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             OCTOBER 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 24 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5771-5888)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,199  1,200  1,201  1,202  1,203  1,204  1,205  1,206  1,207  1,208  1,209  1,210  1,211  
1,212  1,213  1,214  1,215  1,216  1,217  1,218  1,219  1,220  1,221  1,222 

 

1,199 – 1 October [5771-5774]

• Fifth edition of year 2000 Laws Code 'live' from today     (1199-5771).

• New MCC President questions ICC reviews trial    (1199-5772).

• Four-week focus reported for 2014 County one-day series    (1199-5773).

• England players considered 2010 ODI boycott, says then captain   (1199-5774).

 

1,200 – 2 October [5775-5780]

• MCC Laws animations posted on line    (1200-5775).

• Players on notice after pornographic 'tweet'    (1200-5776).

• Former Test umpire returns as CA match referee    (1200-5777).

• BCCI establishes Anti-Corruption and Security Committee    (1200-5778).

• Scorers busy as bowler concedes 39 in one over    (1200-5779).

• Film, match statistics, see Disability Allowance recipient 'nicked'    (1200-5780).

1,201 - 3 October [5781-5787]

• Indian umpire joins EUP 'possibles' list   (1201-5781).

• IPL scandal makes 'spirit' issues 'more important', says former Indian skipper   (1201-5782).

• ICC staff to conduct match officials training in Sri Lanka   (1201-5783).

• Bernard out of Afghanistan-Kenya series   (1201-5784).

• Release of Kiwi domestic match officials appointments delayed   (1201-5785).

• 'Sub-standard' 'club' pitches provided for CA one-dayers, claims coach    (1201-5786).

• Bowler reprimanded for 'beamer', short-pitched balls   (1201-5787).

1,202 - 4 October [5788-5793]

• South Africa considering quotas for black players   (1202-5788).

• Disciplinary proceedings start in pornographic 'tweet' case   (1202-5789).

• Company apologises for 'bat tampering' suggestion   (1202-5790).

• Four 'neutrals' named for India-Australia series   (1202-5791).

• CA lauds volunteers but 'grass roots' project detail awaited   (1202-5792).

• WICB working to revamp Leewards association   (1202-5793).

1,203 - 6 October [5794-5797]

• Board 'information control' efforts a challenge for the game, says Haigh    (1203-5794).

• Latest version of 'Statsmaster' computer scoring program imminent   (1203-5795).

• Umpires taking part in MCC tours to Cyprus, Uganda   (1203-5796).

• New radio deal being negotiated in Australia   (1203-5797).

1,204 - 7 October [5798-5800]

• Aussie umpires for Taufel workshop    (1204-5798).

• Dharmasena, Tucker stand in 2013 CLT20 final    (1204-5799).

• Side fields with ten men after 'no show'   (1204-5800).

1,205 - 8 October   [5801-5803]

• Botha 'mention' highlights CA 'doubtful action' procedural changes   (1205-5801).

• News of CA 'integrity', 'code of conduct' initiatives, awaited   (1205-5802).

• Victorian skipper 'not sure' about tournament-style one-day series   (1205-5803).

1,206 - 9 October  [5804-5807]

• Rumblings reported within Aussie playing community   (1206-5804).

• 'No show' results in suspended sentence, grade duty   (1206-5805).

• Fiftieth first class match for Kiwi umpire   (1206-5806).

• 'Substantial' payout accepted for bat tampering suggestion  (1206-5807).

1,207 - 10 October [5808-5812]

• Aussie broadcaster dumps 'Hot Spot' from telecast package  (1207-5808).

• New ICC Playing Conditions vary Laws' 'ball tampering' provisions  (1207-5809).

• Playing surfaces not the focus of museums' 'grass' exhibition    (1207-5810).

• CA names match officials for opening Futures, womens, fixtures  (1207-5811).

• NSW looses a long-serving umpiring stalwart  (1207-5812).

1,208 - 11 October [5813-5817]

• Former ICC lawyer adds fuel to BCCI-CSA tour dispute   (1208-5813).

• PCB omits 'Hot Spot' from South African series UDRS package     (1208-5814).

• Loss of 'Hot Spot' 'disappointing', but use out of ICC hands,  says Taufel    (1208-5815).

• Aussie officials prominent in Pakistan-South Africa series   (1208-5816).

• Bernard doubling as ICC-CA match referee   (1208-5817).

1,209 - 12 October [5818-5823]

• BCCI 'no bully' says Srinivasan  (1209-5818).

• PCB names its umpires for South Africa series  (1209-5819).

• More concern about CA one-day tournament format  (1209-5820).

• Use of umbrellas, ice jackets, help players keep their cool  (1209-5821).

• Traffic jam stops play, sparks controversy   (1209-5822).

• St Peters to engage 'infallible' umpires for Vatican tournament?   (1209-5823).

1,210 - 14 October [5824-5830]

• New Zealand to continue using 'Hot Spot' technology  (1210-5824).

• ICC launches World Test Championship  (1210-5825).

• CA mulling changes to Sheffield Shield championship points system  (1210-5826).

• CEC considered allowing teams to keep 'umpire's call' failed reviews  (1210-5827).

• Hawthorne Ireland's 'Umpire of the Year'   (1210-5828).

• BCCI-CSA discussions on Indian tour continuing   (1210-5829).

• CSA to introduce player 'incentive', not 'quota'  (1210-5830).

1,211 - 15 October [5831-5835]

• ICC to allow convicted spot-fixer an early return?   (1211-5831).

• 'High five' celebration injures wicketkeeper  (1211-5832).

• Victoria penalised for one-day slow over-rate   (1211-5833).

• CA a 'wowser' on advertising, says health group   (1211-5834).

• 2013 world cricket awards to be TV based   (1211-5835).

1,212 - 17 October [5836-5839]

• Victoria to appeal slow over-rate penalty  (1212-5836).

• Aussie one-day series 'likely' to remain in tournament style   (1212-5837).

• Botha bowling action tested in Canberra  (1212-5838.

• New faces on TTCUSA executive    (1212-5839).

1,213 - 18 October [5840-5841]

• One match suspension handed to NSW bowler   (1213-5840).

• Range of issues on ICC Board agenda   (1213-5841).

1,214 - 20 October [5842-5847]

• ICC to 'review' Aamer ban when new anti-corruption code is introduced   (1214-5842).

• Aussie players preparing their view of the 'state of the game'   (1214-5843.

• Match abandoned after seven balls due to 'unsafe' ground   (1214-5844).

• Steroid use leads to 18-month ban   (1214-5845).

• Test pushing, shoving sees two fined   (1214-5846).

• Reprimand for NSW Second XI batsman   (1214-5847).

1,215 - 21 October [5848-5850]

• Taufel reportedly 'highly impressed' by international umpire standards   (1215-5848).

• Players should accept decisions 'more graciously', says 'Bumble'   (1215-5849).

