• 'Over 20' players questioned as BPL match fixing probe grows (1115-5424).
• 'Unhappy' batsman reprimanded for 'making his frustrations clear' (1115-5425).
1,116 - 4 June [5426-5430]
• Former first class official named as new CA Umpire Educator (1116-5426).
• BCB to decide on Ashraful's 'fate' today? (1116-5427).
• New ICC Umpire Coach group gets together, still no announcement of names (1116-5428).
• Derbyshire coach under scrutiny for umpire criticisms (1116-5429).
• 'Beamers' see Scot's bowler removed from attack (1116-5430).
1,117 - 5 June [5431-5434]
• Aussie scorer, umpire programs to benefit from CA funding lift? (1117-5431).
• Bangladesh suspends match-fixing suspect pending 'full' investigation (1117-5432).
• First class milestones for three County umpires (1117-5433.
• WICUA members prepare for 26th biennial convention (1117-5434).
1,118 - 6 June [5435-5438]
• No evidence Rauf involved in match-fixing, says Mumbai Judge (1118-5435).
• May departs players' union, criticises game's governance standards (1118-5436).
• Suspended Bangladeshi asks 'forgiveness' for his actions (1118-5437).
• 'Contribution to the game' wins Bird PCA award (1118-5438).
1,119 - 7 June [5439-5443]
• No news on CPL umpires as player squads announced (1119-5439).
• Darwin appointments point to CA emerging umpires hierarchy (1119-5440).
• Ashraful probably ensnared 'at an early age', says his former coach (1119-5441).
• Batsman to face dissent charges after standing his ground? (1119-5442).
• International players' union elects new leaders (1119-5443).
1,120 - 9 June [5444-5445]
• Keeper's catch claim leads to disciplinary charge (1120-5444).
• Umpires first please, says Yorkshire league (1120-5445).
1,121 - 10 June [5446-5451]
• Adelaide being eyed for 2014-15 day-night Test, claims report (1121-5446).
• Umpire who stood in Sri Lanka's first Test dies (1121-5447).
• Two former Lankan skippers reprimanded for 'excessive appealing' (1121-5448).
• Female umpire nominated for Wellington officials' award (1121-5449).
• Batsman praised by umpires after contributing to 'quite a scene', says report (1121-5450).
• Slow over-rate results in fines for Australian side (1121-5451).
1,122 - 11 June [5452-5457]
• Two-match ban, loss of full match fee, for catch 'spirit' breach (1122-5452).
• BCCI receives interim report into alleged IPL spot fixing (1122-5453).
• Bangladesh umpire set to appeal ten-year ban (1122-5454).
• Plans for amalgamation of Lankan umpire associations appear stalled (1122-5455).
• Selections linked to request for 'favours', claim women players (1122-5456).
• Players arrested after ball breaks police car window, injures officer (1122-5457).
1,123 - 13 June [5458-5463]
• Former Lankan Test umpire dropped from IUP (1123-5458).
• ICC to again look at 'compulsory' UDRS use (1123-5459).
• Lord's Test match-fixer looses another appeal (1123-5460).
• Death of former Zimbabwean match referee (1123-5461).
• Iran conducts 'Level-0' umpire, scorer course (1123-5462).
• Gypsies stop play (1123-5463).
1,124 - 15 June [5464-5465]
• England deny ball tampering allegations (1124-5464).
• Windies players fined for slow over-rate (1124-5465).
1,125 - 19 June [5466-5468]
• Umpire asks for reduction of 10-year ban (1125-5466).
• Champions Trophy semi final appointments announced (1125-5467).
• Allow team changes when 'considerable' toss-play delays occur, says Moody (1125-5468).
1,126 - 20 June [5469-5472]
• Phone taps link Rauf to bookmakers, claims report (1126-5469).
• CA moving forward with national scorer initiative (1126-5470).
• Father sues coach over racism claims (1126-5471).
• 'Carnival' approach for Aussie domestic one-dayers still on table (1126-5472).
1,127 - 22 June [5473-5474]
• Dharmasena, Tucker to stand in Champions Trophy final (1127-5473).
• Use of native language reportedly leads to match abandonment (1127-5474).
1,128 - 23 June [5475-5478]
• CT final selections show 'strength' of Aussie umpiring, says CA (1128-5475).
• Use of red balls, timing of evening T20 games, raises safety concerns (1128-5476).
• Dominican umpires' association again re-elects its President (1128-5477).
• Council bans club from practising with 'proper cricket balls' (1128-5478).
1,129 - 25 June [5479-5484]
• CA approach to player misbehaviour 'cringingly lightweight', says journalist (1129-5479).
• English umpire's international debut a 'heart-tugging' 'surprise' (1129-5480).
• Windies, Kiwi IUP members named for European WCL-ICUP matches (1129-5481).
• Financial boost for Aussie 'grass roots' game in the pipeline (1129-5482).
• Bermudan T20 'on hold' pending technical committee review (1129-5483).
• Shootings stop play (1129-5484).
1,130 - 26 June [5485-5489]
• Bowden, Rauf dropped from EUP (1130-5485).
• Aussies, Englishmen, former first class players, dominate 13-14 EUP (1130-5486).
• Reiffel becomes seventh Aussie appointed to ICC Elite Panel (1130-5487).
• Tenth anniversary of umpiring marked by EUP appointment (1130-5488).
• Promotions leave vacancies on IUP, Aussie domestic panel (1130-5489).
1,131 - 26 June [5490-5493]
• CA elevates Tasmanian to Aussie national panel (1131-5490).
• Reiffel set sights on EUP membership when he started umpiring (1131-5491).
• BPL corruption investigation report to be tabled at ICC conference (1131-5492).
• New CA 'emerging' panel appointments strategy under the microscope (1131-5493).
1,132 - 27 June [5494-5497]
• NZ umpire chief 'surprised' at Bowden's EUP sacking, supports come-back (1132-5494).
• ICC Unit calls for stronger national anti-corruption laws (1132-5495).
• Kiwi umpires, scorers group planning electronic newsletter (1132-5496).
• 'Beamers' result in reprimand for bowler (1132-5497).
1,133 - 28 June [5498-5502]
• New ICC Umpire Coach names released in low-key announcement (1132-5498).
• 'Unity of purpose' biggest challenge for Caribbean association? (1132-5499).
• FICA-ICC still at odds over 'Sivar' appointments background (1132-5500).
• Neutral officials named for early tri-nation games (1132-5501).
• Former Test, ODI umpires to lead Muscat Level 2 course (1132-5502).
1,134 - 29 June [5503-5504]
• Umpire's inability to pay fee leads to rejection of ban appeal (1132-5503).
1,135 - 30 June [5505-5508]
• Expansion of 2014-15 EUP candidate pool needed? (1135-5505).
• Little flexibility for ICC in Ashes umpire selections. (1135-5506).
• Where to from here for Indian umpires? (1135-5507).
PLAYING THE GAME
Saturday, 1 June 2013
'OVER 20' PLAYERS QUESTIONED AS BPL
MATCH FIXING PROBE GROWS
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was reported this week to have agreed to loose a Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match (PTG 1112-5411, 28 May 2013), is now said to have first become involved in spot-fixing activities in a One Day International (ODI) in 2004, a match against India that was Bangladesh's first ODI win against senior opponents. Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper is reporting this morning that Ashraful was paid 550,000 Bangladesh Taka ($A7,400) for the ODI work.
The 'New Age' story goes on to indicate that Ashraful is also alleged to have received 700,000 ($A9,400) for activities in a Test in 2009, although he had to return the money as he was unable to provide the services allegedly required. In addition, the claim is made that he received "a handsome amount" from "a bookie called Gandhi" for his involvement in spot-fixing in the 2009 Twenty20 World Championship series (T20WC) and the Sri Lankan Premier League (SPL) in 2012.
Gandhi, who is said to have been introduced to Ashraful in 2007, allegedly paid him $A10,000 to score a set number of runs in a stipulated number of overs in an SPL game, handing over the money "even though" the batsman was unable to "do the job". Ashraful is said to have "repaid him" in the T20WC though when he scored "as required", an achievement for which he is alleged to have been paid 2,500,000 Taka ($A33,500).
Since his international debut in 2001 at the age of just 16, Ashraful, now 28, has played 61 Tests, 177 ODIs and 23 Twenty20 Internationals, his overall figures being 133 first class, 229 List A, and 64 Twenty20 games. Of the latter format he has played one match each in the Indian Permier League (IPL) and SPL in 2009 and 2012 respectively, and 26 in the BPL over the last two years, his side Dhaka winning the latter competition on both occasions.
Ashraful is reported by 'New Age' to have "confessed" to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) that he was introduced to match-fixers by two other former national skippers Khaled Mahmud and Khaled Mashud, and former spinner Mohammad Rafique. However, in a separate 'New Age' article today both Mahumd and Rafique deny the allegations made against them and say they want an immediate investigation into the matter. Ashraful has previously alleged that Mahmud, as the coach of the BPL's Chittagong franchise side Ashraful claimed he deliberately lost to, was involved in that activity, but Mahmud has specifically rejected that assertion (PTG 1112-5411, 28 May 2013).
Ismail Haider Mallick, the BPL's secretary and an official of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), told an Indian media outlet yesterday that the BCB "hired ICC officials [from the ACSU] at a cost of 20 million Taka ($A250,000), to monitor the BPL's second edition earlier this year.
This morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' has a story from London's 'Daily Telegraph' by journalists Paul Bolton and Nick Hoult that has an ICC spokesman confirming it has launched an inquiry into "allegations of suspicious activities" in the BPL, The story says that "more than 20 players from around the world" are being quizzed as part of what is called the "ICC's biggest investigation into match fixing". Early suspicions are said to have fallen on two matches involving eventual winners Dhaka, Ashraful's side, that had "unusual betting patterns surrounding a run-out in a match against Chittagong and slow scoring in another match against Barisal".
The ICC set up its ACSU a decade ago in the wake of the Hansie Cronje affair. But says the 'Telegraph' story, "this investigation is different [for] detectives have been speaking to players all over the world about a sophisticated spot-fixing ring that may involve team officials as well as players". That "raises concerns about the vulnerability of Twenty 20 cricket and coincides with a big investigation in India into the IPL", concludes the article (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013).
'UNHAPPY' BATSMAN REPRIMANDED FOR
'MAKING HIS FRUSTRATIONS CLEAR'
Northamptonshire offbreak bowler James Middlebrook has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for showing dissent towards the umpires in his side's 40-over one-day match against Warwickshire on Monday. Reports say the 36-year-old was unhappy at being given out caught and "made his frustrations clear" as he was leaving the field, says a Northampton newspaper report.
Middlebrook was reported by umpires Richard Illingworth and Ismail Dawood for two Level 1 breaches of the ECB's disciplinary code. The first was for "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action" and the second for "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture".
Under the ECB system the penalty for the initial Level 1 offence was a reprimand and for the second three penalty points. Both penalties will remain on Middlebrook’s record for a period of two years and should he accumulate nine or more penalty points in any two-year period it will result in an automatic suspension.
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
FORMER FIRST CLASS OFFICIALS NAMED
AS NEW CA UMPIRE EDUCATOR
Melbourne-based Bob Parry, a former first class umpire and currently the Umpire Manager with both Cricket Victoria (CV) and the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region, has been appointed as Cricket Australia's (CA) new Umpire Educator. As yet no publicity has been given to Parry's selection for a position that has been vacant since his predecessor Denis Burns left four-and-a-half weeks ago, reportedly to take up an ICC Umpire Coach role (PTG 1101-5364, 8 May 2013).
When it was advertised in March, selection criteria for what is now Parry's new job called for it to "be responsible for the development and implementation of umpire training resources and professional development programs to meet the needs of Australian Cricket". The person chosen was 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" (PTG 1082-5273, 29 March 2013).
Parry, who turned 60 last January, commenced his umpiring career in the early 1990s in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association and was a member of CA's top domestic National Umpires Panel (NUP) for 11 years from 2001-12. Around the same time he joined the NUP he commenced as deputy to then CV Umpire Manager Bob Stratford, and was elevated to the senior position in June 2008 when Straford left to work for the ICC (PTG 261-1414, 24 June 2008); at the same time becoming a member of CA's Technical Committee. Two years ago this month he added the EAP role to those of his CV and NUP positions (PTG 772-3778, 9 June 2011), managing all three jobs for almost two years until his retirement from the NUP in March last year (PTG 919-4475, 23 March 2012).
Melbourne-born Parry made his debut at first-class level in December 1998 and went on to stand in 83 such matches, four of them finals of Australia's domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield, and he also worked as the television umpire in 10 other first class games, 7 of which were Tests. As a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel Parry worked in 34 One Day Internationals, 30 of them being as the third umpire; and there were also 60 other one-dayers, 45 being in Australian one-day competitions, two of those finals, plus three Twenty20 Internationals. Two years ago he was awarded a CV Umpire Achievement Award for passing the 400 match mark as an umpire across club, interstate and international cricket (PTG 753-3695, 5 April 2011).
When he retired from the NUP, then CA Acting General Manager Cricket Operations Geoff Allardice, who now fills a similar role with the ICC in Dubai, talked of what he called Parry's "passion" for the "development, education and training of the next generation of umpires". Allardice went on to mention his work as "a mentor to a number of promising umpires", including some who have been the recipients of an the Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship in recent years (PTG 1070-5203, 2 March 2013).
As yet there is no indication Parry is to relinquish either his CV or EAP roles, although in all probability he will. The ability of Burns to perform the Umpire Educator role was, in the view of many observers, compromised in part by the fact that he had to split his duties between it and as a member of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, a situation the national body has acknowledged (PTG 1082-5273, 29 March 2013). That and the fact that Parry will have a heavy program of work in his new role, especially as the job will have been vacant for two months by the time he arrives, means both the CV and EAP positions will fall vacant.
When he takes up the national Umpire Educator job next month Parry won't have far to move for CA's head office is only 200 m along the same road from CV's headquarters. One of his first tasks is likely to be to attend, along with a yet to be selected umpire educator from one of Australia's states, the ICC's reported Umpire Coach training course in India (PTG 1113-5415, 29 May 2013).
BCB TO DECIDE ASHRAFUL'S
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) may "seal the fate" of batsman Mohammad Ashraful at an "emergency meeting" later today following his confession of match-fixing to the International Cricket Council's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), says a story in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning (PTG 1115-5424, 1 June 2013). Two ACSU members are reported to have spent several days in Bangladesh late last week in regard to an alleged match-fixing scandal in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), and to have met with the BCB president Nazmul Hasan prior to their departure.
Salim Chowdhury the owner, and Shihab Chowdhury the managing director, of the BPL's Dhaka franchise, whose team Ashraful led during the league's second season, are said to have asked their captain "to give up some matches and use certain bowlers during the overs in question" (PTG 1112-54511, 28 May 2013). The pair reportedly had a meeting with Ashraful prior to the tournament getting underway where it is alleged they promised to clear the dues owed to the players from the BPL's first edition 18 months ago if he managed to fix some matches.
Both are said to have "vehemently denied the allegations" made by Ashraful, but in the words of the 'New Age' article, "their involvement in the affair became further clear when their bowling coach Mohammad Rafique accused them of match-fixing". The ACSU are said to have talked with Shihab Chowdhury and others from the franchise over the last few days, but Salim Chowdhury was reportedly out of the country and not available to meet the ICC pair.
Apart from Nazmul, who is expected to brief his BCB colleagues at today's meeting, acting BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury and BPL secretary Ismail Haider Mallick, all other BCB officials are said to have been kept "in the dark" about an ACSU investigation that 'New Age' says "has been going on for quite sometime". Chowdhury is quoted as telling journalists yesterday that the ASCU members "have left for Dubai [and] we are not sure if they will come again".
Despite claims that the BCB may "seal" Ashraful's fate today, Nizamuddin Chowdhury the BCB's acting chief executive officer, told reporters in Miprur a week ago that his board "will take action [against anyone] only after receiving the findings of our own investigation" which as far as it is known has not yet been set up. He said last Tuesday that "The ICC can give us some observations but any punishment that we will impose has to be recommended by our tribunal" (PTG 1114-5422, 30 May 2013).
Meanwhile, London's 'Mail on Sunday' carried an story in this week's edition that talks of an agent of one of the English players involved in this year's BPL, who it does not name, as saying he is "not surprised the [BPL] is little more than a money-laundering operation". "There was a saying, especially among some businessmen I met who were involved in [BPL] franchises, that there was only one way to make money in the tournament and that wasn’t by winning", the "implication [being] that fixing matches was the only way to make large sums of money".
According to the unnamed player agent, he "was able to travel to and from games on board the team coach and admitted to being shocked at the proximity and access franchise owners and other unidentified figures were able to gain to players". "I was surprised I was able to use my mobile phone so easily. A couple of times I was told to turn it off by tournament officials, but on the whole I was able to use it pretty much whenever and wherever I wanted to", continued the player agent.
ACSU officials were present at the ICC sanctioned event last January, the BCB paying the world body 20 million Bangladesh Taka ($A250,000), to monitor proceedings. But according to the player agent "there was one ACSU official at each match and the consensus was that there was so much going on that he had absolutely no chance of keeping on top of everything". Their's "was a thankless task" and while "none of the English players I spoke to [were] approached directly there was a strong undercurrent that stuff was going on". "A couple of players talked about getting knocks on the door of their hotel rooms in the middle of the night and being offered large sums of money to bowl no balls or wides at certain times", he said.
NEW ICC UMPIRE COACH GROUP GETS TOGETHER,
STILL NO ANNOUNCEMENT OF NAMES
Members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new Umpire Coach group attended "an orientation course" at the ICC's headquarters in Dubai over several days last week according to their boss, the world body's Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), Australian Simon Taufel, however, just who makes up that group has still not been announced. Following the course, which was probably centred on inducting the four coaches into ICC employment, Taufel and his staff travelled to London for what he says in a blog is "the Champions Trophy tournament and related workshop".
The focus of most of Taufel's latest blog is the last few weeks of the Indian Premier League (IPL), his fifth such competition in five years in which he worked in 13 matches, 12 on the field including a fifth-straight final (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013), as well as an umpire coach and mentor for the Indian umpires involved, continuing work on his UPTM role (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013), and as a television commentator (PTG 1094-5326, 2 April 2013).
It is not surprising therefore that Taufel talks of a particularly busy time over the last few weeks of the IPL and of the travelling the 150 km by road between Pune and Mumbai six times, which due to traffic problems "was especially challenging at times", the first such journey taking six hours because of a traffic accident. On that occasion he says "it was certainly nice to finally get to our destination, unpack and get on with the job", then he goes on to ask the question: "who said they wanted a life in professional sport jet setting around the globe?"
After this week in London, Taufel will return to Australia for the first time in ten weeks, and he looks forward to having a "break and experienc[ing] some of the simple things in life – a home cooked meal, my own bed and pillow and being a husband and parent". When he left the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel last year, Taufel said in a statement that he had taken the decision to retire because he wanted to spend more time with his family, an issue he frequently talked about publicly in the years prior to that (PTG 995-4833, 27 September 2012).
DERBYSHIRE COACH UNDER SCRUTINY
FOR UMPIRE CRITICISMS
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is said to be "investigating" Derbyshire's head coach Karl Krikken’s criticism of umpires Neil Bainton and Nigel Cowley after Sunday’s drawn County Championship match against Surrey, according to London 'Daily Telegraph' journalist Paul Bolton. Krikken is said to have claimed that former Australia batsman Ricky Ponting, who made 192 on his Surrey debut, "should have been given out LBW" on two occasions on Saturday afternoon shortly after he had reached his 50 at Derby.
