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            SEPTEMBER 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 16 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5707-5770)

Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,183  1,184  1,185  1,186  1,187  1,188  1,189  1,190  
1,191  1,192  1,193  1,194  1,195  1,196  1,197  1,198  

1,183 - 2 September [5707] 

• NZC 'very interested' in day-night Test, player's union 'open-minded'   (1183-5707).

1,184 - 6 September [5708-5711]

• NZC creates domestic match referee positions   (1184-5708).

• Geelong association facing 'crippling shortage' of umpires   (1184-5709).

• Huddersfield league hands out bans, fine for misbehaviour   (1184-5710).

• Pitch not prepared so match called off   (1184-5711).

1,185 - 8 September [5712-5717]

• Single 2005 trial clouds ICC outlook on umpire control of reviews   (1185-5712).

• Bangladesh, Pakistan shuffle IUP memberships, Australia, England announcements awaited   (1185-5713).

• Umpires a selection resource, says new Kiwi manager   (1185-5714).

• Single scorer records first class game after colleague falls ill  (1185-5715).

• CA confirms 'tournament style' domestic one-day series   (1185-5716).

• No radiation fears for Fukushima match  (1185-5717).
 

1,186 – 11 September [5718-5722]

• Player's 'honesty' costs his team key win, actions praised  (1186-5718).

• Test debutant selections point to national umpire weaknesses   (1186-5719).

• Dubai chief executives meeting to again discuss UDRS issues   (1186-5720).

• Cloete chosen South Africa's 2013 'Umpire of the Year'   (1186-5721).

• Air ambulance responds to 'sick umpire' call   (1186-5722).

 

1,187 – 14 September [5723-5729]

• ICC hopes to tighten captain naming requirements   (1187-5723).

• League's decision on 'conceded' match to decide champions   (1187-5724).

• NZC amalgamates second, third-tier umpire panels   (1187-5725).

• New IUP member Sri Lanka's 'Umpire of the Year'   (1187-5726).

• Lack of visas stops play   (1187-5727).

• Beamers attract ECB reprimand   (1187-5728).

• 'Honest' match fixer to teach students about 'good and evil'?   (1187-5729).

 

1,188 – 15 September [5730-5733]

• BCCI hands out life bans, other sanctions, for IPL spot-fixing  (1188-5730).

• Offering batsmen 'the light' on ICC chief executive's agenda   (1188-5731).

• Harper in CA UHPP mix for 2013-14, says report   (1188-5732).

• On-field altercation results in five-year ban   (1188-5733).

 

1,189 – 16 September [5734-5736]

• CA player increase target ignores match official support issues   (1189-5734).

• 'Asian block' to opposed ODI two new ball rule as spinner affected   (1189-5735).

• Issue of visas allows the call of 'play'   (1189-5736).

 

1,190 – 17 September [5737-5740]

• Rauf to be listed on Mumbai police IPL charge sheet, claim reports  (1190-5737).

• Reports name final two CA UHPP members  (1190-5738).

• Scottish league to look at tightening disciplinary measures  (1190-5739).

• NZ country association down to three active umpires, seeks more  (1190-5740).

 

1,191 – 19 September [5741-5743]

• ICC 'Working Group' to consider 'how best to use technology'   (1191-5741).

• Concern in Bangladesh that BPL accused foreigners are still playing   (1191-5742).

• EUP new boys standing in Champions League series   (1191-5743).

 

1,192 – 20 September [5744-5747]

• 'Simulations' to round out CA pre-season match officials seminar   (1192-5744).

• Reviews boost suggests umpires are making 'too many mistakes', claims report   (1192-5745).

• CA forks out $A800K to get one-day competition on TV   (1192-5746).

• Former umpire tells U19 teams: known your Laws, Playing Conditions   (1192-5747).

 

1,193 – 23 September [5747-5751]

• Mumbai police IPL charge sheet names Rauf 'wanted accused'   (1193-5747).

• Australia moves to four-man IUP group   (1193-5748).

• Bowden on Champions League umpires' panel   (1193-5749).

• 'T' review sign to be considered 'dissent' in Tasmania  (1193-5750).

• No sign of mooted 'alternative' CA domestic review system   (1193-5751).

 

1,194 – 25 September [5752-5756]

• Record Rauf's IPL statement in Pakistan, suggests PCB   (1194-5752).

• 'Walker' amongst first 'CMJ' 'Spirit of Cricket' awardees   (1194-5753).

• Bowler removed for excessive short pitched deliveries   (1194-5754).

• Bermudan player given 12-match ban for 'serious dissent'  (1194-5755).

• Legal challenge launched on BPL tribunal delay   (1194-5756).

 

1,195 – 26 September [5757-5758]

• List A debuts for two Australian umpires   (1195-5757).

• CA publicity for one-day scorer appointments welcomed   (1195-5758).

 

1,196 – 28 September [5759-5762]

• 'Guard of Honour' as long-serving first class umpire retires   (1196-5759).

• Rauf allegations a 'conspiracy', 'character assassination ', says lawyer   (1196-5760).

• Suspended ban for 'threatening and intimidating' manner   (1196-5761).

• Disciplinary action includes 'community service' requirement   (1196-5762).

 

1,197 – 29 September [5763-5766]

• SACA Cricket Committee chair stays despite 'no confidence' vote   (1197-5763).

• Woman new South Zone umpire-scorer chair in Trinidad  (1197-5764).

• Convicted spot-fixer describes jail time as 'hell'   (1197-5765).

• Bradford League expels club for unpaid score sheet fine, ground issue   (1197-5766).

 

1,198 – 30 September [5763-5766]

• BCCI chief tried to 'manipulate' IPL umpire appointments, claims Modi   (1198-5767).

• Ban likely after on-field fracas in Chandigrath   (1198-5768).

• 'Excessive appealing' results in CA reprimand   (1198-5769).

• Fog stops play   (1198-5770).

 

 

    PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,183
Monday, 2 September 2013


NZC 'VERY INTERESTED' IN DAY-NIGHT

TEST, PLAYER'S UNION 'OPEN MINDED' 

[PTG 1183-5707]

 

New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) is 'very interested' in the day-night Test concept says its chief executive David White, and his organisation plans to conduct trials in multi-day "lower level" domestic cricket there this austral summer, however, the Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA) or player's union says it is "open-minded on the matter and still needs to be convinced on a number of fronts.  Cricket Australia (CA) revealed late last week that it has scheduled a round of Sheffield Shield first class matches under lights during the coming season, the aim being to stage a day-night Test against New Zealand late in 2015 (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013), 

 

White said on Friday that the concept has the potential to attract a much larger television viewership in the evening by "roping in" audiences in India and "other big markets", but he doesn't "think anyone is trying to make out that this is going to replace Test cricket as we know it".  NZC's perspective at the moment is said to be to "maybe play one [day-night Test] a series, as it "will give people an opportunity to watch the game after work or after school".  "By playing at night it opens up a lot more opportunity from an international broadcast point of view in terms of a better time zone, so there are strong, strong commercial opportunities there for us", he said.

 

ACA chief executive Paul Marsh was not quite so up-beat, saying players weren't entirely convinced yet and would not want what he called the "integrity of the game" to be compromised.  He indicated that at the moment "it's roughly 50-50 in terms of players who think day-night Test cricket should be pursued", however, he pointed out that the figures have "moved towards more support over time". 

 

March and his colleagues "are sceptical about the ability of the ball to stand up" for 80 overs, and if a suitable substitute is not found he thinks "you have to look at it and say it can't be taken to Test level".  White called the ball issue "really interesting", saying "we're up to version six of the pink ball and initially my understanding was that it discoloured quickly, whereas now it's a lot better [and] recent progress in [its] development "has been encouraging". White is concerned though that players not be disadvantaged at any time during the match "on the visibility front" and talked about reports that the twilight period as day turns to night is a difficult time to bat (PTG 925-4502, 7 April 2012). 

 

After supporting work to find a suitable ball over several years CA handed the ball development issue to the International Cricket Council three-and-a-half years ago (PTG 568-2878, 10 February 2010), but last February the world body was reported to have sent the issue back to its member countries (PTG 1067-5186, 26 February 2013).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,184
Friday, 6 September 2013


NZC CREATES DOMESTIC 

MATCH REFEREE POSITIONS

[PTG 1184-5708]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has created three Match Referee positions to manage all of its senior first class, domestic one-day and Twenty20 matches, and "some other games", during the forthcoming 2013-14 season, a move it calls an "exciting new initiative".   In addition to leading match-day activities the trio chosen, who NZC says will "ideally have played or umpired at first class level", are to contribute to the monitoring and assessment of the performance of umpires appointed to those games.

 

NZC says that role of those chosen will be to: ensure consistent professional-level match control procedures are applied; monitor and report on pitch and venue quality; provide input into Code of Conduct processes; provide feedback to umpires on a daily, match-by-match and periodic basis; and form part of the umpire grading and selection panel.  It says "the ideal applicant" will: possess a strong cricket related skill set with an independent and professional leadership approach; have a knowledge of the Laws of Cricket, NZC Playing Conditions and its Code of Conduct; have strong IT skills and excellent reporting and communication skills based on match observations; be punctual, organised, honest and trustworthy; and have good time management skills and the ability to work collaboratively.

 

The new referees, who will report to NZC's National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg, are to be employed for the six months from mid-October, be payed a "moderate retainer", and operate from their home base, but must be free to travel "extensively throughout New Zealand".  The new positions and call for applications for them were announced yesterday, and those interested in applying have until next Friday to prepare and submit a summary of their claims. 

 

GEELONG ASSOCIATION FACING 

'CRIPPLING SHORTAGE' OF UMPIRES

[PTG 1184-5709]

 

The Geelong Cricket Umpires Association (GCUA) in south-west Victoria are experiencing what the 'Geelong Advertiser' is calling today "a crippling shortage" of active members as the 2013-14 season approaches. At the moment only 21 umpires have signed up for matches this austral summer, eight less than the number who were involved last season, and around a third of the "50 or 60" GCUA umpires director Greg Illingworth describes as the ideal total.

 

Illingworth said that the current situation means his organisation is "really are in trouble" and is faced with the real possibility of not appointing umpires to all the Geelong Cricket Asociation's top grade matches this season.  "Our first division is a very good standard of cricket and they're only getting one umpire", he continued, but "that's not really good enough, they should have two, but when you've got a shortage, you just do what you have to do" and alternatives are being looked at.

 

The GCUA is, says Illingworth, being proactive in its recruiting campaign and has rolled out the welcome mat to any prospective umpire, something it has been doing for some time (PTG 816-3997, 18 August 2011).  "Ideally, we'd like to have guys who have finished playing cricket and who might have said at the age of 40 perhaps, 'I've had enough'".  "If they become an umpire, they get paid $A130 a day and I think it's a pleasant environment [as] ninety-nine percent of the players are fantastic".

 

HUDDERSFIELD LEAGUE HANDS OUT 

BANS, FINE FOR MISBEHAVIOUR

[PTG 1184-5710]

 

Lancashire all-rounder Arron Lilley has been fined £100 ($A170) and given a one-week ban, suspended for a year, by the Huddersfield Cricket League as a result of his behaviour during a Premier level match he played for the Delph and Dobcross side a month ago, according to a report in yesterday's 'Huddersfield Examiner'.  Lilley, who made his County Championship and short-format breakthrough with Lancashire this season after earning a full professional contract at Old Trafford, was cited for dissent towards the umpires and breaking a boundary flag at Haigh Lane.

 

As a result of their actions in a lower HCL competition game on the same day, five players from the Paddock side were also cited for their actions.  Ovais Hussain was given a two-week ban with one week suspended until August next year, while Faisal Siddique was handed a one-week ban suspended for twelve months.  In addition, Moin Hussain was reprimanded and warned about his future behaviour, Taimoor Shah was warned about his conduct towards the umpires and Mark Turner was reprimanded and warned as captain about his future control of players.

 

PITCH NOT PREPARED SO 

MATCH CALLED OFF 

[PTG 1184-5711]

 

Umpires on the island of Bermuda called off a match before play began last weekend after they discovered a pitch had not been prepared for a Twenty20 knock out match between home side Willow Cuts’ and visitors Bailey’s Bay, says a report in the island's 'Royal Gazette' newspaper  yesterday.   Bay captain Stephen Outerbridge said this week that the decision to call off the match was made "quite early" after the umpires noticed "the state of the pitch" during their pre-match inspection.  The Bermuda Cricket Board later confirmed the match had been awarded to the visitors who will now play in one of the competition's semi-finals this Sunday. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,185
Sunday, 8 September 2013


SINGLE 2005 TRIAL CLOUDS ICC OUTLOOK 

ON UMPIRE CONTROL OF REVIEWS 

[PTG 1185-5712]

 

A one-match "trial" eight years ago when umpires were given total control of reviews indicated that the concept didn't work well, says Geoff Allardice the International Cricket Council's (ICC) General Manager Operations (GMO), however, according to him such an approach could be considered again if it can be showed to improve on the player review model currently in use.  Suggestions that umpires be given sole responsibility for the review system have been made by a number of former players over the last two months as a result of a series of controversies that arose during this year's Ashes series (PTG 1174-5671, 20 August 2013). 

 

Allardice, who spoke with Makarand Waingankar of the 'Times of India' on Thursday, responded to a question about umpire control of reviews by pointing to a trial conducted during the one-off 'Super Series' Test between Australia and a World XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in October 2005.  According to Allardice, whose ICC department manages umpiring issues, that experiment "saw the umpires either review every decision and slow down the game, or selectively review decisions and miss correcting an error".  He made no reference to the one-match nature of the trial, that it took place three years before the ICC first used the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in a Test, and that it occurred well before today's technology, or the experience and protocols that control its use, were available.  

 

Statistics indicate a total of twenty-one referrals were made during that 'Test', five of them either run outs or stumpings, eleven catches or LBWs, and five boundary decisions; a report at the time stating that the "average delay" in play for each of those referrals was 60 seconds, a time that compares well with that needed for most reviews today.  The on-field umpires for the trial were Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Simon Taufel of Australia, the latter's countryman Darrell Hair being the third official, all of whom were then arguably at or near the peak of their careers.