• South Australian reprimanded for 'offensive' actions   (1215-5850).

1,216 - 23 October [5851]

• CA disciplinary 'crack down' being 'watched' by player's union   (1216-5851).


1,217 - 25 October [5852-5857]

• India's South African tour shortened, off-field manoeuvring attracts criticism   (1217-5852).

• Association Life Membership for fifty-year NZ scorer   (1217-5853).

• NSW umpire set to stand in his 700th SCA match   (1217-5854).

• Botha's action cleared for a third time   (1217-5855).

• 'Complete review' of Aussie domestic schedule promised   (1217-5856).

• CA providing potential captains with leadership skills training   (1217-5857).


1,218 - 26 October [5858-5860]

• Ball-tampering sees Pakistan awarded five penalty runs   (1218-5858).

• 'Inappropriate' physical contact results in fine for Bangladeshi  (1218-5859).

• Familiar faces for Aussie one-day final  (1218-5860).


1,219 - 28 October [5861-5867]

• South African fined after pleading guilty to ball tampering   (1219-5861).

• Pakistan calls ICC ball tampering approach 'inconsistent', seeks explanation   (1219-5862).

• Bowler's 'insulting' behaviour earns him a reprimand   (1219-5863).

• 2014 ICC Annual Conference week to be held in Melbourne   (1219-5864).

• Politics delays play in Dharamasala   (1219-5865).

• Ryder returns after six-months drug ban   (1219-5866).

• Owners of houses near ground told to 'buy stronger glass'   (1219-5867).


1,220 - 29 October [5868-5878]

• Batsman dies after ball strikes his helmeted head  (1220-5868).

• Five given six month bans for 'false' sexual harassment claims  (1220-5869).

• Dumping of 'Kookaburra' balls from PCB domestic series criticised   (1220-5870).

• Australian curators reported unhappy with CA pitch directive   (1220-5871).

• Lorgat not involved in my statement, says Becker  (1220-5872).

• NZC yet to name domestic match referee trio   (1220-5873).

• Let the Twelfth man bowl, says Victorian coach   (1220-5874).

• Victorian regional association looking to recruit female umpires   (1220-5875).

• Players return from year-long  'unsubstantiated bragging'  suspension    (1220-5876).

• Queensland coach keen to play CA 2014 one-day series at home     (1220-5877).

• Late arrival for game sees team relegated     (1220-5878).


1,221 - 30 October [5879-5884]

• NZ selects former Test umpires for domestic match referee positions  (1221-5879).

• Two Australians named for first class debuts  (1221-5880).

• Tour appointments reinforce CA IUP membership reports  (1221-5881).

• CA revenue expected to exceed $A1 billion over next four years     (1221-5882).

• Further changes needed to CA 'doubtful bowling action' process, says Botha     (1221-5883).

• Non-flying pigs stop play     (1221-5884).

1,222 - 31 October [5885-5888]

• 'Toss forfeiting' measure considered during Shield pitch discussions  (1222-5885).

• Call for change to ball-tampering Laws   (1222-5886).

• UDRS should be scrapped, says Flintoff   (1222-5887).

• National honour for West Indian umpire   (1222-5888).

 

 

   PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,199
Tuesday, 1 October 2013


FIFTH EDITION OF YEAR 2000 

LAWS CODE 'LIVE' FROM TODAY

[PTG 1199-5771]

 

Opening games of the 2013-14 summer season in parts of the Southern Hemisphere may have applied them over the last few weeks, but the new Fifth edition of the year 2000 Code of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws of Cricket formally comes into force around-the-world today.  Some of today's changes are significant and materially alter the last, or Fourth Edition of the 2000 Code released in 2010 (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010), whilst others are simply aimed at creating more clarity or consistency with other Laws, rather than a change in policy. 

 

The most noteworthy changes include: limiting 'Handled the Ball' dismissals to the striker only in the period he is playing the ball or immediate afterwards with any subsequent handling by either batsman now subject to an 'Obstructing the Field decision; a requirement that a 'No Ball' be called when a bowler breaks the wicket during his delivery stride; protection for a batsman who has a runner who is not on strike whereby he can no longer be ‘stumped’ off a 'No Ball'; a decision that runs cannot now be scored off a lawful second strike when a batsman is defending his wicket; and allowing bowlers a 'loosener', even if the ball bounces on the ground, as long as it does not waste time or damage the ball. 

 

Fraser Stewart, the MCC's Cricket Academy Manager, says the full updated version of the new version of the Laws is available today on the MCC’s website, and that copies of the hard copy ‘Blue Book’ can be purchased from the club either individually, or in the case of bulk orders by umpire and scorers associations, which attract a discount, via e-mail to: duncan.copplestone@mcc.org.uk.  However, there are no plans to produce a new edition of 'Tom Smith', the MCC instead focussing on providing related detail via a range of documents that are readily available via the club's web site.

 

In that regard, precise and clear details of the changes can be found in a document titled “Explanation of changes to the Laws of Cricket for the 5th Edition of the 2000 Code”, that is available in the '2013 Changes' section of the MCC website, and includes a guide as to how the club sees the changes should be interpreted and applied by match officials.  A separate 'questions and answers' paper that also focusses on today's changes has also been prepared that Stewart says has been designed as "a useful reference tool [that] can be used for any training needs".  As yet it does not appear to have been posted on line. 

 

While they do not specifically cover the areas of the Laws that have changed, the MCC says it plans to release a set of five animations to help explain "some of the frequently misunderstood areas of the Laws".  Stewart says the initial five, more of which will appear next year, are aimed primarily aimed at the beginner or casual observer of the game rather than experienced umpires or scorers.  They focus on issues surrounding aspects such as LBW, No Balls, Wides, Boundary catching, and Running out the non-striker, areas about which the MCC receives "many questions". 

 

Well-known English actor, journalist, author and comedian Stephen Fry, who is an MCC member, has provided the voiceover for the English versions of the animations, but they have also been translated into Urdu and Hindi so that they reach a wider worldwide audience.  Commentary for the Urdu version is believed to have been provided by former Pakistani batsman Ramiz Raja. 

 

Today's new version of the Laws is the latest in a series of editions that the MCC has produced since the first in 1788.  In the 225 years since significant changes to the Code have been released by the club 1809, 1829, 1835, 1884, 1947, 1990 and 2000.  A number of versions or editions of the Laws of each of those years have appeared in the intervening periods, as is the case at the moment with the Fifth edition of the 2000 Code now formally on the table, the first four editions of it being issued in 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2010. 

 

NEW MCC PRESIDENT QUESTIONS 

ICC REVIEWS TRIAL

[PTG 1199-5772]

 

Former England captain Mike Gatting, who takes over as the 179th President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) today, has questioned the International Cricket Council's (ICC) "sense of priorities" in its decision to trial extra reviews under the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) during the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia (PTG 1191-5471, 19 September 2013).  In a wide-ranging interview on the eve of taking office, Gatting also gave his views on 'walking' and supported suggestions that match-fixers be given life bans.

