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          JULY 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 23 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5509-5606)

Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,136  1,137  1,138  1,139  1,140  1,141  1,142  1,143  1,144  1,145  1,146  1,147  
1,148  1,149  1,150  1,151  1,152  1,153  1,154  1,155  1,156  1,157  1,158

1,136 - 1 July [5509-5513] 

• ICC changes ball-tampering Playing Condition, Laws so far unaffected    (1136-5509).

• 'Zing' wickets approved for use in ODI, T20I matches    (1136-5510).

• Report into alleged BPL corruption delayed until early August    (1136-5511).

• CA Umpire Educator, State Director, for ICC workshop in India   (1136-5512).

• Inaugural World Test Championship set for 2017   (1136-5513).

1,137 - 2 July [5514-5516]

• Indian umpire commences England exchange visit    (1137-5514).

• ECB seeking the views of club players, umpires, scorers    (1137-5515).

• Three players seek easing of spot-fixing bans    (1137-5516).

1,138 - 3 July [5517-5520]

• Funding of UDRS operations remains a key issue, says BCCI 'source'   (1138-5517).  

• Second English neutral umpire for tri-nation series   (1138-5518). 

• Slow over-rate costs Irish club side a win   (1138-5519). 

• Sabina Park umpires' room named for Bucknor, Sang Hue   (1138-5520).  

1,139 - 4 July [5521-5522]

• All EUP 'neutrals' to the helm for Ashes Tests   (1139-5521).  

• Westfield wins small reprieve, Kanerias life ban confirmed   (1139-5522). 

1,140 - 5 July [5523-5531]

• Umpire 'floored' by fierce drive in County T20   (1140-5523).  

• Suspected bookmaker links sees spectators ejected from grounds   (1140-5524).  

• Slow over-rate fine for India   (1140-5525).

• Player replacements change game from 'first class' to 'miscellaneous'   (1140-5526).

• Lack of 'independent umpires' leads to match 'tension'   (1140-5527).  

• Bermudan, Canadian umpires for U-19 Qualifying tournament   (1140-5528).  

• 'Academy' established for Warrnambool umpires   (1140-5529).  

• CPL gets 'spirit' boost but no news of match officials   (1140-5530).  

• Never too old to make a difference?   (1140-5531).  

1,141 - 7 July [5532-5536]

• Ranji Trophy umpires for Taufel-run course   (1141-5532).  

• Second slow over-rate offence results in one-match ban.   (1141-5533).  

• Umpires stamping 'argy-bargy' out too soon, claims Warne   (1141-5534).  

• Captains receive long, short-term bans for umpire abuse   (1141-5535).  

• ICC not pursuing bid for Olympic Games cricket   (1141-5536).  

1,142 - 8 July [5537]

• Two Sri Lankan umpires to face five-year bans for corruption, say reports   (1142-5537). 

1,143 - 9 July [5538-5542]

• Abandoned Test ball showed 'natural wear, says journalist   (1143-5538).  

• BCCI sets retirement age for match referees   (1143-5539).  

• Leeward Islands umpires on strike?  (1143-5540). 

• Northamptonshire reprimanded for pitch comments  (1143-5541). 

• Indonesian, PNG umpires stand in EAP U-19 final  (1143-5542).  

1,144 - 10 July [5543-5544]

• Ten-year, three-year bans for two Sri Lankan umpires   (1144-5543).

• Fourth ICC National Umpires Meeting for Nagpur   (1144-5544).  

1,145 - 12 July [5545-5549]

• Aussie TV network again talks up day-night Tests   (1145-5545).  

• England query overturning of Trott 'not out' decision   (1145-5546).  

• Windies-Pakistan ODI series Reiffel's first EUP appointment     (1145-5547).  

• Five-run penalty given for batsman's Protected Area infringement   (1145-5548). 

• Doctrove, Greaves for Nagpur ICC 'train-the-trainer' meeting   (1145-5549). 


1,146 - 13 July [5550-5552]

• Umpires, technology under scrutiny in opening Ashes Test   (1146-5550).

• Lankan captain given two-match ban for 'serious' over-rate offence    (1146-5551).

• Another Dhaka visit as ICC ASCU works to finalise BPL report    (1146-5552).


1,147 - 14 July [5553-5557]
• PCB overlooks Rauf, tightens umpire Code of Conduct rules    (1147-5553).

• ICC 'confident' Erasmus followed UDRS protocols in Trott decision    (1147-5554).

• CA, ECB reportedly concerned about limited pool of EUP 'neutrals'    (1147-5555).

• 'How'd you keep a straight face?', asks ICC referee    (1147-5556).

• NSWCUSA centenary film set for release     (1147-5557).

1,148 - 15 July [5558-5561]

• Third umpire review overturns on-field decision, ends Test   (1148-5558).

• Give umpires full control of UDRS operations, argues 'Chappelli'    (1148-5559).

• Pakistan umpire retires, accuses PCB officials of 'mistreatment'    (1148-5560).

• ICC denies banned Aamer given clearance to play domestic games   (1148-5561).

1,149 - 17 July [5562-5568]

• ICC releases Trent Bridge umpire decision statistics    (1149-5562).

• MCC committee looks at bat size issues    (1149-5563).

• Take players out of UDRS loop, appoint 'television analysts', says Harper    (1149-5564).

• Haddin supports umpires having responsibility for reviews    (1149-5565).

• Columnist suggests 'technology' overshadowed 'wonderful' Ashes Test     (1149-5566).

• Delhi police preparing to formalise IPL match-fixing charges  (1149-5567).

• Pre-season tournament experimenting with innings structures  (1149-5568).

1,150 - 18 July [5569-5574]

• No WCC consensus on bat issues so yet more 'research' planned   (1150-5569).

• UDRS 'not perfect' but 'here to stay', says MCC committee   (1150-5570).

• WCC reiterates support for day-night Tests, World Test Championship   (1150-5571).

• Cleared Bangladeshi returns to international scene   (1150-5572).

• Twenty-one attending ICC 'train-the-trainer' workshop   (1150-5573).

• Village team-work allows the call of 'Play'   (1150-5574).

1,151 - 19 July [5575]

• Neutral umpire policy may need reconsideration, says ICC chief    (1151-5575).

1,152 - 20 July [5576-5581]

• Trial could lead to third umpires overturning on-field decisions    (1152-5576).

• UDRS 'more dangerous than corruption', claims former Pakistan skipper    (1152-5577).

• WCC discussed giving umpires 'their own' reviews    (1152-5578).

• New Lankan IUP member for ODI debut    (1152-5579).

• No routine release of umpire decision statistics planned    (1152-5580).

• 2013 Sri Lankan T20 cancelled    (1151-5581).

1,153 - 22 July [5582]

• CA seeks applications for three vacant UHPP positions  (1153-5582).

1,154 - 23 July [5583-5585]

• Thirteen years on Delhi police lay match-fixing charges   (1154-5583).

• Neutrals named for Zimbabwe-India ODI series   (1154-5584).

• Bowler on 'illegal action' suspension making progress   (1154-5585).

1,155 - 25 July [5586-5590]

• Game needs the 'highest standards of respect, behaviour, integrity', says Cowdrey lecturer   (1155-5586).

• UDRS makes newspaper's editorial pages   (1155-55887).

• Two senior ICC umpires on tournament mentoring duties   (1155-5588).

• Gloucestershire docked two 2014 T20 points for 'poor' pitch   (1155-5589).

• Londonderry vandals damage four club grounds   (1155-5590).

1,156 - 26 July [5591-5596]

• More resources, support needed for umpire development, says Taufel   (1156-5591).

• 2015 target for start of international umpire 'accreditation process'   (1156-5592).

• Former captain says UDRS controversies 'vindicates' India's position   (1156-5593).

• Decision assessments key to ICC rankings, EUP contract offerings   (1156-5594).

• Key role for top players in setting 'grass roots' standards   (1156-5595).

• Suspected IPL bookie brothers to face Mumbai court   (1156-5596).

1,157 - 29 July [5597-5600]

• CA reported looking at five-day domestic first class games   (1157-5597).

• IPL umpire suggested betting on Kolkata-Pune match, claims report    (1157-5598).

• No reports for 'very funny' confrontation   (1157-5599).

• Third banned Pakistani admits guilt, seeks return   (1157-5600).

1,158 - 31 July  [5601-5606]

• Caribbean Premier League signs Bowden, Proctor for inaugural series    (1158-5601).

• Push to add 'real time' 'Snicko' to UDRS package for Aussie Ashes Tests     (1158-5602).

• Former Indian Test umpire dies     (1158-5603).

• Delhi police submit 6,000 page IPL charge sheet     (1158-5604).

• Claims of 'suspicious betting patterns' in Caribbean ODI series     (1158-5605).

• No hard balls allowed for practice, so club moves grounds     (1158-5606).

 

     
PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,136
Monday, 1 July 2013


ICC CHANGES BALL-TAMPERING PLAYING 

CONDITION, LAWS SO FAR UNAFFECTED

[PTG 1136-5509]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to change its Playing Conditions in regard to ball-tampering in October when only the '"suspicion" that the condition of a match ball may have been changed illegally will be enough to trigger action by umpires.  While the ICC agreed to the change during its annual conference period in London last week, as yet there is no indication the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is planning to amend the actual Laws of the game that currently apply to ball-tampering.

 

Starting three months from today, umpires standing in ICC matches will, if they suspect ball tampering, and even if no one has actually witnessed such activity, first change the ball and give the fielding captain a first and final warning.  Should they have a similar concern later in the same innings, they will be required to award a five-run penalty to the batting team, replace the ball with one chosen by the batsmen, and report the captain under the ICC Code of Conduct.  

 

Under the MCC's Law 42.3 the run penalty, ball replacement and report occur on the first occasion provided "the umpires together agree that the deterioration in the condition of the ball is greater than is consistent with the use it has received".  Reports say that ICC's change, which is designed to cover what are being called the "grey areas" of Law 42.3, was put forward by the ICC's Cricket Committee in May, approved by the world body's chief executives committee last week, and ratified by the ICC Board on Friday. 

 

If national boards take the approach they have in the past, it is probable that they will introduce the ICC's change into first class and List A games in their domestic competitions, however, in matches below that level Law 42.3 as it now stands is likely to still apply unless the MCC, which takes a very sober approach to Laws amendments, does so in this case.

 

The change follows controversy during last month's Champions Trophy series when England faced allegations of ball tampering, and they, South Africa and Pakistan, all had balls changed whilst they were fielding by umpires without their captains either requesting or approving the move.  Also during the tournament there were a number of reports of umpires speaking to players about 'bounce-throws' from the outfield.

 

England bowlers gained substantially more reverse-swing during the tournament, but team management said "superior ball management" was behind that achievement.  The official word from the ICC at the time of the England incident was that the ball was changed because it was misshapen, and the side itself denied it had been operating outside the Laws of the game.  

 

The Australian-manufactured 'Kookaburra balls used do not usually lose their form easily, and a 'Cricinfo' story two weeks ago said that "the chances of that happening for entirely innocent reasons without something going on somewhere are tiny".  When umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan checked the ball he is said in one report to have "hidden it under a towel so that cameras could see what was happening".  A report by 'Cricinfo' yesterday said that it is "understood that [the Champions Trophy experience] did play a part in the rule change".

 

The second change to international Playing Conditions approved by the ICC Board will allow, after a dismissal, a television review to be conducted where it is thought possible that a waist-high full toss, or bouncer above shoulder-height, may be involved.  

 

Reports say there was "no specific discussion" about the Umpire Decision Review System during the meetings in London last week.  A story in an Indian newspaper last month claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India "may be forced" to give in to the ICC's "persistent demand" to accept the system at last week's conference (PTG 1123-5459, 13 June 2013).

 

'ZING' WICKETS APPROVED FOR 

USE IN ODI, T20I MATCHES 

[PTG 1136-5510]

 

The use of 'Zing' wickets, which feature bails and stumps that flash bright red when they are dislodged, has been approved for use in One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals, provided the technology is cleared by an assessment carried out by an independent authority.  The system, which was first used in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 series last austral summer, uses LED lights powered by hidden batteries that light-up less than "1/1,00th of a second" after the wicket is broken.

 

A CA official said last December that the flashing wickets are a "world-first product", but they would not have any effect on their competition's Playing Conditions, nor will they be used in any way for umpire decisions.  According to him the new system is "all about enhancing the spectator experience during matches" and "ensuring that the [series] remains highly entertaining for the fans".  David Ligertwood, co-developer of what is called the 'Zing' wicket system, said at the time it had taken his Adelaide-based company the best part of three years to develop the technology.

 

REPORT INTO ALLEGED BPL CORRUPTION 

DELAYED UNTIL EARLY AUGUST

[PTG 1136-5511]

 

A report into alleged corruption in this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) being prepared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) has been delayed until early August, say reports from Dhaka over the weekend.  With players other than suspended former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said likely to be named in the report, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has postponed its Dhaka Premier League (DPL) and its annual match calendar is said to be "in total disarray" as a result.

 

Jalal Yunus, the chairman of the Dhaka Metropolis' Cricket Committee told 'New Age' on Saturday "It is in a very complicated situation" that puts "us in a great deal of discomfort".  The DPL player recruitment program and the commencement of the league, which was originally scheduled to start on 23 June then 3 July, have now been deferred "due to unavoidable circumstances and fresh dates", including the delay in the ASCU report, are not expected for a few days at least.

 

CA UMPIRE EDUCATOR, STATE DIRECTOR,

FOR ICC WORKSHOP IN INDIA 

[PTG 1136-5512]

 

Barry Rennie, Western Australia's State Director of Umpires, is to accompany Cricket Australia's new Umpire Educator Bob Parry to a  workshop for Umpire Coaches that the International Cricket Council's Performance and Training group are to conduct in India in two weeks time, according to reports received over the weekend.  News of the training course surfaced just over a month ago, and there were indications then that it would involve two coaches from each of the ICC's ten Full Member countries, and that has been designed to start the process of coordinating and standardising umpire training across the nations from which the world body draws its top umpires (PTG 1113-5415, 27 May 2013).  

 

Like Parry, Rennie, 63, is a former first class umpire, having stood in 13 such games plus 12 List A fixtures in the period from 1991-97, a record that also includes working as the television umpire in an Australia-Sri Lanka Test in Perth.  Parry, 60, who is believed to be due to formally take up his Umpire Educator role at CA today, stood in 83 first class games, his record also including 34 One Day Internationals, 30 of them as the third umpire (PTG 1115-5426, 4 June 2013).

 

Applications for Parry's successor as Cricket Victoria's State Director of Umpires closed two weeks ago, but to date no announcement about the outcome of that process has been made.

 

INAUGURAL WORLD TEST 

CHAMPIONSHIP SET FOR 2017

[PTG 1136-5513]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Saturday that England and Wales are to host the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) in June-July 2017, while India will be the location for its second edition in February-March 2021.  Plans originally called for the WTC to be staged in England this year, but existing commercial agreements meant last month's One Day International format Champions Trophy series had to be played instead.

 

Every Test series played in the four-year period from 2013-17 looks likely to be part of qualification arrangements for the WTC, however, as yet no announcement appears to have been made as to just how the system of 'finals' matches will work.  Different views have been floated about whether a one or two division arrangement should apply (PTG 1071-5209, 6 March 2013). 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,137
Tuesday, 2 July 2013


INDIAN UMPIRE COMMENCES 

ENGLAND EXCHANGE VISIT

[PTG 1137-5514]

 

Indian umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin commenced his four-match exchange visit to England yesterday in a county second XI one-day match in Southampton between Hampshire and Sussex, and will be in action again today when the same sides meet in a three-day game.  Shamshuddin, 42, who is to stand in two county first class matches later this month before returning home, is the third Indian after Shavir Tarapore in 2011 and Ravi Sundaram in 2012, to visit England on exchange as part of an agreement between the respective national boards.

 

Statistics available on line for Shamshuddin do not appear to be accurate otherwise his rise over the last year has been nothing short of remarkable.  Named as a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel thirteen months ago (PTG 945-4598, 6 June 2012), that data suggests he made his List A debut in Indian last September, at first class level in October, and then was on the field in a senior international, a Twenty20 match, in December.  After that he stood in the Indian Premier League, in May becoming the first Indian national to stand in a final of that competition in its six-year history (PTG 1135-5507, 30 June 2013).

 

After Southampton, Shamshuddin will travel to Cardiff for a first class match between Glamorgan and Hampshire, his umpiring colleague there being Tim Robinson who visited Indian on exchange in December-January 2010-11.  After a six-day break the Secunderabad-born umpire will in Chelmsford for his second and last first class match of his visit, the teams involved being Essex and Leicestershire and his umpiring colleague Davis Millns.  Whether that means Millns will be visiting India for games late this year is as yet unknown.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has umpire exchange agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia.  Sudhir Asnani, Ravi Sundaram and Vineet Kulkarni visited South Africa in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, while Kulkarni made the inaugural visit to Australia in November last year (PTG 1005-4882, 18 October 2012). 

 

ECB SEEKING THE VIEWS OF CLUB 

PLAYERS, UMPIRES, SCORERS 

[PTG 1137-5515]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has launched a survey of club-level personnel in order to give them what it calls a "unique opportunity to have their say on all aspects of the recreational game and influence its future development".  Devised as part of the ECB’s new strategic plan, the ten-minute, on line survey is designed to give the ECB "a greater understanding" of how best to serve the needs of recreational cricketers at all levels and thus support its plans to invest more than £96m ($A156m) into community cricket over the next four years across England and Wales.

 

David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, says in a press release that “It’s vital that our recreational game continues to grow so we can nurture the next generation of potential England stars and maintain cricket’s position as the nation’s number one summer sport".  “There’s never been a better time to be involved in cricket with more opportunities to play the game than ever before for girls, women and disability cricketers as well as men and boys", and "we want to hear from players of all ages, as well as anyone actively involved in local cricket clubs including coaches, umpires, scorers or volunteers about how we can make our club game even stronger going forward".

 

Cricket Australia (CA) appears to be taking a similar approach through what is apparently called a "strategic investment fund" that is believed to involve around $A7.5m being made available over each of the next four years for "grassroots cricket and development across the country" (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).  The six Australian states and two Territory cricketing bodies are said to have presented submissions several months ago to CA that outline potential projects those funds could be allocated, however, no details have yet been released.

 

Whether there were any initiatives suggested that relate directly to funding umpiring and scoring needs is not known.  Over the last two years CA has twice polled accredited umpires around the country about how they see various aspects of their craft, the key aim being to develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of match officials (PTG 758-3723, 15 April 2011).  Silence reigns though as to what, if anything, CA may have learned from either of those surveys, but if they have there are no discernable signs that they have moved to put any new knowledge it may have gained into action (PTG 998-4851, 3 October 2012).

 

THREE PLAYERS SEEK 

EASING OF SPOT-FIXING BANS

[PTG 1137-5516]

 

Former Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria, who last April lost his appeal against a life ban given to him by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel, will today in London appeal the length of the ban and the £100,000 ($A165,000) in costs he is required to pay (PTG 1089-5308, 14 April 2013).  In June last year Kaneria was found guilty by an ECB committee of "cajoling and pressurising" then team mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in a one-day county match in 2009 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012). 

 

Also today, Westfield, who was suspended for five years from the county scene for spot-fixing at the behest of Kaneria, is reported to be planning to ask to be able to return to club games after two, a request that if successful would see him playing at that level again in 2014.  Westfield, 25, was jailed for four months in February last year after pleading guilty to a charge of obtaining corrupt payments during the 2009 one-day match (PTG 903-4387, 20 February 2012).

 

That news comes as an Agence France-Presse report from Karachi yesterday said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has formed a five-member committee to consider a request from Pakistan that the conditions of Mohammad Aamer’s ban for spot-fixing in a Test at Lord's in 2010 be relaxed.  For his part in that episode, which involved bowling deliberate no-balls in return for money, Aamer was banned for five years, his then captain Salman Butt ten years with five suspended, and another team mate Mohammad Asif seven years with two suspended.  

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) interim chairman Najam Sethi is said to have raised Aamer’s ban at the annual meeting of the ICC in London last week.  Any relaxation that is approved by the ICC board would allow Aamer to use PCB facilities such as cricket grounds and gyms.  When he announcing the ban on the three players last year, ICC tribunal chief Michael Beloff QC expressed concern that under the ICC code five years is the minimum punishment and suggested leniency in that regard.

 

Last week Butt admitted publicly for the first time that he had engaged in spot-fixing at Lord's.  He will now undergo "rehabilitation" and is seeking to be able to return to domestic cricket in Pakistan before the five years is up, his aim apparently being to make it back to the international scene soon after the five-year ban expires (PTG 1135-5508, 30 June 2013)

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,138
Wednesday, 3 July 2013

 

FUNDING OF UDRS OPERATIONS REMAINS 

A KEY ISSUE, SAYS BCCI 'SOURCE' 

[PTG 1138-5517]

 

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) "sources" have told the 'Times of India' (TOI) that "a few other [national] boards" besides itself expressed reservations about making the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) compulsory in talks held during the International Cricket Council's (ICC) annual conference in London last week.  The other countries, who are not named, are said to have been concerned not only that the system "is not foolproof", a description often used by BCCI officials, but also because of the costs involved in its operation, a factor that has been part of the debate for sometime (PTG 783-3830, 28 June 2011).

 

Two years ago this month, then ICC chief executive Haroon Logat said that his organisation planned to look for sponsors to fund UDRS operations (E-News 790-3868, 6 July 2011), the costs of which were at that time put at around $A5,000 a day, but nothing appears to have been achieved in that regard in the time since.  Yesterday's 'TOI' story quotes the BCCI source as saying that it now costs $A15-16,000 per day to run the UDRS, and that broadcast right holders are "not willing to bear this extra cost".  In the past countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent Sri Lanka, have cited costs as being the reason the UDRS was not operational during some of their 'home' series  

 

Logat made his funding comments soon after the ICC's 2011 annual conference in Hong Kong, a meeting at which the world body announced it had been agreed that UDRS use would become "compulsory", however, just three months later that decision was overturned and the policy reverted back to "optional" (PTG 845-4130, 12 October 2011), a position that survived through the ICC's annual conference in Malaysia in June 2012 despite attempts to move back to "compulsory" use (PTG 954-4633, 28 June 2012), and again this year (PTG 1123-5459, 13 June 2013).  

 

Through late 2011, at least three international umpires expressed their doubts about ball-tracking systems, Australian Daryl Harper talking about issues with camera frame-rates (PTG 801-3919, 20 July 2011), Simon Taufel wanted more consistency with the results they provide (PTG 824-4029, 3 September 2011), as did Aleem Dar (PTG 843-4122, 8 October 2011, and Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the game faces "ridicule" if improvements were not made to the system (PTG 827-4045, 8 September 2011).

 

In order to overcome the concerns of the BCCI and others, the ICC announced in February 2012 that a Cambridge researcher had been engaged to conduct "independent testing" of 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Virtual Eye' ball-tracking technologies, which hail from England and New Zealand respectively (PTG 898-4370, 6 February 2012).  A provisional report into 14 Test match "situations" that were looked at said the results obtained were in "100 per cent agreement" with the data provided by those systems in real-time (PTG 943-4584, 2 June 2012), however, in the 14 months since there has been no further news of what was inferred at the time was an on-going study.

 

Last week, three Masters students in the field of Mechatronics Engineering at Pakistan's National University of Sciences and Technology, claimed a project they conducted titled ‘Validation of the 'Hawk-Eye' system in cricket’, had thrown up questions about the accuracy of the system, according to a story on the 'Sporting Pulse' web site.  That work, which was conducted as part of a ‘Digital Image Processing’ course, is said to have been "submitted to the ICC" for consideration. 