 

Allardice went on to mention the trial the ICC conducted during the third Ashes Test this year into improvements to the way third umpires are able to receive and examine information from UDRS sensors.  He called the results "promising", a statement that fits with "positive" reports aired in the media soon afterwards (PTG 1162-5652, 5 August 2013), and indicated that more trials are planned "over coming months to explore this further".

 

The ICC's GMO rejected claims that what Waingankar called the "alarming" number of umpiring errors in the Ashes series was due to their "heavy" work load, a matter that has been mentioned by many observers because currently only four members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) are eligible as neutrals for Ashes Tests (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013).  Allardice said that the ICC monitors umpiring workloads and "usually gives them a break during a long Test series to freshen up", but "we don't receive any feedback from the umpires that workload is a problem [and] indeed most ICC umpires want to stand in domestic competitions when they are not on international duty".  Data shows however that six of the twelve current EUP members rarely stand in matches in their home nation's domestic competitions.

 

Asked why the ICC can't fund the provision of UDRS technology, an issue that has been raised regularly over the last five years (PTG 1138-5517, 3 July 2013), Allardice fobbed off the question by saying his organisation's aim is to "develop an umpiring system using technology that all countries are prepared to use".  "Once this is achieved, the focus will shift to providing a consistent standard of technology for all matches, and the ICC may be able to help in this area", he said.  According to him the ICC is "continually looking for the best way to use technology to help umpires make more correct decisions", and that the Ashes Tests have "highlighted a few areas for the ICC to discuss", something David Richardson its chief executive has indicated will be amongst items discussed at meetings this month (PTG 1159-5607, 1 August 2013).

 

Meanwhile, former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri told journalists in Mumbai on Friday that in his view the UDRS has sapped the confidence of umpires.  Asked if the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) was vindicated in their opposition of the technology as a result of incidents in the recent Ashes series, Shastri said that "we are not against technology, but we want it to improve and take it on board, but the "more tech[nology] you use", the more "you're screwing up with the mind of the umpire".  He queried why technology was "being pushed down [our] throat" after it "has failed so often", before adding that the decision to use technology during matches should be given to the umpires.

 

BANGLADESH, PAKISTAN SHUFFLE IUP MEMBERSHIPS, 

AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND ANNOUNCEMENTS AWAITED

[PTG 1185-5713]

 

Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have shuffled their memberships on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the 2013-14 year, while South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwean members remain unchanged, but as yet Australia and England have not announced just who their selections will be for the year ahead.  The make-up of Indian, New Zealand and Sri Lankan IUP groups have been revealed via media reports over the last two months, while those of the rest except Australia and England were made available via a posting on the ICC's web site on Thursday.

 

In Pakistan's case long-time IUP member Zameer Haider, 50, who has stood in fifteen One Day Internationals and ten Twenty20 Internationals over the past seven years, may have passed his peak for he has been moved from an on-field to a third umpire position.  Shozab Raza, 48, a third umpire member since 2011 (PTG 774-3789, 15 June 2011), has been promoted into Haider's on-field spot alongside Ahsan Raza, 39, who has been an on-field member of the IUP for the past two years having joined as a third umpire in 2009.  The Razas are not related to each other.

 

Bangladesh have promoted Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, 36, from a third umpire to an on-field spot on the IUP alongside long-time incumbent Enamul Hoque Moni.  Sharfuddoula, who joined the IUP as a third umpire in 2009, fills the position left vacant after former member Nadir Shah was banned for ten-years in March by the Bangladesh Cricket Board for corruption, and after he himself was cleared of any wrong doing (PTG 1080-5254, 24 March 2013).  Anisur Rahman, 42, remains in the Bangladesh third umpire spot he was first nominated to last year (PTG 1013-4923, 1 November 2012).

 

As reported previously Ravi Sundaram, 47, Vineet Kulkarni, 33, Chettithody Shamshuddin, 43, and Anil Chaudhary, 48, make up India's panel membership (PTG 1166-5642, 10 August 2013), 'Billy' Bowden, 50, Chris Gaffaney, 37, Derek Walker, 53, and Gary Baxter, 61, are New Zealand's (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013), while Ranmore Martinez, 46, Ruchira Palliyaguru, 38, and Ravindra Wimalasiri, 44, make up Sri Lanka's group (PTG 1123-5458, 13 June 2013).  Sundaram and Palliyaguru were promoted to on-field spots while Bowden came down from the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), Chaudhary and Winalasiri were given third umpire places for the first time, and Baxter was moved from an on-field to third umpire role.

 

Of the three entities that made no change at all to their IUP memberships, South Africans Johan Cloete, 42, Shaun George, 45, and Adrian Holdstock, 43, West Indians Peter Nero, 49, Joel Wilson, 46, Gregory Braithwaite, 43, and Nigel Duguid, 43, and Zimbabweans Russell Tiffin, 54, a former EUP member, Owen Chirombe, 40, and Jerry Matibiri, 42, remain in their respective on-field and third umpire spots for 2013-14.

 

That leaves both Australia and England who both had predictable IUP vacancies forced on them as a result of the promotion of Paul Reiffel and Richard Illingworth respectively to the EUP (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).  In Australia, Simon Fry, 47, is currently the sole on-field member with John Ward, 51, the third umpire, while England has Rob Bailey, 49, in an on-field spot and Michael Gough, 33, and Tim Robinson, 54, as third umpires.  Whether Ward will be promoted to an on-field position and which of Gough and Robinson will be chosen for the same spot in England has not yet been announced.

 

Just on a third of the 27 umpires who have been confirmed by the eight Test playing nations who have announced their IUP memberships for the year ahead played at first class level prior to commencing their umpiring careers.  The 20 on-field umpires make up the pool who are potentially in line for promotion to the EUP, however, at the moment ICC appointments and other factors suggest that only Martinecz and Bowden appear the only serious contenders for elevation to the top panel in 2014 (PTG 1173-5667, 19 August 2013).

 

UMPIRES A SELECTION RESOURCE,

SAYS NEW KIWI MANAGER

[PTG 1185-5714]

 

Umpires might do more than judge dismissals, count deliveries and assess wides and no-balls in New Zealand this southern summer, says the 'New Zealand Herald' this morning, as the country's new national selection manager Bruce Edgar intends to canvass their views on players they see close up.  Edgar is looking to spread his resources as wide as possible, an approach that is also likely to involve the three match referees that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) plans to employ during the coming season (PTG 1184-5708, 6 September 2013).

 

Edgar told the Herald's Andrew Alderson that "Obviously we'd go to major association coaches, but umpires are at each game observing batsmen and bowlers close at hand".  "For example, I want to know how a spin bowler reacts when he comes back for a second spell after getting hit in the first [for] they're likely to have a feel for what's happening on the mental side; feedback you might not get from afar".  "Someone on the ground might say 'yeah, it was jagging around a lot, the guy left [the ball] well, then went on the offensive".

 

NZC announced the members of its nine-man domestic Elite Umpires Panel three weeks ago (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013), but is yet to advise publicly who will make up its twelve-man second-tier Reserve or nine-person third-tier Emerging panels for the 2013-14 season.

 

SINGLE SCORER RECORDS FIRST CLASS

GAME AFTER COLLEAGUE FALLS ILL

[PTG 1185-5715]

 

Only one official scorer was on duty on the last day of Northamptonshire's first class match against Hampshire in Southampton this week after the home side's Tony Weld became ill and had to go home and no one was available to replace him.  As a result visiting Northamptonshire scorer Tony Kingston had to record match details for both clubs for the entire day using a single computer, after Alan Fordham, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Operations Manager "used his discretion" to ensure this fixture was completed as the alternative, according to an ECB spokesman, "was to end the game" a day early.

 

Tim Tremlett, Hampshire's Cricket Secretary, is said by 'Cricinfo' to have spoken to umpires Martin Saggers and Steve O'Shaughnessy and contemplated scoring himself, however, other work prevented him from doing so.  Former Hampshire scorer Vic Isaacs, who served the club for a record 31 years up until 2005 and is said to live near the ground, was not considered due to what appears to have been a significant "falling out" he had with the club and Tremlett eight years ago.

 

CA CONFIRMS 'TOURNAMENT STYLE' 

DOMESTIC ONE-DAY SERIES

[PTG 1185-5716]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed yesterday that its twenty-match one-day domestic competition will, for the first time, be played entirely in Sydney in 'tournament' fashion over the month that starts three weeks from today, a move that was mooted three-and-a-half months ago (PTG 1103-5373, 13 May 2013).  Under the season's schedule the one-day competition will be followed by several weeks of first class cricket before CA's Twenty20 series takes centre stage from just before Christmas until early February, then the first class series will resume, the final in late March being proceeded by a day-night round (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013).

 

The one-day tournament approach has been criticised by many outside New South Wales, with spectators in other states effectively deprived, unless they watch on television, of one-day cricket until the post-Ashes Tests One Day International (ODI) series against England in late January.  CA chief executive James Sutherland has defended the move though, citing preparation for the 2015 World Cup as one of the chief motivators.  

 

Sutherland said that the one-day tournament "will provide a strong start to the cricket season", and "while [it] is a more expensive option, our Team Performance unit believes replicating a tournament style competition is the best way of preparing our one day cricketers for [ODIs] and the World Cup in early 2015".  "The success of the 2015 World Cup and one-day cricket more generally is a priority for [CA]", for according to him, it "shows we’re supporting the 50-over format to ensure cricket continues to have three viable formats of the game at the elite level".

 

Of Sydney's suburban grounds, Bankstown and North Sydney Oval will host 14 of the 20 matches, with the remaining fixtures to be played at Hurstville, Blacktown and Drummoyne.  As yet umpiring appointments for the series have not been announced, however, given that CA's 'tournament' plan was developed sometime back, and the series starts in 21 days time, it would surprise if match official allocations for those games have not already been drawn up.  While the twelve members of CA's National Umpires Panel are known, just who will fill the three vacant Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) positions and work as match referees during games is still under wraps.  The deadline for applications for the three UHPP jobs closed six weeks ago (PTG 1153-5582, 22 July 2013).

 

NO RADIATION FEARS 

FOR FUKUSHIMA MATCH

[PTG 1185-5717]

 

A team from the British Embassy in Tokyo yesterday played a limited overs match on the edge of the exclusion zone that surrounds the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan which was damage by an earthquake two-and-a-half years ago.  The Embassy is keen to play down "unfounded fears" over radioactivity and emphasise that radiation levels outside the exclusion zone are largely within permissible levels and that life goes on as normal for the residents who have decided to remain in their communities.  

 

Tests carried out on the grass pitch on a baseball ground in the town of Minamisoma before the game showed that the radiation level was 0.6 microsieverts per hour, similar to naturally occurring radiation in places such as Aberdeen and Cornwall, says London's 'Daily Telegraph'.  British ambassador Tim Hitchens said “we are not playing down the problems that exist at the Fukushima plant or for the people who are having to deal with the situation here, but we are one of the leading nations helping the Tokyo Electric Power Co. tackle this problem".  “We wanted to come is because the people in places like this are being forgotten", he said 

 

"There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the situation and that is in large part due the fact that most people are simply unfamiliar with the concept of radiation", said Dr. Keith Franklin, captain of the embassy team who was sent to Tokyo two years ago from the UK's National Nuclear Laboratories.  He said “we wanted to have this match today just to demonstrate that it is safe to be in Fukushima Prefecture".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,186
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

 

PLAYER'S 'HONESTY' COSTS HIS 

TEAM KEY WIN, ACTIONS PRAISED  

[PTG 1186-5718]

 

Jason Meadows, a player with South Yorkshire League club Elsecar, has been praised for his honesty over a catch in the final of the Yorkshire Council Championship on Sunday.  Local newspaper 'The Star', says that Meadows honesty "almost certainly cost his team success in a prestigious cup final".

 

Meadows, who was bowling, had his teammates celebrating when he took a return catch off Whitley Hall captain Alex Fletcher and an unnamed umpire raised his finger, however, the bowler turned to the umpires and said the ball had touched the ground and, therefore, he was not claiming the catch.  

 

Had the wicket stood, Whitley Hall would have been reduced to 7/91 chasing Elsecar’s 9/170 and potentially facing almost certain defeat.  Instead, big hitting Fletcher made the most of his reprieve and went on to accumulate what was a match winning innings of 57, 40 of those runs being in boundaries, and Whitley reached 8/173 to win with an over to spare.

 

At the presentation ceremony afterwards winning skipper Fletcher, who was named 'Man of the Match', complimented Elsecar and Meadows on their sportsmanship and said he was privileged to witness the excellent spirit of both cricket and fair play that was displayed, a move that was made despite knowing the catch could have been claimed.

 

TEST DEBUTANT SELECTIONS POINT TO 

NATIONAL UMPIRE WEAKNESSES 

[PTG 1186-5719]

 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) selection of new Test umpires over the 11 years since its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) was formed suggests it has long been aware of how uneven the 'production standards' of umpires are across the ten Test playing nations.  That issue has been highlighted recently by performance concerns (PTG 1173-5669, 19 August 2013), and the limited number of neutral umpires available for this northern summer's Ashes series (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013), situations that led Simon Taufel, the ICC's first-ever Umpire Performance and Training Manager, to call for an "urgent review" of the EUP last month (PTG 1168-5645, 13 August 2013).

 

Satisfactory performance in 3-4 Tests is the final hurdle on the ICC's long pathway to the EUP from national domestic level.  Paul Reiffel of Australia and Richard Illingworth of England, this year's new members of that group, came to it via such 'tests' (PTG 1130-5487, 26 June 2013), as have other new members over the last decade.

 

However, since the EUP was first established, no one from New Zealand, the West Indies or Zimbabwe has been chosen for their Test debut and therefore reached the final stage of the EUP development pathway.  That suggests the ICC did not, and possibly still has not, identified anyone in those regions who was, or is, ready for the challenge of Test cricket.