 

Last month the ICC's chief executives committee agreed that batting and bowling sides will have their reviews "topped-up" to two after each eighty overs of a Test innings when new balls are due in Ashes matches over the next four months.  That will occur regardless of how many reviews they have used prior to that, rather than be limited to two for the total duration of an innings as at present. 

 

Gatting said the ICC trial "came out of the blue a bit", and he thinks "we should try to get the system right rather than giving people more reviews".  He "wants [UDRS] processes to be clear and easy for everyone to understand and get rid of [umpiring] howlers, not compound them".  In an apparent reference to third umpires he said that "when you are using machinery you are not familiar with, sometimes it is difficult, and there are all sorts of things that can go wrong with all the different technology".   Despite all that though he is "sure there are reasons why [the ICC] have done it", however, he "looks forward to hearing them!"

 

When asked about whether batsmen should walk or not when they know they are out, Gatting said that he was always taught that "if you hit it, you walk and that's what I would always encourage kids to do", however, in an apparent contradiction he went on to say that  "I've always said when I captain sides that if you want to walk, that is fine and if you don't want to walk, that is also fine".

 

Gatting, whose new role at the MCC makes him a spokesman for the 'Spirit of the Game', said when asked about the failure of England's Stuart Broad to walk when he knew he was out in the recently completed Ashes series, that his behaviour was characteristic of a shift in the way professional cricket is played.  "At the highest level, there are certain cultures, Australia being one of them", he said, "where people don't walk, and I think perhaps our culture is changing as a result".

 

In reference to recent match and spot-fixing cases Gatting suggested that mandatory lifetime bans should be given to anyone found guilty of such activities as they are necessary to eradicate what he called "one of the biggest threats to the image of the game".  "We need to get to a point where the penalties are so high that no-one even asks the question about whether you would fix a game", he said, but in his view that's "easier said than done". 

 

During his playing career Gatting had a furious on-field row with Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana in Faisalabad, something former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney shares in common as he threatening to lead his side from the ground in a Kararchi Test as a result of another Rana decision.  "I'm not forgetting my own little tete a tete with an umpire [as] it probably wasn't the right thing to do", said Gatting, but "if the umpire gives you out, you should respect their decision and get off without any show of dissent".

 

FOUR-WEEK FOCUS REPORTED FOR 

2014 COUNTY ONE-DAY SERIES 

[PTG 1199-5773]

 

Most of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) county one-day, fifty-over matches during the 2014 northern summer are to be played during a four-week period in late July and August, says a report published in Monday's London 'Daily Telegraph'.  Counties agreed during a meeting at Lord's last week to scrap the forty-over one-day format that has applied for many years in the belief that fifty-over games will better prepare players for the format played at international level, writes journalist Paul Bolton.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) gave a similar rationale for moving its one-day domestic series, which is currently underway, in tournament style over a four week period (PTG 1185-5716, 8 September 2013).  However, after the first game on Sunday, loosing Tasmanian captain George Bailey described CA's approach "disappointing".

 

Bailey told reporters that because all games are being played in Sydney the New South Wales side has an unfair advantage, that each team has six games in the round robin part of the competition whereas three years ago there were ten, and that its difficult for players pushing for Australian selection for that team's One Day Internationals will not be played until January, over two months after the domestic one-day games end.

 

Australia's Twenty20 captain and back-up one-day skipper said the players and the Australian Cricketers' Association should have been consulted more on the structure of the domestic season and called on CA's Twenty20 competition to be shortened further.  ''I like having that spread of one-day and [Sheffield] Shield [first class] cricket", he said, and "it's going to be really challenging [with] six Shield games in six weeks for a number of states". 

 

ENGLAND PLAYERS CONSIDERING 2010 ODI 

MATCH BOYCOTT, SAYS THEN CAPTAIN

[PTG 1199-5774]

 

England players considered boycotting the the last three games of its One Day International (ODI) series against Pakistan in 2010 after then Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt publicly suggested the home side may been involved in match-fixing, says former captain Andrew Strauss in his new book 'Driving Ambition'.  Butt's comments came a month after three Pakistan players were found to have been involved in spot-fixing earlier in that tour of England, activities that later saw them given long bans from the game (PTG 1170-5654, 15 August 2013).

 

Butt aired his views after the third ODI of the series in which England, who had won the first two games, collapsed somewhat spectacularly to loose the game. In his book Strauss describes the PCB chairman's comments as "a step too far" and that he and his team mates had no "stomach left to play the fourth ODI", but the intervention of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke "proved crucial".

 

"Obviously the ECB, with all the financial ramifications of cancellation at the forefront of their minds, were keen to finish the series", writes Strauss, "although the overwhelming majority of the players felt that boycotting the game was the correct course of action".  "We invited [Clarke] to come into the dressing room and put forward the ECB's case", and he talked "about the dangerous precedent that we might set, the potential damage to the political relations between Pakistan and England, as well as the duty we had to the thousands of supporters who would be turning up the next day".

 

"When he left the room we had a decision to make" and "I told the guys my own views had changed somewhat", says Strauss.  "The more I thought about it, the more I realised that boycotting the game would make us the news story, with people questioning our motives, rather than concentrating on the serious issues within the Pakistan cricket team".  "Far better, to my mind, to put together a joint statement, written by us, the players, showing our displeasure at the chairman of the PCB in the strongest possible terms and then get on with the cricket". 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,200
Wednesday, 2 October 2013


MCC LAWS ANIMATIONS 

POSTED ON LINE 

[PTG 1200-5775]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the Guardians of the Laws of Cricket, has released an initial set of animated videos as part of a longer-term program designed to help explain "some of the frequently misunderstood areas of the Laws".  The first five videos, which have been voiced over in English, Hindi and Urdu, are aimed primarily at beginners or casual observers rather than experienced umpires or scorers.

 

As a lead-in to the new series, the narrator of the English language versions, actor, journalist, author and comedian Stephen Fry, talks briefly in one of the clips about the project and his current-day activities as an umpire.  The Laws videos proper cover LBWNo Balls, including 'Finn' broken wicket situations, WidesBoundary catching, and Running out the non-striker, Fry making the point in the latter that such an action is "a perfectly legal practice" (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012).

 

Fraser Stewart, the MCC's Cricket Academy Manager, says the idea for the animations "came from MCC’s desire to do more to educate the public on the Laws of Cricket".   He told 'PTG' yesterday that "much of what we have produced in the past is aimed at training umpires and it was felt that a simplified, more user-friendly concept would widen the reach of our materials", particularly "those who are new to the game [such as] children".