 

Given no progress was made during last week's London meetings, countries involved in bilateral series will continue to decide between them whether or not the UDRS will be operational during the games involved.  The BCCI has steadfastly refused to approve the use the system in any bi- or tri-lateral series involving its team, however, in events organised by the ICC itself, such as the World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20 Championship, the system is normally used.

 

An Indian newspaper claimed on the weekend that there had been "no specific discussion" about the UDRS in London last week (PTG 1136-5509. 1 July 2013).

 

SECOND ENGLISH NEUTRAL 

UMPIRE FOR TRI-NATION SERIES 

[PTG 1138-5518]

 

New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe and English umpire Nigel Llong will be the neutral officials in games four to six of the tri-series between India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies at Post of Spain in Trinidad later this week, Australian David Boon taking over from Crowe for the seventh and final game tomorrow week.  Crowe and another Englishman, umpire Ian Gould, plus three West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), have overseen games 1-3 of the series in Jamaica over the last few days (PTG 1133-5501, 28 June 2013).

 

Llong will stand with IUP member Peter Nero in this Friday's Windies-India match, the latter's colleague Nigel Duguid being the third umpire and Joel Wilson the fourth official.   Sunday's Windies-Lanka game will see a Llong-Wilson combination of-field, Nero the third umpire and Duguid the fourth, then on Tuesday it will be Llong and Nero together again, Wilson the television official and Duguid again the fourth.  Umpires for game seven, the final, have not been named, however, the competition to join Llong on the field for that fixture is expected to be between Nero and Wilson who both hail from Trinidad and Tobago. 

 

The games will take Crowe's ODI record as a match referee to 176 games, and Llong, Nero and Wilson's as umpires in that format at international level to 68, 15 and 7 respectively, and Boon to 28.  Boon is expected to stay on after the final for the five-match One Day International series the West Indies and Pakistan are to play from 14-24 July, the first two being in Guyana and the other three on the island of Saint Lucia.  

 

While the Umpire Decision Review System is not in use in the tri-series it may be during Pakistan's visit, in which case in addition to Boon two neutral umpires will be needed, however, as yet the names of those chosen have not been announced.  Gould and Llong are member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel and the interest will be in whether or not the ICC names an IUP member from outside the Caribbeanas a neutral umpire for the series (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013). 

 

SLOW OVER-RATE COSTS 

IRISH CLUB SIDE A WIN 

[PTG 1138-5519]

 

A one-day match in Cricket Leinster's top league in Ireland was awarded to home side Leinster last Saturday despite the fact that during their time at the crease they scored five runs less than Railway, their opponents.  Railway scored 5/310 in their 50 overs and Leinster lost their last wicket off the last ball of their 50 with their score on 305, and the visiting side thought they had won, however, their over rate whilst in the field was behind Cricket Leinster's Playing Conditions requirements.

 

Umpires Louis Fourie and Joe Connolly, who are both experienced officials, ruled that Railway had taken too long to bowl their overs, penalising them two and adjusting their score as required by the Playing Conditions.  As a result, Railway's score was deemed to be that which they had scored by the end of the forty-eighth over of their innings, which was 292.  When Leinster passed that score they were only seven wickets down, therefore Fourie and Connolly ruled that the home side had won the match by three wickets. 

 

SABINA PARK UMPIRES' ROOM 

NAMED FOR BUCKNOR, SANG HUE  

[PTG 1138-5520]

 

The umpires' room at Sabina Park, Kingston, has been renamed in honour of two Jamaicans who between them stood in 159 Tests and 182 One Day Internationals: Douglas Sang Hue and Steve Bucknor.  Sang Hue's higher-level umpiring career stretched over 28 years from 1960-88 and included World Series Cricket (WSC) in Australia, and Bucknor, who has stood in more Tests than anyone, for 21 years from 1989-2009, the pair between them standing in a total of 58 first class and 19 List A fixtures at Sabina Park.  

 

Sang Hue stood in a total of 85 first class matches in the period from 1960-88, 16 of which were in County Championship games in England in 1977.  There were also 20 List A fixtures from 1974-88, one of them his single ODl, but only two of those were at Sabina Park.  His second ever game at first class level was in fact the first of his 31 Tests and was at Sabina Park, a ground where during his career he stood in 36 first class and two List A games.  

 

In 1972-73 he became the first person to stand in all five Tests in a series in the West Indies when Australia toured, an achievement he repeated a year later when England travelled to the Caribbean.  After his stint in County cricket in 1977, he was by WSC in Australia where he stood in a total of 28 matches during the 1977-78 and 1978-79 austral summers at grounds in Adelaide and right up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns.  That move resulted in him being dropped by the West Indies Cricket Board, but he returned to their fold in 1981 for his last three Tests, continuing after that in domestic cricket until 1988. 

 

Bucknor stood in a world record 128 Tests and 181 ODIs, the latter the second-highest after the 208 of his contemporary Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, the Jamaican's five consecutive World Cup finals being a record, like his Test figure, that is very unlikely to ever be overtaken (PTG 395-2096, 24 March 2009).  All up he stood in a total of 172 first class, 22 at Sabina Park, and 221 List A games, 17 at Sabina Park.

 

Sang Hue, now 81, told the 'Jamaican Gleaner' newspaper yesterday: "This is the first time they have honoured umpires in Jamaica and I think it is overdue for umpires to be recognised", and that its "not only good for me, but for umpires" in general.  Three years ago on the island of Dominica on the other side of the West Indies, the players’ pavilion at the national stadium in Roseau was named after former West Indian international umpire Billy Doctrove (PTG 596-2999, 3 April 2010).


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,139
Thursday, 4 July 2013


ALL EUP 'NEUTRALS' TO THE 

HELM FOR ASHES TESTS

[PTG 1139-5521]

 

All four available 'neutrals' on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) have been assigned to on-field and third umpire duties across the five Ashes Tests that are to be played over the next two months.  With the two umpires promoted to the EUP last week being from Australia and England, eight of the twelve members of the EUP now come from those to countries, leaving the ICC little flexibility in umpiring appointments to the high-profile series (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013).

 

Umpires named yesterday for the Tests are the ICC's current 'Umpire of the Year' Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, previous three-time winner of that award, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Tony Hill of New Zealand, while Dharmasena's countrymen, Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama will share match referee duties.  Dar and Dharmasena are to stand in three Tests, and the latter in another as third umpire, while Erasmus and Hill each have two in both on-field and third umpire roles.

 

Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee, will oversee the first three Tests at Trent Bridge, Lord's and Old Trafford, Mahanama coming in for four and five in Durham and at The Oval.  Dar and Dharmasena will be on-field at Trent Bridge with Erasmus the third umpire, at Lord's it will be Dharmasena-Erasmus and Hill, Old Trafford Hill-Erasmus and Dharmasena, up in Durham Dar-Hill and Marais Erasmus, and at The Oval Dar-Dharmasena again and Hill.  

 

The series will take Madugalle's tally as a referee in Tests to 144, he having also played 21 prior to that, and Mahanama, a 52 Test veteran as a player, to 45 as a match referee.  Dar, by far the world's most experienced Test umpire still working at that level, will take his on-field record in such games to 84, Hill 40, Dharmasena 18, plus 31 as a player, and Erasmus to 20.  For Madugalle its his sixth Ashes series, Dar his fifth, Erasmus and Hill their second, but for Dharmasena and Mahanama its their first.

 

With potential 2014-15 EUP candidate Ranmore Martinecz only eligible for a maximum of four Tests across the Pakistan-South Africa and Bangladesh-New Zealand series between now and November (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013), it seems likely that Dharmasena, Dar, Erasmus and Hill will also be doing the rounds in the the second part of the current Ashes series in Australia this austral summer.  Several of those umpires are also likely to feature in the ten One Day Internationals the two sides are to play over the next seven months, however, with two neutrals needed Martinecz may in contention then, provided of course the ICC is still looking at it him for elevation to the EUP next year.  

 

WESTFIELD WINS SMALL REPRIEVE, 

KANERIA'S LIFE BAN CONFIRMED 

[PTG 1139-5522]

 

Mervyn Westfield, the former Essex played who was jailed for two months and banned from professional cricket for five years and the club game for three for spot-fixing activities, can now return to club-level cricket next year, twelve months earlier than scheduled.  Westfield, 25, had his period of club suspension shortened at an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hearing on Tuesday because of the help he gave in exposing the "corrupt actions" of former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who on the same day failed in what was his second appeal against his life ban (PTG 1137-5516, 2 July 2013).

 

Commenting after the result of the hearings were announced, the ECB's chief executive David Collier said that "without Mr Westfield's stand, the corrupt actions of Mr Kaneria might not have been exposed' and the "ECB will support Mr Westfield's efforts to rehabilitate himself and as part of this process, hopes that he can raise awareness of the dangers of corruption in cricket".  ECB chairman Giles Clarke said that in Kaneria's case the appeal hearing "clearly confirms" he "acted as a recruiter of potential 'spot-fixers' and used his seniority and international experience to target and corrupt a young and vulnerable player". 

 

In June last year Kaneria, 32, was found guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" Westfield into accepting cash to concede a number of runs in a county one-day match in 2009 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).  The Pakistani has repeatedly denied all involvement in the corruption case and asked this week's hearing to reduce the length of his ban.  

 

Clarke said that "We note, with regret, that Mr Kaneria has neither made any admission of guilt nor expressed any remorse for his corrupt actions, despite the weight of evidence against him [and its] high time that [he] came clean about his involvement in these corrupt activities and stopped misleading Pakistan cricket fans and wider public".  Kaneria said he is "disgusted" by the decision to uphold his lifetime ban and claims he has been victimised as there was no evidence to support the case.

 

Westfield has vowed to do all he can to try to stop the next generation of young cricketers being enticed into corruption in their sport.  He said in a statement released through the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA): 'I'm sorry for what I've done [and] I just want to put it right now and help identify the clear dangers that exist".  "Cricket has been my life since I was six - and it's all I know, what I love and what I live for".  "I have missed playing so much".  "I hope people can forgive my actions and maybe even find it in themselves to understand how difficult I've found it to cope with every step of this affair".

 

PCA assistant chief executive Jason Ratcliffe said: "We respect the appeal panel's decision to uphold the five-year ban from professional cricket but appreciate bringing forward the time when he can integrate back into club cricket".  "His personal insight will now complement our existing anti-corruption tutorials and be one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against corruption within cricket" (PTG 907-4412, 28 February 2012).  "There is nothing more powerful than player testimony", said Ratcliffe.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistani international Mohammad Aamer, who was banned for five years for his part in spot-fixing in a Test at Lord's in 2010, is also hoping to have his ban relaxed.  Aamer was banned until September 2015 but last week the PCB asked the ICC to allow him to use facilities at its grounds and gyms and that he be able to return to playing the game next year. 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,140
Friday, 5 July 2013

UMPIRE 'FLOORED' BY FIERCE 

DRIVE IN COUNTY T20

[PTG 1140-5523]

 

English umpire Trevor Jesty may have one more reason to look forward to his retirement at the end of this northern summer after he was hit on the shoulder and knocked over by a fierce drive during a Twenty20 match between Surrey and Sussex at The Oval on Wednesday.  Jesty was standing at the bowler's end when Surrey batsman Jason Roy hit the ball back down the pitch, but waved away a stretcher that was offered to him and continued with his duties.

 

Jesty reached the England and Wales Cricket Board's retirement age of 65 a month ago and has stood in nearly 650 county games over the parst twenty years.  Four years ago then Australian umpire Daryl Harper said that he believed that "its just a matter of time before umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wear baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection".  "The bats are getting heavier, and the shots are hit with more ferocity" and "it's becoming really dangerous for us", said Harper at the time (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).

 

In April last year long-time English cricket journalist Scyld Berry said be believed the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) needs to legislate to set a maximum thickness for bats for the first time, otherwise "increasingly powerful batsmen with increasingly powerful bats who consistently hit the ball harder than ever before, could seriously injure or even kill someone on the field" (PTG 930-4523, 19 April 2012).  Soon after that comment, West Indian Chris Gayle said after a whirlwind innings in the Indian Premier League that he believed umpires should wear helmets in order to protect themselves from wayward balls (PTG 932-4532, 26 April 2012).  

 

In February this year the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) recommended that the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, be investigated, and the MCC said then that it was to conduct research into the matter "over the coming months" (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013).  There have been concerns in many quarters for some time that present day bat manufacturing technology has shifted the advantage in the game towards batsmen and away from bowlers (PTG 1026-4984, 7 December 2012).  

 

Currently, Law 6 talks about what materials can be used to make a bat as well as the length and width that is permissible, but thickness issues as they relate to the blade itself are not mentioned.  The status of the MCC's research into the matter has not been made public, and whether or not the Lord's-based organisation plans to amend that Law this October is not known.  However, if it does decide the issue needs action it is likely to announce a date a year or so off by which manufacturers will have to comply with any change in bat dimensions that results. 

 

SUSPECTED BOOKMAKER LINKS SEES 

SPECTATORS EJECTED FROM GROUNDS

[PTG 1140-5524]

 

Nine spectators have been ejected from at least five grounds at county and international matches in England this northern summer because of suspicions they were working for bookmakers in India, says journalist Nick Hoult of London's 'Daily Telegraph'.  Matches from England are often shown in India with a fifteen-second time lag, a situation that Hoult says means live information from inside the ground, sent by "agents" using "hidden microphones or smart-phone messaging systems", can help a bookie fix the odds. 

 

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) anti-corruption officers are policing matches that go 'live' to India, and an ECB spokesman says "we are concerned because of the threat these people pose to the game as a whole".  If agents for illegal bookmakers on the subcontinent "could get access to a player or official they would approach them with only one thing in mind", he said, and "anyone talking to them and mentioning the state of the pitch or selection for example would be breaching the anti-corruption code, so we are protecting the clubs and players [and] making sure matches are as safe as possible".

 

As a result of such work, "suspected agents for bookies" have been thrown out of matches in Cardiff, Durham, Edgbaston, Northampton and Trent Bridge this season to date, one of the games being the Champions Trophy match between South Africa and India last month.  One person was ejected from a one-day match between Durham and Hampshire and has subsequently been banned from all county grounds in England.  Hoult says ECB anti-corruption officers believe "gangs in India" pay students to sit at matches in England to relay the live information back to the subcontinent.

 

During the 2012 season twelve people were ejected from grounds because of similar bookie-linkage concerns, but this year with the ECB's Twenty20 season only just getting into "full swing", the number involved is already close to matching last year's total number.

 

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR INDIA

[PTG 1140-5525]

 

Indian captain Virat Kohli has been fined twenty percent of his match fee and the rest of the team ten percent for maintaining a slow over-rate during its triangular series match against Sri Lanka in Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday.  Match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand imposed the fines after Kohli’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target after time allowances were taken into consideration.  International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations that govern minor over-rate offences require that players be fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time and their captain double that amount.

 

PLAYER REPLACEMENTS CHANGE GAME 

FROM 'FIRST CLASS' TO 'MISCELLANEAOUS'

[PTG 1140-5526]

 

England's Ashes warm-up match against Essex at Chelmsford earlier this week lost its first-class status midway through day three on Tuesday after injuries to Essex bowlers David Masters and Tymal Mills that, says one report, "left their hosts' attack with a decidedly threadbare look".  As a result the decision was taken to bring in two replacement bowlers into the Essex line-up, a move that meant a number of solid performances by players cannot go into their first class records, and on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Tim Robinson of what would have been their 120th and 108th first class games in the middle.

 

Currently the definition of a first-class match is that it must: be of three or more days scheduled duration; have sides consisting of eleven players; allow each side two innings; be played on natural, and not artificial, turf on an "international standard ground"; generally conform to the Laws of Cricket; and be recognised by the applicable governing body recognises a having first-class status.

 

LACK OF 'INDEPENDENT UMPIRES' 

BLAMED ON MATCH 'TENSION'  

[PTG 1140-5527]

 

The absence of an "independent umpire" and lack of knowledge of the Playing Conditions led to tension between the Thriplow and Buntingford sides in a Cambridge Cricket Association (CCA) match last Saturday.  Buntingford is said to be concerned that Thriplow's Paul Staley, who normally opens the batting, went in down the order in the second innings of the one-day match, having been unable to field for part of Buntingford’s innings as he broke his finger whilst wicketkeeping.

 

Staley told the 'Cambridge News' this week that “We looked at the [CCA Playing Conditions] after the game and we were right that you can’t open the batting or bat until five wickets have gone down [if you have been off the field for too long] therefore I [went] in [to bat] at number seven".  He said that "uncertainty over the rules" led to "disquiet on the field" as his side worked its way towards a win in the match.  According to him “It didn’t help when I scored 45 to help win the game".

 

Buntingford captain Greg Garner told the 'News' that his side "also had a few controversial decisions go against us, but that’s a problem when you don’t have independent umpires".

 

BERMUDAN, CANADIAN UMPIRES FOR 

ICC U-19 QUALIFING TOURNAMENT

[PTG 1140-5528]

 

Stephen Douglas of Bermuda and Canadians Harry Grewal and Arnold Maddela have been named as the umpires for the Under-19 World Cup Qualifying tournament that is to be played in Toronto next week.   Teams representing Bermuda, Canada and the United States are to play each other twice over six 50-over format games, giving Grewal, Douglas and Maddela four games each to look after.

 

Records available indicate that Douglas has umpired once at first class level, that being an International Cup match involving second-tier nations, and twice in List A fixtures at the same level.  Over the last six years the International Cricket Council has selected him for single tournaments in Argentina, Botswana and Singapore, three in the United States, and now three in Canada, plus four international events in Bermuda.

 

India-born Grewal, 45, has stood in a range of representative tournaments in Toronto over the last few years, as has Maddela, 50, who is also Indian-born.

 

'ACADEMY' ESTABLISHED FOR 

WARRNAMBOOL UMPIRES

[PTG 1140-5529]

 

The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria is preparing to establish what it calls an 'Umpires Academy' as part of efforts to boost umpire numbers for the 2013-14 austral summer season.  WDCA officials are hoping that the initiative will help overcome an "umpire shortage" and enable at least one trained umpire to be provided to all of their matches, with division one and two games having two, says a report in yesterday's 'Warnambool Standard'.

 

WDCA chairman Nick Frampton estimates that between twelve and fifteen people will make up the inaugural academy group, individuals that will add to the twenty who were available to take charge of the association's matches last season.  So far six clubs have each nominated one person to join the academy, two more "are likely to submit nominations by the end of this week", while the remaining five are "yet to finalise their nominations".  

 

Frampton says that the idea was "put to us by the clubs" during a 'Cricket Futures Forum' held last February, "so I expected it would have a positive response".  “Obviously this time of year cricket is in hibernation while football season is on it’s not on the forefront of people’s minds, [but] given that, the response we’ve had so far has been a good one".  Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association president Charlie Rivett said the umpire ranks this season will be the strongest he had seen in 33 years of being involved".

  

Two years ago the WDCA tried to address its then umpire shortage by offering free training, free Cricket Australia accreditation and uniforms to any umpire who sign up for the 2011-12 season, a package that was said to be worth around $A230.  Frampton, the then new WDCA director of umpiring, said then that "we’ve got an umpiring crisis on our hands and we’re calling on all past players or other like-minded individuals who have ever considered umpiring to give umpiring a go" (PTG 828-4050, 9 September 2011).

 

CPL GETS 'SPIRIT' BOOST BUT 

STILL NO NEWS OF MATCH OFFICIALS

[PTG 1140-5530]

 

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers have issued over sixty press releases about their inaugural Twenty20 competition over the last two months, including details of a Guyanese Rum-making company has signed on as an 'Official Partner', but none have provided any information about just who the match officials for the series will be.  Similar domestic events in Bangladesh and India have engaged referees and umpires from either the International Cricket Council's first and second-tier panels, or current or former first class umpires from England or Australia.

 

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..  The structure and logistics of the event suggest two match referees and six umpires for the on-field and television positions will be needed and that they are likely to work in two groups each consisting of a referee and three umpires, with fourth umpire positions probably non-travelling from each of the six playing locations (PTG 1119-5439, 7 June 2013).

 

NEVER TOO OLD TO 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE? 

[PTG 1140-5531]

 

Charlie Fenton, 93, was back on the field last week in a sixteen-team primary schools tournament in his home town of Hyde in Cheshire.  Fenton, who worked as an umpire in the Derbyshire and Cheshire League for 61 years (PTG 930-4525, 19 April 2012), was forced to give up umpiring this year when the league discovered its insurance policy only covered members up to the age of 85 (PTG 1008-4901, 25 October 2012), however, an offer by a major betting firm to cover the costs appears not to have been taken up (PTG 1016-4941, 7 November 2012). 

 

Last week's primary schools event was organised by police and part-funded using monies seized from criminals under the UK's Proceeds of Crime Act.  Chief Superintendent Nick Adderley told local media that "it's such a joy to take money from criminals and to put it to good causes such as this", and it was also "a privilege to meet our umpire Charlie [and] it just goes to show that you're never too old to make a difference".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,141
Sunday, 7 July 2013

RANJI TROPHY UMPIRES FOR 

TAUFEL-RUN COURSE

[PTG 1141-5532]

 

Former international umpire Simon Taufel is to conduct a three-day training camp for around 40 of India's first class umpires at that country's National Umpires Academy in Nagpur late next month in the lead up to the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy series.  Media reports say that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has been trying to lift umpiring standards on the sub-continent over the last six years, continues to be concerned about the progress being made in its aim of having one of its umpires appointed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel.

 

Taufel, now the ICC's Performance and Training Manager who has special responsibility for India (PTG 1132-5498, 28 June 2013), has conducted training activities in India on a number of occasions over the last six years.  The first were as part of a development contract Cricket Australia had with the BCCI late last decade (PTG 87-464, 23 August 2007), but more recently he worked on and off field for the BCCI in the dual role of umpire and umpire coach for local umpires in this year's the Indian Premier League series (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013).  

 

Next month's course for the BCCI will be Taufel's second visit to Nagpur over a short period of time as he will be there in two weeks time for what some reports indicate is a five-day ICC course involving around 25-30 umpire coaches and managers from around the world.  News of the training course surfaced in late May and it is thought to be aimed at starting the process of coordinating and standardising umpire training across the nations from which the world body draws its top umpires (PTG 1113-5415, 27 May 2013).  

 

Reports indicate that Cricket Australia's new Umpire Educator Bob Parry, and Barry Rennie, Western Australia's State Director of Umpires, are to attend along with two representatives of each of the other nine ICC Full Member countries (PTG 1136-5512, 1 July 2013). 

 

SECOND SLOW OVER-RATE OFFENCE 

RESULTS IN ONE-MATCH BAN 

[PTG 1141-5533]

 

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo has been suspended from playing in today's One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Trinidad after his side was found to have committed a second minor over-rate offence over a twelve-month period during Friday’s (ODI) against India at Port-of-Spain.

 

Match referee Jeff Crowe ruled that Bravo's side was one over short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration, a situation that under International Cricket Council playing regulations sees Bravo fined twenty-per-cent of his match fee and each of his players received ten-per-cent.  As this was West Indies’ second minor over-rate offence over the past year, it having been fined for a slow over-rate in Cardiff against South Africa last month (PTG 1124-5465, 15 June 2013), Bravo was also suspended for one ODI.

 

Crowe said in a press release issued yesterday: “The captains were informed of their respective positions relating to over-rate breaches before the start of the series, [and in Friday's match] the umpires [Nigel Llong of England and Peter Nero of the West Indies] had kept Dwayne informed throughout the innings about the position regarding over-rates, and more so when his side fell behind".  The charge against the captain was laid by Llong and Nero plus third umpire Nigel Duguid and fourth umpire Joel Wilson.

