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           AUGUST 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 24 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5607-5706)

Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,159  1,160  1,161  1,162  1,163  1,164  1,165  1,166  1,167  1,168  1,169  1,170  
1,171  1,172  1,173  1,174  1,175  1,176  1,177  1,178  1,179  1,180  1,181  1,182

1,159 - 1 August [5607-5612] 

• ICC considering giving teams extra decision reviews    (1159-5607).

• First ICC neutrals appointment for Australia's Fry    (1159-5608).

• Court calls BCCI IPL probe 'illegal', 'unconsitutional'    (1159-5609).

• Umpires named for women's Ashes Test, one dayers    (1159-5610).

• Patterson named new Victorian SDU    (1159-5611).

• 'Neutral' 'Hot Spot' operators next?     (1159-5612).

1,160 - 2 August [5613-5617]

• CA seeks explanation from ICC on Old Trafford umpiring decision   (1160-5613).

• Llong brought in to conduct third umpire trial  (1160-5614).

• Windies officials to the fore in CPL  (1160-5615).

• ICC names South African for Namibia-Afghanistan matches  (1160-5616).

• Player-umpire allegedly assaulted post-match  (1160-5617).

1,161 - 3 August [5618-5623]

• Five years on use of 'specialist TV umpires' again raised   (1161-5618).

• ICC rejected neutral umpires approach, says CA ops manager   (1161-5619).

• Female umpire appointed to main WT20 Qualifier finals   (1161-5620).

• Newspaper's Windies-Pakistan 'suspicious' 'irregularities' claim rejected   (1161-5621).

• Goa police again arrest cricket focussed bookmakers   (1161-5622).

• Club hopeful of game despite pitch fire   (1161-5623).

1,162 - 5 August [5624-5627]

• ICC discussing UDRS 'compromise' with BCCI, claim reports    (1162-5624).

• Llong said to be 'positive' about initial days of third umpire trial   (1162-5625).

• More talk about Bowden's international 'return'   (1162-5626).

• Rauf reported to have retired from 'all forms' of umpiring   (1162-5627).

1,163 - 7 August [5628-5631]

• Khawaja Old Trafford decision 'wrong', says Taufel   (1163-5628).

• Former Indian international umpire dies   (1163-5629).

• Things tight in country where balls cost $A200   (1163-5630).

• Umpire objects to abuse, abandons game, departs   (1163-5631).

1,164 - 8 August [5632-5634]

• ICC dismiss bat tape allegations   (1164-5632).

• Make match-fixing a criminal offence, says Rajasthan skipper  (1164-5633).

• Slow over-rates cost T20 side eighteen runs  (1164-5634).

1,165 - 9 August [5635-5638]

• EUP training to focus on 'more consistent' TV umpire interpretations   (1165-5635).

• BCCI reiterates its 'foolproof' requirement for UDRS use   (1165-5636).

• ECB 'threatening' Channel Nine with 'future action', claims report   (1165-5637).

• Representative selection criticised after player misbehaves in match   (1165-5638).

1,166 - 10 August [5639-5642]

• 'Hot Spot' boss indicates silicon tape 'dulling' claims are valid   (1166-5639).

• Inspections show bats in Tests comply with Laws   (1166-5640).

• Not enough testing of UDRS technology, claims 'Hawk-Eye' inventor   (1166-5641).

• One change to Indian IUP membership for 2013-14   (1166-5642).


1,167 - 11 August [5643-5644]

• 'Hot Spot' provider calls for removal of bat coatings   (1167-5643).

• Player removed from Bermudan squad pending disciplinary inquiry   (1167-5644).

 
1,168 - 13 August [5645-5648]

• EUP structure in need of 'urgent' review, says ICC's Taufel  (1168-5645).

• Former internationals call for more resources for umpire training   (1168-5646).

• Findings of BPL match-fixing inquiry expected today   (1168-5647).

• Dispute between sides leads to brutal bashing   (1168-5648).


1,169 - 14 August [5649-5651]

• ICC charges nine with BPL-2 match-fixing activities (1169-5649).

• Hill considering EUP departure, claims report  (1169-5650).

• Eight named for second-tier first class, one-day, internationals  (1169-5651).

1,170 - 15 August [5652-5657]

• Pakistan, Sri Lanka looking at day-night Test   (1170-5652).

• NZ nominates Bowden for expanded IUP group   (1170-5653).

• Third banned Pakistani makes public confession to Lord's Test spot-fixing    (1170-5654).

• Englishman reveals ICC has laid BPL charge against him    (1170-5655).

• New tests clear Queensland bowler's remodelled action   (1170-5656).

• Bermudan players apologises for on-field 'moment of fury'    (1170-5657).

1,171 - 16 August - 5658-5661]

• NSWCUSA brings up Century, starts year 101  (1171-5658).

• Watkin for NZC Reserve Panel, says report  (1171-5659).

• Former Sri Lankan Test umpire dies   (1171-5660).

• Kaneria to appeal life-time ban for a third time   (1171-5661).

1,172 - 18 August [5662-5666]

• Sri Lanka says 'no' to day-night Test proposal   (1171-5662).

• Former England captain goes into bat for 'home' umpires   (1171-5663).

• Limit review requests to on-field umpires, says former ICC RUPM   (1171-5664).

• Multiple tribunals needed for BPL-2 match fixing tribunal?   (1171-5665).

• CA changes overseas player rules   (1171-5666).

1,173 - 19 August [5667-5670]

• Martinesz moves a step closer to EUP membership   (1173-5667).

• Hill 'maligned unfairly', confidence good, says NZ Umpires Manager   (1173-5668).

• England batsman defends UDRS but calls for rules 'clarity'   (1173-5669).

• 'Hawk Eye' 'stood down' after Hurling Championship error   (1173-5670).

1,174 - 20 August [5671-5675]

• 'Some [Ashes] umpires have cracked under pressure', claims Aussie vice-captain   (1174-5671).

• Warwickshire fined £5,000 for ball tampering offence   (1174-5672).

• Erase fixers records, give UDRS to umpires, says Hadlee   (1174-5673).

• Australian curators reported 'angry' at pitch criticism   (1174-5674).

• Ten-man panel being formed for BPL-2 match-fixing hearings  (1174-5675).


1,175 - 21 August  [5676-5681]

• Broadcaster says technology obscuring valuable life lessons   (1175-5676).

• Newspapers report 'bafflement' over ball tampering charge   (1175-5677).

• Coach suggests baseball-like third on-field umpire position  (1175-5678).

• Even share of ODI series positions for Zim umpires  (1175-5679).

• Call for session rotation of on-field, third umpires   (1175-5680).

• Third Dhaka franchise player acknowledges charges, pleads innocence  (1175-5681).


1,176 - 22 August   [5682-5683]

• Indian umpire named for 'Ashes' ODI series   (1176-5682).

• Aussie coach accuses opponent of 'blatant cheating'   (1176-5683).

1,177 - 23 August [5684-5687]

• ICC fines Australian coach for 'inappropriate comments'   (1177-5684).

• Umpires to benefit from new 'hybrid' league, claim organisers   (1177-5685).

• Six appear in contention for CPL finals   (1177-5686).

• Two-year suspended sentence for recalcitrant Bermudan   (1177-5687).

1,178 - 24 August [5688-5690]

• Unique all-EUP umpiring group for final Ashes Test   (1178-5688).

• Radio station offers to pay coach's 'inappropriate comment' fine   (1178-5689).

• Derbyshire docked 2014 points for 'poor' pitch   (1178-5690).

1,179 - 26 August [5689-5693]

• Ashes umpire decision averages come in below EUP 'worst guy' levels   (1179-5689).

• CA holds first national scorer meeting, further 'Statsmaster' upgrades awaited   (1179-5690).

• 'Clamp down' on slow over-rates needed, says Boycott   (1179-5691).

• Guyanese joins Kiwi for inaugural CPL final   (1179-5692).

• Player, scorer banned for three games after umpire 'walk out'   (1179-5693).

1,180 - 27 August [5696-5700]

• ICC 'bad light' rules 'totally unacceptable', claims ECB chairman   (1180-5696).

• Sri Lanka looses a third former Test umpire   (1180-5697).

• Zimbabwean player reprimanded for dissent   (1180-5698).

• BPL franchise owner on ICC charge sheet   (1180-5699).

• Kettleborough Test fourth umpire spot planned pre-series   (1180-5700). 

1,181 - 29 August [5701-5702]

• Darwin umpire 'walk out' highlights disciplinary issues   (1181-5701).

• 'Ashes' ODI 'warm-up' game for Sundaram   (1181-5702).

1,182 - 30 August [5703-5706]

• CA schedules first class day-night matches, late 2015 NZ Test the target  (1182-5703).

• Indian umpires reported mulling session rotations   (1182-5704).

• Welsh club fights 208 championship point deduction, fine   (1182-5705).

• Kiwis gather for 57th annual pre-season seminar   (1182-5706).

    

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,159
Thursday, 1 August 2013


ICC CONSIDERING GIVING TEAMS 

EXTRA DECISION REVIEWS

[PTG 1159-5507]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reported to be considering giving teams more than two failed decision referrals because of what 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne claimed yesterday was "its embarrassment at the umpiring blunders which twice saved England's Stuart Broad in the first Ashes Test" at Trent Bridge late last month.  Broad had twice survived appeals that reports claim should have been upheld on review, however, they could not be overturned on those occasions because Australia had already used its two referrals (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson said in Melbourne on Tuesday that the prospect of teams having more than two failed challenges per innings had been subject to ''a lot of informal discussion'' that had been ''triggered by the Ashes and the events in the first two Test matches''.  He indicated that he expected "more formal" discussions on that subject would occur at "meetings coming up in September and October", but that despite on-going controversies "scrapping or even paring back the Umpire Decision Review System" (UDRS) was not an option, even though the Board of Control for Cricket in India continues to oppose its use.

 

Richardson said that much of the controversy engulfing the UDRS was a result of the "emotion-charged atmosphere surrounding the Ashes", and reiterated his support for the system, for although "errors are always going to be made, UDRS corrects most of them" (PTG 1149-5562, 17 July 2013). He reiterated his confidence in two of the more contentious aspects of the system, 'Hot Spot' and ball-tracking technology, and argued teams needed to be more judicious in determining when to challenge to ensure they had at least one review in hand in case of a blunder.

 

Yesterday's 'Age' report suggests that one possibility is that teams could be given two additional challenges, perhaps in conjunction with the Playing Condition that calls allows new balls to be allowed after each 80 overs of an innings.

 

FIRST ICC NEUTRALS APPOINTMENT 

FOR AUSTRALIA'S FRY

[PTG 1159-5508]

 

Australian umpire Simon Fry is to stand in three second-tier internationals in Toronto over the next week, the first time the International Cricket Council (ICC) has given him an appointment to an overseas fixture.  Fry is to stand, starting today, in an Intercontinental Cup first class fixture between Canada and the United Arab Emirates with Mumbai-born but now United States based umpire Sameer Bandekar, then after that game finishes in two World Cricket League Division 1 One Day Internationals (ODI) between the two sides, David Jukes of England being the match referee.

 

Fry, 47, an Australian member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, has umpired overseas before during national board exchange visits, initially in a domestic first class game in New Zealand in late 2010, then in two similar matches in South Africa's first class competition five months later (PTG 719-3520, 22 January 2011), followed by another two in India last November (PTG 1023-4971, 27 November 2013). 

 

Adelaide-based Fry made his first class debut in January 2002, was appointed to Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel in 2005, and currently has sixty-four first class games to his credit, four of them being Sheffield Shield finals, plus fifty-eight List A matches, two of those domestic finals, and seven and four on-field in top-tier ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals respectively.  He was  awarded a year-long Australian national match officials scholarship in February 2011 (PTG 730-3588, 22 February 2011)

 

Bandekar, 48, stood in 62 first class matches, and a single top-tier ODI, on the sub-continent over a twenty year period up until January 2011.  Six months after jis last game there he stood in an ICC Americas regional tournament played in Florida, and in September last year in a WCL Division 4 series in Malaysia (PTG 986-4692, 31 August 2013).  Jukes is a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel who has travelled widely this year to oversee international tournaments (PTG 1155-5588, 25 July 2013). 

 

COURT CALLS BCCI IPL PROBE 

'ILLEGAL', 'UNCONSITUTIONAL'

[PTG 1159-5609]

 

The Bombay High Court ruled on Tuesday that a probe ordered by the country's cricket chiefs into an alleged betting scandal in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) was "illegal" and "unconstitutional".  The ruling from a court that retain's Mumbai's colonial name, comes just two days after a report prepared by a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) panel leaked to the media, found no wrongdoing by senior cricket officials or IPL owners over the scandal, including BCCI President Narayanaswami Srinivasan and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, both of whom have links to IPL franchises.

 

Two retired High Court judges were appointed by the BCCI in June to conduct the probe, an investigation that was separate from those being carried out by the Delhi and Mumbai police.  A petition was later lodged in the Bombay High Court against the BCCI-ordered probe, which cricket chiefs said last month would aim to clean up the sport in India, and Tuesday's ruling was the court's judgement on that submission. 

 

The BCCI's interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who is working in that role because Srinivasan stood aside pending his organisation's enquiry's outcome, is said by some reports to be due to place the report, which has yet to be released publicly, before a meeting of the IPL's governing council scheduled for New Delhi tomorrow.  However, other reports quote BCCI officials as saying that they have yet to see the report from the two retired judges.

 

Tomorrow's Board meeting will, say yet other media articles, finalise its decision on the report into alleged IPL corruption prepared by its Anti-Corruption and Security unit chief Ravi Sawani (PTG 1122-5453, 11 June 2013).  Earlier this week Delhi police named three IPL players and thirty-six other people in the 6,000 page formal charge sheet it has prepared for the IPL spot-fixing case (PTG 1158-5604, 31 July 2013).

 

Another item known to be on the Board's agenda this week is a proposal to make sixty the retirement age for match referees in BCCI domestic fixtures (PTG 1143-5539, 9 July 2013).

 

UMPIRES NAMED FOR WOMEN'S 

ASHES TEST, ONE DAYERS 

[PTG 1159-5610]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has named sixteen umpires, five of them either present or former members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel, to manage this month's seven-match women's Ashes series.  The tour will open with a four-day Test match, then there will be three One Day Internationals (ODI), the first at Lord's and the last two in Hove, before the tour ends with three televised Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) at the end of the month. 

 

Mark Benson and Mike Burns from the ECB's top 'Full' and second-tier 'Reserve' panels respectively, will be as the umpires for the Test which is to start in Wormsley, Buckinghamshire, on Sunday week.  Benson, a former member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), stood in a single women's Test back in 2003 prior to his career with the EUP, while for Burns, who like his colleague is a former first class player, it will be his first international.

 

The ODIs will be looked after by Full panel members Martin Bodenham, Peter Harley, Jeremy Lloyds, Steve O'Shaugnessy, and Ian Gould who is also an ICC EUP member, plus Ismail Dawood from the ECB's Reserve panel.  Bodenham and Hartley have each stood in four women's ODIs to date, O'Shaugnessy two, and Dawood, Gould and Loyds one each.  The T20Is will see two other current EUP members, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, plus their ECB Full List colleagues Rob Bailey, Nick Cook, Michael Gough, Neil Mallender, Davis Millns and Tim Robinson, all in action, Bailey, Gough and Mallender working as third umpires in the televised games.  Mallender had a brief, but in game terms unfulfilled, stint on the EUP last decade.

 

Points accrued across the seven matches will decide the winner of the women's version of the Ashes, with six being available for a win in the Test, and two for a victory in each of the other six games (PTG 1104-5381, 16 May 2013).  

 

PATTERSON NAMED NEW VICTORIAN SDU 

[PTG 1159-5611]

 

Former first class umpire Richard Patterson is reported to have been appointed as the State Director of Umpires (SDU) in Victoria, replacing long-serving Bob Parry who is now Cricket Australia's Umpire Educator (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013).  Patterson, 47, stood in twenty-two first class matches in the period from 1999-2004, a time when he worked as the third umpire in a Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, then fell out of favour with the selectors.  He resumed his higher-level career several years ago, and he is currently thought to be a contender for a position on Cricket Australia's National Umpires Panel (PTG 1131-5493, 26 June 2013).

 

'NEUTRAL' 'HOT SPOT' OPERATORS NEXT? 

[PTG 1159-5612]

 

Warren Brennan, the Managing Director of the Australian company BBG Sports which markets 'Hot Spot' technology, says that "accusations of bias" made against the operators of that system when English batsman Jonathan Trott was dismissed in the opening Ashes Test earlier this month are completely unfounded.  Trott was given out leg-before by the third umpire on review after on-field umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan ruled him 'not out' as he had got an inside edge to the ball.  

 

Brennan said the two people operating his system that day were not Australian but were in fact both English and that "a procedural error that will not happen again" was involved.  He says he suspects though "that going forward ['Hot Spot' operators], like the umpires, will have to be country neutral" in such games.

  PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,160
Friday, 2 August 2013


CA SEEKS EXPLANATION FROM ICC

ON OLD TRAFFORD UMPIRING DECISION

[PTG 1160-5613]

 

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has sent a "please-explain" to the International Cricket Council over an umpiring decision that saw Australian batsman Usman Khawaja given out caught at the wicket on the first day of the third Test at Old Trafford overnight.  Sunderland says in his request, which was issued after play, that "in our view, the on-field decision and referred decision using [the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) were both incorrect".

 

On-field umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand gave Khawaja out believing the batsman had edged a ball from off-spinner Graeme Swann to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.  Khawaja asked for the decision to be reviewed, but, despite 'Hot Spot' technology appearing to back the batsman's apparent view that he had not touched the ball, third umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka upheld Hill's call, possibly on the basis of a sound on the stump microphone.  A newspaper report last week claimed that umpires at Hill and Dharmasena's level do not trust 'Hot Spot', and the company that provides that technology saying it does not always pick up small nicks (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013). 

 

Sutherland's request says that "We understand and accept that from time to time mistakes can be made, however in this instance, on behalf of the player, the team and all cricket fans, we feel duty bound to seek further explanation as to how this decision was arrived at".  Media reports used words such as "mystifying" and "maddening" to describe the incident and the Australian Prime Minister, a noted self publicist who is facing an election soon, went to 'Twitter' to call the decision "one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen".  

 

LLONG BROUGHT IN TO 

CONDUCT THIRD UMPIRE TRIAL 

[PTG 1160-5614]

 

English umpire Nigel Llong is conducting the trial of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new third umpire system during the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford, a task that is being carried out separately from the normal work being undertaken by the game's third umpire, Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka.  News of the trial was announced by ICC chief executive David Richardson two weeks ago following a series of Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) related controversies during the first and second Tests, and at that stage it appeared Dhamasena would be conducting the work involved (PTG 1152-5576, 20 July 2013). 

 

During the initial trial in the current Test, Dharmasena is the official third umpire and reliant on replays he requests from, and are provided by, host broadcaster 'Sky'.  It will be Dharmasena's calls from the normal "sealed" third umpire room up in the stand that will be used by on-field umpires Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Tony Hill of New Zealand in deciding any appeals about which referrals are requested.  Erasmus and Hill were the third umpires in the first and second Tests respectively.

 

Llong, a member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) who will be located in a specially equipped van located in Old Trafford's car park, will have the ability to directly select his own replays from a large screen that offers the full range of data, including that from 'Hot Spot' and 'Hawk-Eye'.  The ICC hopes the trial will eventually lead to third umpires being able to make their judgements more quickly than at present without the danger that some replays not being available because the host broadcaster has a different focus at the time (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).

 

Despite that Llong will have no authority to decide on any incident that occurs in the match, and in the words of a report in 'The Guardian' yesterday, any 'decisions' he makes "are unlikely to become known beyond the confines of his truck" during the game, but they will be subject to study afterwards.  That's because in the words of Richardson, work on the new approach is only "at the drawing board stage", however, what Llong experienced in last night's Usman Khawaja decision at Old Trafford may well see the light of day (PTG 1160-5613 above).

 

Yesterday morning's 'Guardian' report also said that "there is also a growing move behind the scenes for members of the [EUP] to receive more training and practice in their use of all the rapidly developing technology, which could lead to the development of specialist third umpires".  Third umpire assessments have been queried since the UDRS was introduced in 2008 (PTG 379-2018, 3 March 2009).  "But at this stage", continues the 'Guardian', "there seems no prospect of cricket following the example of the two rugby codes by requiring the third umpire to explain his choice and use of replays, and therefore his decisions, on air".

 

Other UDRS issues raised over the last few days include work to 'marry' data from 'Hot Spot' and a new, much quicker, 'Snickometer' system (PTG  1158-5602, 31 July 2013), and that the ICC is considering allowing teams more than two failed UDRS referrals (PTG 1159-5607, 1 August 2013). 

 

WINDIES OFFICIALS TO 

THE FORE IN CPL 

[PTG 1160-5615]

 

Only three games of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) series have been played to date, but if the early trend continues it would appear the competition is to be managed mainly by West Indian match officials.   Former International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, and former ICC match referee Mike Proctor of South African are part of the four-man match officials group currently operating in Barbados (PTG 1158-5601, 31 July 2013), however, Caribbean residents make up the second officials quartet in Guyana. 

 

The group in Barbados at the moment consists of Bowden and Barbados-based Gregory Brathwaite, Leslie Reifer and Kevin Sisnett, and across in Guyana the umpires are Peter Nero and Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyanese Colin Alfred and Gynandad Sukhdeo, plus Nero and Wilson's countryman Hayden Bruce as the match referee.  

 

Brathwaite, Nero, Reifer and Wilson are members of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012), and Alfred and Sukhdeo the WICB's Emerging Umpires Panel (EUP), but just where Sisnett fits in is not clear at this stage.  Nero and Wilson are also on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel and Brathwaite one of the two West Indian third umpires on that group.