Bolton states that Krikken suggested Ponting had survived because "of his standing in the game" and that Derbyshire had been on the wrong end of umpiring decisions because of their reputation for being “a small-town club”. The ECB is said to have confirmed that Krikken’s criticisms were being scrutinised and that disciplinary action for his comments on umpiring decisions had not been ruled out. “We are looking into the matter but no decision has been made yet on whether any action will be taken", runs a quote attributed to an ECB spokesman.
Former Derbyshire wicketkeeper Krikken has publicly criticised umpiring decisions previously this northern summer. He was unhappy with some decisions when his side lost to Yorkshire at Headingley in early May, particularly a second-innings LBW decision against captain Wayne Madsen. At the time he was quoted as saying that “There were a couple of absolutely awful decisions", and claimed that one LBW decision "was missing by six inches down the leg side".
'BEAMERS' SEE SCOTS BOWLER
REMOVED FROM ATTACK
Scotland medium pacer Calvin Burnett was taken out of his side's attack during their 40-over one-day game against Essex in Chelmsford on Sunday. Umpire Steve Garratt asked Scotland's skipper Preston Mommsen to remove the 22-year-old after the bowler had been called twice for beamers in the first four deliveries of what was his sixth over in Essex's innings.
While the Laws of Cricket require umpires to remove a bowler after they deliver a third non-deliberate full pitched ball, England and Wales Cricket Board Playing Conditions for domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 games have been amended such that bowler's are only given a "first and final warning" before being taken off, as was the case with Burnett.
PLAYING THE GAME
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
AUSSIE SCORER, UMPIRE PROGRAMS
TO BENEFIT FROM CA FUNDING LIFT?
Cricket Australia (CA) is expected to earn at least $A170m annually over the next five years from team sponsorship arrangements and new broadcast rights contracts for international and domestic matches played in Australia that were announced yesterday. The broadcast contracts will see CA paid almost $A120m a year for telecasts of its home international and domestic matches played between now and 2018, a result that is almost treble the monies it received under arrangements that previously applied, however, just how much of that windfall will find its way to umpiring and scoring budgets remains to be seen.
In announcing the new television deal yesterday, CA's chief executive officer James Sutherland said the revenue jump provides an "enhanced ability to invest in cricket development from the grassroots up". Sutherland, who has spoken about the importance of grass roots cricket in the recent past (PTG 1095-5329, 27 April 2013), said that as a result of the funding boost CA "will accelerate its work encouraging more kids, females, indigenous Australians and Australians of non-English-speaking backgrounds to play and follow cricket", and that it "wants to improve the support available to grassroots cricket at a community club level".
Funding support that will be available in CA's 2013-14 budget for scorer and umpiring activities will obviously underpin just what initiatives will be able to proceed, and how far, in the year ahead. On-going programs that need further work include: support for CA's umpire pathway; improvements to the coordination and support of umpire coaching programs and the uniformity of their presentation and application across Australia; the provision of on-line learning; improvements to communications with the Australia-wide umpiring community; and identifying and providing solutions to the recruitment and retention challenges that exist for umpires and scorer associations in most parts of the country.
In addition to that on-going work program CA's female umpire initiative, which came to light last month (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013), currently has question marks against it as to just where funding for the initiative will come from, and additional resources will also been needed for CA's reported plans to develop and roll out nationally coordinated training and accreditation systems for scorers (PTG 1104-5379, 16 May 2013).
Under the new broadcast arrangements that will provide the extra monies for CA, Australia's Channel Nine, which has held CA's television rights for over 30 years, will broadcast the country's home Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International matches until the end of the 2017-18 summer in a deal worth $A500m, while Channel Ten the other bidder won the rights to televise CA's domestic Twenty20 competition over the same period for a total close to $A90m.
The battle between the two companies for the rights fuelled the bidding process, and as a result Nine is to pay $A100m a year plus around $A10 million annually in free advertising, more than double the $A45m annual fee it paid under the previous contract. When added to monies that will flow to CA under new sponsorship arrangements for its internationals sides, CA’s domestic and international rights to telecast each summer’s cricket for the next five years adds up to more than $A840 million, a figure that does not include extra revenue from CA's share of the revenue from events that its teams take part in.
BANGLADESH SUSPENDS MATCH-FIXING
SUSPECT PENDING 'FULL' INVESTIGATION
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday suspended former national skipper Mohammad Ashraful pending the receipt of a "full report" into match-fixing activities he has reportedly confessed to being involved in (PTG 1116-5427, 4 June 2013). Ashraful was allegedly paid about one million Bangladesh Taka ($A12,800) to lose two Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) matches in February this year, one between his Dhaka team and Chittagong and the other against Barisal.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan is quoted as saying yesterday that given Ashraful has confessed to members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about his involvement in fixing in this year's BPL event, "he should not be allowed to play any level of cricket until we get a full report of the investigation" from the ICC. Hassan went on to say that he had spoken with Ashraful who told him he had "confessed everything to the ACSU". The suspension "is not punishment", said Hassan, rather "a temporary measure".
During the ACSU´s BPL probe the officials involved are said to have discovered allegations of fixing during some international matches, said Hassan, and that has promoted a wider investigation (PTG 1115-5424, 1 June 2013). "This is not limited to the BPL", continued Hassan, before going on to state that "the ICC itself will launch a full-fledged massive investigation into those allegations", but he did not give any details. Hassan is said to have made that comment after he was asked about a recent newspaper report that alleged Ashraful was involved in fixing games in the Sri Lankan Premier League, a series in which he only played one game.
Ashraful, 28, became Test cricket´s youngest centurion in 2001 at the age of 17 and captained Bangladesh from 2007-09, a period in which he led the side in 13 Tests, 38 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 11 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I). All-up he has played 61 Tests, 177 ODIs and 23 T20Is for his country.
FIRST CLASS MILESTONES FOR
THREE COUNTY UMPIRES
English first class umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Richard Illingworth have chalked up milestones over the last month or so, the former standing in his 200th game at that level in late May and the latter his 100th in April. Next Wednesday at Trent Bridge former international umpire Mark Benson will notch up his 150th in the game between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, while on the List A front David Millns will be on the field as an umpire for the 50th time in that format in Southend two Sunday's from now when the Unicorns play Middlesex.
Illingworth has been named to stand in the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) England and New Zealand are to play at The Oval late this month after the Champions Trophy (CT) ends, his eighth and ninth T20Is on the field. Rob Bailey will stand with Illingworth in the first game, his eighth T20I, while Tim Robinson will work as the third umpire in that game before being on-field in the T20I for the first time in the second fixture. Michael Gough, the fourth English member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, will be the third umpire in match two of the T20I series, having made his debut in that role when England played South Africa last September.
Robinson, 54, will today stand in a senior international for the first time when England and New Zealand complete their three-match One Day International (ODI) series at The Oval. He is no stranger to being on the field in an ODI though having played 26 such matches for England from 1984-88, the last of which was at The Oval, and he also played 29 Tests for his country, two of those also being at that ground.
In other ECB appointments umpires Paul Baldwin and Ismail Dawood have been appointed to two and one of the 21 County Championship first class matches that are to be played in June, joining their Reserve List colleagues Russell Evans, Graham Lloyd and Alex Wharf who stood in such games earlier in the season (PTG 1110-5402, 24 May 2013). Baldwin will be in Bristol today with Full List member Peter Harley and in Chelmsford with Michael Gough this time next week, while Dawood, who was also allocated a match late in May, will stand in a second for the season with Millns in Northampton today.
WICUA MEMBERS PREPARE FOR
26TH BIENNIAL CONVENTION
Former first class umpire Dhieranidranauth Somwaru, the current President of the Guyana Cricket Umpires Council, heads the list of umpires from his country who are to attend the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association's (WICUA) 26th biennial convention which is to be held in Trinidad and Tobago from 28 June to 6 July, says the Georgetown newspaper the 'Kaieteur News'.
During the convention those present will reportedly observe the 50th anniversary of the WICUA, what are described simply as "issues affecting umpires in the Caribbean", playing conditions and umpires fees, and there will also be the elections of office bearers for the next two years.
The WICUA is made up of member bodies from Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands (Antigua, Anguilla, Montserrrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands), Trinidad and Tobago, the Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent), plus Canada and the United States of America.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 6 June 2013
NO EVIDENCE RAUF INVOLVED IN
MATCH-FIXING, SAYS MUMBAI JUDGE
A court in Mumbai yesterday released six of the fifteen people police have detained so far for alleged involvement in Indian Premier League (IPL) match-fixing activities, the judge saying police had presented "no evidence" that they had charges of "forgery and cheating" to answer. That news came as the International Cricket Council (ICC) tightened security ahead of today's Champions Trophy start, and the acting head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suggested that mobile phone jammers at stadiums and a built-in five-minute delay between match action and the broadcast of images on television would "paralyse the bookie-network [and] clean up cricket".
Two of those released yesterday were Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan a senior manager with the IPL's Chennai franchise. Vindoo injected Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf's name into the IPL controversy by suggesting he had links with alleged bookmaker brothers Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur (PTG 1109-5396, 23 May 2013), and that they had provided the umpire with gifts. The court said there was no proof anything valuable had been exchanged, and Rauf himself has denied taking gifts from bookmakers (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013). The judge went on to specifically state there is no evidence Rauf had any link with match fixing and also noted the prosecution had accepted Meiyappan was not involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing.
Despite the court's assessment, a police "source" in New Delhi has alleged that the Jaipur brothers make very large sums of money from cricket betting. They are said to have "strong links with politicians, industrialists, cricketers and Bollywood celebrities" and also hold "a stake" in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SPL) "in the name of another person". Nishantha Ranatunga, the secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, said last week that his organisation is ready to assist investigations into suggestions Indian bookmakers may have been involved with SPL franchises during last August's inaugural event.
As reports of the Mumbai court's decision became available, others from London said that the ICC has been working to further tighten security ahead of today's start of the Champions Trophy, a series the ICC stood Rauf down from (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013). Under those arrangements, players will have to surrender their mobile phones when they board the team coach to travel to matches and ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) officials will monitor behaviour around the hotels. In addition, members of each of the eight teams involved and their support staff, have been given an hour-long presentation by ACSU officials on how to "spot danger signs" and who they should contact if they have any concerns.
Meanwhile, the suggestions on mobile phone jammers and delays in the broadcast of television pictures made by acting BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, a former ICC president and also the current president of the Bengal Cricket Association, generally received the thumbs down across the sub-continent. Television companies expressed their concern while other observers are of the view that such actions will not prevent fixing activities as they can be organised well before a game gets underway.
MAY DEPARTS PLAYERS' UNION, CRITICISES
GAMES' GOVERNANCE STANDARDS
Former Australian off spinner Tim May yesterday resigned as the head of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) or players' union after eight years, and in doing so he strongly criticised the sport's leaders and what he called "threats, intimidation and backroom deals". Last month May lost the place he previously occupied on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee amid allegations of pressure from India and he said on his departure from FICA he was tired of battling the governing body (PTG 1104-5376, 16 May 2013).
May said that "More and more we see allegations of corruption and malpractice on and off the field dominating headlines". "As stakeholders in the game [FICA looks] to leadership from the ICC to address these and other issues". "A vital ingredient of any organisation is the ability of its leaders to set the moral and principled example to others, and to police its organisation from top to bottom to ensure adherence to those principles", he continued. "Yet cricket increasingly seems to be pushing aside the principles of transparency, accountability, independence, and upholding the best interests of the global game, in favour of a system that appears to operate through threats, intimidation and backroom deals".
The now former FICA chairman has previously challenged all national cricket boards on issues ranging from tour scheduling to the Woolf report which was aimed at revamping the governance of the ICC. May said it had been a privilege working on behalf of players but "over the past 18 months or so, I came to the realisation that I was tiring of working in a sport that was increasingly at odds with the principles I respect". "I trust that my successor will enjoy a climate where those on the ICC Executive Board who are strong and principled, will push for change and remember the primary responsibilities of an ICC director is to serve the best interests of the global game".
SUSPENDED BANGLADESHI ASKS
'FORGIVENESS' FOR HIS ACTIONS
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who has admitted to spot and match-fixing and been suspended from playing for Bangladesh while an International Cricket Council (ICC) report into corruption claims is finalised, has made a public apology for his actions (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013). On Tuesday, Ashraful told a television interviewer in Dhaka in what were his first public comments since the story broke, that he is "ashamed" and seeks "forgiveness from [the Bangladesh public] for all the wrong-doings that I have committed".
Ashraful, who broke down during the interview, said that he had "come clean to the ICC investigating team and co-operated with them completely". "I admitted to the ICC's [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU)] about all the wrongdoings that I had committed during [my] 12-year career", continued Ashraful. "I should not have done this injustice to the nation [and] I feel guilty". "I had lots of fans following me and a lot of people used to love me but I betrayed them", he added, before saying "Please, everyone forgive me, my conduct was improper".
The 28-year-old, who indicated he was first question by ICC officers when he returned from Zimbabwe a month ago, said he always felt it was "necessary to tell everything to the ICC" but insisted that he had previously "never got the chance". "I confessed it all for the sake of cricket [but if] I was quizzed earlier I would have admitted" what went on, he said. "May be I have committed a few wrongs during my career", but "I always wanted to tell them [as] I never wanted to feel guilty and tried to remain as honest as I could and perform to the best of my abilities for my country".
Yesterday, Ashraful told the 'New Age' newspaper that he feels relieved after making his apology as it had helped him to "drain out a burden". Some media reports claim that his tearful television confession has earned him more sympathy than hate around the country, and in the words of one story there are "questions [as to] whether the [Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)] has made him a scapegoat to save others [who are] involved in the affair". "It is obvious Ashraful acted at the instruction of some one and was helped by some other players to carry out the instructions", runs the claim.
Ashraful's Dhaka franchise broke its silence yesterday by indicating "it will accept punishment" if it is proven to be guilty of match-fixing. A statement issued by the franchise criticised a number of former players who it says have made misleading claims about its actions on television talk shows. It also said that franchise chairman Salim Chowdhury, who has been criticised for not talking to ASCU personnel, was not interviewed because he was "away on a business trip". "[The chairman later] contacted the ICC by himself after learning that he was being looked for", said the statement.
BCB president Nazmul Hasan indicated on Tuesday that he expects to receive the ICC's report "within a week". He told reporters that ICC "investigators have interviewed a lot of people in Bangladesh and elsewhere [and] they just have one more interview pending".
'CONTRIBUTION TO THE GAME'
WINS BIRD PCA AWARD
Retired English umpire 'Dickie' Bird, who turned 80 in April, was presented with a 'Special Merit Award' during the UK Professional Cricketers Association's (PCA) annual awards dinner which was held in the Long Room at Lord's last week. Bird who both played and umpired at first class level, was presented with the PCA award in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the game".
Bird played 93 first-class and two List A matches with Leicestershire and Yorkshire over the nine years from 1956-64, then as an umpire stood in a total of 503 first class and 491 List A games in the period from 1970-98, a record that includes 66 Tests and 69 One Day Internationals (ODI); the latter including the first three World Cup finals in 1975, 1979 and 1983, and the Champions Trophy deciders of 1988 and 1993. Also on his umpiring record are women's ODIs, some in the World Cup of 1982, and Under-19 Test and ODIs.
The PCA says that "Dickie is held in great affection by all those who have played and watched the game". He has long been "a supporter of [the association's] work, and has been generous with his time and testimony in helping to raise awareness of the work done by the PCA Benevolent Fund". The Fund's aim is to help current and former players and their dependants "in times of hardship, upheaval or to readjust to the world beyond the game".
NO NEWS ON CPL UMPIRES AS
PLAYER SQUADS ANNOUNCED
Playing squads for the six franchises who are to take part in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament were named on Wednesday, but as yet there is no news whether West Indians will be engaged to look after the referee and umpire duties involved, or some or all will come from the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) or elsewhere, as has been the case in similar domestic events in Bangladesh and India. CPL organisers are yet to reply to several requests by 'PTG' for information as to just what their plan regarding match officials is, and other knowledgable individuals in the region say they have heard no details.
CPL-1 is due to run over 26 days starting on 30 July and involve a total of 24 games, 21 round-robin, two semi finals and the final itself, not the 30 games originally envisaged (PTG 1100-5356, 7 May 2013). Schedules show the round-robin games have been organised into three separate sets of seven matches each, the first spread between Barbados and Guyana, the second Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, and the third Antigua and Jamaica, the event returning to Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago for the three finals.
That structure and logistics issues suggests that two match referees and six umpires for the on-field and television positions will be needed. They appear likely to work in two groups each made up of a referee and three umpires, with fourth umpire positions being non-travelling ones that are expected to be filled by West Indian umpires from each of the six playing locations.
While the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has made a number of significant changes to its umpiring panels over the last few years in order to improve standards (PTG 994-4845, 1 October 2012), and signed on to umpiring exchanges with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board, not everyone appears convinced that the standards there are as yet fully at the level required. This is illustrated by the ECB's decision in the four years their exchange with the WICB has operated not to appoint Caribbean visitors there to full County first class games, limiting them instead to what some described as "second-tier" first class matches full County sides play against university-based teams.
Five years ago when the third and last Stanford Twenty20 series was played in Antigua, the size of the prize money on offer led the organisers to go beyond Caribbean umpires and contract then EUP 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.
The last of the five One Day Internationals Sri Lanka and South Africa have scheduled for next month is to be played in Sri Lanka on the CPL's second day, and during the rest of the Caribbean tournament the only other full international matches the ICC currently has listed are the third, fourth and fifth Tests between England and Australia. With the ICC's policy of appointing neutral umpires from the EUP to such games, at least half of that group are unlikely to have any commitments to international games during the time the CPL will be underway.
DARWIN APPOINTMENTS POINT TO
CA EMERGING UMPIRES HIERARCHY
Umpiring appointments for the tri-nation Under-19 series in the Northern Territory later this month appear to provide a hint as to how Cricket Australia (CA) rates the five members of its current emerging umpires group. Teams from Australia, India, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will be action in Darwin in a series that is a key part of Australia's senior umpiring pathway this year (PTG 1111-5408, 27 May 2013).
Of the five umpires chosen for the event reports indicate that four, New South Welshmen Greg Davidson and Tony Wilds, Shawn Craig of Victoria and and Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith, will take part in week one, with Graham-Smith remaining for week two when he will be joined by Richard Patterson, another Victorian.
All-up Australia, India, New Zealand will play each other twice during the tournament with the teams that finish first and second after that playing a 'final'. PNG will play those sides once each in week one only. Seven games are scheduled for week one, four involving either Australia, India, New Zealand, and three when PNG plays those three sides once each. In week two there will be three matches, all involving the three main sides, two of them the last round-robin games and a third the final which Graham-Smith and Richard Patterson will oversee.
The structure of the selections for Darwin plus other appointments over the last year suggest that Patterson, 47, who stood in 22 first class matches from 1999-2004, and Graham-Smith, 42, currently head CA's list of emerging umpires ahead of Craig, Davidson and Wilds. What is less clear is whether Western Australian Nathan Johnstone, who has been a member of CA's emerging group for the last three years and will not be taking part in the Darwin event, remains in contention for possible elevation to CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP).