 

UMPIRES STAMPING 'ARGY-BARGY' 

OUT TOO SOON, CLAIMS WARNE 

[PTG 1141-5534]

 

Former Australian player Shane Warne is concerned the forthcoming Ashes could made "stale" by what he called "over-zealous officiating" "stamping down on niggle between the [two] sides too hastily".  Warne told Sky Sports this week that he views Ashes "combat" as the "most uncompromising cricket" in which he featured, and relished the verbal jousts synonymous with himself and his former team mates such as Glenn McGrath and Merv Hughes.

 

Warne, who earlier this year was fined and banned for his on-field behaviour (PTG 1037-5034, 8 January 2013), said "we've got to be very careful about the fine line between policing the game too much and allowing the emotions and characters to come out".  "As soon as someone gets a bit of fire in the belly – when there's a bit of argy-bargy, a bit of sledging, some lip work to each other or a bit of aggro in the game – it gets stamped out so quickly", he claimed.  

 

As a result "what ends up happening is that people go into their shell and are too afraid to express themselves", for "as sports lovers we all want to see characters out there, we want to see some tough, formidable characters that we love to hate, and we want to see a contest".  "Sure there's a line – you can't be in pubs at two in the morning putting a punch on someone's chin – but you want to see people stand up and be counted and say 'you're not getting me out', 'over my dead body', that type of stuff".  In Warne's view "we really need to show a bit of that Aussie DNA mongrel [and] try to hit a few [batsmen] in the head, [and] get really aggressive and nasty".

 

CAPTAINS RECEIVE LONG, SHORT-TERM 

BANS FOR 'UMPIRE ABUSE' 

[PTG 1141-5535]

 

Ben Holt, the captain of the Heyside club in the Saddleworth and District Cricket League (SDCL) in northern England, has been banned until the start of the 2015 for abusing an umpire, failing to control his players, and harassing an umpire after a match played two weeks ago.  The umpire in question has said he will not stand again this season as a result and Holt's club stripped him of the captaincy and stood him down from last weekend’s league and Twenty20 fixtures, however, after receiveing news of what they call the "severity" of the SDCL ban, they said that they plan to appeal.  

 

In another SDCL decision last week, Glodwick’s Shahid Mahmood has been banned for six games, with four more suspended until the end of the 2014 season, for his aggressive behaviour towards players in the fixture against Austerlands two weeks ago.  Meanwhile, down south in Hampshire, the Fareham and Crofton club has imposed a two-match ban on its captain for showing dissent towards an umpire in a game played late last month. Luke Gould told the 'Portsmouth News' that "as captain it wasn’t the greatest example to set and this ban is my own stupid fault" and that "since the incident I have tried to be a lot more responsible".

 

ICC NOT PURSUING BID FOR 

OLYMPIC GAMES CRICKET 

[PTG 1141-5536]

 

The Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided not to pursue having cricket added to the range of sports that are played in the Olympic Games, say reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  Sixteen months ago the ICC's Chief Executives Committee said it supported the strategy of independently evaluating the pros and cons of participating in the Olympic Games, and that it would "further explore" an invitation for cricket to take part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia (PTG 910-4429, 8 March 2012). 

 

Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper quotes a delegate who attended the ICC's recent series of meetings in London as saying the revenue earned in a tournament like the World Cup was four times higher than would be possible at the Olympics, there are limits on the use of commercial logos, and that participation would have considerable impact on the ICC's Future Tours Program.  Had the ICC, which made no mention of the issue in its post-meeting press release, decided to go ahead with an Olympic bid it would have had to apply formally to the International Olympic Committee.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,142
Monday, 8 July 2013


TWO SRI LANKAN UMPIRES FACING FIVE-YEAR 

BANS FOR CORRUPTION, SAY REPORTS 

[PTG 1142-5537]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket is to ban umpires Sagara Gallage and Maurice Dela Zilva for five years and "demote" a third, Gamini Dissanayake, for their part in corrupt activities over the past year, say newspaper reports from Colombo yesterday.  Gallage and Dela Zilva are said to have provided match information to bookmakers during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Sri Lanka in September-October, news that comes on top of the exposure of all three in an unrelated 'sting' operation conducted by the 'India TV' channel around the same time (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012).  

 

While details are sketchy, reports allege that Dela Zilva agreed to provide, for a payment of around $A1,000, information about teams, conditions and the toss, ninety minutes before a WT20C warm-up game between England and Australia in Colombo in mid-September.  Gallage is alleged to have offered similar information before a Pakistan-India warm-up match played simultaneously in another stadium in Colombo.  Records show that Dela Zilva was the reserve umpire in the England-Australia game and that Gallage had the same role in the Pakistan-India match.

 

Last October's India TV report showed all three Sri Lankans, together with Nadir Shah of Bangladesh and Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, agreeing in principle to commit irregular match-related acts, such as not giving certain batsmen out, or providing "inside information" about he state of the pitch and toss, in games they were involved in (PTG 1001-4862, 9 October 2012).  

 

While reports from Colombo yesterday state that Dissanayake is facing "demotion" for his involvement in the sting, if true that contrasts with the Bangladesh Cricket Board's decision in March to ban Shah for ten years, and the Pakistan Cricket Board's move in April to suspended Ghauri for four years and Siddiqui for three for what appear on the surface at least to be similar offences.  Shah has since submitted an appeal seeking an easing of the ban, but Ghauri's attempt to follow that course has been thwarted by his inability to pay the costs involved (PTG 1132-5503, 29 June 2013). 

 

Gallage, 38, played 19 first class matches in the period from 1998-2002, and has to date stood in 60 games at that level, four whilst on exchange in Bangladesh, and 45 List A fixtures.  Dela Zilva, 50, and Dissanayake, 39, have similar umpiring profiles, the former's match tally standing at 47 first class, 38 List A and 16 Twenty20 games, and the latter 128, 95 and 26 matches respectively, to his credit.  Dela Zilva's exchange experience was also in Bangladesh but Dissanayake's was in Pakistan, and all three have had reserve umpire positions in either Tests or One Day Internationals, as well as on-field roles in Womens' and Under-19 internationals.  Their last first class appointments were in March last year.  

 

News of Gallage and Winston's alleged WT20C activities goes some way to explaining why the probe by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) into India TV issues has taken eight months to come up with a result.  SLC is said in yesterday's reports to be planning to announce its disciplinary committee recommendations sometime this week, one stating that "the latest development will force local officials to rethink their stand and attitude on match-fixing". 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,143
Tuesday, 9 July 2013


ABANDONED TEST BALL SHOWED 'NATURAL 

WEAR', SAYS JOURNALIST

[PTG 1143-5538]

 

Former first class player and now journalist Simon Hughes, claims that he examined the ball that was at the centre of the abandoned England-Pakistan Test at The Oval in 2006, and that its wear was consistent with one that had been "used for 50 overs on what was a dry, cracked pitch".  Writing in the London 'Daily Telegraph' about suspicions some have that England has been ball-tempering in recent games (PTG 1124-5464, 15 June 2013), he says he was "summoned as an ‘expert witness’ for the Pakistanis" in a lawsuit and examined the ball in question from 'The Oval' game in "a lawyer’s office in Holburn", although just when that occurred was not mentioned.

 

Hughes described that ball as being "noticeably scratched and scuffed on one side", but that the damage "was consistent with what you would expect" at that stage of an innings, and he "concluded that all the damage could have occurred naturally".  Coming back to the present day Hughes, who played 205 first class and 202 List A games during a fourteen-year career from 1980-93, says that England, who have "perfected the art of reverse swing", "do ‘tamper’ with the ball", but that they do it "within the laws of the game".

 

The former Middlesex all-rounder claims that England has "perfected the ‘natural’ deterioration of the ball so that it reverse swings for them earlier, and to a greater degree, than for any other team" and that they "are so good at it that opponents, and umpires, are naturally suspicious".  According to him the current batch of white 'Kookaburra' balls used in international and domestic English cricket "have been found to ‘cut up’ quicker than in previous years, possibly due to a thinner coating (or inferior quality) of leather". 

 

England exacerbates that situation he says "with an assortment of cross-seam or wobble seam deliveries so that the ball pitches on the outer casing rather than the seam, and with throws on the bounce to the keeper".  Such methods do not mean there is "absolute control on which side [rough or smooth] the ball will pitch and therefore be damaged, but England succeed in his view because "they are more forensic than any other team at caring for and buffing the smoother side".  

 

Hughes claims that during a Champions Trophy match England played against Sri Lanka last month, umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand became suspicious when one of the two white balls being used displayed reverse swing after just thirteen overs.  "They obviously were not happy about the state of [the ball], but could not accuse [England] of any misdeed, as there was no incriminating evidence", so they changed the ball, he says.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said after the game that the ball had been changed because it had gone out of shape.

 

During last month's Champions League series, there were a number of reports of umpires speaking to players about 'bounce-throws' from the outfield, and there have been so far unconfirmed reports that the Marylebone Cricket Club may be planning to adjust the Laws of the game in that regard.  A week after the Champions Trophy ended, the ICC announced that it is to change its Playing Conditions in regard to ball-tampering in October when only the '"suspicion" that the condition of a match ball may have been changed illegally will be enough to trigger action by umpires (PTG 1136-5509, 1 July 2013).  

 

BCCI SETS RETIREMENT AGE 

FOR MATCH REFEREES

[PTG 1143-5539]

 

A compulsory retirement age of 60 for Indian "match referees" is being introduced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says a 'Times of India' report published this morning.  Three months ago the BCCI was said to be "concerned" about "the inadequate number of competent match referees" available to manage games in its senior domestic competitions, and that it would be looking to recruit "former cricketers who have played at least 20-25 Test matches" and train them as match referees (PTG 1091-5312, 20 April 2013). 

 

Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's General Manager for Game Development, indicated to the 'TOI' that his organisation's umpires committee had decided to introduce the referees retirement measure as part of attempts to lift the standard of match officials in the domestic game, a project that has now been on-going for the last six years.  The newspaper's story says "it appears that the BCCI is keen to bring in cricketers who are recently retired and young enough into mainstream cricket", a statement that reflects last April's news.

 

During the 2012-13 season in India there were around 50 match referees on the BCCI's panel.  They are said to have averaged between 30 and 40 days of duty across junior and senior tournaments, receiving a daily fee of 15,000 Indian Rupees ($A270) for first-class and one-day matches, and half that for Twenty20 matches, figures that equate to a maximum earning capacity of around 600,000 ($A10,000).  Last April a person described as "a top BCCI official", was quoted as saying that "a very attractive package" that "could be at par with what a national selector" receives in India could be offered to former player referee recruits, and that a coaching camp for them could be held at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. 

 

While the BCCI has asked each of its member associations to nominate two referees under the age of 60 for the forthcoming season, the 'TOI' story gives no indication that the age limit will also apply to senior-level umpires.  However, once they reach the age of 55 umpires will, together with umpire-coaches and referees, have to pass an annual medical exam prior to being accepted on to their respective panels.  Of last year's 49-man senior umpires panel, seven were aged 55-60 while another five were older than 60, the oldest being Balasubramoniam Kalyanasundaram and Anand Patel who were were both 65.

 

As is to be expected the planned cut off age for referees has not gone down well with those who will be affected this coming season, the 'TOI' report saying they are "bound to feel that India’s tough cricketing environment at junior and senior levels need their experience".  Amongst those affected are Bengal’s Raju Mukherjee, 62, who oversaw games in the last two Indian Premier League series, however, there it appears there may still be a little wiggle room in the BCCI's position, for in the words of the newspaper's report, he "and the others who have been playing a vital role in the running of the game, especially in the senior tournaments, could still have their services retained".

 

LEEWARD ISLAND UMPIRES 

ON STRIKE? 

[PTG 1143-5540]

 

Reports from the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean yesterday say that umpires in the local association failed to turn up for the start of three-day inter-island matches late last week, and the implication in a local radio report yesterday is that they have gone on strike, possible over the non-payment of match fees.  Last Friday, a match between the islands of Nevis and Saint Kitts was abandoned when umpires did not appear and two replacements could not be acquired, however, the game between Montserrat and Antigua was played, but only after alternate officials were found.

 

The President of the Nevis Cricket Association (NCA), Keith Scarborough, told the radio station he arranged at short notice to obtain the services of former Leeward Islands umpire Denzil Parris for the match again Saint Kitts and asked that team's association to provide an umpire they approved.  However, according to him the President of the Saint Kitts Association, Aukland Hector, "bluntly rejected the proposal", opting instead to call his team back home.  

 

Over on Montserrat, that island's game against Antigua did get underway, but only after former One Day International umpire Basil Morgan, 66, came out of retirement, and another umpire from the home island made himself available. 

 

Scarborough went on provide additional background to the situation, saying that the NCA is "dead broke" and his team's matches on Montserrat this week and Antigua after that could be in doubt as money "promised" by the Leeward Island Cricket Association (LICA) has not yet been provided.  "We don’t have any money to send the team anywhere", he said.  Montserrat’s cricket chief Gregory Willock spoke in similar vein, calling the situation a "serious state of affairs" and asking the current LICA executive to resign.

 

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REPRIMANDED FOR

CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S PITCH COMMENTS 

[PTG 1143-5541]

 

Northamptonshire have been "formally reprimanded" by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for comments their chief executive David Smith made about the state of a pitch provided for a County first class match against Lancashire at Old Trafford in late June.  Northants were bowled out for 62 in their first innings in that match which led Smith to make comments such as "the pitch looked underprepared and the scorecard supports this view".

 

Smith, who played 197 first-class games for Warwickshire during his playing career asked if "its the type of wicket I'd have expected to see at a Test ground?", answering that with "No, it wasn't".  "What level of preparation went into this wicket - we can only guess".  "It's a scheduled four-day game", he continued and "Is this type of wicket in the best interests of our game?", again answering with "No, it was not".

 

Despite Smith's view, ECB pitch inspector Jack Birkenshaw indicated afterwards he would take no action over the pitch and that consistent bowling and poor batting contributed to the four-day fixture being completed inside just two.

 

INDONESIAN, PNG UMPIRES 

STAND IN EAP U-19 FINAL

[PTG 1143-5541]

 

Alu Kapa of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Suresh Subramanian of Indonesia were the umpires for yesterday's final of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) East Asia Pacific's (EAP) Under-19 Trophy tournament that was played on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland over the past week.  Fiji's Mervyn McGoon and Helen Atai of PNG stood in the third versus fourth playoff at the same time, both matches being watched on adjacent ovals by match referee Steve Bernard of Australia.

 

Over the course of the week Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu played each other twice in 50-over format games, with Vanuatu, the side that came out on top after that, playing PNG in the final, the latter having flown in from Darwin where last week it had played against Australia, India and New Zealand.  Atai, Kapa, McGoon and Subramanian all stood in three matches each in the lead up to yesterday's final games. Locals Rodd Palmer and John Olding are believed to have provided scoring support for most of the event.

 

All four umpires are members of the EAP's second-tier Supplementary Umpires Panel for 2013, Atal and McGoon having been appointed to that group for the first time this year, while Bernard is a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013).  EAP umpire schorlarships enabled Atal, who stood in this year's Imparja Cup series in Alice Springs, and McGoon, to take part in the U-19 Trophy event (EAP 1072-5120, 7 March 2013).
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,144
Wednesday, 10 July 2013

TEN-YEAR, THREE-YEAR BANS FOR 

TWO SRI LANKAN UMPIRES

[PTG 1144-5553]
 

Sri Lankan umpire Sagara Gallage was banned from the game for ten years yesterday and his colleague Maurice de la Zilwa for three, while another, Gamini Dissanayake, was given a "severe warning" and "demoted" to a "lower domestic league" for the next twelve months.  All three were caught in an Indian television station's 'sting' operation late last year (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012), and there have been so far unconfirmed claims that Gallage and de la Zilwa were also involved in passing match information to outsiders during World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) warm-up matches in Sri Lanka in September (PTG 1142-5537, 8 July 2013).

 

Sri Lanka Cricket did not give details of the hearing nor the allegations laid against the trio but what media reports are calling "official cricket sources" said the disciplinary panel "found sufficient evidence to punish them".  The undercover operation conducted by 'India TV' in July-August and aired in early October, alleged umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were willing to give biased decisions or provide inside information on teams in return for money.  

 

The "official sources" who spoke to the media in Colombo yesterday are said to have indicated that Dissanayake has not been directly implicated in any bribery allegations.  However, he was "faulted for engaging in conversation" with the undercover journalists who offered him money in exchange for information about teams and players.

 

Earlier this week reports said that Gallage and de la Zilwa passed on match information to outsiders during WT20C warm up matches in which they were the reserve umpires.  Those reports also claimed, wrongly as it turned out, that Gallage de la Zilwa would each receive five year bans.  Dissanayake did not work in any of the twelve WT20C warm up games but Gallage and de la Zilwa each did so as reserve officials in two.  

 

Gallage joins Bangladesh's Nadir Shah as having been handed a ten-year ban following the 'sting', Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri's suspension being for four years, while de la Zilwa's three-years out of the game is the same penalty as that of Ghauri's countryman Anis Siddiqi (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).  While Dissanayake was demoted, the second Bangladeshi mentioned in the 'sting' report, Sharafudoullah Ibne Shahid, was exonerated as he is believed to have refused outright to give any favour in lieu of the money allegedly offered by undercover reporters, and he also advised his Board of the approach made to him (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013). 

 

Shah has appealed and Ghauri tried to but could not afford the costs involved (PTG 1132-5503, 29 June 2013), however, as yet none of the Sri Lankans have made any public comment about the decisions given against them. 

 

FOURTH ICC NATIONAL UMPIRE MANAGERS' 

MEETING FOR NAGPUR 

[PTG 1144-5554]

 

National Umpire Managers from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) ten Full Member countries are to conduct their annual two-day meeting in Nagpur, India, next Monday and Tuesday, ahead a five-day "coach-the-coach" program that is to start today week and will involve umpiring representatives from each of the ten nations.  Press reports from India say that the annual managers meeting, the third after ones previously held in the United Arab Emirates, Australia and England, enables those involved to discuss umpire development programs and umpire-related activity over the last twelve months.

 

Vince van der Bijl, the ICC's umpire and referee manager, and Simon Taufel its Umpire Performance and Training Manager, are amongst those said to be taking part in the meeting on Monday and Tuesday.  After that they, together with ICC Umpire Coaches Peter Manuel, Denis Burns and David Levens, will attend the coach-the-coach meeting, however, apart from the fact that two representatives from each ICC Full Member country will be at that gathering, few details of it have reached the ears of the general public to date. 

 

Australian's at the meeting are expected to be its new Umpire Educator Bob Parry and Western Australia's State Director of Umpires, Barrie Rennie, both of whom are former first class umpires (PTG 1136-5512, 1 July 2013).  Indian media reports today say that its attendees will be Bomi Jamula and Vinayak Kulkarni, both of whom are former first class umpires and who, like Parry, have stood in One Day Internationals.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,145
Friday, 12 July 2013


AUSSIE TV NETWORK AGAIN 

TALKS UP DAY-NIGHT TESTS

[PTG 1145-5545]


A Sydney newspaper report a month ago said that holding a day-night Test in 2014-15 "is under serious consideration" with the Adelaide Oval being the preferred venue (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013), and an article in another Australian daily yesterday talks of such a match becoming a "reality within three years".   Claims that a day-night Test would be held "within two years", the "near future", or as stated by a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) committee in 2010 as being "feasible now", have been made by Australian, MCC and International Cricket Council (ICC) officials over the last five years, but so far to no avail. 


Writing in 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne, journalist Jon Pierik quotes Brad McNamara, the executive producer of Australian television Channel Nine's cricket broadcasts, which has a major financial interest in the concept, as saying his "network is in talks with Cricket Australia (CA) to possibly stage a one-off Test under lights within three years".  Such a move "makes sense", says McNamara, who then goes on to repeat the oft-mentioned rationale of it attracting "bigger crowds and more people watching on TV", thus helping to "revive" Test cricket in countries other than Australia and England where crowds have fallen away, not to mention potentially boost Channel Nine's advertising revenue.


Pierik goes on to reiterate another often mentioned issue, the challenge of finding a ball that is suitable for a day-night Test, as "the traditional red ball cannot be seen properly under lights".  McNamara, a former first-class cricketer with New South Wales, describes that matter, somewhat unsurprisingly given the history of the issue, as "the sticking point", and he thinks its "amazing" with "all the technology available to man at the moment [that] we can't get a cricket ball that works at night".


"I actually played in a lot of day-night [first class Sheffield] Shield games [in the mind-1990s] when we tried all sorts of colours, and they all had their problems", said McNamara, CA abandoning that initiative when players complained about a lack of clarity under lights (PTG 562-2855, 1 February 2010).  Channel Nine conducted "a few trials for [CA] under lights [at the Melbourne Cricket Ground] with different balls [in February 2010 and] the best one to see was the orange ball but on TV it was a bit too fluoro, and it had a tail on it", said McNamara (PTG 568-2879, 10 February 2010).  


In that same austral summer CA trialled pink balls in multi-day state second XI matches, but the feedback was less than positive (PTG 567-2874, 8 February 2010).  Twelve months after that CA gave up its own quest to find a suitable ball, handing responsibility for the work to the ICC.  CA's move then was said to "not [be] an admission of defeat" but rather because it wanted "the world's cricket community to share the load in cracking the coloured ball code" (PTG 760-3731, 21 April 2011).  Two years ago the ICC announced it would "commission research into the ideal colour for balls.. [and was to] ..work closely with equipment manufacturers before conducting relevant trials" as part of what was called "urgent product research and analysis" of day-night Tests (PTG 610-3061, 24 May 2010).  


Apart from the Sheffield Shield trials of the mid-1990s, the final of India's first class Ranji Trophy series in 1997, which was played as a day-nighter, saw white balls used, however, they had to be replaced regularly.  In the last five years several well-known manufacturers have conducted a range of research activities in efforts to find a suitable ball, one expressing frustration about the way the whole project was being managed by those involved (PTG 775-3793, 16 June 2011), and there have been an on-going set of trials at first class level in that time in half of the ICC's Full Member entities.  


The West Indies Cricket Board trialled day-night, pink ball fixtures in its domestic first class series in both the 2010 and 2012 seasons, a total of eight games being involved (PTG 896-4362, 2 February 2012), the Pakistan Cricket Board two finals of its first class competition in 2011 and 2012 (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2012), the MCC has played the county season opener in a day-night format in Abu Dhabi in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (PTG 1080-5253, 24 March 2013), the England and Wales Cricket Board a single, hastily arranged, non-critical County Championship match late in the 2011 season (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011), and Cricket South Africa a pre-season first class format match under lights in the lead up to the 2012-13 austral summer (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012). 


Last October, the ICC agreed to allow day-night Test matches provided the Boards of the two competing nations agree and a suitable ball is found (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012).  Finding the latter is still the challenge, so much so that a CA spokesman was quoted last month as saying that his organisation "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]".  


ENGLAND QUERY OVERTURNING 

OF TROTT 'NOT OUT' DECISION 

[PTG 1145-5546]


England team management are reported to have asked Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee for the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, for clarification over the procedure that was used by third umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa in overturning a 'not out' LBW decision against batsman Jonathan Trott overnight.  Trott was dismissed without scoring at the end of the second afternoon, but made his dissatisfaction with the decision clear before leaving the field.


