AS 

ICC CRICKET COMMITTEE MEMBER

[PTG 1100-5354]

 

Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has joined former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara as a players' representative on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee (PTG 1099-5350, 4 May 2013).  Sangakkara, who has been on the committee since 2007, was reelected unopposed, while Sivaramakrishnan has replaced international players' union chief Tim May from Australia, and both will serve on the Cricket Committee for the next three years.

 

The ICC made mention of Sivaramakrishnan's appointment when announcing that this year's meeting of the group will be held in London on 28-29 May.  The Cricket Committee is a leading decision-maker for the game's international governing body in matters that relate to Playing Conditions, issues that include the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  Reports over the past week have said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) forced a re-vote for May's former position after the long-serving chief of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) initially won the election 9-1 (PTG 1098-5344, 2 May 2013).

 

However, an unidentified member of one of the national boards whose Test captain voted for Sivaramakrishnan contested that view, telling 'Cricinfo' that "It is disingenuous for FICA or its supporters to protest because in an election, candidates canvas votes and FICA did the same thing on Tim May's behalf".  "The fact is that May didn't have the support of many captains and that showed in the votes", he continued, and "suggestions May had the support of nine captains to start with are completely baseless".

 

May has been FICA's head since the group was formed in 1998, however, his organisation is only recognised by five of the ten Full Members of the ICC: Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies, the first four of whom are reported to have supported his nomination, Sivaramakrishnan apparently winning 6-4.  'Cricinfo' says that one factor that is thought to have gone against May was his "sustained criticism of the running of Twenty20 tournaments [such as] the Indian Premier League, Sri Lankan Premier League and the Bangladesh Premier League", an approach that "is believed that this won him few friends on the Asian boards".

 

A story posted on the 'Times of India' web site overnight says that "it was definitely not as much about pushing Siva in as much as it was about keeping May out".  That story says that two years ago a FICA survey of its members concluded that the BCCI "exerts unfair influence" on ICC decision-making, and the group also called for compulsory use of the UDRS which the BCCI has steadfastly refused to be involved with citing technical glitches in the system.  May's group also queried Indian Premier League salary-related issues an sought an independent security review of that competition, but BCCI pressure has meant that no Indians have ever been a FICA member.

 

Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said over the weekend that the "issue sadly highlights the political problems that are currently rife in international cricket currently".  Tony Irish, the head of South Africa's players' union, said FICA would lodge a written protest with the ICC about the intervention.  "It's a sad day for the governance of cricket when players aren't allowed to freely elect their representatives", and "the decisions that are made should be global decisions for the benefit of the global game, not for the benefit of one country, whichever country that is".

 

No details of the committee's London agenda have yet been released.  The 2013 meeting be chaired for the first time by former India captain Anil Kumble, who has succeeded ex-West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd, and as well as Sivaramakrishnan it will be the first time former England captain Andrew Strauss has attended, he being one of the two 'Past Player' representatives.  Strauss replaced former West Indian fast bowler Ian Bishop.

 

LBW-RELATED 'SERIOUS DISSENT' 

SEES BANGLADESHI FINED 

[PTG 1100-5355]

 

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee after pleading guilty to a charge that he showed "serious dissent at an umpire’s decision" during his side's second One Day International against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on Sunday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that Shakib "expressed his displeasure" after being given out LBW by "smashing his bat into his pad" before he left his crease, "in the process nearly hitting Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor". 

 

All-rounder Shakib admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction offered to him by match referee Chris Broad of England at a hearing held in Bulawayo yesterday morning, and as a result there was no need for a formal hearing.  Broad said in a statement released by the ICC yesterday that “This type of a reaction from a senior player and a former captain is unacceptable [and] when the umpire’s finger goes up, the batsman must leave the crease without showing his emotions regardless of what he thinks of the decision"

 

On-field umpires Owen Chirombe of Zimbabwe and Johan Cloete from South Africa, plus third umpire Jerry Matibiri and fourth umpire Russell Tiffin, who are both Zimbabweans, laid the Level 2 charge.  All ICC Level 2 breaches carry a penalty of between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of a player’s match fee and/or up to two suspension points.

 

Shakib's fine comes less than a week after England and Nottinghamshire off-spinner Graeme Swann became the first player to be disciplined as a result of what UK media reports say is the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) "crackdown on dissent at LBW decisions" (PTG 1099-5351, 4 May 2013).  Swann is said to have "raised his bat above his head" after he was given out leg before in his side's first class county match against Durham at Trent Bridge last Thursday.

 

In addition to Shakib's fine, Zimbabwe were fined for a slow over rate during the Bulawayo game, being deemed to have been one over short in their allotted time.  As a result Taylor, the captain, was fined twenty per cent of his match fee and the rest of the side ten per cent for what the ICC defines as a "minor" over rate offence.

 

 

 CPL TO CONTRACT MATCH OFFICIALS 

FROM OUTSIDE THE CARIBBEAN?

[PTG 1100-5356]

 

Well-known international players have been contracted to play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the latest franchise-based, Twenty20 format competition, in July-August, but it remains to be seen if umpires from outside the West Indies will be engaged for the series.  At least six and possibly eight umpires and two match referees will be needed to oversee games across the 32-match, four-week long, tournament, which will become the Caribbean's premier T20 competition and provide the winner with the chance to play in the lucrative world-wide Champions League.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has conducted a regional T20 series each year since 2010, the teams involved being those who normally play domestic first class cricket in the Caribbean, plus at times English county sides, Canada and the Netherlands.  WICB umpires looked after all four of those tournaments in 2010, 2011, 2012 and in January this year, and also in the years prior to that in the first two Stanford 20/20 series of 2006 and 2007. 

 

However, when the third and last Stanford series was played in late 2008, the size of the prize money on offer was in the multi-millions, a situation that led the organisers to go beyond Caribbean umpires and contract then International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel members Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Simon Taufel and Steve Davis of Australia, plus ICC match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, to oversee the playing of the event (PTG 342-1813, 3 November 2008).  Reports at the time suggested that the salaries of the match officials involved were "significant" but just what they were have never been made public.

 

Details of the prize monies that will be on offer for the inaugural CPL series have not yet been released, however, while they will go nowhere near that of the Stanford period, reports available suggest they will still be substantially more than in recent WICB T20 events.  Given that, and that at the current time the WICB is rebuilding its senior umpiring group, observers will be watching with interest as to whether Caribbean or international match officials, or perhaps a mixture of both, will form the CPL panel.  Both Bangladesh and Indian use contracted umpires from outside their countries for their premier Twenty20 events.

 

Six franchise teams from across the West Indies are to take part in CPL-1: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.  Each will be assigned one of the six international players who have been signed for the event: Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, Australians Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, Mohammad Hafeez from Pakistan, and Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa.

 

The series will start with a 30-match 'Group' stage which will see each team playing the other five franchises twice, once at home and the other away, after which there will be a two-match playoff stage.  The latter will consist of an 'eliminator' between the second and third placed sides, the winner of which will then go on the contest the final against the top ranked team.  

 

NEWS OF KEY AUSSIE UMPIRE 

PATHWAY EVENT AWAITED

[PTG 1100-5357]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is believed to be planning to resume holding its Emerging Players' Tournament (EPT) this year, an event that is a key milestone on CA's umpire pathway into the first class game.  'PTG' currently understands that CA is hoping to conduct the event in Darwin in late June and early July, rather than in south-east Queensland in July or August, as has been the case in the seven EPTs held since 2005.

 

Past EPTs have involved teams of emerging younger players from Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa taking part in up to seven matches each in a mixture of three-day, 50-over and Twenty20 formats over a two-week period.  The first three tournaments were umpired by Queensland-based umpires, however, since 2008 the event has become a key part of CA's umpire pathway, those who perform to requirements going on to then be tested in senior interstate games.  Seven of the twelve current members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) took part in one or more EPTs on the way to joining the NUP, the other five being members prior to 2008.  

 

No EPT was held in 2012 because its normal timing clashed with the Under-19 World Cup which was played in Queensland last August.  Instead, CA appointed four umpires who it assessed as performing well in its January 2012 national Under-19 championship series to an 11-day quadrangular Under-19 tournament played in Townsville that April (PTG 904-4396, 21 February 2012).  It is probable that those who will stand in this year's EPT will be those who were judged to be the top four performers in last January's Under-19 championship series.

 

Observations and reports suggest that four umpires, Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith, Shawn Craig from Victoria, and New South Welshmen Greg Davidson and Tony Wilds, appear to be the stand outs for selection to the EPT this year.  Whether CA will involve the two who currently appear ahead of them on their umpire production conveyor belt, Nathan Johnstone of West Australia and Richard Patterson of Victoria, remains to be seen.  The latter pair were given few opportunities to stand in higher-level matches during the 2012-13 austral summer (PTG 1088-5297, 12 April 2013).

 

Craig is contracted to CA via its Project Panel that fast tracks former first class players into umpiring ranks and receives what some reports say is a five-figure pay packet as a result, but apart from match fees the others likely to be under consideration rely on full-time work to earn a living.  In the past those who have initially been chosen for key events such as the EPT and national championships have sometimes been unable to attend because as they could not obtain the two weeks leave from their jobs that is normally required for such events. 

 

TUCKER JOINS IPL-6 

[PTG 1100-5358]

 

Australian Rod Tucker has become the sixth member of the International Cricket Council's twelve-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) to work in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  Tucker stood with Indian first class umpire Chettihody Shamsuddin in a match in Jaipur on Sunday and is listed to work later today in another match there with his EUP colleague Aleem Dar of Pakistan.

 

Tucker joins fellow EUP members Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), and Nigel Llong (England), plus former member Simon Taufel from Australia, in looking after games during IPL-6.  Llong, whose first appointment was as a third umpire last week, took the field for the first time last night with India's Vineet Kulkarni in Mohali.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,101
Wednesday, 8 May 2013

 

  AUSTRALIA REPORTED LOOKING TO BOOST 

FEMALE UMPIRES' PROFILE, NUMBERS

[PTG 1101-5359]

 

A report from Melbourne indicates that Cricket Australia (CA) is looking to bring more females into umpiring around the country and that part of the initiative involves "contracting" what one source called a 'Project Umpire' prior to the start of the 2013-14 austral summer.  Use of the 'Project' description implies that the arrangement proposed is similar to CA's 'Project Panel' which provides significant financial support to enable former first class players to be  'fast-tracked' into higher-level umpiring positions.

 

Over the last decade CA's has selected four former first class players Shawn Craig, Paul Reiffel, Rod Tucker and Paul Wilson as 'Project Panel' umpires, and it is therefore probable that the national body will be looking for a high-profile female player for the planned umpire contract.  Such a person could, for example, be India-born, former Australian all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar, 33, who retired earlier this year after twelve years that saw her play in eight Tests and 125 One Day Internationals.

 

Unconfirmed reports are suggesting that the current aim is for the selected female Project Umpire to stand in men's cricket in their home state next austral summer and beyond, CA's male Under-17 Championship series in 2014-15, its Under-19 equivalent twelve months after that, and by the 2016-17 season CA Futures League matches involving men state Second XIs.

 

As 'PTG' understands it, the female chosen will be what one source called the "poster girl" for a much wider push on female umpires by CA.  It is said to involve increased efforts by each Australian state and territory to not only promote umpiring to females, but also to set up training programs and structures that will provide them with a clear pathway and opportunities to progress.

 

Whether CA's umpire department will need additional funds in order to pay the Project Umpire, or take them from existing resources, is not known.  However, the new contract comes a year after CA announced a record profit (PTG 932-4533, 26 April 2012), and follows a media report last week that it has negotiated what Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' called a "very significant', four-year, naming-rights deal for international matches played in Australia.  In addition to those deals CA is also working to put in place new television broadcast rights arrangements.  

 

News of CA's initiative comes as Cricket Wellington (CW) in New Zealand is preparing to hold an open forum tonight that will focus on "Girls and Women's" cricket issues.  CW says that the event "is your opportunity to feed-in your views and ideas, anything that may progress or grow girls and women’s cricket".  

 

Umpiring itself is not mentioned in the meeting's flyer, however, CW has the world's most experienced women umpire, Kathy Cross, 55, in its ranks.  Cross, a member of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) third-tier domestic 'Emerging Panel', has stood in three women's World Cup tournaments over the last twelve years (PTG 1042-5065, 19 January 2013).  Last decade she was appointed to five mens' List A games in NZC's then 'State Shield' series, her colleagues being first class umpires from the country's top panel.

 

GUYANAN, JAMAICAN NAMED FOR 

WINDIES FIRST CLASS FINAL

[PTG 1101-5360]

 

Nigel Duguid of Guyana and Patrick Gustard of Jamaica were yesterday named as the on-field umpires for the final of the West Indies Cricket Board's 2013 regional first class tournament.  The match between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), which is to start in Bridgetown on Friday, brings to an end a Caribbean 'domestic' season that has seen the six new members of the WICB's Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) appointed to close to half of the 142 on-field positions available across the three formats of the game, and a record five of them make their first class and List A debuts.

 

Duguid has been particularly busy for Friday's final will be his tenth first class game in the last six months, the first three being in November-December whilst he was on exchange in Bangladesh (PTG 1071-5213, 6 March 2013).  The final will be his seventh in the WICB's first class home series this year, two more than the next on the list, Gustard and T&T's Peter Nero, while Duguid also topped the selections for the Caribbean's one-day tournament with six games.

 

Gregory Braithwaite of Barbados, who is the reserve umpire for Friday's final, and who with Nero topped Twenty20 match appointments with seven, stood with Gustard in the T20 final in January.  The WICB's one-day final late last month also saw Braithwaite on the field, this time with T&T's Joel Wilson.  When considering appointments for finals in the Caribbean the WICB must first ensure neutral umpires are involved, a situation that meant for example that Nero and Wilson were precluded from the first class and T20 finals because their national team, T&T, was involved in both games. 

 

After Duguid with seven and Gustard and Nero with five, other domestic first class appointments for the season have gone to Wilson with four, Braithwaite, T&T's Zahid Bassarasth and Danesh Ramdhanie, Leslie Reifer Junior of Barbados and Verdayne Smith of Jamaica all with three, and Lennox Abraham of the Windward Islands, Norman Malcolm from Jamaica, and Nandkumar Shivsankar of Guyana each two.  In addition, Nick Cook from England and Masudur Rahman of Bangladesh both stood in three first class games during exchange visits.  Bassarath, Gustard, Ramdhanie, Reifer, Shivsankar and Smith joined the SUP last September in what was a major shake-up of that group (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012).

 

Both the WICB's first class and T20 competitions were looked after on the field only by SUP members, but in the one-day competition Jonathon Blades of Barbados and England-born Christopher Taylor of Jamaica, who are members of the Caribbean's Emerging Umpires' Panel (EUP), both made their List A debuts, the former standing in three games and the latter one.  However, appointments for the Windward Island's Carl Tuckett, who along with Blades and Taylor were regarded by the WICB as a "special group" within the EUP (PTG 1073-5224, 9 March 2013), was limited to two reserve umpire spots in first class games and one in a one-day fixture. 

 

EUP members who served as reserve umpires in first class games apart from Blades, Taylor and Tuckett were: Deighton Butler and Francis Maurice (Windward Island); Anthony Sanowar and Lyndon Rajkumar (T&T); Shannon Crawford and Gyanandad Sukhdeo (Guyana); Ryan Willoughby (Barbados); Bernard Joseph (Leeward Islands); and an "R Davis" whose home affiliation is not clear.  All except Sanowar and Sukhdeo also worked as reserves in the one-day series, which saw Athol Hamilton of Jamaica a reserve in one game.

 

Former first class umpire Mervyn Jones of Barbados, one of eight match referees used by the WICB this season, will work in that capacity in Friday's first class final.  Others used were Jamaicans Selwyn Allen, Denavon Hayles and Michael Hylton, T&T's Hayden Bruce, Keith Felix of the Windward Islands, and Colin Stuart from Guyana.  Stuart played six Tests and five One Day Internationals for the West Indies early last decade.