 

While those three entities have missed out to date, two other nations have faired little better in the EUP stakes, for just one Bangladeshi has been chosen for a single Test, while four Indians between them have been on-field in a total of nine such games.  None of those five individuals have, however, gone on to display in their Test appearances the standards needed to earn promotion to the EUP, and all four Indians are no longer on the international scene, although another, Ravi Sundaram, may be in contention in the next year or so (PTG 1176-5682, 22 August 2013).  

 

The last Kiwi to make his Test debut was current EUP member Tony Hill twelve years ago, the last West Indian now retired EUP member Billy Doctrove thirteen years ago, and the last Zimbabwean Kevan Barbour almost fourteen years ago; dates that well proceed the establishment of the EUP.  No Bangladeshis, and only one Indian and one Zimbabwean have to date been a member of the EUP, but both of them left the panel way back in 2004, although the African, Russell Tiffin, is still a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).

 

Analysis shows that the world body has given twenty-two umpires Test debuts since the EUP was inaugurated.  Just on half, or ten of the twenty-two, came from either Australia (three), or England (seven), a seeding that appears largely behind the fact eight of the twelve current umpires on the EUP, four each, come from those two nations (PTG 1135-5506, 30 June 2013).  Of the other Test debutants there were the four Indians, three Pakistanis, two each from South Africa and Sri Lanka, and the single Bangladeshi,

 

The average age of those debutants was 46 years 200 days, Aleem Dar of Pakistan at 35 years 137 days being the youngest, and Shavir Tarapore of India, one of those who did not make the EUP, the oldest at 53 years 304 days.

 

Of those twenty-two just on half, or in this case twelve, actually made it to the elite panel, they being five Englishmen, three Australians, two Pakistanis, one South African and one Sri Lankan; although one other Sri Lankan, Ranmore Martinecz, would currently appear to be on track for an EUP spot next year (PTG 1173-5667, 19 August 2013).

 

Two of that dozen, Mark Benson of England and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, are no longer EUP members, those currently on the panel being ten who debuted post-EUP establishment, plus Hill and Steve Davis of Australia.  While Hill debuted 12 years ago, Davis' first Test was in Hobart almost 16 years ago in November 1997, and both, neither of whom played at first class level, are up for retirement in the next one to two years (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013).

 

Data shows the quest for a Test appointment over the past decade has strongly favoured former first class players as twenty of the twenty-two debutants had such a background before turning to umpiring.  That is in contrast to the period from 1992-2002 when the ICC first started appointing a single 'neutral' umpire to Tests, for over those ten years two-thirds of the twenty-seven chosen as neutrals had not played first class cricket.  

 

Hill was in fact the last non former player, in 2009, to be promoted to the EUP, all nine others who have been elevated since then being former first class players, four of whom played international cricket, three of those four doing so at Test level.  The last of the two persons chosen for their Test debuts who had not played the first class game was South Africa's Brian Jerling, his first Test being just over seven years ago.

 

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 IUP across the ten Test-playing nations (PTG 1185-5713, 8 September 2013), the world body's selections suggest that at the moment the pool of potential EUP candidates within that group is very limited (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013). 

 

DUBAI CHIEF EXECUTIVES' MEETING 

TO AGAIN DISCUSS UDRS ISSUES

[PTG 1186-5720]

 

Allowing teams to keep a review if a leg-before-wicket appeal is turned down on the basis of the ''umpire's call'' is expected to form part of discussions on the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) that are to be held next week at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) headquarters in Dubai, says an article in this morning's edition of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age'.  Indications that UDRS matters, including review policy, would be looked at again surfaced six weeks ago (PTG 1159-5507, 1 August 2013).

 

'Age' journalist Chloe Saltau, who has demonstrated she has good contacts within Cricket Australia (CA) over recent years, writes that "Australia and England are leading the push for a comprehensive review of the [UDRS] that [in her words] hijacked the Ashes, though both countries still support the use of technology in umpiring decisions".  

 

Saltau says that a ICC spokesman has confirmed UDRS issues are on the agenda for a meeting of the chief executives of ICC's member countries on Monday and Tuesday next week, a key aim being, five years after the review system was first trialled at Test level: "how to deliver the best umpiring system using technology".  She says though it's unclear whether this process will be complete before the five-Test Ashes gets underway in Brisbane in late November.

 

Since the first UDRS trial in 2008 the ICC has relied on the host television broadcaster to provide equipment and data for the various parts of the system, and as a result to standard of the production and the quality of the information produced for reviews varies around the world. Along the way senior ICC officers have suggested it was seeking its own funds to run such systems, but so far to no avail.  India refuses to use the UDRS at all and felt vindicated when the recently completed Ashes in England was marred by controversy and confusion due to the technology and its application by the umpires.

 

Over the last month Paul Hawkins, who in 2001 invented 'Hawk-Eye' ball tracking technology, has claimed UDRS problems have occurred because cricket did not carry out the necessary level of testing prior to its formal use in games (PTG 1166-5641, 10 August 2013), and there have been numerous calls for umpires to be given sole control of the system (PTG 1174-5673, 20 August 2013 ), although the ICC does not appear keen on such an approach (PTG 1185-5712, 8 September 2013).  

 

Other comments about the system that have been aired include those of former England captain and now television commentator Mike Atherton who has suggested 'Hot Spot be dumped from the UDRS because in his view umpires and players had lost faith in the thermal imaging machine's accuracy in detecting fine edges.  There were also calls from a number of current players for greater clarity about the way data from the technology is actually applied in decision making (PTG 1173-5669, 19 August 2013), and CA itself lodged an official complaint about about a decision given against batsman Usman Khawaja in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford (PTG 1160-5613, 2 August 2013). 

 

CLOETE CHOSEN SOUTH AFRICA'S 

2013 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

[PTG 1186-5721]

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) named Johannes Cloete as its 'Umpire of the Year' at its 2013 annual awards night in Johannesburg on Monday evening.  At the same dinner Shaun George, Cloete's national on-field colleague on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, was selected as CSA's Umpires' 'Umpire of the Year'.  Cloete, 42, who has been umpiring at first class level for 20 years this October, is currently in the early stages of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel development 'conveyer belt' (PTG 1169-5651, 14 August 2013). 

 

AIR AMBULANCE RESPONDS 

TO 'SICK UMPIRE' CALL 

[PTG 1186-5722]

 

A match in Saddleworth and District League in England was interrupted on Monday when an air ambulance landed on the outfield in order to check out umpire Mike Dunkerley who fell ill, according to a report in the 'Oldham Chronicle' yesterday.  People at Uppermill Cricket Club's ground called an ambulance as a precaution, however, as no road-based vehicles were free, a chopper from North-West Air Ambulance was dispatched to the ground.  Dunkerley was denied his ride in the helicopter though for soon afterwards a standard ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.  He was later discharged after treatment.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,187

 Saturday, 14 September 2013

 

ICC HOPES TO TIGHTEN CAPTAIN 

NAMING REQUIREMENTS

[PTG 1187-5723]

 

In a move designed to negate attempts to get around its slow over-rate rules, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is reported to be seeking to require the ten test playing nations to formally nominate who their captains are ahead of Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International series.  The move, which is to be put to the latest meeting of the ICC's chief executives committee in Dubai on Monday-Tuesday, is a direct response to an incident that occurred in last years World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series.

 

At its June 2011 meeting in Hong Kong, the ICC Executive Board agreed that regulations governing slow over-rates in international matches should be tightened.  It accepted the recommendation of its Cricket Committee that a captain of an international side should be suspended for one match if his side is found guilty of two over-rate offences in the same match format over a twelve-month period (PTG 783-3832, 28 June 2011).  

 

Last October during the WT20C series, Sri Lanka nominated a stand-in captain for the semi final when both its then regular captain and vice captain were in danger of suspension if their side won that match and reached the final, as they both had received penalties for slow over rates in the previous twelve months (PTG 998-4850, 3 October 2013).  Despite naming a substitute captain, the actual skipper was seen actively managing his bowling and fielding changes during the semi final.

 

What sub-continental media reports are calling a "former match official the ICC consults in matters connected with the Playing Conditions and Laws of the game", is said to have indicated that Sri Lanka's attempt to get around the ICC rule is behind the world body's latest move to try and ensure captains "do not dodge a heavy and stricter penalty". "Australia, England, and South Africa usually announce their captains for different formats of the game at the start of the season, but the others wouldn’t", said the "source".  

 

According to him the revised Playing Conditions clause states that “each member board must nominate its captain to the ICC when appointed” and that “if the captain is not taking part in a series, the relevant home board must nominate a replacement team captain for the series and shall advise the series match referee". "If the captain plays in a match without being the nominated captain for that match", it continues, "he will be deemed to be the captain should any penalties be applied for over rate breaches under the [ICC] code of conduct".

 

In addition to the slow over rates issue, the reports are also saying, without providing any substantial details, that the chief executives will also look at ICC Playing Conditions matters, as opposed to the Laws, that relate to "alterations pertaining to substitutes, wickets, innings, dead ball, and fair and unfair play".

 

LEAGUE'S DECISION ON 'CONCEDED' 

MATCH TO DECIDE CHAMPIONS 

[PTG 1187-5724]

 

Abingdon Vale seconds, a side in the fifth division of the Cherwell League west of London, must await for a league enquiry into a Playing Conditions issue before they will find out whether or not they will be crowned champions for the 2013 season.  The team conceded their final match of the season last Saturday in questionable circumstances and as a result currently lie in second place on the table just behind leaders Great Brickhill.

 

Abingdon Vale scored 196 in what was the first innings of a 50 over match and their opponents, Leighton Buzzard, were going well in the chase.  However, by 7.30 p.m., the time by which league rules require that all matches must finish, a result had not been achieved and five overs remained to be bowled, but despite the rule the umpires, who believed to have been players, let the match continue.

 

Official sun set time on that day was 7.35 p.m. but by 7.45 p.m. with darkness rapidly descending, Leighton Buzzard were still 14 runs short of a win at 6/183with two overs still to be bowled.  Abingdon then told the umpires that in their view it was too dangerous to continue play and conceded the game.

 

League officials are reported to be waiting for a report from the match before convening an inquiry.  If that hearing deems the result of the game to be a draw then Abingdon will be champions by the smallest of margins, however, if the current result stands the 2013 fifth division will go to Great Brickhill.

 

NZC AMALGAMATES SECOND, 

THIRD-TIER UMPIRE PANELS 

[PTG 1187-5725]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has amalgamated its former second-tier 'A' and third-tier 'Emerging' umpire panels into a single group that it has labeled as its Reserve Umpire Panel, however, just what the rationale behind that move is has not yet been made clear.  NZC's announcement of the new 21-member panel, the same total number as made up the 'A' and 'Emerging' groups last year, comes a month after details of its top Elite domestic panel were released (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013). 

 

Two of last year's Elite panel, Phil Agent and Evan Watkin, have been named as Reserve panel members, the former only having served at the top level for one season while the latter, a long-serving member, lost his position in the reshuffle caused by the need to accommodate former International Cricket Council Elite Empire Panel member 'Billy' Bowden, who had been dropped from it because of "performance issues" (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).

 

Eleven of the twelve members of last season's 'A' panel, Raoul Allen, Chris Brown, Mark Elliott, Johan Fourie, Peter Gasston, Mike George, Ash Mehrotra, Dave Paterson, Hiran Perera, David Reid and Peter Spall, have been named as Reserve Panel members, the only one missing from 2012-13 being Tony Gillies who has been promoted to NZC's Elite group.

 

John Bromley, Kathy Cross, Aaron Hardie, Richard Hooper, Shaun Ryan, Garth Stirrat, David Tidmarsh and Glenn Walklin, who were Emerging panel members last year, have been retained for the Reserve panel, but Napier's Paul Anderson appears to have been dropped (PTG 980-4752, 18 August 2012)..  

 

NEW IUP MEMBER SRI LANKA'S 

'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

[PTG 1187-5726]

 

Raveendra Wimalasiri, who was promoted by his home board into a third umpire position on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel three months ago (PTG 1123-5458, 13 June 2013), was chosen as Sri Lanka's Panel A 'Umpire of the Year' at SCL's annual awards ceremony in Colombo on Tuesday.  The Colombo-born umpire made his One Day International debut in July and in a Twenty20 International last month.

 

Wimalasiri, 44, played 68 first class games in the period from 1991-2006, his umpiring debut at that level came less than two years after his last as a player, a record that now stands at 41 games, two of which were in New Zealand on exchange last  NZ last January (PTG 1072-5118, 7 March 2013).  In addition there have been 45 List A fixtures, one of those this year's Sri Lankan domestic final, plus 13 T20 games in the island nation's home competitions.  Wimalasiri has also stood in a womens' ODI in 2008 and three in Under-19 internationals, including the final Asia Cup in Malaysia last year.

 

Nilan de Silva, another former first class player who has been umpiring at that level since Februry 2011, was the recipient of SLC's award for its Panel B group, and Chrishantha Rodrigo the third-tier award.

 

LACK OF VISAS STOPS PLAY

[PTG 1187-5727]

 

What are said to be "prevailing political tensions between India and Pakistan" has meant that Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 champions, the Faisalabad Wolves, will not be travelling to India for the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) tournament.  What was to have been a four-team, six match qualifying series in the lead up to the event proper, will now be played by only three sides and is likely to consist of just three matches 

 

The 'Pakistan Observer' is reported yesterday that Indian authorities will not grant visas to the team to take part in the tournament, government sources being quoted as saying that security concerns have led to the decision. Faisalabad, the only Pakistan team to participate in this year's CLT20, were scheduled to play the opening qualifying fixture next Tuesday in Mohali, then two more games in the week after that. 

 

BEAMERS ATTRACT ECB REPRIMAND

[PTG 1187-5728]

 

Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after he bowled a pair of beamers whilst playing for England A in an unofficial One Day International series against Bangladesh A last month.  Stokes, 22, was pulled from the attack by umpires Ben Debenham and Jeremy Lloyds half-way through his tenth and final over of the last game at Taunton

 

The ECB also announced yesterday that Hampshire wicketkeeper Adam Wheater had been handed three disciplinary penalty points after being found guilty of two Level 1 breaches of its Code of Conduct.  