Should current NUP member Paul Reiffel be elevated to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this month as many anticipate, the question is who would replace him on the 12-man NUP. Johnstone, who is yet to stand in a first class game, may have already been pencilled in for the NUP by CA, however, it is also possible Patterson with his previous higher-level experience could be the next NUP member. Whatever the situation many observers are hoping CA will give those at the head of its emerging group this year more exposure to higher-level games than was the case for Johnstone and Patterson last season (PTG 1088-5297, 12 April 2013).
If Reiffel joins the EUP, whoever is promoted to the NUP this year will join the other eleven currently on the national panel. Of them, for Ian Lock it will be his his eleventh season on the NUP, Simon Fry and John Ward their ninth, the sixth for Mick Martell and Tony Ward, Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua their fifth, Ash Barrow and Paul Wilson number four, and Damien Mealey and Sam Nogajski their second.
In addition to umpires, another CA area where there are questions is in regard to membership of the national body's Umpire High Performance Panel for the 2013-14 austral summer, a group that has the joint task of refereeing matches and observing and reporting on umpire performance. Two positions on that five-member group are currently vacant and some are of the view that former Australian international umpire Daryl Harper is likely to be a prime candidate for one, but just who will fill the other is less clear. Current Victorian State Director of Umpires Bob Parry was thought a possibility but he was named as CA's new Umpire Educator last week (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013).
Further up the umpiring chain beyond Australia there is still considerable speculation as to just who, if anyone, will leave the EUP this year, with Australian Steve Davis or Tony Hill of New Zealand being thought by many as probable candidates in age terms alone (PTG 1102-5369, 10 May 2013 ).
The ICC though has an extra complication this year as another current EUP member, Asad Rauf of Pakistan, was pulled from the current Champions League series by them because of allegations he was involved in appropriate activities in the recent Indian Premier league series. While nothing has been proven against him to date (PTG 1118-5435, 6 June 2013), Indian police investigations appear on-going and the ICC is unlikely to allow him to return to EUP duties until they are convinced such matters are appropriately cleared up.
ASHRAFUL PROBABLY ENSNARED 'AT
'AN EARLY AGE', SAYS HIS FORMER COACH
Former Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons says his former captain Mohammad Ashraful, who admitted to match- and spot-fixing in the Bangladesh Premier League after being suspended by his national board on Tuesday, shouldn't be judged too harshly for his involvement in match-fixing as he was probably ensnared by the "powerful beast of underworld gambling" at an early age. Siddons, who now coaches in New Zealand, told the 'Dominion Post' he alerted the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to the threat of spot fixing whilst the country's coach from 2007-11.
Siddons is quoted as saying that Ashraful's involvement is "disappointing but I don't think it's surprising [for] the underworld [of] gambling is a powerful beast" and that "young players were often vulnerable to financial temptation". Spot fixing wasn't uncommon in Bangladeshi cricket in his time, suggested Siddons, saying that "People like Ashraful's [have][ got fifteen people living in his house, he feeds probably five families and on a cricketer's wage". "Its "a different world [in Bangladesh] than we live in [and] it's a tough world for him", he said.
The former Bangladesh coach says he is disappointed for Ashraful, who made a public apology and asked "foregiveness" for his actions on Tuesday (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013). "He's a great young kid", said Siddons, but thinks he was probably "sought out by the match-fixers while still in his teens". As such SiddonsI feels "a bit sorry for him", but he doesn't "condone [his actions] at all".
Meanwhile, reports from Dhaka yesterday claim there is uncertainty in some legal quarters about whether Bangladesh's existing laws are enough to bring a criminal case against Ashraful.
Just over a week ago the BCB said it planned to seek advice from the country's Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, to determine whether a new law could be introduced to combat sports crime (PTG 1111-5405, 27 May 2013). Jalal Yunus, the chairman of the BCB’s media and communication committee was quoted as saying at the time that "we have to take tough measures to fight against this ill-practice and it requires new guidelines from the Law ministry".
ICC chief executive David Richardson indicated yesterday that he wants jail sentences for anyone who tries to influence the outcome of a match. Richardson told the BBC's Test Match Special: "We want to lobby governments to make it a serious criminal offence to approach a player or try to have an influence on the outcome of a match" and that "a jail sentence would be ideal".
Richardson says that over the last year his organisation's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit has taken "a more proactive approach to tackling corruption", is working with police forces to prosecute those responsible, and on educating players against the dangers of match-fixing. "Players are more and more willing to come forward and tell us when they are approached by people from outside the game", he said. "Once we get that information we are taking a robust approach to investigating [the issues raised and] we have no sympathy for anybody who is found guilty".
In response to a question about now former international players' union chief executive Tim May's recent comments regarding governance issues (PTG 1118-5436, 6 June 2013), Richardson said that he thinks "Tim was coming to an end anyway and he is trying to go out with a bang" (PTG 1119-5443 below). The ICC chief said that "Players' views are listened to. Players have never had it as good as now. You get paid well to represent your country [as] there are so many earning opportunities [for] the money generated [by the game] is huge".
BATSMAN TO FACE DISSENT CHARGE
AFTER STANDING HIS GROUND?
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior "faces punishment for dissent" after being dismissed in what a report in 'The Independent' calls "questionable circumstances" in Essex's County Championship match against Middlesex at Lord's yesterday. Prior was given out after a Middlesex fielder dived forward from silly mid-off to claim a catch and the bowler alone, off-spinner Ollie Rayner, is said to have "appealed more in hope than expectation" to umpire Martin Saggers who gave Prior out.
Saggers raised the finger, "although not instantly", says journalist Jon Culley, and Prior is said to have responded by "standing his ground, pointing his bat at the pitch in front of him before finally accepting his fate". Images available reportedly show the catch was not taken cleanly but Rayner argued that his side were entitled to appeal and did so "in the right way".
Rayner is quoted by Culley as saying that he "asked [catcher Rob Robson] if he had caught it, he said he had and so I turned to the umpire and asked 'how's that?". "You can never be 100 per cent sure and Matt did not want to go, but we didn't go mad or anything [and] its a shame [given] how important every decision is in every game, that the fielder is not always taken at his word these days".
UNION ELECTS NEW LEADERS
Australian Paul Marsh has been elected as Executive Chairman of The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) following the resignation of his long-serving predecessor Tim May, Ian Smith being named as FICA's Chief Operating Officer. May left FICA this week after nine years in the position and on the way out strongly criticised the sport's leaders and what he called "threats, intimidation and backroom deals" in the management of the international game (PTG 1118-5436, 6 June 2013).
FICA President Jimmy Adams said in a statement that Marsh is the current Chief Executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) and will continue to operate in that capacity alongside his new role which will involve him being accountable for FICA's performance and be its "main spokesperson". Smith, who will be responsible for the day to day operational management of FICA, has been the Legal Director of the UK Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) since 2004, and has assisted May at FICA for the last few years.
Adams said the May's contribution to FICA and cricketers worldwide has been enormous and in many respects he is irreplaceable", and called the appointments of Marsh and Smith the start of "a new chapter in FICA's history". "Our game continues to throw up issues of great complexity, and strong player representation through FICA and the individual player associations has never been more important", he said.
KEEPER'S CATCH CLAIM LEADS
TO DISCIPLINARY CHARGE
West Indies’ wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin has been charged with "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game" as a result of an incident in his side's opening Champions Trophy match against Pakistan at The Oval on Friday, and a hearing into the matter is to be heard in London tomorrow. Ramdin, who has pleaded not guilty, claimed he had caught Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq low to the ground, only for replays to show he had clearly dropped the ball.
While Ramdin initially appeared to have caught the ball, he lost control of it as he fell forward and it fell from his grip and on to the grass. Instead of advising the umpires or his fielding colleagues as to what happened, he returned the ball to square-leg umpire Nigel Llong of England and joined his team-mates in celebrating the "dismissal".
Reports from the ground say that Australian umpire Steve Davis, who was at the bowler's end, initially gave Misbah out caught but, "following the intervention of [square leg umpire Llong who told the batsman to wait at the crease], the decision was referred to third umpire Tony Hill" of New Zealand.
After an examination of replays Hill concluded that while Ramdin had, initially, caught the ball, he had subsequently allowed it to spill out of his grasp. As a result it was decided that Ramdin did not have full control over the ball and Misbah was reprieved. Commentary available on-line read: "Ramdin thinks he has controlled the ball for long enough, but he also needs to have a control over the further release of the ball".
In the post-match press conference the Pakistan captain accused the West Indies of breaching the spirit of the game. "I don’t know what he was thinking. If you know clearly it’s not a catch, you shouldn’t claim it, because it’s not in the spirit of the game". "He should have told [the umpire] what happened [and] I don't think I would be happy if my wicketkeeper did that", said the skipper.
Boos rang out from the 20,000 crowd who were watching on but Kemar Roach, the West Indian who delivered the ball in question, said later he "thought [Ramdin] had caught it but the third umpire thought differently". Ramdin's captain Dwayne Bravo defended him against accusations of bad sportsmanship, insisting the keeper genuinely believed he'd held on for long enough to claim a fair catch. "[Ramdin] is a "very honest player", said Bravo.
The charge against Ramdin was laid by Davis, Llong and Hill and fourth umpire Richard Kettleborough of England. Under International Cricket Council regulations the range of penalties for all first Level 2 breaches like the one he is charged under are the imposition of a fine of between 50 and 100 per cent of a player’s match fee, and/or a suspension of up to two One Day International matches.
UMPIRES FIRST PLEASE,
SAYS YORKSHIRE LEAGUE
Players in the Huddersfield Cricket League (HCL) in Yorkshire have been reminded not to be "too pushy" when taking the field, according to a story in Friday's edition of the 'Huddersfield District Examiner'. Journalist Mel Booth says that there has been a tendency this northern summer in what is a one-day format league for both fielding teams and batsmen to enter the field of play to start games or the second inningsbefore the umpires.
HCL chairman Trevor Atkinson, who is himself an umpire, told the 'Examiner that “The protocol is that the umpires go to the middle first for the start of the match and before the second innings" gets underway.. “Once they are in the middle the fielding side can follow them and, once the fielding side are out, the batsmen can follow". “We have had instances where this is not being observed and we need to get back to what is right and proper, so the umpires have full control of what goes on out in the middle".
In addition to that issue, HCL Umpires Association chairman David Haikings has asked clubs in the league to check that the facilities they provide for match officials are cleaned properly before each match and that they are not being used for storage, "as has been the case at some venues". The HCL, the most westerly of many similar leagues in Yorkshire, was formed in 1891 and is now made up of 30 clubs.
ADELAIDE BEING EYED FOR 2014-15
DAY-NIGHT TEST, CLAIMS REPORT
Australia "could soon" be hosting day-night Tests on prime time television under Cricket Australia's (CA) new multi-million dollar television broadcast deal with Channel 9, says a report in yesterday's Sydney 'Daily Telegraph'. Claims that such a match have would be held in the "near future" have been made on a number of occasions in the last five years by Australian, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and International Cricket Council officials but to no avail, but that hasn't stopped journalist Phil Rothfield from reporting that holding a day-night Test in 2014-15 "is under serious consideration" with the Adelaide Oval being the preferred venue.
Channel 9 network head David Gyngell is quoted as saying that "we will do everything possible to work alongside [CA] on the future of Tests under lights" and are "really keen to see it happen". Rothfield says CA "has confirmed night games at venues across the country are a priority in future planning", the national body's spokesman Peter Young indicating his chairman "James Sutherland has always said night Test cricket is a matter of when, not if".
The introduction of day-night Tests would give Channel 9 "a much better chance of recouping the almost $A100m a year they recently agreed to pay CA for rights to [broadcast international cricket played in Australia] over the next five years", says Rothfield (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013). According to him such a format would "allow the network to increase advertising rates and offsets the costs of having to buy other shows for prime time viewing".
In addition, a day-night format would also have "bonuses for [CA's] future hope for growth in attendances as a five-day Test normally covers a weekend and three working days unless there are public holidays". As such it "would give fans the chance to finish work at five and catch almost the final two sessions at the ground", says the 'Telegraph' article. That's "based on the fact that sports fans prefer to watch sport at night, either in person at a venue", said Young.
The 'Telegraph' story states that Adelaide is currently "the favoured venue" for the launch of such a format in Tests "because of [its] dryer night conditions" with less tendency for dew to form, and that the hours of play are "likely to be from 1-9 p.m". However, with the red balls that have traditionally been used in Tests hard to see at night, a suitable replacement for them has so far not been found and still appears to be the greatest impediment to the day-night concept.
Experiments over the last five years with a range of pink, orange or yellow balls in first class and other domestic fixtures in a number of countries have, according to many reports, failed to appropriately replicate red ball characteristics. Interesting though Young says CA "is open to an outcome that might require a slight compromise in ball quality compared to [the red balls that have always been used for Tests]".
A year ago this month the ICC supported a recommendation from its Cricket Committee that day-night Tests be introduced as long as both teams in a series agree, and provided a suitable ball can be found (PTG 953-4629, 26 June 2012). The MCC's World Cricket Committee, which has long supported the day-night Test concept, said last August that if white clothing is "considered a necessity" for day-night Tests, then pink balls are the best option for such games, however, it stressed that such games should only be played at what it called "carefully chosen venues" (PTG 978-4744, 16 August 2013).
In a sign of what some observers see as how much influence Channel 9 will have on the scheduling of matches under its new deal with CA, but others blame on the fact the World Cup has to be fitted into the 2014-15 summer in Australasia, reports circulated last week claimed that Brisbane may not get a Test match during the 2014-15 season.
UMPIRE WHO STOOD IN
SRI LANKAN'S FIRST TEST DIES
Former Sri Lankan international umpire Kandiah Thiruganasampandpillai (KT) Francis, whose Test debut in 1982 was in the first such match ever played by his country, died yesterday aged 73 after a long battle with diabetes. During his higher-level umpiring career from 1981-99, Francis was on the ground in 25 Tests and 83 other first class games, plus 72 List A fixtures, 56 of those being One Day Internationals, while for most of last decade he worked as a referee in first class and other games in Sri Lanka.
During his almost 20 years as an umpire Francis stood, in addition to matches on home soil, in games in Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland and Zimbabwe. He umpired in the 1996 World Cup in Pakistan and in the same event in the UK in 1999, the 1997 Champions Trophy series in the United Arab Emirates, the 1988 Asia Cup in Bangladesh, the Nehru Cup in India and the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He never stood at Lord's in an international but did so in the 1989 final of the England and Wales Cricket Board's National Village Championship, a game that was unfortunately marred by bad weather.
After retiring as an umpire, he worked for many years as Sri Lanka's director of umpiring, however, his illness meant that he had to have a leg amputated below the knee two years ago, and a second last year. Asked several years ago what was his most memorable Test he pointed to the match between Sri Lanka and Australia in 1992 in which former Australian spinner Shane Warne made his debut. Sri Lanka dominated all three days and scored 547 but Australia came from behind and snatched a 16 run victory.
TWO FORMER LANKAN SKIPPERS REPRIMANDED
FOR 'EXCESSIVE APPEALING'
Former Sri Lankan captains Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been reprimanded for appealing excessively during their Champions Trophy match against New Zealand in Cardiff yesterday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) says the pair pleaded guilty to a level one breach of that part of its 'Code of Conduct' (CoC) which relates to "excessive appealing during an international match", and that they had both apologies for their actions.
Match Referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe said in an ICC statement that "Irrespective of the outcome of an umpire's decision, players are not entitled to prolonged appeals as these can be construed as pressuring the umpires". Under the ICC's 'CoC' a reprimand is the minimum penalty that can be handed out for excessive appealing, but a second such offence can cost players 50 per cent of their match fee. The charges against the two players were laid by on-field umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker who are both Australians and television umpire Ian Gould from England.
After the game Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews is said by reports to have been "adamant" poor umpiring cost his team victory in the game, and he specifically mentioned a decision given by Oxenford. One match report said it "was a tough day for the Australian umpiring duo" as "batsmen aren't the only ones who find [Sri Lankan bowler Lasith] Malinga tough to read and Oxenford made two [LBW-related] blunders that, in essence, cancelled each other out".
During the game Matthews got into a heated argument with New Zealander Tim Southee which saw them go nose to nose and required umpire intervention, but no action appears on the cards over that. "It was just the heat of the moment and it was all good [and] we are good friends on and off the field", said Mathews.
FEMALE UMPIRE NOMINATED FOR
WELLINGTON OFFICIALS' AWARD
New Zealander Kathy Cross, who is currently the highest-rated female umpire in the world, has been named as a finalist in the match officials section of the Wellington region's 'Sportsperson of the Year Awards'. Cross, 55, who recently won that category at the recent Hutt Sports Awards and was Cricket Wellington's 'Umpire of the Year' in 2011-12 (PTG 929-4518, 17 April 2012), was the only female to stand in the Women’s World Cup in India earlier this year, her third such event since over the last dozen years (PTG 1059-5148, 15 February 2013).
Currently a member of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) third-tier Emerging Umpires Panel (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012), she stood in five NZC men's senior List A and one senior men's T20 and a range of other NZC games last decade. She was the only female to be selected to stand in the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Bangladesh in 2011, an event that saw her selected to officiate in the third place play-off (PTG 852-4162, 30 October 2011).
The winners of Wellington's 'Sportsperson of the Year Awards' are to be announced at an awards dinner that is to be held at Wellington Town Hall on Thursday this week.
BATSMAN 'PRAISED' BY UMPIRES AFTER
CONTRIBUTING TO 'QUITE A SCENE', SAYS REPORT
Sussex are said to be "hopeful" wicketkeeper Matt Prior will escape punishment for his reaction to being given out caught at Lord’s last week, according to an article published in the Brighton newspaper 'The Argus'. Prior was given out on appeal after Middlesex fielder Rob Robson took the ball at silly mid on, however, he responded by standing at the crease and pointed repeatedly to the ground with his bat to suggest the catch had not been taken cleanly, before eventually walking back to the pavilion. (PTG 1119-5442, 7 June 2013).
Prior's skipper Ed Joyce is said by 'Argus' journalist Steve Hollis to have "revealed" that umpires Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf "actually praised Prior for his behaviour when he was given out". That comment came despite what Joyce called “quite a scene" that "is not something you want to see in any professional sport let alone cricket", but "we’ve spoken to the umpires and it doesn’t seem like anything is going to happen from their point of view".
The "praise" that the umpires are said to have expressed was apparently in relation to the fact that Prior left the crease when Saggers and Wharf asked him to, something Joyce said his batsman did despite feeling "strongly" about the situation. 'The Argus' story concludes that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will wait to receive a report from Saggers and Wharf before deciding what action to take over what the newspaper described as an "unsavoury incident".
Last month ECB discipline commission chairman Gerard Elias QC wrote to all counties to warn that dissent will "not be tolerated" in regard to what he said was 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" (PTG 1099-5351, 4 May 2013). “Promptly walking from the crease is a requirement of our regulations in relation to dissent", said Elias at the time in relation to LBW dismissals.
SLOW OVER-RATE RESULTS IN
FINES FOR AUSTRALIAN SIDE
The Australia team was fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its opening Champions Trophy match against England at Edgbaston on Saturday. Match Referee Javagal Srinath of India ruled that George Bailey’s side was, after time allowances were taken into consideration, one over short of its target at the end of the match.
The International Cricket Council's 'Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel', and in particular the regulations with regard to 'minor' over-rate offences, that is three or less below the target rate, require players to be fined ten per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
As a result iBailey was fined twenty-per-cent of his match fee for Saturday's game and his team mates ten-per-cent. The penalty handed down by Srinath was accepted by Australia without contest so there was no need for a hearing.