 

The MCC engaged London based firm Hoxton Redsox, who specialise in such projects, to produce the clips.  The company engaged a script-writer who worked closely with Stewart to produce narration that was factually correct, succinct and easy to understand.  The animations could only be so long, therefore care was needed to paraphrase the Laws without losing their meaning.

  

Stewart says that subjects for future videos, the next set of which are expected in 2014, could include: what defines the wicket being put down; batsman out of his ground, obstructing the field, handled the ball, as well as some of the areas covered in Law 42 such as damaging the pitch and dangerous bowling.  

 

Elsewhere on the MCC web site, the 'questions and answers' paper that focusses on the changes to the Laws  introduced yesterday under as the Fifth edition of the year 2000 Code (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2013), is also available. 

 

PLAYERS ON NOTICE AFTER 

PORNOGRAPHIC 'TWEET'  

[PTG 1200-5776]

 

Players in South Derbyshire have been given a "stern warning" by the Derbyshire County Cricket League (DCCL) about their use of social networking sites after controversy erupted over a pornographic image posted on 'Twitter'.  The message that accompanied the picture appeared to be an attempt to poke fun at new Derbyshire Premier League (DPL) champions Swarkestone, its players and officials, according to media report from the region.

 

An investigation has been launched into the origin of the message as well as its 're-tweeting', and players with other DPL clubs in the area, Dunstall, Lullington Park and Ticknall, are said to have been warned about becoming embroiled in the row which has been described as "both defamatory and pornographic". DCCL chairman Mark Hallows said in a statement that "individual members of the [Swarkestone ] club are pursuing their own law suits through the legal system". 

 

“We are very sorry to have to advise of this situation", continued Hallows, "but in the interests of all concerned we wish to curtail any activity related to this information as quickly as possible and to limit any possibility of [its] further distribution or further defamatory comments being added".  The matter is "very likely to bring the league into disrepute and will be dealt with appropriately [by the DCCL's disciplinary processes]", he said.

 

FORMER TEST UMPIRE RETURNS 

AS CA MATCH REFEREE 

[PTG 1200-5777]

 

Former Australian Test umpire Mel Johnson is currently working as the match referee in the opening match of the season in Cricket Australia's (CA) State Second XI, or Futures League, competition in Brisbane between the Queensland and Victorian sides.  Johnson, 71, who in January 1980 became the 338th person, and 70th Australian, to stand in a Test, headed CA's umpire selection panel for most of the last decade. 

 

Johnson made his first class umpiring debut in February 1978, less than two years before his first Test which was his eleventh first class game, and went on to stand in a total of sixty-seven first class matches, twenty-one of them Tests, over the next ten years; three of them being season-ending finals in CA's domestic first class competition.  There were also forty-nine One Day Internationals and a further fifteen List A fixtures at domestic level.     

 

Records available indicate that he served as a match referee in three ODIs in the 1992 World Cup in Australia, and five years later in a single Under-19 Test.  He was awarded Life Membership of Queensland Cricket two years ago (PTG 813-3984, 11 August 2011).

   

BCCI ESTABLISHES ANTI-CORRUPTION

AND SECURITY COMMITTEE 

[PTG 1200-5778]

 

The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) agreed to establish an Anti-Corruption and Security Committee during its 84th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held in Chennai on Sunday.  The newly-constituted group will be chaired by Amitabh Choudhary, a former director general of police in Jharkhand, who is also the BCCI's Treasurer.

 

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters that the new committee will work towards "ensuring that the game remains clean". "It will have a wide scope to deal with issues related to corruption and security in cricket and the IPL [Indian Premier League]", work that will be enhanced by the appointment of an ex-policeman "who has experience of handling such issues", as a member.

 

According to Patel the committee, which has been formed after eighteen months that has seen a number of players in India given life bans for allegedly corrupt activities over the past year (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013), "will first come out with a specific protocol that would have to be followed during tournaments, the idea [being] to lay [down] guidelines to avoid any discrepancies and ensure maximum security".

 

Sunday's AGM also appointed its umpires sub-committee for the year ahead, the chairman being Ravi Savant, who is also a BCCI Vice President for the country's west zone as well as the President of the Mumbai Cricket Association.  

 

Other members are: Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan the BCCI's national umpires manager, and Arani Valyanthan Jayaprakash, who have both played first class cricket and umpired in Tests; former first class match referee Sudhakar Rao (south); Sunil Dev (north); another former referee Rajesh Verma (east); Devendra Solanki (west); and Bhagvandas Sutar (central).  Records available indicate that Rao, Dev, Solanki and Verma all played briefly at first class level in the past.

   

SCORERS BUSY AS BOWLER 

CONCEDES 39 RUNS IN ONE OVER 

[PTG 1200-5779]

 

Scorers had a particularly busy over to record in Mirpur yesterday when Bangladesh bowler Alauddin Babu conceded a new List A world record 39 runs in a Dhaka Premier Division one-day match.  Bowling to former Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura, the seamer conceded five off the first ball, a no-ball, then bowled a wide, was dispatched for 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, another wide, then a 6 when that ball was rebowled.

 

The runs conceded by Alauddin proved crucial as the batting side went on to score 9/282, enough to set up victory by 28 runs.  Prior to yesterday the most runs conceded in an over in List A cricket was by Netherlands legspinner Dan van Bunge, who saw six sixes in an over struck by South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs in the 2007 World Cup.

 

FILM, MATCH STATISTICS, SEE DISABILITY 

ALLOWANCE RECIPIENT 'NICKED'     

[PTG 1200-5780]

 

A Yorkshireman who was being paid a Disability Living Allowance by the UK Government because of what he claimed was his diabetes, asthma and arthritic condition, pleaded guilty to benefits fraud on Monday after investigators filmed him playing cricket with his local side.  Stewart Lorains, 53, had been paid a total of £22,000 ($A38,000) in benefits over the last five years, a time during which he played with Boosbeck in the Cleveland Cricket League.

 

Local media reports say evidence was produced in the Teesside Crown Court that showed Lorains, an opening batsman and wicketkeeper, had claimed when first applying for benefits in 2008 that he could barely get out of bed, was constantly in pain, could only walk slowly, and needed assistance to wash, go to the toilet, eat and dress.  

 

However, Prosecutor Martin Towers told the court: "It can be said with certainty that from May 2009 Mr Lorains was a great deal better than he disclosed" for "he was an active cricketer and the prosecution [has] obtained various statistics and observed him when he kept wicket and opened the batting".  The accused, who described cricket as his "life and soul", played forty-one games for Boosbeck over the four seasons from 2009-12, scoring 614 runs at an average of eighteen, according to statistics on his club's website.  

 

Lorains' barrister Tamara Pawson told Judge Howard Crowson that her client "is not a man who deliberately defrauded the Government to live some kind of elaborate lifestyle, [although] he accepts he exaggerated the extent of his condition to a degree".  After considering the evidence and other issues, Judge Crowson gave Lorains a four-month prison sentence, suspended for twelve months, primarily because he was a carer for his wife who has arthritis.