 

Wheater was reported by umpires Neil Bainton and Lloyds following the County Championship match against Lancashire in Southport last month for "showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action and using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture".  

 

Under ECB regulations players receive an automatic suspension should they accrue nine or more penalty points during a two-year period.  In Stokes case the reprimand will stay on his record for the same length of time.

 

'HONEST' MATCH FIXER TO TEACH 

STUDENTS ABOUT 'GOOD AND EVIL'?

[PTG 1187-5729]

 

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who publicly confessed to taking part in match fixing activities during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 tournament earlier this year, may be employed by a school in a coaching and mentoring capacity, a move the school chairman sees as helping students to "become aware of good and evil in society".  Ashraful was one of nine individuals charge by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last month with BPL match-fixing and spot-fixing offences (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

 

While the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is yet to start its formal inquiry into the ICC's charges, Ashraful conceded some time ago that he was likely to be banned for "two or three years" because of his actions (PTG 1168-5647, 13 August 2013), a censure that would mean he will be unable to participate in any form of cricket played under the BCB’s jurisdiction, or for that matter anywhere around the world.  However, the school coaching-mentoring position would not come under such a ban.

 

Pledge Harbor school chairman ATM Saidul Alam said on Thursday that he hopes Ashraful will join the school for his involvement "will serve the school in two ways".  "We considered him because of his honesty [when he confessed to fixing and] his experience will definitely help my students become aware of good and evil in society".  "Apart from that, there is no doubt about his cricket knowledge, which I believe will help my pupils become better cricketers".

 

Meanwhile, a story published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Tuesday about Englishman Darren Stevens, one of the nine charged by the ICC but who has denied inappropriate behaviour (PTG 1170-5655, 15 August 2013), makes the claim that the Kent all-rounder will "probably" not have to face the BCB's hearing into the matter until "sometime next year".  The BCB is yet to announce just when the inquiry will get underway (PTG 1174-5675, 20 August 2013).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,188

 Sunday, 15 September 2013

 

BCCI HANDS OUT LIFE BANS, OTHER 

SANCTIONS, FOR IPL SPOT-FIXING

[PTG 1188-5731]

 

Two players with the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan side, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, have been banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for involvement in spot-fixing in this year's IPL series.  The pair, whose actions are being investigated by police, are said by the BCCI to have been part of an "elaborate plan" in which bowlers gave away more than a specified number of runs per over in return for money from illegal bookmakers.

 

After considering a report prepared by Ravi Sawani, the Indian board's anti-corruption chief, the BCCI said on Friday that a three-man disciplinary panel had made its decisions on Sreesanth and Chavan "after considering the evidence on record and hearing each of the players in person".  Sreesanth, a former Indian player, has again pleaded his innocence of the charges laid against him, telling reporters that "I have done no wrong", while his lawyer said on television "They let the big fish get away".

 

In addition to the life bans, former player Amit Singh, now a bookmaker, was banned for five years, and Rajasthan bowler Siddharth Trivedi for one for failing to report an approach by bookies, while his team mate Harmeet Singh, who had been approached by illegal bookmakers, was let off due to lack of evidence.  No decision was made on Rajasthan spinner Ajit Chandila who until last Monday has been in police custody and unavailable to talk to the BCCI's Sawani.

 

Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested by Delhi Police in mid-May and face possible prison sentences should they be found guilty in a court of law (PTG 1107-5389, 21 May 2013).  In July they were among 39 persons named in a Delhi Police in a charge sheet that alleged "criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty" (PTG 1158-5604, 31 July 2013).

 

Despite that Sreesanth has his champions in his home state of Kerala.  Former international umpire KN Raghavan calling the BCCI's decision "a cruel act" and asked "what was the hurry for them to do this" now.  "They could have waited for the verdict [in Sreesanth's criminal trial]", he said, and "Just imagine what would happen if [he] is exonerated by the court, who will repay his loss as a professional?".  Former Kerala Cricket Association secretary K Ajith Kumar told the media: "you wait and see, the BCCI will soon cut a sorry figure". 

 

Gurunath Meiyappan, the "team principal" of the IPL's Chennai franchise and the son-in-law of BCCI president Narainswamy Srinivasan, spent two weeks in jail for being in touch with illegal bookies before receiving bail, while Rajasthan's co-owner Raj Kundra conceded to betting on matches but was not arrested.  Both were cleared by a two-member BCCI judicial panel which was subsequently declared "illegal and unconstitutional" by the Bombay High Court (PTG 1159-5609, 1 August 2013), but the BCCI has since taken the case to the Supreme Court.

 

This year's IPL spot-fixing came to light less than twelve month's after a similar controversy of lesser proportions.  On that occasion one player was banned from all forms of cricket for life, a second for five years, and three others for one year each for "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging", following an investigation into allegations of corruption made by an Indian television channel (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012).  

 

OFFERING BATSMEN 'THE LIGHT' ON 

ICC CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S AGENDA

[PTG 1188-5732]

 

A return to giving a batting side the option of deciding when to go off for bad light in international matches, even stricter measures to ensure over-rates are adhered to, and the introduction of specialist television umpires are amongst the matters to be discussed by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executives committee in Dubai over the next two days, according to an article published in London's 'Daily Telegraph' on Friday.

 

Inclusion of the bad light issue on the agenda comes as a result of the circumstances that ended the fifth and final Test at The Oval last month as an exciting finished loomed.  The game's Laws give umpires the sole discretion on light, but Giles Clarke, the chairman of the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), called the light regulations contained in ICC Playing Conditions "totally unacceptable" and said they "must change", other observers making similar negative comments (PTG 1180-5696, 27 August 2013).

 

'Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult says that the ECB also plans to push for a training program specifically aimed at improving the standard of television umpires.  While the ECB is said to remain committed to supporting the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), it believes the third umpire role is now "so complex" it requires specialist training with officials dedicated to the role.  

 

Now ICC chief executive David Richardson spoke about 'specialist' television umpires five years ago (PTG 284-1507, 24 July 2008), and the matter was raised again during the recent Ashes series (PTG 1161-5618, 3 August 2013).  Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, has called television umpire work "an incredibly chal­lenging role" and that specific training is needed in that area (PTG 1156-5592, 26 July 2013). 

 

Hoult also says that this week's Dubai meeting will review the trial into improvements in the way third umpires are able to receive and examine information from Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) sensors.  That trial, which was conducted by ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Nigel Llong during the third Ashes Test, has been described as producing "positive results" (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013), and Friday's 'Telegraph' article states that Llong "was often able to come to a decision in the time it took for players to discuss and call for a review".

 

Other UDRS issues Hoult believes the meeting will look at are, as reported previously, allowing teams to keep a review if an LBW is judged to be the umpire’s call (PTG 1186-5720, 11 September 2013), the future of 'Hot Spot', and the results of trials of the new real time 'Snickometer' system that could be made an official part of the UDRS package of technology (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).

 

HARPER IN CA UHPP MIX FOR 

2013-14, SAYS REPORT 

[PTG 1188-5733]

 

An Adelaide report indicates Daryl Harper, a former member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, has been appointed as one of three new members of Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP).  CA called for applications for the UHPP positions eleven weeks ago after two former members, Denis Burns and David Levens, left to take up Umpire Coach roles with the International Cricket Council (PTG 1069-5197, 1 March 2013), and former Test umpire Ric Evans retired (PTG 1153-5582, 1 July 2013).

 

The UHPP is a five-man group that is responsible, in CA's words, for "supporting and developing umpiring across all CA competitions", and ensuring "high quality umpires" are produced for both "interstate and international cricket".   Harper, and two other as yet unknown appointees, will join former members Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford on the panel for the 2013-14 season.  Just when CA plans to announce the new line-up is not known, however, it is often tardy when it comes to publicising such issues.

 

Marshall, a former international Rugby Union referee who has worked as Australian Rugby Union's National Referee Manager, and Stratford, a former first class umpire and Victoria's State Umpire Manager for seven years, both joined the UHPP four years ago (PTG 454-2364, 13 July 2009).  Up until he left the ICC's employ in somewhat strained circumstances two years ago (PTG 785-3838, 30 June 2011), Harper stood in 96 Tests, the third-highest on record, 174 One Day Internationals (ODI), and 10 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).

 

CA's then acting chief executive Michael Brown said at that time that he hoped Harper's experience could "be used in CA's [on-going] education and training programs".  At the same time CA Umpire Manager Sean Cary, who has since moved on to a more senior role in the organisation, indicated the South Australian will be used in CA umpire education and training programs for "he’s too good a resource to let go" (PTG 786-3844, 1 July 2011).

 

The advertisement CA released when it called for applications for the three positions described issues related to "knowledge of cricket umpiring skills and techniques" only as "desirable", which is a little surprising given that UHPP members are expected to be involved in such matters as: "completing and distributing umpire performance assessments; maintaining match decision logs and match reports; ranking umpires in CA's high performance pathway; nominating umpires they consider justify being awarded CA contracts; and allocating umpires to CA controlled matches and programs".

 

According to that advertisement it is more important that applicants possess: "demonstrated management and leadership experience; experience in managing conflict; strong knowledge of cricket rules and regulations; highly developed interpersonal skills and stakeholder management ability; sound organisational and administrative skills; proficiencies in administrative tasks and report writing; and sound IT skills".  

 

Just why those attributes are 'scored' ahead of umpiring expertise is a mystery to many knowledgeable observers, although it is in line with modern approaches to the appointment of managers to specialist areas of most kinds.

 

ON-FIELD ALTERCATION RESULTS 

IN FIVE-YEAR BAN

[PTG 1188-5734]

 

The Oxfordshire Cricket Association (OCA) has banned Jeffrey Rogers of the Tetsworth club for five-years as a result an "altercation" during a match against Winslow on the first Saturday of July, while his adversary in that in conflict was given a six-match suspension with a further four matches suspended until the end of the 2014 season, says a story in Friday's 'Oxford Mail'.

 

An OCA disciplinary panel found proven reports that Rogers, and Winslow's Harry Bishop, engaged in "physical assault of another player, umpire, official or spectator" on the field of play, a Level 4 offence.  Rogers was banned for five years because of his "previous disciplinary report", and the panel also issued a "final written warning" to the Tetsworth club and a "written warning" to Winslow "as to their future conduct".

 

At the time of the incident the umpires abandoned the match and awarded it Tetsworth, however, the OCA decided neither team would be given any points, however, it also said, somewhat curiously, "the league table will reflect the award of the match to Tetsworth".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,189

 September 2013

 

CA PLAYER INCREASE TARGET IGNORES 

MATCH OFFICIAL SUPPORT ISSUES

[PTG 1189-5734]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) latest 'Australian Cricket Census' (ACC) shows a record 951,933 "participants" played cricket "at local grounds, schools and indoor centres" across that country in 2012-13, an overall national growth of 8.2 per cent.  CA is now targeting an increase to 1.2 million participants by 2015 and has a range of strategies to achieve that aim, however, as yet, with recruitment-retention rates of match officials long a concern, there is no sign of a campaign to boost their ranks so that the hoped for player surge can be appropriately supported.

 

ACC data shows that after "a small dip" the previous year club cricket, which CA calls "the heart and soul of the game", saw 318,830 participants involved across 577 associations and 3,737 clubs last austral summer, a growth of 1.7 per cent over the previous twelve months.  Females made up almost one-fifth, or 178,416, of all participants, a doubling of the figure four years ago, and an increase over 2011-12 of 18.8 per cent; while indoor cricket numbers "remained strong" at 177,962 and entry-level participation, which covers children and schools, rose in CA's words, by a "sensational 47.9 per cent". 

 

While those numbers appear positive, the Tasmanian newspaper 'The Advocate' points out, in a story on Friday focussed on a call for new umpire recruits by Cricket Tasmania's (CT) north-west regional manager Nathan Dennis, that more players need more infrastructure to support them, and called match officials "one of those vital pieces of the [game support] puzzle", for "without them [it] becomes decidedly more difficult to play".  

 

As is common across Australia and elsewhere in the world (PTG 1184-5709, 6 September 2013), CT's competition in the north-west lacks sufficient numbers to ensure appropriately qualified and experienced umpires and scorers are available to cover all of its games.  Such recruitment-retention issues have been around for many years, however, despite that there continues to be a clear disconnect between CA's focus on programs to boost player participation rates, and a parallel coordinated effort in the match officials’ area.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland, whose organisation is expected to earn at least $A170m annually over the next five years as a result of new sponsorship and broadcast agreements, has indicated its significant jump in revenue provides an "enhanced ability to invest in cricket development from the grassroots up", a key target being "to improve the support available to grass roots cricket at a community club level" (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  

 

In the grass roots match officials area CA has made two separate attempts since 2011 to determine what accredited umpires at that level think about their role in the game and to seek their ideas as to how recruitment-retention issues can be addressed (PTG 998-4851, 3 October 2012).  Those surveys, which were sent to some 1,400 people, were welcomed by many as potentially providing the basis for moving forward.  However, both failed at the first hurdle because of the poor structure of the overall questions asked, and the results of neither have seen the light of day.  

 

Work that has been on the drawing board but appears not to have come along well includes: making CA's Level 2 umpire accreditation program, which is basically unchanged from the original of 2002, available on line (PTG 761-3736, 27 April 2011); an electronic newsletter (PTG 1092-5317, 22 April 2013); increasing female umpire numbers (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013); and the provision for the first time of a national focus on scoring issues (PTG 1179-5690, 26 August 2013).  

 

On the other hand a Level 1 program has been released and a completely new computer scoring package produced from scratch; although the way the latter's development has been managed is rated as very poor by knowledgable observers, and not conducive to current scorer interest or morale (PTG 958-4657, 7 July 2012).  

 

CA's inability to share information and its tendency towards secrecy, which suggests to some a lack of confidence and strategic direction in its work, does not help how the wider community sees and understands the challenges faced by those involved.  As a result many even close to its orbit tend to question, sometimes unfairly, the abilities, motivation, focus and general mindset both high and low level CA managers have with regard to grass roots match officials issues.  Outsiders also see CA's trumpeting of its major boost in funding and ask when some of those gains are going to be directed towards improving outputs in those areas. 