 

CPL games have been organised into three separate sets of seven matches each, the first spread between Barbados and Guyana as at the moment, 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).  That suggests other WICB SUP and EUP members will be brought in for games over the remaining twenty-one games of the tournament.  

 

All-up prize money available to teams and players over the four-week CPL event totals close to $A900,000.  Each of the twenty-one 21 preliminary matches have $A25,000 on offer or $A525,000 in total for the winner, while the semi-finalists will be playing for a winner-take-all final worth $A250,000.  In addition, all twenty-four games will see $A1,000 available for the 'Man of the Match', $A500 each game for the batsman who hits the most sixes, a 'Catch of the Match' award, and a chance to win an around the world trip for two if a player "hits balls high into the sky" and strikes an airline  sponsor's balloon positioned over the stadium.  

 

ICC NAMES SOUTH AFRICAN FOR 

NAMIBIA-AFGHANSTAN MATCHES

[PTG 1160-5616]

 

Adrian Holdstock, South Africa's third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, is to stand in three matches in Nambia over the next week between the home side and Afghanistan, his first ICC appointment since 2007.  Holdstock, 43, is to stand with Namibian member of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel Andrew Louw, 52, in an Intercontinental Cup first class match between the two sides, then when they play two One Day Internationals as part of the World Cricket League's Division 1 tournament.  The pair will work under match referee Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka from the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.

 

PLAYER-UMPIRE ALLEGEDLY 

ASSAULT POST-MATCH

[PTG 1160-5617]

 

A player who gave one of his team mates 'not out' while he was taking turns as an umpire in a Two Counties Cricket Championship (TCCC) eighth division match in Suffolk last Saturday was allegedly assaulted by members of the opposing side after the match, say media reports from East Anglia.  The tone of the match is said to have turned "hostile" after Neal Manning, 70, from Ipswich's fourth team, made his call in a game in the village of Stradbroke, the batsman concerned going on to add 72 runs to help his side win the fixture.

 

Manning, who said the league was aimed at “players who have seen better days", told a reporter there was animosity after the game and that his side, which won the match, refused to have a "customary drink with their hosts".  He says he was "confronted" by players from the home side in the car park and that they accused him of "cheating for his side".  Manning claims that "following a heated exchange" he turned to leave but was pushed over from behind, fell to the floor and was left with grazes to his arm, leg and shoulder.

 

Stradbroke's captain Richard Pierce-Saunderson was quoted as saying that "as far as I’m concerned both clubs have investigated the matter, and the issue has been resolved".  Despite that a TCCC spokesman confirmed an initial report has been submitted about the alleged incident and as per local rules both of the clubs now have to submit a full report to the league within seven days, after which a disciplinary committee "will make a judgement" on the matter.

  PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,161
Saturday, 3 August 2013

FIVE YEARS ON USE OF 'SPECIALIST 

TV UMPIRES' AGAIN RAISED

[PTG 1161-5618]

 

"Specialist technology umpires are likely" to make third umpire decisions in future Tests, according to English television commentator David Lloyd, who is also a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) umpire selection group and is therefore likely to be across such issues.  Lloyd made the comment after Australian batsman Usman Khawaja was given out controversially on the first day of the third Test at Old Trafford on Thursday, a decision that led Cricket Australia to send a "please explain" to the ICC (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013).

 

One of Lloyd's commentator colleagues, former England captain Ian Botham, expressed the view that "the Khawaja decision was a 'howler' and that's what the UDRS [Umpire Decision Review System] is there for, but [it] cannot dictate how the bloke who is using it interprets it so maybe we need to get a specialist third umpire in who knows what the machines are doing because the machines are there to help not hinder".

 

While the concept of such "specialists" may be new to some watching the game today, such ideas were around before the ICC conducted the first UDRS trial five years ago.  David Richardson, the world body's then General Manager (Cricket) and now its Chief Executive Officer, who has been the main driving force behind the introduction of technology into the sport, said while watching the first ever UDRS-supported Test in July 2008, that there may be a case for recalling some "more experienced umpires" to be specialist television officials (PTG 284-1507, 24 July 2008).  

 

Richardson told the media then that he was confident that the review system would work well on a long-term basis, although he indicated that it will probably "take time to satisfactorily bed the system down".  His view at the time was that "most umpires", presumably a reference to the twelve on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, were in favour of the system, for its prime purpose was to "eradicate obvious mistakes".

 

Almost exactly a year after Richardson made that comment, the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) called for what it called a "specialist TV umpire panel" be set up to work in matches where the UDRS was in operation, a move it said was needed to ensure those involved "are comfortable in using the required technology".  The WCC said the skills required by the third umpire in such games "are not necessarily the same as those of the on-field umpires" and that "training of umpires and players" involved in UDRS matches "is crucial [and that] all parties must be fully briefed on the correct procedures" that need to be used (PTG 457-2374, 16 July 2009).  

 

Ten days ago Simon Taufel, the ICC's first-ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager, said while presenting this year's Marylebone Cricket Club Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' oration at Lord's, that there is a need for Test playing countries to invest more time and resources into producing umpires of the highest quality (PTG 1156-5591, 26 July 2013).  Afterwards when talking to the press, he referred specifically to third umpires saying that "we expect [them] 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".

 

A few days prior to Taufel's MCC lecture Richardson announced a trial would be conducted during the Old Trafford Test of what is hoped will be an approach that will enable third umpires to have quicker, more reliable access to UDRS data, a move he said might eventually enable the television umpires to override his on-field colleague's decisions (PTG 1152-5576, 20 July 2013).  That initial trial is being conducted during the current Test by ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Nigel Llong (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013).

 

ICC REJECTED NEUTRAL UMPIRES 

APPROACH, SAYS CA OPS MANAGER

[PTG 1161-5619]

 

Sean Cary, Cricket Australia's (CA) senior manager of Cricket Operations and up until last year its Umpire Manager (PTG 961-4675, 13 July 2013), told ABC Radio yesterday that CA had asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reconsider its neutral umpire rule.  Cary, a former first class player who worked as the country's Umpire Manager for just over two years, did not indicate just when that request was made to the ICC.

 

During a short interview whose focus was on the controversy surrounding the dismissal of Australian batsman Usman Khawaja in an Ashes Test the night before, something Cary said "wasn't a great decision" (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013), he mentioned a scenario, which was presumably put to the ICC by CA, whereby two countries playing each other could, if they both agree, be allowed to have an umpire from each country officiating in games.  He said though that so far the world body had said "no" to such a change and therefore "we're going to [continue] with the neutral policy in the medium term".

 

On Thursday, Australian Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh called on the ICC to invest more money to improve technology and said it's time the governing body re-evaluated its neutral umpires policy.  Marsh, who remains a "fan" of technology, said it was not to blame for the latest controversy and "a massive human error" was involved.  In his view third umpire Kumar Dharmasena, the third umpire in the Old Trafford Test who is also ICC's current 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), "deserved to be axed from the next Test for making such a big mistake".  Dharmasena is currently listed to stand in the fifth Test at The Oval with Pakistan's Aleem Dar (PTG 1139-5521, 4 July 2013).

 

Writing in yesterday's London 'Daily Telegraph', former England captain Michael Vaughan said the current Ashes series has proved "we need the best umpires standing in the big matches regardless of nationality".  "There are so many cameras at grounds", he says, "it would be impossible for the umpires to get away with being biased, so have the best officials even if they are English or Australian".

 

Given the limited number of neutral umpires on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) who can work in Ashes Tests (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013), "axing" of Dharmasena, as suggested by Marsh, would leave only three EUP neutrals left for the remaining seven Ashes Tests between now and next January.  Cary said that "there is the option for the ICC to bring in umpires from the next tier, the International [Umpires] Panel [IUP], but you select [EUP members] to officiate in the highest profile Test series so I think we are going to have to get used to the four [neutral EUP] umpires that are available to us currently". 

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson spoke of the need to consider the neutral umpires issue two weeks ago, at the same time saying that "twenty-six" neutrals from the IUP are also in the Test selection mix (PTG 1151-5575, 19 July 2013).  If that comment is his real assessment of the situation that currently exists he would appear to be well out of touch, for the ICC's own appointments patterns show that at best only a very limited number of that group are ready now for appointment to an Ashes series (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013). 

 

FEMALE UMPIRE APPOINTED TO 

MAIN WT20 QUALIFIER FINALS 

[PTG 1161-5620]

 

Kathy Cross of New Zealand and Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid of Bangladesh stood in both the first versus second, and third versus fourth deciders in the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier event in Dublin on Thursday (PTG 1150-5572, 18 July 2013).  The latter match between Ireland and the Netherlands, which had to be moved to the reserve day because of the weather, was played to a result, however, the former between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was unfortunately abandoned without a ball being bowled.

 

Finals games for those who ended up in the second half of the competition after group stage matches were completed saw Cross' countryman Gary Baxter and Nigel Duguid of the West Indies appointed to both the Thailand-Zimbabwe final and the Canada-Japan game for third place.  The latter game was abandoned because of the weather, while the former was decided using the Duckworth-Lewis method after only seven overs could be bowled in the second innings of the match. 

 

NEWSPAPER'S WINDIES-PAKISTAN 'SUSPICIOUS' 

'IRREGULARITIES' CLAIM REJECTED

[PTG 1161-5621]

 

Claims by the British newspaper 'The Mail on Sunday' that an "official" from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had suggested there were "suspicions" about irregularities in the recent One Day International (ODI) series between the West Indies and Pakistan have been rejected by the ECB.  Earlier this week Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials described the paper's allegations match-fixing was involved "outrageous" and asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to conduct a "full investigation" into the matter (PTG 1158-5605, 31 July 2013).  

 

The ECB is reported to have formally assured the PCB that it has voiced no such suspicions, saying the comments attributed to the "official" were a "misrepresentation" and that it (the ECB) had not recommended to the ICC that the series should be investigated. That resulted in the PCB issuing a statement saying it had "received assurance from the ECB [it] has not passed any judgment on Pakistan Cricket and that the ECB has not suggested that there was anything to be concerned about during the [ODI] series".

 

GOA POLICE AGAIN ARREST 

CRICKET FOCUSSED BOOKMAKERS

[PTG 1161-5622]

 

Police in the Indian state of Goa arrested Mumbai-based bookmakers on Wednesday for betting activities during the fifth One Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and South Africa that was played in Colombo that day.  Local media reports say that three of the bookies, Hitesh Jatakia, Sunil Shukla and Hitesh Desai, were staying at a Goa hotel for the entire five-match ODI series.  During the police raid a laptop, more than sixteen mobile phones and some cash are said to have been recovered.  In May, following a tip-off from their Delhi counterparts, Goa police arrested six bookmakers for betting on Indian Premier League matches.

 

CLUB HOPEFUL OF GAME

DESPITE PITCH FIRE

[PTG 1161-5623]

 

The pitch at Dunmurry Cricket Club on the outskirts of Belfast was set alight by vandals on Monday evening in what was the latest in a number of anti-social incidents that have occurred there over the past three years.  The club was forced to close its clubhouse recently after five break-ins carried out by "thieves and groups of youths" who the 'Ulster Star' said yesterday had "used the premises as a drug den" since late 2009. 

 

Club captain Gavin Irwin told the 'Star' that in that time the club’s ride-on lawnmower was destroyed in an arson attack and the cricket pitch has been vandalised on numerous occasions by fires, broken glass, bottles, corrosive liquid, motorbikes and cars.  “The [clubhouse] is completely unusable [and it is] estimated the repair bill to make the building safe to use again will run to tens of thousands of pounds". 

 

Irwin said he did not believe that one single element or group was to blame for the situation, but rather it was the work of opportunistic thieves and youths bent on carrying out acts of criminal damage.  "Cricket is seen as being associated with the British so there has been a sectarian element", he said, "but it has just been an element as we are a cross-community club with Protestant and Catholic members, [and] we also have a number of players from the Indian community".

 

Despite the devastation Irwin said “We have a fixture on Saturday and we will be out to ensure the pitch will be match-ready".  "It takes up to forty hours of work to get a pitch ready for a match in normal circumstances, so [the fire] will only add to it but I’ve been heartened by the support we have received from the community and the cricket fraternity". 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,162
Monday, 5 August 2013


ICC DISCUSSING UDRS 'COMPROMISE' 

WITH BCCI, CLAIM REPORTS

[PTG 1162-5624]

 

Reports from the UK claim the International Cricket Council (ICC) has offered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) a "compromise solution" in a bid to persuade them to accept the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and thus allow its adoption across the international calendar.  The BCCI has regularly criticised the UDRS since its team had a bad experience when it was first trialled five years ago (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008), however, articles on the 'Cricinfo' web site and in yesterday's edition of the London 'Daily Telegraph' claim India's attitude "has softened" and its concerns are now centred on the "number of reviews in each innings", rather "than the technology".  

 

News that the BCCI may be prepared to compromise have surfaced more than once before to no avail.  The latest claims are particularly surprising, not only because of the BCCI's strong and consistent policy position over time, but because of the UDRS-related controversies that have been part of the first three Tests of the current Ashes series, one of which led to Cricket Australia (CA) sending a "please explain" to the ICC (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013).  

 

As far as it is known the ICC has yet to reply to CA's request, but the 'Cricinfo' story says that while the world body hs "accepted there have been problems during the Ashes", their view is that the issues have been "caused more by failures in protocols or human error than problems with the technology".

 

The 'Telegraph' article says that "negotiations" between the ICC and BCCI "are believed to be progressing" "over tweaks to the system which the Indian board will accept".  It states that the BCCI "would accept UDRS on the basis that teams can have unlimited reviews rather than the two currently allowed", but the ICC's view is that such a wholesale change "would slow down the plodding pace of Test over rates beyond a reasonable level", 'Cricinfo' adding that it would also "encourage [even more] speculative use of the system" by players. 

 

As a result, claims the 'Telegraph',  the compromise currently on the table would see a side not lose a review if its appeal only failed on the basis of "umpire's call" a situation that gives on-field officials the benefit of the doubt in marginal decisions.  The success of the third umpire trial currently being undertaken at Old Trafford during the third Ashes Test is also said to be important to acceptance of the overall system (PTG 1162-5625 below).  

 

Some reports claim that given BCCI chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan is continuing to stand aside from that position while the organisation looked into allegations of Indian Premier League spot fixing issues (PTG 1159-5609, 1 August 2013), progress may be made on the UDRS issue.  When approached by 'Cricinfo' the BCCI declined to comment, but a spokesman is said to have confirmed they had been in discussions with the ICC over the issue "for a while".  

 

Last Wednesday, 'The Age' newspaper in Melbourne reported ICC chief executive David Richardson as saying that giving teams more than two failed decision referrals had been the subject to ''a lot of informal discussion'' recently, and the issue would be considered further in "meetings coming up in September and October" (PTG 1159-5607, 1 August 2013).  That article suggested two reviews could be allowed in conjunction with the introduction of new balls each eighty overs throughout an innings.

 

The 'Cricinfo' report also says that ICC has "sponsored testing of various ball-tracking methods in recent times", the results of which "generally vindicating faith in the system".  That appears to be a reference to a study of 'Hawk Eye' and 'Virtual Eye' systems undertaken by Dr Edward Rosten, a former Cambridge University lecturer and an expert in computer vision systems.  

 

Rosten's 'provisional' report of that work was provided to the ICC's Cricket Committee fifteen months ago and was said to have obtained results that were in "100 per cent agreement" with the data provided by the ball tracking system in real-time, however, his analysis only involved a detailed examination of fourteen Test match "situations" (PTG 943-4584, 2 June 2012).  At that time it appeared further studies of the technology were planned, however, if they have the ICC is yet to publicly release the results.

 

LLONG SAID TO BE 'POSITIVE' ABOUT INITIAL 

DAYS OF THIRD UMPIRE TRIAL

[PTG 1162-5625]

 

English umpire Nigel Llong, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, is said by press reports to be "positive" about the results he has seen over the first two days of the trial he is conducting into improvements to the way third umpires are able to receive and examine information from Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) sensors.  Plans for the trial during the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford, which involves Llong using sixteen split-screens on two monitors, were announced by ICC chief executive David Richardson two weeks ago following a series of UDRS-related controversies during the first and second Tests of the series (PTG 1152-5576, 20 July 2013). 

 

A report in 'The Guardian' newspaper yesterday claims that Llong "has been impressed" by the extra speed and flexibility involved now that he has the power to select his own replays, rather than obtain them via requests to the director of the television broadcast (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013).  However, what are described as "insiders" are said to concede that despite that there "should not be any major impact on [the] accuracy" of the judgements a third umpire can make using the new arrangement, "as the pictures remain the same" as are seen via the television director.  

 

The ICC is reported to be of the view that UDRS problems of the last few weeks have been "caused more by failures in protocols or human error than problems with the technology" (PTG 1165-5624 above).  Simon Taufel, the ICC's first-ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager, said in reference to third umpires two weeks ago that "we expect [them] 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" (PTG 1156-5591, 26 July 2013).  Over the last few days others have revived the concept of "specialist TV umpires" (PTG 1161-5618, 3 August 2013).

 

MORE TALK ABOUT BOWDEN'S 

INTERNATIONAL 'RETURN' 

[PTG 1162-5626]

 

"England" are said to be "ready to welcome back eccentric New Zealand [umpire] 'Billy' Bowden" if it allows what 'The Guardian' newspaper yesterday called "the four over-stretched and error-prone [neutral umpires]" from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) "to be taken out of the firing line during the next seven [Ashes] Tests" (PTG 1139-5521, 3 July 2013).  Bowden, who is currently in the West Indies on a Caribbean Premier League contract (PTG 1158-5601, 31 July 2013), was dropped from the EUP in June after ten years because of what the ICC said were "performance [issues] over the last twelve months" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).   

 

Bringing back Bowden, who ICC chief executive David Richardson described last month as the EUP's "thirteenth man" (PTG 1151-5575, 19 July 2013), is said by 'The Guardian' to be preferred by "England" over "the alternative suggestion of allowing their own or Australian umpires to stand".  Late last week  Sean Cary, Cricket Australia's (CA) senior manager of Cricket Operations, said that the ICC had rejected a request that two countries playing each be allowed, if they both agree, to have an umpire from each country officiating in games (PTG 1161-5619, 3 August 2013).  "England" is said to argue that the introduction of neutral umpires has been a "major step forward" for the game over the past decade. 

 

Last month there were reports that Australian and English cricket authorities had expressed "grave concerns" to the ICC over the "lack of neutral umpires" given that eight of the twelve EUP members were from either Australia and England, the only neutrals on the panel being Pakistan's Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, South African Marais Erasmus, and Tony Hill of New Zealand (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013).  Second-tier International Umpire Panel members were suggested by Richardson as providing additional cover, but in reality the ICC's current Ashes Test calibre umpires 'cupboard' appears bare, hence "England's" suggestion Bowden could join his former EUP colleagues during the five Tests in Australia this austral summer.

 

On the other hand former England player Geoff Boycott believes the current 'neutral' umpires are "not up to the job" and has called on the ICC to do a "U-turn" over its policy.  Boycott says that the fault is not with the UDRS and the ICC needs to "get some new ones in quick", although he did not explain just where from.  Former England captain Bob Willis agreed saying it "now makes sense to ditch the neutral umpires and get in English and Australian ones". 

 

Given the overall issue, 'The Guardian' article continues by saying that England and Australia "will offer the ICC full support in fast-tracking the development of officials from other countries, even if that involves allowing overseas umpires to stand in domestic first-class fixtures, the County Championship or the Sheffield Shield".  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.  An Indian umpire stood in the Sheffield Shield for the first time late last year, and others from that country as well as the West Indies, have visited England on exchange over the last few years, although the Caribbean group have only been given what have been called "second-tier" first class games. 

 

Simon Taufel, the ICC's first ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager, has called for more resources to be provided to support the development of match officials from those and other nations for higher-level games (PTG 1156-5591, 26 July 2013). 

 

RAUF REPORTED TO HAVE RETIRED 

FROM 'ALL FORMS' OF UMPIRING

[PTG 1162-5627]

 

Former Pakistan international umpire Asad Rauf has retired from "all forms of umpiring duties due to personal commitments", according to a report posted on the web site of the Karachi newspaper the 'Express' on Saturday.  Lahore-based Rauf, 57, who made his umpiring debut at first class level in October 1998, was quoted in the report as saying that "being an international or domestic umpire required constant travelling", and he now wanted to give "quality time to his ailing son, family and business", which is why he had decided to quit umpiring. 

 

In May, Rauf's name was linked by Indian police to bookmarkers allegedly involved in corruption associated with this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), a connection he denies, a situation that led the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand him down from the Champions Trophy in England (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013).  In late June the ICC then dropped him from its Elite Umpires Panel after a seven-year stint for what it said were performance not IPL-related reasons (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), then last month the Pakistan Cricket Board failed to nominate him as a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel for the 2013-14 year (PTG 1147-5553, 14 July 2013).


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,163
Wednesday, 7 August 2013


KHAWAJA OLD TRAFFORD DECISION 

'WRONG', SAYS TAUFEL

[PTG 1163-5628]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel told 'Fox Sports' in Sydney on Monday that third umpire Kumar Dharmasena's decision to uphold the on field decision by Tony Hill of New Zealand to give Australian batsman Usman Khawaja out caught in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford was wrong.  That decision led Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland to send a "please-explain" to the ICC (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013), but as yet there has been no public indication that the Dubai-based organisation has provided a response.

 

Sutherland's note included the comment that "in our view, the on-field decision and referred decision using [the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) were both incorrect".  In talking to 'Fox' Taufel said: "There were two noises that showed up on clean audio", "the third umpire made a judgement on what that noise was or where it came from, and I think it’s fair to say that that judgement wasn’t correct on this occasion".  He was keen to defend the umpires during the interview though, saying that "one thing people do focus on all the time is that when things don’t go their way that does raise more scrutiny in itself".  