Trott, who was caught in front by Australian bowler Mitchell Starc, clearly felt he had hit the ball, however, initial replays did not offer concrete evidence either way.  English media reports say that the side has been told that a "crucial 'Hot Spot' angle was not available", a situation "believed to have come about because broadcasters were using the system to replay [English batsman] Joe Root's dismissal from the previous delivery".  "Images cannot be captured and replayed on the same device concurrently".


England are thought to be "baffled" that an on-field decision by Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar to give Trott not out was over-ruled despite the fact that all the relevant TV tools were not available to Erasmus who was working as the television umpire in a Test for the sixteenth time.


WINDIES-PAKISTAN ODI SERIES REIFFEL'S 

FIRST EUP APPOINTMENT

[PTG 1145-5547]


Australian Paul Reiffel's first appointment as a member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) is to the five-match One Day International (ODI) series the West Indies and Pakistan are to play in Guyana and on the island of Saint Lucia over the next two weeks.  Reiffel, along with Richard Illingworth of England, were promoted to the EUP two weeks ago (PTG 1130-5487, 26 June 2013).


The series will be overseen by Australian match referee David Boon, Reiffel's umpiring colleagues being his countryman Steve Davis and Englishman Nigel Llong, who are both EUP members, plus West Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).


Llong, who has been in Trinidad and Tobago over the last week for the tri-series between India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies (PTG 1138-5518, 3 July 2013), will stay on to work with Reiffel in the first two Windies-Pakistan games in Guyana, each have one match on-field and one as the television official, a West Indian IUP member occupying the second on-field spot.


Davis comes in for the last three ODIs of the series in Saint Lucia.  Reiffel is to stand in the first and third there and Davis the second, each working as the third umpire when not out on the ground.  By the time the series ends, Davis' ODI record will have moved on to 120 games, Llong's to 70, and Boon and Reiffel in their match officials capacity both to 33.


Meanwhile, West Indian IUP member Peter Nero stood in the final of the India, Sri Lanka and West Indies tri series with Llong yesterday, his colleagues Joel Wilson being the third umpire and Nigel Duguid the fourth official. 


FIVE-RUN PENALTY GIVEN FOR BATSMAN'S 

PROTECTED AREA INFRINGEMENT

[PTG 1145-5548]


Umpires standing in a Twenty20 match in the Pakistan Cricket Board's Ramazan Cup series on Tuesday gave a fielding side five penalty runs after a batsman "ran over the pitch's danger [Protected] area", says a report in Wednesday's 'Pakistan Tribune'.  In another incident the game's third umpire is said to have taken ten minutes to decided whether a 'no ball' had been involved after a dismissal, then made what reports available claim was a patently wrong decision.


The five run penalty was given against Habib Bank (HB) batsman Fahad Masood in the first innings of the match against Pakistan International Airlines, the match report saying simply that umpires Ahmed Shahab and Tahir Shah penalised Fahad for running into the Protected Area, presumably for the second time after a "first and final warning" and the loss of any runs the batsman had scored off that ball as required by Law 42.14.  Prior to the last Laws change in 2010  the batting side receives two rather than three warnings as applies at present (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010).


Later, when PIA were batting and the chase was getting tight with sixteen runs needed off nine balls, batsman Sheryar Ghani was caught in the outfield, but third umpire Sajid Afridi called a no-ball "despite", in the words of the report, bowler Kamran Hussain's "foot being well behind the crease".  HB skipper Younus Khan is said to have been "livid and protested against the decision", a situation that saw the game "halted for ten minutes".  "After dozens of replays, Sajid stuck to his decision and the match restarted", continues the report, Ghani rubbing salt on the fielding side's "wounds" by hitting a six off the free hit that resulted from the no ball.


An unnamed official from the Pakistan Cricket Board is quoted as saying that "proper action" will be taken against Sajid.  “We can’t forgive such blunders as the umpires have technology available at their disposal", he said, and “Sajid will have to give a proper explanation about his decision".  Just what authority that individual had to make that claim is not known.  Afridi is a former first class player has to date stood in twelve games at that level since his umpiring debut last October.


DOCTROVE, GREAVES FOR NAGPUR 

ICC 'TRAIN-THE-TRAINER' MEETING 

[PTG 1145-5549]


A report from the Caribbean indicates that the West Indies Cricket Board has nominated Billy Doctrove of Dominica and Golande Greaves from Saint Vincent to attend the International Cricket Council's (ICC) five-day 'train-the-trainer' seminar in Nagpur which is due to start next Wednesday (PTG 1144-5554, 10 July 2013).  Doctrove was a member of the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel from 2006-12 (PTG 946-4600, 8 June 2012), and Greaves a WICB umpires' assessor, and for four years up until March 2011, a member of the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 741-3638, 16 March 2011).


The seminar is to be proceeded on Monday-Tuesday by the ICC's annual meeting of National Umpire Managers (NUM) from each of its ten Full Member boards.  The ICC told 'PTG' yesterday that last year's NUM meeting agreed "that there was a need for each Full Member to have one or two umpire trainers to support the domestic education program for umpires", which suggests that at that time at least some countries did not have anyone dedicated to look after that role.  It is still not easy to determine just who those individuals are across all ten Full Members. 


The ICC was asked for details of the five-day meeting but apart from advice that has a 'train-the-trainer' focus, and that Full Members have been asked to nominate two umpire-related personnel to attend, little other information is available.  Apart from the two West Indians, Australia is reported to be sending Bob Parry and Barry Rennie, and India Bomi Jamula and Vinayak Kulkarni, who like Doctrove and Greaves are all former first class umpires.  Doctrove has umpired at Test level, Jamula, Kulkarni, and Parry in One Day Internationals, Rennie in the domestic first class game.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,146
Saturday, 13 July 2013

UMPIRES, TECHNOLOGY UNDER SCRUTINY 

IN OPENING ASHES TEST

[PTG 1146-5550]


Decisions by umpires and the way technology has been used and made available to them have come under the scrutiny of both camps in the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge over the last two days.  On Thursday there was controversy when England's Jonathan Trott was given out after a referral, an incident that saw his coach ask the match referee for clarification over the procedure used by the third umpire (PTG 1145-5546, 12 July 2013), and again yesterday when Trott's team mate Stuart Broad was given 'not out' after an appeal for a catch at slip when no referrals remained that would have allowed a review. 


English media outlets reported yesterday that their side had received apologies from both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Australian company that provides the 'Hot Spot" system over the Trott dismissal.  He was judged to be out LBW by South African third umpire Marais Erasmus on review after on-field umpire Aleem Dar had originally given him not out, the batsman claiming that he hit the ball.


ICC chief executive Dave Richardson is said to have apologised to England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke, with some reports claiming he indicated that Erasmus was in the wrong and had not followed the protocol the ICC has set down for reviews.  Richardson is said to have told Clarke that there was not enough evidence for Erasmus to overturn Dar's decision, but he also pointed out that not all the information that should have been available to the South African via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was provided to him.


In that regard, London's 'Daily Telegraph' quoted Warren Brennan, the head of the company that provides 'Hot Spot' infrared technology, as saying he regretted the episode.  Brennan said the Trott wicket was "missed by the 'Hot Spot' camera" because the broadcaster, Sky, was at the time "replaying the dismissal of a wicket that had fallen off the previous ball".


Brennan said that "the absolute truth [is that] it was operator error".  "My operator did not trigger the system in order to cater for the Trott delivery, instead [he] sat on the [previous wicket taking] delivery in order to offer a replay [of it to Sky], and did not realise until it was too late that he should have triggered the system [to give] the Trott ball priority".  "Simple mistake, something that anyone could have made but my 'Hot Spot' operator has worked on the system since 2007, and to my knowledge this is the first serious mistake he has made".


Yesterday, Broad was given what a BBC report described as an "astonishing reprieve" when Dar, a three-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year', did not detect a thick edge that was caught in the slips at a key time in the match.  Australia had already used up their two reviews by that time and despite the big screen replays showing clear contact with his bat, Broad stood his ground to the frustration of the Australians.   


Long-time Australian journalist Malcolm Conn wrote "there is unlikely to be a bigger howler in the series and it came from one of the best umpires in the game, Aleem Dar" for "the world could see that Broad smashed the ball".  In his view "the ICC should get rid of the review system and train specialist video umpires with a strong understanding of technology, including camera angles, then let them adjudicate on decisions they believe are wrong".  "Video umpires should be able to operate quickly and efficiently so there are no undue delays unless a close review is required", and there "also needs to be a greater partnership between the third umpire and those on the ground so that those in the middle can ask for help if they are not sure".


Speaking at the Bradman Museum in country New South Wales on Wednesday, just before the start of play on the first day of the Test, the ICC's Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel told an audience that statistics show that current ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members give correct decisions on an average of 94.2 per cent of occasions.  The percentage for the best of "my guys", as he termed them, is "about 97", while "the worst guy on the panel" comes in at 91.5. Just who the best and worst were on the EUP was not mentioned.


Other data presented by Taufel show that referrals to the third umpire in international cricket overturn on-field decisions in just twenty-two per cent, or around a quarter of the total.  "Administrators [are using technology] to try and get rid of the obvious mistake", says Taufel, "but with technology and the way it is going" he is "of the view now that we've go to to use it to get as many decisions correct without impacting on the flow of the game".


LANKAN CAPTAIN GIVEN TWO MATCH 

BAN FOR 'SERIOUS' OVER-RATE OFFENCE

[PTG 1146-5551]


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has been suspended for two One Day Internationals (ODI) and his players fined forty-per-cent of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate during their tri-series final match against India in Trinidad on Thursday.   Match referee David Boon from Australia imposed the suspension after Mathews' side was ruled, after when time allowances were taken into consideration, to be three overs short of their target at the end of the match .


Under the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct, a side that falls more than two overs behind is guilty of a "serious over-rate offence", such that their captain receives two suspension points while the players are fined ten-per-cent of their match fees for each of the first two overs short and twenty-per-cent for every additional over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.  


Two suspension points equates to a suspension from one Test or two ODIs, and is applied to the subsequent international matches in which the player sanctioned is most likely to participate in.  As such, Mathews has been suspended for the first two ODIs against South Africa that are to be played in Colombo a week today and on Tuesday week respectively, while his players loose forty-per-cent of the match fee they were entitled to for the game against India.

 

Mathews pleaded guilty to the charge laid against him by on-field umpires Nigel Llong of England and Peter Nero of the West Indies, plus two other West Indians, third umpire Joel Wilson and fourth umpire Nigel Duguid.


ANOTHER DHAKA VISIT AS ICC ACSU 

WORKS TO FINALISE BPL REPORT 

[PTG 1146-5552]


An official from the International Cricket Council’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) is to arrive in Dhaka today to complete its investigation into match-fixing allegations during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) series earlier this year, says a report in this morning's 'New Age' newspaper.  Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) "sources" are quoted as saying that the ACSU is expected to submit a report on their findings to the BCB in the first week of August.  


A two-member ACSU team visited Dhaka early last month and interviewed officials from the BPL's Dhaka franchise and others (PTG 1116-5427, 4 June 2013), and 'New Age' is reporting that the latest visit is to seek information from individuals that have not previously been questioned.  Last month former national skipper Mohammad Ashraful admitted that he had been involved in fixing BPL matches and made a public apology to his nation for his indiscretions (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,147
Sunday, 14 July 2013

PCB OVERLOOKS RAUF, TIGHTENS UMPIRE

CODE OF CONDUCT RULES

[PTG 1147-5553]

 

The international career of Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf could be over after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) failed to nominate him as a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2013-14, say press reports from Lahore yesterday.  Rauf, who until last month had been a member of the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for seven years, was dropped from that group for "overall performance reasons" and not, said a top ICC official at the time, because of "speculation linking his name to [Indian Premier League] spot-fixing activities" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).

 

In May, Rauf's name surfaced in a Mumbai police investigation into IPL spot-fixing, a situation that led to the ICC dropping him as an official in last month's Champions Trophy series, however, he has consistently maintained that he is innocent of any wrong-doing (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013).  However, what media reports from Lahore describe as "well-informed [PCB] sources", are said to have indicated that Rauf was given "several warnings" by the ICC and PCB that he should "review his activities" as they weren't "doing his reputation any good".  In addition to alleged spot-fixing links, last year Rauf was embroiled in a sexual harassment case in India, but again he denied the allegations made against him, and the complainant later withdrew her claims (PTG 1050-5110, 1 February 2013).

 

In addition to the controversy over Rauf, the PCB has also had to deal over the last eight months with those involving former IUP member Nadeem Ghauri and his domestic first class umpire colleague Anis Siddique.  That pair were caught in a 'sting' operation conducted by an Indian television station last year, and a PCB disciplinary committee eventually found they had agreed to "extend undue favours for material gain" and banned Ghauri for four years and Siddique for three (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).

 

As a result of those difficulties, the PCB has introduced a new Code of Conduct for its match officials, a document that is said to have been "prepared as per the directives of the ICC".  It is reported to be "similar to the one players have to follow" in Pakistan, requires umpires and referees to sign a PCB contract, and means that they "will not be allowed to share any kind of [match-related] details" with anyone outside a game, or "use social networking websites during assignments".  The sanction for non-compliance with the new code is said to range from a minimum ban of two years up to a maximum of fifteen.

 

Lahore reports state that the PCB has forwarded the names of Pakistan's three current IUP members, Zameer Haider, Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza, to the ICC for positions on that panel for 2013-14, although whether the latter will remain in the third umpire spot or not is yet to be spelt out.

 

ICC 'CONFIDENT' ERASMUS FOLLOWED 

UDRS PROTOCOLS IN TROTT DECISION

[PTG 1147-5554]

 

Despite media reports that International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson had indicated the decision to give England batsman Jonathan Trott out LBW on review in the opening Ashes Test last week was wrong, the ICC is said to have indicated "privately" in the last few days that they are "confident their own protocols regarding the use of technology" were in fact followed in that case.  Third umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa overturned on-field umpire Aleem Dar's 'not out' decision on Thursday, and media reports the next day claimed Richardson had told England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke that there was not enough evidence for Erasmus to make that call.

 

ICC rules for the operation of the Umpire Decision Review System state that the third umpire can make a recommendation to overturn an on-field call even in the absence of one part of the technology, as long as he informs the standing umpire.  In Trott's case key 'Hot spot' images of him playing the ball were not available because of what the company that provides that system called "operator error" (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  Dar appeared a little surprised that his original decision, that Trott had hit the ball, was judged to be incorrect, but Erasmus is now said to have been well within his rights to reverse that call, a position the ICC are said to be "set to restate next week". 

 

The ICC told reporters there would be “no comment on an umpiring decision”, but several stories in the English press claim they are planning to address England’s concerns about the matter later this week when Richardson arrives in the UK for the second Test at Lord’s, which starts this Thursday.

 

CA, ECB REPORTEDLY CONCERNED ABOUT 

LIMITED POOL OF EUP 'NEUTRALS'

[PTG 1147-5555]

 

An article in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Saturday claims that Australian and English cricket authorities have expressed "grave concerns" to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the "lack of neutral umpires" who can take charge of the remaining nine Ashes Tests scheduled over the next six months.  Journalist Nick Hoult's article, which was written following a number of controversies in the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013), talks of the need to introduce "specialist television umpires" and expresses the view that "the longer-term solution is an expansion of the ICC's current twelve-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP)".

 

Hoult points out that "only four members of the ICC's [current] Elite Umpires Panel [EUP] are not from Australia or England" (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013), leaving Pakistan's Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, South African Marais Erasmus, and Tony Hill of New Zealand, to "rotate as on-field and television umpires during a maximum of 150 highly pressurised [two-hour] sessions of Ashes cricket" up until next January. He claims that Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) "fear" the workload involved for that group "could lead to a drop in umpiring standards", and that there is "the potential for grudges to grow between players and umpires who [spend] too much time working together".

 

In order to overcome that situation, says Hoult, "The suggestion is for umpires to be promoted temporarily from the ICC’s [second-tier] International Umpires Panel (IUP), although there are inevitable concerns about the standard of officials from that level" in such a high-profile series.  It is in fact normal ICC practice to do just that by exposing IUP members they believe have to potential to make the EUP to Test cricket as part of their 'auditions' for a job on that panel, but normally not early on in such high-profile contests such as an Ashes series.  The ICC currently has very limited flexibility in that regard, with only one current IUP member, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lankan, being in the short-term EUP pipeline (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013), but his chances of being selected for an Ashes Test over the next six months look slim.  

 

Hoult goes on though to include New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden, who was dropped from the EUP last month, in the IUP grouping (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).  Bowden is not in fact a current member of that panel at this time, but there are indications New Zealand Cricket will nominate him for one of the three spots available to it for the year ahead.  Bowden is said to want his umpiring "to do the talking" as he works to return to the EUP, but if he is to be considered for an Ashes Test in Australia later this year he would, after joining the IUP, then probably need to reassessed by the ICC in one of its One Day International, or perhaps lower-level team Test, series elsewhere in the world over the next 2-3 months. 

 

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the dismissal of England's Jonathan Trott in the Trent Bridge Test, Hoult also makes the claim that "the introduction of dedicated television umpires will also be proposed to the ICC".  Presumably, given the context of Hoult's article, that proposal is to be put to the ICC by either CA or the ECB or both, and he says that "the belief is growing among cricket boards that the [television umpire] job requires specialist training in the wake of the Trott controversy".  

  

In Hoult's assessment any move to introduce "dedicated television umpires would be costly", "but is seen as a method of reducing the workload of those on the [EUP] and offer experience to younger officials".  Long-time Australian journalist Malcolm Conn wrote on Friday that "the ICC should get rid of the review system and train specialist video umpires with a strong understanding of technology, including camera angles, then let them adjudicate on decisions they believe are wrong".  "Video umpires should be able to operate quickly and efficiently so there are no undue delays unless a close review is required", and there "also needs to be a greater partnership between the third umpire and those on the ground so that those in the middle can ask for help if they are not sure".

 

According to Hoult "Simon Taufel, formerly one of the world’s leading umpires, who is now in charge of training the next generation of officials, is believed to be in support of [such a] proposal".  A report from Mumbai today states that a key focus during the ICC's five-day 'train-the-trainer' meeting in Nagpur later this week (PTG 1145-5549, 12 July 2013), will be on the role of the television umpire and how best to deal with the processes and protocols involved in that job.  Taufel is to lead discussion of that issue.  

 

'HOW'D YOU KEEP A STRAIGHT 

FACE?', ASKS ICC REFEREE 

[PTG 1147-5556]

 

Chris Broad, an England-based member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) seven-man match referees panel, asked his son Stuart by text "how he kept such a straight face" when he stood his ground when he was caught but given 'not out' during the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Friday (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  Reports say that Broad senior, who to date has overseen 352 games for the ICC as a referee, 60 Tests, 221 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 48 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) , 5 womens' T20Is, and 18 Under-19 ODIs, made public the details of the text to his son whilst talking on BBC Radio yesterday. 

 

NSWCUSA CENTENARY FILM 

SET FOR RELEASE 

[PTG 1147-5557]

 

A film prepared as part of celebrations to mark the Centenary of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) is to be screened in Sydney tomorrow evening for the first time.  Titled '100 Not Out', the documentary, which has been prepared under the direction of former NSWCUSA Executive Officer Nick Carson, has been prepared to provide insight into the founding of the Association and how it has evolved over the past 100 years, and includes interviews with a range of its members.

 

Release of the film is the latest in a series of events that have been organised to mark the Association's Centenary this year (PTG 999-4857, 4 October 2012).  The NSWCUSA, one of the oldest organisations of its kind in the world, is the second such group in Australia to mark its Centenary of operations in the last few years, the South Australian Cricket Umpires' Association doing so in November 2011 (PTG 859-4196, 11 November 2011).  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,148
Monday, 15 July 2013

THIRD UMPIRE REVIEW OVERTURNS ON-FIELD 

DECISION, ENDS TEST MATCH

[PTG 1148-5558]


With Australia having one wicket left and needing just fourteen runs for victory on an absorbing last day of the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge yesterday, it was a decision made via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) that ended the game.  That situation was somewhat ironic given the controversy that has surrounded UDRS issues during most of the five-day match (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  


On what turned out to be the final ball of the Test, Australia's Brad Haddin attempted a forcing shot through point off bowler James Anderson and the England slips cordon went up in what initially seemed a half-hearted appeal for caught behind.  The first reaction of umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan was to shake his head as he obviously did not detect what was subsequently shown to be "the faintest of nicks".  England though had both of its referrals left and with the match situation very tight, their captain Alistair Cook decided to call for a review.


The television umpire, South African Marais Erasmus, who has been criticised, apparently without justification for his third umpire work during the game (PTG 1147-5554, 14 July 2013), quickly found an incriminating signature on Haddin's bat on 'Hot Spot'".  Despite that several media reports make the claim that Erasmus "double-checked on the audio" from the stump microphone before advising Dar via radio that he should revoke his decision and give the Australian wicketkeeper out.


GIVE UMPIRES FULL CONTROL OF 

UDRS OPERATIONS, ARGUES 'CHAPPELLI'

[PTG 1148-5559]


Instead of limiting the number of referrals, and leaving them in the hands of the players, the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) should be solely in the hands of the umpires, says former Australian captain Ian Chappell.  Writing for 'Cricinfo' during the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on the weekend, Chappell says that the main controversies have centred around the UDRS, and that "its failings have emphasised flaws the International Cricket Council should have addressed long ago". 


The former captain says that the Jonathan Trott LBW referral at Trent Bridge on Thursday "highlighted the absurd decision to allow the host broadcasters to play a part in the UDRS", the 'Hot Spot' operator using the system "for something else when suddenly the technology was required for a referral" (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  That situation highlights, says Chappell, that the UDRS "should always be the sole responsibility of the cricket boards" and that "they should pay for and operate everything that's required for the decision-making process" (PTG 1138-5517, 3 July 2013).  Adjudication has nothing to do with the television coverage, he says, "which is there to provide entertainment for the viewers".


Chappel's view, which he has put before (PTG 1048-5090, 28 January 2013), is that the umpires in the middle "should be encouraged to make decisions and then, only if the video umpire sees a glaring error, should he intervene".  Such an approach would mean that "umpiring standards could be raised and only the howlers, and not the 50-50 decisions, would be overturned".  "No system is infallible and that's part of the beauty of the game", he says.  "The players make mistakes, which in turn requires the umpires to come to a decision, which can occasionally result in an error, [but] the human element is an important part of cricket's magic".


The former skipper points to another incident at Trent Bridge when England's Stuart Broad was given 'not out' caught even though replays showed his bat had made contact with the ball (PTG 1147-5556, 14 July 2013).  Australia could not ask for a review as it had already used up the two referrals available to it earlier in that England innings, but under Chappell's proposal the third umpire would have been able to advise his on-field colleague of the snick, and thus Broad would have been given out.


"Getting the right decision" is the most important issue, says Chappell, something "the ICC has constantly spruiked as one of the virtues of the UDRS".  However, "in many cases it has done exactly the opposite, and Broad's case was just the latest example".  He hopes "this latest malfunction will convince the cricket boards to take charge of the UDRS, and that way every Test will then be played under the same conditions".  


Cricket Australia (CA) enabled its third umpires to intervene and reverse on-field decisions prior to the 2011-12 season as long as they did so before the next ball was bowled (PTG 833-4067, 15 September 2011), however, in the season after that they extended that to allow the third umpire to "stop play" when they believed a closer look at replays was warranted (PTG 993-4824, 19 September 2012).  


However, the latter approach did not make it past the first month of the 2012-13 season because of what media reports described as a "player revolt", and the "umpire intervention" initiative was quickly laid to one side for the remainder of the season (PTG 1023-4970, 28 November 2012); although third umpires in televised matches were still able to adjudicate on run-outs, stumpings, hit wicket, obstructing the field, and close boundary calls, but only after receiving a request from their on-field colleagues.