 

While obtaining accurate data is very difficult, it is estimated CA funding for the top part of its umpire pathway that includes salaries, match related payments, travel, accommodation and the development and presentation of related infrastructure, is around several millions of dollars.  On the other hand funding provided to each of Australia's state and territory cricket associations for match official programs is believed to be in the order of $A50,000.  That figure is reported to have flat-lined over the last 3-4 years after being minimally higher before that, and as far as can be determined at the moment it will remain the same for the 2013-14 year. 

 

'ASIAN BLOCK' TO OPPOSED ODI TWO 

BALLS RULE AS SPINNERS AFFECTED  

[PTG 1189-5735]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the boards of other Asian boards are likely to push for the use of new balls at both ends in a One Day International (ODI) to be discontinued during the meeting in Dubai today and tomorrow of the International Cricket Council's Chief Executive Committee (CEC).  Reports say the two new ball issue was discussed at a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in Chennai on Saturday.

 

The two-ball ODI Playing Condition came into force last October after the ICC Cricket Committee's recommendation was accepted by the CEC and the full ICC Board (PTG 944-4591, 4 June 2012).  However, a BCCI source was quoted by the 'Times of India' yesterday as saying subcontinent teams are "spin dependent and when two new balls are used the potency of spin attack comes down significantly".  

 

News of that view comes two days after Indian batsman Rohit Sharma said that during his stint as an opener in ODIs against England earlier this year he found having a new ball at either end such games "more challenging".  "Facing two new balls is not easy", he said, but "we're happy we could manage to do well and adjust to them". 

 

Chennai reports also say that what they call "the Asian block" also discussed light issues in Chennai.  The same BCCI source is quoted as saying "there are options of offering the light to the batting team and there’s a possibility that we could revert to that", while "other options of extending play at the end of the day [include] floodlights.  Australia and England have also raised the ICC's current light issues policies (PTG 1188-5732, 15 September 2013).

 

ISSUE OF VISAS ALLOWS 

THE CALL OF 'PLAY' 

[PTG 1189-5736]

 

Pakistan's Faisalabad-based domestic Twenty20 champion will now be able to play in the Champions League series in India over the next few weeks after government officials in New Delhi agreed to issue visas for them to enter the country.  Reports late last week said that visas would not be provided (PTG 1187-5727, 14 September 2013), but the team will now be able to take part in tomorrow's opening qualifying game. 

 

Faisalabad will be only the second Pakistan team to take part in the Champions League but is the first to do so in India as 2012 Pakistan domestic winner Sialkot competed in the event when it was played in South Africa last year.  A team from Pakistan had been invited for the planned first edition of the Champions League in 2008, however, that series was postponed because of the Mumbai terror attacks that year that killed 164 and wounded at least 308 more.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,190

 Tuesday, 17 September 2013

 

RAUF TO BE LISTED ON MUMBAI POLICE 

IPL CHARGE SHEET, CLAIM REPORTS 

[PTG 1190-5737]

 

Media reports from Mumbai say that police there plan to list former Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf on the charge sheet they are preparing on Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing activities.  Rauf, who was dropped from the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel three months ago after a seven-year stint for what were said to be "performance issues" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), is to be accused of "cheating and forgery" and named as a "wanted accused" on the charge sheet claim the reports.

 

Lahore born and based Rauf, 57, who has always protested his innocence of any wrong doing (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013), said last month that he had retired from "all forms of umpiring duties due to personal commitments".  According to him then, "being an international or domestic umpire required constant travelling" and he now wants to give "quality time to his ailing son, family and business" (PTG 1162-5627, 5 August 2013). 

 

Late last week the Board of Control for Cricket in India handed out life bans and other sanctions to a number of players and others that its investigation found were involved in fixing activities during this year's IPL in April-May (PTG 1188-5730, 15 September 2013).

 

REPORTS NAME FINAL TWO 

CA UHPP MEMBERS 

[PTG 1190-5738]

 

Two men who have played at first class and lower-international level have been selected as members of Cricket Australia's Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) for 2013-14, according to a number of reports received by 'PTG' over the last few days.  The two, Steve Bernard and David Thalalla, together with long-serving members Peter Marshall and Bob Stratford, plus another new appointee Daryl Harper (PTG 1188-5732, 15 September 2013), are believed to make up the panel for the 2013-14 austral summer season.

 

Bernard, 61, played twenty-nine first class and eight one-day games as a fast bowler for New South Wales in the period from 1970-78, then went on to work as a state selector there from 1983-85, an Australian selector from 1993-98, then for just over a decade until two years ago as the manager of the Australia team.

 

In late 2011 the International Cricket Council (ICC) selected him as one of five match referees on its second-tier Regional Referees Pane (RRP), his particular responsibility being the ICC's East-Asia Pacific region (PTG 866-4233, 1 December 2011); an area that includes Australia, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Tonga and Vanuatu.  

 

Over the last eighteen months in that role Bernard has worked as a referee in ICC matches played in Australia, Samoa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  For sometime now he has been, and still is today, listed by the ICC on its web site as the referee for two second-tier international first class games and four World Cricket League one-day fixtures that Afghanistan-Kenya and Namibia-UAE are to play in Dubai and Sharjah over the two-week period that commences next Sunday.  

 

Whether he will continue to serve on the RRP for those games or on a longer-term basis has not been announced.  However, the fact that the vast majority of a UHPP member's workload is over the six months from October to March each year suggests any international duty will normally be limited over that period each year.

 

Kuala Lumpur born Talalla, who turned 50 late last month, is a barrister and solicitor with legal experience in Australia, south-east Asia and the United Kingdom.  He currently heads a Melbourne-based firm that bears his name and describes itself as "a niche recruitment company which offers a unique alternative to candidates, law firms, corporations, government organisations".

 

Talalla has combined his professional skills with what his company's web site calls "a personal passion for sport", and is a former business development manager with the Sport Federation of Victoria who has established "risk management and business plans" for sporting associations and provided "strategic advice" to the Victorian Department for Sport and Recreation.  

 

Records available show that in the 1990s, when he was in his thirties, he played for Malaysia in one-day format international tournaments in Kenya, when he was captain, Pakistan and in his home country, the latter including participation in the Commonwealth Games cricket tournament of 1994.  

 

Despite the ICC's listing that shows Bernard in the UAE next weekend, several reports claim that all five UHPP members, the twelve members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP) (PTG 1131-5490, 26 June 2013), and a number of CA headquarters staff, are to get together in their normal pre-seasopn seminar this coming weekend.  That gathering is likely to coordinate thoughts on changes to the Laws of the game, Playing Conditions and other match-related performance and administrative issues.   

 

The first of CA's senior interstate games for the season that NUP/UHPP members will be engaged in, the latter as match referees, is due to be played seven days after the pre-season meeting ends.  The start is centred on twenty one-day games that will be played over four weeks at grounds in the Sydney suburban area (PTG 1185-5716, 8 September 2013), but as yet umpiring appointments for those games have not been announced. 

 

Now that details of UHPP membership have been revealed, the last key umpiring announcement CA has to make for the 2013-14 season is just who will fill its positions on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  A single on-field vacancy on the Australian section of the IUP has been open since late June (PTG 1130-5489, 26 June 2013), although indications are that CA was probably aware of that opening several months before that.  

 

SCOTTISH LEAGUE TO LOOK AT

TIGHTENING DISCIPLINARY MEASURES 

[PTG 1190-5739]

 

Cricket administrators in Scotland's west are discussing the possibility of introducing red and yellow cards or five- and ten-run penalties for players who misbehave during games, says an article in the Glasgow newspaper 'The Herald' yesterday.  The aim is said to be "not to prevent players from flinging themselves into the fray", but to prevent the "sort of ugly altercations and instances of bad sportsmanship which have marred several contests in the last few years".  

 

Members of the West of Scotland Association of Cricket Officials are said to be concerned about recent occurrences of serious dissent during Scottish club matches in which "expletive-laden abuse" has been directed at umpires. They believe the present situation where offenders are dealt with retrospectively, "or not at all", sends out all the wrong signals and are suggesting more direct, immediate, repercussions be introduced.

 

Richard Young, the chairman of the Western District Cricket Union (WDCU), says one option for the future is giving umpires, in his words, the power to "simply say" when abuse persists: "Right, you are being penalised five runs, and if they did it again, then it would be ten or fifteen or twenty" runs.  He claims such an approach would see teams quickly "wise up", for "if they had to chase 200 instead of 180 because one or two of their guys had broken the rules" they might think again.

 

"Another idea if players offend", continued Young, "is for [them] to be handed a yellow card for a fixed period" during which they could not take part in the game.  "If they come back on and repeat what they've done, then it would be a red card and they would be off for the rest of the game".  The WDCU did not go into the practicalities if just how that would work in practice.

 

Young told the 'Herald' that "we should never forget there wouldn't be a game without umpires and we are discussing how best we can tackle the problem of officials being abused".  "We are talking here about club cricket, and, of course, passions can become heated in these matches", however it "is quite simple: we have the spirit of cricket so let's observe it".

 

"There is a difference between being competitive and being a foul-mouthed yob and some people have crossed the line too regularly", said Young. "I have no doubt that we could sort out these problems quickly if we took the appropriate action.  All we want is for people to remember the umpires are doing the best they can. If you think it is okay to approach them and call them 'F***ing cheats', you are not helping anybody", he concluded.

 

NZ COUNTRY ASSOCIATION DOWN TO 

THREE ACTIVE UMPIRES, SEEKS MORE

[PTG 1190-5740]

 

Yet another southern hemisphere cricket association is reporting a serious umpire shortage as the 2013-14 austral summer draws near.  A story published in last week's 'Kapiti Observer' in New Zealand says that the ten-club Horowhenua Kapiti Cricket Association (HKCA), which covers coastal districts some 50 km north of Wellington, currently has just three umpires signed up.

 

The 'Observer' article says that three HKCA umpires retired at the end of last season after several years of service, a situation that left just two active members, however, in the time since it has only been possible to attract one person to join them.  

 

Long-serving umpire Mike George, 54, a current member of New Zealand's Reserve Umpires Panel (PTG 1187-5725, 14 September 2013), told the 'Observer' that prospective umpires "need to love the game, have a good set of eyes and ears, and a good level of fitness" and "start at club level".

 

However, after that "there are opportunities to move up", continued George, who is himself a testament to that for he stood in 28 first class, 26 List A and four senior Twenty20s in the period from 1999-2011, and is still standing in lower level representative games.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,191

 Thursday, 19 September 2013

 

ICC 'WORKING GROUP' TO CONSIDER 

'HOW BEST TO USE TECHNOLOGY' 

[PTG 1191-5741]

 

Five years after the Umpire Decision Review (UDRS) was first trialled, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to establish a 'Working Group' to consider how best to use technology in umpire decision-making (PTG 1186-5720, 11 September 2013).  The move to set up the group comes as a direct result of UDRS-related controversies during this northern summer's Ashes series in England, and is one of a range outcomes related to the "playing and business of cricket" made at this week's ICC Chief Executive Committee (CEC) meeting in Dubai on Monday and Tuesday.

 

Controversies during the Ashes focused on the third umpire's use of UDRS and the way he interpreted his remit and another on the reliability of 'Hot Spot' in detecting thin nicks.  The Working Group decision was made after considering those issues and a report on what is believed to have been the positive outcome of a trial into providing UDRS-derived data to the third umpire more quickly (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013).  The Working Group's work, whose make up and output time line were not mentioned, will "include a review of the objectives and philosophies of using technology, the technologies, protocols and procedures as well as the role and training of television umpires".  

 

A more immediate outcome for UDRS operations was CEC agreement to a trial that will see both sides given additional reviews during the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia.  It will involve batting and bowling sides having their reviews "topped-up" to two after each eighty overs of a Test innings when new balls are due, regardless of how many they have used prior to that, rather than limited to two for the total duration of an innings as at present. 

 

The CEC also looked at suggestions new 'real time' 'Snickometer' technology be added to UDRS packages for the next five Ashes Tests  (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013), but decided that an "independent assessment of this technology will be conducted before a decision is made on its inclusion in the list of approved UDRS technologies".  The new Working Group is expected to manage, or at least be involved in, that assessment.

 

A section of the ICC press release dealing with CEC outcomes that is titled "umpires, over rates and bad light" does not make any reference to changing ICC Playing Conditions that relate to light issues that came into particular focus in the final Ashes Test at The Oval (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).  

 

Instead it says that the meeting "received a report on the outcomes from a recent three-day workshop for international umpires and match referees" and that CEC members "confirmed their collective support for the international umpires and the 'Spirit of the Game', which under the Laws of Cricket requires that the umpire’s decision be accepted without question".  The meeting "also endorsed the umpires’ intention to become far stricter on poor over-rates and time wasting and to maximise playing time in conditions where it is safe to do so".   

 

Another issue discussed was the use of new balls from each end in One Day Internationals (ODI), a matter that was raised by CEC representatives from the four Asian nations who are reported to believe such a rule has proved to be deterrent to their slow bowlers who play an integral part in their team structures.  The two-ball Playing Condition was agreed to by the CEC a year ago on the recommendation of the ICC's Cricket Committee (CC) (PTG 1189-5735, 16 September 2013).  

 

The ICC says the CEC "discussed the matter in detail", which suggests it was an issue that challenged the meeting as opinions "remained divided", however, it was decided that two white balls, one from each end, will continue to be used, although this will be reduced to one when ODIs are cut to fewer than twenty-five overs in the first innings.  It was also agreed though that the CC be asked to "prioritise investigations into the development of a ball that can last the full fifty overs of an [ODI] innings whilst still providing a fair balance between bat and ball".

 

Other matters agreed to this week include: the introduction of a list of balls currently approved for use in international cricket; that the inaugural 2017 World Test Championship be launched at "a media function" in Dubai next month (PTG 1136-5513, 1 July 2013); approval of a set of guidelines/regulations for the use of broadcast cameras on/over the field during international matches; and an amendment to the ICC's Code of Conduct that prevents a team switching its captain to avoid his receiving an over rate suspension (PTG 1187-5723, 14 September 2013).