  

FICA QUESTIONS ICC ETHICS FOLLOWING 

CRICKET COMMITTEE CHANGES

[PTG 1101-5361]

 

The Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) said yesterday that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should conduct an enquiry into the way FICA chief Tim May was replaced by India-nominated Laxman Sivaramakrishnan on the ICC's Cricket Committee (PTG 1100-5354, 7 May 2013).  FICA's legal advisor Ian Smith claimed that his organisation "is aware the ICC warned member nations not to interfere with the voting process but then did nothing when those warnings were ignored".

 

Smith is quoted by 'Cricinfo' as saying that FICA's official stance is that the allegations of the pressure applied to some Test captains "warrant careful and independent scrutiny" (PTG 1099-5350, 4 May 2013).  That is "specially" so, he continued, "because we understand ICC specifically instructed the Boards not to interfere in the voting process".

 

Jimmy Adams, the former West Indies captain and current FICA president, said the process by which May was ousted has raised major questions of the ICC's ethics. He also questioned how the game's governing body had the right to stand in judgement over the actions of the players when its own moral compass is so often found to be lacking.

 

"How can the players of the world look to ICC for leadership in these circumstances and how does the 'Spirit of Cricket' apply to the organisation itself?"  The ICC "has a Code of Ethics with which Directors and Members need to comply and the reported actions of some of the Member Boards and ICC directors, at the very least warrant investigation under this Code".  "We call on ICC to hold itself up to the high standards of moral conduct it constantly tells the players and officials it expects from them".

 

'VJD' RAIN RULE INVENTOR AGAIN CALLS 

FOR REEVALUATION OF HIS SYSTEM  

[PTG 1101-5362]

 

Indian engineer V Jayadevan has again called on cricket officials to look at his system for calculating targets in limited over matches that are effected by rain or other interruptions.  Jayadevan's hopes have apparently been raised because former Indian captain Anil Kumble is now the chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, however, that group conducted an evaluation of the VJD method a year ago and came down in favour of the long-established Duckworth-Lewis (D-L) system.

 

"No one, not even the Board of Control for Cricket in India", says an 'India Today' article published yesterday, "has supported the Kerala engineer's efforts to prove that VJD is a fairer option to decide the matches reduced by rain or other reasons".    Jayadevan is quoted as telling 'India Today' that if his system went before the Cricket Committee again "some members may agree to it" "if Kumble and [new member Laxman] Sivaramakrishnan suggest [it] deserves a better consideration" (PTG 1100-5354, 7 May 2013). 

 

'India Today' says that Jayadevan is now making four requests: Have his system "evaluated by an umpire/scorer with a good mathematical background who is not from India or England"; "use VJD results as an official record alongside results of the D-L method for interrupted matches"; "use the VJD System officially for Under-19 and women's matches"; and "direct the BCCI and other countries, including England, to use the VJD System in their professional league matches".

 

Following last year's ICC Cricket Committee meeting the world body said in a press released that the committee "expressed its complete satisfaction with the thoroughness and independence of the [VJD/D-L] review".  It went on to say that it was "unanimously agreed that there was no evidence of any significant flaws in the D-L method", and that the techniques used by the VJD system do "not offer anything that could improve" present arrangements (PTG 945-4599, 6 June 2012).

 

At the time Jayadevan called that assessment "very shallow" and "premeditated" as "there was virtually no attempt to find out whether there were any shortcomings in the D-L system, [while] on the other hand, the expert [that conducted the evaluation] deliberately exaggerated a few small and rectifiable shortcomings in VJD system".  The "expert’s strong favouritism to the D/L system deprives the ICC from getting the best available method", said Jayadevan.  

 

BERMUDA-MALAYSIA COMBINATION 

MANAGE MAIN WCL-3 FINAL 

[PTG 1101-5363]

 

Steven Douglas of Bermuda and Viswanadan Kalidas from Malaysia were appointed as the umpires for the first versus second main final of the World Cricket League division 3 (WCL-3) tournament in Bermuda last Sunday between Nepal and Uganda.  English first class umpire Richard Illingworth and Courtney Young of the Cayman Islands looked after the third versus fourth decider, while Bermudan Roger Dill and Silvan Taylor from the United States were on the field during the Italy-Oman game to decided fifth place.

 

During the week-long event Illingworth, who took part in the event in a mentoring capacity, stood with all of the six other umpires involved (PTG 1092-5318, 22 April 2013).  The Yorkshireman's next appointment is on Sunday at Bristol in a one-day 40 over game between Gloucestershire and Middlesex, a game that is his 114th List A fixture since his first as an umpire ten years ago this week. 

 

CA UMPIRE EDUCATOR POSITION FALLS 

VACANT, NEW APPOINTMENT AWAITED

[PTG 1101-5364]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire Educator position is reported to have formally become vacant last Friday with the departure of former incumbent Denis Burns who left to take up an Umpire Coach position with the International Cricket Council (ICC).  CA released a call for applications for the position in late March and indicated then that applications for it were to close on 8 April (PTG 1082-5273, 29 March 2013), but one month on there has been no publicity or other news of how that process is progressing and when a new appointment will be made.

 

Selection criteria for the job require that the individual chosen "be responsible for the development and implementation of umpire training resources and the professional development programs to meet the needs of Australian Cricket".  He or she is to work with national and state based organisations to develop and implement systems and education for the improvement of cricket umpires and umpiring across all levels of the game.

 

Key responsibilities listed for the position, for which previous umpiring experience is not a prerequisite, include: education and leadership of umpiring in Australian cricket; setting clear goals and performance standards; seeking new and advanced training techniques and methods that develop Australian umpires to be the best and most respected match officials in the world; and the development and implementation of Australian umpire education and training programs and resources.

 

In the words of the call for applications, those interested "should possess": knowledge of the game and the laws of cricket; a demonstrable understanding of elite sport; outstanding leadership, communication and presentation skills; an ability to build and manage relationships with a large variety of stakeholders; and appropriate tertiary qualifications.  There is a requirement for regular interstate travel and the need to work flexible hours to suit the needs of cricket's activities, says CA.

 

CA has already made the decision that the successful applicant will not divide their time between educational activities and membership of its Umpire High Performance Panel as was the case with Burns for the last few years of his time in the education role. 

 

A 'HAT TRICK' WITH A 

DIFFERENCE IN MOHALI 

[PTG 1101-5365]

 

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson was the recipient of a different type of 'hat trick' during his Indian Premier League franchise side's Twenty20 match against Chennai in Mohali on Monday.  Johnson took 3-27 in the match, figures he achieved despite after having former Australian Test teammate Mike Hussey dropped three times off successive balls by the same player fielding at point.  Normally a very good fielder, West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard was the man at fault.  One of Hussey's shots was quite high, another went low, and a third hit Pollard in the nose after forcing its way through his hands.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,102
Friday, 10 May 2013 

 

VOTING PROCESS 'CONFUSION', NOT PRESSURE, 

BEHIND CRICKET COMMITTEE REVOTE, SAYS ICC 

[PTG 1101-5366]

 

"Confusion in the voting process", and not pressure brought to bear by national boards, was behind the need to conduct a second vote for one of the two player representative positions on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, says the ICC.  Earlier this week the election of former Indian spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan ahead of Tim May, the president of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), brought allegations of unethical conduct and a call for an enquiry (PTG 1101-5361, 8 May 2013). 

 

In a statement issued late last night Australian time "in response to recent media stories", the ICC said that the "confusion", which appears to have occurred after an initial vote was taken, involved "what should happen in the case of a tied vote and, where teams had different captains for [the three different] formats of the game, which captain should be entitled to vote?"  The ICC Board is said to have "considered the matter carefully, and following clarification of the process to be followed, decided that another vote should be taken".  

 

The ICC statement, which does not indicate how the board eventually resolved the vote-related questions directed to it, goes on to say that it "is concerned to note a number of factual inaccuracies appearing in the media in respect of the results of the voting, as well as unsupported allegations of impropriety in the voting process".  Media reports over the last week have suggested an initial 9-1 vote in favour of May was turned into a 6-4 result for Sivaramakrishnan because of pressure exerted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on some ICC Full Member boards, and through them their captains (PTG 1098-5344, 2 May 2013). 

 

The world body says it "wishes to state for the record that the re-vote took place according to the determined procedure and that the ICC has seen no evidence that supports allegations now being made that captains were put under pressure by their Member Boards to vote for a particular individual".   

 

A written request sent by FICA the ICC asking that the matter be investigated by its "Ethics Officer" is currently under consideration, and "no further comments will be made at this stage", concludes the ICC statement.  Meanwhile, Sivaramakrishnan says that "May has done his bit" and he will bring fresh ideas to the Cricket Committee when he attends his first meeting later this month, and over the next three years (PTG 1102-5368 below).

 

STOP SPITTING OF FACE DISCIPLINARY ACTION, 

SAYS ECB DISCIPLINE COMMISSIONER

[PTG 1101-5367]

 

Gerard Elias QC, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Cricket Discipline Commission, has warned County cricketers to stop spitting on the field of play or face disciplinary action, says a report published in the London ' Daily Telegraph' yesterday.  Elias, who recently launched what UK media outlets called a "crackdown" on players showing dissent at LBW decisions (PTG 1099-5351, 4 May 2013), has now warned that spitting could become a disciplinary offence unless players deal with the issue.

 

'Telegraph' journalists Paul Bolton and Nick Hoult say that Elias wrote in a letter sent to all counties and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) that he raised "this subject [two years ago] and asked if it were necessary on our cricket fields".  “Apart from the health issues raised by some, I do ask again whether there is any need for it [for] there is a feeling that if it is not checked we should prevent it by regulation".  He continues though by saying "Before going down that road, may I ask that we endeavour to stop the practice voluntarily".

 

Bolton and Hoult write that "Spitting is not seen as a major problem in cricket but the proliferation of matches on television in recent years has probably helped bring it to the attention of the ECB’s disciplinary commission".  They also say that the warning from Elias is the "latest example of the ECB toughening its stance on player behaviour following complaints from umpires".

 

The PCA takes interesting slant on Elias' concerns for they are suggesting that the fact the ECB has focussed on spitting is a sign player behaviour is generally improving with fewer incidents being reported.

 

MAY HAS 'DONE HIS BIT', 

SAYS SIVARAMAKRISHNAN 

[PTG 1102-5368]

 

Former Indian spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, who earlier this week was elected as a player representative on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, says he will bring fresh ideas to the table and help take the sport forward, says a Press Trust of India report.  Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Sivaramakrishnan were elected by a vote of the ten Test captains to their players' representative positions and will serve on the Cricket Committee for the next three years (PTG 1100-5354, 7 May 2013).

 

Sivaramakrishnan, who defeated Tim May the president of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) or players' union in the vote, said that the change was good for world cricket and that May "has done his bit".  "May has been [a member of the committee] for a while", has made his contribution and "there comes the point over a period of time [when] you run out of ideas".  "I bring in a fresh set of ideas and I am sure I will be able to cope up with the job and I will [help] take world cricket forward", he said. 

 

A number of FICA officers have alleged that the Board of Control for Cricket in India used its financial might to exert pressure on some ICC member boards to coerce their captains to vote for Sivaramakrishnan, and have called for an enquiry to be conducted into the matter (PTG 1101-5361, 8 May 2013).  The ICC is currently considering that request but says it has no evidence inappropriate actions were involved in the voting process (PTG 1102-5366 above).

 

OFFICIALS NAMED FOR ENGLAND-NZ 

TESTS, ODI SERIES

[PTG 1102-5369]

 

Australian match referee David Boon played nine games at Lord's as a player, three of them Tests, but next Thursday he will make his debut as a referee at the 'home of cricket' in the first of two Tests England and New Zealand are to play before the end of the month.  Boon will work in the series, his seventeenth and eighteenth Tests as a referee, with umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan, another Australian Steve Davis, and Marais Erasmus of South Africa.

 

Davis will be on the field in the first Test at Lord's, his third there, one of the first two being in the television suite, and the second at Headingley, a game that will take his Test tally to 46 games.  Dar will be his partner in the opening Test and Erasmus in the second, the latter pair working as the television umpire when not out on the ground.  

 

The Lord's Test will take Dar's on-field record in the game's highest format to 81, of which four will have been played at that ground.  The 81 figure makes him the most experienced Test umpire currently still working at that level, and fifth on the all-time list behind the late David Shepherd of England with 92, and retirees Daryl Harper of Australia 95, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa 108 and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies with 128.  The game at Headingley will be Erasmus' eighteenth Test. 

 

After the Tests the two sides will play three One Day Internationals (ODI) in early June, the first at Lord's, the second Southampton, and the third at Trent Bridge.  Boon will again be the match referee, while Dar will be on the field in the first and last with so far unnamed England members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, while Davis will stand in the middle game.  Davis will work as the television umpire when Dar is on the field and Dar when Davis is working in the latter role.

 

Dar's two ODIs will be his 153rd and 154th, the opening game being his fourth match in that format at Lord's.  Those figures mean he is second, behind New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden with 179, on the list of those currently active in ODIs, and seventh overall.  Davis' ODI tally will move on to 117 with the match in Southampton, eleventh overall, while Boon's ODI record as a referee will stretch to 27 games.

 

It is possible that the England-NZ series could be Davis' last before he retires from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  He turned 61 last month while another EUP member, Tony Hill, turns 62 next month, and passed ICC practice suggests that one of them, or perhaps both, may leave the EUP in the next six weeks.

 

BUSY SEASON FOR PAKISTAN'S 

FIRST CLASS DEBUTANTS

[PTG 1102-5370]

 

Two umpires, Sajid Afridi and Saqib Khan, made their domestic first class and List A debuts during Pakistan's 2012-13 season, the latter eventually standing in the final of one of the two senior one-day competitions conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).  All-up a total of 24 umpires were used across the PCB's 236 domestic first class, List A and Twenty20 fixtures, six being former first class players, two of whom played at Test level, although one of the latter, Nadeem Ghauri, has since been banned for ten years (PTG 11089-5303, 14 April 2013).

 

PCB series conducted last season included two first class competitions, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and President's Cup involving 46 and 62 matches respectively, two one-day events, the first made up of 91 games and the second 46, and a total of 60 matches across linked Twenty20 series.  Of the twenty-four umpire panel members used, all except one looked after the first class games, twenty-one the List A and twenty-two the T20s.  

 

The 108 first class games saw Afridi, in what was for him a very busy debut year, as well as six other umpires, each stand in twelve games: Saleem Badar; Nadeem Iqbal; Ghaffar Kazmi; Akram Raza; Ashan Raza; and Tahir Shah.  Raweed Khan, Shozab Raza and Riazuddin were involved in eleven games while ten went to: Zameer Haider; Majid Hussain; Akmal Hayat; debutant Saqib Khan; Kamal Merchant; Ahmed Shahab; and Qaiser Waheed.  

 

Ahsan Raza and Ghaffar Kazmi were the on-field umpires for the Quaid-e-Azam final with Qaiser Waheed the television official and Saadat Ali the match referee, while the President's final was looked after by Riazuddin and Saleem Badar, with Kamal Merchant the third umpire and Ilyas Khan the referee.  Ahsan Raza and Kamal Merchant also featured in the finals of the one-day and T20 competitions, as did Shozab Raza, while Sajid Afridi, Saleem Badar, Nadeem Iqbal, Saqib Khan and Riazuddin supported one-day finals, and Zameer Haider a Twenty20 decider. 

 

As he turns 60 next Thursday, PCB retirement policy means that the season was Saleem Badar's last at senior level after a 34-year, 272 first class match, career (PTG 1091-5314, 20 April 2013).  His departure leaves former Test umpire Riazuddin, who still has another four seasons until he turns 60, as the most experienced on his country's domestic panel, for after 28 years he has to date chalked up a total of 264 first class games.

 

While international tours to Pakistan are on hold because of the security situation there, Afghanistan visited to play a series of games that concluded with two fifty-over and one Twenty20 matches against Pakistan A.  Zameer Haider and Shozab Raza, two of Pakistan's three current members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, were on the field in those games, as was Ghaffar Kazmi, but Ahsan Raza the third IUP member was not involved.

 

Records available indicate that the two Pakistani members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, did not feature in any PCB domestic games during the season.