 

Speaking after the judge's decision was handed dowm, James Blake, a Department of Work and Pensions fraud investigator, said benefit cheats are being targeted.  "We use data matching, act on tip-offs and if we need clear evidence on film we will use the latest covert technology to get it", and "in this case the defendant was filmed playing cricket".


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,201
Thursday, 3 October 2013


INDIAN UMPIRE JOINS 

EUP 'POSSIBLES' LIST

[PTG 1201-5781]

 

Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi's appointment to his first two Tests over the next few weeks indicates that he is on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'watch list' as a potential candidate for membership of its Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), possibly as early as next year if he performs well.  Ravi, 47, will become the world's 478th and India's 61st Test umpire when he takes the field with Australian EUP member Bruce Oxenford in Chittagong next Wednesday in the first of two Bangladesh-New Zealand Tests. 

 

Ravi's selection means that together with Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinesz, 46, the ICC now have at least two on its EUP 'possibles' list for 2014, a year in which several vacancies could open up on that 12-man panel as two current senior members of that group, Steve Davis of Australia and Tony Hill of New Zealand, appear to be approaching retirement (PTG 1186-5719, 11 September 2013).  A third potential candidate for the EUP is Hill's countryman and former member 'Billy' Bowden, 50, who was dropped three months ago and is reported to be "very focussed" on returning to the elite group.

 

While Ravi was only promoted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) into an on-field spot on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel two months ago (PTG 1166-5642, 10 August 2013), he came to that position after over twenty years on the first class scene in India.  During that time he stood in 48 games at that level, a number of them whilst on exchange in South Africa and England in 2011 and 2012 respectively.  Last May he and a colleague became the first Indian umpires to stand in an Indian Premier League finals match in what was the sixth year of that competition (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013). 

 

An early sign that he was being considered positively by the ICC was the fact that he was appointed as one of the neutral umpires for last month's high-profile, five-match One Day International 'Ashes' series between England and Australia (PTG 1176-5682, 22 August 2013); a selection that came after the two teams had played, in umpire -related terms, a somewhat controversial Test series.  

 

The BCCI will be particularly pleased with Ravi's Test appointment as it has been working for a number of years to improve umpiring standards at home, in part with the aim of having an Indian on the EUP.  To date only one Indian, Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, who is now the BCCI's national umpiring manager, has ever been a member of that group.  In the ten years since he left the EUP four Indians, Krishna Hariharan, Suresh Shastri, Amir Shaheba and Shavir Tarapore, have been given a total of 11 Tests as EUP candidates, however, none of them impressed sufficiently to make the grade. 

 

Ravi's compatriot Javagal Srinath will be the match referee for both the Chittagong and Dhaka Tests, his 27th and 28th in that role, while Englishman Richard Illingworth will stand with Ravi in the second Test, his fifth and first since he was appointed to the EUP last June (PTG 1130-5488, 26 June 2013).  Oxenford will be standing in his 14th Test. 

 

The three One Day Internationals (ODI) between the two sides that follow the Tests will see Martinesz working as the neutral umpire, Chris Broad of England being the match referee.  Those games will take the Sri Lankan's ODI record to 18 and Broad's as a referee to 230.

 

Ravi, Illingworth and Oxenford are currently working in the Champions League Twenty20 series in India which is due to conclude this coming weekend.  

 

IPL SCANDAL MAKES 'SPIRIT' ISSUES 'MORE 

IMPORTANT', SAYS FORMER INDIAN CAPTAIN 

[PTG 1201-5782]

 

Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid said yesterday that the 'spirit' of the game has become more “relevant and important” in the wake of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) spot-fixing scandal.  Dravid's former Rajasthan IPL franchise teammates Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, were recently handed life bans by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for involvement in spot-fixing, while the verdict on a third, Ajit Chandila, is awaited (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).

 

Dravid told reporters yesterday that "times like these when the game is facing big challenges and some of the players get involved [in corruption] the spirit of the game becomes more relevant and important".  “It is important you play within rules and in 'spirit' of the game [for] winning and succeeding is not important if you play foul", he said.

 

The former captain, who is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee, spoke highly of the 'Spirit of Cricket' initiative by former England captains Ted Dexter and Colin Cowdrey.  "They sought to enshrine the 'Spirit of Cricket' in the game's Laws", said Dravid, "and it was eventually included formally thirteen years ago".

 

ICC STAFF TO CONDUCT MATCH 

OFFICIALS TRAINING IN SRI LANKA 

[PTG 1201-5783]

 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel has been invited by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to conduct a series of workshops and training program for its umpires later this month.  Reports say that Taufel will be in Sri Lanka for nine days from Monday week along with his boss, ICC Umpires and Referees Manager Vince van der Bijl, and local Peter Manuel, who is one of three ICC Umpire Coaches.  

 

SLC’s Cricket Operations Manager Carlton Bernadus told local media outlets yesterday that Taufel is to conduct a workshop for senior Lankan umpires, including its emerging group, that is to run from 15-21 October.  Bernadus also indicated that during the week Taufel will speak on "What is it to be an Elite Umpire", and "touch on" subjects such as nutrition, conditioning and work pressure. 

 

Manuel is reportedly scheduled to take those attending through the new ICC Playing Conditions that came into effect two days ago, while Sri Lankan member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, Kumar Dharmasena, the world body's current 'Umpire of the Year' (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2013), is to talk on "My way to the top of the elite panel".   in addition van der Bijl will conduct a separate workshop for local match referees,

 

During the week Bernadus and SLC’s Umpire Coach Educator Tyrone Wijewardena are to conduct a program for some fifty umpires who currently sit below the country's senior and emerging groups.

 

BERNARD OUT OF AFGHANISTAN-KENYA SERIES

[PTG 1201-5784]

 

Australian Steve Bernard, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP), appears to have withdrawn from the three matches Afghanistan and Kenya are currently playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Bernard, who was appointed by the ICC six weeks ago to oversee the two one-day, and single first class games the two sides are to play (PTG 1169-5651, 14 August 2013, has been replaced by fellow RRP member Graeme Labrooy, a former Sri Lankan Test player.

 

In the time since the ICC announced Bernard's UAE appointment, Cricket Australia (CA) chose him as one of three new members of its Umpire High Performance Panel (PTG 1190-5738, 17 September 2013). One of the tasks members of that panel have is to work as match referees in CA's domestic series, his first appointment in that role being on Friday of next week in a one-day game (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013).  The last of the Afghanistan-Kenya games is scheduled to finish two days before that. 

 

RELEASE OF KIWI DOMESTIC MATCH OFFICIALS 

OFFICIALS APPOINTMENTS DELAYED 

[PTG 1201-5785]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is yet to announce umpiring and scorer appointments for its three senior competitions, and five other major tournaments scheduled for the 2013-14 season.  A note posted on the appointments page of its web site against each of those competitions some six weeks ago says that umpire "appointments [will be] available in September". 