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson says at the conclusion of the press release that the CEC meeting had been "an excellent engagement in which we discussed a series of issues", some of which will be taken forward to the ICC Board which will meet in London next month.  Richardson also said "the unanimous support for the authority of the umpires and commitment to the 'Spirit of Cricket' was particularly pleasing".

 

CONCERN IN BANGLADESH THAT BPL ACCUSED 

FOREIGNERS ARE STILL PLAYING

[PTG 1191-5742]

 

Kaushal Lokuarachchi, one of nine individuals accused of match-fixing activities in this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), played for the Sri Lankan side Kandurata Maroons in a Champions League Twenty20 Qualifier match in Mohali on Tuesday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) executive officer David Richardson "categorically mentioned", says a story in this morning's edition of Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper, when announcing the ICC's BPL findings at press conference in Dhaka in mid-August that "all individuals charged will remain suspended until they prove themselves innocent" (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

 

Richardson did not disclose the names of the accused when he released the findings of his Security and Anti-Corruption Unit's investigation, however, Lokuarachchi has since admitted publicly that he was on the ICC's list.  Lokuarachchi played for the BPL's Dhaka franchise, the entity that is at the centre of the ICC's findings.  'New Age' says that Englishman Darren Stevens, who has also admitted to have been on the ICC's list but who has protested his innocence, has also played for his county Kent since the ICC announced its findings.

 

'New Age' says that the fact that two BPL players from outside Bangladesh can play when nationals from there who are on the ICC list have been barred from playing by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has "created an outcry" at home. It has, says the newspaper, "raised an obvious question of whether the BCB is playing a proactive role on the issue when the ICC is apparently silent".

 

EUP NEW BOYS STANDING IN 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SERIES 

[PTG 1191-5743]

 

Richard Illingworth of England and Paul Reiffel of Australia, the two newest members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1130-5487, 26 June 2013), have been standing in qualifying matches for this year's Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series in India.  Reiffel worked in the CLT20 series in South Africa three years ago, but for Illingworth its the first time he has been involved in the event.

 

Illingworth and Reiffel have been working, and sharing on-field and third umpire spots with, Indian member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Vineet Kulkarni, his countryman and first class umpire Pashchim Pathak providing support as fourth umpire.  Another ICC match official, Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, has been the referee in the four games played to date.  Pycroft worked in the same role in the CLT20 series of 2010 in South Africa and 2011 in India.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,192

 Friday, 20 September 2013

 

'SIMULATIONS' TO ROUND OUT CA PRE-SEASON 

MATCH OFFICIALS SEMINAR 

[PTG 1192-5744]

 

Members of Cricket Australia's (CA) senior umpire groups are to spend the last day of their three-and-a-half-day pre-season match officials seminar today immersed in third umpire and technology related training in the offices of a company called 'Virtual Spectator International' (VSI) in suburban Melbourne.  VSI, which specialises in "enhancing the visualisation and understanding of premier sporting events", is believed to be running a series of "simulations" as part of CA's efforts to improve the training and preparedness of its television umpires. 

 

While it is likely to have been part of CA's seminar plans for some time, news of today's program comes soon after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the establishment a 'Working Group' to consider how best to use technology in umpire decision-making (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013).  That follows technology-related controversies in this year's Ashes series, and calls by ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, who will be present at VSI today, for improved training around the world for what he has described as the "incredibly challenging role" of a third umpire (PTG 1156-5591, 26 July 2013) .  

 

Earlier this week those attending the pre-season meeting heard a series of separate presentations on 'maintaining concentration', 'conflict resolution', 'teamwork', 'public speaking and dealing with the media'.  They were given by Warren Kennaugh, a Melbourne-based 'Behavioural Strategist' who specialises in the "development of elite athlete capability", work that includes the "assessment, design and implementation of training and coaching programs for elite athletes and coaches [involved in] high profile sports".

 

Those present also heard about and discussed changes to Laws, Playing Conditions and Code of Behaviour arrangements, and CA's Twenty20 series plans, including from new broadcaster Channel Ten.  There was also feedback from the national curator's conference, which is reported to have had concerns about CA's plans to issue penalties for poor pitches (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013), that was given by David Sandurski the Melbourne Cricket Ground's head curator; and a presentation by a 400-game Australian Rules Football umpire titled "Survival in a role where errors are inevitable".  

 

This week's meeting is the first time CA's twelve National Umpire Panel (NUP) members, one of whom is new to the group (PTG 1131-5490, 26 June 2013), will have met with CA's new five-man Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), three of whom are new this year (PTG 1190-5738, 17 September 2013).  In a move aimed at improving NUP succession planning, four members of CA's emerging umpires group, Shawn Craig and Richard Patterson (Victoria), and Greg Davidson and Tony Wilds (New South Wales), also attended the meeting for the first time (PTG 1119-5440, 7 June 2013).  

 

Reports suggest that those four have been given third umpire appointments in CA's domestic one-day series in October (PTG 1185-5716, 8 September 2013), although as yet no details have been released.  CA came under criticism last season when it did virtually nothing to expose its next crop of NUP candidates to higher-level games across its three senior domestic competitions (PTG 1088-5297, 12 April 2013).  That has left new NUP member Mike Graham-Smith of Tasmania facing the coming season without having previously worked on-field on as a third umpire in CA's first class, one-day or Twenty20 series (PTG 1131-5490, 26 June 2013).

 

Others who are believe to have attended the pre-season gathering included: ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford; former UHPP member and now ICC Umpire Coach David Levens who works with Taufel; former first class umpire and now Western Australia's State Director of Umpires Barry Rennie; and former Test umpire Ric Evans who retired from the UHPP earlier this year (PTG 1153-5582, 1 July 2013).  Australia's three other current EUP members Steve Davis, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker were unable to attend, Reiffel certainly, and perhaps the others also, being in India for the Champions League series (PTG 1191-5743, 19 September 2013).

 

Costs associated with supporting the pre-season meeting will probably come in at around $A25,000, a figure that is around half of the annual funding CA provides to each of its state and territory organisations for grass roots match officials activities each year (PTG 1188-5734, 16 September 2013).

 

REVIEWS BOOST SUGGESTS UMPIRES ARE MAKING 

'TOO MANY MISTAKES', SAYS REPORT 

[PTG 1192-5745]

 

Giving a side more reviews via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is effectively a concession that umpires are making too many mistakes for two challenges an innings to be sufficient, wrote 'Bleacher Report' journalist Mark Patterson yesterday.  Patterson was commenting on the decision by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Chief Executive Committee this week to trial the 'topping up' of reviews after each eighty overs of a Test innings regardless of how many they have used up until that time (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013). 

 

Patterson says that if the purpose of UDRS in the first place was to "eliminate the howler", "a phrase you'll hear many a time during the course of a cricket commentary", what the ICC's trial of extra reviews is saying is that "there could well be four [howlers], every, single innings" that lasts 160 overs, or six in 240 overs.  But that's not quite true, he says, "because if [players] only used [reviews] when they were sure there had been a grave miscarriage of justice, then UDRS would not need a "top up" [for] you retain your review when you challenge correctly".

 

The ICC's change encourages more speculative reviewing, says Patterson, "and even more", something he calls "a laughable concept", tactical reviewing, where teams "will try to get an opponent's best player out on a half-chance, rather than any real belief they've been denied a wicket".  The whole approach to be trialled will slow the game down further, in Patterson's view.

 

CA FORKS OUT $A800K TO GET DOMESTIC 

ONE-DAY SERIES ON TV 

[PTG 1192-5746]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is paying broadcaster Channel Nine $A800,000 to ensure its interstate one-day competition, which is to be played entirely in Sydney from Sunday week, is available on television, says a story in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  That figure was convincing enough for the game's primary broadcaster in Australia to agree to screen the twenty matches of the month-long event on its high-definition channel 'Gem', writes journalist Chris Barratt (PTG 1185-5716, 8 September 2013).

 

Normally a broadcaster pays a sporting body for the rights to a particular match, event or competition, the most prominent recent example the record $A590 million agreement struck in June between CA, Channel Nine and Network Ten another Australian broadcaster (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  Those agreements covered international and domestic Twenty20 cricket though, leaving the one-day series without any television exposure.

 

Barratt quotes a CA spokesman as saying that the decision to pay Channel Nine "demonstrates our commitment to one-day cricket [and that] the opportunity to get the [one-day competition] on free-to-air television was just really enticing".  

 

FORMER UMPIRE TELLS U-19 TEAMS: 

KNOW YOUR LAWS, PLAYING CONDITIONS

[PTG 1192-5747]

 

Former Indian international umpire Bomi Jamula has advised up and coming cricketers to learn about the Laws of the game and Playing Conditions as lack of such a knowledge "has exposed some top players" in the past, says a Press Trust of India report.  Jamula, 60, made his comments on Tuesday prior to the start of an Under-19 tournament in Mumbai, emphasising that "There is always an opportunity for you to talk to the umpires about the Laws and clear all doubts".

 

Jamula also told the members of the four teams involved that there was no place for dissent in the games they were about to play.  "A batsman cannot gesture or show the bat when he receives a poor decision. Similarly, a bowler too may be aggrieved, but they have to get on with the game without show of dissent. There are people watching the performance of the umpires too and multiple offences can lead to a ban", he said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,193

 Monday, 23 September 2013

 

MUMBAI POLICE IPL CHARGE SHEET 

NAMES RAUF 'WANTED ACCUSED' 

[PTG 1193-5747]

 

Former Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who up until June this year was a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, was formally charged in relation to improper betting-related activities during this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series by Mumbai police on Saturday.  Gambling is mostly illegal in India, but betting on cricket matches thrives through networks of underground bookies (PTG 1190-5737, 17 September 2013).

 

A report in the 'Hindustan Times' says that Mumbai crime branch police have phone conversations in which Rauf placed bets through actor Vindoo Dara Singh in IPL matches he officiated in.  Himanshu Roy, a joint police commissioner, is quoted as saying: “Rauf not only passed information about weather and pitch, but also gave information about matches he stood in, predicted results and accepted expensive gifts".

 

As a result Rauf, along with twenty-two others, was named a "wanted accused" in a 11,500 page IPL charge sheet that refers to "gambling, cheating and fraud".  He has again proclaimed his innocence, however, and repeated previous comments that he has no links with bookmakers as claimed by police, telling reporters in his home city of Lahore the same day the charges were announced that he is willing to explain his side of the story to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).  

 

Rauf, 57, who during an fifteen-year umpiring career officiated in 48 Tests and 98 One Day Internationals, first announced his readiness to talk to the ACSU four months ago (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013), and his latest comment suggests that ICC body has not yet interviewed him in regard to IPL matters.  "When [the ACSU] call me, I will answer them through my legal adviser", said Rauf, who has officiated in four of the six IPL series played to date.

 

A week ago the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave life bans to two players from the IPL's Rajasthan franchise who were said to have been part of an "elaborate plan" in which bowlers gave away more than a specified number of runs per over in return for money from illegal bookmakers (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).  A third Rajasthan player was suspended for one year after being found guilty of the lesser charge of not informing officials about approaches made by bookmakers.

 

AUSTRALIA MOVES TO 

FOUR-MAN IUP GROUP 

[PTG 1193-5748]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to have appointed John Ward as an on-field member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) alongside current member Simon Fry, at the same time selecting both Mick Martell and Paul Wilson as IUP third umpire members.   Ward was moved into the then sole Australian IUP third umpire spot a year ago (PTG 1024-4975,  30 November 2012), and the decision to elevate both Martell and Wilson means that Australia now joins England, India, New Zealand and the West Indies as having four on the IUP (PTG 1185-5713, 8 September 2013). 

 

Melbourne-born Ward, 51, comes to the IUP on-field position after eight years on CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP), and ten years since he made his debut at first class level.  In the time to date he has stood in 46 first class games, 40 of them in CA's Sheffield Shield competition the last of which was the finale of the 2012-13 season, and others in the equivalent domestic series in New Zealand and South Africa during exchange visits.  There have also been 45 List A games, two of them domestic finals, and 28 Twenty20s, the last two in the latter format being at international level.

 

Western Australian Martell, who turns 47 this Saturday, made his first class debut in 2008 in his first year on the NUP, and comes to the IUP after five years on the national panel (PTG 306-1602, 5 September 2008), a time during which he has chalked up 29 first class games, including some in New Zealand and South Africa, 21 List A and 26 Twenty20 fixtures, the latter including the 2012-13 domestic final.  Martell along with Ward and Ian Lock make up the NUP's 'leadership group' for 2013-14 whose work in part appears akin to those of shop stewards in industry.

 

Wilson, 41, played 51 first class games for both South and Western Australia, one of them a Test for his country, in the period from 1995-2004.  He came to umpiring as the third member of CA's Project Panel for fast tracking former first class players, the first and second being current ICC Elite Umpire Panel members Rod TuckeR and Paul Reiffel, making his first class debut in November 2009 and joining the NUP twelve months later.  After three years on the NUP his first class match tally stands at 17, and both his List A and Twenty20 list of matches at 18.

 

Fry, 47, made his first class debut almost 14 years ago.  Like Ward he has had eight seasons on the NUP to date, standing in 65 first class games, including the last four Australian domestic finals, as well as those in domestic first class competitions in India, New Zealand and South Africa, and for the first time last August an ICC appointment to a first class second-tier international (PTG 1159-5608, 1 August 2013).  There have also been 60 List A games, seven of them One Day Internationals, and 30 Twenty20s, four of those being Twenty20 Internationals. 

 

The changes result from the elevation of former IUP member Reiffel to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel last June (PTG 1130-5487,  26 June 2013).  CA is yet to publicly announce the change and if it follows the course it took last year it is unlikely to do so.  At that time the respective elevations of Fry and Ward only became known publicly when the ICC up-dated its web site some two months after the change had been made.

 

BOWDEN ON CHAMPIONS 

LEAGUE UMPIRES' PANEL

[PTG 1193-5749]

 

New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden, who until June this year was a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is working in this year's Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series in India.  Bowden, who now a member of the  ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013) and was last seen standing in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League a month ago (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013).