CA indicated when announcing it was dropping its interventionist approach last November that it planned to investigate alternative video-review policies for its games prior to the 2013-14 austral summer (PTG 1024-4974, 30 November 2012).  As yet no details of how they plan to proceed later this year have been released.


PAKISTAN UMPIRE RETIRES, ACCUSES 

PCB OFFICIALS OF 'MISTREATMENT'

[PTG 1148-5560]


Former Pakistan spinner Akram Raza, who turned to umpiring five years ago, has announced his retirement and accused "some officials" at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of "mistreating" him and "trying to destroy" his career as a match official.  Raza and five others were arrested in Lahore two years ago and charged with being involved in illegal betting racket and he was suspended by the PCB as a result (PTG 764-3749, 20 May 2011), however, he was reinstated to its top domestic umpires panel last September after being cleared of any wrong doing by a court (PTG 992-4816, 18 September 2012


The former spinner, who played nine Tests and forty-nine One Day Internationals for his country, told the Press Trust of India yesterday he is retiring because PCB officials, particularly its Director of Cricket Operations Zakir Khan, have been "non co-operative and tried to create hurdles for me".  He said that he is "hugely disappointed that the PCB didn't send my name to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for its [second-tier International Umpires Panel]", the three current Pakistani members of that group being renominated instead (PTG 1147-5553, 14 July 2013).  When he was suspended two years ago he was said to have been under consideration for a spot on the IUP (PTG 774-3789, 15 June 2011). 


Raza, 48, went on to say that in his three-year higher-level umpiring career "I got top marks and was ranked among the top three umpires of the country".  He indicated that he had "submitted all relevant court documents [about his case] to the PCB" and that they "prove his innocence", and said that "once the court cleared me of any wrong doing I deserved to be recommended for the ICC job", however, "some PCB officials were adamant [they would not be] sending my name".


Twelve years ago during his playing career Raza, together with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed, were fined for not co-operating with a Pakistani judicial commission that looked into match-fixing allegations laid against some Pakistan players.  He said then though that he “had no role or knowledge of any fixing so what could I tell the commission?"  


ICC DENIES BANNED AAMER GIVEN CLEARANCE

 TO PLAY DOMESTIC GAMES

[PTG 1148-5561]


The International Cricket Council (ICC) has denied a Pakistani newspaper report that suspended fast bowler Mohammad Aamer has been given permission to play domestic cricket.  Aamer was banned for five years until September 2015 for his part in spot-fixing in a Test at Lord's in 2010, however, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently asked the ICC to allow him to use facilities at its grounds and gyms and that he be able to return to playing the game next year (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).


An ICC spokesman told Pakistan's 'Dawn' newspaper late last week that following the PCB request the ICC had set up a four-man committee to look into Aamer's case, but said that any decision regarding Aamir’s five-year ban would only be made by the ICC Board.  The committee that will look into the matter, and who will present their recommendations to the Board later this year, consists of Englishman Giles Clarke, Australian Wally Edwards, Imran Khawaja from Singapore and Keith Oliver of Scotland, who are all current Board members.


Aamer admitted early on that he was guilty of the sport-fixing charges laid against him, has attended "rehabilitation programs" and also cooperated with the ICC in its investigations.  That attitude, says the PCB, warrants him being allowed to return early, but the world body says that "any reports that the ICC has allowed Aamer to play domestic cricket or club cricket or use PCB facilities are incorrect".
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,149
Wednesday, 17 July 2013

 

ICC RELEASES TRENT BRIDGE 

UMPIRE DECISION STATISTICS 

[PTG 1149-5562]

 

In an unusual move that reflects to controversies that occurred in the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has released umpire decision statistics from the game.  The ICC said yesterday that given "the conditions, with reverse swing and spin playing an important role, and the added intensity of [it being the] first Ashes Test [of the series], it was a difficult match to umpire", and that umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka and Maraise Erasmus of South Africa, "did a good job" in challenging conditions. 

 

The ICC says that the three umpires made a total of 72 decisions during the game, a figure that is well above the average of 49 for a Test match in which the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is in operation.  The "correct decision percentage" in the game before reviews was 90.3 per cent, however, after reviews that number "climbed to 95.8 per cent", an increase of 5.5 per cent; that 5.5 number being equal to the average increase recorded in UDRS Tests in 2012-13.  

 

Last week Simon Taufel, the ICC's Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, said that statistics show that current ICC Elite Umpire Panel members give correct decisions on an average of 94.2 per cent of occasions (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  According to him the percentage for the best is "about 97 per cent", while "the worst" comes in at 91.5 per cent, a range that gives the Trent Bridge data an overall perspective.   

 

All-up the "umpiring team" in Nottingham was assessed to have made seven errors, of which three were uncorrected and four were corrected using UDRS data.  According to the ICC's press release, the three decisions that were marked as uncorrected errors included one against England's Jonathan Trott when a correct LBW decision was overturned on advice from third umpire Erasmus (PTG 1147-5554, 14 July 2013), while the others involved Trott's team mate Stuart Broad.  One of Broad's was a catch at slip where he didn't walk, and the other an LBW when he did not offer a shot, but they "couldn’t be corrected" as Australia had no reviews left at those times.

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson says in the press release that the statistics show that the Trent Bridge "umpires did a good job under difficult conditions", a situation that "reflects the caliber of umpires Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus, who have consistently performed at a high level".  “However, like the players, umpires can also have good and bad days but we all know that the umpire’s decision, right or wrong, is final and must be accepted".

 

Richardson says that “while the ICC has complete faith in the ability of its umpires, our confidence in technology is also strengthened by the fact that there was an increase in the number of correct decisions in the Trent Bridge Test through the use of the UDRS".  “Technology was introduced with the objective of eradicating the obvious umpiring errors, and to get as many correct decisions as possible".  "If it can help increase the correct decisions by 5.5 per cent, then it is a good outcome, but we must continue to strive to improve umpiring and the performance of the UDRS", concludes Richardson.

 

MCC COMMITTEE LOOKS 

AT BAT SIZE ISSUES 

[PTG 1149-5563]

 

What the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) calls a "range of cricket bat specialists" presented their views on the "size of bats" during the latest meeting of its World Cricket Committee (WCC) which was held at Lord's on Monday-Tuesday.  The WCC's last meeting in February in Auckland recommended that the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, be investigated, the MCC saying then that it was to conduct research into the matter "over the coming months" (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013).  

 

Currently, Law 6 talks about what materials can be used to make a bat and the length and width that is permissible, but the thickness of the blade itself is not mentioned.  Concerns that "increasingly powerful batsmen with increasingly powerful bats" who consistently hit the ball harder than ever before, could seriously injure or even kill someone on the field, have been raised on a number of occasions over the last half-decade, bat thickness being seen by many as the key factor involved (PTG 1140-5523, 5 July 2013).  The MCC is more likely to look at the issue though in terms of keeping an appropriate balance between bat and ball (PTG 1026-4984, 7 December 2012).  

   

Reports indicate the MCC's Laws sub-committee's latest quarterly meeting, the last before any changes to the Laws are expected to be announced, will be held next week.  Presumably any recommendations the WCC formulates this week will be passed on to the sub-committee for consideration, although it is unlikely, given manufacturing, marketing and stocking issues, that the MCC will actually change Law 6 in the 2013 time-frame.  Rather, should it decide to move on limiting bat thickness, a date a year or so off by which manufacturers will have to comply with any changes decided, is likely to be set. 

 

Alan Isaac, the current President of the International Cricket Council, opened the WCC's latest gathering by providing the committee with "an overview" of his organisation's approach to "prominent issues in the game, including governance, corruption and security".  The committee also heard from Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers' Association, and Steven Richardson, a senior investigator with the England and Wales Cricket Board's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, on "corruption in the game and other issues affecting players".  

 

A focus on the "Laws of Cricket and associated research", the Umpire Decision Review System, and potential formats for the World Test Championship series of 2017 (PTG 1136-5513, 1 July 2013), are also reported to have been on the WCC's agenda.  Details of the results of the WCC meeting the MCC feels it is appropriate to make public are expected to be released sometime later today.

 

TAKE PLAYERS OUT OF UDRS LOOP, APPOINT 

'TELEVISION ANALYSTS', SAYS HARPER

[PTG 1149-5564]

 

Former Australian umpire Daryl Harper says that players must be taken out the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) loop, umpires alone should have control of it, and that the third umpire should be replaced by what a News Limited report on Monday calls "a full-time television umpiring analyst".  Harper, who stood in 95 Tests, 174 One Day Internationals and 10 Twenty20 Internationals in the period from 1998-2011, made his comments at the peak of the latest debate about the UDRS and its use that was sparked by controversies in the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).

 

Harper is is quoted as saying that “If this current system is the best we can come up with then something is wrong".  "Umpires are now training themselves to replace gut instinct with verdicts they predict the UDRS could conjure for television", he said, and "To be quite frank, it doesn't really matter much who umpires a Test match today until a team exhausts its reviews".  In his view "If the reviews were taken out of the players’ hands and given to the umpires then eventually stronger performing umpires would emerge and be identified by the lesser number of reviewed decisions".  Former Australian captain Ian Chappell expressed a similar view on the weekend (PTG 1148-5559, 15 July 2013), as has Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin and a number of former players (PTG 1149-5565 below).

 

"What the umpires wanted in the first place, five years ago" when UDRS was arrived, said Harper, is "a full time television umpiring analyst [who] would act swiftly and without fear or favour" in the third umpire's chair.  Just how that would be different from that which currently exists was not spelt out in the news report, but long-time Australian journalist Malcolm Conn mentioned "specialist video umpires with a strong understanding of technology, including camera angles", in an article he wrote on the weekend.  Not known for his umpiring background, Conn also talked of the need for "a greater partnership between the third umpire and those on the ground so that those in the middle can ask for help if they are not sure", but just what that would mean in practice is unclear (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013). 

 

The Harper report indicated that he believes third umpires should not rely on what was called "influential television commentary", and it also states he said television power brokers will never let the UDRS go because of the "high drama" it causes through turning players such as England's Stuart Broad who did not 'walk' when caught, "into villains who can beat an inefficient system" (PTG 1147-5556, 14 July 2013).  "There has to be a superior option to a 'half-baked' system that didn't protect [Pakistani umpire Aleem] Dar", who gave Broad, and also Haddin, 'not out'.  Dar is "not a robot", said Harper, but rather "just a good umpire having a bad day".

 

Like South African umpire Marais Erasmus at Trent Bridge (PTG 1147-5554, 14 July 2013), Harper was the subject of an official query from the England and Wales Cricket Board over a call he made as the third umpire in a Test in Johannesburg early in 2010 (PTG 549-2798, 16 January 2010), a judgement that led to him being very strongly criticised by the English press.  Soon afterwards he was omitted from the umpires' list for the 2010 World Twenty20 Championship series for what the International Cricket Council (ICC) called "a number of general performance" issues (PTG 583-2939, 11 March 2010).  

 

However, seven months later an ICC investigation found that a technical error was involved in Johannesburg and that the Australian had followed the appropriate protocols and was "entirely blameless" in the mistake that eventuated (PTG 646-3206, 5 August 2010).  Harper had also embroiled in another third umpire controversy in the West Indies a year prior to that (PTG 369-1965, 9 February 2009).

 

Harper raised questions about UDRS-related ball-tracking technology on Monday, pointing again as he did several years ago to television camera frame rate issues (PTG 801-3919, 20 July 2011), and concludes by saying that India will be emboldened in its "stubborn stance" against the UDRS unless the system receives a "meaningful overhaul". "I can say categorically the Indians have a point [and] they say they won't use it until it is 100 per cent correct, but it never will be" that, he says.

 

HADDIN SUPPORTS UMPIRES HAVING 

RESPONSIBILITY FOR REVIEWS

[PTG 1149-5565]

 

Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin believes that international umpires should have responsibility for deciding whether reviews are conducted via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) or not, a view that has been expressed by others over the last few days (PTG 1149-5564 above).  Haddin made his comments on the UDRS situation in an interview with the 'Cricinfo' web site, a conversation that also resulted in him indicating that he knew, before England asked for a review, that he had hit the ball that turned out to be the last of the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday (PTG 1148-5558, 15 July 2013).

 

As wicketkeeper, Haddin is often a key man in deciding, when his team is in the field, whether to go for a referral or not, and he told 'Cricinfo' that it was a constant challenge for players to take emotion out of such situations.  He says that "to be honest", "I don't think [reviews] need to be in the players' hands".  Australia was criticised for the way it used its referrals at Trent Bridge, but the Australian vice-captain says that the system is the same for both teams, and that "we just haven't used it very well".  

 

Controversy surrounded England batsman Stuart Broad who, despite a thick edge, did not to leave the crease after being given 'not out' by Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar on the third evening of the match.  Haddin, whose last ball of the Test dismissal involved a much fainter edge that was also not detected by Dar, said that he sees "nothing wrong with what Stuart did".  Dar's decision on Broad could not be reviewed because Australia had run out of referrals, but England had two left after Haddin hit the ball so they called for third umpire Marais Erasmus to look at replays, a move that ended both Haddin's innings and the match. 

 

Meanwhile, former Australian opener Justin Langer described the Broad decision as ''absolutely ridiculous''.  Its "no good having the technology and still having howlers, it just doesn't make sense, and he thinks "its a good idea that [only] the umpires should use [the UDRS]".  Former Australian bowler Geoff Lawson made similar comments, saying that it hasn't removed 'howlers' "simply because of how it's [been set-up]".  Like Haddin, Dean Jones, another former Australian player, also thinks the system should be given to the umpires.

 

A 'Fairfax' report late yesterday says that Cricket Australia (CA) does not intend "to make any official complaints to the International Cricket Council [ICC] about [umpiring] decisions at Trent Bridge".  CA pointed out though that the UDRS was a permanent agenda item at ICC Cricket Committee meetings and that its "under continual review, as we constantly seek to improve it and ensure it's employed in all Test matches". 

 

Warren Brennan, the Managing Director of Melbourne-based company 'BBG Sports', which provides the UDRS' 'Hot Spot' component, as well as the non-UDRS 'Snickometer' system, told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday, that decision-review technology "will probably never be perfect".  Brennan, said there was "no question" Haddin had hit the ball, but "There was a margin for error" for "'a non-signature on 'Hot Spot' "doesn't necessarily mean [a batsman] hasn't hit it".  

 

With only four neutral umpires available to the ICC for ten Ashes Tests (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013), the Fairfax report also says that CA indicated it is not pushing to have non-neutral umpires, presumably from either Australia or England, or both, involved. ''We were once open to a system where the two competing teams could agree to have one umpire from each country, but this is not presently on the agenda", said an unnamed spokesman.  "An Ashes series is a high-pressure occasion", he continued, and "we accept that umpires will make mistakes from time to time - just as players do".

 

COLUMNIST SUGGESTS 'TECHNOLOGY'

OVERSHADOWED 'WONDERFUL ASHES TEST

[PTG 1149-5566]

 

Noted Australian journalist Gideon Haigh says that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) has led to "a good umpire and good man", Aleem Dar of Pakistan, having his "career travestied because he will forever be associated with a rare mistake" during the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.  What Haigh calls a "wonderful game of cricket, "deserves" in his view "to be remembered for the excellence of its skills and the drama of its moments", but instead the talk is on "the influence of technology", and "while judging if and when to seek video adjudication is certainly a skill", "wouldn't we prefer matches to be decided by prowess with bat and ball?"

 

Writing in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday, Haigh said that the UDRS had been designed to eliminate umpiring "howlers", but at Trent Bridge the current system had "protected one" and helped "set a new benchmark for player impenitence to which others will surely aspire".  The journalist was referring to Dar's 'not out' to an appeal for a catch against England batsman Stuart Broad at a key stage of the match, and although replays showed that he had got an edge, Broad did not 'walk' (PTG 1147-5556, 14 July 2013); the policy of whether to or not being one that has been debated endlessly over the years.  Australia had used all of its reviews by then and they were unable to bring the third umpire into the decision-making process, hence Haig's use of the word "protected".  

 

Haigh moves on to another key moment on what became to last ball of the match.  "Imagine just for one moment", continues Haigh, if England had had "no referrals remaining" when Brad Haddin got the "same telltale nick" and Dar made "the same perfectly reasonable not-out decision?" (PTG 1148-5558, 16 July 2013).  "Would we have been satisfied that justice had been served? Would we have regarded it as a win for "accurate umpiring"?  In such a case "How big an apology would the England and Wales Cricket Board have wanted from the International Cricket Council?"  

 

During the Test there were thirteen referrals, England asking for four and Australia nine (PTG 1146-5562 above).  Dar had six asked of his decisions, two of those six being reversed on review, while his on-field partner and current ICC 'Umpire of the Year', Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka, had seven, three of which television replays showed were incorrect; however, Dhamasena's overturned judgements were not as prominent in the overall context of the game as Dar's.

 

Haigh goes on to ask further whether "a game of cricket [should] be so susceptible to the influence of a technology?", and "aren't we there to watch a game rather than to dicker over the microns by which a delivery might have pitched outside leg, or whether 45 or 55 per cent of a digital ball is striking a cyber stump?" "It's getting to the point", he says, "where teams will be selecting specialist referral consultants, who have their effectiveness statistically measured on an official metric".  He also believes that ball-tracking technology "has instilled the belief among umpires that many more deliveries hitting the pads would also hit the stumps than we used to believe - in effect the first enlargement of the stumps since they grew to their [current] statutory size in 1931".

 

The award-winning journalist concludes his article by talking of the issue of whether to 'walk' or not by quoting former South African international Jackie McGlew who played thirty-four Tests from 1951-62 and later refereed two others, as saying that "You must never take control of the game out of the umpire's hands".  "Broad certainly left that commandment of McGlew's unviolated", says Haigh, "but in the age of UDRS, what he left in the umpire's hands was the equivalent of a grenade with the pin pulled out".

 

After Haigh wrote his article news surfaced that Australia's Brad Haddin did not walk in another key moment in the Test, even though he knew he had hit the ball (PTG 1149-5564 above).

 

DELHI POLICE PREPARING TO FORMALISE

IPL MATCH-FIXING CHARGES

[PTG 1149-5567]

 

Delhi Police are reported to be preparing to "file the first charge sheets" against three players and nearly thirty others who are alleged to have been involved in spot- and match-fixing activities in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  According to a 'Times of India' report yesterday, the aim is to finalise the police work involved by the end of this month, and that if those charges are actually formally laid before a court, it will be the first time a police department will have done so in a cricket scandal in India. 

 

Currently the three Rajasthan players accused, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and the other individuals who are also under suspicion, are out on bail.  Delhi Police sources are, say several Indian media outlets, claiming that they have "elaborate evidence" to support the planned charges, including phone taps, photographs obtained by special investigative teams, match videos, and details of meetings gleaned from CCTV footage from various hotels around the country.  Those same sources claim that the spot-fixing activities involved players being paid monies ranging from 2-6 million Indian Rupees ($A35,000-100,000) for giving away fourteen runs or more in an over.  

 

Delhi police are said to have turned to Rahul Dravid, India's national captain and the skipper of the IPL's Rajasthan franchise side, to analyse every delivery bowled by Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan, and that he may be called as a prosecution witness if the case proceeds.  Last month, attempts by the police to stop those accused being released on bail were thwarted when judges declared that they had not produced any evidence that justified their position (PTG 1118-5435, 6 June 2013).  Following their arrest the three Rajasthan players were banned from playing by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, pending the outcome of investigations.  

 

PRE-SEASON TOURNAMENT EXPERIMENTING

WITH INNINGS STRUCTURES 

[PTG 1149-5568]

 

Matches in the Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) month-long, sixteen team Safi Darashah pre-season tournament will be played over four-days, not two as in the past, and include a number of initiatives designed to keep interest in games alive and eliminate the possibility of "meaningless cricket" towards the end of each fixture.  Last season, concerns were expressed that there was a tendency during the the final days of matches in India's Ranji Trophy first class domestic series for teams to 'shut up shop' after acquiring first innings points (PTG 1072-5117, 7 March 2013). 

 

Under the new Safi Darashah arrangements, 98 overs are to be bowled each day, eight more than in Indian first-class games, and teams will have a maximum of 120 overs to bat in their first innings and 60 in the second, although a team bowled out in say 80 overs in innings one, can have the 40 overs they lost added to their second innings. However, there will be no carrying forward of overs if a team declares its innings closed, a feature that is primarily designed to avoid "exploitation of any loopholes that might otherwise exist".

 

KSCA officials are said to have an eye on breaking young cricketers from the limited-overs mould.  Javagal Srinath, the former India fast bowler who is the KSCA's secretary and also an international match referee, told local media outlets that the revised playing arrangements have been designed to keep interest in matches alive.  "Even if a team has a bad first innings, it can still bounce back in the second and press for an outright victory", he says. 

 

Asked if the overs restrictions and the associated points system could be introduced into the Ranji Trophy series later this year, KSCA president Anil Kumble said it was too premature to consider that possibility.  “We will know how successful the system has been on the last day of the Safi Darashah final on 13 August”, said Kumble, who is also the chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Technical Committee.  The twenty-seven match Safi Darashah series is due to get under way later today.   

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,150
Thursday, 18 July 2013


NO WCC CONSENSUS ON BAT ISSUES 

SO YET MORE 'RESEARCH' PLANNED 

[PTG 1150-5569]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plans to undertake more research into the size of bats "in modern international cricket" after World Cricket Committee (WCC) members were unable to reach a consensus on the issue at their latest meeting at Lord's on Monday-Tuesday.  The outcome is not dissimilar to that of the WCC's last meeting in Auckland six months ago after which the MCC said it was to conduct research into the matter "over the coming months" (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013), although just what was actually done in that time is not clear. 

 

The MCC said in a press release yesterday that there was discussion at this week's WCC meeting on the balance between bat and ball in the game, the increase in six-hitting, and the weight, width and pressing techniques associated with modern bats.  As part of the committee's deliberations they were provided with presentations on the way bats are made by Jeremy Ruggles of Essex-based willow producers 'JS Wright', and Andrew Kember, the master craftsman at Kent-based bat manufacturer 'Salix' (PTG 1149-5563, 17 July 2013).  

  

Opinions expressed during discussions varied, says the MCC, from members who thought that "increased six-hitting was entertaining for the game, to those who see bowlers getting an increasingly raw deal with ‘mis-hit’ sixes, and others who highlighted the increase in the percentage of Test matches ending in results as evidence that bowlers are indeed able to take wickets".  "It was also noted", says the MCC, "that better pitches, shorter boundaries and stronger players, allied to the rise of [the] Twenty20 [format], have had an impact on batting styles".

 

The planned on-going MCC research is said to involve "consultations" with a range of bat manufacturers, and "laboratory testing to determine the power of modern bats of varying shapes and weights".  One suggestion put forward this week at Lord's was that there should be a restriction on the size of a cleft, or V-shaped indentation, used in a bat, a move that would limit its overall depth and therefore its power.  Under such an approach manufacturers would be free to develop their skills in distributing weight and balance in bats as they see fit, albeit within a tighter framework. 

 

Other matters discussed by the WCC this week included the Umpire Decision Review System, day-night Tests, the World Test Championship, and corruption in the game (stories below).  

 

WCC members who took part in this week's meeting have played Test cricket for their respective countries, they being: the chairman Mike Brearley, Mike Atherton, Geoff Boycott, Charlotte Edwards, Majid Khan, Rod Marsh, Barry Richards, David Richardson, Michael Vaughan and Steve Waugh.  Members who were unable to attend on this occasion were: Jimmy Adams, former umpire Steve Bucknor, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Shaun Pollock, and Kumar Sangakkara.  For Atherton, Boycott and Richards it was their last WCC meeting as they will formally retire from it at the end of September as part of the MCC's rotation policy.