 

Meanwhile, Hill's performance in the Test was defended by New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Umpire Manager Rodger McHarg In an interview he gave to Fairfax News.  "Umpires get singled out by technology with sixteen or eighteen cameras around the ground", he said, and that "It's a very demanding task being an umpire in a series like that, and I think Tony's been incredibly consistent".  He cited the case of Australian batsman David Warner using a referral when he'd clearly nicked the ball behind as an example of players "seeking to use the UDRS for means beyond its original intention".

 

Taufel stressed to 'Fox', as he did in delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club's Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture two weeks ago (PTG 1155-5586, 25 July 2013), that despite the criticism that has been levelled against the UDRS recently, technology will continue to play a vital role in the umpiring of international cricket.  "To simply bury our head in the sand and say no technology - we don’t have run outs, we don’t have stumpings – that’s not going to happen", and "we need to manage it and implement it in a way that adds value to our game and promotes the values within our game".  

 

In his view the presence of technology in cricket will only increase with time, and that "it gets better every year".  "There’s an argument to say we are on the bleeding edge of technology", said the five-time ICC 'Umpire of the Year', and he believes "that’s always going to be the case, but I think we have got to try and manage it and implement it as best as possible to give us more correct decisions where we can".

 

In another comment, McHarg said he wasn't aware of any plans by the ICC to bring back his countryman 'Billy' Bowden, who is currently umpiring in the Caribbean, for the Ashes series in Australia this austral summer (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013). "I spoke to 'Billy' on Friday night in Barbados and he is umpiring and doing what he likes doing [and] it's up to the ICC, if they want to appoint him somewhere they will do that and let me know in due course".  

 

McHarg does not appear to have been asked, or make comment on, whether NZC had nominated Bowden as a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2013-14 (PTG 1132-5494, 27 June 2013).  Since the ICC introduced its top Elite Umpires Panel and the IUP just over ten years ago no one from outside those groups has been appointed pre-match by the ICC to stand in a Test match, therefore given McHarg's apparent outlook it would surprise if Bowden has not been nominated as an IUP member.

 

FORMER INDIAN INTERNATIONAL

 UMPIRE DIES 

[PTG 1163-5629]

 

Indian umpire Des Raj, who was a member of the Ranji Trophy umpires panel for fifteen years from 1986-2001 and stood in a single One Day International in 1998, died of a heart attack in Pune on Sunday at the age of 69.  Raj was a member of the umpire's panel for the 1997 Women's World Cup in India, standing in two matches including the first semi-final between India and Australia, and he also stood in a Womens' Test between India and England in 2005.  After leaving umpiring he worked as a match referee for the Board of Control for Cricket in India until finally retiring in 2007.

 

THINGS TIGHT IN  COUNTRY WHERE 

BALLS COST $A200

[PTG 1163-5630]

 

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) president Peter Chingoka was quoted the 'Indian Express' newspaper yesterday as saying that the recently concluded home One Day International series against India has helped Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) financially, but the money earned as a result is "just a drop in the ocean" in a country where a 'Kookaburra' ball costs $A200.   

 

Chingoka, who has been accused of questionable financial practices in the past, said that ZC is "ailing" financially after reports were aired last week which suggested, not for the first time in recent years, that it did not have money to buy meals for the players during the five-match Indian series.  There have also been indications ZC's payment of its domestic umpires have often gone missing and that a considerable amount of money is owed to match officials.

 

UMPIRE OBJECTS TO ABUSE, 

ABANDONS GAME, DEPARTS

[PTG 1163-5631]

 

A Division one game between Dundrum and Carrickfergus in Ireland's Northern Cricket Union (NCU) division one competition was abandoned last Saturday when umpire Davy Gilliland apparently decided he'd been subjected to too much abuse and left the ground mid-match, says a story in yesterday's 'Belfast Telegraph'.  Gilliland has provided the NCU details of the match and reported Carrickfergus captain Iain Parkhill for abuse, and once the skipper provides his version of events a disciplinary panel will be convened.

 

Parkhill is said to have admitted to disagreeing with Gilliland's decision to give team-mate Mikey Taiaroa out LBW and he also "intervened" when the Dundrum wicket-keeper claimed a catch off another of his batsmen, however, the captain "insists that there was no abusive language involved".  The 'Telegraph' says that Gilliland told Parkhill when things came to a head: "I am not taking any more abuse, this match is abandoned", after which he walked off the field and out of the ground without further explanation.

 

It is not the first time that Gilliland has been involved in a controversial incident this season, for the 'Telegraph' report says he has reported players on at least four other occasions, including three in a game in May that was also played at Dundrum.  Following Gilliland's report on that occasion Waringstown wicket-keeper Johnny Bushe was suspended for three matches while captain Kyle McCallan and professional Obus Pienaar were reprimanded.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,164
Thursday, 8 August 2013

ICC DISMISS BAT TAPE ALLEGATIONS 

[PTG 1164-5632]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has dismissed reports linking it to any investigation of alleged attempts by players to “cheat” the effectiveness of 'Hot Spot' technology during the current Ashes series between England and Australia.  The ICC were responding to a report by Australia's Channel Nine television station that suggested players "could be investigated" for covering their bats with silicon tape to try and mask the heat-generated friction of 'nicks' that show up on 'Hot Spot', England batsman Kevin Pietersen being the only individual named.

 

Channel Nine's report yesterday said in part that "It is understood that silicone tape is applied to the edge of the bat, and concerns centre around Kevin Pietersen's dismissal in the second innings [of the third Ashes Test] in Manchester" last week.  Pietersen reviewed the decision of on-field umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand after being given out caught behind, and that verdict was upheld by third umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka on stump microphone audio evidence as no mark showed up on 'Hot Spot' images.

 

Channel Nine's report went on to say that "it is not just England under investigation [for] Nine News understands that Australian batsmen may also be using this method", and stated that ICC General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, had flown from the world body's headquarters in Dubai to Durham, the venue of the fourth Ashes Test, to investigate the matter.  

 

Pietersen said via 'Twitter' the claims made against him were "such horrible lies" and that "to suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicone infuriates me".  "How stupid would I be to try to hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal".  His employer, the England and Wales Cricket Board, is said to have asked for an "explanation and apology" from the broadcaster, while Australian captain Clarke said he had no knowledge of his players using the tape and he "didn't know you could hide nicking the ball on Hot Spot".

 

Two years ago this month Australian company BBG Sports, the provider of the 'Hot Spot' system, conducted tests to see whether their cameras could be tricked by the use of "artificial substances" on the edge of the bat.  The use of 'Vaseline', a brand of petroleum-based products used for skin care, was a talking point during the England-India Test at Trent Bridge at that time (PTG 807-3955, 2 August 2011), however, tests later showed a "ten millimetre thick" slab of 'Vaseline' on the bat would be needed for there "to be any chance" the cameras could be affected (PTG 809-3965, 4 August 2011).  

 

Late last night ICC chief executive David Richardson called the Australian broadcaster's report "totally incorrect" and said Allardice's visit to Durham "has nothing to do with any players" or their actions.  Rather, says the ICC, he is meeting with "both teams and umpires to see how we can best use [Umpire Decision Review System] and the available technology [during] the next two Test matches".  

 

Technology and its use has been at the centre of a number of controversies during the Ashes series to date, and the ICC has been reported as being of the view that the issues have been "caused more by failures in protocols or human error than problems with the technology" (PTG 1162-5624, 5 August 2013).  

 

BBG Sport's Warren Brennan said in 2011 that 'Hot Spot' was "90-95 per cent accurate, and made similar comments last week when he indicated combining data from newly developed almost instant 'Snicko'  technology with thermal imaging would lift the accuracy of the overall system (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).

 

MAKE MATCH-FIXING A CRIMINAL 

OFFENCE, SAYS RAJASTHAN SKIPPER

[PTG 1164-5633]

 

Former India skipper Rahul Dravid, who captained the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan franchise side embroiled in spot-fixing allegations this year, believes that fixing matches must be made a criminal offence in order to deter potential offenders.  Last week Delhi police named three players from the Rajasthan side, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, plus thirty-six other people, as the accused in its formal IPL spot-fixing case charge sheet (PTG 1158-5604, 31 July 2013).  

 

Dravid, who has been named as an expert witness in the case against the players involved, told reporters in New Delhi that educating players about the perils of match-fixing was not enough.  "People must see that there are consequences to your actions", he said, and administrators should work more closely with police to restore cricket's credibility.  In May, soon after the scandal broke, the Indian government's Law Minister announced plans to enact legislation to deal with "unfair practices" in sport "as soon as possible" (PTG 1111-5404, 27 May 2013).

 

Meanwhile, reports from Dhaka this morning say that  the International Cricket Council (ICC) is expected to submit their report on match-fixing in this year's Bangladesh Premier League to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) early next week.  BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters yesterday that a four-member delegation comprising ICC chief executive David Richardson, two members of its Anti Corruption and Security Unit and media and communication manager will arrive in Dhaka next Tuesday.

 

SLOW OVER-RATES COST T20 

SIDE EIGHTEEN RUNS 

[PTG 1164-5634]

 

Essex say it has addressed problems they have been experiencing with slow over-rates after receiving penalties totalling eighteen runs in Twenty20 games against Sussex and Hampshire over the last month.  As required by the competition's Playing Conditions the side were given a twelve-run penalty for a slow over-rate in a match against Sussex in early July, then two weeks ago a six-run penalty in a match against Hampshire.  

 

The side's Ravi Bopara told BBC Essex that "we thought it was a one-off against Sussex".  However, since the Hampshire game "we've addressed that problem and it's not going to happen again", and "if it does it's criminal and will need to be dealt with".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,165
Friday, 9 August 2013

 


EUP TRAINING TO FOCUS ON 'MORE 

CONSISTENT' TV UMPIRE INTERPRETATIONS

[PTG 1165-5635]

 

Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) General Manager Cricket, said yesterday that members of the world body's Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) will focus on ways third umpires can "more consistently" interpret Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) data during a seminar planned for next month.  Allardice made the comment after what he said were “very constructive” meetings with the teams and match officials ahead of today's fourth Ashes Test, and that all involved "reiterating their support" for the UDRS, and in particular the continued use of the 'Hot Spot' technology in the final two Tests of the series. 

 

Allardice is quoted in an ICC statement as saying that “We acknowledge that the UDRS has not performed as effectively during the past three Tests as it has in other series, and the purpose of my visit [to Durham] was to meet with the teams to listen to their feedback, and to identify potential improvements to the UDRS moving forward" (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).  “It was very encouraging to hear both teams reiterate their support for the [system]" and "some of the ideas suggested", which he did not elaborate on, "will be considered further by the ICC".

 

In relation to 'Hot Spot', which has featured in a number of controversies in the first three Tests and that some analysts have suggested should be discarded, Allardice described it as an "advanced technology that helps us to detect edges", and while "the majority of edges are detected by [it], there are occasions when a fine edge isn’t picked up", an assessment the company that provides it made as long as five years ago (PTG 809-3965, 4 August 2011).

 

“If there is no mark on 'Hot Spot'", continued Allardice, "the TV umpire can use replays from different angles to see whether the ball has deflected off the bat, and he can listen to the sound from the stump-microphone to determine whether the batsman has edged the ball".  "Either deflection or sound can be used by the TV umpire to make his final judgment", said the ICC manager, as has been the case on several occasions in the last few Tests (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013)  

 

The ICC's General Manager Cricket reiterated that his organisation is committed to improving UDRS performance, and referred to the trial conducted by EUP member Nigel Llong during the third Test at Old Trafford to determine whether the third umpire can be given access to replays much more efficiently than at present (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013).  He confirmed earlier reports feedback from the trial was "very positive" (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013), and said the ICC now needs to consider "how this technology could be most effectively used as part of the UDRS".

 

Former first class player Allardice, whose area of responsibility includes international referees and umpires, then went on to say that "an ongoing area of focus for the ICC is the training of our TV umpires".  "Several simulation activities have been conducted over the past twelve months and our [EUP] training seminar next month will include several activities aimed at delivering more consistent interpretations of the images and sounds provided to the TV umpire".

 

Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, indicated two weeks ago that "simulated based training exercises [for umpires] are the way forward", referring then to "skill development activities" such as "accurate ball-pitching judgment, height judgment from square leg, third umpire communication and decision making, and front foot 'no ball'" calls (PTG 1156-5592, 26 July 2013). 

 

Two years ago Taufel was reported to have developed what was called a pilot 'Third Umpire Accreditation' module on behalf of the ICC (PTG 786-3845, 1 July 2011), and Allardice's mention of "simulation activities" may refer to a more advanced version of that work.  Taufel, who this week said the decision by the third umpire to give Australian batsman Usman Khawaja out in the third Ashes Test was wrong (PTG 1163-5628, 7 August 2013), is known to have conducted a range of third umpire training exercises for Indian first class umpires when he was working an an umpire and umpire mentor during this year's Indian Premier League series (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013).

 

BCCI REITERATES ITS 'FOOLPROOF' 

REQUIREMENT FOR UDRS USE

[PTG 1165-5636]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will only accept the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) when it becomes "foolproof", says its interim President Jagmohan Dalmiya.  Reports from the UK earlier this week claimed the BCCI's attitude to the system had "softened" (PTG 1162-5624, 5 August 2013), but Dalmiya's comments yesterday have scotched such suggestions and indicate his board has not changed its opposition to the use of technology. 

 

India, together with Sri Lanka, were part of the first-ever Test series that featured the UDRS five years ago, however, the BCCI has regularly criticised the system since then after its team had a bad experience in those early games (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008).  Dalmiya, who was the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for three years in the late 1990s, told 'The Indian Express' newspaper that he's not convinced about the accuracy of UDRS systems and that "we will accept [it] when technology is foolproof [and] there's nothing in between".

 

In an echo of comments made over the last few years by BCCI President Narayanaswami Srinivasan, Dalmiya said "Let them come up with a system which is 100 per cent correct", before indicating he was not sure when the system would ever become perfect.  At the moment "the whole process is very complicated and confusing, and rather than solving the riddle, UDRS creates more confusion in its present form", he said.  The BCCI's view has not deterred the ICC for it has also made clear its on-going support for the system (PTG 1165-5635 above). 

 

Dalmiya is then reported to have gone on to state that "They couldn't fix the Duckworth-Lewis problem in fifteen years, [therefore] what guarantee do we have about an error-free UDRS?"  According to him "the Duckworth-Lewis method is beyond [the comprehension of] most players and administrators, let alone the common fans", and he is "still trying to figure out how a team total is increased on the basis of projection".

 

With Srinivasan sidelined at the moment by the controversies surrounding the Indian Premier League there was hope in some quarters Dalmiya and his board may take, as suggested by reports earlier this week, a more lenient approach to the UDRS issue (PTG 1123-5459, 13 June 2013).  However, Dalmiya told the 'Express' that India "was not isolated" in its opposition to the UDRS at the ICC's annual conference in London in late June, reports at the time claiming that the cost of operation of the system was of concern to some other nations (PTG 1138-5517, 3 July 2013).

 

Around the time Dalmiya was making his views known, half-a-world-away England coach Andy Flower was calling on the ICC to sort it out the problems that have been experienced with the UDRS in the first three Ashes Tests, describing the system's performance in those games as far from satisfactory.  

 

"There are very clear protocols to use and to stick to and some calm decision-making is needed [by match officials] over the next two Tests", said Flower, and his view is that improvements in both the way the technology is used, and the knowledge of those who use and apply its products, "could make a difference to getting better results" (PTG 1165-5635 above).  Reports have suggested that the ICC is of the view that Ashes Test problems have been caused more by failures in UDRS protocols or human error than with the technology itself (PTG 1162-5624, 5 August 2013).    

 

ECB 'THREATENING' CHANNEL NINE 

WITH 'FUTURE ACTION', CLAIMS REPORT 

[PTG 1165-5637]

 

The England Cricket and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reported by Fox Sports to have sent Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine a "legal letter" "threatening future action" unless it produces evidence to back its 'Hot Spot' cheating report or apologises in regard to the claims it made.  Channel Nine suggested in a report on Tuesday that players from both Australia and England "could be investigated" for covering their bats with silicon tape to try and mask the heat-generated friction of 'nicks' that normally show up on 'Hot Spot' (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).

 

The International Cricket Council has unilaterally dismissed claims in Nine's report (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013), and any link between them and the visit of Geoff Allardice, its General Manager Cricket, to England over the last few days for discussions with both teams and match officials, a journey that was made to look at Umpire Decision Review System issues (PTG 1165-5636 above).  Late last night a separate 'Fox' report said that the ECB "has received a reply from Nine saying the network is taking the complaint seriously and is investigating the basis of its report".

 

REPRESENTATIVE SELECTION CRITICISED 

AFTER PLAYER MISBEHAVES IN MATCH

[PTG 1165-5638]

 

Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association president George Francis has criticised the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) for naming all rounder Treadwell Gibbons Jr in its senior national training squad ahead of November’s World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates.  Bermuda's 'Royal Gazette' reported yesterday that Gibbons was involved in controversy in a match on the island last weekend, and Francis believes that his selection is inappropriate given his actions in that game.

 

During the match Gibbons is said to have stood his ground and challenged the umpire’s decision after being given out, then "angrily waved" his bat towards nearby fielders.  The 'Gazette' says he "had to be restrained" from confronting them by his own skipper and was escorted back to the pavilion where he was involved in a separate incident near the clubhouse.  A confrontation was only averted in the latter clash after police at the ground stepped in.

 

Francis, who was a certified West Indies Cricket Board umpire and in the past served on the International Cricket Council's Americas Elite Umpires Panel, says he was "appalled" to learn of Gibbons’ inclusion in the squad.  “This is the most despicable thing I’ve ever heard of in my lifetime", he said, before asking "what type of message are the [BCB] sending out?" Gibbons was not playing "in the mountains somewhere where nobody saw it, . . it happened in front of thousands of people and even [Bermuda's] Premier and Governor saw it" and "it was even shown on TV", said Francis.

 

The 'Gazette' says that "no disciplinary action has yet been taken against Gibbons who has a history of disciplinary run-ins".  His club St George’s said its needs to see the umpires’ report before considering what action to take, but nearly a week after the game it is said to still be waiting for their report.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,166
Saturday, 10 August 2013

 


'HOT SPOT' BOSS INDICATES SILICON TAPE 

'DULLING' CLAIMS ARE VALID

[PTG 1166-5639]

 

Warren Brennan, whose company BBG Sports provides 'Hot Spot' technology, raised concerns with the International Cricket Council (ICC) this week over the effect bat coatings have on the ability of his thermal imaging equipment to detect edges, says a 'Cricinfo' report published yesterday.  Australian broadcaster Channel Nine reported this week that players "could be investigated" for covering their bats with silicon tape to try and mask the heat-generated friction of 'nicks' that show up on 'Hot Spot', a claim the ICC dismissed (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).

 

Brennan has so far declined to comment about the issue, but Geoff Allardice the ICC's General Manager Cricket told 'Cricinfo' journalist Brydon Coverdale that he met the BBG Sports chief in Melbourne Friday week ago, and that the 'Hot Spot' man had raised concerns about the tape issue with him in an e-mail sent last Monday.   Brennan sent a 'tweet' to former England captain Michael Vaughan the same day that said: "Michael, it's time you investigate why players are using fibreglass tape on the edges of their bats".  Vaughan later said he believed 'Hot Spot' should be removed from the Ashes UDRS package.   

 

Allardice went on to say that Brennan's e-mail suggested that BBG Sports had "looked at some [video] clips and that coatings on the bat might have been dulling down the 'Hot Spot' mark", and that he later indicated that "he was intending to make a media statement" about the findings.  "It's his company, his product, he's free to say whatever he likes in the media", said Allardice, although "he was warned against suggesting players were deliberately trying to cheat the system".  Inspections of bats carried out in Tests over the last three years indicate all have complied with the Laws of Cricket (PTG 1166-5640 below).  

 

Brennan is yet to release a statement on the issue, but Nine's report claimed testing showed a second layer of silicon tape on a bat had a dulling effect on 'Hot Spot' signatures when a batsman gets only a small feather on a ball.  On Wednesday the ICC denied that Allardice had travelled to Durham to meet with team management officials from both England and Australia over Nine's 'Hot Spot' masking claims, but rather to discuss issues related to overall Umpire Decision Review System operations, announcing afterwards that 'Hot Spot' will continue to be used in Ashes Tests four and five (PTG 1165-5635, 9 August 2013).  

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board have asked Channel Nine to produce evidence of its claims, reportedly threatening legal action if its doesn't do that or apologise (PTG 1165-5637, 9 August 2013), but it would now appear the broadcaster's information may well have come from Brennan himself. 

 

A report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' today says that the ICC will decide whether 'Hot Spot' technology remains in place for the return Ashes series in Australia and that it and the UDRS as a whole "will be high on the agenda [of its] chief executives' committee next month".  That committee is expected to make a recommendation to the ICC board, which has the power to decide whether 'Hot Spot' remains in use as part of the referral system.  A Cricket Australia spokesman is quoted as saying that "our intention is for UDRS to remain an important part of decision making in future seasons".

 

INSPECTIONS SHOW BATS IN 

TESTS COMPLY WITH LAWS 

[PTG 1166-5640]

 

No international batsman has failed a bat inspection for using silicon tape that some reports this week claim has been used to "cheat" 'Hot Spot' technology (PTG 1166-5439 above), according to International Cricket Council Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel.  Speaking during a 'live chat' with News Corp Australia websites yesterday, Taufel said fourth umpires had been conducting around a dozen random bat inspections in every Test played over the last three years, and not once had one had a problem that goes against the game's Laws been discovered, although "we do, from time to time see breaches of logos and advertising".  

 

Law 6 talks about what materials can be used to make a bat as well the maximum length and width that is permissible, and also says that "minimal adhesives or adhesive tape" can be used for their "protection and repair", provided that they "don't cause unacceptable damage to the ball".  Appendix E of the Laws states that one millimetre is the maximum thickness of such covering that is permitted on blades. 