PLAYING THE GAME
TWO-MATCH BAN, LOSS OF FULL MATCH
FEE, FOR CATCH 'SPIRIT' BREACH
West Indies’ wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin has been fined his entire match fee and suspended for two One Day Internationals (ODI), the maximum censure possible, after being found guilty of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game". Ramdin was reported by umpires for an incident at The Oval on Friday in which he claimed he had caught Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, only for replays to show he had clearly dropped the ball (PTG 1120-5444, 9 June 2013).
Ramdin pleaded not guilty to the Level 2 offence and, as required by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Code of Coduct' (CoC) regulations, a full hearing was held yesterday by the Match referee for the game, Chris Broad of England. Broad said in an ICC statement that Ramdin's was "a serious offence as it is the responsibility of all players to act in the spirit of the game", and he hopes "Mr Ramdin has learnt his lesson from this incident and that we will not see such behaviour by him or any player in the future".
Under the ICC's CoC, any one found guilty of a Level 2 offence for the first time can be fined between half and all of their match fee and/or a suspension of up to two ODIs. Those statutes also give a player the right to appeal the decision to a Judicial Commissioner provided they do so within 24 hours of receipt of that decision, however, Ramdin has decided not to do so.
The charge against Ramdin was laid by on-field umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Nigel Llong of England, third umpire Tony Hill from New Zealand and the fourth umpire, a second Englishman, Richard Kettleborough.
BCCI RECEIVES INTERIM REPORT
INTO ALLEGED IPL FIXING
An interim report on an investigation into alleged spot-fixing by three players from the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan franchise last month was handed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meeting in Delhi yesterday. No details of the report, which was prepared by Ravi Sawani the head of the BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, were released, and it has now been passed to a two-member disciplinary committee for consideration.
While that meeting was underway, a court hearing in the same city granted bail to two of the players, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, and 17 others, 14 of the latter being bookmakers, all of whom have been held in custody for the last three weeks. Ajit Chandila the third Rajasthan player arrested and six others have not yet asked for bail.
In granting bail the judge criticised the evidence provided by Delhi Police to date, saying that "There is no reason for believing that the accused are guilty [of an offence] under the [region's Organised Crime Act] at this stage". Police are reported to have been trying to link the activities of those arrested with an organised crime syndicate operated by what are described as "underworld dons".
Last week a court in Mumbai released on bail six of the fifteen people police there had detained in connection with IPL issues, the judge there saying police had presented "no evidence" that they had charges of "forgery and cheating" (PTG 1118-5435, 6 June 2013). He also stated there is no evidence that Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf, who was withdrawn from the Champions Trophy by the International Cricket Council because of alleged links to bookmakers, had any link with match fixing.
BANGLADESH UMPIRE SET
TO APPEAL 10-YEAR BAN
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah indicated yesterday that he has received formal advice from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) about his ten-year ban and is currently preparing to submit an appeal. Shah, who indicated as soon as his ban was announced 12 weeks ago that he would appeal the decision, has been unable to do so until now as he was waiting for a letter from the BCB outlining his suspension.
Shah told reporters in Dhaka that he is "hopeful that BCB president [Nazmul Hasan] will consider my plea" to "minimise" his punishment. He was banned after being found guilty of being "ready to fix any match, whether it be international, county or league game" in a 'sting' operation conducted by undercover journalists from the 'India TV' channel last October (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013).
PLANS FOR AMALGAMATION OF LANKAN
UMPIRE ASSOCIATIONS APPEAR STALLED
A report in Colombo's 'Daily News' yesterday claims that attempts to bring about a merger of Sri Lanka's three main umpire associations, the Association of Cricket Umpires of Sri Lanka (ACUSL), Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires Association (SLCUA) and the Professional Cricket Umpires Association (PCUA), is "a mere pipe dream". Reports six months ago indicated the ACUSL and the PCUA were in talks about a merger and that a memorandum of understanding had been signed to that end (PTG 1034-5023, 1 January 2013).
Journalist Priyan De Silva says that amalgamating the three associations, which was mentioned publicly by Sri Lanka's Minister for Sport recently, would be "in the best interest of the game". The key factor behind "the splintering", says De Silva, is the assignment of umpires to fixtures conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), games that make up "almost 90 per cent of all matches played on the island". The ACUSL is said to have "a pact with the SLSCA" about the appointment of umpires for all school cricket tournaments, but the 'Daily News' story calls for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to look after such assignments.
De Silva says that all three associations have been recruiting umpires with the ACUSL signing on the most number. Earlier this year, in a move designed to improve the quality of its umpiring stocks, SLC conducted a written examination and individual question-and-answer sessions in order to grade a panel of almost 300 umpires, the majority of whom are said to be members of one of the three umpiring associations. However, the 'Daily News' story claims that "quality was sacrificed to make way for quantity", and the result has been "detrimental to the game, especially at school level".
SELECTIONS LINKED TO REQUEST FOR
'FAVOURS', CLAIM WOMEN PLAYERS
Five women in Pakistan are reported to have lodged complaints with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about what they allege are requests for "inappropriate" favours in return for selection in a women's regional team "regardless of their [playing] performances". A three-member PCB committee has asked for the career records of all those who have made the accusations in order to try and clarify whether or not the women in question were "top performers who were not considered [for selection] due to their refusal" to comply with the alleged requests.
A Pakistan News Service report says that "certain male officials" of the Multan Cricket Club (MCC) had been named by the women, and that the club's "president [is] the main culprit", although he described the claims as "baseless". One women is quoted as saying that “If any girl wants to destroy her career, she should join the MCC", for she had had what was termed "impressive domestic performances and was confident [she] could be selected for the national team". A PCB "official close to the matter" said inquiry members are to meet the players in Lahore tomorrow.
PLAYERS ARRESTED AFTER BALL BREAKS
POLICE CAR WINDOW, INJURES OFFICER
Police in Govandi, a suburb of Mumbai, arrested four men playing cricket yesterday after their ball accidentally broke a police car's window and hit a constable on the forehead, according to a 'Times of India' (TOI) report. Although it was an accident 'TOI' says the quartet were charged with "causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others" and "mischief causing damage", actions that under Indian law could see anyone found guilty either fined or sent to jail for up to two years, or both.
Reports say that the four men were playing on open ground next to the Govandi police station. As a police car was pulling into the station after making an arrest in a separate case, the ball cleared the wall around the police compound, went through the window, and hit constable Suresh Gopal Bhosle inside. Senior Inspector Balchandra Rane told 'TOI' his man had "been advised to rest" as a result of being hit, and that as his constable was injured, "the paperwork will help him claim medical insurance, if needed".
The arrests are said to have "raised eyebrows" in Mumbai. One lawyer said the four had not committed any offence because they were simply playing in a public place and the fact that the ball hit the constable accidentally does not mean that they have committed any crime.
FORMER LANKAN TEST UMPIRE
DROPPED FROM IUP
Former Sri Lankan Test umpire Tyron Wijewardene has been overlooked for membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) at the age of 51 after 14 years in the international game, according to media reports from Colombo yesterday. They say Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) Executive Committee decided on Tuesday to replace Wijewardene for the 2013-14 year with Ruchira Palliyaguru who has been moved from a third umpire spot to join Ranmore Martinesz in an on-field role, while Ravindra Wimalasiri is the country's new IUP third umpire.
Wijewardene, who played five first class games in the early 1990s, debuted at first class level in 1994 and his record in such games now stands at 167, four of them Tests in the first half of last decade, two at home and one each in Bangladesh and Pakistan. At the moment his List A tally is 168 games, 52 of them One Day Internationals (ODI), two of which were in the World Cup of 2003 in South Africa and Zimbabwe, while in the Twenty20 (T20) format he has stood in 44 games, 7 internationals, and 5 in the Indian Premier League of 2009. He also umpired in the Womens' World Cup of 2009 in Australia, and the Under-19 World Cups in Sri Lanka in 2000 and 2009, and Malaysia in 2009.
Wimalasiri, 43, played 68 first class games in the period from 1991-2006. His umpiring debut at that level came less than two years after his last as a player, a record that now stands at 41 games, two of which were in New Zealand on exchange last NZ last January (PTG 1072-5118, 7 March 2013). In addition there have been 42 List A fixtures, one of those this year's Sri Lankan domestic final, plus 13 T20 games in the island nation's home competitions. Wimalasiri has also stood in a womens' ODI in 2008 and three in Under-19 internationals, including the final Asia Cup in Malaysia last year.
Palliyaguru, 45, is another former first class player who featured in 124 such games plus 62 List A and 9 T20 matches over 20 years from 1989-2008. Appointed to the IUP third umpire position in 2011 he has to date stood in 7 T20 Internationals and 8 ODIs, the latter including appointments by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to second-tier games in the United Arab Emirates in March this year (PTG 1083-5283, 5 April 2013). His first class, List A and T20 match records currently stand at 19, 39 and 23 respectively; and this year he featured in the SLC's finals in all three formats.
Martinesz, 46, another former first class player who has been an IUP member since 2009, made his Test debut in the West Indies in March this year (PTG 1064-5174, 22 February 2013), the fourth new umpire selected for Test duty by the ICC since the start of 2012, the others being Enamul Haque Moni of Bangladesh, Richard Illingworth of England and Paul Reiffel of Australia.
He played for his country in a single Under-19 ODI in the mid-1980s, Reiffel being one of the players in Australia's side. Despite a promising start his playing career was limited by a persistent back injury to just four domestic first class matches and he took up umpiring in 1996, two years after his retirement. His debut in domestic first class and List A games came in 2000, and to date he has stood in a total 123 and 122 such matches respectively in those formats, the latter including 13 ODIs.
ICC TO AGAIN LOOK AT
'COMPULSORY' UDRS USE
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) "may be forced" to give in to International Cricket Council's (ICC) "persistent demand" to accept the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) system, claims a story posted on the 'Times of India' (TOI) web site overnight. Journalist Indranil Basu says that the issue will be debated yet again during ICC's annual meeting week in London late this month, and "indications are" that the world body may make UDRS use "compulsory" in internationals.
Basu quotes an ICC "source" as saying that former Indian captain Anil Kumble, who chairs the world body's Cricket Committee, has spoken "informally" about how it is "getting increasingly difficult" for him "to oppose the rule [in public] when all [except India] are united in its favour". Punjab Cricket Association president Inderjit Bindra, who has been a "principal advisor" to the ICC, told 'TOI' yesterday that "We have to accept UDRS at some point as all Test playing nations except India are in favour of it".
With BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan, a strong UDRS opponent, sidelined at the moment by the controversies surrounding the Indian Premier league, the ICC is said to be hoping to finally resolve the issue by making it a rule in London, however, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the BCCI's interim president, refused to reveal anything, saying only: "It's too early to talk about it". Reports say that it is still possible though that Srinivasan may attend the London gathering, in which case the UDRS push could again be thwarted.
In March this year during the BCCI's annual meeting with captains and coaches from its Ranji Trophy first class competition, there were suggestions from the floor that the UDRS be put in place at the domestic level in India, however, one of the captains is reported to have said that "Srinivasan opposed [the thought] and gave us a lecture on how it was not a fool-proof arrangement".
Two years ago the ICC announced that use of UDRS technology would be compulsory in internationals (PTG 783-3830, 28 June 2011), only for that initiative to be overturned by pressure from India, and it was left to the boards of teams involved in a series to agree or not on its use. A "provisional" study for the ICC by Dr Ed Rosten, a Cambridge-based expert in computer vision technology, was said to have showed that ball tracking system in real-time was highly accurate (PTG 943-4584, 2 June 2012), however, the results of further tests that were to be carried out since then have not been made public.
Another issue for the ICC in London in terms of the UDRS will be the on-going question of just who pays for the operation of such technology in internationals, the world body or individual boards?
LORD'S TEST MATCH-FIXER
LOOSES ANOTHER APPEAL
Banned Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Asif launched a second appeal over his criminal conviction for match-fixing during a Test at Lord's in 2010 in London yesterday, however, it was rejected by the court. Asif was released from a British jail in May last year after serving half the 12-month sentence handed to him at his original trial, lost along with his 2010 captain Salman Butt an appeal to against that conviction, as well as a separate appeal in April to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport against a minimum five-year ban given to him by the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1090-5310, 18 April 2013).
Also yesterday a report from Bangladesh indicated that two members of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit have been in Dhaka over the last few days to gather information needed to complete their investigation into match-fixing in the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) last February.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board's acting chief executive officer Nizamudddin Chowdhury told Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday that the two officials are to leave his country today and it "will take time" for them to complete their inquiry. One report says that the duo are said to have "interrogated" Sanuar Hossain and Mohammad Rafique the manager and bowling coach respectively at the BPL's Dhaka franchise side during the visit, however, Sanuar denied that was the case and Rafique could not be reached by journalists.
DEATH OF FORMER ZIMBABWEAN
Derrick Townshend, a former Zimbabwe first class player who served as a match referee in almost 50 senior matches in that country from 2006-11, died in Bulawayo on Sunday at the age of 69 after a long illness. Townshend, and his brother Trevor, played first class cricket for the then Rhodesia in South Africa's Currie Cup competition, the former in the late 1960s and the latter in the 1970s, while his son Matthew did so for Matabeleland a dozen years ago.
Prior to working as a Zimbabwe Cricket referee in 20 first class, 21 List A and 7 Twenty20 games, Townshend served Matabeleland as its team manager in matches across the three formats, and was also involved with the national side in that capacity during the World Cup of 1992 in Australia and New Zealand. A great collector of books on cricket who had a deep knowledge and love of the game, he was an occasional correspondent with the 'Cricinfo' web site and a friend and supporter of 'PTG'.
IRAN CONDUCTS 'LEVEL-0'
UMPIRE, SCORER COURSE
The Iran Cricket Association recently conducted a five-day course in Tehran on the basics of scoring and umpiring. Sixteen candidates from nine of the country's thirty-one provinces took part in what was called a 'Level-00' course, with those who correctly answered 75 per cent of the questions on the test papers given to them on day five now eligible to take part in Asian Cricket Council Level I Umpiring programs and further scoring modules.
Iran, which has a population of almost 78 million, has a total of 22 cricket clubs who play games on four grounds, none of which are have turf pitches. Currently a total of 69 Level 1, and two Level 2, qualified umpires are available to support matches, most of them being women, during a playing season that that runs from September to April and involves both mens' and womens' competitions. The game is predominantly based in Tehran and Chabahar some 1,500 km away to the south-east and close to Pakistan. More recently though it has taken root in three cities in the north-west near Iraq.
GYPSIES STOP PLAY
A match scheduled for the Mountnessing Cricket Club's (MCC) ground in Essex last Saturday had to be moved to another facility because "around 40 travellers in 15 caravans" had caused major damage to the square and other facilities two days before. A local media report says that club members "could only hold their breath" as the group "zoomed up and down the [pitch] as they attempted to "plough it up through a series of hand-brake turns", while one individual "tried to dig a name into the crease".
The MCC's groundsman, who did not wish to be named, is said to have "feared the worst as he watched from a distance". According to him the actions of the travellers appear to been motivated by the fact that they had previously been ordered off the site by police and council staff. In England the term 'Traveller' usually means Gypsies of Romani origin.
The groundsman continued by saying "It was obvious they were doing all they could to plough up the pitch and do as much damage as they could [and] it was just very lucky that we haven't had rain for a while and the surface was very hard". "If we had had any rain that would have been it – it would have been turned into a ploughed field – we were very lucky", he said. In addition "At least a tonne of rubble and debris was dumped in the corner of the square", and a metal fence was torn off its hinges and wooden posts ripped up.
The pitch strip that was damaged will not be able to be used for the remainder of the season and the ground as a whole for at least the next month. In addition, the club's mechanical roller will have to be stripped back and repaired after the oil filler cap was taken off and large quantities of soil and grass cuttings were forced into the engine block.
The Mountnessing Parish Council, which owns the site, said the travellers had caused damage estimated at around £600 ($A1,000), but that some £1,500 ($A2,500) will likely have to be spent to "beef up security" at the ground.
ENGLAND DENY BALL
Former England captain Bob Willis has accused an unnamed player in his country's present side of "scratching a ball" during their Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Thursday, something the team's skipper and management has denied. Umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand changed the ball in use at Dar's end in what was its 13th over, the umpire using a hoop to check whether it was out of shape or not.
England captain Alistair Cook was said to be visibly angry about the change as reports say he and his bowlers believed the ball was reaching the optimum condition to start reverse swinging. When asked about the situation later by jounalists, Cook said "the umpire’s reasoning" was that "the ball [needed changing] because it was out of shape". “The umpires make those decisions, so you have to accept them", even though sometimes you don’t think they are the right decisions but there’s not much you can do about it".
Speaking on 'Sky Sports', Willis alleged an England player, who he said he would not name, had been illegally damaging the ball with his fingernails, "and that’s why the ball was changed". “Have you ever heard about the batting side or the umpire complaining about the shape of the ball?", continued Willis, and "How naive does Cook think we are? He didn’t want the ball changed. So why was it changed?”
Former first class umpire, England player and coach David Lloyd, who is now a broadcaster and a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) umpire selection group, added to the discussion when he tweeted: “Ball change is simple... umpires thought Eng changed the condition of the ball... which is against the laws".
After the match Cook dismissed Willis' cheating claim, while England’s team management Insisted the ball was changed because of the shape issue, fielding coach Richard Halsall apparently claiming the ball in question did not pass through Dar's hoop. An ICC spokesman said: “The umpires and match referee cannot talk about specific incidents during a tournament, but our understanding is that the ball was changed because it went out of shape".
WINDIES PLAYERS FINED
FOR SLOW OVER-RATE
The West Indies has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its Champions Trophy match against South Africa in Cardiff yesterday. After time allowances were taken into consideration, match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe ruled that Dwayne Bravo’s side was one over short of its target at the end rain-shortened match.
The International Cricket Council's 'Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel', and in particular the regulations with regard to 'minor' over-rate offences, that is three or less below the target rate, require players to be fined ten per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
UMPIRE ASKS FOR REDUCTION
OF 10-YEAR BAN
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who was caught in a TV 'sting operation last year, has submitted a letter to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) asking that his 10-year ban for corruption be reduced to "2 or 3 years". Shah indicated as soon as his ban was announced three months ago that he would appeal the decision, however, he has been unable to do so until for until last week he was awaiting formal advice from the BCB outlining his suspension (PTG 1122-5454, 11 June 2013).
Shah told reporters in Dhaka on Monday that he has already served a year of his ban and that if his suspension was reduced to 2-3 years he can work at making "a comeback as an umpire" later this decade. "I have submitted a mercy letter addressing the board president [Nazmul Hassan], and it [has been] received by the [acting] CEO [Nizamuddin Ahmed]", said Shah, in a move he hopes will see his punishment reduced.
The Pakistan Cricket Board suspended umpires Nadeem Ghauri and Anis Siddique for four and three years respectively in conjunction with the same 'sting' operation (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013), however, Shah was the only one of the umpires involved who actually met the undercover reporters, the others doing so via Skype-type links. As far as it is known Sri Lanka Cricket is yet to hand down decisions in regard to its three umpires who were also involved in the 'sting' operation nine months ago.
With the BCB is currently dealing with issues surrounding reported corruption in the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 event earlier this year, just when it will consider Shah's submission is far from clear. Given that situation the BCB may well take a strong stand with regard to his return, and while it is possible he could eventually return to the domestic scene in Bangladesh, his career at international level appears well and truly over.