 

Bowden is part of a CLT20 panel that includes current EUP members Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Australians Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, plus Indian IUP members Anil Chaudhary and Sudarum Ravi.  Other senior ICC officials involved are its chief match referee Rajan Madugalle from Sri Lanka and his colleague Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.

 

'T' REVIEW SIGN TO BE CONSIDERED 

'DISSENT' IN TASMANIA

[PTG 1193-5750]

 

Players who make 'T' review signs in Cricket Tasmania's Premier League (CTPL) matches this austral summer when umpire decisions go against them will be regarded as showing 'dissent' under the CTPL's 'yellow card' disciplinary arrangements, says State Director of Umpires, Richard Widows.  

 

Widows told umpires from around the state attending a pre-season seminar in Hobart yesterday that it is a requirement that players who make such a gesture be booked under the CTPL's 'yellow card' system.  Under that system a 'card' is not displayed during a match as in football, but rather is a process for Level 1 disciplinary offences whereby a player who is given three over a two-year period gets an automatic one-match ban.

 

NO SIGN OF MOOTED 'ALTERNATIVE' 

CA DOMESTIC REVIEW SYSTEM 

[PTG 1193-5751]

 

Reports indicate that Cricket Australia's (CA) third umpires will again be limited to adjudicating on run-outs, stumpings, hit wicket, obstructing the field, and close boundary calls, but only after receiving a request from their on-field colleagues to do so.  If so it suggests that investigations that were to have been conducted into an alternative video-review policy for Australian domestic competitions prior to the 2013-14 austral summer have gone nowhere.  

 

This time last year CA announced its third umpires would have the power to review and overturn decisions made by on-field officials during domestic televised fixtures, including the right to stop play if they judged it was necessary to do so (PTG 993-4825, 19 September 2013).  However, that approach was quickly scrapped after what CA said were concerns about consistency and delays in play (PTG 1024-4974, 30 November 2013), although one media report blamed the change on a "near revolt" by players and coaches, another saying CA had "succumbed to player power" in making the move (PTG 1019-4953, 17 November 2012).

 

CA’s Playing Conditions Committee, which was then made up of the likes of former players such as Greg Chappell, Matthew Hayden, Mark Taylor, Shane Warne and Paul Marsh of the Australian Cricketer's Association, was to have looked into an alternative review system.  What work they or others have undertaken in that regard, or what if any outcomes resulted, has not been made public.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,194

 Wednesday, 25 September 2013

 

RECORD RAUF'S IPL STATEMENT 

IN PAKISTAN, SUGGESTS PCB  

[PTG 1194-5752]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) says it can't force former international umpire Asad Rauf to travel to Mumbai so he can be questioned about Indian Premier League (IPL) betting and spot-fixing allegations laid against him.  Rauf, along with over twenty others, was named as a 'wanted accused' by Mumbai police in an 11,500 page IPL charge sheet that refers to "gambling, cheating and fraud" (PTG 1193-5747, 23 September 2013).

 

PCB legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told NDTV yesterday that as there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and India, there is no mechanism available "to convince" Rauf to personally face police allegations about his IPL-related behaviour.  "It is "a matter between him, Mumbai police, the IPL and International Cricket Council (ICC)", said Rizvi, for "the PCB is not a party to this" as Rauf was working under an IPL contract.  Rizvi suggested though that "a solution to the problem would be to record Rauf's statement in Pakistan".  

 

Rauf has vehemently denied all accusations against him and has repeatedly claimed his innocence, saying on several occasions over the last four months that he is prepared to explain his side of the story to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

 

'WALKER' AMONGST FIRST 'CMJ' 

'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' AWARDEES 

[PTG 1194-57534]

 

Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen has been awarded the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins (CMJ) 'Spirit of Cricket' 'Elite Award', while an Under-13 girl's team from Hampshire took out the 'Youth Award' and an academy in Bristol the 'Schools Award'.  The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the BBC created the new awards in memory of the late commentator and former MCC President in order to recognise "exceptional sportsmanship".

 

Madsen was recognised for walking of his own accord in a County Championship match against Yorkshire at Chesterfield in July.  When on 17 he feathered a ball to the wicket-keeper and though umpire Jeff Evans gave the Derbyshire captain not out, Madsen opted to walk back to the pavilion, later stating that it was a matter of principle.  In the second innings of the match he went on to score 141, however, his side still lost by an innings and 113 runs.

 

Hampshire girl's team Alton won as the joint MCC-BBC judging panel were impressed by their story of lending players to field for an opposition side in a league match earlier this summer.  During the fixture, which they ultimately lost by 20 runs, the girls also allowed several of the opposition batsmen to bat twice.  City Academy in Bristol were selected as the first beneficiary of the £2,000 ($A3,400) school’s prize which it will use to further enhance their cricket performance program. 

 

MCC president Mike Griffith said: the "MCC is passionate about its role as Guardian of the Laws and 'Spirit of Cricket', and it is instances like Wayne Madsen walking when his Derbyshire side was in real trouble against Yorkshire, which set an example for everyone in the game to follow and must be encouraged".  A similar situation occurred in a local cup final in a South Yorkshire League match earlier this month (PTG 1186-5718, 11 September 2013).  

 

The awards are named after Martin-Jenkins, long-time commentator, former MCC President, and a strong believer of the 'Spirit of Cricket' principles, who died of cancer last January.

 

BOWLER REMOVED FOR EXCESSIVE 

SHORT PITCHED DELIVERIES  

[PTG 1194-5754]

 

Somerset bowler Jamie Overton was removed from his team's attack for excessive short pitched bowling by umpires Nigel Llong and Michael Gough during their crucial relegation match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge yesterday.  Overton’s withdrawal, for the rest of the home side's first innings, came shortly before tea on day one of the game after the fourth ball of his eleventh over, says a report in today's London 'Daily Telegraph'.

 

The 19-year-old fast bowler, who was in England’s one-day squad for the recent series against Australia, also had problems with being no-balled during Somerset’s previous away match against Middlesex.  Yesterday he bowled a beamer in the morning session which resulted in an automatic final warning from Gough and Llong, and when he later bowled two short-pitched balls in a row, Long called Gough over and the pair spoke with each other before telling Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick that the paceman had to be removed.

 

Dave Nosworthy, Somerset director of cricket, who called Overton "an aggressive, fast bowler", said he "bowled a full toss above the waist, which was not intentional at all, but the Laws state it’s a final warning - and he got it". Therefore "the next time he did something wrong, he was gone", he said.  

 

In an unusual move, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) appointed former England player Tony Pigott as the match referee for the game in order to ensure a "manufactured outcome" does not occur.  Before sides know that a draw, with the requisite number of bonus points, will ensure they both stay up in Division 1 of the County Championship and send Derbyshire into Division 2.  Nosworthy told the 'Telegraph' that "if people want to check that the game is being played in the right spirit then I have got no issue with it at all.  There is no record of Pigott having worked as a match referee prior to the current match. 

 

BERMUDAN PLAYER GIVEN 12-MATCH 

BAN FOR 'SERIOUS DISSENT' 

[PTG 1194-5755]

 

The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) has suspended Southampton batsman Curtis Jackson from all cricket for "a period of time that is sufficient to include twelve BCB 50-over matches" after he showed "serious dissent" at an umpire's decision in a match two Sunday's ago.  Jackson was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, "intimidation of an umpire or match referee whether by language or conduct".  The exact date on which Jackson will be able to return to playing will be confirmed once the BCB's 2014 schedule is finalised.

 

LEGAL CHALLENGE LAUNCHED 

ON BPL TRIBUNAL DELAY 

[PTG 1194-5756]

 

Two of the seven individuals accused of match-fixing activities in this year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) series served the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with a "notice of legal intent" on Monday after it failed to form a disciplinary tribunal within the 40 days required by its anti-corruption code. A Barrister acting for the two, who like the other five who have been suspended, told reporters that "unless we get a satisfactory reply [from the BCB] we are going to the court next week" to have their bans lifted.

 

Barrister Nurus Sadik said the BCB failed to form the tribunal due to a procedural mistake pointed out by one of the accused's legal team and demanded the ban on the two players be lifted "immediately".  Sadik also accused the BCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC) of applying double standards for allowing "two overseas players", one from England and the other Sri Lanka, to play for teams from their home countries despite the fact that they also face charges (PTG 1191-5742, 19 September 2013). 

 

Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper said yesterday that after charges were laid by the ICC investigation in mid-August (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013), those accused were required to plead either guilty or not guilty within 14 days.  "Only four [of the seven], the two players and two owners of [the BPL's] Dhaka franchise", says 'New Age', pleaded their innocence by the due date, and they are now waiting for the tribunal to begin its work.

 

The BCB’s acting chief executive officer Nizmudding Ahmed Chowdhury conceded formation of the tribunal had been "delayed due to procedural reasons".  "We also want to form the tribunal as quickly as possible but could not do so as we are taking everything into account before announcing it", said Nizamuddin, but "when the tribunal is formed and starts working everything will be visible". 

 

In addition to the seven named for match-fixing activities the ICC's report, which was released six weeks ago yesterday, it also charged two others with failing to comply with their obligation to report corrupt approaches allegedly made to them. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,195

 Thursday, 26 September 2013

 

LIST A DEBUTS FOR TWO 

AUSTRALIAN UMPIRES 

[PTG 1195-5757]

 

Two Australians, Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith and Greg Davidson of New South Wales, are to make their List A third and on-field umpire debuts during that country's tournament-style one-day domestic series in Sydney over the next month (PTG 1192-5745, 20 September 2013).  Graham-Smith is the newest member of Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP), while Davidson is one of four currently on CA's emerging umpires group, three others of which will be working as third umpires in the series, two of them for the first time at List A level.

 

All twelve NUP members will be in action across the eighteen preliminary games and the single semi final with most, including debutant Graham-Smith, having at least three games on-field and one in the television suite.  Both Graham-Smith and Davidson will have one match as a third umpire before their on-field debuts, while the latter's emerging colleagues, Tony Wilds of NSW and Shawn Craig and Richard Patterson of Victoria, have single third umpire spots.  Five of the nineteen games will not be televised and therefore no third umpires have been appointed to those matches.  

 

While for Craig, Davidson, Graham-Smith and Wilds it will be their List A debuts, Patterson stood in twenty such games from 1998-2004 and a twenty-first in a tour match last February.  Craig, a member of CA's Project Panel for fast-tracking former first class players, is not a complete stranger either for he played in twenty List A fixtures from 1996-2002 before moving to umpiring three seasons ago (PTG 678-3327, 7 October 2010).

 

Responsibility for overall management of the games will lie with members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel (PTG 1190-5738, 17 September 2013).  Long-serving members Bob Stratford and Peter Marshall are to look after seven and six games respectively, while of the newcomers Daryl Harper has three, Steve Bernard two and David Talalla one which will be his match referee debut.  Bernard is currently in the United Arab Emirates working as an International Cricket Council match referee (PTG 1169-5651, 14 August 2013).

 

CA PUBLICITY FOR ONE-DAY SCORER 

APPOINTMENTS WELCOMED

[PTG 1195-5758]

 

Seven scorers from the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, three of whom current on-line records available indicate will be making their List A debuts, have been named to support Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day series in Sydney over the next month.  CA has listed the scorers for each game on the match officials appointments page of its web site for the first time.

 

Those scorers who appear to be making their List A debuts are Kay Wilcoxon who has been given seven games, Ian Wright four and Darren Mattison one, while of the others Christine Bennison, Robyn Sanday and Toni Lorraine have previously scored in Tests, and Adam Morehouse in One Day Internationals.  Bennison and Sanday are to record the details of eight matches each, including the single semi final, and Lorraine and Moorehouse both five.  Appointments for the final on the last Sunday of October will be announced closer to the date.

 

One senior scorer who 'PTG' contacted late last night welcomed CA's move to list scorer details pre-match, saying their role in the game is rarely acknowledged, including in most score sheets posted on line for matches played around the world.  He said that "Hopefully [CA] will continue the practice of naming scorers who look after all of its games", and that "their contribution to the game is also acknowledged routinely from now on in match on-line score sheets".  "The International Cricket Council should also adopt such an approach", he added. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,196

 Saturday, 28 September 2013

 

'GUARD OF HONOUR' AS LONG-SERVING 

FIRST CLASS UMPIRE RETIRES 

[PTG 1196-5759]

 

Long serving English umpire Trevor Jesty was given a guard of honour by players as he left a field for the final time as a first-class umpire at Southampton on Thursday.  Jesty, who reached the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) compulsory retirement age of 65 four months ago, made his first class umpiring debut just over twenty years ago after a twenty-five year career as a player.

 

Jesty came to umpiring after a playing career from 1966-91 that included 490 first class and 428 List A games, ten of the latter One Day Internationals (ODI) for England.  In the time since he has been on the field in a total of 268 first class, 292 List A, and 91 Twenty20 games, plus a plethora of third umpire roles, and women's ODIs, Under-19 Tests and ODIs and numerous other games.

 

In 2007 he, along with two other ECB umpires, signed on to work for the "unofficial" Indian Cricket League, supporting a total of twenty-three games overall.  Their move eventually forced the ECB to completely overhaul its contract arrangements with its umpires, a change that saw significant salary increases and the introduction of year-round contracts (PTG 303-1590, 30 August 2008).

 

RAUF ALLEGATIONS A 'CONSPIRACY', 'CHARACTER 

ASSASSINATION', SAYS LAWYER 

[PTG 1196-5760]

 

Syed Ali Zafar, a lawyer acting for former Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf, yesterday dismissed a Mumbai police charge sheet that declares his client as a ‘wanted accused’ in the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal.  As a result Rauf will not be going to India to answer the allegations levelled against him, and there are apparently no legal means available to force him to do so (PTG 1194-5752, 25 September 2013).

 

Speaking to journalists in Lahore with Rauf at his side, Syed Ali Zafar called the charges "a conspiracy" and a "character assassination", and that "we have not officially received any charge sheet from Mumbai police" and "only know of the allegations via media reports".  "Whatever is being reported in the press is all false and I strongly deny it on behalf of Rauf", he said.