 

NOT ENOUGH TESTING OF UDRS TECHNOLOGY, 

CLAIMS 'HAWK-EYE' INVENTOR 

[PTG 1166-5641]

 

Paul Hawkins, who in 2001 invented 'Hawk-Eye' ball tracking technology, claimed on Thursday that problems with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), and especially 'Hot Spot', have occurred because cricket did not carry out the necessary level of testing.  Hawkins' former company, which is now owned by Sony, has produced systems for tennis, cricket and football, but according to him "cricket hasn’t done as much testing as other sports", and that the approach that has been taken is such the work needed has been undertaken "in live conditions".  

 

Hawkins said that a quick and easy improvement to the 'Hot Spot' tape dulling issue that would "work at all levels of cricket" would be for batsmen to be obliged to have tape on the sides of their bats which "showed up when the ball had caught an edge".  "I would insist that all batsmen have micro-pore tape, durable and transparent, and there is an inside edge onto the pad the batsman can show it to the umpire and say I am not LBW", an approach he called "practical engineering". 

 

In Hawkins view to date the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been developing "broadcast technology rather than officiating technology", and "what I would do personally is put it out to a few universities and I am sure they would come up with something".  In the case of his 'Hawk-Eye' system and its rival 'Virtual Eye', the ICC funded Dr Edward Rosten, a former Cambridge University lecturer and an expert in computer vision systems, to conduct a study of their accuracy two years ago.  

 

Rosten's 'provisional' report of that work was provided to the ICC's Cricket Committee fifteen months ago and was said to have obtained results that were in "100 per cent agreement" with the data provided by the ball tracking system in real-time, however, his analysis only involved a detailed examination of fourteen Test match "situations" (PTG 943-4584, 2 June 2012).  At that time it appeared further studies of the technology were planned, however, if they have the ICC is yet to publicly talk about it or release the results.

 

ONE CHANGE TO INDIAN IUP 

'MEMBERSHIP FOR 2013-14

[PTG 1166-5642]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to nominate Vineet Kulkarni and Ravi Sundaram as its on-field members on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2013-14, Chettihody Shamsuddin and Anil Chaudhary being chosen for the country's two third umpire positions.  The new arrangement sees the departure of on-field member Sudhir Asnani from the panel and the promotion of Sundaram from a television position into his spot, plus the elevation of Chaudhary to a position on the IUP for the first time.

 

For Kulkarni, who is just 33, the twelve months ahead will be his third on the panel after just four years umpiring at first class level, while Sundaram, 47, has been around much longer than that having made his debut in a first class match over twenty years ago in December 1992.  The rise of Shamsuddin, 43, is even more rapid than Kulkarni if data available about his career is correct for it shows his first class debut was just nine months ago, but new member Chaudhary has been on the first class scene since January 2000.  None of the four played the game at first class level.

 

Of the quartet, Sundaram has stood in seven One Day Internationals (ODI) and Kulkarni two since his debut last January, while Shamsuddin has worked in two ODIs as a third umpire since being promoted to the IUP last year.  Having served longer than the others Sundaram leads the way in terms of first class games with 48, Chaudhary has 36, Kulkarni 19 and Shamsuddin 9, one of Kulkarni's games being an ICC appointment to a second-tier nation first class international between the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   

 

The group's records include two first class fixtures each in Australia and South Africa on exchange for Kulkarni last year, the same number in South Africa and England for Sundaram in 2011 and 2012 respectively, two in South Africa last January for Chaudhary, and two in England for Shamsuddin this June.  In May, Sundaram and Shamsuddin became the first Indian umpires to stand in an Indian Premier League finals match in what was sixth year of that competition (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013). 

 

Asnani, 52, came to the first class game in India a month before Sundaram in November 1992, and he has been on the international scene since May 1998, standing in ten ODIs in the fifteen years since.  In March 2010 he stood in two first class games in South Africa on exchange, and currently has a total of 74 matches at that level to his credit.  In February last year the ICC selected him for a second-tier nation first class international between the UAE and Scotland, but the world body appears to have lost interest in him after that, which would go part of the way to explaining why he has been dropped from the IUP.  

 

The decision to delist Asnani and nominate the other four was taken at a meeting of the BCCI's Umpires’ sub-committee held at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Thursday and chaired by Niranjan Shah a BCCI vice-president.  Shah told reporters afterwards that “The meeting was about umpire appraisals over the past year and also about appointments for the new season", and that "the general consensus was that the quality of umpiring in India has steadily improved ever since we brought in the review system some four to five years back" (PTG 94-511, 6 September 2007).  

 

R Sudhakar Rao, the representative of the BCCI's South Zone’s at the Bangalore meeting, said that the "absence" of an Indian representative on the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) was discussed during Thursday’s meeting.  “We all felt that there are umpires in India who have the potential to be a part of that panel", none of whom he named, but the group felt "it will take some time for them to get there".  The ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, who has been involved in training Indian umpires over the last five years, has in addition to the overall management of his unit, responsibility for related activities in just one county, India (PTG 1133-5498, 28 June 2013). 

 

Others who are said to have been present at Thursday's meeting included BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, Ratnakar Shetty its game development officer, joint secretary Anuraj Thakur, and former Test umpire Arani Jayaprakash who was an Indian IUP member last decade.  Interestingly, the BCCI's Director of Umpiring Srinivasaraghavan Venkatraghavan, a former India captain and the only person from that country to be an EUP member, and who is on the ICC's selection panel for international umpires, could not attend because he was in the United States.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,167
Sunday, 11 August 2013  

 


'HOT SPOT' PROVIDER CALLS FOR 

REMOVAL OF BAT COATINGS

[PTG 1167-5643]

 

Warren Brennan, the managing director of the BBG Sports company that provides the 'Hot Spot' system, yesterday confirmed reports protective coating on the edge of cricket bats diminishes the ability of his technology to pick up nicks from batsmen and says he wants such material removed.  Australian broadcaster Channel Nine reported this week that silicon coverings could mask the heat-generated friction of 'nicks' that show up on 'Hot Spot' (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).

 

Brennan said in a statement that “During the current Ashes series, the UDRS [Umpire Decision Review System] has been highly controversial, with 'Hot Spot' in the eye of the storm”.  “Our technology has been criticised for fine edges that have gone undetected, and more than anyone else, BBG Sports wanted to know why".

 

Testing "over the past three days has, in the opinion of BBG Sports, provided conclusive findings", and shows that "the type and thickness of the protective coating unquestionably affects the thermal signature of the 'Hot Spot' system".  "BBG Sports believes that in order to achieve optimum results [from their technology] the removal of protective coating from bat edges needs to occur".

  

Brennan, who did not mention silicon tape in his statement, said his company has observed that the majority of bats had some form of protective coating that would wrap around onto the edges of the bat.  Such coatings have been on bats for decades and Simon Taufel, now the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, said two days ago that routine checks of those used in Tests in recent years had shown they have complied with the Laws of the game (PTG 1166-5640, 10 August 2013).

 

The ICC was advised about BBG Sports' initial findings last Monday (PTG 1166-5639, 10 August 2013), and unconfirmed reports yesterday say it has committed to further testing over the coming weeks.  BBG Sports was faced with similar queries regarding the use of 'Vaseline' on bats two years ago (PTG 807-3955, 2 August 2011), and why such issues have not been thoroughly examined previously when the technology has been used in the game over the last 2-3 years is not clear.  There was criticism late last week though that there has not been enough testing of UDRS technology (PTG 1166-5641, 10 August 2013).  

 

Brennan made no suggestion yesterday that any player was using the coating to deliberately try and beat 'Hot Spot', something the ICC has vigorously denied (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).  Almost all players use coatings to protect modern soft pressed bats that can easily break up.

 

PLAYER REMOVED FROM BERMUDAN SQUAD 

PENDING DISCIPLINARY INQUIRY 

[PTG 1167-5644]

 

The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) has withdrawn all rounder Treadwell Gibbons jr from its senior national training squad preparing for November’s World Twenty20 Qualifier series, said the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper yesterday.  The BCB was criticised by Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association president George Francis and others this week for including Gibbons in the group after he was involved in a "moment of fury" in a match on the island last weekend (PTG 1165-5638, 9 August 2013).

 

The now 28-year-old has a history of disciplinary run-ins.  In 2003 he was dropped from Bermuda’s Under-19 squad and banned six games for fighting a team-mate during a practice session, and also punished for displaying "unsportsmanlike conduct" at a tournament in Jamaica.

 

In 2007 he was given a two-year ban for showing “serious dissent at an umpire’s decision, threatening to assault an umpire "and using foul language or gestures that seriously offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, colour or ethnic origin", after refusing to walk after being given LBW out during a match.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,168
Tuesday, 13 August 2013

 


EUP STRUCTURE IN NEED OF 'URGENT'

 REVIEW, SAYS ICC'S TAUFEL

[PTG 1168-5645]

 

Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) first-ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager, said yesterday the current structure of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) is in need of urgent review, the last such assessment being six years ago (PTG 126-686, 1 November 2007).   Eight of the twelve current EUP members are either Australian or English and the ICC's strategy for preparing candidates and filling future vacancies on that panel is seen as fragile by some observers, situations that are probably behind Taufel telling 'Fox Sports' "we definitely need more depth".

 

Taufel did not elaborate on just what he meant regarding a review, however, while there are twenty on-field members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) across the ten Test-playing nations, at the moment the pool of potential EUP candidates within that group is very limited (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013).  In addition, the standard of training and support available to IUP members from each nation varies considerably, and Taufel is behind moves to address such issues. 

 

Speaking when he presented this year's Marylebone Cricket Club's Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's three weeks ago, Taufel pointed to the need for the boards of those ten nations to invest more time and resources into producing umpires of the highest quality, if what he called "succession planning" at the highest level of the game is to be significantly improved (PTG 1156-5591, 26 July 2013).  Taufel expressed similar views when talking to 'Fox Sports' yesterday.

 

The ICC manager's appearance on that broadcaster was his second in a week to talk about umpiring issues.  Seven days earlier he described third umpire Kumar Dharmasena's decision to uphold the on field decision by Tony Hill of New Zealand to give Australian batsman Usman Khawaja out caught in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford as "wrong" (PTG 1163-5628, 7 August 2013).  

 

Yesterday's interview came after further controversies in the fourth Ashes Test in Durham two days ago, several of which saw EUP member Hill involved.  Taufel said that "It's fair to say that Tony has had the lion's share of appeals in this match and a couple haven't gone his way", and he feels "for any match official who doesn't get it right on the day at a crucial time".  "Umpiring is a confidence game", he said, "and that's why it is very important we don't get involved mid-match here with Tony and start to pre-judge or pre-determine certain things".

 

FORMER INTERNATIONALS CALL FOR 

MORE RESOURCES FOR UMPIRE TRAINING 

[PTG 1168-5646]

 

Two former Australian international umpires, Dick French and Ross Emerson, think the standard of umpiring at the game's highest levels has declined since the introduction of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  The pair are quoted by the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the weekend as saying the system is undermining umpires' confidence, could make them lazy, is ruining their on-field technique, and its scrapping together with more resources for umpire training can overcome the problems that currently exist.

 

French, now 75, who officiated 19 Tests and 56 One Day Internationals (ODI) from 1977-88, admitted he has never been in favour of the UDRS and feels it has led to the erosion of the umpires' authority, with captains challenging officials when they think they were wrong.  He believes overturned decisions affected an umpires' confidence and a reliance on technology ruins their technique.

 

"Umpires no longer needed to get into position to adjudicate run-outs and simply referred them upstairs", continued French.  ''"I think it takes away the challenge of the umpires to get it right", he said, and ''It could make them lazy, I'm not saying it does, but it could" and ''to my mind it's destroying the very fabric of the game".

 

Emerson, 59, who stood in 10 ODIs over the three years from 1996-99, said when he was umpiring during the '90s, the third umpire was paid half as much as those in the middle, but now that position has the hardest job of the three officials because all the tough decisions were being referred.  

 

In his assessment, ''With the UDRS the umpires in the field have abrogated their responsibilities and they almost don't care if they make a mistake because it can be corrected, but the technology they're relying on isn't good enough".  He says the system should be scrapped unless the International Cricket Council invests in its own technology that it is ''100 per cent'' accurate, a standard that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has long sought (PTG 1165-5636, 9 August 2013).  

 

Both former umpires doubted the accuracy of ball-tracking systems, French saying that he was "particularly [concerned about] the LBW projection of the ball".  It's important to get the decisions right", said Emerson, but what's happened with the UDRS and the reliance on technology is they've put the cart before the horse".

 

The pair are said to believe the solution to the problem is "simple" in that more money should be invested in training umpires.  "What they should be doing", said Emerson, ""is trying to improve the standard of the on-field umpires and they don't appear to be doing that".  

 

Former English Test umpire John Holder, 68, who stood in eleven 11 Tests from 1988-2001 and was assessing umpires until two years ago,  said last week that television officials "need extra training in a bid to eradicate the errors that have blighted the Ashes" series.  

 

He told the BBC that in his view third umpires are too reluctant to overturn their on-field colleagues' decisions and said "between this series ending and the start of the next series in Australia, the ICC is going to have to get all the umpires to Dubai and get some more specialist training on the use of TV technology", something that has since been announced (PTG 1165-5636, 9 August 2013).    

 

FINDINGS OF BPL MATCH-FIXING 

INQUIRY EXPECTED TODAY 

[PTG 1168-5647]

 

A five-member International Cricket Council (ICC) delegation arrived in Dhaka yesterday and an announcement of their findings and recommendations on the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match-fixing scandal isexpected later today, say reports from the Bangladeshi capital this morning.  According to the 'New Age' newspaper, ICC officials are "unlikely to announce any punishment" for anyone who is named in their report, such decisions being left to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). 

 

Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB's chief executive officer, said what is likely to be a three-man tribunal headed by a retired judge will look into what action to take against anyone who is accused in the ICC report, and that if a BPL player from another country is involved the BCB will ask his home board to take action.  "We can only take action against someone who will fall under our jurisdiction", said Nizamuddin.

 

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful confessed his involvement in fixing activities in May and has been suspended by the BCB from all cricketing activities pending a formal inquiry (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013).  He was reported yesterday to believe his confession and cooperation with the ICC's inquiry should result in a reduced suspension and thinks his "punishment should come down to two or three years", after which he plans a return.

 

DISPUTE BETWEEN SIDES LEADS 

TO BRUTAL BASHING

[PTG 1168-5648]

 

A brawl during cricket tournament two months ago is reported to have led to a brutal attack on a team captain in Valsad in the southern part Gujarat last week.  The victim, Yash Patel, was admitted in hospital after an attack by six men from a rival team.

 

Patel was sitting outside a restaurant when three men fought with and "forcibly kidnapped" him, taking him to a spot where three others joined in to beat him with a cricket bat and stumps.  Passers by found him later and he was taken to hospital with severe injuries. 

 

Police say Patel lodged a formal complaint against a number of members of an opposition team following a fight that occurred in a match in Valsad in June. The six accused are said by police to have attacked Patel in revenge for that, and a local media report says that "with cricketing season round the corner disputes between the two teams may lead to more fights in near future". 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,169
Wednesday, 14 August 2013


ICC CHARGES NINE WITH BPL-2 

MATCH-FIXING ACTIVITIES 

[PTG 1169-5649]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday charged nine individuals with committing various offences during this year's second Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-2) Twenty20 series but has refused to disclose their names.  Seven of the nine individuals are said to have been charged with fixing-related activities, while two others failed to report corrupt approaches despite being obliged to do so.

 

ICC chief executive officer David Richardson announced the findings of the investigation carried out by his Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) investigation in Dhaka yesterday.  He told a press conference that "under the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s anti-corruption code, we are not entitled to disclose any names until the whole disciplinary process is completed".  That is necessary, he said, in order to "protect those individuals who in the end might be found not guilty" by a  BCB anti-corruption tribunal.

 

The nine facing charges have been provisionally suspended from participating in all cricket activities organised or recognised by the BCB, the ICC, and all ICC member boards, pending the disciplinary hearing.  The accused now have two weeks to indicate whether they wish to plead guilty or to defend themselves against the charges in a full hearing.  Those who plead guilty or are subsequently found guilty by the tribunal are likely to face suspensions ranging from five years to life-bans for fixing offences, and one to five years for failing to report approaches.

 

BCB president Nazmul Hasan said at the press conference the three-man disciplinary tribunal, which would be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, will be formed "immediately" and that the names of panel members will be announced "in a few days".

 

One of those on the ICC'c charge sheet will be former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful who has already confessed his involvement in fixing activities (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013).  Earlier this week he was reported to have said he believes his confession and cooperation with the ICC's inquiry should result in a reduced suspension, and that his "punishment should come down to two or three years" (PTG 1168-5647, 13 August 2013).

 

HILL CONSIDERING EUP 

DEPARTURE, CLAIMS REPORT

[PTG 1169-5650]

 

London's 'Daily Telegraph' claimed yesterday that New Zealander Tony Hill is either "considering quitting", or "intends to step down", from International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) when his current contract ends in mid-2014.  Hill turns 63 next June, an age at which his departure is likely anyway (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013), but the 'Telegraph' claims he is mulling his future because "a string of [his] on-field decisions" were "overturned on review" during the current Ashes series (PTG 1168-5645, 13 August 2013).

 

Hill has been the subject of considerable criticism for his decision making in the media of late, virtually all of it from individuals who have little or no knowledge of umpiring issues.

 

By next June both he, and his Australian EUP colleague Steve Davis who will be 62, will be older than any one else who has been on the panel except the late David Shepherd of England who left at 64.  In the time since Steve Bucknor of the West Indies depated at 62, and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa at 61, primarily, it is believed, due to age-related performance issues.  Keen observers note that Davis is not looking as sharp on the field today as he once was.   

 

The 'Telegraph' story quotes what it calls "sources" for its claims about Hill's current thoughts, but it also goes on to say that an ICC spokesman had indicated his organisation had no knowledge of the Kiwi's plans, and that decisions on new contracts were made after the normal annual EUP performance appraisal process which will be conducted in the second quarter of next year.  

 

If Hill does depart, the question then is who is to replace him on the EUP.  At the moment there would appear to be two options, either return Hill's countryman 'Billy' Bowden, who was dropped from the panel two months ago for performance reasons (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), or continue to give opportunities to Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinecz to determine whether he has the qualities needed for appointment to the world's top umpiring panel.  

 

Martinecz was given his first two Tests last March (PTG 1064-5174, 22 February 2013), and if he still in consideration he is likely to be given another two, perhaps as early as next month.

 

EIGHT NAMED FOR SECOND-TIER 

FIRST CLASS, ONE-DAY, INTERNATIONALS

[PTG 1169-5651]

 

Five members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and three from its third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP), have been appointed to stand in a total of twelve matches involving Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next two months.

 

The IUP members chosen are Johan Cloete (South Africa), Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Enamul Hoque Moni (Bangladesh), Peter Nero (West Indies) and Ruchira Palliyaguru (Sri Lanka), and those from the AAIUP Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal), Sarika Prasad (Singapore), and Richard Smith (Ireland).  They will work under David Jukes (England) and Steve Bernard (Australia) from the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel.

 

Gaffaney, Nero and Jukes will be in action in Toronto when Canada and the Netherlands play two 50-over one-day, and a single Intercontinental Cup first class match in the week from 22-29 August, the same period and same range of games Prasad, Moni and Bernard will be involved in in Sharjah when the UAE plays Namibia.  In mid-September, Cloete, Smith and Jukes will be in Belfast for matches between Ireland and Scotland, before Pradhan, Palliyaguru and Bernard travel to the UAE in early October for fixtures involving Afghanistan and Kenya.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,170
Thursday, 15 August 2013

 

PAKISTAN, SRI LANKA LOOKING 

AT DAY-NIGHT TEST 

[PTG 1170-5652]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reported to be in discussion with Sri Lanka Cricket about the possibility of playing what would be the first day-night Test during the three-match series their sides have scheduled for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December-January.  Last year the ICC approved the concept of day-night Test matches but left it to member boards to decide on the hours of play and the colour of the ball to be used (PTG  1011-4916, 30 October 2012). 

 

PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told 'Cricinfo yesterday that his board is "keen to experiment with day-night Test cricket as we believe that [it will] help in revive interest in the [five-day] format".  He said that grounds in the UAE "are definitely ideal" as "there is no dew factor involved" at that time of the year, but also indicated no decision has yet been taken as to which ball to use for such a game.  "The major aspect in our discussion [so far has been] on the colour and brand of the ball". 

 

The first Test of the series is schedule to start in Dubai on the last day of the year, the second in Abu Dhabi on 8 January and the third in Sharjah on 16 January.

 

Sarwar called the initiative "an exciting experiment" and also said that a day-night Test could attract spectators and broadcasters and that "preliminary enquiries have revealed that there is an interest amongst sponsors and broadcasters in day-night Test cricket as it could add commercial momentum". "We also anticipate greater spectator interest compared to an all-day Test match". 

 

Last month the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee reiterated its support for day-night Tests, a concept it has been pushing for the last five years (PTG 1150-5571, 18 July 2013).  Two separate reports from Australia in June and July said that Cricket Australia is looking at the possibility of playing a day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval, perhaps as early as the 2014-15 season (PTG 1145-5545, 12 July 2013).

  

NZ NOMINATES BOWDEN FOR 

EXPANDED KIWI IUP GROUP

[PTG 1170-5653]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced yesterday that 'Billy' Bowden, who was dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in June, has been nominated as an on-field member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The move, which NZC flagged days after his demotion (PTG 1132-5494, 27 June 2013), clears Bowden for a return to international matches, perhaps as early as the next few weeks in the five-match 'Ashes' One Day International series.