  
PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,103
Monday, 13 May 2013

 

SRI LANKA GIVES SEVEN 

THEIR FIRST CLASS DEBUTS

[PTG 1103-5371]

 

Seven debutants were amongst the 43 umpires Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) used to support domestic first class fixtures during the island nation's 2012-13 Premier Championship series.  All-up a total of 46 umpires featured in the SLC's 221 senior domestic matches, 91 of which were first class games, 106 one-day matches played across two separate series, and 24 in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SPL) Twenty20 event. 

 

Of those selected for what were three-day format first class matches, Asanga Jayasuriya was allocated 10, Grashan Liyanage 9, Nilan de Silva 8, Ravindra Kottahachchi, Rohita Kottahachchi, Prageeth Rambukwella, and Ravindra Wimalasiri all 7, Dilshan de Silva, Jayantha de Silva, Nishan Dhanasinghe, Lyndon Hannibal, Chaminda Hathurusingha, Ranmore Martinesz, Hiranjith Sarathkumara and Pradeep Udawatta all 6, while 5 went to Saman de Silva, Kitsiri Jayaweera, Kapil Kottahachchi, and Tyrone Wijewardene.  Others selected had between one and four games.  

 

Former first class players are prominent in that list, they being Nilan de Silva who is 41, Dhanasinghe 46, Hannibal 47, Hathurusingha 41, Jayasuriya 41, Rohita Kottahachchi 41, Liyanage 49, Martinesz 45, Rambukwella 37, Udawatta 41, Wijewardene 51, and Wimalasiri 43.  Ruchira Palliyaguru, another former first class player, and Martinesz, were appointed to the four-day final of Premier Championship series.

 

That final was only Palliyaguru's second domestic match at that level in 2012-13, his schedule during the season including International Cricket Council and SLC appointments to one-day internationals.  On the other hand Wimalasiri had in addition to his 7 Premier Championship games two other first class matches while on exchange in New Zealand, that country's Wayne Knights travelling to Sri Lanka to stand first with Rambukwella then with Hannibal in separate SLC Premier Championship fixtures.

 

SLC's seven new first class umpires were: Susantha Dissanayake 38, Sanjeewa Fernando 38, Anton Mottau 34, Dammika Rajapakse 41, and Vidura Prasad, S Prasana and Upil Wewage, whose ages are not known.  Records available indicate that Dissanayake, who was appointed to 3 games, played 12 first class games in the period from 1994-2007, and Rajapakse, who was allocated 2 matches, in 146 first class, 83 List A and 8 T20s from 1990-2012.  Rajapakse also made his List A umpiring debut during the 2012-13 season, that match coming 9 months after his last day as a first class player, while his transition from playing to umpiring at first class level took exactly 12 months.

 

In domestic List A games, Sena Nandiweera headed the SLC's appointments list of 36 umpires by standing in 14 games, then came Ravindra Kottahachchi and Hannibal both 12, Rohita Kottahachchi, Martinesz, Wimalasiri and Wijewardene 11, Deepal Gunawardene and Palliyaguru 10,  Rambukwella and Udawatta 9, Nilan de Silva, Jayasuriya and Liyanage all 8, Hathurusingha 7, Dilshan de Silva 6, Dhanasinghe, Eric Kannangara and Chanaka Thenuwara all 5, plus 16 others who had from 1-4 games.

 

Nandiweera, who turns 60 this October, stood in the final of the 93-match Premier Limited Overs Tournament with Wimalasiri, while the final of the 13-match Inter Provincial one-day event saw Martinesz and Wijewardene on the field.  

 

Ten umpires were appointed to on-field roles in the SPL T20 series.  Former international umpire Asoka de Silva and Palliyaguru each stood in 12 matches, Wijewardene 11, Sagara Gallage 3, Dhanasinghe, Nandiweera, Wimalasiri and Maurici Zilva all 2, and brothers Ravindra and Rohita Kottahachchi one each.  Palliyaguru and de Silva stood in the SPL final with Wijewardene the television umpire, SLC's top-ranked domestic umpire Martinesz being in Australia at the time for the Under-19 World Cup   

 

Despite de Silva's appointment to a quarter of SPL on-field positions, he may be on the way to retirement as he then featured in only one of the 91 domestic first class and three of the 106 one-day games played after the T20 event ended.  Similarly, neither Gallage or Zilva featured in the first class or one-day tournaments, the former because he had been suspended, along with two other Sri Lankan umpires Gamini Dissanayake and Maurice Winston, after they were named in the India TV 'sting' scandal.   

 

Neither Dissanayake or Wilson stood in any SLC games in 2012-13, and seven-and-a-half months on there is still no news of the outcome of the SLC investigation into the allegations levelled against each of them following the sting operation (PTG 1097-4352, 30 April 2013). 

 

UMPIRE DEFENDS HIS LBW 

DECISION THIRTY YEARS ON

[PTG 1103-5372]

 

Former Indian Test umpire Dara Dotiwalla has been moved over the weekend to defend his decision to give then West Indian batsman Vivian Richards out LBW during a Test played in Delhi in October 1983.  Dotiwalla was reacting to an interview Richards gave to the 'Times of India' late last week in which he described the LBW decision as “nasty" and implied in his comments that corruption could have been involved.

 

Richards was quoted by 'TOI' as saying that an anonymous person called him "up the night before [the game] in the hotel saying "You don't know me but if I were you tomorrow I'd be careful of the umpire".  "That was scary", said Richards, for in "those days you never heard of match-fixing and all that stuff", and Richards suggested the LBW decision given against him was pre-mediated because "[the ball] wouldn't have hit another set [of stumps]".  

 

After he left the field in that 1983 Test, Richards took out his frustration in the dressing room, reportedly breaking crockery and smashing a window, his actions being clearly heard and noted by those nearby.  “I would never suggest that the umpire had been bought, but the knowledge of that phone call didn’t help my rage", he said last week.

 

Dotiwalla, who is now 79, is reported to have said on Saturday that Richards had brought up the telephone call on the eve of the Test in his interview because he wanted to play down the fact that he created a mess in the dressing room on his return from the crease.  Both Dotiwalla and his partner Madhav Gothoskar, 83, say that they heard about crockery and other things being broken by a livid Richards on his return from the crease.  

 

Richards "was clearly out", said Dotiwalla.  "No player is happy with a leg before decision, but in my opinion, he was plumb [for] he used to play across the line".   The former umpire, who was standing in the third of his six Tests and the twenty-ninth of his forty-one first class games, "felt [the ball] would have hit the stumps, somewhere in between middle and leg or at the most, leg stump".

 

Dotiwalla also said that Richards later said to him and Gothoskar: "you Indian umpires are @#####@ cheats".  "We complained to our Board [and the West Indies] manager Wes Hall and captain Clive Lloyd were informed about the need to apologise as both umpires had decided not to come out on the field the next day if they did not".  "Lloyd promised an apology so we started play", continued Dotiwalla, and "as his team walked out for lunch, Richards said to us: 'Umpires, I apologise for whatever happened yesterday'".

 

STAND-ALONE 'CARNIVAL' FOR CA 

DOMESTIC ONE-DAY SERIES? 

[PTG 1103-5373]

 

A plan to "reinvent" Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day competition as a stand-alone "carnival" in October is under consideration, according to a report published in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne on Friday.  Journalist Chloe Saltau writes that the overarching idea is to minimise the "hopping between formats imposed on players", but there is "also a commercial motivation" in condensing the one-day series to a format that appeals to television broadcaster requirements.

 

CA is said to have declined to comment on the proposal, which Saltau says still has to be approved by the players' association and debated internally, but the idea of such an approach was first mooted in the 2011 Argus report into Australian cricket.  The hope is said to be that the condensed structure would prove a better television product, while giving aspiring international players a taste of a tournament format more akin to World Cups.  In recent years CA's one-day domestic event has normally consisted of a total of 31 games, therefore a month-long event is likely to see half that number played if a 'carnival" concept is introduced.

 

Saltau says that the need to ''decouple'' the one-day competition from the Sheffield Shield first class competition was highlighted last season by the "plight" of Tasmanian captain George Bailey, "who made 18 changes of format across domestic and international cricket and admitted this took a toll on his long-form cricket".  

 

"Every modern cricketer has to make those changes pretty regularly, but I just didn't adjust to it very well", Bailey told a reporter earlier this month.  ''It certainly felt like I was going into [Sheffield] Shield games with a one-day or Twenty20 mentality", although "it was certainly not a conscious thing, [it was] just not having the awareness and ability to work out [the problem] and build your innings".

 

'INDEPENDENT' PANEL SET UP 

FOR LANKAN IUP SELECTIONS 

[PTG 1103-5374]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has established what it describes as an 'Independent' panel to oversee the selection of that country's nominations for the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the 2013-14 year.  Considerable controversy erupts in Sri Lanka each year after the SLC's IUP selections are announced, claims generated centring on concerns that those chosen were not the best available, and that the selection process was corrupt in any number of ways.

 

The five-man panel is reported to be made up of Kangadaran Mathivanan, one of SLC's two vice presidents, Nuski Mohamed its Treasurer, Srinath Silva a member of its Executive Committee, A.R.M. Arroz the chairman of SLC's Umpires Committee, Ashley De Silva SLC's acting chief executive, and Carlton Bernadus, SLC's acting Head of Cricket Operations who is also its manager of umpires and match referees.  Information available on line suggests that former Test player de Silva is the only one of the five with umpiring experience, having stood in a single domestic List A game in Sri Lanka in January 2011.

 

Currently Sri Lanka's IUP members are Ranmore Martinesz, 45, and Tyrone Wijewardene, 51, who occupy the on-field positions, and Ruchira Palliyaguru, 45, who is in the third umpire spot.  Martinesz and Wijewardene each played a handful of first class games, while Palliyaguru featured in 124, but in umpiring terms their experience is the reverse.  To date Martinesz has stood in 123, two of them Tests two months ago, Wijewardene 167, 4 being in Tests in the first half of last decade, while Palliyaguru has 19 at the moment, all of which have been in SLC's Premier Championship domestic series.

 

If appointments made by SLC to its domestic competitions over the recently completed 2012-13 season on the island are any guide, there are a range of experienced officials in the right age group who could be in IUP contention along with the current trio (PTG 1,103-5371 above).  

 

They include the likes of: Nilan de Silva, 41, Nishan Dhanasinghe, 46, Lyndon Hannibal, 47, Chaminda Hathurusingha, 41, Asanga Jayasuriya, 41, Rohita Kottahachchi, 41, Grashan Liyanage, 49, Prageeth Rambukwella, 37, Ravindra Wimalasiri 43, and Pradeep Udawatta, 41.  Liyanage has for example has stood in 100 first class games in eleven years to date (100/11), Kottahachchi 91/12, Jayasuriya 68/8, Rambukwella 44/5 and Wimalasiri 41/5.


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,104
Thursday, 16 May 2013

 

FORMER TEST PAIR LISTED 

AS ICC 'UMPIRE COACHES' 

[PTG 1104-5375]

 

Former Test umpires Barry Dudleston of England and Peter Manuel from Sri Lanka have been listed as 'Umpire Coaches' on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) recently revamped web site.  However, no mention is made of Australians Denis Burns and David Levens who two-and-a-half months ago were reported to be leaving their respective Cricket Australia positions to take up ICC 'Umpire Coach' roles (PTG  1069-5197, 1 March 2013). 

 

As yet the ICC has given no publicity to the its new four-man Umpire Coach structure but former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who as the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager heads up that group, told a 'Times of India' (TOI) journalist late last week that he is currently "writing accreditation modules with Dennis Burns".  

 

If the 'TOI' report quotes Taufel correctly, it would appear that two new Umpire Coaches could join his group around the time the Champions Trophy series is played in England and Wales next month.  Whether he is referring to Dudleston or Manuel, who were previously ICC Regional Umpire Performance Managers (RUPM), or Burns and Levens, is not clear.

 

Prior to taking up their RUPM positions, which were the direct predecessors to the now Umpire Coach jobs, Dudleston, 68, played 295 first class games in the period from 1966-83, then went on to stand in 426 matches at that level from 1983-2010, two of them being Tests.  Manuel, 62, was a first class umpire between 1989 and 2006, a period that saw him stand in 83 such games, 11 of them Tests that involved all ten Test playing nations.

 

Taufel told 'TOI' that he is also currently working with the "ten ICC full member" countries on training structures, and that the basic aim is to identify "the best practice for developing quality umpiring".  "We want [the ten] full member countries to develop good training and coaching [systems] and use accreditation material [he and his ICC colleagues are developing] at the top domestic level so that when [umpires] make the step up from domestic to international [level] they're a lot more prepared".  

 

Quotes attributed to Taufel say that during his early years as an umpire he "tried seeking information on how to improve from others who've been there and done that [as] there was nothing written down".  "We had guys like David Shepherd, Steve Bucknor [and] Darrell Hair walking around but all the experience and knowledge was in their head".  "Sometimes during conversations [with them] I found that they didn't want to share information, and when they did share it it wasn't in a way that I found ideal".  That comment comes despite the fact that Hair in particular produced what many now regard as standard works on basic umpiring technique. 

 

As a result he "looked at how other sports were doing it" and found "Rugby Union was fantastic in the way umpires shared information and helped each other".  After that "we started using the internet and videos and technology to acquire information and create a format where other umpires can tap into it". 

 

That experience showed Taufel "there was a real need to help and develop umpires from a training [and] preparation perspective", and he "specifically moved away from on field umpiring" last year because he felt his "contribution to the game would be more of value in [the training] area".  These days his "passion" is "performance management training", and while he's "probably working too many hours now at the moment" (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013), he really "wants the guys to be ready for the challenges of umpiring at the highest level".  "I want them to be more successful at a [much] earlier stage than when I came into the system" over ten years ago. 

 

"Everything I learn, I try and share with people", he said.  "Everytime I have a workshop, we try and put things on the table and try and learn from [the situations we discuss]".  In his view the coaching of umpires "is no different to any other form of education [in that] its about engaging individuals rather than telling them what to do".  "It's not rocket science" but rather "about hard work [and] adding value to what we do".  

 

Asked if "individual coaching for umpires is the way forward", Taufel said "we're moving towards each [umpire] coach [being] responsible for 9-13 umpires as a group", however, each person "needs to be treated individually".  "To work with individuals is my goal", he says. "I have a different role to play in cricket now and I love doing that [and] my recommendation to everybody is do what you love and love what you do".  He wants "to do something that can make a difference" and "would like to leave a legacy".  "Life is short, make a difference if you can", and "if you can't then move on", said the five-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year'.  

 

PAKISTAN, SRI LANKA DESCRIBE ALLEGATIONS 

BCCI FORCED ICC RE-VOTE AS 'BASELESS'

[PTG 1104-5376]

 

Senior officials in Sri Lanka and Pakistan have described as "baseless" allegations that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) forced a re-vote for one of the player representative places on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee.  The election of former Indian spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan ahead of Tim May, the president of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), brought allegations of unethical conduct and a call for an enquiry (PTG 1101-5361, 8 May 2013).

 

Sri Lanka Cricket’s secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Zaka Ashraf defended their positions on   Sivaramakrishnan's appointment whilst speaking with journalists in their respective countries on Monday.  Ranatunga called it ""very unfortunate" that "allegations come when an Asian or an Indian player comes into play", and that when it came to making a decision about the player representative position "we looked at [Sivaramakrishnan's] cricketing ability".  In a similar tone, Ashraf asked as to why when Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have "certain unanimous policies", others "are opposed" to such a viewpoint.

 

Indian media reports over the last week indicate that the BCCI has, in the words of one, "been upset" by FICA's allegations, and the rumours that subsequently circulated led to it having to deny it was threatening a boycott of the Champions Trophy series in England next month as a result.

 

Last week the ICC blamed "confusion" over the initial voting process as being behind the re-vote, saying the key issues involved were "what should happen in the case of a tied vote and, where teams had different captains for [the three different] formats of the game, which captain should be entitled to vote?" (PTG 1102-5366, 10 May 2013). 

 

LBW DECISION LEADS TO 

TEAM FORFEITING MATCH

[PTG 1104-5377]

 

A team refused to continue their innings in a Division 1 50-over match in Kampala on Sunday because they "did not agree" with an LBW decision given against one of their batsmen.  Umpire Paul Okecho gave the Patidar Samj side's Mohit Pose out on the fifth ball of their inning's thirty-third over, a decision that left the team at 8/131 chasing Tornado B's 237 from 48.5 overs.  