 

UDRS 'NOT PERFECT' BUT 'HERE TO STAY', 

SAYS MCC COMMITTEE

[PTG 1150-5570]

 

Despite controversy during the first Ashes Series Test at Trent Bridge (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013), members of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) "strongly defended" and "unanimously declared their support for" the Umpire Decision Review System during their meeting at Lord's on Monday-Tuesday.  The WCC, whose membership includes prominent former, and some present, players plus one former umpire, insisted that the UDRS is fundamentally sound, that the "problems in Nottingham" come down mainly to basic human error, and called for the system's use across all international matches. 

 

Speaking on 'Lord's TV', former Australian captain Steve Waugh said that the UDRS has "improved the game", "made decision-making more definitive" with more decisions "right than wrong" than in the past, and that "spectators enjoy it".  He called it "a really good system" that works "exceptionally well in conjunction with very good umpiring", and blamed "a couple of mistakes made by the umpires" at Trent Bridge for throwing the focus in the last week back on to the technology involved.  

 

Former Australian wicketkeeper and now national selector Rod Marsh also pointed to the increased number of correct decisions", but expressed the view that "there's always room for improvement in any innovation" and he has "no doubt it will be 'tweaked' a little bit".  "People have got used to it", the "players are happy with it", and "it just doesn't make sense that we wouldn't use it", he says.  

 

South Africa's Barry Richards said that "everybody realises its not perfection [and] if we seek perfection we're going the wrong way".  He claims "it enhances "the experience for spectators, players and the umpires themselves", and is "very confident its the future of the game".  England Womens' captain Charlotte Edwards said she "can only think of [UDRS] being a positive thing in the game".  Edwards pushed its use in the women's international game and said their "recent World Cup" series would have benefited from having it, although she acknowledged the "cost implications" involved.  

 

Financial issues were mentioned more generally with the MCC being reported to have said that "the ownership of the whole [UDRS] process by the International Cricket Council (ICC) rather than by television companies", should be the aim.  That issue has been prominent in discussions about the UDRS over the last few years, former Australian captain Ian Chappell raising it again this week when criticising the non-availability of 'Hot Spot' for an LBW review by England batsman Jonathan Trott because priority was by accident given to providing the television broadcaster with information about a previous delivery on which a wicket had fallen (PTG  1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  

 

The International Cricket Council acknowledged on Tuesday that third umpire Marais Erasmus had not followed protocols when he overturned the on-field decision in the Trott case (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013).  Erasmus will take the field in a Test at Lord's for the second time later today, and for the nineteenth time overall in Tests, his on-field colleague being Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, who stood at Trent Bridge, and for whom today's game will be his seventeenth as an umpire at Test level, and also second at Lord's.  Tony Hill of New Zealand will have responsibility for third umpire duties.

 

WCC REITERATES SUPPORT FOR DAY-NIGHT

 TESTS, WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP

[PTG 1150-5571]

 

This week's meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) reiterated its long-time support for the introduction of day-night Tests and welcomed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision earlier this year to introduce another of its initiatives, a World Test Championship (WTC).  The WCC has been pushing both concepts for much of the past five years, seeing them as approaches that will "help reinvigorate the five-day game in countries where Test attendances are poor" and contribute to ensuring play at that level "remains the pinnacle of the game throughout the world". 

 

The MCC said yesterday that the WCC has offered to advise ICC member boards about the "best practice" required for day-night Tests, including considerations such as: when and where dew is unlikely to be prevalent; preference for grounds with easy access for workers who can readily attend late afternoon and evening sessions; the type of ball and sightscreens to use; the quality of the floodlights required; and the hours of play and intervals.  

 

Recent reports indicate that Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine is pushing for a day-night Test in the next few years (PTG 1145-5545, 12 July 2013), however, if any of the other Test playing countries are in reality actually eyeing such a move no news has surfaced in public so far about it. 

 

On the WTC issue, the WCC congratulated the International Cricket Council (ICC) for including the first and second such events in 2017 and 2021 in England and India respectively, and then every four years, into its Future Tours Program (PTG 1080-5258, 24 March 2013).  A structure for the 2017 event has not yet been decided, although a "timeless Test" concept for the final was floated two years ago (PTG 800-3910, 19 July 2011).  The WCC says that the ICC is "now in the process of formulating regulations for the tournament, and the WCC plans to submit its suggestions and recommendations to the world body "in the coming months".  

 

WCC members also heard presentations on corruption issues from ICC President Alan Isaac, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Senior Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) Investigator Steven Richardson, as well as Angus Porter the Chief Executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), on work being undertaken to fight corruption in the game.  

 

The WCC is said to be "pleased" the ICC brought together all of the domestic Anti-Corruption and Security Units (ACSU) that exist to share information and formulate best practice last March (PTG 1079-5250, 23 March 2013).  It supported the "creation of domestic ACSUs in all [presumably ICC Full] member countries as soon as possible", but "feels it is desirable the ICC take central control of this whole issue, as it would then be easier to pool resources between their member countries". It was also "pleased" about the "good relationship that exists between the PCA and the ECB’s ACU, and that they were working closely together on corruption issues.  

 

CLEARED BANGLADESHI RETURNS 

TO INTERNATIONAL SCENE 

[PTG 1150-5572]

 

Bangladeshi umpire Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, who was cleared of any wrong doing in the Indian television station 'sting' that saw five others banned for a total of thirty years and a sixth demoted (PTG 1144-5553, 10 July 2013), is to return to international cricket in the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier event in Dublin next week.  Sharfuddoula, and seven other match officials from six countries, including Englishman Ian Gould from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), are to look after a series that will involve teams from Canada, Ireland, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Netherlands, and Zimbabwe.  

 

South African Devdas Govindjee of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel will have overall responsibility for the management of matches during the eight-day, twenty-match event that will see the top three side's qualify for next year's Women's World Twenty20 championship in Bangladesh.  Gould, like other EUP members in the past, is to stand in matches and work as a mentor for the other umpires involved, who are besides Sharfuddoula: Nigel Duguid (West Indies), Ian Ramage (Scotland), Richard Smith (Ireland) and New Zealanders Gary Baxter and Kathy Cross.

 

While Gould is on the EUP, Duguid, 43, Baxter, 61, and Sharfuddoula, 36, are currently members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, and Ramage, 54, and Smith, 40, its third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel (AAUP), while Cross, 56, who is by far the world's most experienced female umpire standing in games at the moment, is a member of New Zealand Cricket's emerging umpires panel.  Baxter, like Gould, has stood at Test level, Sharfuddoula in senior men's One Day Internationals (ODI), Ramage and Smith in second-tier men's ODIs, Duguid at domestic first class level, and Cross in senior men's domestic one-day games.

 

For Sharfuddoula, who rejected the 'sting' approach and reported it to Bangladesh authorities, its his first ICC appointment, others in ODIs and as the television umpire in Tests being courtesy of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, as was his visit on exchange to the West Indies in March 2011 where he stood in three first class matches.  Next week's event is also Duguid's first from the ICC, although he has stood in games overseas in both Bangladesh and England during national board exchange visits.

 

Cross was the only female to stand in the Women’s World Cup (WWC) in India earlier this year, her third such event since over the last dozen years (PTG 1059-5148, 15 February 2013).  In November 2011, she was also selected by the ICC to stand in Bangladesh in what was a Qualifying event for this year's WWC (PTG 852-4162, 30 October 2011).   

 

With four games scheduled on each of the match days, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, a total of eight umpire positions will need to be filled, which means that at least one umpire will double up each day.  The three teams that qualify will join Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies in the 2014 tournament, which is scheduled to be played next March-April alongside the equivalent men’s event.

 

TWENTY-ONE ATTENDING ICC 

'TRAIN-THE-TRAINER' WORKSHOP 

[PTG 1150-5573]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that a total of twenty-one people are taking part in its five-day 'train-the-trainer' workshop in Nagpur, India, this week (PTG 1144-5544, 10 July 2013), however, it is not prepared to say just who is actually there.  An ICC spokeswomen said in reply to a query from 'PTG' that "we do not give the names of people participating in such meetings and conferences", however, she did indicate that the group includes "National Umpire Managers (NUM), ICC coaches and home board-nominated trainer-coaches".

 

Despite the ICC's reticence to provide a list, thirteen of the twenty-one in Nagpur are known.  They include ICC Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel and his Umpire Coaches Denis Burns, David Levens and Peter Manuel, and Australian, England and New Zealand NUMs Sean Easy, Chris Kelly and Rodger McHarg respectively.  Other Australians known to be involved are Bob Parry and Barry Rennie, Indians Bomi Jamula and Vinayak Kulkarni, and West Indians Billy Doctrove of Dominica and Golande Greaves (PTG 1145-5549, 12 July 2013).  Seven of the remaining eight not identified to date are probably NUMs from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, although finding out just who they are has proved to be a major challenge.

 

VILLAGE TEAM-WORK ALLOWS 

THE CALL OF 'PLAY'

[PTG 1150-5574]

 

Members of a village team in Lancashire formed a human barricade at the entrance to heir ground on Monday to prevent a group of "travellers", or Gypsies of Romani origin, camping on the playing area and square.  Last month a club match in Essex had to be moved after "around 40 travellers in 15 caravans" caused major damage to the square and other facilities at the Mountnessing Cricket Club's ground (PTG 1123-5463, 13 June 2013).

 

Four caravans arrived at the Hoghton Cricket Club's ground on Monday morning causing "some damage" to the square, which led to a village resident telephoning the club's president Rory McDonaldto to alert him of the situation that was developing.  McDonald quickly gathered a group of locals, in part using 'Twitter', and they used cars to barricade the ground's entrance in time to stop “dozens” of other travellers when they arrived later in the day, the village maintaining its vigil through the night until Tuesday when police ordered the travellers to move on.  

 

Villages in other parts of the UK have suffered illegal camps for months and even years on end, but in this case the police were able to insist the Hoghton group moved because they were “interfering with community events” as the club's youth team's practice had had to be cancelled because of the traveller's presence.

 

Neil Eccles, the club’s player-chairman, said the travellers were "very aggressive and quoted every local by-law in the book to try and prove they were right", and "our worst fear was that the whole convoy would get on to the field and ruin the square".  "They were threatening to stay for days on end", he said, and as "preparing a pitch for a game on Saturday takes our groundsman five hours, for them to just come and wreck it [would be] soul destroying".  

 

“There’s damage to the ground, their children dumped rubbish on the pitch and we've found human faeces in the outfield", continued Eccles, but "volunteers are now busy getting things back into condition ready for this Saturday's game.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,151
Friday, 19 July 2013


NEUTRAL UMPIRE POLICY MAY NEED 

RECONSIDERATION, SAYS ICC CHIEF 

[PTG 1151-5575]

 

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said in a BBC Radio interview yesterday that the ICC's twelve-year-old policy of using only neutral umpires in Test matches may need to be reconsidered.  However, in addressing concerns that only four neutral members of his twelve-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) are available for the remaining eight Ashes Tests over the next six months, Richardson suggested recently demoted EUP member 'Billy Bowden of New Zealand could be considered that panel's thirteenth man, and somewhat surprisingly appeared to express confidence that "twenty-six" neutrals from his second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) are also in the Test selection mix. 

 

Richardson's on air comments were made in the light of the umpiring-related controversies the occurred during the opening Ashes Test last week (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013).  In talking about neutrals he said he doesn't think "umpires ever cheated but the perception of them cheating was a problem", and that is why the obligatory use of neutrals was brought in in 2002 and has applied ever since in Tests, One Day Internationals and world tournaments; except of course when illness of injury struck down an appointed on-field umpire mid-match.  

 

The neutrals policy has, says Richardson, been debated within ICC circles "on numerous occasions" over the last decade, and given that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is now available "maybe the need to have [neutrals] is not what it used to be".  In 2009, the year after the UDRS was first introduced, Richardson's predecessor, Haroon Lorgat, argued that "the integrity of home [non-neutral] officials cannot be questioned so easily when they have the UDRS backing them up" (PTG 536-2747, 20 December 2009).  Around that time the ICC surveyed the opinions of players and umpires about the matter (PTG 442-2300, 28 June 2009), however, the outcome of that investigation does not appear to have seen the light of day. 

 

Opinions have been divided on the 'neutral' policy in the past.  Former Australian international umpires Simon Taufel (PTG 42-233, 20 May 2007) and a number of former players have supported it (PTG 168-900, 4 January 2008), while Taufel's then umpiring countryman Daryl Harper (PTG 34-190, 30 April 2007), and the then Chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar (PTG 41-228, 17 May 2007), favoured the neutral approach, as did Cricket Australia in 2007 (PTG 45-248, 24 May 2007), and apparently still now (PTG 1149-5565, 17 July 2013).  Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has said that he believed the standard of umpiring in international cricket has "improved hugely" since neutral umpires were adopted (PTG 637-3173, 22 July 2010).   

 

Richardson, who was not queried as to what would be the approach when as at present the UDRS is not available for some games due to concerns about it's accuracy and/or the costs involved in its use, cast aside concerns about the limited number of EUP neutrals available for the Ashes series, the workload involved for them between now and next January, and that they may become too familiar with the players (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013).  In his view the ICC has more umpiring resources if needed, saying "we are not restricted those four" EUP members as "we have twenty-six [IUP] umpires who would be eligible to be appointed if we needed them".  "These are guys nominated by their home boards and form almost the second-tier of umpiring [and Bowden] could argue he is the thirteenth-best" in the world.

 

Despite his omission from the EUP last month for "overall performance issues" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), Bowden is considered by many knowledgable observers to be a very good decision-maker on-field, but reports from several countries say he may have tried the ICC's patience a little too often with his flamboyant style and personal focus.  In terms of his on-field abilities therefore it is possible, if Richardson's remark is any guide, he could be seen in Australia during the five Ashes Test there this coming austral summer provided for starters New Zealand Cricket (NZC) nominates him for one of its IUP positions, a move NZC Umpire Manager Rodger McHarg appears keen to promote (PTG 1132-5494, 27 June 2013).

 

However, Richardson's claim about "twenty-six" IUP members being eligible for Ashes selection is clearly not supported by the facts.  The twenty-six neutrals he refers to includes eleven IUP third umpire members who clearly do not have the experience to stand in a Test in the next six months.  Of the fifteen on-field members currently thought to be on that group for 2013-14 only three, Enamul Hoque Moni of Bangladesh, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe, have to date stood at Test level.  Moni has just one to his credit and that was eighteen months ago but he has been overlooked since, Martinecz two both of which were in March this year, and Tiffin in forty-four, the last of which was over four years ago.  

 

Detailed analysis, and the age and pending retirement of two EUP members next year, suggests that the ICC needs to take a more strategic approach to the selection and development of a wider group of umpires that in the past by tightening its training and development program and exposing more IUP members who make the grade to neutral umpire work (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013).  Given that it would be safe to assume that such issues were on the agenda at this week's ICC meeting of National Umpire Managers in Nagpur, and both during and on the fringes of the five-day 'train-the-trainer' workshop that followed it (PTG 1150-5573, 18 July 2013).  


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,152
Saturday, 20 July 2013


TRIAL COULD LEAD TO THIRD UMPIRES 

OVERTURNING ON-FIELD DECISIONS

[PTG 1152-5576]

 

Television umpires could be given the power to overturn on-field decisions in international matches in the future if a trial to be conducted during the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford early next month shows promise, says International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson. The trial will see television umpire Kumar Dharmasena having direct and quicker access to information from the various parts of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), rather than as at present relying on the television broadcaster at the ground to relay images and other data requested by him.

 

Whether the trial has been in the pipeline for some time, or is a reaction to the dismissal of England's Jonathan Trott in the opening Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge last week, is not known (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  Trott was originally given 'not out' LBW but on-field umpire Aleem Dar's decision was incorrectly overturned on review by third umpire Marais Erasmus.  A 'Hot Spot' replay that is likely to have confirmed the ball had hit Trott's bat prior to his pad as he claimed was not available at the time as television broadcaster Sky was "replaying the dismissal of a wicket that had fallen off the previous ball" (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).

 

Richardson told the BBC Test Match Special on Thursday the Old Trafford trial will see Dharmasena, who will be working in that role in a Test for the seventh time and thirty-ninth time in an international, provided with "a bank of TVs so he can access technology quicker".  "We want to have our own replays, not what the television is showing", he said, a move that will require the ICC to employ an independent technician to provide dedicated 'Hawk-Eye' and 'Hot Spot' derived feeds straight to Dharmasena.  

 

“At the moment the third umpire talks to the TV producer and says things like: ‘Can I have a look at this?’ [and] what you see on TV is what the third umpire is seeing" said Richardson.  "Some UDRS critics say the system is currently open to manipulation by the television company", he says, "and that they could block the third umpire from seeing a particular replay, [although] we do not have any evidence that it has happened, but it could".

  

The ICC chief executive admitted it was frustrating that, in the age of technology, England batsman Stuart Broad was for example given 'not out' to a caught appeal directed at Dar at Trent Bridge, even though replays later showed his bat had made contact with the ball.  Despite the replay confirming a catch, Australia had exhausted all of its reviews by then and was therefore unable to ask Erasmus to assess the situation and advise Dar to reverse his decision.    

 

At Old Trafford in two weeks time, Dharmasena will not be able to intervene in incidents such as Broad's, but this could change if the experiment in Manchester and subsequent work is successful and the ICC gives third umpires the ability to overturn on-field decisions they conclude are clearly wrong.  Cricket Australia (CA) tried that approach late last year using current broadcaster-provided technology data, but that project wasn't given time to mature as it was quickly abandoned when prominent players and coaches made clear their concerns to CA about the way it worked (PTG 1023-4970, 28 November 2012).  

 

The ICC will need to learn from that experience before proceeding too far, however, it has long refused to pay for UDRS operations, which is why the system is provided by broadcasters, and that will be a key issue if the project goes as far as the world body appears to be hoping in the  long-term.  When queried about financing Richardson said simply on Thursday that "we need to establish first if it works, and [then ask] can we afford it?" 

 

UDRS 'MORE DANGEROUS THAN CORRUPTION', 

CLAIMS FORMER PAKISTAN SKIPPER

[PTG 1152-5577]

 

Former Pakistani captain Rashid Latif told a television interviewer in Kararchi on Thursday that he believes the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is "far more dangerous" than match fixing.  In Latif's view the International Cricket Council (ICC) should stop using the system until such time as "it becomes almost error-free".

 

What he called the "faulty" nature of the current system means that its "actual purpose" of "getting decisions right is not being served".  He stated that “initially the UDRS was implemented with state-of-the-art equipments by the ICC along with the broadcasters of England and Australia", then made the claim, without substantiation, that "later the quality, especially of 'Hawk-eye' and 'Hot-Spot', plunged due to the heavy costs attached to [their operation]".  

 

The "ICC should [not] have launched [the UDRS until it had conduced] a methodical review so that it's 99 per cent accurate", and for those reasons Latif claims its current use is "far more dangerous than the menace of fixing".  He is of the view that the ICC should "halt [UDRS] use for a while, and re-launch it with utmost precision later". 

 

Latif also criticised the ICC for "unnecessarily trying to justify the umpiring blunders in the first Ashes Test" (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013).  “Australia would have won, however, sub-standard umpiring decisions let them down [and] if the technology does not restrict blunders then what is the purpose of having it?”

 

On match fixing issues, Latif categorically rebuffed the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) attempt to have the five-year ban handed to Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Ameer reduced (PTG 1137-5516, 2 July 2013).  “The PCB is trying to help Ameer and the [England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)] is doing the same for [Mervyn] Westfield", said Latif, but he "cannot buy that [as such moves are] a negation of their own anti-corruption laws".

 

WCC DISCUSSED GIVING 

UMPIRES 'THEIR OWN' REVIEWS

[PTG 1152-5578]

 

Giving umpires, like each team, "a couple of [their own] reviews" under the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), could be another way of improving the chances that getting correct decisions, says former Australian captain Steve Waugh.  The suggestion, which was made at this week's meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC), surfaced publicly on Thursday, and goes part-way towards suggests umpires have full control of reviews (PTG 1149-5564, 17 July 2013).

 

The WCC meeting agreed that the UDRS is "here to stay", Waugh himself describing it as "a really good system" that works "exceptionally well in conjunction with very good umpiring" (PTG 1150-5570, 18 July 2013).  Around the same time time Adam Gilchrist, another former Australian player, said that "one of the strongest elements of the spirit of any sport is not questioning the umpires or referees", and as such the UDRS "doesn't sit comfortably with me".  

 

Gilchrist feels that "the system robs the game of spontaneity and drama, [and] does not get rid of the mistakes it was created to eradicate"; and "for the first time, I'm starting to understand India's reluctance to go with [it]".  Despite that he goes on the say that "perhaps", a Test match like [Trent Bridge] has gone a long way to indicate that the umpires need to have full control as to when a decision is reviewed, rather than the players".

 

NEW LANKAN IUP MEMBER

 FOR ODI DEBUT

[PTG 1152-5579]

 

Ravindra Wimalasiri, the new Sri Lankan member on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will make his senior international debut in the last of the five One Day Internationals (ODI) Sri Lanka and South Africa are to play over the next week.  Wimalasiri, 43, was moved into the third umpire position on the IUP last month when long-serving Tyron Wijewardene was dropped at the age of 51 after fourteen years in the international game (PTG 1123-5458, 13 June 2013).

 

Wimalasiri will be working in the series with his IUP colleagues Ranmore Martinesz and Ruchira Palliyaguru, and neutral officials Richard Kettleborough of England, Rod Tucker of Australia and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.  Pycroft will oversee the ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) that follow as the match referee, Kettleborough will stand in three and Tucker in two ODIs, and work as third umpire when not on the field, while Martinecz and Palliyaguru will each stand in two of the ODIs.

 

The ODI series will take Pycroft's ODI record as a referee to 92 games, while Kettleborough's on field tally in that format will move to 35, Tucker's to 34, Martinecz 15 and Palliyaguru 10.    

 

Following the ODI series three T20Is will be played, Wimalasiri and Martinesz standing together in the first with Palliyaguru the third umpire, then Martinesz and Palliyaguru will be on-field for the second and third with Wimalasiri the third umpire in an international for the first time.  It will be Wimalasiri's first T20I, while those games will take Palliyaguru's record in that form of the international game to 9, Martinesz 11 and Pycroft 27.

 

NO ROUTINE RELEASE OF UMPIRE 

DECISION STATISTICS PLANNED

[PTG 1152-5580]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) may have released details of its statistical assessment of the three umpires who worked in the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last week (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013), but it does not plan to make such a move the norm, and will only do so on a "case-by-case basis".  ICC chief executive David Richardson said on Thursday that the number of decisions the umpires were required to make at Trent Bridge was almost seventy-five per cent above average, and the data was released on that occasion so that "everything" could be "put into perspective" after a game that had its share of controversy.

 

Last week Simon Taufel, the ICC's Performance and Training Manager, said that overall statistics show that current ICC Elite Umpire Panel members give correct decisions on an average of 94.2 per cent of occasions, the best on the panel having a figure of "about 97 per cent" and "the worst" 91.5 per cent (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  When looked at in that perspective, the pre-review "correct decision percentage" numbers for Trent Bridge provide a rare glimpse of such data and make interesting reading, for the ICC says that collectively umpire decisions were right on 90.3 per cent of occasions, a figure less than Taufel's 91.5 per cent "worst" figure.

 

Richardson said earlier this week that umpiring in the match was a challenge given that "reverse swing and spin played an important role, but that despite that umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka and Maraise Erasmus of South Africa, "did a good job" (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013). 