 

Zafar said his client will not go to India to answer what he called "vague" allegations.  "As far as Rauf is concerned he has full confidence in Indian courts but he has no faith in Mumbai police and at the moment we are not confident to go to India", said the lawyer.

 

Rauf spoke to add that he "was an employee of the ICC [International Cricket Council] and I am answerable to them".  The "ICC’s Anti-Corruption [and Security Unit] has investigated the matter, I have provided them all the bank accounts, [but] it’s been three months now and ICC has not contacted me", said Rauf.  Reports in the past that are yet to be verified have indicated Rauf was working in the IPL series as one of their contractees rather via his standard ICC contract.

 

The ICC withdrew Rauf from standing in the Champions Trophy series in June as a result of allegations that were circulating about him at the time (PTG 1110-5399, 24 May 2013), then dropped him from its Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) for what it called "performance reasons" (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).

 

Now-retired Rauf is reported to have said yesterday that he informed the ICC last year he would be stepping down from the EUP in 2013 and that his departure has nothing to do with the IPL allegations.  

 

However, that claim appears new and does not fit with his overall comments over the last three months, although he did refer when announcing his retirement "from all forms of umpiring" to wanting to "give quality time" to his "ailing son, family and business" (PTG 1162-5627, 5 August 2013).

 

SUSPENDED BAN FOR 'THREATENING

AND INTIMIDATING' MANNER 

[PTG 1196-5761]

 

England spinner Monty Panesar has been given a suspended one-match ban as a result of an incident in a County Championship match between his side Essex and Worcestershire at Chelmsford three weeks ago.  Reports say that Panesar "was involved in a tense exchange" with Worcestershire batsman Ross Whiteley on the final day of the game.

 

One media report says that Panesar, who was this week named in England's squad to tour Australia, "admitted to acting in a 'potentially threatening and intimidating' manner towards Whiteley" and that "umpire Peter Willey was forced to intervene".  Willey is said to have called his on-field colleague Martin Bodenham and Essex skipper James Foster into the conversation.  

 

The "suspension" by the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) disciplinary commission will be suspended until the end of the 2014 northern summer provided Panesar is not found guilty of any further violations of the ECB's Code of Conduct in that time.

 

DISCIPLINARY ACTION INCLUDES 

'COMMUNITY SERVICE' REQUIREMENT

[PTG 1196-5762]

 

The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) says that the suspension of Treadwell Gibbons from its national squad will continue until he has completed one year of community service and a BCB approved anger management and impulse control assessment.  Gibbons, who has a long history of misbehaviour, was involved in further controversy in a match on the island last month and later dropped from the Bermudan squad (PTG 1167-5644, 11 August 2013). 

 

The BCB said in a statement issued after a meeting on Thursday that the Board had ratified the decision of a sub-committee appointed to investigate and adjudicate on the "Treadwell Gibbons Cup Match incident", and confirmed his suspension, and the community service and anger management requirements.  “The decision has been communicated to Treadwell both verbally and in writing and he has accepted and understood the sanctions imposed", concludes the statement.

 

Gibbons apologised for his actions at a press conference last month and said such an incident will not happen again (PTG 1170-5657, 15 August 2013).  The 28-year-old player received a separate suspension, which was itself suspended, from his club as a result of his actions in the cup match.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,197

 Sunday, 29 September 2013

 

SACA CRICKET COMMITTEE CHAIR STAYS 

DESPITE 'NO CONFIDENCE' VOTE

[PTG 1197-5763]

 

Long-standing South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) board member and Grade Cricket Committee (GCC) chairman Andrew Carver lost a 'no confidence' motion by a significant margin earlier this month, according a story in yesterday's 'Adelaide Advertiser'.  Despite that SACA is said to have tendered legal advice that Carver, now in his fourth term as GCC chairman, couldn’t be removed from his role as the representative on the board of Adelaide's thirteen grade clubs.

 

'Advertiser' journalist Ben Hook says that grade club delegates attempted to oust Carver from his post at "a volatile meeting" earlier this month amid allegations he had withheld information from the clubs on the formation of what Hook described as the "controversial" new six-team SACA Premier League".  It consists of four composite sides from Adelaide and others from the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea (PNG) (PTG 1175-5685, 23 August 2013).

 

Carver is said to have lost the 'no confidence' vote 10-2.  Two delegates, who are "understood" to have been from the South Australian Umpires Association and the Adelaide Cricket Club, abstained from voting, the votes in his favour coming from two clubs at which he is a Life Member.

 

Despite the vote Carver will retain his position on the board and continue as GCC chairman.  SACA is said to have refused to accept his committee is a "lame duck" as a result, a spokesperson telling Hook that "the progress of the Premier League whilst Mr Carver has been on the board has angered some Grade cricket administrators but this does not warrant his sacking". 

 

SACA has been advised by its solicitors that under the organisation's Constitution, and at common law, there is no power for the committee to remove its representative mid-term unless there are serious allegations of misconduct or impropriety.

 

The second round of the new SACA Premier League is being played in Darwin this weekend, Cricket Australia National Umpire Panel members Damien Mealey and Paul Wilson being involved,    along with Michael Esam and David Finch of the Northern Territory, Luke Uthenwoldt from Adelaide, and PNG's Alu Kapa.  

 

Kapa, a member of the International Cricket Council East Asia Pacific region's Supplementary Umpires Panel (PTG 1070-5404, 2 March 2013), was in Darwin for round one last weekend.

 

WOMAN NEW SOUTH ZONE

UMPIRE-SCORER CHAIR IN TRINIDAD

[PTG 1197-5764]

 

Ann-Marie Charles became the first woman to head Trinidad and Tobago's South Zone Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association at its Annual General Meeting held in the city of San Fernando earlier this month.  South Zone is one of the seven club competitions from which players for the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board's national side are drawn.

 

CONVICTED SPOT-FIXER DESCRIBES 

HIS JAIL TIME AS 'HELL'

[PTG 1197-5765]

 

Former Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield has described the two months he spent in prison last year after being found guilty of spot-fixing offences in a County game in 2009 as "hell".  Westfield, 25, said in a Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) interview that he accepts he did wrong and now wants to help educate young cricketers.

 

Westfield was approached by Essex team-mate Danish Kaneria and asked to concede twelve runs in his first over in a match against Durham (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).  He told the PCA he felt pressured into taking part in the fix after being told he was not the only player approached in the game, and while only ten runs were scored off the over in question he was still paid the promised £6,000 ($A10,400). 

 

In the PCA interview Westfield says that he "wouldn't wish [jail time] on anyone [as] they tell you literally what you can do and what you can't do, what time you can eat, what time you go back into your room, what time you come out for exercise, what time you can have a shower".

 

As well as receiving a prison sentence, Westfield was banned from professional cricket for five years and stopped from participating in club cricket in any capacity for three, although the latter has since been reduced to two years because of his willingness to get involved in helping to educate others on the dangers of match fixing.  As a result he can return to club cricket in England next April (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).

 

"Not being able to play or coach any sort of cricket is a massive shock to me, definitely", said Westfield.  "If I can give back to anyone - kids, older people... it doesn't matter to me as long as I give something back, make sure someone doesn't go through what I went through".  "I've lost the best job that I ever wanted, I would definitely have liked to play for England, yeah, but obviously with my situation it's not possible now".

 

Westfield's barrister, Yasin Patel, said: ''The video is educational, biographical and Mervyn's story of the episode. One hopes he will be respected for his honesty, openness and bravery in coming forward in so forthright a way", and that it makes "a big difference for all those that follow to play the professional game whether here in England or wider afield".

 

BRADFORD LEAGUE EXPELS CLUB FOR

UNPAID SCORE SHEET FINE, GROUND ISSUES

[PTG 1197-5766]

 

Locals are said to have rallied to defend the Manningham Mills club in Yorkshire after it was expelled from the Bradford Cricket League (BCL) as a result of an unpaid fine and complaints about the state of their ground.  More than 100 players and supporters turned up at the ground on Thursday "to demonstrate their passion for the club" and express their determination to overturn the BCL's decision, says an article in yesterday's 'Yorkshire Post'.

 

The 'Post' says that officials at 150-year-old club have been "embroiled in a season-long row with the [BCL] over a number of issues.  They came to a head two Thursdays ago at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) when representatives of the league's clubs voted 17-7 to discontinued Manningham Mills BCL membership "with immediate effect".  

 

A month prior to the EGM the minutes of the BCL Management Board's August meeting say that "the state of [Manningham Mills] ground is unacceptable".  "Beyond the boundary is rubbish and broken glass, the sightscreens are in a total state of disrepair, there are only four seats, and visiting spectators have complained that they couldn’t go to toilet or get a cup of tea when watching matches".  Concerns have also been expressed about the state of the club's pitch.

 

Another aspect of the row is the non-payment of a £75 fine handed to the club early in the 2014 season because of the late return of score sheets.  As required by league rules that amount was increased several times over the season until it reached almost £500 ($A870).  The fine was eventually paid in full, but not until almost a week after the EGM made its expulsion decision.

 

Bradford West MP George Galloway, who is attempting to resolve the dispute, said that he doesn't "pretend to know all of the facts of this matter, nor am I saying the club has been blameless, but as I understand it all of the money owed has been paid to the league"; however, he did not mention the ground-related issues.  

 

 “Expelling this club with a very long history and some outstanding alumni would be a tragedy", continued Galloway, so "let’s get round the table and work out a solution which gives [the club] a future and protects and strengthens the league".  “Everyone knows that Manningham is a severely disadvantaged area [and] destroying a notable community asset would be a tragedy", he said. 

 

Another note in the BCL's August minutes says that Manningham Mills captain Adam Patel "has been given a two-week suspended suspension for misuse of 'Facebook'".  No other details of the offence were included in the minutes.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,198

 Monday, 30 September 2013

 

BCCI CHIEF TRIED TO 'MANIPULATE' IPL 

UMPIRE APPOINTMENTS, CLAIMS MODI 

[PTG 1198-5767]

 

Former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi, who was expelled from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last week, claims that BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan had in the past used his authority to try and manipulate IPL umpiring appointments "in favour" of the league's Chennai franchise, an entity that he owns.

 

Modi says in a long article published in this morning's 'Hindustan Times' that "until 2008 [when the IPL was first played] the BCCI had strict rules against players, administrators and team officials having any commercial interests in any BCCI event".  That policy was in place "to ensure there was no conflict of interest", he says, however, "with the arrival of Srinivasan on the scene, the conflict of interest proviso was ignored altogether", a move that "paved the way for 'Srini' to own [the IPL's Chennai franchise]".

 

Srinivasan is said by Modi to have had, like other IPL owners, "a soft corner for [his team] and his position in the BCCI helped manipulate things in favour of [Chennai]", one reaction being that he "picked some umpires to be based in Chennai and officiate in the [their] matches".  "I objected to [that]", said Modi, and as a result he "changed the umpire postings [made by Srinivasan] in the interest of the game".

 

Modi's assertion could be taken to imply that "some umpires", who he does not name, may be more inclined to favour Chennai in their decision-making or general approach to their games.  As yet though the now former IPL chairman has not clarified just what his comments mean.

 

BAN LIKELY AFTER ON-FIELD 

FRACAS IN CHANDIGARTH

[PTG 1198-5768]

 

A fifty over one-day match between with the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Chandigarh yesterday was halted for almost half-an-hour in the second innings of the game after an on-field fracas developed between players from both sides.  Reports say that tournament authorities are yet to decide on disciplinary action against those involved, but that at least one player is facing a ban. 

 

The 'Times of India' ('TOI') says in an article today that the situation flared in the eleventh over of the MPCA innings when ONGC medium-pacer Waqar Ahmed made comments to batsman Abdus Samad as he was about to bowl the fourth delivery.  Ahmed is said to have later described the comments as "just sledging".

 

Despite whatever was said the batsman stood his ground, a reaction that is said to have "got the bowler even more infuriated", for he then walked down the pitch, "grabbed Samad's collar and pushed him around".  That led to "a heated on-field" confrontation between members of the two teams, including players from the batting side who entered the field of play. 

 

As a result officials from the Punjab Cricket Association are said to have stepped in to negotiate "peace" and eventually the game resumed after a long break.  When it did though bowler Ahmed, who still had three balls of his ten overs to bowl, was not on the ground.  'TOI' says that was because former first class umpire Navdeep Singh and his colleague Kailash Chander "had decided to prevent him from taking the field for the rest of the match".

 

'EXCESSIVE APPEALING' RESULTS 

IN CA REPRIMAND

[PTG 1198-5769]

 

Tasmanian bowler Ben Laughlin has been reprimanded for 'Excessive Appealing' during Cricket Australia's (CA) opening one-day match of the season against New South Wales in Sydney yesterday.  Laughlin pleaded guilty and accepted Match Referee Bob Stratford’s proposed sanction of an official reprimand, therefore a official Code of Behaviour hearing was not required.  CA says it was Laughlin’s first disciplinary offence in the past eighteen months. 

 

FOG STOPS PLAY

[PTG 1198-5770]

 

Thick fog and mist interrupted and then finally ended play on the second day of Sussex's County Championship match against Durham in Hove last week.   Umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Steve O'Shaughnessy took the players off in the first session, then for a quarter-of-an-hour after two deliveries had been delivered following lunch hen fog and mist again descended, but after another short period of play they again departed and did not return that day.

 

Despite that there was sufficient time for Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes to fall foul of Lloyds and O'Shaughnessy because of what one report called "some unnecessary verbals".  Stokes caught the home side's Ben Brown at slip and "had something to say about the dismissal", a situation that is said to have "prompted quite a lot more talking".

 

That resulted in Brown's batting partner Ashar Zaidi walking to Lloyds "to complain", and he in turn called Durham captain Paul Collingwood over and he also had a word with Stokes.  Later during lunch Collingwood is said to have been called into the umpires’ room.

 

 

END OF SEPTEMBER 2013 E-NEWS FILE

 



End of September 2013 News file