 

Pose and his captain Ankit Patel protested the decision, accused Okecho of "bias", and both "stormed off in unison" refusing to continue with the game, and that led to the match being handed to Tornado B on forfeit.  Uganda Cricket Association secretary Martin Ondeko told Kampala's 'New Vision' newspaper on Monday that “We have forwarded the case to the [league] committee for consideration [and] it will be up to them to decide [whether] such antics bring the game into disrepute".

 

CROWE, ILLINGWORTH NEUTRALS FOR 

SCOTLAND-PAKISTAN ODI SERIES 

[PTG 1104-5378]

 

Jeff Crowe of New Zealand and Richard Illingworth of England have been named as the neutral match officials for the two One Day Internationals (ODI) Scotland and Pakistan are to play in Edinburgh tomorrow and on Sunday.  For Crowe the games will be his 168th and 169th ODIs as a match referee, while for Illingworth, a contender for elevation to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel next month, the series will take his ODI match record as an umpire to 18.  No announcement has yet been made as to who will stand with Illingworth, but it is likely to be Scotsman Ian Ramage from the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel.

 

CA REPORTED LOOKING AT DEVELOPING 

SCORER TRAINING, ACCREDITATION SYSTEMS

[PTG 1104-5379]

 

Sketchy reports circulating in Australian circles suggest that Cricket Australia (CA) is looking to develop over the next two to three years a national approach to the training of scorers that includes an accreditation program similar to that now available to umpires.  CA's apparent focus on scoring issues comes after a frustrating season that saw scorers exposed to the many glitches in, and  multiple programming versions of, CA's new 'Statsmaster' electronic scoring program that was developed from scratch last year (PTG 958-4657, 7 July 2012).   

 

CA's reported medium-term initiative is said involve what setting up what one source called "scorer training resources" which will apparently include web-based information.  That news surfaced the day after CA produced the third edition of its 'Match Officials E-Newsletter' and first since the last six months ago ], however, the it makes no reference to initiatives in the scorer area that some claim are planned.  

 

FOUR NEWCOMERS ON BANGLADESH 

FIRST CLASS SCENE 

[PTG 1104-5380]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) used 20 of its umpires and another on exchange from the West Indies to manage the 35 domestic first class matches played across its 28-game National Cricket League (NCL) and 7-match Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) series during the 2012-13 season.  During the NCL series four umpires, Shafiuddin Ahmed, 39, Moniruzzaman, 35, who both played first class cricket before taking up umpiring, and Saiful Islam, 34, and K Saiful Islam, 45, stood at first class level for the first time.

 

Mahfuzar Rahman topped the list of first class appointments with 8, Gazi Sohel 6, Akhtaruzzaman, Enamul Haque and Anisur Rahman all 5, A F M Akhtaruddin, Masudur Rahman, Morshed Ali Khan and Imran Parvez each 4, Tanvir Ahmed and Nigel Duguid of the West Indies both 3, Muzahiduzzaman, Afzalur Rahman and Mizanur Rahman all 2, while Wahid Chohman, and Ehsan Rahman and Manzur Rahman each 1.  

 

Of the newcomers Shafiuddin Ahmed and Moniruzzaman stood in 4 games and the two Islam's were allocated one match each, while Masudur Rahman had an addition 3 first class games whilst on exchange in the West Indies.  Seven of the 20 BCB umpires used played at first class level prior to taking up umpiring: newcomers Shafiuddin Ahmed and Moniruzzaman, plus Enamul Haque, Morshed Ali Khan, Imran Parvez, Anisur Rahman and Masudur Rahman. 

 

Missing from the 2012-13 list of umpires were Nadir Shah and Sharafoudulla Ibne Saikat who were both under suspension for the whole of the season as a result of their being named in an India TV 'sting' operation (PTG 1090-5309, 18 April 2013).  After the BCB's first class and Twenty20 season had ended, Shah was given a 10-year ban by the BCB, which he plans to appeal, while Sharafoudulla was cleared of any wrong doing (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).

 

The BCB used a total of 10 match referees to manage its first class games, six being former first class players.  Akhtar Ahmad and Belayet Hossain looked after 6 games each, Samiur Rahman 5, Hemayat Ahmed and Niamur Rashid both 4, Obaydul Haque 3, Miujibul Haque, Raqibul Hasan and Showkatur Rahman all 2, and Ziahul Islam a single game.

 

Six BCB first class umpires plus English officials Richard Illingworth and Jeremy Lloyds, took the field during Bangladesh's 46-match Twenty20 series in 2012-13.  The Englishmen occupied over two-thirds of the on-field spots, Lloyds topping the list with 20, then came Illingworth 14, Enamul Haque 13, Anisur Rahman and Masudur Rahman each 10, Gazi Sohel 9, and Tanvir Ahmed and Mahfuzar Rahman both with 8.  South African Mike Proctor was the match referee in 23 games, and locals Raqibul Hasan in 13, Niamur Rashid 6, and Akhtar Ahmad 4.  

 

MATCH POINTS TO DECIDED 

WOMENS' ASHES SERIES 

[PTG 1104-5381]

 

Points accrued in seven matches played across the game's three formats will decide the winner of the women's version of the Ashes in August.  The England-Australia series will start with a four-day Test match and then continue with three One Day Internationals and then three Twenty20 Internationals, six points being available for a win in the Test and two for a victory in each of the other six games. 

 

Head of England women's cricket Clare Connor told journalists that: "The women's game has seen huge growth in interest and profile as a result of the limited-overs formats in recent years".  "The new Women's Ashes Series looks to combine this reality with the prestige and tradition of Test match cricket [and] we believe that this new multi-format series will gain significantly more profile and context than can be generated by playing a one-off Test match every couple of years".

 

 BOTHAM, GOWER SET 

FOR UMPIRING ROLES

[PTG 1104-5382]

 

Former England captains Ian Botham and David Gower are to umpire a charity Twenty20 match in Gloucestshire next month that will feature former players from Australia and England.  The game is in aid of the UK's 'Hop Skip and Jump Foundation' which offers day care for children with additional needs, and the 'Shane Warne Foundation' whose focus is on seriously ill and underprivileged children in Australia.

 

The 'England' will be made up of: Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan, Mark Nicholas, Paul Nixon, Jeremy Snape, Shaun Udal, Darren Gough, Ian Ward, while 'Australia' will be represented by Shane Warne, Merv Hughes, Neil Harvey, Damien Martin, Michael Di Veneuto, Michael Klinger, Simon O'Donnell, Tom Moody and Shaun Tait.  One of the organisers told a local media outlet that she expects what she called "some fun and games" to ensue with Botham and Gower looking after proceedings.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,105
       Friday, 17 May 2013 

 

INDIA SUSPENDS THREE AS POLICE INVESTIGATE 

IPL SPOT-FIXING ALLEGATIONS

[PTG 1105-5383]

 

Three Indian cricketers are reported to have been questioned by police on Wednesday over charges of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and have been suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pending an enquiry.  The players belong to the IPL's Rajasthan franchise and have been identified as Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila by the team's manager Raghu Iyer, who said that his team had "a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game".

 

Rajasthan management said in a statement that "We have been informed that three of our players have been called in for investigation on spot-fixing in matches".  They say they were "completely taken by surprise" by the situation but "we do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything".  "We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter and will fully co-operate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation".

 

Apart from announcing the suspensions, the BCCI said in its own statement that it was "shocked and saddened" at the development. "The IPL governing council has met and decided that [if] the persons involved are found guilty the strictest action will be taken".  Some media reports, quoting police sources, have indicated that at up to ten bookmakers had also been arrested during raids conducted in  Ahemedabad, Delhi and Mumbai.  The raids are said to have been made following phone taps on the bookies who "were discussing spot fixing in IPL matches".  

 

Police are said to have identified three matches where the alleged spot fixing occurred, the first being Rajasthan's game against Pune the Sunday before last, Punjab eight days ago, and Mumbai on Wednesday.  The alleged arrangement was that the bowler would concede a specified minimum number of runs in a pre-decided over and reports state that the players were allegedly promised money ranging from $A35,000-110,000 for each over. 

 

On this date last year, Indian cricket officials suspended five players after a sting by undercover television reporters purported to show cricketers agreeing to bowl no-balls and spot-fix matches (PTG 939-4566, 17 May 2012).  Six weeks later Taduri Sudhindra from the IPL's Hyderabad franchise was handed a life ban, while Punjab's Shalabh Shrivastava was suspended for five years, and Pune's Mohnish Mishra, Punjab's Amit Yadav, and Abhinav Bali who didn't have a 2012 IPL contract, all for two years (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012).

 

The BCCI set up its own anti-corruption unit in 2012 and its members are reported to have been present at IPL venues this season.  One report says that group "had no role to play" in the current investigation as it was "an independent action by Delhi police".

 

In 2011, three Pakistani players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, were jailed and banned for a minimum of five years after they were found guilty of involvement in spot fixing during a Test match at Lord's in 2010 (PTG 1090-5310, 18 April 2013).  The Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed on Monday that its national squad was to be accompanied by a special "vigilance" officer during its current tour of the UK in order to avoid any repetition of the scandal that engulfed Butt, Asif and Amir during their last tour there in 2010 (PTG 1096-5335, 29 April 2013).  

 

Danish Kaneria, another Pakistan national, was banned for life for having "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 (PTG 953-4627, 28 June 2012).  Essex-born Westfield was also jailed and banned from playing first class cricket for five years, although he is allowed to return to club cricket after three.

 

 'LIVE' BALL KICK RESULTS IN 

'OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD' DISMISSAL 

[PTG 1105-5384]

 

Indian Premier League Kokata franchise batsman Yusuf Pathan's was given out 'Obstructing the Field' during his side's Twenty20 match against Pune in Ranchi on Wednesday.  Whilst trying to steal a quick single off the fifth ball of a Wayne Parnell over, Pathan almost collided with the bowler mid-pitch before he kicked the ball away from Parnell’s reach and completed the run.  

 

An appeal was duly made, upon which the on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Krishnaraj Srinath referred the matter to third umpire Vineet Kulkarni and the verdict was given against Pathan, Llong signalling the dismissal.  The batsman stood on the field for close to a minute before finally walking off, explaining his side of the story to any of the Pune players who happened to cross his path.  Later, Pathan continued to gesticulate in anger in the dugout and, as the Kolkata chase wound down to a loosing close, he was spotted sitting on the stairs of the dressing room, pads still on, looking disconsolate.

 

Pune's coach Allan Donald said after the game that it was "not clear thinking on [Pathan's] behalf".  “It looked a bit innocuous to start with, but when I looked at the replay, it was clearly an attempt to nudge the ball away".  Donald called it "a big lesson for any cricketer" and "a good decision by the third umpire".  

 

The Kolkata side saw it differently, Gautam Gambhir their captain describing it as "a pretty freak dismissal" and that he'd "never seen it [before] in my career".  Ryan ten Doeschate, who partnered Pathan in a fourth-wicket partnership prior to the dismissal, is said to have indicated that his colleague's action was "not deliberate"  "He wasn’t looking at the ball", said ten Doeschate, "so it was hard for him to know where the ball actually [was]". 

 

What was not referred to in most of the commentary was that during the incident Parnell stretched out his hands in what could be interpreted as an attempt to grab Pathan’s arms as he ran by, a move that appeared to briefly check the batsman's progress down the pitch. 

 

 CHAMPIONS TROPHY MATCH 

OFFICIALS NAMED

[PTG 1105-5385]

 

Three referees and the twelve members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) were named yesterday as the match officials for the Champions Trophy series in England next month, while umpires from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will stand in three of the six warm-up games.    

 

ICC match referees named for the 15-match series were Chris Broad of England, Javagal Srinath from India and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, while the EUP members are: 'Billy Bowden" and Tony Hill (New Zealand), Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf (Pakistan), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (all England), and Australians Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker.

 

During the 12-match initial round of games each of the referees will manage four games, while the umpires have all been allocated two matches on the ground, one in the television suite and one as fourth umpire.  Appointments for matches 13, 14 and 15, the two semi-finals and the final, will be announced "in due course", says the ICC.

 

For Dharmasena, Erasmus, Kettleborough, Llong, Oxenford, Pycroft and Tucker its their first Champions Trophy, Broad, Davis, Gould, Hill and Srinath their second, Rauf's third, and Bowden and Dar's fourth.  Broad will go into the event having looked after 218 One Day Internationals (ODI), Bowden 179, Dar 154, Srinath 124, Davis 117, Rauf 98, Hill 94, Pycroft 82, Gould 79, Llong 62, Dharmasena and Erasmus both 45, Oxenford 39, Kettleborough 28 and Tucker 27.  Dar, Dharmasena, Erasmus, Llong, Rauf and Tucker will go into the series straight after stints standing in  this year's Indian Premier League tournament.

 

Prior to the opening round of games six warm-up fixtures are to be played.  Dharmasena, Gould, Hill, Oxenford, Rauf and Tucker will each be on the ground in one of those games, with Erasmus, Oxenford and Bowden working in third umpire spots.  The other three games will see ECB umpires Rob Bailey, Nick Cook, Michael Gough, Peter Hartley, Neil Mallender and Tim Robinson on the field, with Paul Baldwin, Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf the third officials.  

 

With the warm-up games not classed as officials ODIs, Rauf will reach the 100 ODI match mark on 14 June in Cardiff in the game between the West Indies and South Africa.  Davis will be his on-field partner that day, Oxenford the third umpire and Tucker the fourth, Pycroft being the match referee. 

 

Rauf, who turned 57 last Sunday, will be the fifteenth umpire to stand in 100 ODIs, the others being the now retired Rudi Koertzen and David Orchard of South Africa, Steve Bucknor and Billy Doctrove from the West Indies, Steve Dunne of New Zealand, Darrell Hair, Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel of Australia, the late David Shepherd of England, plus Bowden, Dar, Davis, Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva.

 

'CMJ' 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' 

AWARDS ANNOUNCED 

[PTG 1105-5386]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the BBC have announced the creation of two ‘Spirit of Cricket’ awards in memory of Christopher Martin-Jenkins (CMJ), the former MCC President and BBC cricket commentator who died earlier this year.  The Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket awards will include 'Elite' and 'Youth' sections, the intention of both being to support the grassroots game in England and Wales. 

 

The Elite Award will be presented to a professional cricketer who has made the biggest contribution to the 'Spirit of Cricket' in the 2013 English cricket season, overseas players involved being eligible.  Whoever wins that award will, together with a joint MCC-BBC judging panel, choose the beneficiary of a £2,000 ($a3,100) prize to support a cricket program at a primary or secondary school in England or Wales.  

 

The Youth Award will recognise an Under-16 junior player or team in England and Wales who have best demonstrated the 'Spirit of Cricket' in action. The winner, alongside their team or class, will be invited by the MCC to attend the final of the England and Wales Cricket Board's domestic one-day competition at Lord's on 21 September, and BBC commentators will interview the winners during that day. 

 

Both the MCC and BBC have define the 'Spirit of Cricket' as "demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship, fair play and respect for captains, opponents, umpires and the game’s traditional values".  BBC cricket correspondent and commentator, Jonathan Agnew, said in a press release that: "Christopher was absolutely passionate about the 'Spirit of Cricket' and for the need for the game to be played not merely within the Laws, but also within the spirit of the Laws" (PTG 70-385, 19 July 2007).


  PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,106
Saturday, 18 May 2013 

COVERT RECORDING SUBMITTED IN 

UMPIRE RATINGS DISCIPLINARY CASE

[PTG 1106-5387]

 

A copy of a secretly recorded conversation was provided as evidence in claims that a county appointments officer amended an England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Premier League umpires' merit list in order "to help an umpire climb the ladder" into Minor Counties cricket, according to a story in yesterday's 'Cambridge News'.  An ECB Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) disciplinary panel subsequently found former English first class umpire Keith Coburn had not broken any rules, but it did judge that he had brought the game into disrepute by his actions and warned him about his future conduct.