 

2013 SRI LANKAN T20 

SERIES CANCELLED

[PTG 1152-5581]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has cancelled this year's Sri Lanka Premier League (SPL) Twenty20 competition, says a report in Colombo's 'Daily Mirror' newspaper.  SLC had set a deadline of noon on Tuesday for franchises to deposit payments and guarantee fees for players involved, however, no none of the seven met the deadline leaving the cricket body and SPL organiser Somerset Entertainment Ventures with "no option" but to cancel a series that brought a profit of £1.5 million ($A2.5m) profit in its inaugural season in 2012.  The tournament, which is modelled on the financially lucrative Indian Premier League, made a profit of about $2.2 million for the SLC last year.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,153
Monday, 22 July 2013


CA SEEKS APPLICATIONS FOR 

THREE VACANT UHPP POSITIONS

[PTG 1153-5582]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has called for applications for three vacant positions on its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), a five-man group that is responsible for "supporting and developing umpiring across all CA competitions", and ensuring "high quality umpires" are produced for both "interstate and international cricket".  Two members of last year's panel, Denis Burns and David Levens, left earlier this year to take up Umpire Coach roles with the International Cricket Council (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), while a third, former Test umpire Ric Evans, 70, is believed to have decided to retire, which leaves Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford the only current panel members.

 

News that CA is seeking UHPP members now has come as a surprise to many observers, the associated advertisement appearing without any associated publicity, possibly sometime late last week, on the web sites of both CA and that of the player's union, the Australian Cricketers' Association.  Four months ago there were indications that CA had deferred seeking replacements for Burns and Levens until the result of a review into the way it manages integrity-related issues was known (PTG 1082-5273, 29 March 2013).  CA is believed to have received the report of that investigation four weeks ago (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013). 

 

The latest position statement detailing the role of UHPP members suggests that the tasks involved remain similar to that of the last few years in all but one respect.  That appears to be that they will now be required to convene and conduct match-related Code of Behaviour hearings, a role that was previously undertaken by CA Code of Conduct Commissioners.  Some reports say that CA favours hiring former first class players for the UHPP role, even though the individuals it actually used for UHPP-like duties during lower-level CA matches over the 2012-13 season, were predominantly either former first class umpires or others who have a long-time background in umpire training, development and assessment matters. 

 

To be considered for the three positions, CA says that those interested should possess: demonstrated management and leadership experience; experience in managing conflict; strong knowledge of cricket rules and regulations; highly developed interpersonal skills and stakeholder management ability; sound organisational and administrative skills; proficiencies in administrative tasks and report writing; and sound IT skills.  Desirable attributes are said to be: knowledge of cricket umpiring skills and techniques; and a "relevant tertiary degree".

 

UHPP responsibilities are said to include: completing and distributing umpire performance assessments; maintaining match decision logs and match reports; ranking umpires in CA's high performance pathway; nominating umpires they consider justify being awarded CA contracts; allocating umpires to CA controlled matches and programs; promotion and sponsorship of the game of cricket, umpiring, cricket matches and tours; general assistance and guidance to CA on matters affecting the umpires; creating and implementing a national high performance plan for umpires; and providing ongoing support to umpires; and attend such cricket matches, camps and meetings as needed.

 

Another important aspects of the role include working as the referee in CA domestic competitions, a role that includes: upholding the spirit of the game; ensuring it is conducted according to the laws and the standard playing conditions; and assisting with the responsibilities of the playing control team.  Where necessary UHPP members participate in pre-series meetings with the umpires and captains to discuss relevant playing conditions; liaising with the ground authorities to ensure that all aspects of player safety is looked into; and the conduct of disciplinary hearings.

 

Applications for the positions close next Monday and CA says that the vast majority a UHPP member's workload is over the six months between 1 October and 31 March each year.

  PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,154
Tuesday, 23 July 2013


THIRTEEN YEARS ON DELHI POLICE 

LAY MATCH-FIXING CHARGES  

[PTG 1154-5583]

 

Indian police yesterday filed charges against six individuals who they say were involved in match-fixing activities during South Africa's tour of the sub-continent twelve years ago.  Reports from New Delhi overnight say the charges are the first laid by Indian police over a scandal that exposed for the first time the activities of Indian bookmakers in cricket, and involved the late South African captain who died in a plane crash in 2002.

 

Inspector Keshav Kumar told the court that "There are six accused in this case, three of them are on bail while two are abroad but the sixth, Hansie Cronje, is dead".  Cronje was banned from the sport for life after admitting taking thousands of dollars in bribes from bookies in exchange for providing match information and influencing the outcome of games during the 2000 tour.  The scandal broke when New Delhi police, working on an unrelated extortion case, tapped a telephone conversation between Cronje and one of the bookies, Sanjeev Chawla.

 

Chawla is believed to be living in the UK and Indian police say they hope to seek his extradition now that the charge sheet has been placed before the court.  Others named by Police as bookmakers and gamblers are Rajesh Kalra, Krishan Kumar and Sunil Dara, all of whom are out on bail, and Manmohan Khattar, who like Chawla, is overseas.

 

Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar told the 'Hindustan Times' newspaper on Saturday that he plans to file charges in the this year's separate Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal before the end of the month (PTG 1149-5567, 17 July 2013).

 

NEUTRALS NAMED FOR 

ZIMBABWE-INDIA ODI SERIES

[PTG 1154-5584]

 

An Australian and an Englishman, Bruce Oxenford and Chris Broad, have been appointed as the neutral officials for the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between Zimbabwe which is to get underway in Harare tomorrow.  Broad will oversee each of the games as the match referee while Oxenford will be on the field in all five, working twice each with Owen Chirombe and Russell Tiffin, Zimbabwean members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and once with IUP third umpire member Jerry Matibiri.

 

The series will take Broad's ODI tally as a referee to 226 games, Tiffin's to 129, Oxenford 47, Chirombe 11 and Matibiri, who made his ODI debut in May this year, to 2 (PTG 1098-5345, 2 May 2013).  Chriombe and Matibiri will each work as the third umpire twice in the series and Tiffin once, their tenth, fourteen and thirtieth respectively in that role.

 

BOWLER ON 'ILLEGAL ACTION' 

SUSPENSION MAKING PROGRESS

[PTG 1154-5585]

 

Suspended Gloucestershire off-spinner Jack Taylor, who has not been able to bowl in county cricket since late May after being reported for illegal bowling actions on two separate occasions in a twelve-month period (PTG 1113-5416, 27 May 2013), will not bowl for the first team again again this northern summer.  Gloucestershire's director of cricket John Bracewell told the BBC yesterday "Gloucestershire University tested him last week and he came through that with a pass [but] we now need to make sure there's scrutiny under pressure".  

 

Meanwhile the other bowler suspended for a suspect action at the same time as Taylor, fast bowler Glenn Querl of the Unicorns, has played ten second XI Twenty20 matches in the eight weeks since, however, records show that he has not not bowled in any of those games.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,155
Thursday, 25 July 2013


GAME NEEDS THE 'HIGHEST STANDARDS OF RESPECT, 

BEHAVIOUR, INTEGRITY', SAYS COWDREY LECTURER

[PTG 1155-5586 ]

 

Former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel says that those who are involved at the game's highest level, "be they players, umpires or administrators", "set the tone and standards" for everyone who plays the sport around the world, and as such they "need to have [and display] the highest standards of respect, 'Spirit of Cricket', behaviour and integrity".  Taufel was speaking as the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) thirteenth annual Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecturer at Lord's overnight, the third Australian and third non first class cricketer, but the first umpire, to be asked by the MCC to deliver that speech.

 

Taufel, now the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, told his audience that the role of the umpire today is much more than making decisions for it also involves overseeing "vital areas" such as "player behaviour, ball tampering, over rates, logos and clothing, impact of ground, weather and light, and having to reduce playing times".  But its "a player's game and always should be", he says, and in striving to create the right environment for the players to perform and express their talents" umpires must display 'humility" in the way they conduct themselves.

 

From his perspective the introduction of technology via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) has had benefits in that it has "allowed the player and the viewer to understand the challenge faced by match officials during a live match".  However, "the invasive nature" of such systems, which enable "everyone" to umpire the game via television, also "puts more pressure on [both] players and umpires".  "Not too much now happens on a cricket field that is not captured by a camera, a microphone or piece of technology", and it therefore has the "ability to bring out the best in the game and also the worst"

 

Technology has contributed to a "reduction in dissent charges and improvement in [on-field] behaviour", says Taufel, and has also allowed, "in the majority of cases", "the ability to correct" errors that are made by umpires.  "If I make an error, it stays with me all day and I have to keep focused and performing in the middle [for] there is no dressing room to immediately take refuge [in] while another umpire comes out to the middle, no time off the field to regather thoughts and regroup".   "I haven't met an umpire yet who is comfortable to make an error on the field or who doesn't want to get all of his decisions right - we really do care about our role and our decisions and performance", and as a result the ability to correct errors is, he says, "very important".

 

Taufel, 42, who stood in 74 Tests, 174 One Day Internationals, and 34 Twenty20 Internationals in the fourteen years from 1999-2012, a period in which he won the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' title an unprecedented five times, warns though that "regardless of the many backers technology has, it has many times, as during [the current] Ashes [series], proved to be inconclusive". 

 

"The all-human solution is not 100 per cent, neither is the UDRS, and neither will be an 'all appeals' review system [be]".  "There are trade-offs and compromises with every system adopted [and] it all depends how the majority believe our game should be played underpinned with the values we want to promote and preserve".  "The technology genie has been let out of the bottle and it's not going to go back in", and he believes there is a need now to "be as pragmatic as possible so we can get more correct decisions and deliver more justice" out on the ground. 

 

"To me", says Taufel, " the 'Spirit of Cricket' means that the values of the game take priority over personal gain or advancement".  "Our game is strong due to the mix of a wide variety of talent and contribution of everyone involved".  "No single person has all the answers and solutions to the current challenges, so I'm not going to stand here and pretend to tell you that I have them", and he believes "the real strength lies in the processes of associations, cricket committees and governing bodies that operate under the rule of democracy".

 

The Cowdrey Lecture was inaugurated in 2001 and named after the late Colin Cowdrey, who captained England and was the first person to play 100 Tests.  A prominent member of the MCC in his time Cowdrey, together with Ted Dexter another ex-England skipper, successfully campaigned for the 'Spirit of Cricket' concept to be formally included as a Preamble to the 2000 Code of the game's Laws.

 

UDRS MAKES NEWSPAPER'S 

EDITORIAL PAGES

[PTG 1155-5587]

 

The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) has become such a focus over the last two weeks that prominent Brisbane newspaper the 'Courier Mail' devoted the number one spot on its editorial page to the subject on Tuesday.  According to the editorial, "if the first two Tests of the Ashes series have proved anything, apart from the fact that Australia cannot bat, it's that the [UDRS] is sullying the reputation of the game".

 

The editorial says that "though administrators did not realise it, it was always going to be impossible for technology to work as well in cricket as it has in tennis, where calls involve a ball bouncing on an immovable line".  "Cricket balls are manicured by players so they become shiny on one side and rough on the other", and as a result "they curve, they bounce, they wobble", and "predictions [about] the ball's flight path towards the stumps is a risky piece of punditry if ever there was one".  "Yet", it continues, "we are supposed to believe that a computer will predict their flight path to within a millimetre or two".

 

While it was hoped that the use of technology for decision-making "would take the tension out of line-calls as it did in tennis", "if anything, the tension is as great as ever as teams goad each other into requesting a review, and chortle when a rival makes the wrong call, as England did when [Australian] Shane Watson unsuccessfully contested his LBW decision in [his side's] first innings [of the second Ashes Test] at Lord's.

 

"Players sometimes manipulate the [UDRS] and at other times its manipulates them", continues the editorial, and "Each time [that happens] the image of the sport and its players suffers".  As a result the "cherished 'Spirit of Cricket' has vanished without trace amid the searing pressures of modern professional sport, as teams strive to exploit the foibles of a flawed system".  In addition "the rules regarding technology are so confusing that the same delivery can be 'out' or 'not out' depending on the umpire's original decision and who asked for a review", and "when one ball can be given two decisions, you wonder about the point of the system".

 

"For more than a century" says the 'Courier Mail', "the game thrived on a simple format that served it well" in that "a bowler appealed, an umpire trusted his own well-honed instincts to make a call, and a batsman came or went depending on the decision".  That "time-honoured" approach was "not a flawless one", but in the newspaper's view the "situation is now such that cricket authorities should "either go back to that system or, if it must use technology, let the on-field umpires [run it] rather than the players who are using it as a tactical device rather than a tool to purify the game".

 

That general view has been expressed in other quarters over the last fortnight (PTG 1149-5564, 17 July 2013), however, others have taken the position that while the UDRS is "not perfect" and probably won't ever be, it has helped improve the overall accuracy of decision-making in the game (PTG 1150-5570, 18 July 2013)

 

TWO SENIOR ICC UMPIRES ON

TOURNAMENT MENTORING DUTIES

[PTG 1155-5588]

 

Two English first class umpires are currently working as mentors in separate international tournaments being played in Europe this week, one in the Womens World Twenty20 Qualifier (WWT20Q) in Ireland, and the other in the World Cricket League Division 6 (WCL-6) tournament in the Channel Islands.  Ian Gould, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) is in Dublin, and Rob Bailey, of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel on Jersey for the 50-over format series.

 

Bailey is working with umpires Martin Gray from Guernsey, Sri Ganesh of Singapore, Nepal's Durga Subedi, and Huub Jansen and Ahrasf Din from the Netherlands in an event that is being overseen by another Englishman, David Jukes, of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.  Teams representing Argentina, Bahrain, Jersey, Kuwait, Nigeria and Vanuatu are taking part in the eighteen-match tournament that us due to end with three finals this Saturday for fifth-sixth, third-fourth and first-second places.

 

Bailey, a former England Test player, was chosen by the ICC for his first international in 2004 for a second-tier Intercontinental Cup first class game in the Netherlands, and again in March this year for two second-tier One Day Internationals plus two Twenty20 Internationals between Canada and Kenya in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1070-5205, 2 March 2013).  

 

Gray has stood in lower-level ICC events in a number of European countries over the last seven years and Hubb over the last four, Ganesh and Subedi each in a series of WCL and Asian Cricket Council tournaments across middle Asia in the last ten, while for Din it appears to be his first foray into international cricket.   Jukes is working in his seventh ICC event this year after the Womens' World Cup in India, the WCL-3 tournament on Bermuda in April-May, second-tier nation first class and One Day Internationals in the Netherlands early this month, and a week ago women's ODI's in England and Ireland where Pakistan were the visitors.

 

In the WWT20Q series in Dublin, which features teams from Canada, Ireland, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Netherlands, and Zimbabwe, Gould is standing with all the other six umpires involve: Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid (Bangladesh), Nigel Duguid (West Indies), Ian Ramage (Scotland), Richard Smith (Ireland) and New Zealanders Gary Baxter and Kathy Cross (PTG 1150-5572, 18 July 2013).

 

While Gould is involved in the Dublin event, ten of his colleagues on the EUP are currently involved in Tests and One Day International series, leaving one of the two new members of that panel, Richard Illingworth of England, the only one of the twelve without a currently announced international appointment from the ICC.

 

GLOUCESTERSHIRE DOCKED TWO 2014 T20 

POINTS FOR PROVIDING 'POOR' PITCH

[PTG 1155-5589]

 

Gloucestershire will start the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 2014 Twenty20 competition on minus two points after a pitch at Cheltenham was judged to have displayed "excessive spin" in a T20 match against Warwickshire two Sundays ago.  Umpires Steve Garratt and Steve O'Shaughnessy rated the pitch for that game as "poor" because of the amount of turn it provided.   

 

An ECB Pitch Panel made up of pitch liaison officers Tony Pigott and Jack Birkenshaw considered Garratt and O'Shaughnessy's report, and interviewed them, the captain and coach of both teams and the head groundsmen and both Cheltenham and the Gloucestershire club.  After they decided that there were no preparation-related circumstances that negated the umpires’ assessment, the two point penalty was imposed.

 

The match saw Gloucestershire dismissed for 96, a total Warwickshire achieved with almost three overs remaining.  Michael Klinger, the home side's captain, told the BBC that "nobody expected the wicket to be in such a poor standard for T20 cricket and we apologise to the crowd [as] it certainly wasn't what we asked for".  Chief executive Tom Richardson also apologised via a posting on the club's website, saying that "we were extremely pleased with the four-day pitch against Kent [which ended the day before the T20 fixture and was won by the visitors] and everybody expected something similar for this match [but] that did not happen".

 

LONDONDERRY VANDALS DAMAGE

 FOUR CLUB GROUNDS

[PTG 1155-5590]

 

A pitch at the Eglinton Cricket Club in Londonderry was extensively damaged by vandals on Tuesday when a substance was poured over the playing surface, the fourth such attack on a club's facilities in the area over the last month.  Three weeks ago two pitches at the Bond's Glen Cricket Club paint were covered with paint, and late last month weedkiller was used to damage pitches at both the Limavady and Brigade Cricket Clubs. 

 

Eglinton's secretary John Pierce called those who vandalised the club's ground "mindless" and that his club's members were "devastated" as they had "spent weeks" preparing the ground for this weekend's North West Senior Cup final.  "Money-wise, it's possible that no great damage has been done", "hopefully it hasn't gone right down to the roots", and that a "large number of people are involved in trying to repair the ground".

 

Brigade's chairman Ian Stone said at the time the vandalism had damaged three of his club's ten pitches, and that one which was artificial, had both ends torn-up.  Limavady chairman Ivan Lapsley estimated that his club's "inability to host games" could see it lose it up to £20,000 ($A35,000) and that the repair bill for the grass will be around £5,000 (A9,000).  "We rely on the income [generated] from home games", said Lapsley, but are "now going to be playing away for three or four months".

 

Police in the area say they have not yet established whether there is a link between the three attacks, but have asked people who live near sports grounds to watch out for any suspicious activity.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,156
Friday, 26 July 2013


MORE RESOURCES, SUPPORT NEEDED FOR 

UMPIRE DEVELOPMENT, SAYS TAUFEL

[PTG 1156-5591]

 

Test playing countries need to invest more time and resources into producing umpires of the highest quality if "succession planning" at the highest level of the game is to be significantly improved, says Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) first ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager.  Analysis shows how limited the current pool of potential candidates is for the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the next few years, a situation that impacts on the ICC's ability to 'hire-fire' as it moves to standardise and tighten performance standards and accountability across umpiring ranks (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013).  

 

Speaking as the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) thirteenth annual Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecturer at Lord's on Wednesday (PTG 1155-5586, 25 July 2013), Taufel pointed to the fact that the ICC's umpire "neutrality guidelines mean that eight of the twelve current EUP members are not eligible, because they are from either Australia or England, to officiate in the on-going Ashes series.  That situation leaves the world body with little flexibility in selecting appropriate officials for games between those two sides (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013), although ICC's chief executive David Richardson suggested this week that is not the case (PTG 1151-5575, 19 July 2013).  

 

Currently, four of the ICC's ten Test playing entities, Bangladesh, India, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, do not have an umpire on the EUP, while Australia and England each have four, and New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka one each.  Taufel said that the success Australia and England have had in providing two-thirds of EUP members illustrates the need for "more competition from the other" countries for panel spots.  "We need to alter the [current] mindset and have all [ICC Full Member] countries invest" more into match officiation issues, he says, for "umpiring is everyone's business" and "everyone has a part to play in its future and success".

 

The ICC has "45 people who can [work as] third umpires" across both the EUP and the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel, says Taufel, who describes that as "a lot of people we need to train [in off-field referrals work] with limited resources and time".  He told London's 'Daily Telegraph' "we expect our third umpires to sit behind a TV and think it is going to be 100 per cent right all the time, [but] the results prove us dif­ferently [for] it is an incredibly chal­lenging role".  

 

Despite that Taufel says that "all I have at my disposal [to address such issues are] three Umpire Coaches and myself and the co-operation of host broadcasters", something he describes "as a big challenge", for "it demands the appropriate training and focus of skills to catch up where we are on field".  To that end Taufel and his three-man group are in the process of working with ICC Member boards to establish a standardised, coordinated training program across all forms of the game (PTG 1156-5592 below), for he believes more training is required for what has become a pressurised job as technology increasingly influences the way the game is played.

 

The 'Telegraph' also says that Taufel is also helping those at the top cope with having decisions overturned, something it calls "an umpire’s equivalent to dropping a catch or playing a bad shot".  “Years ago you could stand on field say I have called it and done the best I can", said Taufel, but "now you see decisions dissected on big screen in front of you, get instant feedback from third umpire".  

 

“Dealing with instant feedback is more of a challenge these days", he says.  "The better umpires learn to deal with that faster and even work on body language to a point when they will stand in front of a mirror or a colleague and practise having to reverse and change a decision in a way that still looks strong and promotes confidence".

 

However, despite recent controversies Taufel believes the game is in good shape.  “Our game is stronger and more vibrant today than it was thirty years ago when I first played cricket", and "it is stronger today than even thirteen years ago before I started umpiring international cricket".  However, “the one constant in our world is change [and] we need to embrace change [but at the same time] be careful about how we shape the game".

 

2015 TARGET FOR START OF INTERNATIONAL 

UMPIRE 'ACCREDITATION PROCESS'

[PTG 1156-5592]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has started work on developing an 'Accreditation Process' for its umpires and hopes to have a system in place "by 2015", says Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager.  The move comes five years after the ICC announced that it was to introduce a "mandatory" accreditation program for umpires from around the world who were working towards international ranks (PTG 317-1652, 23 September 2008), an approach that was recommended following a 2007 review of a range of international umpiring issues (PTG 126-686, 1 November 2007). 

 

Taufel said on Wednesday whilst giving this year's Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' oration at Lord's, that the ICC's new coaching structure  focusses "on support and performance development and less on assessment".  It is, he says, "seeking to establish and demonstrate best practice across six areas: technique; preparation; match management; decision making; attitude and teamwork; and self-management/personal development".  

 

As part of that Taufel says he and his three ICC Umpire Coaches "will need to reach down to the top domestic umpires and [provide] support [for] the career path challenges for umpires", in order that those who are promoted from domestic ranks to international level are prepared to the appropriate degree.  Taufel, who has also called for more support for umpire development from national boards (PTG 1156-5591 above), envisages the ICC's system will when completed be made available to Test playing nations so that they can also use it as part of their management of domestic first-class officials. 

 

"To date", says Taufel, "most, if not all of our effective [umpire] training has been 'on the job'.  Currently, "there is very little material or training tools to help prepare umpires for the increasing challenges of cricket umpiring, especially at the representative level", and "we are looking to develop more simulated based programs to support and prepare our umpires better before they walk into a game situation".  "The majority of knowledge and intellectual properties on umpiring still resided in people's heads", and the new approach will provide "a much better service to the players, stakeholders and the umpires". 

 

As a result Taufel's group is "developing skill development training programs and trying to tap into the resources players have".  His judgement is that "simulated based training exercises are the way forward" but that they "have to be developed from scratch".  "Skill development activities" include matters such as "accurate ball-pitching judgment, height judgment from square leg, third umpire communication. and decision making and front foot 'no ball'" calls. 

 

"We recently conducted a 'Coach the Coach' training course [in Nagpur] for the Test-playing nation's future umpire coaches", something Taufel says was a "first" and is a "positive news story of leadership from the ICC and its Cricket Operations Department" (PTG 1150-5573, 18 July 2013).  Despite that he goes on to say that "we need to continually look for ways to improve performance and get decisions right in the first place [for] we want each umpire to be the best that they can be".