 

Dunedin-based Chris Gaffaney remains in one IUP on-field spot and Aucklander Bowden slips into the other previously occupied by Gary Baxter of Christchurch who, in order to accommodate the former EUP member, has been moved into a newly created extra New Zealand IUP third umpire position alongside previous incumbent Derek Walker of Oamaru.  

 

That quarter plus Barry Frost, Tony Gillies, Phil Jones and Wayne Knights (all Auckland), and Tim Parlane of Christchurch, make up NZC's top domestic Elite Umpires Panel for the 2013-14 austral summer.  Apart from Bowden, the only other newcomer to that group this year is Gillies who has been promoted from NZC's second-tier 'A' panel.  Those missing from last year are Phil Agent, who was only promoted twelve months ago (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012), and long-serving former Test umpire Evan Watkin.   

 

NZC's National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg said in a statement that "Billy is a hugely experienced umpire and we’re thrilled to be able to use his expertise this summer".  "We also welcome Tony Gillies, who has been very impressive on the 'A' Panel in recent seasons [and] I’m confident he will continue to develop and progress".

 

McHarg also acknowledged "the great service of Evan Watkin, who has been umpiring at first class level for 24 seasons", a time during which he has stood in 135 First Class games, three of them Tests, and 177 List A matches, 23 being One Day Internationals.  Despite not being part of the Elite Panel this year Watkin, 62, will continue to umpire, says McHarg.  No reason was given for Agent's departure.

 

NZC says that membership of its 'A' Panel, which has now been retitled 'Reserve Panel', and its third-tier Emerging Panel, "will be announced in due course".

 

THIRD BANNED PAKISTANI MAKES PUBLIC

CONFESSION TO LORD'S TEST SPOT-FIXING  

[PTG 1170-5654]

 

Former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif has confessed publicly to his part in spot-fixing activities during a Test at Lord's in 2010 and hopes to make amends in order to revive his international career.  In Kararchi yesterday, Asif became the third of the three players involved in the scandal to publicly acknowledge his actions, a statement that comes nearly three years after he was handed a seven-year world-wide ban from participating in any form of cricket.

 

Asif was reported to have admitted his guilt in the affair in private to a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official late last month (PTG 1157-5600, 29 July 2013).  He and his accomplices Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer, who were also banned, all served jail sentences in England for corruption and cheating, and the latter pair have previously publicly acknowledged their guilt and sought their nation's "forgiveness" (PTG 1137-5516, 2 July 2013).  

 

A 'Cricinfo' report yesterday says that Asif's public apology is not expected to have any immediate implications, and that like his two colleagues he will have to undergo "rehabilitation" and provide full details of his Lord's Test actions to both the PCB and the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

 

ENGLISHMAN REVEALS ICC HAS 

LAID BPL CHARGE AGAINST HIM 

[PTG 1170-5655]

 

English cricketer Darren Stevens admitted yesterday that he has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with failure to report attempted corruption in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) earlier this year.  The ICC announced on Tuesday that nine individuals had been charged with committing various offences during this year's competition, seven over match fixing-related activities, and another two for failing to report corrupt approaches (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013)

 

Stevens, 37, who played for the Dhaka franchise in the BPL, said in a statement released by his English county side Kent that "I confirm that I have been charged by the ICC with a failure to report a corrupt approach made to me during BPL-2 in February this year".  "I have not been involved in any corrupt activity and have not been charged with any and I am cooperating with the ICC and [its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit] in their investigation".

 

Stevens said that he is "totally against" corruption and "would never do anything other than perform to the best of my ability in any game".  He also indicated that he has not been banned from playing by the ICC, unlike the seven directly accused of corruption, and therefore remains "willing and able" to play for Kent.

 

All-rounder Stevens is the first of the nine people accused to reveal his identity and faces a potential maximum penalty of a five-year suspension from cricket if found guilty.  He and the other individuals charged have fourteen days in which to enter their pleas.

 

NEW TESTS CLEAR QUEENSLAND 

BOWLER'S REMODELLED ACTION

[PTG 1170-5656]

 

Queensland bowler Cameron Gannon’s ban from bowling in interstate cricket has been lifted after a new biomechanical analysis of his remodelled bowling action.  Gannon, 24, was reported for a suspect action in three separate Sheffield Shield matches last austral summer (PTG 1082-5270, 29 March 2013), and after work to modify his action he was reassessed in late July after his 90-day suspension period expired.

 

Following last season's reports, testing at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra showed Gannon's action was illegal for his elbow extension in all his deliveries was beyond the allowable fifteen-degrees, the average being twenty-four degrees (PTG 1089-5306, 14 April 2013).  Cricket Australia said yesterday the latest testing indicated that his bowling action now complies with what it called its "tolerance level  of fifteen degrees or less for every delivery", and as a result his suspension was lifted.

 

BERMUDAN PLAYER APOLOGISES 

FOR ON-FIELD 'MOMENT OF FURY' 

[PTG 1170-5657]

 

Bermudan all-rounder Treadwell Gibbons Jr has apologised for his actions in a match on the island ten days ago and says he is ready to accept his punishment, although a report from the umpires has yet to be forwarded to the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB).  Following criticism from Bermuda's umpires' body and others, Gibbons' name was withdrawn from the national squad last weekend pending an enquiry into what reports called his "moment of fury" (PTG 1167-5644, 11 August 2013).

 

During the game Gibbons was given out caught at slip by umpire Richard Austin, a decision he strongly disputed.  Austin consulted his colleague Oscar Andrade and indicated to Gibbons that the decision would stand. Despite that he continued to show his displeasure and waved his bat at fielders before his batting partner, captain Oronde Bascome, intervened and urged his teammate to leave the field. 

 

Gibbons spoke to the media on Monday, saying in a prepared statement that he wanted to apologise to his family, the island's Governor, its Premier, the fans of both teams involved and "the people of Bermuda".    

 

“My actions were wrong, [for] I got caught up in the heat or the moment", said Gibbons, and "I am very apologetic for what I did, it will not happen again [and] I am taking steps to work on self-discipline to prevent any such behaviour from reoccurring".  “It was never an intention of mine to hurt anyone or hit anyone", he said, "it may have looked like that, but I never had any intentions of hitting anybody".

 

When asked by the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper about disciplinary action, BCB President Lloyd Fray would only say that “We will look to have the full report from the umpires and [after that] interview Mr Gibbons", then we "will determine the action we may or may not take". 

 


 PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,171
Friday, 16 August 2013

NSWCUSA BRINGS UP CENTURY, 

STARTS YEAR 101  

[PTG 1171-5658]

 

The New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) marked the anniversary of its founding 100 years ago yesterday with a Gala Dinner attended by over 200 people and the induction of eleven new members of its 'Hall of Fame'.  The association, which is the second oldest state umpiring association in the country just behind the South Australian Cricket Umpires Association (PTG 859-4196, 11 November 2011), currently has over 1200 members and is affiliated with 40 organisations across NSW.   

 

Since it was established on 15 August 1913, 84 association members have stood at first class level and 13 in Tests, and is the only organisation of its type in the world to have had three members appointed to the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel: Darrell Hair, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker. 

 

Selection of the new 'Hall of Fame' inductees was based on the significance of their contribution to umpiring and scoring, and to the NSWCUSA through the Association’s first century.  The eleven members announced yesterday were: George Borwick, Tom Brooks, Dick Burgess, Dick Callaway, Herb Elphinston, Dick French, Hair, Alf Jones, Fred Lyons, Taufel and Ted Wykes.  

 

All eleven umpired the first class game, with Borwick, Brooks, Callaway, Elphinston, French, Hair, Jones, Taufel and Wykes going on to stand in Test matches.  Only Burgess, Hair, French and Taufel are alive today. 

  

NSWCUSA Chairman Stephen Poole said yesterday that his association "has a rich history and we are extremely proud of what our members have achieved".  "The men inducted into the Hall of Fame have earned their place based on their outstanding careers, and the marvellous contribution they have made to the development of Association", he said. 

 

In addition to other events to mark the anniversary this year, including a film (PTG 1147-5557, 14 July 2013), a book titled 'No Dazzling Deeds with Bat or Ball' has also been produced. Written by Ronald Cardwell and David Jenkins of The Cricket Publishing Company, it chronicles the rise, growth and development of umpiring and scoring in NSW from its establishment right through to today. 

 

WATKIN FOR NZC RESERVE 

PANEL, SAYS REPORT 

[PTG 1171-5659]

 

Former New Zealand Test umpire Evan Watkin, who was omitted from his country's top domestic panel on Wednesday (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013), will be included in New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) second-tier Reserve Panel for the 2013-14 season, according to NZC Umpire Manager Rodger McHarg.

 

Fairfax NZ reported yesterday that Watkin "remains in line to umpire first-class cricket this summer, particularly when the top umpires are involved in the West Indies and India tours".  Its story says the return of 'Billy' Bowden to New Zealand's top panel after his demotion from the International Cricket Council's Elite group, had made umpire selections "a tight squeeze" for NZC.

 

Watkin is said to have declined to comment the situation but McHarg called the decision to demote him "a hard call" but that the top panel was selected on "form, situation and future", including captains' reports from the previous season.  Selections were canvassed within NZC and McHarg has the final say, says the Fairfax report.

 

McHarg described Watkin as "understanding but naturally disappointed because cricket umpiring is his life [and] I hope it won't be the end of the line for him".  "With a man of his experience NZC also has to look forward to provide an opportunity for aspiring umpires".

 

FORMER SRI LANKAN TEST UMPIRE DIES 

[PTG 1171-5660]

 

Selliah Ponnadurai, a Sri Lankan umpire who stood in his country's first ever Test victory in September 1985, died yesterday at the age of 78.  Jafna-born Ponnadurai stood in a total of 74 first class matches over the twenty years from 1982, just the third such game being the Sri Lankan win and the first of his three Tests.  He also stood in twelve List A games, eight of which were One Day Internationals.

 

KANERIA TO APPEAL LIFE-TIME 

BAN FOR A THIRD TIME

[PTG 1171-5661]

 

Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has again filed an appeal against his lifetime world-wide ban for match-fixing activities, this time in the United Kingdom's Commercial Court.  Last month Kaneria failed in what was his second appeal against the life ban that was handed to him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year.

 

Kaneria, 32, told the 'Cricinfo' web site that he wants "to be heard by an independent judiciary and wants all the proceedings open in public [for] I have nothing to hide and want everything to be open", hence the approach to the Commercial Court which deals with complex national and international business disputes.  "I have suffered a lot and my case never was heard fairly by the ECB", he said.

 

In June last year an ECB committee found Kaneria guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" then Essex 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).  Westfield was suspended for five years from the county scene, but last month an ECB appeals hearing decided he can now return to club-level cricket next year, twelve months earlier than originally scheduled (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).   


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,172
Sunday, 18 August 2013

SRI LANKA SAYS 'NO' TO 

DAY-NIGHT TEST PROPOSAL 

[PTG 1172-5662]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have rejected a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) proposal that their sides play a day-night Test during their series in the United Arab Emirates in December-January.  Reports earlier this week said that the PCB had suggested such a game be played and that discussion was centring on what ball to use for the match (PTG 1170-5652, 15 August 2013). 

 

According to a 'Cricinfo' story posted on-line yesterday, SLC gave its players' lack of practice with the pink ball as the source of their reluctance to accept the PCB's suggestion.  It said in a press release that "Since [our] players have not practiced under lights and with the new pink ball, the executive committee decided to stand by the decision taken by the national team management [not] to play a day-night Test match".

 

SLC president, Jayantha Dharmadasa, is said to have been positive about the PCB proposal, but others closer to the team apparently had strong reservations. The series against Pakistan will be Sri Lanka's first Test outing against a top-eight side in almost a year, and 'Cricinfo' says SLC's decision is understood to have also been influenced by their desire to safeguard their team's chances "in an important series".

 

Unlike the SLC, the PCB has some experience in five-day, day-night first class fixtures, for both the 2011 and 2012 finals of its domestic first class competition were played in that format, the first using orange balls and the second pink (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2012).

 

Apart from that mutli-day, domestic first class games for competition points have been played in the West Indies in both the 2010 and 2012 seasons, (PTG 896-4362, 2 February 2012), and in England in (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011).  

 

In addition the Marylebone Cricket Club has played the first class county season opener in a day-night format in Abu Dhabi in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (PTG 1080-5253, 24 March 2013), while Cricket South Africa organised 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). 

 

FORMER ENGLAND CAPTAIN GOES 

INTO BAT FOR 'HOME' UMPIRES

[PTG 1172-5663]

 

"Umpiring is the hardest job in cricket and the people who do it have my utmost respect", says former England captain Alec Stewart, however, the small number of 'neutra'l officials available for Ashes Tests at the moment is, in his view, "not a healthy state of affairs and the time has come to bring back home umpires".  

 

Stewart, who was speaking to the BBC, says that he's "fully aware" of what he termed "the problems that existed before non-neutral umpires were made mandatory at one end in Tests in 1994, and both ends in 2002"; giving as an example his assessment that "India's Sunil Gavaskar and Pakistan's Javed Miandad were almost never given out LBW in their own countries". 

 

"But that was then and this is now", he continued, for "in today's international cricket, you have cameras, stump microphones, 'Hawk Eye', 'Hot Spot' and 'Snicko' analysing every delivery", and such systems "negate the potential for bias by allowing teams to overturn blatantly incorrect calls".  In addition the International Cricket Council (ICC) tracks the performances of its senior umpires, and "if they have a few bad games they can be struck off the Elite Umpires Panel [EUP]" (PTG 1156-5594, 26 July 2013).

 

"I have never umpired", said Stewart, "but I imagine that at the end of five days in the middle you are worn out, mentally exhausted".  "Unlike [players] umpires are out in the middle for every ball of every day at international level", he says, and "their decisions are closely scrutinised and their every error is exposed".  "If you have had a bad game and are feeling low on confidence, the last thing you need three days later is to be under the spotlight in another Test match".  

 

Such a situation could be overcome by "allowing home umpires", a move that "would automatically give the game's ruling body a pool of twelve [EUP members] to choose from for every game, meaning everyone would stay fresh".  The current situation is inappropriate "for such high-profile contests", says Stewart and asks "if some of the most talented and respected officials happen to be English or Australian then why shouldn't they be appearing in the Ashes?"

 

A Cricket Australia official said earlier this month that his organisation had approached the ICC regarding the use of home umpires in Ashes Tests but that the idea had been rejected (PTG 1161-5619, 3 August 2013).

 

LIMIT REVIEW REQUESTS TO ON-FIELD 

UMPIRES, SAYS FORMER ICC RUPM 

[PTG 1172-5664]

 

Only on-field umpires should be allowed to ask for reviews from the third umpire, says former England umpire and past International Cricket Council (ICC) Regional Umpires Performance Manager (RUPM), John Holder.  Several other former players and commentators have also talked over the past month about what they see as the need to remove the right of reviews from players’ hands (PTG 1149-5565, 17 July 2013).

 

Holder told journalists in the UK this week that he was in the Caribbean in 2009 carrying out his RUPM duties when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was trialed in that year's Test series between the West Indies and England.  

 

“All officials [involved in those matches] were asked at the end of the series how we thought the system should be used", and "I said that on-field umpires should be able to ask the third umpire to check in cases where the on-field man was uncertain as to what actually happened".

 

"Having umpired for twenty-seven years in County Cricket and officiated in thirty international matches, I know that there are times when there is an appeal and you are uncertain whether the batsman is out or not", said Holder.  

 

“But ICC decided to adopt the present system of two challenges per innings per team and some players, including [Australian vice-captain] Brad Haddin, have publicly said that the on field umpires should be able to ask the third umpire and it should be taken away from players".

 

Holder's comments come two weeks after the ICC said consideration was being given to increasing the number of reviews of decisions that are in a team's hands beyond the two that are currently available to them (PTG 1159-5607, 1 August 2013).

 

MULTIPLE TRIBUNALS NEEDED FOR 

BPL-2 MATCH-FIXING INQUIRY?

[PTG 1172-5665]

 

Bangladesh's former chief justice of Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury said on Friday that it will take a while to appoint members of the tribunals that are to deal with match-fixing allegations that have arisen from in this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-2) competition.  Last Tuesday, seven unnamed individuals from the BPL were charged with various offences, and another two of failing to report corrupt activities, in a report prepared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has appointed Justice Amin to head up its examination of the charges the ICC have set out, and an article in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday said that given the number of people named, "there is a possibility three different tribunals will be needed to hear [all] the cases".  The work involved "has just begun", said the former chief justice, and "let everything go slowly" as "there is no point in trying to hurry it up".

 

Those named in the ICC report have until Tuesday of next week to indicate whether they wish to plead guilty or to defend themselves against the charges levelled against them.  Only Kent player Darren Stevens, who was a member of the Dhaka franchise in BPL-2, has admitted to having been mentioned in the ICC report, however, he stressed that he had "not been involved in any corrupt activity" or "charged with any" (PTG 1170-5655, 15 August 2013).

 

CA CHANGES OVERSEAS 

PLAYER RULES

[PTG 1172-5666]

 

Australia's effort to bring prolific Middlesex batsman Sam Robson home from England to the Sheffield Shield has received a boost after Cricket Australia's (CA) board endorsed changes to the rules that govern overseas players on Friday.  The changes mean that players with dual passports, such as Sydney-born Robson and former Western Australia bowler Michael Hogan, can play domestic cricket in two countries.

 

CA said in a statement yesterday that it ''wants as many quality cricketers playing in its domestic competitions as possible [and the rule changes] will ensure state associations and [CA Twenty20 franchises] teams will be able to recruit Australian players without them having to give up their eligibility to play overseas as a local player" there.

 

The decision removes "the burden on these players to choose which domestic competition to play in",  says CA.  It means for example that Robson, who holds a British passport as his mother was born in Nottingham and has used it to play as a 'local' in England since he was 18, can play in Australia without sacrificing his first-class career in England. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,173
Monday, 19 August 2013

MARTINESZ MOVES A STEP CLOSER 

TO EUP MEMBERSHIP

[PTG 1173-5667]

 

Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinesz, who earlier this year became the 477th person to make his debut at Test level (PTG 1064-5174, 22 February 2013), has been selected for two more Tests next month in a move that indicates he remains in the pipeline for possible appointment to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in 2014.  With at least one EUP position potentially falling empty in nine months time Martinesz, and former New Zealand member 'Billy' Bowden, appear to be the only candidates in contention for any vacancy that may arise (PTG 1169-5650, 14 August 2013). 

 

Martinesz, 46, was yesterday named to stand with Australian Steve Davis in the two Tests Zimbabwe and Pakistan are to play in early September, the third neutral official for the series being match referee Javagal Srinath of India.  For the Sri Lankan it will be his third and fourth Tests, Davis his forty-seventh and forty-eighth, and Srinath his twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth as a match referee.  Zimbabwean members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Russell Tiffin, Owen Chirombe and Jerry Matibiri are expected to work as third or fourth umpires in across the two games, but their exact appointments have not yet been announced.

 

Prior to the two Tests the sides will play three One Day Internationals (ODI), a series for which Richard Illingworth of England and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand have been named as the neutral officials.  For Illingworth its his first ICC appointment since joining the EUP in June and the series will take his ODI tally to twenty (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), while for Crowe the three games will see his record as a match referee in such fixtures move up to 179.  

 

Tiffin, Chirombe and Matibiri will also feature in the ODIs, and in the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) at the start of Pakistan's tour this Friday and Saturday, with Crowe the referee.  To date Tiffin has stood in 129 ODIs and 5 T20Is (129/5), Chirombe 11/6 and Matibiri 2/5, while for Crowe it will be his fourty-fourth and forty-fifth T20Is as a referee.

 

HILL 'MALIGNED UNFAIRLY', CONFIDENCE 

GOOD, SAYS NZ UMPIRES MANAGER

[PTG 1173-5669]

 

New Zealand umpire Tony Hill has "been maligned unfairly" and his "confidence hadn't taken a hit" as a result of controversies during the Ashes series in England over the last six weeks, says Rodger McHarg, his country's Umpire Manager.  Those comments came around the time the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel said during a 'Fox Sports' web chat that umpires "aim for excellence rather than perfection", and that those taking part in the Ashes series had "made no where near the same amount of errors" as the batsmen involved.

 

Former international umpire Taufel was answering questions during the 'Fox Sports' session soon after a report from London claimed that Hill was "considering quitting"from the EUP when his current contract ends in mid-2014 because "a string of [his] on-field decisions" were "overturned on review" during the current Ashes series (PTG 1169-5650, 14 August 2013).

 

However, speaking to 'Fairfax NZ', McHarg is said to have described Hill as "not fazed by things".  "Tony is his very open and up-front self [and] he continues to umpire as he sees it", said McHarg, before expressing the view that the Papakura-based umpire has "been very consistent" in the Ashes series.  Hill is the third umpire for the fifth and final Test which starts at The Oval this Wednesday, after having worked in that role in the second Test, and on the ground in the third and fourth games of the series (PTG 1139-5521, 4 July 2013).

 

Taufel also said during the web chat that match officials are "an easy target for people to criticise and are expected to get everything right and when we do there are very few people who notice".  But "when something doesn't go according to plan, and a match official is not perfect, he does come into criticism".

 

Ten days ago the now ICC Manager described as "wrong" third umpire Kumar Dharmasena's decision to uphold the on field decision by Hill to give Australian batsman Usman Khawaja out caught in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford (PTG 1163-5628, 7 August 2013).  That decision led Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland to send a "please-explain" to the ICC (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013), a request that does not appear to have been replied to in public at least.

 

Last week, when calling for an "urgent review" of the current structure of the ICC's top Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) during the fourth Ashes Test in Durham, a match during which there were further controversies that also involved Hill, Taufel said that "It's fair to say that Tony has had the lion's share of appeals in this match and a couple haven't gone his way" (PTG 1168-5645, 13 August 2013).

 

When asked by a questioner later in the 'Fox Sports' web chat last week whether there a compulsory retirement age for umpires, Taufel said no, "but once an umpire turns 60 the demands on his annual medical assessments become stronger and more frequent", and that "cardio, mobility and eye sight and hearing tests" are the norm.  