 

Suggestions that Coburn, Cambridgeshire's county umpire appointments officer, had amended the East Anglian Premier League’s (EAPL) umpires’ merit list first surfaced publicly six months ago (PTG 1042-5064, 19 January 2013).  Yesterday's 'News'  story states that concerns about Coburn's actions were forwarded to the ACO by Barry Toombs, another EAPL umpire, who is also the chairman of the ACO's 'London and East' region. 

 

Toombs is said to have been made aware that the EAPL list was being changed by John Tythcott, another EAPL umpire, after which he secretly recorded a conversation he had in a public house with Coburn and Steve Kent-Phillips, one of the umpires the 'News' story says was moved on the EAPL list.  Both Toombs and Tythcott, who have been "friends" of Coburn for ten and twenty years respectively, are retired police officers who apparently felt Coburn and Kent-Phillips were committing a criminal offence as well as adversely affecting the future of Steve Ross, another umpire.

 

Coburn, 54, who was on the ECB’s second-tier umpire Reserve list for both the 2008 and 209 English seasons, is quoted by the 'News' as saying that he is “extremely disappointed that a colleague, in an attempt to portray a personal vendetta on my part against another umpire, chose to covertly record a confidential discussion about umpiring appointments".  The "personal vendetta [suggestion] was completely unsupported by the audio recording, which lasted for two hours and twenty-six minutes, and at no stage suggested any personal animosity as a basis for my umpiring judgement", said Coburn.

 

According to the 'News' story, Coburn also indicated that prior to the ACO enquiry he "had apologised in the presence of the EAPL president and secretary for the fact information on EAPL umpires’ marks provided to the ECB was inaccurate".  He also "apologised to all the umpires affected", but is then quoted as saying that "none were adversely affected".  

 

Coburn is said to have been motivated by concerns he has about "the unreliability of captains’ marks given to umpires" across the twenty-six ECB Premier League competitions.  Such scores, the methodology of which he said varies across those leagues, "are used to rank [umpires] in the competition and can determine whether they get promoted" or not.  He is reported to have been "waging", what the 'News' report says has been a "crusade" over the last three years, about "the unreliability of the EAPL captains’ marks and a lack of clear guidance from the ACO as to how raw marks could, or should, be dealt with".

 

The 'News' quotes an unnamed ECB spokesman as saying that it did not sanction the recording that was made and that none of its employees was involved in it.  The spokesman also said that the disciplinary committee had ruled that the material contained in the recording was inconclusive, and that they were unable to determine whether Coburn did, or did not, voice an opinion that he would adversely affect the future of a particular umpire.

 

IPL TRIO USED ON-FIELD SIGNALS IN 

SPOT-FIXING SCAM, SAY INDIAN POLICE

[PTG 1106-5388]

 

The three players who have been arrested over allegations they took part in spot fixing activities in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition, used a range of signals during games to communication with book makers about their plans, say Indian Police.   The IPL's Rajasthan franchise's Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, have been formerly charged with corrupt activities after they were detained and questioned by Police in Mumbai on Wednesday (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013).

 

A Police spokesman outlined the signals the players would give to their book maker colleagues about just when they planned to follow their spot fixing instructions during a press conference yesterday.  Those signals included such moves as placing the locket around their necks on top of their shirt, untucking their shirts and vests, tucking a towel into their pants, or taking a considerable amount of time to set their fields.

 

Police gave the example of Sreesanth, who was told to give the bookies a signal by putting a towel in his trousers when he planned to activate the scam.  That move thus gave the bookmakers time to bet on when the stipulated minimum number of runs off a particular over was likely to be equalled or exceeded.  The bowler then sent down deliveries that would give the batsman at the crease, who was not involved in the alleged fix, the best chance possible of scoring well.  The police say they recorded a telephone call where it was decided that Sreesanth would give away fourteen or more runs in the second over of his spell in one match.

 

Meanwhile, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson said in a statement that his organisation “will provide full support to the [Board of Control for Cricket in India] and Delhi Police in the investigation" that is currently under way into the latest spot-fixing scandal to hit the game".   

 

"The ICC and its members have collectively taken measures to tighten vigilance, strengthen our anti-corruption codes and increase player education programs as well as offering strict penalties to those found guilty of illegal conduct", continued Richardson, before going on to state his disappointment that "there still appears to be some players who remain vulnerable to temptations".

 

YP Singh, the Head of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, said that "over the last 12 months or so, we have seen far more examples of players doing the right thing and reporting approaches".  “This is extremely encouraging and allows us to have the confidence to believe that the vast majority of players are playing the game in the right", but that the latest "incident emphasises the threats all players face".

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,107
       Tuesday, 21 May 2013 

 POLICE WIDEN IPL SPOT-FIXING INVESTIGATION, 

BCCI LAUNCHES INQUIRY

[PTG 1107-5389]

 

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told journalists on Sunday that players from "a number" of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams are now "under suspicion" for spot fixing in this year's IPL series, an activity where a specific part of a game, but not the outcome, is fixed.  Kumar's comment came a few days after the arrest of three current IPL bowlers from the Rajasthan franchise and at least a dozen bookmakers, but before the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that it is to conduct an inquiry into spot-fixing in the league.

 

India's 'The Mail Today' newspaper quotes Kumar as saying "there could be much more grime and dirt than we anticipated''.  "Many more players and teams have now come under our microscope [and] the conspiracy is much, much larger" than has so far come to light, he said.  However, he did not disclose the identity of teams now under what appears to be a widening police investigation, but said he was "hopeful'' of a breakthrough as "interrogation" of some of the bookies and various materials seized have led Police to new lines of enquiry.

 

Also on Sunday, the BCCI decided at what was described an "emergency working committee meeting", that all IPL player agents will need to be formally accredited, that steps will be taken to "monitor access" to players, and that an "anti-corruption official" will be appointed to each IPL team and will always accompany them along with a security officer. The four teams who have made this year's IPL finals were each allocated an 'anti-corruption' officer yesterday, positions that appear similar to the "vigilance" officer Pakistan recently appointed for its team's current tour of the UK (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013).

 

Sunday's BCCI meeting also agreed to appoint its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chief Ravi Sawani to head an inquiry into the spot-fixing issue.  Reports say he will present his findings to the BCCI's disciplinary committee, after which the BCCI will decide what action to take with regards to the four players it has suspended over the issue.  As yet no time-frame as to when his report will be finalised has been announced. 

 

In other developments, the IPL's Rajasthan franchise is said to be planning to lodge an official complaint with Police against their three arrested players. Reports say that the BCCI itself cannot press charges for legal reasons as the players are contracted to the franchise.  At the same time a senior Indian politician is pushing for legislation to ensure that any attempt to fix matches, in any sport played in the country, attracts what he called "exemplary punishment".  Under the current Indian Penal Code, match or spot-fixing are not offences and anyone who indulges in such activities has to be dealt with under statutes that relate to cheating or fraud.  Australia has been looking at match-fixing related Laws for several years now (PTG 770-3773, 5 June 2011)

 

Of the three players who have been arrested so far, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth is alleged to have been paid four million Indian Rupees ($A77,000) to give away 14 runs in an over while playing against the IPL Punjab franchise in Mohali 12 days ago.  His teammate Ankeet Chavan is allegedly to have agreed to give away the same number of runs in a game against Mumbai last Wednesday in exchange for the equivalent over $A100,000, while another teammate, Ajit Chandila, allegedly received nearly $A40,000 for giving away a set number of runs in a match against Pune.  The trio are allegedly to have signalled their intentions from the field while games were in progress (PTG 1106-5388, 18 May 2013).  

 

In addition to Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila, Amit Singh a registered player with the Gujarat Cricket Association and a former Rajasthan team member, has also been arrested, apparently in his capacity as a bookmaker, and the BCCI has also suspended him pending its inquiry. 

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement issued on Sunday, that his organisation "welcomes the additional steps taken by the BCCI for the deployment of an anti-corruption official to accompany the teams and the accrediting of all player agents".  “The BCCI has requested the ICC to provide recommendations for the further strengthening of its anti-corruption protocols for the IPL [and] we will be submitting our proposals as soon as possible".

 

 

 INDIAN UMPIRES FOR KEY IPL FINALS

POSITIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME?

[PTG 1107-5390]

 

On-field appointments of Indian umpires in this year's Indian Premier League's (IPL) 2013 event have fallen below the two-thirds ratio of early in the tournament (PTG 1096-5333, 29 April 2013), but with the 72-game round robin section of IPL-6 now over their use in the league is significantly up on the five events played to date.  In IPL-5 in 2012, Indians were allocated 33 per cent of the on-field roles and 66 per cent of the television spots (PTG 940-4571, 22 May 2012), but this year the figures to date are 53 and 85 per cent respectively, however, it remains to be seen whether that result is maintained in the finals over the next five days.

 

A total of 33 match officials have been used by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to support IPL-6 in on-field and television roles, 15 umpires, 8 Indian and 7 from other countries, 7 match referees, 4 from outside India, and 11 locals as reserve umpires.  The figures last year for IPL-5 were 30 all-up made up of 13 umpires, 8 Indian and 5 foreigners, 7 match referees, 5 of them non-Indians, and 10 locals in reserve spots. 

 

Eight of the 39-man umpiring panel India used for its 2012-13 home first class season filled just over half of the 144 on-field and most of the third umpire spots during IPL-6's 72 round robin matches.  Sundaram Ravi led the way with 19 games, 13 on-field and 6 television (13/6), then came C K Nandan also with 19 (9/10), Sudhir Asnani 18 (8/10), Krishnaraj Srinath 18 (8/10), Anil Chowdhury and Chettihody Shamsuddin both 17 and 11/6, Vineet Kulkarni 17 (10/7), and Subrat Das 15 (7/8).  

 

Asnani and Kulkarni are currently on-field members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and Sundaram and Shamshuddin IUP third umpires.  Australian Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager who is working in IPL-6 as an umpire and umpire coach (PTG 1008-5295, 12 April 2013), told an Indian newspaper last week that he's been "looking after" those four by "working with them in the umpire's room, third umpire's box, [and the] nets" in what he described as "almost like a captain-coach relationship".

 

Seven non-Indian members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel were employed by the IPL for the series, being appointed to 67 of the 144 on-field spots but only 11 as third umpires.  Asad Rauf of Pakistan led that group with 16 games (14/2), then came Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena 15 (12/3), another Pakistani Aleem Dar 13 (11/2), Taufel 11 (10/1), South African Marais Erasmus also 11 (9/2), Nigel Llong of England 7 (6/1), and another Australian Rod Tucker with 5 (5/0).

 

Of the seven match referees employed by the IPL for the series this year, non-Indians were preferred for match referee spots as they looked after 53 or three-quarters of the 72 positions, and locals 19 or one-quarter; figures that are perhaps a reflection of local concerns about home referee standards (PTG 1093-5312, 20 April 2013).  

 

Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe was allocated the most games with 18, then came Sri Lankans Roshan Mahanama 15 and Ranjan Madugalle 14, Javagal Srinath of India, Australian David Boon 6, then came Indians Rajendra Jadeja 5 and Raju Mukherjee 4.  Boon, Madugalle, Mahanama, Pycroft and Srinath are members of the ICC's top match referees panel.  Of the referees and on-field umpires, Boon, Llong, Nandan, Shamsuddin, Srinath made their IPL debuts this year.

 

A 11 Indians used as fourth umpires were, with the exception of one, Rajasthan-born Tapan Sharma, from the BCCI's first class panel.  None of that group worked in on-field or third umpire roles.  

 

With the four-match final series starting today, and the final itself on Sunday, it remains to be seen how the IPL handles umpire allocations for those games.  None of the 36 on-field spots that have been available across the five IPL 'finals' series played since 2008 have been given to an Indian umpire.  Locals have, however, filled three of the 18 third umpire spots and 10 of the 18 match referee positions, but those appointments were in the first three seasons of the competition in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

 

NEUTRAL OFFICIALS FOR DUBLIN, 

AMSTERDAM ODI GAMES NAMED

[PTG 1107-5391]

 

Jeff Crowe of New Zealand and Englishman Ian Gould have been named as the neutral officials for the two One Day Internationals (ODI) Ireland and Pakistan are to play in Dublin on Thursday and Sunday.  Crowe will be looking after his 169th and 170th ODIs while Gould will have taken his umpiring ODI record to 81 games by the time the series ends.

 

Irish members of the International Cricket Council's third-tier Associate and Affiliates Umpires Panel, Mark Hawthorne and Richard Smith, are expected to share the other umpiring duties across the two games.  Hawthorne currently has 7 ODIs to his credit, his debut being in the same fixture two years ago this month, while Smith stood at that level for the first time last July.

 

On Friday of next week Zimbabwean referee Andy Pycroft and umpire Nigel Llong of England will be in Amsterdam for the one-off ODI between the Netherlands and South Africa, their 83rd and 63rd in those capacities respectively.  The other on-field and third umpires for the match have not yet been made public.

 

Both Pycroft and Llong have been working in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series, the former for the past seven weeks over 18 games, and the latter in 7 games over the last three weeks.  Whether either will be involved in the four-match IPL final seasons is not known (PTG 1107-5390 above).  Next month Gould, Llong and Pycroft will all officiate in the Champions Trophy series in England (PTG  1105-5385, 17 May 2013).

  
PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,108
       Wednesday, 22 May 2013 

 AUSSIE FEMALE PLAYERS GET 

PAY BOOST, UMPIRE INITIATIVE NEXT?

[PTG 1108-5392]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday announced a new contracting system which will make players in its national women's team among the best-paid female athletes in Australia, however, just what that means for CA's reported plans to fast-track a women into senior umpiring ranks and female umpires overall, is not yet known (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  Under the new arrangements the retainer for a "top [women] player" increases from $A15,000 to $A52,000, while the minimum retainer becomes $A25,000, up from $A5,000, figures that together with a boost in daily pay during tours could says CA see the country's top female cricketers "potentially" earn $A70-80,000 over the next year.

 

A report from Melbourne two weeks ago indicated that CA is looking to bring more females into umpiring around the country and that part of the initiative involved "contracting" what one source called a women 'Project Umpire' prior to the start of the 2013-14 austral summer; part of the chosen person's job being the "poster girl" for a much wider push of female umpires.  CA's record profit last year (PTG 932-4533, 26 April 2012), plus potential increases in revenue from television broadcast rights and other commercial initiatives, and now the significant increases for female players, suggest funding for the female 'Project Umpire' position may be imminent.

 

In announcing the increases for players, CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a press release that the pay rises were recognition of the time and effort the national team had devoted to becoming "the number one team in the world in all formats".  That success has, says CA, led to "unprecedented media coverage and helped drive an increase in female cricket participation by 18 per cent in the past 12 months", the total now being estimated at around 180,000 female players around the country.

 

Sutherland said that his organisation is "working towards the day when Australia's female cricketers will be able to earn a full-time, professional living from cricket".  "The performances of our female stars justify this step and the day will come when future, full-time professional female cricketers will look back and thank those who went before them", he says. 

 

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) welcomed the CA announcement of the funding boost for domestic contracted female players, with $A1.59 million committed for the 2013-14 season, "the first time this has happened across the board for all players and teams", said ACA chief executive Paul Marsh.  Recently retired Australian player Lisa Sthalekar, who sits on the ACA executive, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the female 'Project Panel' position.

 

A report by Chloe Saltau, the Chief cricket writer for the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age', says that the ACA, which has represented women for the past five years, recently conducted research that found costs associated with playing in the Women's National Cricket League put the average state player $3,000 a year out-of-pocket.  

 

That research, which appears to be a key factor behind the pay rises, is also said to have "revealed" half of Australia's current national female players anticipated they would have to retire early for financial reasons, and described the strain placed on personal relationships by the increasingly ''professional'' demands being made on them.  In addition to player pay rises, each state and the Australian capital Territory will be provided with $A100,000 a year to help fund "minimum standards for female cricketers contracted to play in our national competitions", says the CA press release.

 

Non 'Project Pane'l male umpires who are endeavouring to reach the top levels of umpiring in Australia face similar challenges in balancing family, work and finances during their endeavours to reach CA's top domestic National Umpires Panel.