 

According to Taufel the MCC as well as the ICC has a role to play in such matters.  He points to the MCC's Laws sub-committee, of which he is an ex officio member, as needing resources to "create more modern, user-friendly and accessible support tools for understanding and interpreting the Laws of Cricket".  That includes making "use of the technological resources such as digital video clips, streaming on the internet and online Laws examinations/interpretations".

 

Needed too, he continues, are ways to provide captains at all levels of the game with education and training that will help them "carry forward the spirit and traditions of our game" that the Laws make them responsible for.  "Leadership and captaincy is just as important a skill in the game as an 'off cutter' or 'cover drive', he says, and "when cricket academies look at their programs, I'd like to see modules on the 'Spirit of Cricket, mental strength, emotional intelligence, the Laws of the game, leadership skills and history of our sport". 

 

Taufel also acknowledge that as is the case with players, there is also a need to support and help the people who train and develop umpires before they get to representative level.  He also mentioned the "vital" contribution the game's volunteers make, whether they take the form of umpires and scorers at the grass roots level, helping out at the club ground with the covers, or helping out at the clubhouse at the end of the days play".  "The strength of clubs and game is what we all make it, and he encourages "everyone to get involved in any way that you can as it has so much to offer".

 

FORMER CAPTAIN CLAIMS UDRS CONTROVERSIES 

'VINDICATE' INDIA'S POSITION 

[PTG 1156-5593]

 

Former Indian captain Ravi Shastri says that recent events have shown "widespread criticism" of his country's "blunt and uncompromising position" on the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) over the last five years has been proved "absolutely" unfair.  Shastri's comments to a Fairfax Media journalist come after a number of UDRS-related controversies in the first two Tests of the current Ashes series, a situation that led the International Cricket Council (ICC) to release umpiring statistics and admit errors in the opening game (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013).

 

Shastri is said to have stated, contrary to other publicly  available evidence, that India has been "arguing all along" for the review system to be left in the hands of umpires, not players, a view similar to that expressed by former Australian captain Ian Chappell, former international umpire Daryl Harper, and others (PTG 1149-5564, 17 July 2013).  "I'm all for technology but the way it is deployed leaves a lot of scope for improvement", said Shastri, as its "there to take the howler out of [the game], but all it's done is at times when it doesn't work is create so much bloody confusion that it's not funny".

 

Shastri, who sits on the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) technical committee and is the 'media representative' on the ICC's Cricket Committee, said he'd been with the latter group for the last three years", and that he's "made it clear at meetings that I had strict reservations [about the system]".  "I've told a lot of people in India when I've been asked, it's time to shut up, watch, listen and read ... because what [we] have said has been vindicated".  "I said two or three years ago 'wait until the shit hits the roof in a massive series, then you watch what will happen'", and "we don't need to say anything now". 

 

Despite the BCCI's concerns, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel said when delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club's 2013 the MCC Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture at Lord's on Wednesday night, that the “technology genie has been let out of the bottle and it's not going to go back in", and it is now necessary to take a pragmatic approach to the way the UDRS is utilised (PTG  1155-5586, 25 July 2013).

 

DECISION ASSESSMENTS KEY TO ICC 

RANKINGS, EUP CONTRACT OFFERINGS

[PTG 1156-5594]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) takes the performance assessment of umpires "very seriously", says ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, as our "rankings and [on-going annual] contractual offerings" depend on it.  Speaking at Lord's on Wednesday during the 2013 Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture, Taufel provided data that showed ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members have made correct decisions on an average of around 94 percent of occasions over the last three years, the record of the best individual being 97.49 per cent and the worst 90.63 per cent

 

Data on EUP members is obtained from decision logs maintained by ICC match referees that cover every appeal made during matches, and the data collected is reviewed independently and tagged as either 'correct', 'incorrect' or 'inconclusive', says Taufel.  Should the decision be assessed as 'inconclusive', the umpire is marked with only 50 per cent of a correct decision, a policy that he is "not sure" he agrees with for "there is no benefit of doubt to the umpire here!"

 

Taufel says that the performance statistics he is "happy to share" "illustrate how better broadcasting and technology has allowed us to better assess decision-making performance".  Analysis of the data showed that in 2010-11 EUP members answered 2,745 appeals, the average of correct decisions being 93.79 per cent and the range 97.29-91.6 per cent, in 2011-12 there were 2,597 appeals, the average being 95.05 per cent and the range 97.49-91.14%, and in 2012-13 the figures were 2,956, 94 per cent and 96.39-90.63).  

 

Data released for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last week showed the overall correct decision percentage for that game before reviews was 90.3 per cent, or below the three-year "worst" figure of 90.63 (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013), the type of numbers that if previous ICC comments are correct, probably resulted in New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden and Pakistan's Asad Rauf being dropped from the EUP this year (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).  While the numbers are informative, ICC chief executive David Richardson said last week that his organisation has no plans to aired such umpiring data from matches on a routine release (PTG 1152-5580, 20 July 2013)

 

However, in releasing the three-year data Taufel stressed that "umpiring is not just about decision making [and] the danger is that we only assess or make judgments about an umpire or umpiring standards according to their correct decision percentage".  He would prefer to "focus on [such matters as] preparation, match management, field craft (technique), communication, teamwork, [and an individual's] overall ability to solve problems before they happen and create an environment of fairness for the players where they can play freely and show their skills" (PTG 1156-5592 above). 

 

"Correct decision making is important but for me it is a given and it should be there as a matter of fact", he says, and "only by exception should it be considered as an area to analyse and critique".  "For me, if you excel in preparation, match management, focus, teamwork and mental strength, the decision making will take care of itself".  "I take enormous personal pride in every opportunity and performance in front of me", says Taufel, and "when I have fallen short of my own standards and expectations, it hurts, [but] when I have met or exceeded them, it feels great".

  

KEY ROLE FOR TOP PLAYERS IN SETTING

 'GRASS ROOTS' STANDARDS 

[PTG 1156-5595]

 

Former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel used his involvement in a match his then 13-year-old son Harry played in earlier this year to illustrate how the values of future generations are being shaped by the standards they see on display today at the game's highest levels.  Normally, Taufel doesn't umpire his children's games because of a combination of not wanting to either embarrass himself, or have to deal with a conflict of interest if his son is involved in a decision, and also the fact that he would just like to sit and enjoy watching his child in action. 

 

Last January though he was "roped in to umpiring" his son's game because no one else was there who could, or wanted, to do it, and all was going well until Harry came on to bowl. Taufel told the audience at Wednesday's Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture at Lord's that not long after, "Harry and the keeper went up for a huge LBW appeal on a rather large kid and I shook my head and said 'not out', [and] the fact that I could see all three stumps at the time made me pretty happy the decision was right, but what would I know?"

 

Harry though "did not agree and he proceeded to give me and everyone the big 'T' signal as if to request a decision review", which led Taufel to ask himself whether "this is something new at the Under-14 level".  However, "it didn't stop there, [for] he then yelled out to his mother on the sideline - 'I never want Dad to umpire me again!"  

 

Taufel says that he "was more than happy to comply with the latter request but took a serious objection to the former one of dissent, [however], how was I now going to handle this form of player behaviour, [and] where was the respect for the umpire's decision?"  "We ended up having our own internal code of conduct hearing at home later on that day", he continued, "the penalty was handed out and there was no chance of Harry sending it to further appeal".

 

Such a story shows, says Taufel, how those who are coming in to the game react to what they see on the field in higher level matches, and how those involved in such games are setting the tone and standards for others to follow in the future (PTG 1155-5586, 25 July 2013).

 

SUSPECTED IPL BOOKIE BROTHERS 

TO FACE MUMBAI COURT 

[PTG 1156-5596]

 

Two suspects police allege were involved in betting activities in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) 2013 series, appeared before the Mumbai Police's crime branch yesterday after being what press reports described as being "underground" for nearly two months.  Brothers Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur, who have been linked to gifts given to now former international umpire Asad Rauf of Pakistan are were said to have fled to Dubai after the police announced they were looking in IPL match- and spot-fixing activities (PTG 1118-5453, 6 June 2013), are expected to have their applications for bail heard later today in Mumbai.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,157
Monday, 29 July 2013


CA REPORTED LOOKING AT FIVE-DAY 

DOMESTIC FIRST CLASS GAMES

[PTG 1157-5597]

 

Matches in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield could be scheduled to be played over five rather than four days in 2014-15 under a proposal put forward by national team performance manager Pat Howard.  The change, which is aimed at providing conditions similar to Test matches, has says a 'Cricinfo' report been costed, and is one of a number of ideas being considered as a way to better prepare Australian players for fixtures at the game's highest level.

 

Howard told the web site's Daniel Brettig that the goal of the proposal is "in the shorter term", to have more domestic games go in to the fourth day than at the moment, for "if there was five days of cricket available we would be confident of matches having results, [and also give] both batsman and bowlers [the opportunity of] having to deal with different conditions".  

 

Any move to a five-day format, which would see each team have nine extra days for first class cricket scheduled than at present, would put further pressure on CA's already stretched domestic season which has had problems in recent years fitting in first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions.  Reports earlier this year, that have cropped up in the media several times since, indicate that CA's domestic one-day competition is likely to be played in tournament fashion, perhaps in one city, over a three to four week period in October, thus leaving more room for first class and the more lucrative and in CA';s eyes "marketable" Twenty20 series (PTG 1103-5373, 13 May 2013).

 

In the thirty-five years up until 1927, every Shield match was played to a finish and games often stretched into a fifth day as a result,  Then from 1927-30 five days were allocated for such matches, but since the 1930-31 season home-and-away games have been decided over four, only the season-ending final being allocated five days.  In 1993, County Championship games in England were extended to four days after over one hundred years in which three-day games were the norm.

 

Other concepts being considered in a move to improve Australian first class cricket include closer monitoring of the standard of first-class pitches with possible penalties for home sides on days in which more than fourteen wickets fall.  James Sutherland, CA's chief executive, said last November that "we want the best [pitches possible] for all top-level cricket but particularly Shield cricket [and those not] deemed of an appropriate standard [could result in a] loss of [competition] points" (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2012).

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board Cricket (ECB) has a well-established pitch inspection system and a number of counties have lost championship points in recent years, Warwickshire and Kent for example being docked eight first class Championship points each in 2011 (PTG 767-3762, 28 May 2011), and Gloucestershire two 2014 Twenty20 points this year (PTG 1155-5589, 25 July 2013).  On the other hand Lancashire escaped a points penalty last year after an ECB pitch panel concluded that weather-related issues were behind the "poor" rating given to the strip prepared for a first class fixture against Worcestershire (PTG 965-4694, 23 July 2012).

 

IPL UMPIRE SUGGESTED BETTING ON 

KOLKATA-PUNE MATCH, CLAIMS REPORT 

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Former Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf asked Indian actor Vindu Dara Singh to bet "as much money as possible" on the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Kolkata side in a match against Pune in mid-May, claims a 'Times of India' (TOI) report published on Friday.  Late last month a 'TOI' report said that police had recorded telephone conversations they alleged then showed Rauf "was hand in glove with the bookies and solicited gifts", although it would appear the newspaper's journalists did not hear those recordings by rather viewed transcripts of the recordings (PTG 1118-5435, 6 June 2013). 

 

Friday's 'TOI' article quotes a Mumbai police source, who as previously spoke "on the condition of anonymity", as saying that news Rauf allegedly asked the bets to be laid is "the strongest indication yet" of his "direct links to the IPL betting scandal", a connection the umpire has strongly denied and an allegation a Mumbai judge rejected eight weeks ago because of lack of evidence.  Details of the transcripts released last Friday also say that Vindu acted on Rauf's alleged advice, betting 20,000 Indian Rupees ($A3,700) on the game's outcome, however, all that money is said to have been lost for Pune won the game by seven runs.  Rauf was not involved in umpiring the mid-May Kolkata-Pune game.

 

NO REPORTS FOR 'VERY 

FUNNY' CONFRONTATION

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Australian A batsman David Warner and South African A wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile had several on-field confrontations during the unofficial Test the two sides played in Johannesburg last week, however, the umpires apparently did not report either player and no action will apparently be taken against them.  The matter is said to have started in Australia's first innings when Tsolekile's is reported to have 'sledged' Warner "constantly" during his innings, then the wicketkeeper showed his "displeasure" at words uttered by fielder Warner when it came to the South African's time at the crease .

 

On the final day of the four-day game on Saturday when Warner was batting a second time, umpires Johannes Cloete and Adrian Holstock reportedly had to intervened twice when the two players became involved in a "heated on-field argument" that "brought the game to a brief stop".  Media reports say that Cloete and Holstock "appealed for the pair to call off their run-in" and after the match ended Warner tweeted: "Great to be back playing cricket, had lots of fun this week and a bit of friendly banter from the wicket keeper. Was very funny!!".

 

The same afternoon the Australian and South African pair started their scrap, Indian captain Virat Kohli stood his ground and "argued aggressively with on-field officials" Bruce Oxenford and Owen Chirombe after the third umpire Russell Tiffin ruled he had been caught in the One Day International against Zimbabwe in Harare.  No action was taken against Kohli who match reports say asked twice that Tiffin look at the incident and "looked visibly upset" as he returned to the pavilion. 

 

THIRD BANNED PAKISTANI ADMITS 

HIS GUILT, SEEKS RETURN 

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Former Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif, who was banned for a minimum of five years for his role in spot-fixing activities in a Test against England at Lord's in 2010, admitted his guilt in the affair late last week.  Asif and his accomplices Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer, who were also banned, all served jail sentences in England for corruption and cheating, but the latter pair had previously publicly acknowledged their guilt and sought their nation's "forgiveness" (PTG 1137-5516, 2 July 2013).  

 

A "top" Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) source told reporters in Lahore on Thursday that Asif had earlier met Subhan Ahmad, the PCB's Chief Operating Officer, and confessed his role in the scandal at Lord's.  "[Asif] said he was ashamed of what he had done and his conscience had been troubling him for the many months but he was scared to speak out the truth", said the source, but that he "finally gathered courage to admit his guilt as he wanted to revive his cricketing career and also salvage his image".

 

Butt and Aamer are, following their confessions, currently involved in a PCB-organised "rehabilitation" program.  The PCB has requested the International Cricket Council to review Aamer's ban and allow him to use the Board's training facilities and also take part in some club cricket so that he is ready to play competitive cricket again when his ban ends in 2015.  


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,158
Wednesday, 31 July 2013

CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE SIGNS BOWDEN, 

PROCTOR FOR INAUGURAL SERIES 

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Former International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, and South African Mike Proctor a former ICC match referee, have been contracted to work in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 series, the first match of which is to be played late this morning Australian time.  The CPL's employment of the pair on salaries of "several tens of thousands of dollars", makes the competition the third high-profile 'national domestic' T20 event, after the Indian and Bangladesh Premier Leagues, to contract match officials from outside its playing region.  

 

For Bowden it will be his first outing since June's Champions Trophy series in England and being dropped from the EUP, while the last time Proctor is known to have worked as a match referee was in November 2008 in a One Day International in Harare (PTG 350-1868, 20 November 2008).  Bowden has made no public comment since departing the EUP and is believed to be focussed on showing that he is worthy of a return to that panel, one report last month saying that he is planning to let his "umpiring do the talking" (PTG 1132-5494, 27 June 2013).  

 

The first ever CPL match will see Bowden stand with Gregory Brathwaite, a Barbadian member of the West Indian Cricket Board's twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) and a third umpire on the West Indian part of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Leslie Reifer, another SUP member from Barbados, is the third umpire in the CPL opener while Kevin Sisnett, about whom very little is known, will be the fourth umpire.

 

CPL-1 is due to run over 26 days and involve six franchise sides playing a total of 24 games, 21 round-robin, two semi finals and the final itself.  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 (PTG 1119-5439, 7 June 2013).  

 

Logistics issues suggest that at minimum a second group two 'travelling' umpires and a match referee will be needed for the series but they have not yet been named.  While CPL organisers have produced a flurry of press releases about the competition over the last two months, despite repeated requests by 'PTG' no details have been released about match officials (PTG 1130-5530, 5 July 2013).  Just why the names of those involved are being held so closely is not known.     .  

 

While Proctor retired from ICC referee duties five years ago, his name surfaced last January when he and former South African and Zimbabwean EUP members Rudi Koertzen and Russell Tiffin, were reported to have signed on to work in a CPL-like series that was to have been played in Pakistan in April-May, however, that competition did not eventuate (PTG 1047-5086, 26 January 2013).

 

PUSH TO ADD REAL-TIME 'SNICKO' TO UDRS 

PACKAGE FOR AUSSIE ASHES TESTS

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Australian company BBG Sports, the providers of infra-red 'Hot Spot' technology, is pushing for its upgraded 'Snickometer' system to be used as part of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the five Ashes Tests scheduled for Australia this austral summer.  BBG's Warren Brennan acknowledges that “even [with the] latest generation of 'Hot Spot' cameras there are still occasions when [they] will miss fine edges", but believes combining its thermal images with 'Snicko' data that will be is available in "five seconds", not the few minutes as at present, will help provide third umpires with more usable data, particularly in fine edge situations.

 

The 'Snickometer' is not currently part of the UDRS because of the time it takes for the technicians to assemble the evidence, but Brennan says the improved version his company has been working on for the past year speeds up the process considerably.  He told Nick Hoult of London's 'Daily Telegraph' that “during the [recent] Lord’s [Ashes] Test there were half a dozen very fine edges and I believe that 'Hot Spot' only [failed on] the Agar one".  Australian batsman Ashton Agar was given 'not out' by on-field umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa but this was overturned on review by third umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand even though the thermal imaging system did not showing a mark on the bat.

 

Hill was reported at the time as reaching his judgement on the basis of a noise he heard from the stump microphone, and Hoult says that he "understands umpires do not trust 'Hot Spot' and will give batsmen out if they believe there is enough audio evidence picked up by the stump microphones".  Brennan says that his company's experience shows that 'Hot Spot' is much better with spin bowling because the ball is rotating and turning so much more than from a fast bowler, and that as such when it makes contact with the bat it "grips, turns and creates more friction", which results in a better 'Hot Spot' signature.

 

However, “compared to 'Hot Spot' what we find for 'Snicko' is the opposite", says Brennan, for "when there are slow bowlers 'Snicko' is not as good because the keeper tends to stand up to the stumps, is constantly moving and you get noise from his feet which mask fine edges".  “When the keeper is back for a fast bowler we find 'Snicko is much better", and therefore when put together each technology "complements [the] other perfectly", and he hopes that "real time Snicko", as the up-graded technology is called, could be part of the UDRS within “three to six months” if independent testing verifies its success.

 

“The other interesting aspect" of the work carried out recently is the fact that "we are recording both stump [microphones]", says Brennan.  "What we generally find is if there is a noise at the batsman’s end you can see that noise on 'Snicko' on the [bowler's end] stump mic between six or seven [video] frames after it has happened".  But "at the non-striker’s end we can’t pick up the audio from faint edges [and] if the stump [microphones] there can’t pick it up then there is no hope the umpire at the bowler’s end will ever hear those fine edges".

 

Brennan is reported to have presented the results of trials conducted on the new system over the last two months, during England's series against New Zealand, the Champions Trophy tournament and the early Ashes Tests, to senior International Cricket Council (ICC) managers in Dubai last Sunday.  "We are heading in the right direction", he says, however, the ICC is said to want "an independent evaluation of new 'Snickometer' [to check] the video, audio and all the algorithms we have to put in are bona fide".  Brennan is believed to be preparing to also present his findings at a meeting to be held at Cricket Australia's headquarters in Melbourne this Friday.

 

'Hot Spot', which has been used by the ICC since 2006, is not cheap as reports say the four-camera system costs around £7,500 ($A12,700) a day. The bill is paid by television companies as the ICC has so far been reluctant to make a financial investment in the technology.  Brennan thinks that "needs to change".  “Ideally", he says, "the system would be independent with the third umpire working with a technology operator beside him and not reliant on a television director", something the ICC plans to trial in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford which starts tomorrow (PTG 1152-5576, 20 July 2013). 

 

Brennan warns though that “technology evolves and improves, and never stands still”.  "We are [currently] on the second generation 'Hot Spot', using cameras from above as well as from the side, but within eighteen months [we expect to have] have a new camera with three times the number of pixels that will provide an even higher resolution" image than at present.

 

FORMER INDIAN TEST UMPIRE DIES 

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Former Indian umpire SN Hanumantha Rao, who stood in nine Tests and two One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1978-83, died in Bangalore on Monday aged 83.  Rao's first class career, which started at the age of 29, saw him stand in thirty-six games over a period of twenty-four years, after which he returned in his seventies to work as a match referee.  His nine Tests involved India playing either Australia, England, Pakistan or the West Indies, and his ODIs England and Sri Lanka.

 

DELHI POLICE SUBMIT 6,000 

PAGE IPL CHARGE SHEET

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Delhi police have named three players from the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan franchise side, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, plus thirty-six other people, as the accused in its formal charge sheet in the IPL spot-fixing case.  Press reports from the sub-continent yesterday say that 6,000 page charge sheet lists offences of cheating and conspiracy under India's Penal Code.

 

Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested mid-May, after which the Board of Control for Cricket in India suspended them from playing again pending an inquiry, their franchise side also suspending the contracts it had with all three (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013). The trio are said to have allegedly been promised money ranging from $A35,000 to $A115,000 by bookies for under-performing in one or more IPL games earlier this year.

 

CLAIM OF 'SUSPICIOUS BETTING 

PATTERNS' IN CARIBBEAN ODI SERIES 

[PTG 1158-5605]

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials have described allegations that match-fixing was involved in the team's One Day International series against the West Indies over the last few weeks as "outrageous" and have asked that the International Cricket Council (ICC) conducted a "full investigation" into the matter.  The British newspaper 'The Mail on Sunday' reported on the weekend that the series was under investigation by the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) as "experts [had] identified suspicious betting patterns".

 

According to the 'Mail', the main focus is on the tied third match of the series played in St Lucia two Fridays ago, as well as the final game, which resulted in a last-ball win for Pakistan last Thursday.  In the tied match the West Indies needed 24 in the last two overs with only one wicket intact as they chased a score of 230 after earlier scoring just one run off the first 18 balls of their innings.

 

After calling the claims "outrageous", PCB interim chairman Najam Sethi told Pakistan's 'Geo TV' that he "can't talk much on this but we did contact the team manager and he told us that a couple of days ago newspaper people were phoning people to get information" and that the "manager confirmed that the ICC's ACSU team was there in the Caribbean.  "How much truth is there in this, only time will tell, but at the moment this is not more than a story by The Mail", concluded Sethi.  In reply to queries from journalists an ICC spokesman said it does not comment on any ACSU activities.

 

Meanwhile, three spectators were ejected from a Twenty20 match between Worcestershire and Somerset last Saturday for suspected links with bookmakers.  That brings to at least a dozen the number made to leave grounds during county and international matches in England this northern summer because of suspicions they were working for bookmakers in India (PTG 1140-5524, 5 July 2013).

 

NO HARD BALLS ALLOWED FOR PRACTICE, 

SO CLUB MOVES GROUNDS 

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A village club in Norfolk that was temporarily banned from using hard balls during batting practice on its ground because of health, safety and insurance concerns has decided to move to a nearby town.  The ban, which was imposed by the local Parish Council, followed a couple of alleged near-misses at the Bacton Cricket Club's ground of thirty-six years, when other people using the playing area during on-field practice "were almost hit".  The Norfolk Cricket League Division six club decided last week to play all of its games at North Walsham High School nine kilometres away, and as a result it is likely to change its name sometime in the future as a result.


End of July 2013 News file