 

Hill will turn 63 next June and fellow EUP member Steve Davis of Australia 62, but Taufel said that "for me age is not the issue, performance is", for "just because you are young does not make you good" and "just because you're on the other side of 60 that does not make you less of an umpire".

 

ENGLAND BATSMAN DEFENDS UDRS, 

BUT CALLS FOR RULES 'CLARITY' 

[PTG 1173-5669]

 

England batsman Jonathan Trott defended the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) yesterday, but called for greater "clarity" in the rules that govern its use and a return to "the tradition" of giving the benefit of the doubt in review situations to the batsman.  The UDRS has been a source of controversy during the four Ashes Tests played this northern summer, with Trott himself a player who reports say was on "the wrong end of a debatable decision".

 

Trott told BBC Radio Five's Sports Week program yesterday he thinks "the UDRS has been good [but] there are a few grey areas that have shown [up]".  "We should straighten out the rules and get clarity with how it should work and how decisions are going to be made, then the players or the spectators won't have a problem", he said.  In his view the system creates "a bit of atmosphere, tension and drama for the spectators".    

 

Whereas traditional practice in the game has been for any ‘benefit of the doubt’ to go to the batsman, the advent of the UDRS has led to a situation where it instead sometimes goes to the umpire.  As a result the same ball can be both 'out' or 'not out' on review depending upon what the on-field official’s original decision was.

 

The South Africa-born top-order batsman said, perhaps unsurprisingly, that he favours a return to what he described as the "old system".  In his view "more benefit of doubt is going to the umpire [when it comes to] to defending an umpire’s decision", he said.  Despite some controversy though, Trott also said he's also "been on the receiving end of UDRS where it's saved me a few times [and] there have been times where it's worked in [his team's] favour.

 

'HAWK EYE' 'STOOD DOWN' AFTER 

HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP ERROR 

[PTG 1173-5670]

 

The 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking system was dropped for the All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final between Limerick and Clare yesterday after an error occurred in an earlier match at Croke Park, Dublin.  After a shot towards goal referee Fergal Horgan referred to the technology but while the graphic showed that the sliotar (or ball) had gone inside the post, 'Miss' came up on the replay screen and reports say Horgan "had little choice" but call it 'wide'.

 

The game finished level after normal time meaning the decision was vital to the outcome, and the result had to be decided in extra-time with the side whose shot was called a 'Miss' loosing the game.  The series organisers said in a statement issued last night that: "Following an inconsistency in the generation of a graphic by 'Hawk Eye' during today’s [early game] the decision was taken to suspend use of the score detection system for the senior game", and a "full review of the technology [will be conducted on Monday]".

 

Reports overnight say that 'Hawk Eye' "will be in full working order for next Sunday’s minor and senior semi-finals".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,174
Tuesday, 20 August 2013


'SOME [ASHES] UMPIRES HAVE CRACKED UNDER 

PRESSURE', CLAIMS AUSSIE VICE-CAPTAIN  

[PTG 1174-5671]

 

Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin is being reported widely in his country's media outlets this morning to have "strongly criticised" the officiating during the current Ashes series and claimed "some umpires have cracked under pressure".  Haddin did not blame his team's 0-3 position in the series on the umpires as in his view England have "played better cricket", "but in all honesty, I think the standard of the umpiring in this series has been something that they could have a look at".  

 

Haddin thinks "the consistency of the umpiring [is poor]" and that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) "has put too much pressure on the umpires on the field [and] they’re second-guessing themselves with their decisions".  He reportedly believes the fact that the UDRS process is shown on screens at grounds can have an impact on the umpires, for there there is "plenty of jeering from the crowd" when an umpire is "shown to have made a mistake".

 

In addition, Haddin thinks "the umpires are aware where UDRS is with regard to "who’s got one left or who’s used them up [and] it can influence their decision".  Reports say that "one theory" is that umpires have become more likely to give batsmen out when the fielding team has used its two referrals, and that by doing so, the batsmen loses the benefit of the 'umpire’s call', as happened to Haddin in the fourth Test.

 

All those issues led the wicketkeeper to reiterate the view he expressed last month that umpires should have the sole right to refer close decisions (PTG 1149-5565, 17 July 2013), a position a number of other observers of the game feel should be the way the system works (PTG 1174-5673 below, PTG 1171-5664, 18 August 2013, PTG 1149-5564, 17 July 2013, and PTG 1148-5559, 16 July 2013). 

 

Haddin's comments came after England batsman Jonathan Trott defended the UDRS but called for greater "clarity" in the rules that govern its use and a return to "the tradition" of giving the benefit of the doubt in review situations to the batsman (PTG 1173-5669, 19 August 2013), and New Zealand's Umpire Manager said one of the umpires involved had been "unfairly maligned" during the series (PTG 1173-5668, 19 August 2013).

 

WARWICKSHIRE FINED £5,000 FOR 

BALL TAMPERING OFFENCE

[PTG 1174-5672]

 

Warwickshire have decided not to appeal a £5,000 ($A8,600) fine imposed by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Discipline Commission after batsman Freddie Coleman admitted to ball tampering during a Second XI Championship match against Glamorgan two weeks ago.  The commission criticised both Warwickshire captain Paul Best and the county itself saying "the club did not provide sufficient discouragement regarding ball tampering, all types of which are clearly inappropriate and in contravention of the laws of the game".

 

Play is reported to have been halted during the game when umpire Martin Saggers from the ECB's top domestic panel spotted Coleman sucking a mint before using his saliva to put a shine on the ball.  Saggers is said to have quizzed Warwickshire captain Paul Best and then summoned squad coach Tony Frost.  County players have long believed mint-laced saliva helps keep the shine on balls (PTG 302-1588, 27 August 2008).

 

An ECB spokesman has been quoted as saying: “We wish to make clear that any attempt to alter the natural condition of the ball using an artificial substance will be taken very seriously".  "The panel took into account that Mr Coleman pleaded guilty, that he is a young player and that he was allowed to act in this way with the knowledge of his captain".  

 

Jason Ratcliffe, assistant chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, told the BBC "the rules are clear that no artificial substance should be used to change the condition of the ball", and "we are working closely with the ECB over the education and communication of this type of issue".  But he also said “Whether there is any scientific evidence to show that mints or any other sweets have any effect on a cricket ball or the way It behaves, remains an unanswered question".

 

Former England and Gloucestershire seamer Mike Smith, who was a member of the ECB disciplinary panel that heard the case, is said to have made a presentation on ball tampering to the first-class umpires before the start of the 2005 season.  

 

In 2009, Somerset all-rounder Omari Banks was suspended for three matches and his club fined $A2,000 plus competition points after he was reported by umpires for tampering with the ball three times in a single over in a County Second XI match (PTG 452-2352, 10 July 2009).  Two years before that the captain of Kent's senior side used sand paper on a ball during a practice game "so his bowlers could practice reverse swing" (PTG 26-146, 6 April 2007).   

 

ERASE FIXERS RECORDS, GIVE 

UDRS TO UMPIRES, SAY HADLEE

[PTG 1174-5673]

 

Former New Zealand player Richard Hadlee told journalists in Bangalore on Saturday that players found guilty of match-fixing activities should not only be banned but their records should also be erased to serve as a deterrent.  Hadlee said players who make money in such a way let supporters and fans down and "that's why the penalty must be very severe".

 

"People have to be made examples of [and] the most severe penalty that can happen even more than going to jail is to have your record erased from the game".  "Any such decision lies with the administrators", said the 86 Test veteran, "who should consider other options to deal with fixers".

 

Asked about the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), Hadlee said that he was not in favour of technology as it questions on-field umpires' decision.  "My personal view is that I don't particularly like the captains or players questioning or reviewing the decisions ... What I would like is that all the decisions should remain in the hands of the umpires" (PTG 1174-5671 above).

 

"If the umpires in the middle have made a 'not out' decision say when it's in fact out, the power should go the third umpire; he should say 'hang on a minute, let me look at it' while the bowler is going back to his mark and if there is a genuine mistake is made, the third umpire can review it".  Such a process would mean the third umpire's decision would take players out of the decision-making process, he says, "and all they have to do is to just get on with the game".

 

AUSTRALIAN CURATORS REPORTED 

'ANGRY' AT PITCH CRITICISM

[PTG 1174-5674]

 

Curators with state associations in Australia are "angry" at being painted as architects of their country's current low standing in the international games, claims a report in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper this morning.  Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland told 'Fox Sports' recently that he has "a high level of expectation" pitches prepared for Sheffield Shield matches should give batsmen "a bit more of a chance", a view similar to that he expressed last November (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2013).  

 

The report by the Herald's Robert Craddock says that curators from all states will assemble in Melbourne this week for their annual conference and that they plan "to discuss their collective angst over the feeling they are partially to blame for the lamentable state of Australian batting".  Australia's batting and spin bowling problems have been partially blamed on Shield pitches being too green or moist, making batting conditions difficult and spin bowlers of little consequence.

 

Craddock says that "several [of last season's Shield] matches were reviewed, without penalty, but the curators are angry that they are seen as deliberately producing wickets to favour home teams".  He says "a series of e-mails have been swapped between curators expressing deep concern over new [CA] rules" that say a state "can be docked competition points if a wicket is deemed too much in favour of fast bowlers" (PTG 1157-5597, 29 July 2013).

 

Some curators are said to feel their integrity has been questioned and that poor weather and early starts to the season impacted on their pitch preparations last summer, and they fear they could be held to blame for circumstances beyond their control in future seasons.  

 

Sutherland said last week that he "would expect curators to be preparing pitches that are the equivalent of a day one, one and a half, day two Test pitch for the start of a Shield game".  "That means they need to be drier at the start and be wearing later to bring spinners into play, as well as batsmen having a bit more of a chance, certainly on the first day of a game".

 

Docking of competition points from home sides in county cricket when pitches are judged independently to be "poor" has been a part of England and Wales Cricket Board regulations for many years (PTG 1155-5589, 25 July 2013).

 

TEN-MAN PANEL BEING FORMED FOR 

BPL-2 MATCH FIXING HEARINGS 

[PTG 1174-5675]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is reported to be forming a ten-member disciplinary panel to deal with the individuals who have been charged with corruption during this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-2) competition, according to a report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning.  BCB president Nazmul Hasan said yesterday that panel members will be selected from "three different categories of professionals" and that the work of setting up the group "won’t take more than two or three days [provided] there [no] legal issue" arises.

 

'New Age' says that three members of the panel will be either retired judges of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh or district judges, three from what it called "socially well-recognised civilians", and the remaining four "from persons having expertise in cricket", the chairman being former Bangladesh chief justice of Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury (PTG 1172-5665, 18 August 2013).  The newspaper, which suggested last week that three separate panels might be needed to conduct hearings, says this morning that "some persons" are "lobbying to become a member" of the panel. 

 

Last March the BCB banned international umpire Nadir Shah for ten years after an operation by an Indian TV channel found him apparently willing to be involved in fixing matches for money (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013).  Shah indicated two months ago he was planning to appeal that decision (PTG 1122-5454, 11 June 2013), but as yet there has been no further news about how it may be progressing.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,175
Wednesday, 21 August 2013


BROADCASTER SAYS TECHNOLOGY 

OBSCURING VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS

[PTG 1175-5676]

 

Former England player and now broadcaster Jonathan Agnew believes sport is a "very good educator" for children in that it teaches them that "not everything is perfect in this world", but thinks the introduction of technology could mean they fail to learn valuable lessons about life itself.  Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last week, Agnew said the current Ashes series has been "spoilt" for him because issues related to technology have meant that "every decision has become an issue for debate".   

 

Cricket offers lessons about the real world, says Agnew.  "You might get a bad decision today and get nought, but get a bad decision next week and end up getting 50", he says, therefore  you learn to "take the rough with the smooth, and that's part of what cricket, I think, really offers".  However, he feels the problems with technology over the last six weeks have negated that as "the technology has failed, the human beings interpreting the technology have failed, the human being out in the field have failed'.  

 

"It's just been a really bad run, which is not entirely surprising in my view [for] I've always been anti the technology", he continued.  "I felt they were rushing it, and they're on an agenda that technology is not ready for", and he doesn't "see any point in having technology in any sport unless its better than what we have already".  Additionally, "you've got the batsman openly challenging an umpire's decision and in cricket that's just not the way the game's been played".

 

When asked about the "spirit" of the game, he told an audience he was increasingly hearing from members of the public who had seen young players refusing to walk and claiming "that's not out" as a result of what they saw on television.  "It's all about accepting the decisions", he said of his sport, and "it's actually a very good education for kids, from eight to sixteen".

 

Yesterday, England's Stuart Broad publicly admitted that he edged the ball at the centre of the 'walking' controversy in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last month (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  However, he made no apologies for standing his ground after he was given 'not out' by on-field umpire Aleem Dar of Pakistan, pointing to Australian players "who have nicked it and not walked" in the series, naming "Warner, Rogers, Khawaja, Smith, Haddin, Clarke [and] Agar" (PTG 1149-5565, 17 July 2013) 

 

Broad's father Chris, a former Test player and now international match referee, asked his son by text immediately after the Trent Bridge incident "how he kept such a straight face" whilst standing his ground (PTG 1147-5556, 14 July 2013).  

 

NEWSPAPERS REPORT 'BAFFLEMENT' 

OVER BALL TAMPERING CHARGE 

[PTG 1175-5677]

 

Two newspapers in Warwickshire yesterday reported that "an air of bafflement" surrounds the county game there as to "why young batsman Freddie Coleman" was handed a "rap" from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for ball tampering.  Warwickshire were fined £5,000 ($A8,600) after Coleman was found guilty of the offence in a Second XI game two weeks ago and given a two-week ban that was suspended for two years plus three disciplinary penalty points, and his side lost all championship points it earned in the match (PTG 1174-5672, 20 August 2013)

 

The 'Coventry Telegraph' says that the fact that Coleman used his saliva to shine the ball after sucking on a mint "is technically ball tampering".  However, it went on to say "such practice [has been] endemic to cricket at all levels for many years" and asked "why the ECB chose to make an example of a young [21-year-old] Second XI player", saying the move "has bemused many people in cricket at [Warwickshire] and beyond".  A similar report appeared in the 'Birmingham Mail'.

 

Coleman's captain Paul Best, who the ECB says was aware of what his player was doing with the ball, appears to have escaped direct censure.  Under the Laws of Cricket a team's captain is "responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit and tradition of the game as well as within the Laws".  Numerous readers contacted 'PTG' yesterday to express what could be called "an air of bafflement" as to why Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin should not be charged with dissent over what media reports this week called his "strong criticism" of umpiring in the current Ashes series (PTG 1174-5671, 20 August 2013).

 

COACH SUGGESTS BASEBALL-LIKE

THIRD ON-FIELD UMPIRE POSITION

[PTG 1175-5678]

 

Use of a third umpire on the ground behind the wicketkeeper in high-profile games in a similar fashion to baseball would help the adjudication on contentious catches behind the wicket, claims Trent Woodhill, who has worked as a batting coach in Australia, India, New Zealand and Pakistan.  Woodhill made the suggestion to the 'Pakistan Observer', saying that “instead of continuing on down the road of technological advancement [we need to give] human beings the ability to make the right decision the majority of the time and in real time”. 

 

Under Woodhill's proposal the bowler's end umpire "would ultimately still have the final say on the decision”, but having the 'keeper umpire will, he apparently believes, "quicken up the decision making process".  He wants players excluded from using the Umpire Decision Review System, but in cases where "there is any doubt the on field umpires could [still] go upstairs to the [television] umpire to look over available video evidence".  

 

"There is no reason", says Woodhill, "why the extra umpire would get in the way".  He described the fourth umpire appointed to major games as "basically just a water boy", and believes he could readily be tasked with the behind the wicketkeeper umpiring role.  That comment suggests he is not aware the fourth umpire has a range of tasks to look after, including supporting his umpiring colleagues in regard to ground issues and match day facilities, as well as being a back-up for the television umpire. 

 

EVEN SHARE OF ODI SERIES 

POSITIONS FOR ZIM UMPIRES 

[PTG 1175-5679]

 

Zimbabwe's three members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Russell Tiffin, Owen Chirombe and Jerry Matibiri, have been given an even share of the three on-field and third umpire positions in next week's One Day International series between the home side and Pakistan; Richard Illingworth of England being the neutral umpire and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the match referee (PTG 1173-5667, 19 August 2013).  

 

Matibiri and Chirombe have been named as the third umpires for the first Test between the two sides in Harare and second in Bulawayo early next month respectively, in support of on-field umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and match referee Javagal Srinath of India.  In addition, Chirombe will be on the field in both Twenty20 Internationals this weekend with Tiffin and Matibiri sharing the second on-field and third umpire spots and Crowe the referee.

 

CALL FOR SESSION ROTATION 

OF ON-FIELD, THIRD UMPIRES 

[PTG 1175-5680]

 

The "ideal way" of getting the best "out of the two field umpires and the third umpire" is to rotate all three during matches, says former Indian cricket administrator and now columnist with 'The Hindu', Makarand Waingankar.  Writing this week Waingankar said he is concerned what he calls the "absurd Umpire Decision Review System, is testing [umpire] decision making" and that international "award-winning umpires are bluntly [being] told that they are not good enough" as a result.

 

Waingankar is concerned at "the rate at which umpires all over the world are losing respect" because "everyone loves to criticise them; private television commentators, former cricketers writing in newspapers and cricket fans".  They "understandably get tired and exhausted by the third day" in a game, he says, and "if they are rotated they will oversee fewer deliveries [and that] will surely help them as the degree of pressure will be less [and] they will be fresh mentally and physically".  

 

"What must be going in the umpire’s mind is something no one empathises with", he says, and "the rotation of umpires [over] five days will be a useful tool in minimising mistakes". "It is not charity that our umpires deserve", he says, but "ample rest and above all respect".

 

In South Africa's four Test series against India in 1992-93 when only one neutral umpire was appointed by the International Cricket Council, a partial rotation policy applied.  In the first two games Steve Bucknor of the West Indies was the neutral, his first Tests overseas, locals Karl Liebenberg and Cyril Mitchley dividing their time between on-field and third umpire roles.  Tests three and four saw England's David Shepherd the neutral and South Africans Wilf Diedricks and Rudi Koertzen, the latter on Test debut, the 'rotators'.  A rotation policy was also in force over several seasons in Australia's Sheffield Shield first class competition around the same time.

 

THIRD DHAKA FRANCHISE PLAYER ACKNOWLEDGES 

CHARGES, PLEADS INNOCENT 

[PTG 1175-5681]

 

Mosharraf Hossain, a player with the Bangladesh Premier League's (BPL) Dhaka franchise, has acknowledged publicly that he is one of the nine named in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) report into match-fixing activities in this year's BPL-2 series.  Left-arm spinner Mosharraf who has been suspended from playing the game anywhere as a result of the charges, returned to Bangladesh from the UK on Monday, and told reporters yesterday that he is innocent of any wrong doing and that he plans to face the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) inquiry into the matter (PTG 1174-5675, 20 August 2013).

 

Mosharraf, who played a season in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) five years ago, challenged the ICC's report saying that its findings had been prepared "on the basis of mobile [phone] tracking and information gathered from different sources".  "I am hundred percent confident that I have not spoken to anyone regarding any match-fixing [deal] so there cannot be any question of obtaining any recorded telephone conversations of mine in this regard".

 

The left-arm spinner was banned for ten years by the BCB for his involvement in the ICL but it was lifted when he severed his ties with what was in ICC-speak an  "unofficial" Twenty20 competition.  Reports over the years have suggested that the ICL was in the words of Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper yesterday, "a match-fixing hub".  

 

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, a team mate of Mosharraf at the BPL's Dhaka franchise, confessed his involvement in fixing activities in May and has been suspended by the BCB from all cricketing activities pending a formal inquiry (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013).  Another Dhaka team member, Englishman Darren Stevens, last week also acknowledge he was mentioned in the ICC report, however, he stressed that he had "not been involved in any corrupt activity" or "charged with any" (PTG 1170-5655, 15 August 2013). 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,176
Thursday, 22 August 2013


INDIAN UMPIRE NAMED 

FOR 'ASHES' ODI SERIES

[PTG 1176-5682]

 

Ravi Sundaram, an Indian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has been appointed as one of the neutral officials for next month's five-match 'Ashes' One Day International (ODI) series.  Sundaram, 47, was elevated to an on-field spot on the IUP just a fortnight ago after two years as a third umpire member (PTG 778-3806, 22 June 2011), however, what appears to be a rapid rise into a particularly high-profile series is backed by his experience of over twenty years as a first class umpire (PTG 1166-5642, 10 August 2013).

 

Sundaram's appointment will be seen by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as confirmation that its efforts to lift the standard of umpiring in India over the last five years is bearing fruit, the ultimate aim being to see one of their nationals selected as a member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  A BCCI Umpire sub-committee member said two weeks ago that "there are umpires in India who have the potential to be a part of that panel" but "it will take some time for them to get there".  

 

The Indian's neutral colleagues for the five ODIs will be Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, while the 'home' umpires nominated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are Rob Bailey, Michael Gough, Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough.  Dar, Illingworth and Kettleborough are all current EUP members, while Bailey and Gough are ECB on-field and third umpire IUP members respectively.

 

Dar will be on the field in three games, the first ODI at Headingley with Illingworth, the third at Edgbaston with Gough in what will be the Englishman's senior international debut, and the fifth with Bailey in Southampton, Sundaram being the television umpire in those games.  The Indian will stand in the second match at Old Trafford with Kettleborough and the fourth with Bailey in Cardiff, with Dar in the television suite.  Those games will take Dar's on-field ODI record to 160, Kettleborough 36, Illingworth 18, Sundaram 9, Bailey 8 and Gough to one, while Crowe's tally as a match referee will move on to 181; fourth overall behind Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka 187, Chris Broad of England 226 and Ranjan Madugalle 271.