 

INDIA'S SUPREME COURT SETS DEADLINE 

FOR BCCI SPOT-FIXING INQUIRY

[PTG 1108-5393]

 

India's Supreme Court yesterday gave the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) fifteen days to complete the investigation it announced on Sunday into spot-fixing activities in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) (PTG 1105-5389, 21  May 2013).  The court made the ruling in rejecting a formal submission from Lucknow resident Sudarsh Awasthi for the IPL's current four-match final series be postponed pending the conduct of a special investigation into IPL spot-fixing claims.

 

Awasthi said in his petition to the court that "there are many irregularities in the IPL beginning [with the] auction of players" and that "black money and money from anti-social elements are involved [something which] needs to be probed".  Further similar court challenges are expected over the next few days, say reports.  The BCCI appointed its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chief Ravi Sawani to head an inquiry into the spot-fixing issue but no time-line for his work was announced.  

 

Also yesterday, the three players and eleven bookmakers who were arrested last week on spot-fixing charges were refused bail by a court in New Delhi and the police will be able to detain them for another five days.  A prosecuting lawyer told reporters that the Police "want to interrogate them further and [search] their houses".  One of the players, former Indian player Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, protested his innocence via a statement released by his lawyer, saying he has "never indulged" in any spot fixing activities.

 

OBLIQUE REFERENCE TO UMPIRING, SCORING 

IN NEW ECB STRATEGIC PLAN 

[PTG 1108-5394]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) aims to deliver "successful England teams at all levels", produce "a vibrant domestic game", and increase levels of participation in the game, according to its "new and ambitious strategic plan" for 2014-17 released yesterday, however, the 24-page document makes only the briefest of reference to umpire and scoring.  The key thrust of the new plan is "operational excellence to make maximum use of scarce resources and facilities during a time of economic austerity".  

 

A long list of aims for the next three years are outlined in the document, including: the England side winning a range of major trophies, increases in funding availability for county and club cricket, a rise in the participation of men and women and clubs in the game in England and Wales, boosting volunteer numbers across the two countries to 80,000, increases in crowds at county matches, and the engagement of more coaches.

 

Umpires and scorers are mentioned obliquely on page nine of the document, the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials being the eleventh of seventeen groups or organisations "cricket will enhance partnerships" with between now and 2017.

 

IPL FINALS THIRD UMPIRE 

SPOT FOR LOCAL

[PTG 1108-5395 ]

 

Indian Ravi Sundaram worked as the third umpire in the first of the Indian Premier (IPL) league's four-match final series in Delhi overnight, the first time a national from the country that bears the competition's name has been appointed to such a key position in an IPL final for three years.  Sundaram was part of a match officials group for the game that included referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, and Englishman Nigel Llong and Australian Rod Ticker as the on-field umpires, another local C K Nandan being the fourth official. 

 

Of the 57 on-field and third umpire positions in the now 19 IPL finals matches played since the event commenced in 2008, Indians have filled four, but none of them were in on-field positions.  Sundaram has now been in the third umpire suite in three finals games, one of them the 2010 final, the other Indian being Krishna Hariharan who was allocated a semi final television spot in IPL-1 in 2008.  To date no Indian has stood in the final of the event (PTG 1107-5390, 21 May 2013).


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,109
       Thursday, 23 May 2013 

IPL UMPIRE 'VERY CLOSE' TO BOOKIES, 

CLAIMS NEWSPAPER REPORT

[PTG 1109-5396]

 

The name of a "Pakistan umpire who officiates in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches has emerged in connection with the Mumbai police's investigations into spot-fixing" in recent IPL games, according to a story published in the 'Times of India' (TOI) yesterday.  Journalist Vijay Singh quotes a Mumbai crime branch officer as stating that "we cannot say" the umpire was involved in spot-fixing, however, detectives are said to be "surprised" some of the bookies allegedly involved in spot-fixing were "very close" to him.

 

The 'TOI' story quotes the unnamed police officer as indicating bookmakers have provided them with "some details of the umpire's activities" and that "we are trying to find out more".  Another unnamed officer is said to have "confirmed" arrested bookies have told the police about their "closeness to the umpire and about their meetings with him".  The crime branch is said to be "probing the activities of the umpire in all the matches he was part of and [are also] keeping his movements under watch".  

 

The name of the umpire is not mentioned in the 'TOI' article.  He is said to have been "one of the umpires in the controversial match in which the three arrested Rajasthan" franchise players "allegedly indulged in spot-fixing", and that he "had a brush with controversy a few months back" after a women accused him of inappropriate behaviour, although she "later withdrew the complaint". 

 

Two Pakistani umpires have been supporting IPL games during the current season, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, both of whom are normally members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel but are believed to work in the IPL under separate contracts.  

 

Nine months ago Rauf was accused by a "Mumai-based model" of exploiting her sexually with false promises of marriage, something he strongly denied (PTG 979-4746, 17 August 2012), but she later withdrew the complaint (PTG 1050-5110, 1 February 2013).  He was also one of the umpires in the match in Mumbai eight days ago during which three Rajasthan matches are alleged by Delhi police to have indulged in spot-fixing activities, 

 

Rauf has umpired in four of the IPL's six tournaments to date, the first in 2008, then in 2011, 2012 and again this year, so far during that time standing in 51 matches, including the final of 2011, and working as the television umpire in another 8 games.  

 

During this year's series he has stood in 14 games and been in the television suite in another two, more than any of the other six non-Indian umpires who have taken part in the series (PTG 1107-5390, 21 May 2013).  Those matches have involved the Mumbai and Hyderabad franchises 5 times each, Pune 4, Chennai and Kokata both 3, Banglaore and Rajasthan each 2, and Delhi and Punjab 1 each.

 

The news comes as Delhi arrested a fifth cricketer, former Vidarbha player Baburao Yadav, 30, in connection with alleged IPL spot-fixing activities.  Yadav played first class cricket in the first half of last decade, and also in 2008 the Indian Cricket League, the IPL's now-defunct "unofficial" Twenty20 predecessor, for the Ahmedabad and Hyderabad sides.

 

UK COMPANY BECOMES ICC 

'MATCH DATA' PROVIDER 

[PTG 1109-5397]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has appointed sports data company Opta as its "official" provider of international match statistics for the next two years.  The move means that Opta will receive "exclusive access to the stadia for all major ICC events as well as the exclusive distribution rights for live data", including live ball-by-ball summaries, team statistics and the scorecards which will appear on a range of media platforms.

 

In a press release issued yesterday, the ICC says that the "presence of Opta’s statisticians at venues to score the [international] matches events will ensure that the scoring services they offer are the fastest, accurate and most comprehensive".  Campbell Jamieson, the ICC's General Manager Commercial, said: “Opta has a proven record in the sports industry and we are delighted to have them as our data provider for the next two years".  

 

That period will see events such as next month’s Champions Trophy, the World Twenty20 and World Cups and other ICC events played.  “As such, it is imperative that we to have a world class data provider who can efficiently supply accurate statistics that, in turn, can help the official partners, media and other third parties in the delivery of their professional responsibilities", says Jamieson.

 

Opta’s Chief Executive, Aidan Cooney, said his company's "partnership [with the ICC] will enable some of cricket’s most prestigious tournaments to benefit from Opta data and we look forward to working with the ICC, their partners and the global cricket media over the next two years".

 

In October 2011, Opta won the contract to become the England and Wales Cricket Board's official score service (PTG 917-4463, 19 March 2012), and reports late last year suggested that County scorers were opposing ECB plans to do without away team scorers and replace them with Opta analysts (PTG 1002-4866, 11 October 2012).  Just what Opta's now move into the international game means for scorers around the world has yet to be spelt out. 

 

UK-based Opta was established in 1996 and now has offices there and in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Uruguay and the United States, and what it calls "representatives" in Bulgaria, China, Norway, Rumania, Saudi Arabia South Africa and South Korea.  It says on its web site it has "300 customers [in] 40 countries".

 

SHOW OF BAT RESULTS IN FINE

[PTG 1109-5398]

 

Dinesh Karthik, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise side, was fined five per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during the first finals match of the series in Delhi on Tuesday.  Karthik expressed his displeasure by showing his bat after he was given out LBW when he missed the ball while trying to sweep Ravindra Jadeja.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,110
Friday, 24 May 2013

 

ICC WITHDRAWALS RAUF FROM 

CHAMPIONS TROPHY SERIES

[PTG 1110-5399]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday withdrew Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf from its list of match officials for next month's Champions trophy series in England.  The move came a day after an Indian media report indicated that Mumbai police had found Rauf was "very close" to some of the bookmakers who are allegedly involved in the current Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal (PTG 1109-5396, 23 May 2013).

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement that given the police are "conducting an investigation into Asad Rauf's activities", "we feel that it is in Asad's best interests as well as those of the sport and the event itself, that he is withdrawn from participating in the Champions Trophy" series.  Rauf was to have stood in his 100th One day International (ODI) during the event (PTG 1105-5385, 17 May 2013).

 

Rauf, who turned 57 two weeks ago, is a former first-class batsman who played 71 first class matches in Pakistan the period from 1977-91.  He make his umpiring debut at that level in 1998, stood in his first ODIl in 2000 and in a Test in January 2005 and joined the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in 2006.  To date he has stood in 48 Tests, 98 ODIs and 23 Twenty20 Internationals.

 

No replacement for Rauf was named in the ICC statement, however, whoever is chosen is likely to be the next candidate to join the EUP, with Australia's Paul Reiffel and England's Richard Illingworth appearing to be the prime contenders.

 

 CA CONSIDERING OPENING 

UP DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS 

[PTG 1110-5400]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to be considering allowing disciplinary hearings into charges laid against players in its domestic competitions to be heard in forums open to public scrutiny via the media, in a similar way to the system currently used by Australian Rules Football (AFL), says a 'Cricinfo' report published yesterday.  Adrian Anderson, a former AFL executive, is said to have made the suggestion during his review of the way CA manages integrity-related issues, a report of which is due to be handed to CA next month (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013).

 

Journalist Daniel Brettig writes that if such a move goes ahead, "it would be a marked departure from the convention followed by most cricket boards [around the world] and also the [International Cricket Council], which do not permit public access to code of conduct hearings presided over by match referees, nor the appeal hearings that may subsequently eventuate".  

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland is said by Brettig to have indicated as far back as 2002 that "his preference [is for] for public hearings", but Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh is said to be "skeptical about the necessity of the concept" and is thus described as "the major obstacle" to the introduction of a public hearings approach.

 

In addition to a more open approach, Anderson is also expected to "recommend that CA's code of conduct procedures and protocols for hearings be tightened", a move Brettig says follows "a summer [in Australia] in which the consistency and transparency of the current system was called into considerable question by a series of incidents, [particularly] during [CA's domestic Twenty20 competition] (PTG 1038-5040, 10 January 2013).

 

"Standards of on-field behaviour during the [T20] event were allowed to lapse, culminating in the ugly [on-field confrontation] involving former Australian spinner Shane Warne and West Indian Marlon Samuels", says 'Cricinfo' (PTG 1037-5033, 7 January 2013).  "That incident and its handling in a pair of seemingly contradictory and indecipherable code of conduct verdicts did not sit well with a majority of players and others", says Brettig (PTG 1044-5072 and 1044-5073, 22 January 2013).

 

Another move Anderson is said to have recommended is a new structure to manage integrity and disciplinary matters.  Mike McKenna, the top man in CA's domestic Twenty20 series who has amongst his responsibilities disciplinary issues, is also in charge of CA's commercial operations.  He looks like having one of those roles taken from him, as the current arrangement is said by Brettig to be an "apparent conflict of interest" (PTG 1065-5175, 23 February 2013).

 

 IPL UMPIRING ERROR 'ENRAGED' 

BOOKIES, CLAIMS REPORT

[PTG 1110-5401]

 

Police investigating alleged spot-fixing activities in the Indian Premier League (IPL) have reportedly found that Rajasthan franchise bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth deliberately bowled a no-ball to "fulfill" his obligations to bookmakers in an IPL match in Mohali two weeks ago, however, the "umpire failed to spot the error", something that Pakistan's NDTV says "enraged the bookies".  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been asked by police to provide them with television footage of the over concerned. 

 

Prior to the over in which he allegedly aimed to allow at least 14 runs to be scored, Sreesanth is said to have signalled his intentions by "tucking a towel into his waistband" and he also "did stretches", moves the police claim was to "allow the bookies time to place bets" (PTG 1106-5388, 18 May 2013).  However, after five balls in the over had been delivered only nine runs had been scored, and the 'no ball' on the sixth, which went unnoticed, was hit for four, bringing the total for the over to just 13.  

 

On line commentary for that sixth ball says it was hit back past Sreesanth who "pull[ed] his hand out of the way" and it "rolled down to the fence".

 

Police sources are said by NDTV to have indicated that the fact that the minimum number of runs required was not reached resulted in a "furore among bookies".  "Not only did the bookies threaten and abuse Sreesanth, they held back his due payments, but the fast bowler insisted on being paid", continues NDTV's story.   Police reportedly have "access to a phone conversation" that involved "a panicky Sreesanth" expressing concern as to whether the "bookies would still pay up, since he had kept his part of the deal". 

 

The police are said to have indicated that the bookies were "fed up with Sreesanth's tantrums and had "threatened him with dire consequences", however, former Rajasthan and Gujarat cricketer Amit Singh, who is amongst those since arrested by the police and suspended by the BCCI, "mediated to calm things down".  Talks are said to have subsequently seen bookmakers relent on their initial position.

 

Delhi Police are reported to have asked the BCCI for television footage of that Sreesanth over from "all camera angles", and they have also "enlisted top cricketers to help them understand field placement" and other issues during that time. Sreesanth proclaimed his innocence and said he had never been involved in spot-fixing in a statement released by his lawyers earlier this week (PTG 1108-5393, 22 May 2013).

 

The on-field umpires for the match were Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, the International Cricket Council's current 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), and Indian Sunaram Ravi.  It is not clear from information available which of the two were at the bowler's end when the claimed 'no ball' was bowled.

 

 CONTENDERS FOR ECB'S 2014 FULL LIST STAND 

IN COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES 

[PTG 1110-5401]

 

If appointments for County Championship first class matches are any guide, only three of the ten umpires on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) second-tier Reserve List are in the running for promotion to the ECB's top Full List for the 2014 northern summer.  At least one vacancy is expected on the Full List in 2014 as Trevor Jesty, a former first class player and over the last 20 years this month an umpire at that level, will reach the ECB's mandatory retirement age of 65 on  Sunday week (PTG 1062-5165, 20 February 2013).

 

So far during the current season former first class players and now umpires Russell Evans, 47, Graham Lloyd, 43, and Alex Wharf, 37, have each been appointed to either two or three Championship games in the 48 matches that have been played so far, their seven Reserve List colleagues so far missing out on such games.  

 

At lower levels, former first class players Tom Lungley, 33, Paul Pollard, 44, and Russell Warren, 41, appear to head the group of umpires who are in contention for promotion to the Reserve List in 2014, having had a number of appointments to County Second XI three and one-day games.  Ian Blackwell. who retired at the end of last season after a career with Durham and said then that he was looking at promotion to the Reserve List (PTG 1047-5088, 26 January 2013), has so far only been standing in West of England Premier League games.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,111
       Monday, 27 May 2013 

 

RAUF WILL FIGHT TO CLEAR 

HIS NAME, SAYS FAMILY

[PTG 1111-5403]

 

Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf will fight to clear his name in the on-going Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal, according to "family sources" quoted by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency on Saturday.  While none of the plethora of Indian news reports on the IPL's problems of late say Rauf was involved in spot-fixing, they do indicate police are "surprised" he was "close" to some of the bookies allegedly involved in such activities (PTG 1109-5396, 23 May 2013).

 

Last week the International Cricket Council (ICC) withdrew Rauf from next month's Champions Trophy series in England because police were investigating the bookmakers' claims (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013). The AFP report quotes the family source as saying that Rauf "has nothing to hide" and "is disappointed he was not given a chance to clear his name [before being] excluded from the Champions Trophy".  "Once his name is cleared he will resume his career in the game he loves", continued the source.