CHAMPIONS TROPHY SEMI FINAL
Umpire selections for the two semi finals of the Champions Trophy series today and tomorrow provide a hint into how the International Cricket Council currently rates the 11 members of its Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) who are taking part in the event. In appointments announced overnight, the ICC's current 'Umpire of the Year', Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka, and Australian Rod Tucker, will be on-field for the England-South Africa game today at The Oval, while Pakistan's Aleem Dar and England's Richard Kettleborough will look after the India-Sri Lanka match in Cardiff tomorrow.
Javagal Srinath of India will be the match referee for today's game with Australian Bruce Oxenford the third umpire and his countryman Steve Davis the fourth. Chris Broad of England has been named as the referee for the India-Sri Lanka match, his countrymen Nigel Llong and Ian Gould being the third and fourth umpires respectively for that game.
Umpires for the final of the event this weekend are expected to be named on Friday. Dar and Tucker are in contention for that match as their own national teams will not be playing, and should India beat Sri Lanka in tomorrow's semi final then Dhamasena is likely to be chosen for the final, with Tucker and the more-experienced Dar vying for the second on-field spot.
Three EUP members who took part in the Champions Trophy over the last two weeks have been overlooked for semifinal appointments, South Africa's Marais Erasmus and New Zealanders 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill. The ICC originally named all 12 current EUP members for the series (PTG 1105-5385, 17 May 2013), but withdrew Pakistan's Asad Rauf after allegations surfaced that he may have been "too close" to bookmakers in this year's Indian Premier League series (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013).
ALLOW TEAM CHANGES WHEN 'CONSIDERABLE'
TOSS-PLAY DELAYS OCCUR, SAYS MOODY
A suggestion that captains be allowed to change their playing elevens in cases where there is “considerable” delay in commencement of the game after the toss, has been rejected by a spokesman for the Laws guardians, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Former Australia player Tom Moody called for such an allowance during last Sunday’s rain-affected Champions Trophy match between England and New Zealand in Cardiff when play commenced some five hours after the toss was made.
Interviewed by a journalist from the 'Pakistan Observer' newspaper by telephone from Ahmedabad on Monday, former Indian Test umpire Amish Saheba backed Moody’s suggestion, saying that he felt "the two captains [should] be given the opportunity to re-nominate the teams”. “The pitch is bound to the change its characteristics with moisture after the rain", he continued, and "to make the game very interesting and more aggressive, the two teams should have an option to change [names]”. In such cases skippers "may prefer to include all-rounders when a limited over-match is curtailed due to rain and I see no harm in this”, he added.
However, Fraser Stewart from the MCC has a different view. He asked as to how "would one distinguish between a delay of 5 minutes and 5 hours [and] at what point should a concession be made?" In addition, the Laws "cover games of all durations, [therefore] it would be impossible to define when the point should be at which changes to the nominated eleven can be made”.
“Part of the fascination of the game of cricket is inextricably linked to some things that are beyond the control of the teams - the pitch, the weather and the toss", continued Stewart. “The toss, and the decision to bat or field, is based on the captain’s inspection of the pitch". Also, "The teams on the day will have looked at the weather forecast and could have predicted that some delays, and hence a shortened game, were possible" he said, and "they could have taken this into consideration when nominating their team”.
"The Laws do make provision for changes in the nominated eleven, but only with the consent of the opposing captain, [although] normally, this is only used in exceptional circumstances”, said Stewart, such as when a player is no longer able to participate in the game as originally planned.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 20 June 2013
PHONE TAPS LINK RAUF TO
BOOKMAKERS, CLAIMS REPORT
Separate telephone conversations recorded by police in India in April "are the clearest evidence" so far that Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf "was hand in glove with the bookies and solicited gifts", claims a report in today's 'Times of India' (TOI). News of the calls, which police "shared' with one of the newspaper's journalists, come after a judge in Mumbai said two weeks ago that there was no proof anything valuable had been exchanged (PTG 1118-5435, 6 June 2013), and denials from Rauf prior to that that he had taken gifts from bookmakers (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013).
'TOI' says that it has seen a number of "transcripts" of police tapes from three mobile phones that belong to Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh, one of the individuals that were arrested and then bailed over his alleged role in spot-fixing in this year's India Premier League (IPL) series. In one conversation Rauf is said to have asked the actor "Do you know my birthday is coming up?", and the reply is said to have been "don't worry, we will take care of it [for] I will convey the message to Pawan".
In a separate phone call Pawan, a bookmaker, is said to have told Vindu that he was "sending a watch worth [$A11,000] and a gold chain for Asad through Prem Taneja [another bookie] in Delhi [so] please ask Asad to collect it". The newspaper article goes on to state that in another conversation around the same time, Rauf is heard insisting that Pawan send the bill for the gold chain or else he [Rauf] would "have problems with customs" when he returned to his home land.
The 'TOI' report claims that "The bills for the package [Pawan sent] as well as two other parcels sent later with gifts for Rauf are [in the possession of the] Mumbai crime branch". Last month that group seized the two parcels containing branded shoes, clothes and other personal effects allegedly sent by bookmaker Prem Taneja to Rauf.
Police were in court again yesterday in an attempt to have Pawan and his bookmaker brother Sanjay returned from Dubai where they are said to have "fled" after the IPL scandal broke last month. As Rauf is not available for "interrogation", police say they need in the words of the 'TOI' report, "to grill the brothers [in order] to uncover their roles in the cricket scandal". The judge decided, however, to adjourn consideration of the police request for two weeks.
CA MOVING FORWARD WITH
NATIONAL SCORER INITIATIVE
Reports from Melbourne this week indicate that Cricket Australia (CA) is moving forward with its initiative to develop a nation-wide approach for the training of scorers over the next few years, an initial two-day project scoping meeting being planned for Melbourne in August. News of the national body's new scoring focus came to light last month and was said then to including the development of a scorer training and accreditation package similar to that now available to umpires in Australia (PTG 1104-5379, 16 May 2013).
The latest news suggests that meeting in August is aimed at: promoting and encouraging greater unity across Australian Cricket scorers; encouraging and fostering scoring efficiencies, initiatives, practices and ideas; providing opportunities to network and engage with other scorers; evaluation of the current scorer environment and establish a strategy for cricket scoring development and the resources required; and to provide an opportunity for open discussion about establishment of a "National Cricket Scorers Reference Group" to lead Australian Cricket scoring.
Those who are reported to have been invited to the August meeting, all of whom have been recommended to CA by State Directors of Umpiring, are: Merilyn Fowler, New South Wales; Judy Harris, Queensland; Graeme Hamley, Tasmania; Jan Howard, Victoria; Neil Ricketts, South Australia; and Sandy Wheeler, Western Australia. All six have worked as scorers at first class and international level.
FATHER SUES COACH OVER
Despite the fact that his son was made the captain of his school's first XI last year, a South African lawyer is suing the cricket coach at St Charles College in Durban over allegations that racism was behind his son not being "not allowed to captain" its younger age group teams prior to that. Pranesh Indrajith has served legal papers on coach Dave Karlsen that are reported to ask for 2.1 million rand ($A200,000) in compensation over the matter.
Indrajith is said by news reports to have accused Karlsen of being "uncomfortable with an Indian boy as captain". "You have, ever since my son's entry into high school, negatively interfered in his captaincy of the school cricket team and also ensured that he does not captain the provincial side", continued the father, whose son, now 17, cannot be named because of a South African law that protects people under 18. The son is said to have claimed that he had been "sidelined because he was of Indian origin".
A 'Press Trust of India' report yesterday states that Karlsen "allegedly apologised to the 17-year old" when he was selected captain of the school's first team last year for not allowing him to captain the sides in other age groups before that". Karlsen declined to comment when contacted by journalists citing advice from his lawyers, but Allen van Blerk the school's principal denied that racism of any sort played a role in the selection of players. He said that all players were selected on merit, a policy that would continue, and that the school's position would be vindicated in the courts.
'CARNIVAL' APPROACH FOR AUSSIE
DOMESTIC ONE-DAYERS STILL ON TABLE
Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day 50-over competition could see each state playing just six matches in the round-robin part of the event in 2013-14, according to a report in 'The Australian' newspaper. Journalist Andrew Faulkner says that CA is currently considering a schedule that will see the competition played in a month-long block in October, one of the scenarios under consideration involving games being played in a single state "to replicate the 'intensity' of an international competition".
A CA spokesman told Faulkner the schedule was yet to be finalised, however, he is said to have confirmed the competition "was likely to played in a six-match-per-state tournament starting in late September", down from the ten-match per state up until 2010-11 and the eight-match per state arrangement of the last two austral summers. Last month a report in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' said that 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 (PTG 1103-5373, 12 May 2013).
Faulkner says that the competition remains without a TV broadcaster, a fact he says underlines "how much it has been sidelined by Twenty20's rise". The domestic rights holder, the Ten Network, is said to not be interested in the domestic one-dayers, and Fox Sports appears to have vacated the field after being outbid for the Twenty20 event by Ten.
According to 'The Australian' report the option in terms of broadcast rights is to award it to "a third party, outside the official rights holders" in order that it "can be on-sold to the cricket-hungry subcontinent". One problem playing the series in one-day carnival format in October is the long gap between it and the One Day Internationals Australia and England are to play starting in mid-January.
DHARMASENA, TUCKER TO STAND
IN CHAMPIONS TROPHY FINAL
Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena and Australia's Rod Tucker have been named as the umpires for the Champions Trophy final between England and India at Edgbaston tomorrow. Dharmasena, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) current 'Umpire of the Year, and Tucker, were also in the middle for the semi final between England and South Africa at The Oval on Wednesday (PTG 1125-5467, 19 June 2013).
A second Sri Lankan, Ranjan Madugalle, has been appointed as the match referee for the final, while another Australian, Bruce Oxenford, will work as third umpire, and Pakistan’s Aleem Dar the fourth. The appointment of Dharmasena and Tucker to on-field roles in the final indicates that they are both highly rated by the ICC, Tucker for example being named ahead of Dar who is a three-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year'.
Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath was the match referee for The Oval semi final, while former England player Chris Broad had the same role in the semi final at Cardiff, but the presence of both England and India in the final ruled both of them out of contention for the competition's decider.
As a result Madugalle, who is yet to work as as a match referee in this year's Champions Trophy, was brought in for the final; his 271st as a referee in One Day Internationals (ODI). Amongst those games were the finals of the 1999 and 2003 World Cups, and of the 2004 and 2006 Champions Trophy series. For Dharmasena it will be his 49th ODI as an umpire, Tucker his 32nd, and Oxenford, who only joined the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel last October, his 29th as a third umpire in ODIs.
USE OF NATIVE LANGUAGE REPORTEDLY
LEADS TO MATCH ABANDONMENT
A village match in Pembrokeshire in south-west Wales was "abandoned" last weekend after players from one of the teams spoke Welsh on the field knowing their English-speaking opponents could not understand what they were saying, according to a report in yesterday's edition of the UK newspaper the 'Daily Express'. The game was between a team from Crymych, which is located in a Welsh-speaking area, and the side from Lamphey that hails from a mainly English-speaking region of Wales some 40 km to the south.
During Crymych's innings the batsmen at the crease, Rhydian Wyn and Dyfed Sion, are said to have been asked to speak English, although by whom is not stated in the 'Express' report. They are reported to have reacted angrily to the request by "knocking down the stumps" and leaving "the field of play", actions that resulted in the match being abandoned, although it is possible that other unreported factors could have also played a role.
Crymych refused to comment officially when approached by a journalist from the 'Express', but what was called "a source" is quoted as saying that: “The batsmen took umbrage at comments concerning [their use of] Welsh and decided not to play". "It’s never happened before [for] we speak Welsh to each other [both] on and off the pitch", said the source.
Pembroke County Cricket League secretary Steve Blowes said that his organisation "will look into the matter, but that "it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage".
CT FINAL SELECTIONS SHOW 'STRENGTH'
OF AUSSIE UMPIRING, SAYS CA
Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia’s (CA) Executive General Manager Operations, believes that the appointment of Australians Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford to officiate in today's Champions Trophy (CT) final in England "is a further endorsement of the strength of Australian umpiring". Tucker has been selected with Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena, the current world 'Umpire of the Year', for on-field roles in today's final, while Oxenford will work as the third umpire, Aleem Dar of Pakistan the fourth, and Rajan Madugalle, another Sri Lankan, as the match referee (PTG 1127-5473, 22 June 2013).
In a rare venture by CA into publicising umpiring issues, McKenna says that “Both Rod and Bruce have transitioned from first-class players to elite umpires and their development demonstrates CA’s commitment to providing opportunities for past players to continue their involvement in cricket following retirement". “Rod and Bruce continue Australia’s proud history of producing quality umpires who have progressed through the development pathway to international honours [and] we hope that their achievements inspire others to take that path once their playing days have concluded".
Tucker, from New South Wales, whose umpiring career started at Premier League level in Tasmania in 2002, was appointed by CA to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) in 2008, and to the ICC's top-level Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in 2010 (PTG 617-3091, 5 June 2010). Queensland-based Oxenford was nominated for membership of the IUP in 2007 and promoted to the EUP last October (PTG 995-4835, 27 September 2012).
The CA press release goes on to point out that in addition to Tucker and Oxenford, Paul Reiffell is another former Australian first-class player who has "progressed to elite international umpiring", a situation it again states "endorses [its] efforts to encourage past players to remain involved in cricket following retirement". Whether the term "progressed to elite international umpiring" is an indication Reiffel will join the EUP very soon as anticipated by many observers remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, a range of press reports from London yesterday make the claim that Dar, a three-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year', was "demoted to the role of fourth umpire" in today's final because he "inadvertently triggered a wave of controversy" when he changed a ball in a "ball-tampering controversy" involving finalists England in a CT group stage game last week. During that fixture, former player Bob Willis alleged England must have tampered the ball, however, the ICC denied that saying only that it was changed by Dar in consultation with his New Zealand colleague 'Billy' Bowden, because it had gone out of shape (PTG 1124-5464, 15 June 2013).
USE OF RED BALLS, TIMING OF EVENING T20
SERIES, RAISES SAFETY CONCERNS
Concerns are being expressed about the use of red balls and white clothing in this year's Bermuda Twenty20 tournament which is being played mid-week in late afternoon time slots. With games starting at 6.15 p.m. local time and sunset at 8.30 p.m. this time of the year, both batsmen and fielders are having difficulty sighting the ball in the second innings of matches, and concern has been raised about safety issues, says the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper.
The player-coach of the Warwick side Lionel Cann, whose team was a late withdrawal from the competition, expressed concerns about the timing of matches, while Willow Cuts captain Dwight Basden complained about the use of the red ball, saying the team batting first had a clear advantage against the red ball. “I think they are going to have to make a change to the balls being used", said Basden, but "even the pink ones they used last year were hard to pick up [and] the answer is definitely a white ball".
The 'Gazette' says that whether a white ball will be adopted for the coming week’s matches on Wednesday and Thursday "remains to be seen", however, in situations where games go to their full forty overs, a 6.15 p.m. start means that at the earliest they can finish is in the twilight some 20 minutes after the sun dips below the horizon.
In addition to the ball, members of the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) are also said to have "issues" with the tournament, however, BCUA vice-president Stephen Douglas declined to elaborate on just what their concerns are, although they were apparently enough for umpires "not to show" for the first two matches in the competition last week. “We just want to look at some things in the best interest of the game", said Douglas. Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) chief executive Neil Speight is off the Island and could not be reached for comment, but the BCB office is said to have indicated that they "are looking into the matter".
DOMINICA UMPIRES' ASSOCIATION
RE-ELECTS ITS PRESIDENT
Long-serving Dominican first class umpire Lennox Abraham, who is a member of the West Indies Cricket Board's 12-man Senior Umpires Panel, was reelected as the President of the Dominica Cricket Umpires Association (DCUA) at the organisations 2013 and 45th Annual General Meeting held in Roseau last Tuesday. A report on the sportsdominica.com wen site says that one of the major tasks facing Abraham and his new executive is the "ratification of [the DCUA] constitution which has been in existence for over 40 years".
In a refrain heard in many parts of the cricketing world, Abraham is reported to have said during the meeting that “being a Cricket Umpire in this present day posses many challenges for us, [and that] the failure to recruit new members [is putting] more pressure on the few members that are available" to stand in matches. "The Association has seen the rise and fall of many cricket clubs and teams" over the years, but continues to nurture persons who are interested in umpiring", he said. Emmanuel Nanthan, a Vice President of the West Indies Cricket Board, told those present that while "umpiring may be classified as a thankless job" at times, the development of umpires continues to be an important issue.
Abraham, 53, has been umpiring at first class level since 2001 and currently has 23 such games, 14 List A, a single senior Twenty20, six womens' One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 womens' Internationals to his credit.
COUNCIL BANS CLUB FROM PRACTISING
WITH 'PROPER CRICKET BALLS'
A cricket club in Norfolk has been barred from its home ground of 36 years after it refused to agree to a council ban that prevents "proper cricket balls" being used during batting practice on the square or surrounding playing area and limits practice sessions to the nets. Bacton Cricket Club, which has been in existence since 1934, has been hit by new parish council rules that have been introduced to "protect the public", particularly those playing bowls close by, says a BBC report.
It would appear that the use of the ground for actual games on weekends will still allowed provided the club adheres to the new requirements. However, its chairman David Gale told the broadcaster that the new rule regarding practice was "untenable" and that talks were underway that might see the club moving to another ground some eight kilometres away, but that if that occurs it will have to change its name. "We are a cricket team - how are we supposed to practice without cricket balls? Are they expecting us to use tennis balls instead?”, he asked.
Council clerk Elaine Pugh said there had been a couple of recent "near misses" in which other people on the field during practice sessions had "almost been hit by balls". As a result the new rules include a section that states: "Batting or bowling practice with a cricket ball or other solid or semi-solid practice ball must only take place inside the [club's nets] and that under no circumstances may this take place elsewhere".
Pugh said the new regulations are needed "to satisfy insurers' demands and protect people at the nearby bowls club, children on the playing area and young people who also used the facilities during the week". The council clerk indicated that the ban could be made permanent if the club fails to sign the agreement within two months.
Gale admitted that what he called the "poor quality" of the nets at his club's ground was an issue. Despite that he called the overall situation "upsetting" as he'd "spent ten summers [as the club's groundsman] nurturing the cricket square and you can really bat on it". As a result of the new policy the club is said to have played all of its Norfolk Cricket League Division 6 matches at away grounds this season.
Council clerk Pugh also told the BCC that as well as failing to sign up to the new rules, "many other issues" had also been raised with the club - including a mobile scoring hut being used without permission and individuals being "aggressive" at council meetings. But the new policy is "not a done and dusted deal", she said, and if the club "comes and sits at the table and is polite, we can go forward from there".
In late 2011, the Lymington Cricket Club in Hampshire, which was formed over 200 years ago, faced being moved away from the ground it had used for 175 years because of concerns about balls being hits into the adjacent tennis club's playing area (PTG 868-4243, 3 December 2011). That issue is believed to have eventually been resolved by the erection of a high net the purchase of which was funded by their local council and both the cricket and tennis clubs.
Around the same time Lymington was facing that issue, the City of Boroondara in inner-eastern Melbourne banned the playing Twenty20 matches on 39 of its 59 sports grounds after "risk assessors" found that many were "too small or too close to public areas". Their judgement was that there was an increased risk of injury from balls hit for six to people passing by and that potential damage to property was also an issue (PTG 877-4287, 23 December 2011).