 

One returnee to the NZ domestic scene in 2013-14 will be umpire 'Billy' Bowden who was dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel in June (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).  His last appearance in domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 cricket was some four-and-a-half years ago, a period in which he has worked in a total of 60 non-ICC games in the Caribbean Premier League, Champions League and Indian Premier League.

 

There is speculation that the delay is probably a result oft NZC's need to finalise the selection process for the three new domestic match referee positions it advertised four weeks ago (PTG 1184-5708, 6 September 2013).   

 

'SUB-STANDARD' 'CLUB' PITCHES PROVIDED 

FOR CA ONE-DAYERS, CLAIMS COACH

[PTG 1201-5786]

 

Tasmanian coach Dan Marsh yesterday blamed what he called sub-standard "club" pitches provided for Cricket Australia's (CA) 'tournament' style one-day domestic seres for reducing the chances of players from his team pushing for higher honours.  Tasmania lost its two opening games in this season's series, and Marsh's comments follow those of his captain George Bailey who criticised aspects of the event after their team's first loss on Sunday (PTG 1199-5773, 1 October 2013).

 

While not excusing his side's poor start to the event, Marsh told journalist Brett Stubs that the pitch at Sydney's Bankstown Oval is "nothing like we are used to in domestic one-day cricket".  "They are basically club wickets, not a lot of pace, not a lot of bounce and you can really bring the field in".

 

Asked by Stubs if the pitches could be detrimental to the players' chances of national selection, Marsh said: "I think it can be. Hopefully the wickets improve as this tournament goes on because if we play on wickets like that all the time it is going to be hard work for the [batsmen]".

 

BOWLER REPRIMANDED FOR 

'BEAMER', SHORT-PITCHED BALLS. 

[PTG 1201-5787]

 

Somerset bowler Jamie Overton has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for an incident that saw him removed from the attack against Nottinghamshire last month.  Overton, 19, was prevented from bowling in his final game of the County Championship season after he delivered a beamer and later in the day two successive bouncers (PTG 1194-5754, 25 September 2013).

 

The ECB said in a statement yesterday: "Overton was reported by umpires Nigel Llong and Michael Gough for a Level 1 breach of the [disciplinary] code (bowling a fast short pitched ball and/or accidental high full pitched ball that results in the bowler beinng disallowed from bowling any further in that innings).  "The penalty for this offence is a reprimand", continued the statement, and that "penalty will remain on his record for a period of two years".

 

Overton's censure is a minor one and does not come with any penalty points.  Under the ECB's disciplinary system the accumulation of nine penalty points in a two-year period leads to an automatic ban.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,202
Friday, 4 October 2013


SOUTH AFRICA CONSIDERING

QUOTAS FOR BLACK PLAYERS

[PTG 1202-5788]

 

South African cricket officials are set to consider a proposal that would force professional franchises in that country to include at least two black Africans in every top-level team, and three in second-tier semi-professional provincial sides.  While the six top-tier franchises have picked numerous mixed-race or Asian-origin cricketers in recent seasons, there has been a dearth of black Africans on view, and none have appeared at Test level since January 2011.

 

National selectors' convenor Andrew Hudson has pointed to a shortage of stars from that racial group following constant criticism of their absence from the scene, and Cricket South Africa (CSA), who have not commented on the proposals, is to consider the issue during a meeting scheduled for late next week. 

 

South Africa introduced a quota system in 1998 to address the racial discrimination caused by the Apartheid system. The stipulation then was that every team had to field four players "of colour", an unfortunate term which encompasses black Africans, mixed-race people and those of Asian descent, however, that approach was officially removed in 2007. 

 

Even though black Africans comprise almost eighty per cent of the country's population, only five black African players have represented South Africa at Test level over the twenty-two years since the country returned to the international fold.  By contrast nine mixed-race and three of Asian origin have been selected for Tests.  

 

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS START IN

 PORNOGRAPHIC 'TWEET' CASE

[PTG 1202-5789]

 

Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against "a number of individuals" from clubs in Derbyshire who are alleged to have been involved in the publication of malicious communications and images on 'Twitter', says the 'Derby Telegraph'.  Controversy erupted last week over a pornographic image and accompanying message that is said to have been directed at new Derbyshire Premier League (DPL) champions Swarkestone, its players and officials (PTG 1200-5776, 2 October 2013).

 

The 'Telegraph' says that in addition to the disciplinary proceedings Cricket Derbyshire (CD), the umbrella body that oversees professional and recreational cricket across the county, has issued an "indefinite" ban to those thought to be involved that will prevent them from accessing "all grounds, venues, buildings and events connected with the Club".

 

CD Chief Executive Simon Storey said: “The growth of social media has generally been extremely positive at all levels [for] its proving to be a great way for clubs, players and fans to communicate, debate and keep up-to-date".  However, while "the large majority of interactions are constructive, well-meant and often amusing, like anything else in the wrong hands, social media can cross the line and users should always ask themselves if their messages and comments are appropriate".

 

As a result of the issues that have arisen over the last two weeks CD is now working on a joint Social Media 'Code of Conduct' which will be released prior to the 2014 English season getting underway.

 

COMPANY APOLOGISES FOR 

'BAT TAMPERING' SUGGESTION

[PTG 1202-5790]

 

The UK arm of the global retail glasses and hearing aid chain 'Specsavers', has apologised to England batsman Kevin Pietersen for an advertisement that implied he may have tampered with his bat in order to prevent 'Hot Spot' technology detecting edges.  In August, Australian broadcaster Channel Nine suggested players "could be investigated" for covering their bats with silicon tape to try and mask the heat-generated friction of 'nicks', a claim that Pietersen, who was the only individual named, strongly denied at the time (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).

 

Journalist Paul Bolton of London's 'Daily Telegraph' says in an article published yesterday that the offending advert was part of the company’s 'Should Have Gone To Specsavers' campaign.   However, the company has now withdrawn the advert from circulation, apparently after a complaint from lawyers acting on behalf of Pietersen, and apologised to the player for any distress caused.

 

'Specsavers', which has stores in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Guernsey, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK, and sponsors umpires in several countries, said in a statement that: "We did not intend to imply [Pietersen may have tampered with his bat and] accept that this allegation is untrue and that Kevin Pietersen did not tamper with his bat" and as a result "we apologise unreservedly [and] have removed the advert from circulation".

 

FOUR 'NEUTRALS' NAMED 

FOR INDIA-AUSTRALIA SERIES

[PTG 1202-5791]

 

Four members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top umpire and referees panels have been named as the neutral match officials for the eight short-format games India and Australia are to play in cities across the sub-continent over the next month.  Englishmen Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel, and referees Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka plus Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, will work with Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) during the series.