 

Next week's two Twenty20 International between the two sides will see Bailey on the field in both, Tim Robinson England's second IUP third umpire member being his partner in the first, and Gough the second, the latter pair working as the television umpire when not on the field.  The ECB have yet to publicly announce the make-up of their IUP group for the 2013-14 year, and the fact that Robinson has been overlooked for the ODIs could be read to suggest Gough will be moved into the on-field spot alongside Bailey that was left vacant by June's elevation of Illingworth to the EUP (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).

 

Sundaram's appointment to the series scotches suggestions that the ICC would look to former EUP member 'Billy' Bowden as a neutral for the five ODIs.  Bowden was named as an IUP on-field member last week (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013) and is currently umpiring in the Caribbean Premier League. 

 

AUSSIE COACH ACCUSES OPPONENT 

OF 'BLATANT CHEATING'

[PTG 1176-5683]

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann yesterday accused England player Stuart Broad of ''blatant cheating'' and encouraged Australian spectators "to get stuck into" him during the Ashes tour there this austral summer.  Lehmann's comments came yesterday after Broad admitted he edged the ball at the centre of the 'walking' controversy in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last month (PTG 1149-5565, 17 July 2013), and named Australian players "who have nicked it and not walked" in the series (PTG 1175-5676, 21 August 2013).  

 

While he admitted hitting the ball Broad made no apologies for standing his ground and Lehmann said that while he doesn't advocate walking, "when you hit [the ball] to first slip it's pretty hard" to take.  The presenter, who called Broad "an idiot", asked if he is "going to cop a bit of action when he comes to the crease?" Lehmann said "our players haven't forgotten, they're calling him everything under the sun as they go past so I would hope the Australian public are the same because that was just blatant cheating" and "I hope he cries and goes home".  According to him "the biggest problem is the poor umpire cops all the crap, gets in the paper and Broad makes him look like a fool". 

 

Former England batsman Geoff Boycott said "the Australians I have played with and have watched, with the exception of Adam Gilchrist, believe in standing and it's up to the umpire to give you out - there shouldn't be a moral argument".  Australian broadcaster Jim Maxwell called Lehmann's comments "incendiary" and that "Cricket Australia [CA] needs to tell Darren to zip it. He's out of order. Broad's going to cop a bit of heckling, but don't pour petrol on it".  "Make him cry and things? I'm sure [that was] said in jest", said Maxwell, for "it sounds a bit like pub talk but he is the Australia team coach and he should be a little more careful".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,177
Friday, 23 August 2013


ICC FINES AUSTRALIAN COACH FOR 

'INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS' 

[PTG 1175-5684]

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after he pleaded guilty to a charge of publicly criticising and making inappropriate comments about England player Stuart Broad on Thursday.  Lehmann accused Broad of ''blatant cheating'' and encouraged Australian spectators "to get stuck into" him during the Ashes tour there this austral summer, after the Englishman admitted he edged the ball at the centre of the 'walking' controversy in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last month (PTG 1176-5683, 22 August 2013).

 

The ICC said in a statement issued early this morning Australian time, that the charge against Lehmann was laid by David Richardson the ICC's chief executive.  Richardson said in a statement that  “Whilst noting the context and nature of the comments made, showing mutual respect for one’s fellow professionals - including for coaches, players and match officials - is a cornerstone of how we play the game".  Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin made comments about umpires earlier in the week but it appears they were acceptable to the ICC (PTG 1174-5671, 20 August 2013). 

 

Lehmann was found to have breached a part of the ICC's 'Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel', which relates to public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an international match; the sanctions available for a "first offence" ranging from a warning or reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to half of the applicable match fee.

 

The Australian coach's comments about Broad were yesterday described by Australian 'Cricinfo' journalist Brydon Coverdale, before the ICC announced its move, as "posturing" in what was a "blokey interview on a blokey Australian radio station to appeal to Aussie blokes".  He says the broadcaster "has a way of making sportsmen feel they're among mates".

 

Coverdale points out that it is the the same radio station on which former Australian opener Matthew Hayden called India's Harbhajan Singh a "little obnoxious weed" five years ago, and Andrew Symonds later described New Zealand's Brendon McCullum as "a lump of shit".  "Both men faced Cricket Australia disciplinary action for 'detrimental public comment' on those occasions", he says, "Hayden being reprimanded and Symonds also fined $A4000".  As such, wrote Coverdale, "Cricket Australia has no choice but to report Lehmann for a Code of Conduct breach, for calling an opponent a cheat is nothing if not detrimental".  

  

UMPIRES TO BENEFIT FROM NEW 

'HYBRID' LEAGUE, CLAIM ORGANISERS

[PTG 1175-5685]

 

"Aspiring umpires [who] are in a fierce competition for limited places at national and international level" are expected to "benefit greatly from the enhanced level of competition" that the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) expects will be provided by its new Premier League competition.  Six teams will be involved in a series that sits above SACA's normal Grade-level league and features four sides selected from members of the association's thirteen Grade sides in Adelaide, the other teams being representative teams from the Northern Territory (NT) and Papua New Guinea (PNG). 

 

SACA High Performance General Manager Jamie Cox said at the league's launch that it "is a new and elite level of competition that will make a very positive impact among our cricket talent pool, and will hopefully encourage the best players and officials to get the best out of themselves".  "We want to give our players every opportunity to be ‘first-class ready’, so that South Australia", which has not won Australia's domestic first class competition for seventeen years, "is in a stronger position as a cricketing state".  

 

The league's inaugural season, which according to SACA could cost anywhere up to $A300,000, will start late next month and run until mid-February.  It appears to consist of eleven rounds, six in the one-day format, four two-day, and one three-day, plus a three-day Twenty20 tournament.  The first four one-day rounds are to be played in Darwin over the last two weekends of September, and all the others in Adelaide in October, December, January and February.

 

Referring to PNG's participation Cox said it "will be the first time an international team will take part in a domestic cricket competition", a comment that overlooks New Zealand's participation in Australia's one-day domestic series in the early 1970s.  'PTG' understands that SACA had considered a number of teams to fill the new league's sixth spot, one being the Australian Capital Territory which like its NT counterpart has few opportunities to play in Cricket Australia's (CA) senior nation-wide competitions. 

 

SACA refers to umpires in its Premier League booklet, saying that it has "a proud record of developing world class umpires" including Max O’Connell, Colin Egar, Tony Crafter, Darryl Harper and Steve Davis, all of whom were or are Test umpires, and Simon Fry, who has umpired in One Day Internationals.  However, since Fry was named as a member of Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) eight years ago, no South Australian has been a serious contender for the NUP, hence SACA's hope that the new league will help to overcome that hiatus.  Paul Wilson, another current NUP member from that state, moved to Adelaide from Western Australia after his elevation to that panel.

 

'PTG' understands that NUP members Tony Ward (Victoria) and Ian Lock (Western Australia) will stand in the opening Premier league games on the first weekend next month and Wilson and Damian Mealey (Queensland) on the second.  Darwin-based umpires Mark Donfeld, Michael Esam, David Finch and Jeremy Sten will also be involved across the two weekends, plus so far unnamed PNG umpires who are likely to be involved in two games each weekend.  Either Clive Elly or Lakani Oala who are members of the International Cricket Council's East Asia Pacific region's senior umpires panel are likely contenders (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013).  NT and PTG umpires and possibly scorers will presumably be flown to Adelaide for the later rounds of the competition to work with SACA match officials.

 

Prior to the Darwin Premier League games, Donfield, Esam and Sten are reported to have been named to officiate in practice matches CA's Perth Twenty20 franchise side are to play in Darwin early next month as part of its preparations for this year's Champions League series in India.  

 

 

SIX APPEAR IN CONTENTION 

FOR CPL FINALS

[PTG 1175-5686]

 

In addition to New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden, a total of nine West Indian umpires, eight from the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) top Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) and one from its Emerging Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 994-4828, 24 September 2012), were used in on-field roles in the twenty-one Caribbean Premier League (CPL) home-and-away games played over the last three weeks (PTG 5615, 2 August 2013).  The semi finals and final of the inaugural CPL series are to be played in Trinidad and Tobago over the next few days. 

 

Mike Proctor of South Africa and Hayden Bruce of Trinidad and Tobago have shared match referee duties across the competition to date.  All except a half dozen of the forty-two on-field umpire positions were, in addition to Bowden, allocated to 'locals' Peter Nero and Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago, Gregory Brathwaite from Barbados, Nigel Duguid of Guyana and Patrick Gustard from Jamaica, the first four who normally work as members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Those six plus Proctor and Bruce will be the contenders for key match official positions over the three finals matches.

 

Other WICB SUP members used in on-field roles were Carl Tuckett of the Leeward Islands and Danesh Ramdhanie (Trinidad and Tobago) with two games each, and Colin Alfred (Guyana) and Leslie Reifer (Barbados), who were each given a single fixture.  Another SUP member, Verdayne Smith (Jamaica), worked as a third umpire in three games, while his colleagues on that panel, Christopher Taylor (Jamaica) and Anthony Sanowar (Trinidad and Tobago) were limited to fourth umpire roles, as were EUP members Gynandad Sukhdeo (Guyana) and Francis Maurice  (Windward Islands).  

 

Others used in fourth umpire roles who are not known to be members of a WICB panel were Felix Auguiste (Windward Islands), and Sylvan Leacock and Kevin Sisnett (both Barbados). 

 

TWO-YEAR SUSPENDED SENTENCE 

FOR RECALCITRANT BERMUDAN

[PTG 1175-5687]

 

Bermudan player Treadwell Gibbons has been given a two year suspended ban as a result of his actions during a match played three weeks ago.  Gibbons reacted angrily during the game after he initially refused to leave the field when given out, at one point waving his bat around and having to be restrained by another player (PTG 1165-5638, 9 August 2013), and he was subsequently withdrawn from the national training squad by the Bermuda Cricket Board (PTG 1167-5644, 11 August 2013).

 

St. George’s Cricket Club President Neil Paynter said yesterday that Gibbons' ban means "in the event of any other incidents in cricket his ban will come into effect immediately".  Paynter also said that Gibbons has also "had fifty per cent of his match fees deducted", but whether that refers to the match in which he offended or all subsequent matches is not clear.  Gibbons publicly apologised for his behaviour two weeks ago (PTG 1170-5657, 15 August 2013).

 

The suspended nature of the sentence has not been welcomed by many in Bermuda if initial responses to newspaper reports about it are any guide for the now 28-year-old has a history of disciplinary run-ins.  In 2003 he was dropped from Bermuda’s Under-19 squad and banned six games for fighting a team-mate during a practice session, and also punished for displaying "unsportsmanlike conduct" at a tournament in Jamaica.

 

Then in 2007 he was given a two-year ban for showing “serious dissent at an umpire’s decision, threatening to assault an umpire" and using "foul language or gestures that seriously offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, colour or ethnic origin", after refusing to walk after being given LBW out during a match.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,178

Saturday, 24 August 2013

UNIQUE ALL-EUP UMPIRING GROUP 

FOR FINAL ASHES TEST

[PTG 1178-5688]

 

In what appears to be a first, all four umpire members of the 'Playing Control Group' (PCG) for the Fifth Ashes Tests at 'The Oval', the two on-field, third and fourth or reserve umpire, are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  Whether such a combination is an attempt to reduce the chances of the serious criticism that has been directed at umpires over the first four Tests being repeated in the final game of the series (PTG 1175-5676, 21 August 2013), or was part of a longer-term plan, is not known.

 

With the ICC having appointed EUP members Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka to the on-field spots, and Tony Hill of New Zealand the third umpire (PTG 1139-5621, 4 July 2013), the home country's administration, this time the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), normally nominates a locally-based member the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), or a senior domestic umpire, for the fourth umpire position; although only a few years back that spot often went to an up-and-coming younger official, even if the Umpire Decision Review System was in operation.  

 

However, on this occasion the position is being filled by Englishman Richard Kettleborough, a EUP member who earns around $A300,000 a year and who last worked as a reserve umpire in a Test in June 2008, three years before he was named as a member of the world's top panel (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).  The fourth umpire normally has a range of basic tasks to look after, amongst them being supporting his umpiring colleagues in regard to ground issues and match day facilities, keeping an eye on the pitch during intervals, relaying messages to teams, and being a back-up for the television umpire. 

 

Four separate fourth umpires have been used in the four Tests Ashes played over the last six weeks: Neil Mallender at Trent Bridge, Tim Robinson at Lord's, Nick Cook at Old Trafford, and Michael Gough in Durham.  Robinson and Gough are current England IUP third umpire members, Mallender was for a very brief period last decade an EUP member, and like Cook is now also a senior member of the ECB's top domestic panel.  All four have domestic first class and/or one-day appointments during the period the fifth Test is being played.

 

Nearly 500 Tests have been played since the EUP was formed in 2002, and records suggest that only two current EUP members have worked as a fourth umpire in such games during that time, Dar once in October 2005 a few months after joining the panel, and Hill twice, the latest being in March this year.  On both those occasions, however, individuals who were then members of the IUP were working in either on-field or third umpire roles as part of the PCG.

 

RADIO STATION OFFERS TO PAY COACH'S

'INAPPROPRIATE COMMENT' FINE 

[PTG 1178-5689]

 

In a further sullying of the situation, the radio station on which Australian coach Darren Lehmann made disparaging comments about England player Stuart Broad has offered to pay his fine.  Lehmann, whose nickname is 'Boof', was this week fined twenty per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC), a sum estimated to be around $A3,000 (PTG 1177-5684, 23 August 2013), but a small figure given the estimated $A150,000 in fees he is expected earn over the ten Ashes Tests being played over the six months from early July.

 

England did not report the incident to the ICC, but the world body's chief executive, Dave Richardson, laid a charge himself and Lehmann pleaded guilty to "publicly criticising and making inappropriate comments" about Broad that included a "blatant cheating" claim.  Yesterday morning the radio station announced it would pay any fine incurred by Lehmann due to his comments, saying via its website 'it can't let 'Boof' take all the blame for something that happened on our station".  "He's a mate and a great bloke and we'll be coughing up the match fine on his behalf".

 

While the broadcaster is supporting Lehmann, former Australia captain Ian Chappell said the coach was "out of order", telling the.BBC: "I don't like to be called a cheat and basically he's calling all people who don't walk a cheat, which would include himself". "'Cheat' is not a word you should use very lightheartedly, and even if you are being lighthearted that's a word you should steer away from", said Chappell, and "even when you've got your tongue in your cheek it's pretty hypocritical for an Australian to complain about somebody not walking".

 

DERBYSHIRE DOCKED 2014 

POINTS FOR 'POOR' PITCH

[PTG 1178-5690]

 

Derbyshire County Cricket Club (DCCC) has been penalised with a two point deduction from next year's England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 50-over competition due to a ‘poor’ rating for a pitch it provided for a forty-over game against Durham nine days ago.  An ECB Pitch Panel upheld a report by umpires Trevor Jesty and Martin Saggers that the pitch had demonstrated excessive turn and should therefore be rated as ‘poor’.

 

DCCC chief executive Simon Storey said: “Whilst we have to accept the verdict, the Pitch Panel’s review confirmed that there was nothing to indicate in advance that the pitch would behave as it did".  "There is no suggestion of an intention to produce a favourable playing surface for the home side", he continued, "indeed there was no way our ground staff could have predicted the resulting outcome".  “The fixture in question was played on the same pitch used for the Twenty20 game against Leicestershire at the end of July and it was prepared in the exactly the same way".  

 

The ECB says there were no circumstances relating to the preparation of the pitch, such as weather issues, that meant that a penalty should not be imposed, hence the decision to delete the two one-day championship points next year.  Cricket Australia is reported to be bringing in a pitch penalty arrangement this coming austral summer, an approach that apparently has state association curators around the country concerned (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013).

  PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,179
Monday, 26 August 2013

ASHES UMPIRE DECISION AVERAGES 

COME IN BELOW EUP 'WORST GUY' LEVELS 

[PTG 1179-5689]

 

Decisions made by umpires prior to reviews during the Ashes series in England this northern summer were correct "about 91 per cent" of the time, according to David Richardson the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executives.  That figure is poor by normal ICC standards for it is below the 91.5 per cent average Richardson's Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel said last month was the score achieved by the "worst guy" on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) over the last year (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013). 

 

Taufel told an audience at the Bradman Museum in country New South Wales six weeks ago that EUP members had given correct decisions without the aid of technology on an average of 94.2 per cent of occasions over the last twelve months, the "best guy" on the panel achieving "about 97 per cent".  Richardson told the BBC in an interview yesterday that the 91 per cent figure is "lower than we would have liked and lower than the average", which fits with Taufel's comments, but that when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) was brought to bear, Ashes umpires "ended up with the correct decisions [on] around 97 per cent" of occasions.  

 

Richardson did not give any details of what the figures were for each of the four umpires involved, but he did indicate to the BBC that he is "keen for a review" of the UDRS.  "I don't think a 100 per cent success rate is achievable because technology can sometimes fail and the umpires, even with technology, might make a mistake where judgement is concerned", he said.  "What we need to do now", he continued, "is to take stock, review the statistics", although he did not indicate just what the ICC is planning or what the time-line for any worked proposed is.

 

The ICC chief executive went on to talk about the use of 'real-time' 'Snicko' and hinted it might be introduced prior to the five Ashes Tests scheduled for Australia this coming southern summer, but "we wouldn't do that until we're satisfied 100 per cent that they've got the process of synchronising the sound with the vision perfect and we've got people looking at that as we speak".  "There are [ICC] meetings coming up in September", said Richardson, "and they could have the authority to sanction 'Snicko's use".

 

Earlier this year (PTG 1054-5122, 7 February 2013), and again late last month, Australian company BBG Sports the providers of infra-red 'Hot Spot' technology, said it was developing an upgraded 'Snickometer' system and hoped it would be used as part of the UDRS package this austral summer.  BBG's Warren Brennan said that combining the thermal images 'Hot Spot' provides with 'Snicko' data that will be 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 (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).

 

Meanwhile, former Australia captain Greg Chappell said on Saturday said that the UDRS has not helped cricket get rid of umpire 'howlers' and is "making the game look clumsy and the umpires foolish".  Chappell told the Indian newspaper 'The Hindu' that "before it was brought in, the [ICC] did a survey of umpires and decision-making and found that the umpires were correct 93 per cent of the time; [which meant] 7 per cent of players may have been unhappy, but that is a pretty good result".  

 

Chappell went on to say that he "would like to see a mechanism introduced where the third umpire can interject if a 'howler' has been made, no matter if all the team reviews have been used".  The Australian said that players during his era had grown up accepting umpire’s decision as the final call", and while "it may have left a few frustrated at times", "it went a long way in character building".  Former England player Jonathan Agnew expressed a similar view last week (PTG 1175-5676, 21 August 2013).

 

CA HOLDS FIRST NATIONAL SCORER MEETING, 

FURTHER 'STATSMASTER' UPGRADES AWAITED 

[PTG 1179-5690]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to have held an initial one-day meeting of its new national scorers group in Melbourne last week, but as yet very little detail has emerged about just what the outcomes were.  News of CA's new scoring focus, which has been welcomed by many, came to light three months ago and was said then to including the development of a scorer training and accreditation package similar to that now available to umpires in Australia (PTG 1104-5379, 16 May 2013).

 

Last week's meeting was said earlier this year to be aimed at: promoting and encouraging greater unity across Australian cricket scorers; encouraging and fostering scoring efficiencies, initiatives, practices and ideas; providing opportunities to network and engage with other scorers; evaluating the "current scorer environment" and establish a strategy for cricket scoring development and the resources required; and to provide an opportunity for open discussion about establishment of a "National Cricket Scorers Reference Group" to lead Australian Cricket scoring.

 

'PTG' understands that new versions of CA's 'Statsmaster' computer scoring package are currently under development and/or testing.  CA chose to develop the program from scratch fifteen months ago rather than use existing computer programs that had been well bedded down by scorers in at least one state over the previous three seasons (PTG 958-4657, 7 July 2012).  The new system, which last austral summer tried the patience of those scorers who were exposed to its many glitches and multiple program versions, has understandably not yet been made compulsory for use in CA matches. 

 

Another CA initiative this year to bring more females into umpiring does not appear to have proceeded very far (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  It was said to involve "contracting" a 'Project Umpire' prior to the start of the 2013-14 austral summer and was supposed to include efforts by each Australian state and territory to not only promote umpiring to females, but also to set up training programs and structures that will provide them with a clear pathway and opportunities to progress. Despite CA announcing earlier this year that its revenue was to receive a significant boost due to new TV deals, lack of financial support from CA management may be behind the lack of concrete action to date. 

 

In other areas of interest an announcement is still awaited on just who will make up Australia's members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel for the year ahead.  Unconfirmed reports say that National Umpire Panel member John Ward will join Simon Fry as an IUP on-field members, and that two new third umpires, Mick Martell and Paul Wilson a former Australian Test player, may be chosen in what would be an expanded group.  In addition just who the three new members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel will be has also not been announced, applications for those positions having closed five weeks ago today (PTG 1153-5582, 22 July 2013).

 

One positive move that has been made is the renaming of CA's Umpire Manager position, a title that has applied for many years.  It has now been changed to 'Match Officials Manager' to better reflect the fact that in addition to umpires the position also oversees scoring, match referee and other matters.  

 

'CLAMP DOWN' ON SLOW OVER-RATES

NEEDED, SAYS BOYCOTT

[PTG 1179-5691]

 

Former England batsman and now broadcaster Geoffery Boycott believes the International Cricket Council (ICC) should "clamp down" on slow over-rates, insisting most leading teams in the world are "serial offenders when it suited them".  Boycott was speaking during the second day's play of the final Ashes Test at The Oval on Thursday when England, who were waiting for Australia to declare, set defensive fields and took 64 minutes to bowl just 11.5 overs.