 

Shahzad Ahmed, who is described as Rauf's Manager, is quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that his client has "not indulged in corruption and is innocent".  "Asad has no links with any bookie nor is he involved in any corrupt practice [for] he has had a very clean career", said Ahmed.  "I think it is totally unfair the media has taken it for granted that Asad is guilty or he has done something wrong [and] this media trial is unjust", he said.

 

Mumbai police are said to have refused to confirm on Friday "whether Rauf would be called in for questioning", but another report yesterday claimed they now plan to.  However, the family source and other reports indicate that Rauf, whose last contracted IPL game for 2013 was in Hyderabad eight days ago, returned home to Lahore soon afterwards and some four days after the spot-fixing scandal first surfaced (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013).

 

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has distanced itself from Rauf's case, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf saying on Friday he was "officiating [in India] with the consent and approval of the International Cricket Council" and as such "it is nothing to do with us".  Ashraf went on to say though that "in our next board meeting we are going to formulate a code for umpires and anyone found violating the code will be punished", and that action will be taken against Rauf "if the ICC asks for any such step".  

 

The IPL scandal widened further over the last few days when police in Mumbai arrested Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh Randhawa as part of their spot-fixing investigations, then Gurunath Meiyappan, a senior official at the league's Chennai franchise and the son-in-law of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narainswamy Srinivasan.  The Chennai franchise is owned by India Cements, a company that Srinivasan heads as its managing Director.  

 

The BCCI announced yesterday that Meiyappan has been suspended from "any involvement in the sport of cricket, and in particular from any with the Chennai side, pending the results of an investigation which India's Supreme Court wants concluded by Friday week (PTG 1108-5393, 22 May 2013). 

 

FORMER INTERNATIONAL UMPIRE OFFERED 

£10,000 BRIBE TO 'MANIPULATE' ODI

[PTG 1111-5404]

 

Former Test umpire John Holder says that he was offered £10,000 ($A15,700) to manipulate the outcome of a One Day International  (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 1993.  Holder told BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew about the attempted bribe after being asked in the broadcaster's 'Ask the Umpire' feature during the second Test between England and New Zealand at Headingley, whether he had ever been asked to influence a game. 

 

Holder, now 68, said that sometime prior to the ODI, which was part of a series involving those two teams and the West Indies, he "was introduced to a man [who] offered £10,000 to make sure Sri Lanka batsmen put on a partnership of 85".  "He told me his syndicate were involved in making money as the game fluctuates".  "I said 'you've got the wrong person and reported the approach", said Holder. 

 

"Players and umpires who get involved in match-fixing have got to realise there's no such thing as easy money", he continued.  "Once you get into that, your career is ruined. You'd lose your self-respect, the players and commentators would know".  "I couldn't live my life looking over my shoulder, and I'd always be remembered as a cheat".

 

Barbados-born Holder played 47 first-class matches for Hampshire from 1968-72,.  His umpiring debut in the first class game came in 1983, his first international was a Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's in 1988, and he then went on to officiate in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs, the last being in 2001.  He was the International Cricket Council's Regional Umpires' Performance Manager for the Americas and Europe from 2007-12.

 

INDIA TO LEGISLATE AGAINST 

'UNFAIR PRACTICES' IN SPORT

[PTG 1111-5405]

 

The Indian government plans to enact legislation to deal with "unfair practices" in sport "as soon as possible", according to that country's Law minister, Kapil Sibal.  Reports from Delhi over the weekend quote Sibal as saying that the new legislation would deal with "dishonest practices" such as those that are alleged to have occurred in this year's Indian Premier League series (PTG 1111-5403 above).

 

Sibal said that the new law will "not apply to cricket alone but to all sports in which unfair practices are being used to change the outcome or course of a game".  He did not appear to specify what punishments would be handed out for spot-fixing, an illegal activity where a specific part of a game, but not the outcome, is fixed.

 

Soon after Sibal made his announcement, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said it planned to seek advice from that country's Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, to determine whether a new law could be introduced to combat sports crime, according a report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday.  

 

Concern about possible spot-fixing activities surfaced in the first edition of the BCB's IPL-equivalent Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) early last year, a suspected Pakistani bookmaker being arrested by police.  In addition, former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and "a few other players" were reportedly questioned by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit on suspicion they were involved in "fixing two BPL matches".

 

Jalal Yunus, the chairman of the BCB’s media and communication committee, told reporters in Mirpur that "we have to take tough measures to fight against this ill-practice and it requires new guidelines from the Law ministry", citing India's planned move on the issue.

 

'ROBUST' ANTI-CORRUPTION APPROACH 

NEEDED, SAYS CA INTEGRITY REVIEWER

[PTG 1111-5406]

 

Adrian Anderson, who is conducting a review of the way Cricket Australia (CA) manages integrity-related issues, has briefed state cricket associations on the need for a robust national approach to anti-corruption, says a report by journalist Chloe Saltau of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age'.  Anderson is said to have indicated that "one global betting agency" turns over $A1 billion a year on Australian cricket, an estimated 60 per cent of that being on CA's Twenty20 competition, much of it through off-shore accounts.

 

Anderson reportedly used figures "from one betting agency" to illustrate the scale of legal, regulated betting on Australian cricket, and underscore the need for "strong integrity systems" around international and domestic competitions.  CA is said to estimate that its income from sports betting, through integrity agreements with 25 operators, comes to less than $A500,000 a year.  While that figure is small when compared with the unnamed betting agency's turn over, such arrangements with those operators gives CA access to information and the power to veto certain "exotic bets", says Saltau.

 

CA chief James Sutherland said in February that he was ''as confident as we can be'' of the integrity of Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition, which is monitored by an Australian anti-corruption unit (PTG 1056-5133, 11 February 2013).  Senior officials are said to recognise though that the league is telecast live into the subcontinent, which has a "vast illegal betting industry".

 

Reports three months ago suggested that Anderson's final report was to be handed to CA next month (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013).  Last week there were indications he is suggesting that CA's disciplinary hearings be opened to public scrutiny by the media, that the processes involved be tightened, and that a new structure be introduced within CA to manage integrity and disciplinary issues (PTG 1110-5400, 24 May 2013). 

 

FIFTH-STRAIGHT IPL 

FINAL FOR TAUFEL

[PTG 1111-5407]

 

Australian Simon Taufel, who resigned from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel last October, stood in the final of  the Indian Premier League's Twenty20 competition for the fifth year in a row in Kolkata overnight.  Taufel was on-field with Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, the current ICC 'Umpire of the Year', his countryman and another ICC official, Ranjan Madugalle, working as the match referee in the final for the second year in a row.  

 

Indian umpire Chettithody Shamsuddin, who on Friday became the first from his country to stand in an IPL finals game in the competition's six years, was the television official for last night's match.  Shamshuddin, 43, was promoted on the recommendation of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, to a third umpire position on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel last year.

 

Records available suggest his rise has been meteoric over the past twelve months, for they indicate he made his List A debut in a domestic match in India last September, and in a first class game the month after that.  A further two months on in December, he stood in his first international, a Twenty20 fixture between India and England.

 

CA NAMES FIVE UMPIRES FOR 

EPT REPLACEMENT SERIES 

[PTG 1111-5408]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has chosen five umpires from three Australian states to officiate in an international Under-19 event in Darwin in late June and early July that will see teams from Australia, India, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in action.  The 11-match series, which becomes a key series on Australia's senior umpiring pathway for the five, is not dissimilar to that which was held in Townsville in April last year in place of the former Emerging Players' Tournament (EPT) (PTG 1100-5357, 7 May 2013).

 

Selections for the series are consistent with past CA appointments, being: Shawn Craig from Victoria, who is the sole member currently on CA's Project Panel which fast-tracks former first class players into umpiring ranks; his fellow Victorian Richard Patterson; Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith; and New South Welshmen Greg Davidson and Tony Wilds.  For Patterson and Mike Graham-Smith its their second such appointment as they stood in last year's four-team U-19 series in Townsville (PTG 904-4396, 21 February 2012).

 

Selections during the 2012-13 austral summer indicated that Patterson, together with Western Australian Nathan Johnstone, headed CA's emerging group at that time.  Whether the latter's non-selection for Darwin is because he has after three years now been discarded from CA's umpiring pathway, or is simply not available for work-related or other reasons, is not known.  

 

How each of the five selected, who will be vying for a total of 22 on-field positions, are rated by the end of the Darwin series is expected to determine who will be given opportunities to stand in CA's domestic one-day, and perhaps first class, matches in 2013-14.  Many observers were puzzled by the limited number of higher level opportunities CA gave Johnstone and Patterson in 2012-13 to demonstrate their abilities (PTG 1088-5297, 12 April 2013), however, that is expected to change for the top two or three candidates from Darwin next austral summer.

 

Australia, India and New Zealand will play each other twice in Darwin in the 50-over one-day matches before a first versus second final and third versus a Northern Territory side are played on the last day of the event.  The three countries will also each play PNG once over the first five days of the event. 

 

There are six rest days during the 13-day series but whether the umpires will be provided with further development training during those times has not been announced.  Such training has in the past been organised by CA's Umpire Educator, however, that position has been vacant for much of the last month (PTG 1101-5364, 8 May 2013).

 

BATSMAN FINED AFTER 'DELIBERATE' 

COLLISION WITH BOWLER 

[PTG 1111-5409]

 

West Indian Dwayne Smith was fined ten per cent of his match fee for breaching the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Code of Conduct during the penultimate match in the IPL's 2013 series in Kolkata on Friday between his side Mumbai and Rajasthan.  A brief statement released on the IPL website on Saturday did not reveal the exact nature Smith's offence, merely saying it related to his exhibiting "conduct contrary to the 'Spirit' of the game".

 

Media reports say that the fine relates to an incident that occurred in the thirteenth over of the Mumbai innings when Smith, while running between the wickets on the first of what was eventually two runs, collided with Rajasthan bowler James Faulnker.  Smith is said to have admitted to what was deemed a Level 1 offence, and match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka found that his action was deliberate. 

 

UMPIRE WINS NSW 

PARLIAMENTARY SEAT

[PTG 1111-5410]

 

Adam Marshall, a member of New South Wales' (NSW) Country Umpires' Panel and the state's 'Country Umpire of the Year' in 2008, was elected as the member for Northern Tablelands in the lower house of NSW's state Parliament in a By-election on Saturday (PTG 1094-5324, 25 April 2013).  Marshall, 28, who is a former Mayor of Gunnedah, won what reports have called a "sweeping victory" by claiming more than 60 per cent of the primary vote in an electoral district that has around 50,000 members, and becomes the youngest member of the current NSW parliament.


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,112
Tuesday, 28 May 2013

PLAYER 'AGREED TO LOOSE'

MATCH' IN BPL-1, CLAIMS REPORT 

[PTG 1112-5411]

 

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful agreed to loose a match in last year's inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-1) Twenty20 competition after he was promised 1,000,000 Bangladesh Takas ($A13,000) by his own side's management, claims a report published in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday.  Somewhat ironically though the cheque he was allegedly given for his reported services 'bounced', and he is now said to be concerned he "could be banned for life, or [at minimum] three years".

 

'New Age' quotes sources at the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as saying Ashraful told the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) last year that the management of his Dhaka side told him to lose a match against the BPL's Chittagong franchise, and that his team's coach, former Essex all-rounder Ian Pont, "was also involved in the affair".  The two sides played each other twice during BPL-1, each winning one match apiece, however, scoresheets show Ashraful was not the captain in either of those games.   

 

Ashrfaul, 28, who has played 61 Tests and 177 One Day Internationals over the last 12 years, is also said to have told the ACSU that Chittagong coach Khaled Mahmud was aware of the plans.  However, Mahmud subsequently "denied the allegation outright" and indicated he "did not have the slightest idea" of what was happening inside his opponent's dressing room.  In addition Salim Chowdhury, the owner of the Dhaka franchise, is reported to have denied paying Ashraful to loose the match, telling 'New Age" on Sunday that the claim "is totally baseless and I am not aware of any such dealing". 

 

Members of Ashraful's family apparently told 'New Age' that he agreed to provide full details to ACSU officials after they promised him a "minimum [level of] punishment".  The newspaper's article makes the claim he was told Pont had "already confessed his guilt in London while being questioned by the same [ACSU] officials", and if he (Ashraful) "did not confess there could be a severe punishment for him".  

 

Pont, who led the Dhaka side to overall championship wins in both this and last year's BPL events, told London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday “I categorically deny these allegations and look forward to fully co-operating with the ACSU with its inquiry, [however] in the meantime I’m not in a position to make any other comment".  A spokesman for the ICC told the 'Telegraph' that it could not comment on any of the claims.

 

The 'Telegraph' story refers to Ashraful being asked to loose two games in this year's BPL-2 in January, not the 2012 event as indicated in the 'New Age' story, the first against Chittagong and the second when Barisal were the opponents.  Ashraful was the captain in both those games which Dhaka lost.

 

'New Age' is reporting this morning that current Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim refused to be drawn on corruption issues during a press conference held at the BCB's headquarters yesterday.  In reply to a question he did say though that he "feels bad as a cricketer when I see corruption has got into the game", and he hopes "the ICC will look into it and [is] confident that the BCB is alert about it".

 

A senior BCB official said on the weekend that his organisation planned to seek advice from that Bangladesh's Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on whether a new law could be introduced in that country to combat sports crime (PTG 1111-5405, 27 May 2013).  

  

NO CHAMPIONS TROPHY 

REPLACEMENT FOR RAUF 

[PTG 1112-5412]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has chosen not to replace Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf in next month's Champions Trophy series in England and Wales, instead reallocating the appointments of the eleven other members of its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  Rauf was withdrawn from the tournament by the ICC last Thursday because police in India were "conducting an investigation" into his relationship with bookmakers who are allegedly involved in the on-going Indian Premier League spot-fixing scam (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013).

 

Over the weekend the ICC amended its umpires' appointments list for the warm-up and Champions Trophy matches proper by simply deleting Rauf's name and leaving the spaces blank, but yesterday a revised list was quietly posted on its web site.  It shows the world body has juggled around the match allocations of the other EUP members to cover match requirements, Ian Gould of England, and Australians Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker Tucker each having an extra on-field appointment, while England's Nigel Llong looses one due to the difficulties of ensuring neutral umpires look after every game.

 

The revised schedule shows the appointments of Steve Davis (Australia), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Tony Hill (New Zealand) and Richard Kettleborough (England) for the tournament proper all stay the same at two on-field, one television and one as the fourth umpire (2-1-1).  All the others originally had 2-1-1 also, but Gould's allocation is now 3-1-1 and Oxenford and Tucker both 3-1-0, while unfortunately for Llong he goes from 2-1-1 to 1-0-2.  Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka has an extra game as third umpire (2-2-1), and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Aleem Dar of Pakistan each an addition one in the fourth umpire role (2-1-2)   

 

Rauf was to have stood with Dharmasena in a warm-up match between Australia and the West Indies in Cardiff this coming Saturday but Erasmus has now been given the second on-field spot for that game.  The Pakistani was to have remained in that city to stand with Tucker on Sunday week when Sri Lanka plays New Zealand in the tournament proper, then again five days after that with Davis for a game between the West Indies and South Africa, a match that would have been Rauf's 100th One day International (PTG 1105-5385, 17 May 2013).  Tucker will now work with Oxenford in the Lanka-NZ game and also with Davis when the West Indies-South Africa meet.

 

IPL SKIPPER FINED $A20K 

FOR SLOW OVER-RATE  

[PTG 1112-5413]

 

Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise side has been fined after his team was found to have maintained a slow over rate during Sunday's IPL final against Chennai in Kolkata.  At the end of the match Sharma's side was assessed to be three overs behind the required rate after allowances were taken into consideration and as it was his first offence of the season he was fined $A20,000. 

 

Sharma is the third IPL skipper to be fined for such an offence during the IPL's 2013 season, the others being Bangalore's Virat Kohli and Chennai's Mahendra Singh Dhoni whose sides were three and two overs behind the required rate respectively (PTG 1097-5340, 30 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).