 

Kettleborough is to stand in the first four of seven One Day Internationals (ODI) and Llong the last three, Mahanama overseeing ODIs one to five and Pycroft games six and seven.  The ICC web site also shows Mahanama as the referee for the single Twenty20 International (T20I) that will open the series between the two sides next Thursday.  Somewhat unusually, given home-based IUP members normally look after T20Is, Kettleborough is shown on the ICC web site as standing in that game.

 

Kettleborough's ODI record will move up to 40 games as a result of the series, Llong's to 73, Pycroft as a match referee to 94 and Mahanama to 193; while Kettleborough's T20I tally will move to 10 and Mahanama to 29.  Details of Board of Control for Cricket in India appointments from their IUP group to the eight games have not yet been released.

 

CA LAUDS VOLUNTEERS BUT 'GRASS ROOTS' 

PROJECT DETAILS AWAITED

[PTG 1202-5792]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) was hoping to make contact with some 3,000 volunteers who support the game across Australia during its third annual Volunteer Recognition Day yesterday.  CA says that each year "over 42,000 volunteers dedicate close to seven million hours of their time" in supporting the activities of almost 4,000 cricket clubs involved in the game across the nation; an effort it says "equates to around $A135 million worth of voluntary service".

 

Andrew Ingleton, CA's Executive General Manager Game and Market Development, said in a press release that "volunteers are the lifeblood of community cricket and it’s important to give them the recognition they deserve".  “The dedication that each and every volunteer has to growing cricket from the ground up is truly inspiring and we want them to know that this does not go unnoticed", he said, and "from the coach, to the umpire, to the canteen manager, we’d like to say thank you and acknowledge volunteers as an integral part of Australian Cricket".

 

When he announced the significant increase of earnings that would flow to CA as a result of its new broadcast rights deal in June, CA 's chief executive officer James Sutherland said the revenue jump provides an "enhanced ability to invest in cricket development from the 'grass roots' up" (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  Sutherland, who has spoken about the importance of 'grass roots' cricket on a number of occasions (PTG 1095-5329, 27 April 2013), said that the new funding will allow CA to "accelerate" its 'grass roots' work.

 

Soon after that a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' made the claim that CA planned to outlay "nearly $A30 million" of its "record television-rights windfall" on the "grass roots" game and that the key question then was "where the cash will be spent" (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).  A "CA strategic investment fund" was said to have been established that "includes a sum of around $A7.5m over each of the next four years" for "grass roots cricket and development across the country".  

 

'PTG' has been led to believe that the eight main cricket jurisdictions around the county were asked some time ago to submit proposals for 'Round 1" funding from the coming year's reported $A7.5m, that a number of projects have been approved, and that 'Round 2' bids were underway.  It has not been possible to confirm that information, however, a CA spokeswomen said yesterday in response to a question from 'PTG', that "funding allocation" details are not currently available but they "will be communicated at [CA's Annual General Meeting] towards the end of October".

 

Currently there is a disconnect between CA's aim of increasing player participation around the country by an extra quarter-of-a-million people over the next two years, and the level and range of support the national body is providing to match officials so that such an expansion can be appropriately covered by scorers, referees and umpires (PTG 1189-5734, 16 september 2013).  

 

WICB WORKING TO REVAMP 

LEEWARDS ASSOCIATION 

[PTG 1202-5793]

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is providing assistance to the Leeward Islands Cricket Assocation (LICA) following concerns raised about the state of the organisation by LICA members earlier this year, says a story in the 'Antigua Observer'.  Reports in July indicated that LICA umpires failed to turn up for several three-day inter-island matches because of the non-payment of match fees, and that serious management-related problems existed within LICA (PTG 1143-5540, 9 July 2013).  

 

WICB’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Muirhead says that a meeting has been held with senior LICA officials and "we are assisting them in putting together some financials" and work out what their actual funding status is.  Work is also proceeding on the incorporation of LICA and the setting up of a "functional secretariat" so that the organisation can operate effectively.  Muirhead hopes suitable arrangements will be in place prior to LICA's Annual General Meeting in December.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,203
Sunday, 6 October 2013


BOARD 'INFORMATION CONTROL' EFFORTS 

A CHALLENGE FOR GAME, SAYS HAIGH

[PTG 1203-5794]

 

Tasmanian captain George Bailey's public criticism of Cricket Australia's (CA) scheduling of this austral summer's domestic competitions resulted in him spending "a good deal of [last] Sunday night dealing with his irate paymasters", award winning journalist Gideon Haigh claimed yesterday (PTG 1199-5773, 1 October 2013).  Such a reaction highlights CA's tendency to try and "control every 'message' and monetise every 'product' for the sake of its 'income streams'", argues Haigh in an article published in 'The Australian' newspaper.

 

Haigh expresses the view that Bailey, the country's Twenty20 captain and an executive member of the Australian Cricketers Association, "chose his words quite carefully" and was "merely" calling for "balance", but in his assessment CA's reported reaction was to see the Tasmanian skipper's comments as "imping[ing] on the commercial value of a cricket "product".  

 

Monopolies such as CA have "never before had such tight control of players and commercial properties", says Haigh, however, despite that the tendency of administrators to shape what is said and thought about the game is in his assessment accelerating.  As a result the "mildest" negative remark is construed as 'talking down the product'", he says.

 

While focusing mainly on CA's approach, Haigh also refers to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as the "frontrunner" in the "controlling ethos".  It "actually employs its own commentators, requires their use wherever India plays, and there is "a checklist of dos and don'ts" that must apply to commentary, says Haigh, who quotes a 'Cricinfo' columnist as writing that the BCCI [has] turned the "inability to accept criticism into a national project".

 

Haigh points to CA's regigging of its management structure last year, a move that saw an "executive general manager marketing, digital and communications" position created.  Work in that area ranges from overseeing CA's website to dealing with government and regulators, and "is also the hand behind the apparently imminent end of the ABC's exclusive hold on radio rights" (PTG 1203-5797 below).

 

As such the position "fuses responsibility for informing the media and public, through communications, and selling the game, through marketing", writes Haigh.  "On the face of it those [components] make a reasonable fit [but] the means by which they do so are vastly different [for] communications is chiefly the imparting of information, marketing is mainly the burnishing of image; the first engenders news, the second publicity".

 

In Haigh's view a decisive shift is looming in the relations that exist between administrators and the administrated, from one in which the former held the game in trust on behalf of its public, to one in which they seek to own the game and sell it to "cricket consumers".

 

"CA needs to chill out", writes Haigh, for "cricket will suffer if its public starts losing a sense that the game is theirs, and that they're simply being sold something they thought they owned".  "An image is useful for a sporting code or organisation to project, but there must be a preparedness for that image to be questioned even as it strives to live up to it".  "The game will feel more joyful and more human, and I suspect also be more valuable, for being less "controlled", concludes Haigh.