Since then city staff have been progressively upgrading grounds "to improve safety" and during the past week another two were cleared for Twenty20 fixtures next austral summer, bringing to 22 the number that can now be used for such games. Boroondara councillor Coral Ross told a recent council meeting there were no statistics to prove the Twenty20 format was more dangerous than traditional cricket, while Eastern Cricket Association operations manager Mike Slattery told the local 'Weekly Review' publication that clubs had also reduced the risk of damage by using "lower grade balls".
PLAYING THE GAME
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
CA APPROACH TO PLAYER MISBEHAVIOUR
'CRINGINGLY LIGHTWEIGHT', SAYS JOURNALIST
Brisbane 'Courier Mail' journalist Ben Dorries says in a story published today that Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland's "biggest blunder" since taking up the position 12 years ago has been "taking a cringingly lightweight stance on misbehaving players". That description was contained in a piece Dorries wrote about Sutherland's role in what he calls "the rabble and embarrassing laughing stock that is Australia's inept cricket system", and follows changes made to management arrangements for the national side that were announced overnight.
In his article Dorries, who tends to be inconsistent with his criticism of disciplinary action taken against players, writes that player behaviour at senior levels both on and off the field in Australia has been an issue that "dates back to the likes of Andrew Symonds" early in Sutherland's tenure. He then goes on to point to a more recent situation "when Shane Warne was let off with not much more than a slap on the wrists for his on-field fight with Marlon Samuels during [CA's Twenty20 series earlier this year]" (PTG 1037-5034, 8 January 2013 and PTG 1044-5072, 22 January 2013). The censure of Warne came after a series of player incidents earlier in that competition that were clearly overlooked by CA, and it would appear also the umpires involved (PTG 1038-5040, 10 January 2013).
Sutherland, 47, a chartered accountant by profession, played four first class games as a fast bowler for Victoria in the early 1990s, and was his side's twelfth man when they won the Sheffield Shield in 1991. He worked as a finance manager with a high-profile Australian Rules Football club in Melbourne for six years before joining the then Australian Cricket Board in 1998 in a commercial role, and was elevated to the CA chief executive position in July 2001 when Malcolm Speed departed to join the International Cricket Council.
Despite the negative press Sutherland, who is currently in the UK for the International Cricket Council's annual 'cricket week', is reported to have denied there was a 'rot' setting in and said that while he has looked at the wider issues his organisation needs to address, he has not reflected on his own position.
ENGLISH UMPIRE'S INTERNATIONAL DEBUT
A 'HEART-TUGGING' 'SURPRISE'
Former England batsman Tim Robinson's umpiring debut in a One Day International (ODI) earlier this month came unexpectedly because of an ankle injury suffered by Richard Illingworth, his colleague on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, says a report in a Nottinghamshire newspaper. Originally listed as the fourth umpire for the third England-New Zealand ODI on 5 June, Robinson was promoted to stand alongside Aleem Dar of Pakistan, a three-time winner of the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' award.
Robinson, 54, described the match as "a heart-tugging experience" that "nearly got to him", in part because the game was played at Trent Bridge, the ground where is spent most of his playing career from 1978-99. "Two or three days before the game I found out that Richard was struggling", which meant there would need to be an umpiring reshuffle. "I had mixed emotions [for while] I was pleased to get the chance, there was also trepidation as this was a big deal – my debut on the international scene", he said.
Despite the nerves "it all went well in the end and it was just a great occasion", said Robinson. "I got great support as I walked out for the first time for people were patting me on the back and wishing me well" as he still knows "a lot of the members at Trent Bridge". Any nerves he may have had were not helped when in just the third over of the match a ball hit England skipper Alastair Cook on the pads.
After "a split second of thought" Robinson's finger was raised and Cook, had had yet to score, was given out, but the umpire was unable to relax as the batsman immediately reviewed the decision. "It was my first big decision and when I saw him review it my heart missed a beat at that point", says Robinson, "but I was confident I got it right and there was a big sense of relief when it came up on the big screen confirming my decision was OK". "That helped quickly settle me down into the game and [Dar] came over to congratulate me on my first decision while third umpire Steve Davis, [an Australian who was born in London], was also in my ear [via radio], as he did throughout the game, to reassure me".
"As an umpire you are there as a neutral observer and you make decisions regardless of who it is and only after the decision do you realise who you have given out and that's the way it has to be". "But, at the end of the day", he admitted, "I am English so in a way it worked out well for [that side] to win in my first game". The day ended with "nice comments" going his way during the feedback session all umpires have after major matches.
Robinson is listed to work as the third umpire in today's Twenty20 International (T20I) between England and New Zealand at the 'The Oval', his second in that role in a T20I. He will make his on-field T20I debut when he stands with Illingworth in the second match the two sides are to play at the same location on Thursday. After that he is likely to feature in an England-Australia ODI later this northern summer.
WINDIES, KIWI IUP MEMBERS NAMED
FOR EUROPEAN WCL-ICUP MATCHES
Umpires from the West Indies and New Zealand have been selected to stand in World Cricket League (WCL) One Day Internationals (ODI) and Intercontinental Cup (ICUP) first class matches involving second-tier nations that are to be played in Scotland and the Netherlands over the next three weeks. Those chosen for games in Scotland are West Indian Gregory Brathwaite and the home nation's Ian Ramage, while matches in the Netherlands will be managed by New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney and Ireland's Mark Hawthorne, David Jukes of England being the match referee across all six games.
Brathwaite, 43, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and Ramage, 54, from the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel (AAUP), are to stand in the two WCL and a single ICUP first class fixture that are to be played when Kenya visits Aberdeen. Gaffaney, also an IUP member, will travel to the Netherlands to join Ireland's Mark Hawthorne, 50, of the AAUP for the home side's three games in the same formats against Ireland.
Barbados-born Brathwaite was sent by the ICC to Toronto in August 2011 for a similar series of games involving Canada and Afghanistan. He also travelled to England and Bangladesh that year as part of umpire exchange arrangements the West Indies Cricket Board has with the authorities there, and in February this year the ICC selected him to stand in the Womens' World Cup in India (PTG 1054-5124, 7 February 2013).
For Gaffaney, 37, who hails from Dunedin, its is the fourth time the ICC has selected him for overseas appointments, the first three being to the same range of games in Canada in both 2010 and 2011, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2012 is a former first class player. He has also previously stood in domestic matches in both Australia and South Africa as part of inter-board umpire exchange agreements.
In August, Canada will host the UAE in Toronto, two WCL ODIs and a first class ICUP match being on the schedule, and around the same time Namibia will welcome Afghanistan for the same series of games. The ICC is yet to announce referee and umpire appointments for those six games. In recent times the ICC has chosen members of the IUP from all of its full member nations except Australia and Bangladesh for such games (PTG 1083-5283, 5 April 2012).
FINANCIAL BOOST FOR AUSSIE
'GRASS ROOTS' GAME IN THE PIPELINE
Cricket Australia (CA) will outlay "nearly $A30 million" of its record television-rights windfall on grassroots cricket, according to a 'Sydney Morning Herald' ('SMH') report. The national body's signing of deals with Australian television broadcasters Channel Nine and the Ten Network earlier this month netted it $A590m over the next five years (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013), and journalist Chris Barrett says that the key question now is "where the cash will be spent and how much".
Barrett says in his article that what he calls a "CA strategic investment fund" has been established, and that it includes a sum of around $A7.5m over each of the next four years that CA's board has already earmarked for "grassroots cricket and development across the country". CA chief executive James Sutherland has spoken about the importance of the grass roots of the game in the past (PTG 1095-5329, 27 April 2013),
Included in the work proposed are "programs to attract more Australians of non-English speaking backgrounds to the game", and support to encourage "more women and girls", "indigenous Australians", and "people with a disability" to become involved. Improvement of facilities at clubs has also been identified as a priority, says the article.
While "the allocation of cash" is yet to be formally announced by CA, Barrett says that the six Australian states and two Territory cricketing bodies "presented submissions on potential projects to the CA board several months ago". Whether any initiatives that relate directly to funding umpiring and scoring needs were put forward by any of the states or territories is not mentioned in the 'SMH' report.
Barrett's article also says that CA's board, which met in Brisbane recently, has also been advised, because of the "proliferation of sports betting and the spot-fixing incidents that have hit the game elsewhere, to "beef up its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. Adrian Anderson, a former general manager with the Australian Football League and designer of that code's integrity unit, is said to have delivered his findings and recommendations to the board of the review of cricket's integrity and code-of-behaviour structures that CA commissioned four months ago (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013). As yet CA has not responded publicly to Anderson's report.
BERMUDAN T20 'ON HOLD' PENDING
TECHNICAL COMMITTEE REVIEW
The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) has postponed this week’s games in the island's mid-week, evening Twenty20 tournament and plans to meet and discuss "logistical issues" before the event can resume, says an article in yesterday's 'Bermuda Sun' newspaper. Concerns about the ability of players to see the red balls being used in the early evening games were raised by clubs after the first four matches last week, while the Bermuda Cricket Umpires’ Association (BCUA) is reported to have also have a number of issues about the event (PTG 1128-5476, 23 June 2013).
Lionel Cann, the coach of a club that withdrew its side from the event before it began, is quoted by the 'Sun' as saying that the decision to postponed the tournament was a good one because the logistics of the event "just weren’t thought out". He said the change from last year’s scheduling created unnecessary complications for players and their families, and believes the series should not be played mid-week and in the evening.
"It was perfect last year when "you had two games at each ground, one at 10 a.m." and a second "at 2 p.m". on the weekend, continued Cann, and that this year “we’re asking people [to play] after a hard day’s work to tryand perform for three hours". "You’re not going to get the best out of the [players that way]", he continued, and your also asking "people to give up their evenings, which is their family time". The 'Sun' says that one of the BCUA's concerns is that its members are "struggling to cope with matching work shifts to the new evening schedule".
Alternatives such as using a white ball and moving the games to the weekend are to be discussed at a meeting of the BCB's Technical Committee sometime in the next few days, and the 'Sun' says a decision is expected by the end of the week.
SHOOTINGS STOP PLAY
A match in the Sahibabad area of New Delhi in India had to be abandoned on Sunday after two youths were shot after a heated argument developed as a result of a dispute over a dismissal. Police told the 'Hindustan Times' that the two young men sustained bullet injuries and were rushed to a nearby hospital, and that one person has been arrested while the hunt for a second suspect was underway. The condition of those shot is unknown at this stage.
BOWDEN, RAUF DROPPED FROM EUP
New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden and Pakistan's Asad Rauf have been dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and replaced by England's Richard Illingworth and Australia's Paul Reiffel, both of whom have played a Test level. Bowden, who is best known around the world for his unorthodox approach to signalling, has been an EUP member for the last ten years, the longest to date, while Rauf, who has served with the group for the last seven, has recently been embroiled in alleged links to individuals police claim were involved in match-fixing activities in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In announcing the changes Geoff Allardice, the chairman of ICC's umpire selection panel, did not mention why Bowden was no longer on the EUP, but he did say that "In Asad's case, it is important to emphasise that the recent speculation linking his name to the IPL spot-fixing investigation was not considered during the selectors' deliberations". He indicated that in deciding which umpires would be offered EUP contracts for 2013-14, his panel had "considered the overall performances of [current members] over the past 12 months".
Rauf, 57, who was withdrawn from the recent Champions Trophy series in England because of the IPL fracas (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013), leaves the international scene after officiating in 64 Tests, 49 on the field and 15 as the television umpire, 153 One day Internationals, 98 on-field, 41 as the third official and 14 as the fourth (98/41/14), plus 35 Twenty20 Internationals (23/5/7). He made his first class debut in October 1998 nine years after his last game playing at that level, stood in his first an ODI in February 2000 and Test in January 2005.
All-up his first class games tally is 118 (103/15/0), List A 207 (151/42/14), and 130 in senior Twenty20 competitions (97/21/12). Included in those statistics are games in the 50-over match World Cups of 2007 and 2009, the T20 world championship series of 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012, the 2008 Stanford series in the Caribbean, the IPLs of 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and the Champions League events of 2010 and 2012. Those games were played across all of the Test playing countries except Zimbabwe, plus Ireland, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Bowden, who only turned 50 last April (PTG 1088-5302, 12 April 2013), leaves the EUP after working in 92 Tests (75/15/2), 248 ODIs (181/51/16) and 31 T20Is (19/5/7). His first class debut came 20 years ago in January 1993, his first ODI in March 1995 and Test in March 2000, and at the moment his total first class tally comes in at 155 games (138/15/2), List A 348 (279/53/16), and there have been 91 senior T20s (67/17/7). Those statistics include games in the World Cups of 2003, 2007 and 2011, the T20 World Championships of 2009 and 2010, the IPLs of 2008, 2010 and 2012, and the Champions League series of 2011.
The Auckland-born umpire will be be remembered, not always fondly by some, for what can only be described as his eccentrics on the field. He had what one biography calls a "zany array of embellished signals and a preposterous eye for showmanship", who because he was "encouraged" by some, "threw out the rule-book which states that the best cricket officials are the ones that go unnoticed".
Despite that his decision-making skills were consider very high for many years, although he was suspended by the ICC from standing, along with others, in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship series in 2007 because of his role that year's farcical conclusion to the World Cup final in Barbados (PTG 59-324, 24 June 2007). While no details are available it would appear that his idosyncratic approach has finally caught up with him.
In announcing Bowden and Rauf's departure, Allardice said that "it is exciting to see Richard and Paul promoted to the elite panel, but it is also important to acknowledge and appreciate the outstanding contributions of Asad and Billy over a long period of time". Apart from Allardice as chairman, the others on the umpire selection panel are its chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, ex-England player and coach, umpire and now broadcaster David Lloyd, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, a former India captain and international umpire.
AUSSIES, ENGLISH, FORMER FIRST
CLASS PLAYERS, DOMINATE 13-14 EUP
The appointment of England's Richard Illingworth and Australia's Paul Reiffel to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel for the 2013-14 year, means that Australia and England now each have four members on the EUP, and that ten of the twelve played first class cricket before taking up umpiring. Reiffel joins his countrymen Steve Davis (sixth year on the panel), Bruce Oxenford (second year), and Rod Tucker (fourth), while Illingworth's compatriots are Ian Gould (fifth), Richard Kettleborough (third) and Nigel Llong (second).
In addition to those eight, the other four EUP members for the year ahead are Aleem Dar from Pakistan (tenth year), Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka (third), Marais Erasmus, South Africa (fourth), and Tony Hill of New Zealand (fifth).
Hill who turns 62 today is the oldest EUP member, he being followed in age by Davis 61, Gould 55, Oxenford 53, Erasmus and Illingworth 49, Tucker 48, Reiffel 47, Dar 45, Llong 44, Dharmasena 42, and Kettleborough 40. Ten of those twelve, the exceptions being Davis and Hill, played at first class level before taking up umpiring, while two, Dharmasena and Reiffel also did so in Tests, while Gould played for his country in ODIs.
Given Davis and Hill's age it is likely that the ICC will be working particularly hard over the next year to expose future potential EUP candidates to higher-level games, former first class and Test player Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, appearing to head that list at this time.
REIFFEL BECOMES SEVENTH AUSSIE
APPOINTED TO ICC ELITE PANEL
In a long anticipated move, Australian Paul Reiffel was yesterday named as a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 1130-5485 above). Reiffel, 47, played 35 Tests and 92 One Day Internationals (ODI) for Australia in the 1990s, one of the latter games being a win in the World Cup of 1999, then just two months after his retirement in January 2002, he and his now EUP colleague Rod Tucker, who also played at first class level, were fast-tracked into umpiring via a Cricket Australia (CA) contract on its inaugural 'Project Panel' (PP).
The former Victorian, who now resides in Queensland, made his first-class umpiring debut in December 2004, joined CA's National Umpires Panel six months later, then in 2008 was promoted to the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 336-1770, 25 October 2008). Known for his apparent laid-back appearance as both a player and umpire, he made his on-field umpiring debut at international level in January 2009 and was first selected by the ICC for overseas duties in October 2011 in an ODI series in Bangladesh.
That initial ICC appointment was quickly followed by the ODI-based Asia Cup series in March 2012, again in Bangladesh, a five-match ODI series in Sri Lanka three months after that, before in July last year he became the 91st Australian to be selected to stand at Test level (PTG 966-4698, 25 July 2012). Several more Tests followed in March this year (PTG 1062-5162, 20 February 2013), one of which he stood in with Tucker, his former CA 'PP' colleague.
On the way to Test selection he was named as CA's 'Umpire of the Year' for the 2008-09 austral summer (PTG 386-2048, 12 March 2009), the same year he was awarded a $A20,000 Australian Sports Commission National Officials Scholarship to further develop his officiating skills (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009)
Melbourne-born Reiffel joins the EUP with a senior match record of 69 first class games, 57 on-field, 4 as the television official, and 8 as the reserve umpire (57/4/8), plus 104 List A fixtures (75/21/8), and 64 senior Twenty20s (47/15/2). Included in those statistics are involvement in 16 Tests (4/4/8), 53 ODIs (30/15/8), and 14 Twenty20 Internationals (9/5/0), plus at domestic level in Australia two first class, four one-day, and three T20, finals.
In addition there were also first class games on exchange in South Africa in 2010 (PTG 594-2989, 10 March 2010), and later that year in the same country the Champions League series, and then the Indian Premier League of 2011. Along the way there were also womens' Tests and ODIs and Under-19 ODIs during last August's youth World Cup.
Earlier this year former first class player Geoff Allardice, later CA's Operations General Manager and now the ICC's General Manager Cricket, who was at the forefront of the 'PP' initiative over a decade ago, called Reiffel and Tucker "trailblazers", saying that at the time "it wasn’t fashionable" in Australia for former first class players to move into umpiring. At the same time Sean Cary, another former first class player, former CA Umpires Manager, and now its Senior Manager Cricket Operations, talked of his organisation's "foresight" in establishing the PP, calling the move "ingenious".
Current CA Umpire Manager Sean Easey was, however, less focused on Tucker and Reiffel's first class origins, pointing to the work of state umpiring bodies, saying that the pair's achievements were "made possible by the training, guidance and support of the state umpiring pathways that they have come from". According to him, "To develop these individuals and to provide them with the fundamental umpiring tools has helped to ensure their progression, and we can all celebrate this occasion as a success for the Australian umpiring system".
Reiffel becomes the seventh Australian member of the EUP, the others being Darrell Hair (2003-08), Daryl Harper (2002-11), Simon Taufel (2003-2012), and Steve Davis (2008-present), Rod Tucker (2010-present) and Bruce Oxenford (2012-present). Of those Tucker and Oxenford like Reiffel played first class cricket prior to their umpiring careers, but the newest Australian EUP member is the only one of the seven to have played at Test level.
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF UMPIRING DEBUT
MARKED BY EUP APPOINTMENT
Former England Test spinner Richard Illingworth, who early next month will have been umpiring at first class level for ten years, has been appointed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel. Illingworth, 49, who in a playing career from 1982-2001 featured in nine Tests and 25 One Day Internationals (ODI) for his country, including the 1992 World Cup final against Pakistan, has to date stood as an umpire in 103 first class, 119 List A and 85 senior Twenty20 fixtures, a record that includes four Tests, 16 ODIs and eight T20Is in an international umpiring career that started in July 2010.
While Yorkshire-born Illingworth, who is no relation to former England captain Ray, played most of his cricket with Worcestershire, and began his international playing career by taking a wicket off the very first ball he delivered at that level. In total he played a total of 376 first class and 381 List A games but drifted out of the game early last decade, only to reappear in 2002 as a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) second-tier Reserve Umpires List, before being appointed to the ECB's Full List prior to the 2006 season.