 

“The field placing was disappointing", said Boycott while commentating on the BBC, and "it’s poor cricket when a team is bowling five overs in half an hour".  “The ICC don’t try to defuse it, and the umpires are at fault for not enforcing it", he continued, before emphasising that he was "not just blaming England [for] teams in England’s position are allowed to carry on like that", and "next time it’ll be Australia, South Africa, the West Indies or whoever, for a deliberate slow over-rate is not good for the game".

 

David Saker, England’s bowling coach was later quoted as saying what he called “educated” spectators would have "understood the rationale behind [his] team’s slow over-rate".  “The main issue was the ball was very wet", he said, "we couldn’t deliver the ball until it was dry", for "if the ball is wet there’s only one team who can win and that’s the batting team".

 

The issue of slow over rates has been an issue for many years, a situation that led the ICC to tighten its requirements in that regard two years ago (PTG 783-3832, 28 June 2011).  Current regulations call for a minimum of fifteen overs to be delivered per hour, unless external factors such as third-umpire referrals, injuries, rain and ground conditions come in to play.  However, if they do not teams can be fined and ultimately a captain banned from matches if the offence is occurs more than once in a twelve month period (PTG 1141-5533, 7 July 2013).

 

GUYANESE JOINS KIWI FOR 

INAUGURAL CPL FINAL

[PTG 1179-5692]

 

Nigel Duguid of Guyana and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand stood in the final of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 competition in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Saturday, locally-born Joel Wilson being the third umpire and Mike Proctor of South Africa the match referee (PTG 1175-5686, 23 August 2013).  Dugiud, normally a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was selected ahead of Wilson who is a West Indian on-field IUP member.

 

Wilson stood in both CPL semi finals, the first on Thursday with Bowden and the second with Duguid, Proctor being the referee for each match, Danesh Ramdhanie, another Trinidadian, being the fourth umpire in both those fixtures and the final itself. Two other Caribbean IUP members, on-field official Peter Nero of Trinidad and Tobago and Gregory Braithwaite of Barbados a third umpire, were not available for selection as they were in Toronto, Canada looking after a series of games between the home nation and the Netherlands. 

 

Nero was originally scheduled to stand with New Zealander Chris Gaffaney in two 50-over one-day, and a single Intercontinental Cup first class match between those two sides, however, sometime in the last week Braithwaite was moved into the game.  Just why Gaffaney, who works as a policeman in Dunedin, had to be replaced for the three games is not known.  

 

PLAYER, SCORER BANNED FOR THREE 

GAMES AFTER UMPIRE 'WALK OUT' 

[PTG 1179-5693]

 

A player and a scorer have each been banned for three games because of their actions in a Northern Cricket Union (NCU) division one game in Ireland earlier this month that was abandoned by the umpire because he'd been subjected to too much abuse and left the ground.  Carrickfergus captain Iain Parkhill is said to have admitted to disagreeing with several of umpire David Gilliland's decisions, however, the captain insisted soon after "that no abusive language [was] involved" (PTG 1163-5631, 7 August 2013).  

 

According to the 'Belfast Telegraph', Gilliland accused Parkhill of a Level 4 offence in his report, a charge that normally involves the act or threat of a physical assault or the use of language or gestures that seriously offends, insults, humiliates, or intimidates, however, the NCU's disciplinary committee downgraded the charge to Level 2 that in general covers serious dissent.  Scorer Roger Bell was also charged with a Level 2 offence, and after the hearing late last week both men were given three-match bans.

 

The 'Northern Territory News' is reporting this morning that an umpire officiating in a Darwin and District Cricket Competition match at Nightcliffe Oval of Saturday "walked off the ground following a verbal altercation between a player and himself"  No other details of the matter were provided in the 'News' report.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,180
Tuesday, 27 August 2013


ICC 'BAD LIGHT' RULES 'TOTALLY 

UNACCEPTABLE', CLAIMS ECB CHAIRMAN

[PTG 1180-5696]

 

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has called International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations that led play to be stopped on the final day of the fifth Ashes Test in London on Sunday as "totally unacceptable".  Clarke was one of a number of prominent observers and commentators to criticise the decision to leave the field as an exciting finish loomed, although most media reports concede that umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka "had no option" but to end play in that way for the day, the match and the series as a whole.

 

With the floodlights on Dar and Dharmasena, who under the latest edition of game's Laws have sole discretion regarding light issues (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010), called off play at 7.36 p.m. local time as ICC playing regulations require them to do so once the light has dropped to the level that had been deemed unfit for play earlier in the match, that situation being when the second day's play on Thursday was called off at 7.26 p.m.  

 

Australian fielders had reportedly complained of being unable to see the ball, which prompted their captain Michael Clarke to expressed his concerns to the umpires about the light.  Clarke, whose team was looking at a possible defeat, is said to have believed conditions were significantly darker than when Thursday's play was stopped and also when he was batting during he third Test at Old Trafford early this month.  The light meter reading on Sunday was 5.7 while at Old Trafford it was 8.1, the lower figure indicating darker conditions.

 

ECB chairman Clarke said that ICC regulations regarding bad light "must change" and that he "expects [ICC chief executive] Dave Richardson to change it at the next ICC chief executives meeting".  Former England player and now BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew said "Don't blame the umpires or the players... blame the ICC.  It's an absolute disgrace, an absolute shambles, [and] a farce".  "Let's hope that finally those people in Dubai who run the game realise what a mess this is", he said.

 

England coach Andy Flower called on the ICC to "improve the regulations", that "we've spoken with ICC officials about this for years", and if they do "cricket will be better for it", while his Australian counterpart Darren Lehmann said "'it could have been handled better by the umpires, but at the end of the day we've had light issues throughout the series [and] if you've got a reading you've got to take it".

 

England captain Alistair Cook said "the rules and regulations are there for a reason, the umpires have strict guidelines and, if it was day three [of the game], we would have gone off".  "Unfortunately, sometimes the officials have to take the emotion out of things and be consistent to both sides. Of course it is disappointing having got ourselves in to that position and I think we would have scored the rest of the runs. If the boot was on the other foot I would have probably asked the same question [about light as Clarke]".

 

Media reports claim that the ICC is "to examine" Australian captain Clarke's "heated exchange" with Dar and Dharmasena as they were mid-pitch attempting to assess light conditions.  After the captain raised his concerns it took time to get a light meter onto the ground and the umpires were standing mid-pitch using it when Clarke tried to see what the readings were.  Dar gestured him away, gently touching him as he did so, a move the Australian skipper clearly objected to, although he claimed later he had "politely" asked the umpire "not to touch me" and claimed he had "absolutely no issue with it at all".

 

SRI LANKA LOOSES A THIRD 

FORMER TEST UMPIRE 

[PTG 1180-5697]

 

Sri Lanka umpire Piyadasa Vidanagamage, who stood in a total of ten first class matches in the period from 1984-90, four of which were Tests, died in England on Saturday aged 79.  One of Vidanagamage's Tests was in what was his country's first win at the game's highest level, Selliah Ponnadurai his partner in that game passing away earlier this month (PTG 1171-5660, 16 August 2013). 

 

Vidanagamage was the first Sri Lankan to stand in a World Cup, that being in India in 1987, a series in which he was on-field in four games.  His overall List A record was 31 games, 23 of which were One Day Internationals.  During an umpiring career that last 30 years he was also treasurer of Sri Lanka's Association of Cricket Umpires for a long period and a lecturer on the Laws of the game for the association.  

 

Colombo-born Vidanagamage is the third Sri Lanka Test umpire to pass away in the last two months, the other being Kandiah Francis who died in June (PTG 1121-5447, 10 June 2013).

 

ZIMBABWEAN PLAYER REPRIMAND 

FOR DISSENT

[PTG 1180-5698]

 

Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams has been reprimanded after pleading guilty to “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an International Match” in his side's first Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Harare on Friday.  The charge related to an incident in Zimbabwe’s innings when Williams, after being given out LBW, left shaking his head, speaking aloud and hitting his bat into the ground.

 

Match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand said: “Sean accepted that he made inappropriate gestures after his dismissal when leaving the wicket, while walking off the field and as he entered the dressing room area".  The charge against him was laid by on-field umpires Owen Chirombe and Jerry Matibiri and third umpire Russell Tiffin.  The range of sanctions for all first Level 1 offences runs from a warning or reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to half of the applicable match fee.

 

BPL FRANCHISE OWNER 

ON ICC CHARGE SHEET 

[PTG 1180-5699]

 

Salim Chowdhury, the owner of the Bangladesh Premier League's (BPL) Dhaka franchise, is expected to plead not guilty today to a charge he was involved in a match-fixing related offence during the BPL's second edition earlier this year.  Two weeks ago a report prepared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) charged nine unnamed individuals with various BPL-related corruption and gave those involved until today to indicate their innocence or guilt (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

 

Chowdhury has been named as one of the nine in an article in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning, as well as four players whose names have come to light:  former national captain Mohammad Ashraful who confessed publicly in June (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013), plus over the last few weeks Mosharraf Hossain, Mahbubul Alam and Englishman Darren Stevens, who have admitted to have been charged and have protested their innocence (PTG 1175-5681, 21 August 2013).

 

A report in May stated that Ashraful had agreed to loose a BPL match "after his side's owner" allegedly promised him additional money to do so (PTG 1112-5411, 28 May 2013).  Yesterday, Salim indicated he has instructed his lawyers to take necessary steps to defend him at hearings to be conducted a yet-to-be-finalised ten-man Bangladesh Cricket Board disciplinary panel (PTG 1174-5675, 20 August 2013).

 

KETTLEBOROUGH TEST FOURTH 

UMPIRE SPOT PLANNED PRE-SERIES 

[PTG 1180-5700]

 

The allocation of four members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) to manage the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval was planned before the series began and had nothing to do with umpiring issues that arose during the five games, says the ICC (PTG 1178-5688, 24 August 2013).  

 

While the world body appointed EUP members Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka to the on-field spots,and Tony Hill of New Zealand the third umpire, for the fifth Test (PTG 1139-5621, 4 July 2013), the ICC told 'PTG' that as previously indicated it was the England and Wales Cricket Board's prerogative to select the fourth or reserve umpire, the appointment on this occasion going to Richard Kettleborough, who is one of the four English members of the EUP.  

 

According to the ICC Kettleborough's actual role in the game was no different to what is normally the case for such a position.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,181
Thursday, 28 August 2013

DARWIN UMPIRE 'WALK OUT' HIGHLIGHTS 

DISCIPLINARY ISSUES 

[PTG 1181-5701]

 

The Darwin and District Cricket Competition (DDCC) faces what according to the 'Northern Territory News' this morning is "an umpiring crisis" following last Saturday's 'walk-off' by umpire Jeremy Sten on the first day of a two-day game between the Darwin and Nightcliff clubs (PTG 1179-5693, 26 August 2013).  The 'News' story says Sten's action "has forced [DDCC] authorities to confront head-on the deteriorating relationship between umpires and players", an issue a report four months ago said was "driving prospective umpires away from the game" in Darwin (PTG 1094-5325, 25 April 2013).

 

Sten is said to have indicated he will not be standing in this Saturday's second day of the Nightcliff-Darwin game as a result of a verbal altercation with Darwin batsman Jack Flynn.  Details of that confrontation are not available, however, the 'News' says that "DDCC officials have been asked to stamp out the tirade of players' abuse being directed at the umpires or face a big drop-off in numbers".  That would appear to have already happened as Sten was the lone official umpire in the match at Nightcliff.

 

What is called "an emergency meeting" arranged by DDCC chairman Craig Fildes yesterday has prevented this Saturday's second day's play being cancelled, umpire Nitesch Panchal being appointed to manage it with Darwin chasing 258 runs to win the game and thus third spot on the premiership ladder the week before the finals begin.  

 

Only four of the minimum six umpires required for the three DDCC Premier Grade matches were available for duty last weekend and Sten is said to have been "ready to quit umpiring altogether" after Saturday's incident but Wolfgang Woerner, the president of the Northern Territory Cricket Umpires Association, has reportedly "convinced him otherwise".  "He had made up his mind to give it away but he has reconsidered", said Woerner, "his words to me [being] he was not going to let one individual stop him enjoying the game and I'm very pleased about that".

 

Woerner is quoted by the 'News' as saying that "there is a general lack of respect and understanding of the 'Spirit of Cricket' right throughout the [DDCC] competition", a comment similar to those he made last April.  "The umpires are telling me they have to speak to players on a number of occasions about the level and amount of abuse", he said, and "that is not good enough".  "I've told the umpires not to put up with it and report players immediately if they don't back off from this".  There is no indication in the 'News' report whether Darwin player Flynn has been reported or will face disciplinary action over the incident with the umpire.

 

DDCC chairman Fildes said his administration was concerned at the increased number of umpire-player clashes and that "we'll be working with the club presidents and our end of season review to look at ways we can improve and reduce these incidents".  "Harsher penalties are one option, including the introduction of yellow warning and red dismissal cards", and in his view improving the culture of the game of cricket and everyone involved with it is a necessity.  "Cricket is a gentleman's game", he said, and "[the players] need to bear in mind the culture and respect that goes with it".

 

The latest "crisis" in umpiring numbers in Darwin comes as the city prepares to host the first matches of the South Australian Cricket Association's new Premier League competition that involves four teams from Adelaide plus the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea representative sides, a series being promoted as providing opportunities for match officials to "benefit greatly from the enhanced level of competition" (PTG 1177-5685, 23 August 2013).  Sten has been named to stand in that league plus an earlier series of games Cricket Australia's Perth Twenty20 franchise side are to play in Darwin as part of its preparations for this year's Champions League series in India.  

 

'ASHES' ODI 'WARM-UP' 

GAME FOR SUNDARAM

[PTG 1181-5702]

 

Indian umpire Ravi Sundaram will 'warm-up' for his participation in next month's five-match 'Ashes' One Day International (ODI) series by standing in the single ODI between Scotland and Australia in Aberdeen next Tuesday (PTG 1176-5682, 22 august 2013), while on the same day Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguru will be on the field when Ireland hosts England in the same match format in Dublin.  Palliyaguru's countryman Roshan Mahanama, who looked after the last two Tests of the Ashes series will be the match referee in Ireland, while Chris Broad of England will work in that role in Aberdeen.

 

While Mahanama has been in England for the Tests, Palliyaguru's appointment appears to be a one-off for his next match with the International Cricket Council will be in the United Arab Emirates in early October in games between Afghanistan and Namibia (PTG 1169-5651, 14 August 2013).  Sundaram and Palliyaguru's on-field partners have not been named as yet, except that they will come from 'Cricket Scotland' and 'Cricket Ireland' respectively.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,182
Friday, 30 August 2013


CA SCHEDULES FIRST CLASS DAY-NIGHT 

MATCHES, LATE 2015 NZ TEST THE TARGET 

[PTG 1182-5703]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has scheduled a round of Sheffield Shield first class matches under lights this austral summer with the intention of staging a day-night Test against New Zealand late in 2015, says a report in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' this morning.  Reports over the last two months have suggested the target for a day--night Test was the 2014-15 austral summer with the Adelaide Oval being the preferred ground, the project being driven to a large extent by CA's new multi-million dollar television broadcast deal with Channel 9 (PTG 1145-5545, 12 July 2013) 

 

'Age' cricket writer Chloe Saltau says that the forthcoming "trial" will be conducted during the Shield's three round nine games in early March that are to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the 'Gabba' in Brisbane and the Adelaide Oval, the places said to be "considered most likely to suit floodlit Tests".  A pink 'Kookaburra' ball that has "advances in manufacturing designed to make [it] last longer than previous versions will be used, and the playing hours will be similar to day-night One Day Internationals with the whole of the final session played under floodlights.  Last year that round saw Victoria and NSW at the MCG, Queensland and Tasmania in Brisbane, and South and Western Australia in Adelaide.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland is quoted as saying that if the forthcoming trial is successful more Shield games will be held under lights in 2014-15 but "perhaps at a different time of year".  Talks are said to have started in recent weeks with New Zealand Cricket about hosting a day-night Test when their side tours in late 2015.  "My feeling is that they are very open to it", said Sutherland, who indicated, as he and many others have done previously, CA was motivated by the need to make Tests more attractive to fans at non-peak times of year and ultimately save the oldest format of the game as officials search for ways to sustain three forms of cricket.  He apparently did not mention the TV-rights deal.

 

The durability and visibility of the ball, and the amount of dew on the ground at night, are the main obstacles to day-night Tests, but Sutherland said he was determined to find out if those hurdles could be cleared.  According to him administrators must be open-minded about tinkering with playing conditions, a point that his organisation has made on a number of occasions primarily in relation to finding a suitable ball (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013).  "I am confident that it can work, but I'm not naive, I understand there may need to be some compromises, perhaps around the ball", he said.  "It might be that we have a ball from each end . . . For the sake of the game and for the sake of growing audiences, we need to see through some of the reasons why not".

 

Fourteen months ago the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved the concept of day-night Tests as long as both teams in a series agree, and provided a suitable ball can be found (PTG 953-4629, 26 June 2012).  The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee, which has long supported the day-night Test concept, said last August that if white clothing is "considered a necessity" for day-night Tests, then pink balls are the best option for such games, however, it stressed that such games should only be played at what it called "carefully chosen venues" (PTG 978-4744, 16 August 2013). 

 

Pakistan recently invited Sri Lanka to play a day-night Test in the United Arab Emirates early next year but the plan did not proceed because the Sri Lankan players had not had sufficient experience with the ball and the conditions (PTG 1171-5662, 18 August 2013).

 

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). 

 

CA itself conducted trials in State Second XI games early in 2010 but the results were not positive (PTG 567-2874, 8 February 2010), and soon afterwards the Australian body handed the ball development issue to the ICC (PTG 568-2878, 10 February 2010).  Precisely what the ICC has been doing in the meantime is not clear.

 

INDIAN UMPIRES REPORTED MULLING 

SESSION ROTATIONS 

[PTG 1182-5704]

 

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) umpires could be involved in "session-wise rotation" in domestic first class matches during the coming 2013-14 season, according to former Indian first class umpire Vinayak Kulkarni, who is now the BCCI’s Educator and Umpire Coach.  The proposal is to be discussed at a pre-season meeting of BCCI umpires and referees that is to be held soon at the National Umpires Academy in Nagpur, according to a story in the 'Pakistan Observer' newspaper yesterday, and eventually the concept may go all the way to a Board meeting for consideration.

 

Kulkarni told the 'Observer' via telephone that instead of two on-field and a third umpire being assigned to first class games, the three would rotate after each two-hour session of play with the individual who is not on the field assuming normal third umpire duties.  Such a move would, he says: "give adequate rest to umpires; reduce their work load on-field; allow them to recoup in extreme weather conditions; increase their level of concentration; and add 'variety' [given the mix of] on-field and third umpire” tasks.  The "only drawback is that at times one team may end up with the same two umpires officiating in more sessions while batting", said Kulkarni, but that "should not matter, since all the umpires come through a grind and [are] more or less of equal competence". 

 

News that the issue is being considered comes a week after former Indian cricket administrator and now columnist with 'The Hindu' Makarand Waingankar. resurrected what is not a new idea, it having been tried in part in South Africa's four Test series against India in 1992-93 and over several seasons in Australia's Sheffield Shield first class competition around the same time (PTG 1175-5680, 21 August 2013).

 

Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council Umpire Performance and Training Manager who has special responsibility for India (PTG 1133-5498, 28 June 2013), is said to be scheduled to attend the seminar in Nagpur, and his views on the rotation suggestion "will be sought", says Kulkarni.  The BCCI’s Educator and Umpire Coach also indicated that during the forthcoming Nagpur meeting umpires will have "practical sessions on handling excessive appeals, bad light conditions, third umpire protocols, the latest changes to the Laws of the game, and Playing Conditions".

 

WELSH CLUB FIGHTS 208 CHAMPIONSHIP 

POINT DEDUCTION, FINE

[PTG 1182-5705]

 

Wales-based Cowbridge Cricket Club have lodged an appeal with the South Wales Cricket Association (SWCA) over a 208-point championship point deduction and £480 ($A840) fine for fielding an ineligible player this northern summer.  The player, who is not being named while the appeal is ongoing, is alleged to have taken the field with Cowbridge eight times while registered with another club in a different league.

 

SWCA chairman Neil Hobbs told local media outlets this week that under league rules a player who turns out for another club without being formally transferred attracts a 26 points deduction, and a £60 fine, for each game played.  As a result Cowbridge, which on points earned should be lying sixth in the ten-team SWCA Division 1 competition, is currently in last place with minus fourteen points, 130 less than the team above them, and will be relegated if their appeal is unsuccessful.

 

Cowbridge captain Tom Merilahto says he is “bemused” by the whole points deduction saga, while club president Jeff Bird confirmed that an appeal has been lodged and "we will take this matter as far as we can".  SWCA's management committee is expected to make arrangements for the appeal when they meet in mid-September.

 

KIWIS GATHER FOR 57TH ANNUAL 

PRE-SEASON SEMINAR 

[PTG 1182-5706]

 

Around 90 people are expected to be present for the New Zealand Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers' Association's (NZCUSA) 57th Annual Conference and General Meeting when it gets underway in Christchurch this afternoon.  Over the three-day gathering, umpires and scorers from the country's six associations, Auckland, Northern Districts, Central Districts, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago, will hear presentations and take part in discussions on a range of issues.

 

Presentations listed included those from New Zealand Cricket's National Umpire Manager, its National Scorer Manager, and John Rhodes, one of the International Cricket Council's five regional security managers who has responsibility for Australia and New Zealand, will speak on anti-corruption and security issues.  Workshops are planned on such issues as: recruitment, retention and accreditation; decision making, disputed decisions, team work and relationships; scoring matters; ground, weather and light; codes of conduct; and damage to the pitch.


End of August 2013 News file