  
PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,113
       Wednesday, 29 May 2013 

RAUF TO BRIEF MEDIA AS

POLICE 'LEAK' CLAIMS WORSEN 

[PTG 1113-5414]

 

Side-lined Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf is to hold a press conference in Lahore late tonight Australian time to provide his perspective on allegations he was close to bookmakers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal, says a 'Geo News' report distributed early this morning.  Rauf has been seeking permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to speak to the media for a number of days now, but today's media briefing comes after Indian media reports yesterday that went beyond the IPL and claimed he "might have passed on" "crucial information about pitch and weather conditions" to bookmakers ahead of international matches.  

 

Monday's 'Pakistan Tribune' reported that Rauf had defended himself to a number of people in conversations during a dinner held in Lahore on Sunday to honour two newly elected members of Pakistan's Punjab Assembly.  He is said to have denied suggestions he was involved in IPL spot-fixing activities, apparently calling the reports "unfounded" and "baseless".  Rauf is also said to have expressed his frustration at not being allowed to speak out and said then he hoped to hold a press conference once the ICC gave him permission.  Last week his family and manager expressed confidence that he had not been involved in corruption and that he was being subjected to "trial by media" (PTG 1111-5403, 27 May 2013).

 

Yesterday, 'India Express' journalist Sagnik Chowdhury quoted "Mumbai Police sources" involved in IPL investigations as saying that Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, one of the arrestees in the alleged IPL betting scam, had told "interrogators" Rauf used to pass on information to bookmaker brothers named "Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur before [international] matches were played".  

 

Vindoo reportedly said it was "important" for the bookies to have someone who could "tip them off about pitch and weather conditions for international matches played outside India, so that bets could be placed on [such games]".  "Whether Rauf took any wrong decisions to influence the outcome of any matches is being probed", added the police source.  

 

Both Jaipur brothers are said by the 'Express' article to have been helped by Vindoo "to flee to Dubai on 16 May", the day the spot-fixing story broke (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013), the pair allegedly being driven to Mumbai airport in the actor's car.  However, the 'India Express' story then goes on to state that Rauf "left the country abruptly on 17 May after allegedly being tipped off by Vindoo".  That claim does not fit with the fact that Rauf's last appointment in the IPL's 2013 series was to a match that was played in Hyderabad on 19 May.

 

ICC PLANNING TRAINING COURSE FOR 

UMPIRE COACHES, SAY REPORTS 

[PTG 1113-5415]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is planning to conduct a training course in India for an unknown number of Umpire Coaches from its Full Member countries sometime in July, according to reports received from several countries.  It would appear that the event is part of the development work being directed by former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel, who has been the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager since late last year (PTG 1009-4902, 27 October 2012).

 

Taufel told an Indian journalist two weeks ago that he was working with the "ten ICC Full Member" countries on training structures, and that the basic aim was to identify "the best practice for developing quality umpiring" (PTG 1104-5375, 16 May 2013).  "We want full member countries to develop good training and coaching [systems] and use [common] accreditation material at the top domestic level so that when [umpires] make the step up from domestic to international [level] they're a lot more prepared".  

 

Such comments suggest the aim of July's training course is to help start the process of coordinating and standardising umpire training across the nations from which the ICC draws its umpires.  Taufel indicated to the Indian journalist he was at that time busy "writing accreditation modules with Dennis Burns", a possible reference to work the pair will present to the July gathering.  Burns, Cricket Australia's former Umpire Educator, is according to reports one of four new ICC Umpires Coaches (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), however, the world body is yet to make an announcement on the appointment of either him, or what is supposed to be, the three colleagues who will also work in that role.

 

With Taufel scheduled to deliver the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) 2013 'Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture' at Lord's on 24 July, and thus become the first umpire to deliver that oration in its now 13-year history (PTG 1039-5047, 12 January 2013), it seems likely the training course in India will be conducted a week or so before that, but how long it will run, and just who will attend, are both unknown at this time.

 

ECB SUSPENDS TWO 

FOR 'ILLEGAL ACTIONS'

[PTG 1113-5416]

 

Two county players, fast bowler Glenn Querl of the Unicorns and Gloucestershire offspinner Jack Taylor, have been suspended from bowling by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) because of illegal actions.  Reports yesterday say that the pair had been reported by umpires on two separate occasions over the last year and that both were assessed two Monday's ago by an independent analysis of their actions that was conducted in accordance with International Cricket Council standards.

 

Under ECB regulations both players are now required to undergo remedial work on their actions and then subject themselves to a fresh independent analysis before they can be considered for county cricket again..

 

Querl, 24, is a right-arm seam bowler from Zimbabwe who has played 14 first-class matches for Matabeleland and since 2010 in one-day cricket in England for the Unicorns side.  According to reports in January, he was called for throwing by umpire Russell Tiffin whilst playing for Matabeleland, however, Zimbabwe Cricket does not have the equipment to appropriately test bowlers' actions and he was allowed to play in his side's remaining two first class fixtures in the 2012-13 season.

 

A 'Cricinfo report yesterday says that in the first of those two matches the opening batsman from the other side "initially refused to face Querl in the second innings", and what it called "an anonymous source" from that side is quoted as saying: "[Queri] should not be allowed to bowl, his action is suspect and his short ball endangers the lives of the batsmen. Our umpires do not have the courage to call him [and] only one umpire has done so".

 

Taylor, 21, made his first class debut with Gloucestershire in 2010 and has since gone on to feature in twelve such games, taking to date 21 wickets at an average of 42.47.  So far this English season in four first class games he has bowled in seven of Gloucestershire's opponents eight innings, taking six wickets at an average of 41.  

 

The Unicorns side was formed in 2010 to play in the ECB's one-day, 40-over competition, its members all being players who do not have current full-time contracts with a first-class county.

 

AFRICAN OFFICIALS SUPPORTING CONTINENT'S 

U-19 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER EVENT

[PTG 1113-5417]

 

Six umpires from five African countries and a match referee from a sixth are managing games in this weeks Under-19 World Cup Qualifier event in Uganda.  The umpires are Ravi Angara of Botswana 34, Kenyans Rocky D'Mello 51 and Munir Khan 56, Emmanuel Byiringiro of Rwanda 34, Uganda's Patric Makumbi 36, and Andrew Louw of Namibia 25, the referee being Devdas Govindjee of South Africa.  

 

During the seven-day, sixteen match event, which ends on Friday, teams from Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, are competing to qualify for next February's tenth Under-19 World Cup series, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,114
Thursday, 30 May 2013

 

RAUF DENIES CORRUPTION, 

READY TO FACE ACSU PROBE

[PTG 1114-5418]

 

Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf yesterday denied a range of allegations that have been levelled against him since the Indian Premier League (IPL) scandal broke two weeks ago, and says he is ready to face any inquiry.  Rauf, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, was withdrawn from next month’s Champions Trophy (CT) in England by the ICC after media reports surfaced that he was under investigation by Indian police (PTG 1109-5396, 23 May 2013).

 

Rauf, 57, did not take questions from those who attended his press conference in Lahore, but in what was his first public comment since returning from India he stated he "vehemently" denies "allegations of match-fixing, spot-fixing, taking gifts [from bookmakers] and [receiving] any illegal money" in the IPL.  Over the last ten days Indian media reports have quoted unnamed police sources as saying Rauf was close to bookmakers and also passed match-related information to them (PTG 1113-5414, 29 May 2013).  As a result Pakistan media representatives "set up camp" outside his residence after his return from the IPL. 

 

The ICC has "not fired me" said Rauf, and he is "satisfied with [its move] to stand him down from the CT "because [the allegations] may have caused a distraction while performing my role [as an umpire]".  "The ICC took the decision in the best interests of the game and for me, and I accept that", he said.  Rauf also made clear that he is “ready to face any inquiry [the] ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit wants to conduct".  That comment came as Indian media outlets were reporting that Mumbai police sources had indicated that they were planning to ask Rauf to travel there for questioning. 

 

Unfortunately for Rauf leaks from Indian police sources continue.  A 'New India Express' report yesterday claimed the Pakistani had delivered mobile telephone SIM and calling cards to bookies in Pakistan.  They in turn provided Rauf with SIM cards "which he used to pass information about the [condition of] the pitch to the bookies", that apparently being a reference to international games not the IPL (PTG 1113-5414, 29 May 2013).  Rauf has said though that "Fixing, illegal money and gifts have never been my topic, nor my target [and such] allegations have no truth".

 

In other related developments yesterday, India's Ministry for Law and Justice announced that "various dishonest practices in sports, including spot-fixing and match-fixing" in that country, should be subject to punishments that range from 3-7 years in jail.  Last week Kapil Sibal, India's country's Law minister, said that his government plans to enact legislation to deal with "unfair practices" in sport "as soon as possible" (PTG 1111-5405, 27 May 2013).

 

SWITCH HIT A 'LEGITIMATE PART OF 

THE GAME', SAYS ICC COMMITTEE 

[PTG 1114-5419]

 

The switch-hit/reverse sweep "should remain a legitimate part of the game", says the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee.  The group, which concluded its two-day 2013 meeting in London yesterday, reached that conclusion after considering a report on the issue from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

 

According to an ICC statement the MCC's report was prepared after considering feedback from "current and former players as well as international umpires", the Lord's-based organisation calling the shot, as it has done in the past, "exciting" and "requiring a lot of skill" to execute.  However, apart from saying there should be "some leeway to the bowling side for wides when the switch-hit/reverse sweep is attempted", there was no indication a Law change in regard to LBW is on the horizon.

 

In June last year the MCC Laws sub-committee was said to be forming a "working party of experts" to gather feedback from players and officials on their views of the 'switch hit' (PTG 947-4604, 11 June 2012), and it is that group's report that is likely to have been considered by the ICC committee this week.  The MCC said after a meeting of its World Cricket Committee last August that there was "some support" then for amending the LBW Law to cover such shots, although some of the "leading" umpires consulted did not want to have to differentiate between a 'switch hit' and a 'reverse sweep' (PTG 987-4795, 3 September 2012).

 

Apart from recommendations on minimum annual Test targets (PTG 1114-5420 below) and consideration of One Day International Playing conditions (PTG 1114-5421 below), details of other issues discussed by the Cricket Committee this week are sketchy.  

 

The ICC says only that it "noted and discussed" papers relating to over-rates, saying only there has been an "improvement" in such issues in Tests, and also the progress that has been made with the development of "new technology" for the Umpire Decision Review System. Also on the table were women’s cricket, what is called "umpire performances", pink ball trials, illegal bowling actions and research into helmet safety, but just what the detail or outcome of discussions on such matters were was not made public.

 

MINIMUM ANNUAL TEST 

TARGET RECOMMENDED 

[PTG 1114-5420]

 

In yet another attempt to keep Test cricket to the fore, the International Cricket (ICC) Council's Cricket Committee is believed to have recommended that its Full Member countries play a minimum of sixteen such games over a four-year period in "order to maintain their Test status".  The committee, whose two-day 2013 meeting ended in London ended yesterday, is thought to be concerned about a number of recent examples where Tests have been deleted from tours in favour of shorter forms of the game, and particularly the effect the significant increase in the number of domestic Twenty20 leagues is having.

 

Analysis of Test matches that will have been played in the four-year period to the end of September this year shows that England leads the way with 49, then comes Australia 46, India 42, Pakistan and South Africa both 33, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies all 31, Bangladesh 18 and Zimbabwe, which only resumed as a Test-playing nation in 2011, 8.  However, if recent trends are any guide the outlook for the next four years is far less rosey.  

 

In the last year Sri Lanka and the West Indies have decided that instead of playing two Tests in the Caribbean this month they will now play a short-format tri-series with India in June-July.  Pakistan's tour of that region later this year has also seen the two Tests originally listed deleted from the tour schedule.  In addition, Tests that South Africa was to play in Sri Lanka in July-August have been removed and the tour will now consist of short-format games.

 

An ICC statement issued at the conclusion of the Cricket Committee's meeting yesterday said that the group "reiterated its support for the strategy of ensuring an optimum balance and a clear differentiation between the three formats of the game, and noted the need to ensure that Test cricket, in particular, was protected".  

 

The committee has made similar comments a number of times over the last few years, but this time it went on to "note examples during the year where Test matches had been postponed to make room for other formats of the game" and recommend side's play "a minimum number of Tests over a four-year period in order to maintain their Test status".

 

The Cricket Committee's role within the ICC system is to discuss and consult cricket-playing matters and to formulate recommendations on such matters to the ICC's Chief Executive Committee (CEC).  Recommendations from this week's London meeting will now be considered by the CEC late next month and any changes they and the ICC Board, which will meet around the same time, agree to are likely to come into effect in October.

 

NEW ODI PLAYING CONDITIONS 

A CHALLENGE, SAYS INDIAN SKIPPER 

[PTG 1114-5421]

 

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says that one of the challenges his side faces during next month's Champions Trophy series in England will be adjusting to the new Playing Conditions for One Day Internationals (ODI) that were introduced by the International Cricket Council last October (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012).  Reports since then have claimed that some captains believe the new fielding restriction and Powerplay arrangements have been unfair on bowlers, especially spinners.

 

Under the ICC's revised ODI Playing Conditions there will now be two blocks of Powerplays in internationals not three as in the past.  In an uninterrupted innings the first ten overs will count as Powerplay 1 (PP1), while Powerplay 2 (PP2) will be at the discretion of the batting side but it must be completed by the end of over number 40.  

 

Only two fielders will be allowed outside the circle in PP1 while the limit is three in PP2.  When Powerplays are not in force, in another complexity for umpires and players to keep an eye on, no more than four fielders will be permitted outside the circle .  Another change is that a bowler will be limited to two fast short-pitched deliveries per over.  Dhoni said on Monday that his side will be playing outside the subcontinent for the first time under the new rules, but that they have enough time to get used to the changes as they have two warm-up games scheduled before their opening Champions Trophy match next month.

 

Dhoni's comments were followed yesterday by news that the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee has also raised concerns about the impact of the new ODI Playing Conditions on spin bowlers. The committee, which concluded its two-day 2013 meeting in London yesterday, said in a statement that the new regulations are "producing a more attacking game" in terms of "more boundaries and more wickets", but they believe "more analysis is needed" before determining whether they should be further amended match rules in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup.

 

 

BCB AWAITING ICC REPORT 

ON BPL MATCH-FIX CLAIMS

[PTG 1114-5422]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) plans to form a three-member anti-corruption tribunal to look into alleged corruption in this year's Twenty20 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), but not until it receives a report on the matter from the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), say media stories published in Dhaka yesterday.  It was claimed earlier this week that former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful agreed to loose a BPL match this year after his side's owner allegedly promised him additional money to do so (PTG 1112-5411, 28 May 2013).

 

The world body's ACSU is said to be investigating two matches involving Ashraful's Dhaka franchise team in BPL-2 last January, not BPL-1 twelve months before that as previously reported, and Ashraful is said to have been "quizzed' "several times" by ACSU officials about the issue.  "A few other [Dhaka] players" and the side's coach, former Essex all-rounder Ian Pont, are also stated as having been questioned by ASCU officers, but Salim Chowdhury the head of the Europa Group that owns the Dhaka franchise and who allegedly asked Ashraful to loose a match or matches, reportedly has not.  

 

Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB's acting chief executive officer told reporters in Miprur on Tuesday that his board "will take action only after receiving the findings of our own investigation".  "The ICC can give us some observations but any punishment that we will impose has to be recommended by our tribunal", he said.  Current BCB sanctions for anyone found guilty of "fixing or contriving in any other way to influence match activities or outcomes" are said to range from two to five years.  Any BCB tribunal that looks into the matter can, if it so decides, also impose a fine on the player up to a maximum of the value of any monies the player receives for corrupt practices.

 

PYCROFT, LLONG FOR NETHERLANDS ODI

[PTG 1114-5423]

 

Zimbabwe's Andy Pycroft and England's Nigel Llong have been named as the neutral officials for the one-off One Day International (ODI) between the Netherlands and South Africa in Amsterdam tomorrow.  Pycroft will be the match referee in an ODI for the 83rd time while Long will umpire his 63rd, but as yet the identify of his on-field colleague and the third umpire have not been released.  The last cricket Pycroft and Llong officiated in was the Indian Premier League (PTG 1108-5395, 22 May 2013), and they will both be involved in next month's Champions Trophy series in England (PTG 1112-5412, 28 May 2013).


 

 

 End of May 2013 News file