Illingworth first stood in an international in February 2010, that being a ICC appointment to a second-tier ODI played in the United Arab Emirates, and he made his Test debut last November after standing in 15 ODIs. Last year he stood in the Under-19 World Cup series in Brisbane, an appointment that saw him stand in the final of that competition.
Illingworth becomes the sixth English member of the EUP, the others being David Shepherd (2002-05), Mark Benson (2006-10), Ian Gould (2009-present), Richard Kettleborough (2011-present), and Nigel Llong (2012-present). All six played first class cricket, while in addition to Illingworth, Benson also played at Test level and Gould in ODIs.
PROMOTIONS LEAVE VACANCIES ON
IUP, AUSSIE DOMESTIC PANEL
The promotion of Richard Illingworth and Paul Reiffel to the international Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) leaves vacancies in the England and Australian segments of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), as well as on Australia's National Umpires Panel (NUP). Both now new EUP members leave on-field vacancies on their respective IUPs, while Reiffel also leaves behind a position on Cricket Australia's NUP.
With Illingworth's departure, England's IUP membership is now Rob Bailey, 49, in one on-field spot and Michael Gough, 33, and Tim Robinson, 54. as the third umpires, while Reiffel leaves behind Simon Fry, 46, as Australia's sole IUP on-field umpire, and John Ward, 51, as the television official. The three Englishmen are all former first class players, Bailey and Robinson also having played in Tests, but neither of the Australians played at first class level.
The England and Wales Cricket Board will decide later this year which of Gough and Robinson they will recommend to the ICC to fill Illingworth's former position, as well as who they deem suitable to move into the then vacant third umpire spot. In the case of Cricket Australia (CA) it would seem likely that Ward will join Fry in an on-field role, with if last season's appointments by CA are any guide, West Australian NUP member Mick Martell becoming the new third umpire.
Other Australian contenders for selection to the IUP, if not this year but next, are the NUP's Paul Wilson, who like now ICC EUP members Reiffel and Rod Tucker is a former member of CA's 'Project Panel' for fast-tracking former first class players, and perhaps Gerard Abood, a member of the NUP from New South Wales. With Reiffel no longer on the NUP, CA now has a vacancy to fill on that twelve-man group, and there were indications yesterday that the announcement of a replacement on that panel could come as early as today.
CA ELEVATES TASMANIAN
TO AUSSIE NATIONAL PANEL
Hobart-based umpire Mike Graham-Smith has been named by Cricket Australia (CA) to fill the vacancy left on its 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) following the departure of former NUP member Paul Reiffel to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1130-5487 earlier today). The mathematics teacher comes to the NUP after six seasons and close to 200 games as an umpire, a role he took up in 2007 after a playing career that included 207 matches as a batsman in Tasmania's Premier League First Grade competition.
Graham-Smith, 42, joins Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Simon Fry, Geoff Joshua, Ian Lock, Mick Martell, Damien Mealey, Sam Nogajski, Tony and John Ward and Paul Wilson, on the NUP for the 2013-14 austral summer. For Lock, 54, it will be his eleventh season on the NUP, Fry, 46, and John Ward, 51, their ninth, Martell, 46, and Tony Ward, 53, season number six, Abood, 41, and Joshua, 43, their fifth, Barrow, 50, and Wilson, 41, their fourth, and Mealey, 45, and Nogajski, 34, their second.
Since being appointed as a member of Tasmania's State Umpires Panel in 2009, Graham-Smith has stood in one Under 17 and three Under-19 mens' National Championship series, the latter higher-age events being key stepping stones on CA's umpire development pathway. His performances in the first two national U-19 series were such that he was selected by CA to stand in an U-19 One Day International (ODI) series in Townsville in April last year that involved sides from Australia, England, India and New Zealand, his appointment to the final of that series being a clear sign he had joined CA's emerging umpires group.
The last three years have also seen Graham-Smith chosen for a pre-season series in Darwin involving the senior State squads from Tasmania, South Australia and Maharastra in India, a second pre-season series in south-east Queensland involving senior playing groups from Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, plus a number of Futures League state second XI fixtures, a Futures League Twenty20 tournament, Womens' National Cricket League games, and in his home state the last three Premier League First Grade Grand Finals alongside his fellow maths teacher and now NUP colleague Nogajski, who joined that panel 12 months ago.
In addition to his on-field work, Graham-Smith has also found time to serve the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA), first as its Vice President for a year, and over the last two as its President. As a result of his umpiring performances and off-field contribution, the TCUSA named him as its 2012-13 'Umpire of the Year' in March. CA said in a press release issued this morning that his NUP promotion "is due recognition for years of dedicated umpiring and development in Tasmania’s and CA’s pathway competitions".
Graham-Smith will commence his on-field preparation for his first season on the NUP by standing in six matches, one of them the final, of an Under-19 ODI series involving national teams from Australia, India, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea that is to be played in Darwin over the next two weeks (PTG 1119-5440, 7 June 2013). Given that he is yet to work or stand in first class, List A or senior Twenty20 games, an issue that has been a considerable challenge for NUP members who have been in that situation in the past, the rest of his pre-season preparation and experiences will have to be carefully planned (PTG 1131-5493 below).
REIFFEL SET SIGHTS ON EUP MEMBERSHIP
WHEN HE STARTED UMPIRING
New International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel member Paul Reiffel says that it has been his aim since he joined Cricket Australia's (CA) then new 'Project Panel' in 2002 to reach the highest level of international umpiring (PTG 1130-5487 earlier today). In a press release issued by CA this morning, Reiffel said that to reach his goal was "very rewarding and exciting", he thanked CA for their support, and spoke about how "good" the national body's umpiring pathway is, something he believes is "evidenced by the quality of Australian umpires".
Speaking about Reiffel’s promotion, CA’s Senior Manager Cricket Operations Sean Cary, a former first class player and until last year CA Umpires Manager, said: “Paul Reiffel’s elevation to the Panel continues Australia’s proud history of producing quality umpires and is evidence of the strength of Australian umpiring". “Paul has worked hard to progress through the levels of umpiring since he retired from international and first-class cricket and his development is further endorsement of Australia’s umpiring pathways". “We would like to congratulate Paul on this achievement and we wish him well as he continues his international umpiring career", concluded Cary.
The CA press release also broke the news that Tasmanin Mike Graham-Smith has been selected to replace Reiffel on Australia's National Umpires Panel (PTG 1131-5490 above), however, there is no mention of how CA plans to fill the vacancy left on Australia's segment of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 1130-5489 earlier today).
BPL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION REPORT
TO BE TABLED AT ICC CONFERENCE
A report of the investigations the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) has been carrying out into allegations of corruption in this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 competition is to be tabled during this week's ICC Annual Conference period in London, say press reports from Dhaka this morning. ACSU officials are said to have visited Bangladesh at least four times over the last few months and to have questions "more than 80 players and officials at home and abroad" (PTG 1119-5441, 7 June 2013).
Earlier this month former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful confessed publicly to his involvement in match-fixing (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013), and chances are said to be "high" that the ACSU will also name others who have been part of questionable practices. Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan recently postponed the forthcoming Dhaka Premier League competition pending the expected naming of other players enmeshed in the BPL inquiry.
The ICC Annual Conference week started yesterday at Lord's in London and is to end on Saturday with both and ICC Board and ICC Development International Conference meetings. The week started with a meeting of the ICC's Associate and Affiliate Members’ yesterday, its Chief Executives’ Committee a two-day meeting that also commenced that day, while meetings of the world body's Governance Review Committee, Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee and Human Resources and Remuneration Committee meetings are to be held tomorrow and on Friday.
In a cryptic press release the ICC says that the focus of the week will be: an application for ICC Associate Membership status from Afghanistan and one for Affiliate Membership from Romania; the annual report from the ACSU Chairman; recommendations on cricket, development and medical matters from recent committee meetings; and an update on ICC events through to 2015 and the post-2015 commercial strategy.
NEW CA 'EMERGING' GROUP APPOINTMENTS
STRATEGY UNDER MICROSCOPE
The promotion of Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith to Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) before he has had direct experience of the senior levels of interstate cricket in Australia has again highlighted the national body's failure last austral summer to manage such issues. In what is seen by many as a dropping of the 'development ball' , CA only exposed one of its then emerging umpires, Nathan Johnston of Western Australia, to two senior domestic one-day matches, one of field and one in the television suite (PTG 1088-5296, 12 April 2013), however he has now been discarded from CA's umpiring pathway.
Graham-Smith's elevation finally confirms that Johnston and Michael Kumutat of New South Wales, who were former members of CA's emerging umpires group, are no longer a part of the national body's long-term plans. Two years ago that pair were, together with Queensland's Damien Mealey and Sam Nogajski of Tasmania, part of a four-man emerging group competing for possible elevation to higher honours, but only the latter two achieved that goal, being elevated to the NUP last year (PTG 1006-4887, 19 October 2012).
In addition to Graham-Smith, former first class umpire Richard Patterson was also thought by many to be in contention for an NUP spot in 2013-14. Despite being overlooked this year his selection to stand in three games in the forthcoming Under-19 international series in Darwin early next month, including its final with Graham-Smith, suggests he is still on CA's NUP short list for a future year.
Patterson, 47, together with the other umpires taking part in the Darwin series, New South Welshmen Greg Davidson, 43, and Tony Wilds, 51, and Victorian Shawn Craig, 40, a member of CA's 'Project Panel', appear to now make up the national body's emerging group for the next twelve months. Craig and Davidson are to stand in four matches each in Darwin, while like Patterson, Wilds has been allocated three games. CA's 2013 Under-19 national championship series this December is likely to see some of those and the next crop of potential NUP candidates being closely watched by members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP)
At least one of three UHPP members, Ric Evans, Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford, are expected to be present at each of the ten games in Darwin, and reports suggest that CA's Umpire Manager Sean Easy and its new Umpire Educator Bob Parry will also be travelling there to observe games. The key question for Easy and the UHPP group is just how they plan to handle the development of their latest emerging group over the next nine months.
In Mealey's case he had stood in one domestic first class and four one-day games plus another three as the television umpire prior to joining the NUP, whereas Nogajski had two first class, two one-day and six one-day games as the third umpire under his belt when he joined the national panel.
PLAYING THE GAME
Thursday, 27 June 2013
NZ UMPIRE CHIEF 'SURPRISED' AT BOWDEN'S
EUP SACKING, SUPPORTS COME-BACK
The demotion of New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top umpires' panel has surprised the head of that country's umpiring department, says a story in today's 'New Zealand Herald' (NZH). Bowden, together with Pakistan's Asad Rauf, were dropped from the ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) earlier this week because of "poor form" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), but the 'NZH' report says New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Umpire manager Rodger McHarg plans to give his countryman "every chance to return" to the highest level of umpiring.
McHarg is quoted as saying that the ICC's decision is "very disappointing for 'Billy' and yes I was surprised", for the now former EUP member "has been working very hard and is still acknowledged as one of the best decision makers in the game". While Bowden did not want to comment when contacted by 'Herald' journalist David Leggat yesterday, McHarg, himself a former Test umpire, said "I'm sure there'll be opportunities this [austral] summer" for Bowden.
"Expect to see Bowden popping up during tours by the West Indies and India" early next year writes Leggat. Under ICC policies, home nations choose one on-field umpire in One Day Internationals, and in India's case if the Umpire Decision Review System is not operational the third umpire spot as well. If Bowden makes himself available NZC would, as it currently stands, have the right to appoint him to those positions in the ODIs involving both touring sides.
In order for that to occur though, NZC would have to nominate Bowden for a position on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP). With long-serving IUP on-field member Gary Baxter now 61, NZC could if McHarg's sentiments are an indication, nominate Bowden to replace him on that panel.
The 'Herald' report goes on to state that the "sole reason given for Bowden's demotion is form", but "there hasn't been an umpire born who hasn't made mistakes, and with the officials in the full glare of television slo-motion replays, it's never been harder to get it consistently right". The article then says that "some of those who remain on the panel should consider themselves fortunate, notably Australians Bruce Oxenford and Steve Davis". Tony Hill, 62, is now New Zealand's sole EUP member.
Meanwhile, reports from the sub-continent overnight, citing a "source" at the ICC's annual conference week in London (PTG 1132-5495 below), suggest that even if the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) nominates Rauf for an IUP position, the ICC may reject such a move. However, Geoff Allardice, the ICC general manager operations, said when announcing Rauf's departure from the EUP that the linking his name to the Indian Premier League spot-fixing investigation was not part of the reason for his dropping.
If he is shown to be innocent of the allegations that he has links to bookmakers, suggestions Rauf has denied (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013), it is not clear how the ICC could reject such a submission from the PCB. But the "source" went on to say that Rauf "has not performed impressively over the last year [and] the ICC is looking for young legs and young blood".
That comment comes as it becomes increasingly obvious that the work of former international umpire Simon Taufel as the ICC's Performance and Training Manager is now starting to come the fore, and that umpires now have greater accountability for their on-going performances than may have been the case in the past.
Taufel has said a number of times since his appointment to that position last October that his role does not include umpire selection. However, Taufel's demonstrated professionalism over the years, and the very nature of the work he and his four Umpire Coaches, none of whom have yet to be named publicly by the ICC, are now responsible for, means that if he is not involved in selection he is certainly now a key and respective advisor in the selection process for international umpires.
ICC UNIT CALLS FOR STRONGER
NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS
The adoption of stronger national laws that deal with corruption and allows the prosecution of players and others involved in such activities will be a key part of this year's report of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), claim reports from the ICC's annual conference in London (PTG 1131-5492, 26 June 2013). During his presentation this week, ACSU chairman Sir Ronnie Flannagan is said to be likely to recommend that ICC members adopt stronger anti-corruption laws to prosecute players, match-officials and franchise owners found guilty of corrupt practices in domestic Twenty20 leagues.
Australia has been discussing the tightening of its Laws regarding sports-related corruption for some time (PTG 770-3773, 5 June 2011), however, allegations of spot and match-fixing in both the Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League this year have highlighted the lack of an appropriate legal cover in those countries for such activities.
The Indian government plans to enact legislation to deal with "unfair practices" in sport "as soon as possible", according to a statement by that country's Law minister last month. Soon after that 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 (PTG 1111-5405, 27 May 2013).
A report Cricket Australia (CA) commissioned into its integrity systems is said to have recommended, because of the "proliferation of sports betting and the spot-fixing incidents that have hit the game elsewhere", that CA "beef up its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).
KIWI UMPIRE, SCORERS GROUP PLANNING
The Board of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) plans to introduce an electronic newsletter "over the coming months", says NZCUSA Chairman George Morris. In a note to members this week, Morris says the introduction of the newsletter will provide his board with the "ability to communicate directly with all umpires and scorers throughout New Zealand", and that the move is "a critical step in fostering the 'third team' community".
Morris continues by saying his board "is looking forward to utilising this tool on a regular basis" and that as such NZCUSA members should "be prepared to hear from us reasonably frequently". He also called on his members for "any ideas" as to what to call the newsletter, that they register their interest in subscribing to it, and asked them to advise "any items of national interest that we could include in future editions". "We want to keep you informed of national umpiring and scoring issues" and ensure that "you feel involved in our part of the great game of cricket", says Morris.
Cricket Australia produces a spasmodic electronic newsletter for umpires and scorers around that country, while the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association's attempts over the last two years to improve communications across its far-flung domain has to date failed badly (PTG 1092-5317, 22 April 2013).
In his note NZCUSA chairman Morris also encourage his members to register for the group's Annual Conference and General Meeting weekend which is to be held in Christchurch over the last weekend of August.
'BEAMERS' RESULT IN REPRIMAND FOR BOWLER
Yorkshire Second XI bowler Will Rhodes has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after he was removed from the attack for delivering 'beamers' during his side's Twenty20 match against Lancashire last week. Rhodes, 28, who has played seven List A games for his full county side this season, was reported by umpires Ben Debenham and Steve Malone.
Under ECB disciplinary regulations the penalty will remain on Rhodes record for a period of two years, the accumulation of nine or more penalty points over any two year period leading to an automatic suspension.
NEW ICC UMPIRE COACH NAMES RELEASED
IN LOW-KEY ANNOUNCEMENT
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named publicly for the first time just who the individuals are who have been working in Umpire Coach positions under Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel over the last few months. The ICC called for applications for four positions last December (PTG 1029-4998, 14 December 2012), but only three have been named via what was a very low-key unannounced posting on the world body's web site sometime in the last few days, they being Denis Burns, David Levens and Peter Manuel.
News of the selection of Burns, who was until eight weeks ago Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire Educator, and Levens, an Australian sports development specialist, surfaced in Australia in late February (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), but until now there has been no clear publicity to indicate that Sri Lankan Manuel, a former Test umpire, was in the mix. His presence is not surprising though for he has over the last six years filled one of the then five ICC Umpire High Performance Manager (UHPM) positions, jobs that have now morphed with modifications into what are now called Umpire Coaches.
Under the general arrangements that now apply Taufel has, in addition to the overall management of his unit, responsibility for related activities in one county, India, while Burns has been assigned the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Levens for Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies, while Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are Manuel's focus as was the case when he was a UHPM. While Manuel has experience at Test level, Burns has worked at club level but as far as it is known, Levens has never stood in a match.
Taufel, who returned to on-field work in this year's Indian Premier League, said then that during that competition he had the "dual role as an umpire and umpire coach" for the Indian umpires involved in that event (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013). Manuel is part of a group that is to conduct a five-day Level 2 umpires' course for the Asian Cricket Council in Oman over the next week (PTG 1133-5502 below).
The web site posting indicates Levens and Taufel will work from Australia, Burns from England where he has moved since leaving CA's employ, and Manuel from Sri Lanka, however, last December's call by the ICC for Umpire Coaches said that those appointed would be travelling away from home for "approximately 100 days a year". Whether there are any plans to recruit a fourth Umpire Coach as originally flagged, or if the funding is not available for it, are not known at this time.
No details of the group's work program have been publicised by the ICC, but it is known a training course is to be held somewhere in India for what is now believed to be two Umpire Coaches from each of the world body's ten Full Member countries in around three weeks time (PTG 1113-5415, 29 May 2013). Taufel told an Indian journalist last month that he was at that time working on training structures, and that the basic aim was to identify "the best practice for developing quality umpiring" (PTG 1104-5375, 16 May 2013).
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.
'UNITY OF PURPOSE' BIGGEST CHALLENGE
FOR CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION?
Few details of just what issues are on the agenda for the West Indies Cricket Umpires' Association (WICUA) twenty-sixth Biennial Convention in Trinidad and Tobago next week have not been made public. However, if the experiences of the last such event on the island of Saint Lucia two years ago are a guide, the key challenge facing those attending is finding a way to develop a focused, coordinated, cooperative approach, to the work of an association whose members not only come from more than a dozen countries and other entities, but are also spread across a very wide geographic area.
The meeting is to be attended by umpires from the WICUA's ten-member territories, they being: Barbados, Canada, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America and the Windward Islands. At the Saint Lucia Convention two years ago close to 120 people took part, just under 30 of those having voting rights, and a similar number are believed to be planning to attend this year.
News reports say the convention, during which the association's 50th anniversary last year will be celebrated (PTG 950-4615, 15 June 2012), will start with an Inter-faith Church service on Sunday, followed by Flag Raising and Opening Ceremony on Monday. A news report from Port of Spain says the week-long gathering, which has the theme ‘Celebrating Milestones - Achieving Success', will start with a "General Council meeting", while the "Business session will see discussions on a wide range of issues on cricket and cricket umpiring as [they] impact on the West Indies and the World". The election of office bearers for the next two years will be part of the proceedings.
The last Convention in 2011 started badly as the then WICUA President, former international umpire Steve Bucknor who had been elected to that position at the twenty-fourth Convention in Bermuda in 2009 (PTG 433-2270, 6 June 2009), both failed to show up in Saint Lucia or advise anyone he would not be attending. The meeting itself was marked by divisions between representative areas and sometimes sharp exchanges between individuals, a situation that led then international umpire Billy Doctrove from Dominica to express the view that too much time was spent on talking and that there was a need for unity and solidarity in the future.
Experienced observers who have spoken to 'PTG' make the claim the disunity that was displayed in Saint Lucia is one of the reasons the West Indies Cricket Board takes little real heed of the association's views and requests.
During the week a cricket match is to be played between umpires from host country Trinidad and Tobago and a team made up of attendees from other regions, and the Convention will conclude the President's Banquet and Awards Function next Friday evening.
FICA, ICC STILL AT ODDS OVER
'SIVAR' APPOINTMENT BACKGROUND
The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), or player's union, have decided to ask the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Ethics Officer to arrange an "independent investigation" into the way former Indian player Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (Sivar) was appointed to the ICC's Cricket Committee in May (PTG 1102-5368, 10 May 2013). FICA Executive Chairman Paul Marsh told journalists yesterday that his organisation has "tried all we can to get the ICC to refer this matter to the Ethics Officer themselves", but that "after more than six weeks of no action we are left with no choice but to refer the matter ourselves", however, early this morning the ICC "angrily" refuted that claim.
Marsh says that "We have evidence of Captains being pressured by their Boards into changing their votes away from the incumbent player representative on the Committee Tim May", who at the time was FICA's Executive chairman, "in favour of Sivaramakrishnan, and we will present this to the Ethics Officer". "The evidence is strong and we expect it to be acted upon", he added.
The decision to refer the captains' vote issue to the ICC's Ethics Officer was taken at a FICA Board meeting in London last week. "It is extremely concerning and disappointing that the governing body of our sport has refused to follow its own processes for dealing with allegations of unethical behaviour", said Marsh. "Sadly this is yet another example of the poor governance practices that exist in cricket". "The ICC should be taking these allegations incredibly seriously but instead they are ignoring the processes under their own code and hoping the matter will go away".
News of FICA's move promoted the ICC to issue a press release early this morning that "expressed its anger and disappointment" at what it believes is the union's "confrontational stance" over the matter. Marsh's claim of no action for six weeks is said to be "untrue" and as such "the ICC has no alternative but to refute angrily this argument and state the true facts".
It says that "senior ICC executives and leading [ICC] board members have met with Ian Smith, FICA's Chief Operating Officer, in London with a view to resolving the issues which had been raised by FICA. At that meeting says the ICC, “It was mutually agreed with [Smith] that major progress had been made to resolve any perceived deficiencies in the ICC Cricket Committee election system and we believed that, at the end of the meeting, we were close to reaching an outcome that was acceptable to the players and their representatives".
Despite that, continues the ICC release, Marsh "chose to issue an emotive press release, which we believe was a breach of trust of the processes and protocols agreed at the London discussions". FICA's approach "does not reflect the spirit in which ICC and, we believed, FICA entered into what appeared to be meaningful and productive dialogue, nor reflect a willingness to work together to provide a satisfactory conclusion to this issue", concludes the ICC statement.
NEUTRAL OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
EARLY TRI-NATION GAMES
New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe and English umpire Ian Gould have been appointed as the neutral officials for the first three games of the tri-nation One Day International (ODI) series India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are to play in Jamaica today, Sunday and on Tuesday. The names of the officials who are to look after the last four games, the last the final, that are to be played in Trinidad over the week that starts next Friday, have not yet been released by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The first game later today between the West Indies and Sri Lanka will see Gould on the field with ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) member Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago. Nigel Duguid from Guyana, an IUP third umpire member, will be working in that role in an ODI for the first time, although he has done so previously in five Twenty20 Internationals.
Gould will be in action again on Sunday when the home side takes on India, Peter Nero, another Trinidadian IUP member being his on-field colleague with Wilson working as the third umpire in an ODI for the fourth time. Tuesday will see the two visiting sides playing each other, Gould and Wilson being on-field together again and Nero the television official for the third time in an ODI.
The three games will take Crowe's ODI record as a match referee to 173 games, and Gould, Nero and Wilson's as umpires in that format at international level to 86, 13 and 6 respectively.
FORMER TEST, ODI UMPIRES TO LEAD
MUSCAT LEVEL 2 COURSE
Over thirty umpires from Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are to attend a five-day, Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Level 2 umpiring course which starts in the Omani capital of Muscat tomorrow. A report in the 'Times of Oman' yesterday indicates that the course will be presented by former first class umpires Peter Manuel of Sri Lanka, Syed Mahboob Ali Shah of Pakistan, and Bomi Jamula from India, plus senior Omani umpire and ACC Accredited Umpire Educator, Adachni Srinivasan.
Six of those who will take part in the course will be from Afghanistan, three from Iran, five from Kuwait, three from Qatar, four from Saudi Arabia, and six from both Oman and the UAE. Both Manuel, who is one of the International Cricket Council's three new Umpire Coaches (PTG 1133-5498 above), and Mahboob Shah, a former first class player as well as umpire, have in the past both stood in Test matches, while Jamula has officiated in One Day Internationals.
UMPIRE'S INABILITY TO PAY FEE LEADS
TO REJECTION OF BAN APPEAL
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has rejected umpire Nadeem Ghouri's appeal against his four-year ban after he failed to submit the money the PCB requires before a hearing can be conducted, says a report published by the 'Times of India' (TOI) this morning. Ghouri and Anis Siddique, another Pakistani first class umpire, were handed multi-year bans by a PCB integrity committee in April for their part in an Indian television station's 'sting' operation that was designed to highlight umpire corruption (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).
Ghouri is quoted in the 'TOI' report as saying that he was unable to come up with the 100,000 Rupees ($A1,100) fee the PCB required for an appeal. He said "the board told me to submit [the fee] with the appeal application" but he is "financially in a tight position" as he also has to "pay another 250,000 Rupees [$A2,750] in legal fees for the hearing" which was "to be conducted by a PCB lawyer".
The PCB's decision regarding the appeal has left him "totally shattered and heartbroken and I don't know what else to do because all my life I either played cricket or umpired and I don't know any other way to earn my livelihood". Ghouri, who turned 50 last October, played first class cricket in Pakistan for over twenty years from 1977-99, featuring in one Test and six One Day Internationals in that time, and he started umpiring at that level within months of his playing retirement and continued up until news broke last October of the sting operation (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012).
Ghouri insists that if he had earned anything from fixing activities he wouldn't be in such dire need of money. "Fortunately in the days I was playing and later on the [international] panel I managed to build my own home", he said, but "that's all I have [and] anyone can check my accounts". "If I was corrupt I wouldn't be in a position where I can't even pay [the fee] the board [requires] for my appeal to be heard by them". What hurt him he claimed was that the PCB "didn't even bother to listen to [his side of the story] before banning him".
The Lahore-born umpire is reported to have gone to allege, in the words of the 'TOI' report, "that an Indian lobby was behind the move to defame and ban him" and he pointed out "they had now targeted [fellow Pakistani umpire] Asaf Rauf", who is being investigated for links to bookmakers during this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series (PTG 1126-5469, 20 June 2013).
"This Indian lobby didn't want to see Pakistani umpires [promoted to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP)] for they have always worked against us [Pakistanis]". "Rauf has been dragged into a controversy and dropped from the [EUP] on the basis of Indian media reports [but] his performance was not bad at all", claimed Ghouri. The ICC has specifically stated that Rauf's axing was related to his performance and not his IPL-related problems (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).
Ten days ago another umpire who was also caught up in the 'sting', Bangladeshi Nadir Shah, submitted a letter to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) asking that his 10-year ban for corruption given to him as a result be reduced to "2 or 3 years" (PTG 1125-5456, 19 June 2013), but as yet there are been no indication as to when, or if, the BCB will consider his request. Eight months after the sting came to light though, there has been no news of what Sri Lanka Cricket is doing regarding allegations that were levelled in the television report against three of their umpires: Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage.
ENGLAND PLAYER 'ANNOYED AND DEPRESSED'
BY BALL-TEMPERING ALLEGATIONS
England player Ravi Bopara, who has been linked in some media reports to ball-tampering by his side over recent weeks, yesterday hit back at claims about such activities made by former England skipper Bob Willis. Two weeks ago Willis, who now works as a television commentator, accused an England player, who he would not name, of "scratching a ball" during a Champions Trophy match England were playing against Sri Lanka at The Oval, a claim England's skipper and coach later denied (PTG 1124-5464, 15 June 2013).
Bopara is quoted in yesterday's 'London Evening Standard' ('LES') as saying that Willis' comments were "annoying, sad and depressing -- especially in the middle of a global competition". "We were doing well in that tournament, and I felt it was unacceptable to make that sort of noise", said the Essex all-rounder this week. "When England are doing well, why does something negative have to come from it? Why not just get on the wave with England and enjoy it?"
Medium-pacer Bopara, often given the job of looking after the ball for both county and his country, said: "We've learnt over the last 12-18 months that we need to look after the white ball as well as we do the red ball". "We discussed as a team how we were going to shine it [for] you have to look after them to make them 'talk'. "You want that seam to be standing up as long as possible; you want one side to be very smooth, which helps with lateral movement", and "If you can make the red ball swing, you should be able to do the same with the white one", he said. The 'LES' report does not contain any indication that Bopara talked about just what the techniques his side uses are, or how they made be different to other legitimate ways of shining the ball.
Willis' comments came after Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar and his on-field colleague 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand decided to change one of the two white balls being used in the game because it was out of shape, but the former England skipper linked that move to ball-tampering, saying that Dar "was on England's case". David Lloyd, another television commentator, who is also a member of the International Cricket Council's umpire selection panel (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), tweeted soon after that “Ball change is simple... umpires thought Eng changed the condition of the ball... which is against the laws".
PLAYING THE GAME
EXPANSION OF 2014-15 EUP
CANDIDATE POOL NEEDED?
Ranmore Martinesz of Sri Lanka and Johannes Cloete of South Africa appear the front runners for the two spots that are likely to fall vacant on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year because of the age of two current panel members. Having just two serious candidates at the top of the ICC development pipeline does not appear enough though, for it not only assumes both will actually make the EUP grade next year, but it also reduces the ICC's flexibility to 'hire-fire' as it moves to tighten the performance standards and accountability of its top 12 umpires.
While the world body only announced the names of its EUP members for 2013-14 three days ago (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), they will have already started to consider appointments to internationals between now and April. A key driver is that in June 2014, current EUP members Steve Davis of Australia and Tony Hill of New Zealand will be 62 and 63 respectively, ages that are older than any one else who has been on the panel except England's David Shepherd who left at 64, but that was nearly 10 years ago in what was a different era. In the time since Steve Bucknor of the West Indies left at 62, and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa at 61, primarily, it is believed, due to age-related issues.
Martinesz, 46, a former first class player, and Cloete, 41, who has been umpiring at that level for 20 years, are both current on-field members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and have been on the world body's development pathway for 2-3 years. That 'conveyor belt' goes from senior domestic level, to IUP appointment on the recommendation of their home boards, then selections by the ICC, normally first to second-tier nation first class or One Day Internationals (ODI), tournaments such as Womens' and Under-19 World Cups, senior ODIs as neutrals, then if their performances dictate it, to a final 'audition' of 3-4 Tests. Paul Reiffel of Australia and Richard Illingworth of England, this year's new EUP members, both came to the panel via such paths (PTG 1130-548, 26 June 2013).
The key question is though, who else of the IUP's other current 15 on-field members could the ICC look to as potential EUP candidates, both for 2014-15 and the year after that? Currently, that group is made up of: Simon Fry, 46 (Australia); Enamul Haque, 47 (Bangladesh); Rob Bailey, 49 (England); Sudhir Asnani, 52, and Vineet Kulkarni, 33 (India); Gary Baxter, 61, and Chris Gaffaney, 37 (New Zealand); Ahsan Raza, 39 and Zameer Haider, 50 (Pakistan); Shaun George, 45 (South Africa); Ruchira Palliyaguruge, 45 (Sri Lanka); Peter Nero, 49, and Joel Wilson, 46 (West Indies); and Owen Chirombe, 40, and Russell Tiffin, 54 (Zimbabwe). Of that group Bailey and Enamul Haque have played Tests, while Gaffaney, George, Raza, and Palliyaguruge all played at first class level in their home competitions.
Analysis of ICC appointments and other observations suggest that 11 of those 15, Asnani, Baxter, Chirombe, Enamul Haque, Fry, Haider, Kulkarni, Nero, Raza, Tiffin and Wilson, will not be in the EUP mix for 2014-15, that George and Palliyaguruge may be on the fringe and could get a neutral position in a senior ODI series this year, 2015-16 possibly being their target, and that the current candidates behind Martinecz and Cloete could well be be Bailey and Gaffaney.
During his now 20 months as an on-field IUP member, the ICC have ignored Fry for overseas duty, at Baxter's age is an issue and in addition he could have now former EUP member 'Billy' Bowden lining up for his IUP spot (PTG 1132-5494, 27 June 2013), while Chirombe, Haider, Nero, Raza and Wilson have not yet demonstrated the necessary level of development, and the future of the two Indians on the IUP itself may be under challenge from within their country's pool of match officials (PTG 1134-5507 below).
Enamul Haque was given a single Test eighteen months ago but the ICC has only selected him once more since, that being as the neutral umpire in an ODI series in South Africa last January. Tiffin was a member of the EUP from 2002-04 and the last of his 44 Tests was in March 2009, but his only ICC appointment over the three years since being to second-tier nation ODIs in February 2012.
Gaffaney is a former first class player while Bailey played Test cricket for England. Since August 2010, Gaffaney has been given four separate appointments by the ICC to second-tier first class and ODI games in Canada, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, plus to last year's U-19 World Cup; a pattern that could be read as suggesting the ICC are not yet sure of his potential. While Bailey is the more experienced of the two as a player and umpire, his ICC appointments to date have been more limited being made up of a Womens' World Cup qualifier series in 2011 and two second-tier nation ODIs in the UAE last March.
The seemingly constant revision of tour schedules and the propensity of some national boards to favour one-day and Twenty20 format series at the expense of Tests (PTG 1114-5420, 30 May 2013), make it difficult to be sure as to what Tests and ODIs will be played between now an April. What data that is available though suggests around that 28 Tests and 49 ODIs will be played over that time, Bailey being realistically eligible, in terms of neutrality, for some 10 senior ODis and 7 Tests, and Gaffaney 6 senior ODIs and 2 Tests.
Bowden though is an unknown quantity at this time but the chances of him, even if he does as has been reported "lets his umpiring do the talking", of returning to the EUP in the short-term appears very unlikely. Such a return has happened before, although not in such a short time-frame, in 2008 Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva being reinstated to the EUP after being sacked from the panel four years prior to that (PTG 234-1296, 24 April 2008).
LITTLE FLEXIBILITY FOR ICC IN
ASHES UMPIRE SELECTIONS
With Australian and English umpires now taking up 8 of the 12 positions on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013), the pool of neutral umpires the world body has for the ten England-Australia Tests scheduled for the next six months is limited to four, possibly five, individuals. Others on the EUP available for the 20 on-field and 10 third umpire neutral spots during those Tests are Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka, South African Marais Erasmus, and Tony Hill of New Zealand, the only other possible candidate appearing to be Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, although his appointment to an Ashes series would be a big call (PTG 1135-5505 above).
Dar is no stranger to Ashes contests having worked to support a total of eleven such Tests, ten of those on the field, across four series since 2005. Erasmus and Hill have to date worked together in three Ashes Tests, one of those appointments being as a third umpire, all during the 2010-11 series in Australia, however, both Dhamasena, and obviously Martinecz, have yet to do so. The overall on-field Test record of the five are: Dar 81, which makes him by far the most experienced Test umpire still currently working in such games, Hill 38, Erasmus 18, Dhamasena 15 as an umpire plus another 31 as a player, and Martinecz 2.
When it comes to match referees the situation is not so tight with five, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, Javagal Srinath of India, and Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle and Rosham Mahanama, meeting the neutrality requirements. Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee who has to date overseen a total of 141 Tests in that role, has worked in 5 Ashes series and a total of 14 Tests (141/5/14), Crowe's figures being 62/3/9, but Mahanama (43 Tests as a referee), Srinath (24), and Pycroft (22), have yet to support an Ashes series.
WHERE TO FROM HERE
FOR INDIAN UMPIRES?
The appointment of two local umpires to finals matches in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) for the first time ahead of more experienced colleagues, raises questions about what if any changes the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will make to its positions on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2013-14. The BCCI has put a lot of resources and effort into improving its umpiring standards over the last six years, a key aim being to have one of its officials appointed to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, but the attainment of that target still appears to be a long way off.
Currently, India's IUP group is made up of Sudhir Asnani, 52, and Vineet Kulkarni, 33, in on-field roles, plus Ravi Sundaram, 47, and Chettithody Shamshuddin, 43, as the third umpires. Asnani was given his first chance by the ICC to work as a neutral in a One Day International in New Zealand last February, however, it was Sundaram and Shamshuddin who were chosen last month to became the first from their country to be chosen to stand in an IPL finals game in the series six-year history (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013). Whether that situation will be reflected in Indian IUP positions submitted by the BCCI to the ICC for the year ahead remains to be seen.
Former international umpire and now ICC Performance and Training Manager (PTM) Simon Taufel has been involved in umpiring training programs in India over the last five years. This year, during the IPL series, he worked as a mentor and coach with that country's senior officials, reporting good progress (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013), and in addition to his overall PTM role, he now has India as his key region of focus (PTG 1132-5498, 28 June 2013).
BUTT PUBLICLY ADMITS SPOT-FIXING
FOR THE FIRST TIME
Banned former Pakistan captain, Salman Butt yesterday admitted publicly for the first time that he had engaged in spot-fixing in a Test in England in 2010 and apologised for his actions. Butt, who served time in prison for that activity and was given a five-year ban, with another five suspended, from all cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC), indicated that he is willing to participate in rehabilitation programs organised by the ICC and Pakistan Cricket Board as part of his efforts to return to international cricket.
In April, Butt and his former team-mate Mohammad Asif lost their appeals to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport for the ICC bans to be reduced, after which ICC chief executive David Richardson called on the pair to admit their wrongdoing and cooperate with the his organisation's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) (PTG 1093-5322, 24 April 2013).
Butt, told media representatives in Lahore on Friday "to all those who have been disappointed by my actions I do apologise for them", as well as for the negative "effect it had on cricket's integrity". "I want to insist, to all those playing and wanting to play cricket, they must stay away from such wrongdoings because it negatively effects them and the game of cricket".
The now 28-year-old will, under the ICC's security code, still will have to serve out the basic five-year ban which ends early in 2016, however, he has apparently asked that it be softened so that he can play domestic cricket before a possible return to the Pakistan national side. The PCB's interim chairman, Najam Sethi, said this week that he planned to ask the ICC to consider doing just that. First though, now that he has apologised, Butt has to start rehabilitation, a process that requires him to tell the whole truth to the ACSU and PCB.