 

LATEST VERSION OF 'STATSMASTER' 

COMPUTER SCORING PROGRAM IMMINENT 

[PTG 1203-5795]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Friday that it is currently testing "a new and improved version" of its 'StatsMaster' electronic scoring program and that it will be "released next week".  CA chose to develop the program from scratch fifteen months ago rather than use existing computer programs that had been bedded down by scorers in at least one state over the three seasons prior to that (PTG 958-4657, 7 July 2012).  

 

Initial versions of 'StatsMaster' fielded by CA last austral summer tried the patience of those scorers who were exposed to its many glitches and multiple program versions, and as yet it has not been made compulsory for use in CA matches as a result.  New features that are said to be included in the latest version include: "layout/design improvements; an enhanced 'start match' process; various bug fixes; access to more reporting and statistical analysis; and live scores".

 

UMPIRES TAKING PART IN MCC 

TOURS TO CYPRUS, UGANDA 

[PTG 1203-5796]

 

East Anglia Premier League umpire Barry Toombs and his English first class colleague Neil Bainton are currently in Uganda and Cyprus respectively as members of the fourth and fifth Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) touring sides to travel parts of the world this year.  Such tours are part of the club's aim of assisting with the development of the game and to spread the MCC's 'Spirit of Cricket' message to a new audience. 

 

The Cyprus visit ended on Friday and consisted of matches against a Cyprus National XI and British Forces teams, three of them fifty over fixtures and another a Twenty20.  The tour to Africa starts today with a two-day match against a Uganda Cricket Association XI, followed by two fifty over games, then a Twenty20 tournament featuring MCC, Ugandan and Rwandan sides, the latter then playing the MCC in a fifty over match tomorrow week to end the tour.

 

CA REPORTED NEGOTIATING 

NEW RADIO RIGHTS DEALS

[PTG 1203-5797]

 

National broadcaster ABC Radio will lose its exclusive rights to Test cricket in Australia and cease describing Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic games, if negotiations currently underway between CA and commercial networks come to fruition, says a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald" ('SMH') on Friday.  Four months ago CA clinched the richest TV deal in Australian cricket history, and subsequently called for expressions of interest from radio stations for a five-year deal for domestic and international cricket (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).

 

While the 'SMH' report indicates the ABC will cover Tests and retain rights to limited-overs international cricket, it also says CA's Sheffield Shield first class and one-day games will have no direct ball-by-ball coverage on radio; the ABC's output being limited to score up-dates.  The ABC reportedly "baulked" at paying a fee for such games, however, the domestic Twenty20 series will be available via a commercial radio network.  CA's domestic one-day series is being televised by Channel Nine, although only because CA itself sponsored it to the tune of $A800K (PTG 1192-5746, 20 September 2013). 

 

Australian sports web site 'The Roar' ran an article yesterday that claimed CA's "radio deal could ruin broadcast cricket".  It points out that the ABC and BBC are the only key radio broadcasters that present the game commercial free, and those listening to radio in India, South Africa and New Zealand "constantly hear commentators referring to sponsors".  

 

"Radio is all about painting an image in the listeners’ mind [and advertising] eventually drives the listener away", claims 'The Roar'.  The piece says "Next time [CA chief executive] James Sutherland and his crew want to listen to cricket they should be forced to listen to broadcasting with commercials over the duration of the Test match".  It claims most "international [cricket] journalists" who travel to Australia tune to ABC radio rather than Channel Nine because of the insights the former's commentary brings to listeners.  

 

CA's move, which also involves controlling the digital market through a $A60 million joint venture with Channel Nine, comes after 81 years of ABC coverage and is said to be aimed a broadening the audience of cricket’s traditional format.  But long-time ABC commentator Jim Maxwell described the approach to commercial radio in a 'Twitter' posting as a move "to protect future income streams" and a ''money grab''.  ''It's all about money [for] CA is hell bent on extracting as much lolly as they can", he said.

 

After news of CA's radio negotiations surfaced, ABC head Mark Scott questioned whether commercial networks would show the same commitment to the sport.  "Commercial networks might want to pick it up, it's an Ashes summer [in 2013-14], but our audiences know that when Pakistan and New Zealand are touring we will be there as well". "We're not just going to cherry pick the big tours, we are there for the long haul", said Scott.

 

Meanwhile, a report in the London ' Daily Telegraph' on Thursday says that viewers in the UK who do not have pay TV could be limited to seeing two-minute clips of this austral summer's Ashes Tests via news channels and listening to games on BBC Radio.  'Sky' are said to have bought exclusive live rights to the Ashes from CA three years ago and have control over whether to sell on a highlights package to a terrestrial broadcaster. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,204
Monday, 7 October 2013


AUSSIE UMPIRES FOR TAUFEL WORKSHOP

[PTG 1204-5798]

 

Members of Cricket Australia's (CA) National and Emerging umpires panels are to attend a workshop run by Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, sometime next weekend, according to several sketchy but corroborative reports received by 'PTG' in recent days.  

 

Analysis shows that twelve of the sixteen umpires who make up the two groups will be in Sydney late this week, primarily in relation to CA's domestic one-day series, so presumably Taufel will talk to those involved in that city.  No details are available as to what will be discussed, however, given Taufel's role and the focus his position has, the supposition is that matters related to the step up from national to international duty may well be the key focus.   

 

Reports from Sri Lanka last week suggested that Taufel is to travel to Colombo next Monday to conduct a series of workshops for umpires there (PTG 1201-5783, 3 October 2013).

 

DHARMASENA, TUCKER STAND 

IN 2013 CLT20 FINAL.

[PTG 1204-5799]

 

Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena and Australian Rod Tucker were on-field for the final of this year's Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series in Delhi last night, India's Chettihody Shamsuddin being the third umpire and Krishnaraj Srinath the fourth, overall control of match management lying with Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle.  During the series CLT20 organisers used a total of fifteen umpires, nine of them Indians, however, three-questers of the on-field spots went to the six who came from outside the sub-continent.

 

Apart from Dharmasena, who stood in the 2011 final, and Tucker, the other non-Indians who took part were 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, Australians Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel and Englishman Richard Illingworth.  Indians who worked on-field and as third umpires were Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni, Shamsuddin and Ravi Sundarum, while Subrat Das, Rajesh Deshpande, CK Nandan, Pashchim Pathak and Srinath filled fourth umpire spots.

 

Madugalle, his countryman Roshan Mahanama and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, shared match referee duties almost evenly across the twenty-three games that made up this year's CLT20 event.  For Madugalle it was his fourth series and fourth-straight final, Mahanama also his fourth event and Pycroft his third. 

 

Dharmasena, Illingworth, Oxenford, Reiffel and Tucker are all members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel and Bowden a former member, while Chaudhary, Kulkarni, Shamsuddin and Sundarum are Indian members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.  All are believed to have been working under non-ICC contracts during the event.

 

SIDE FIELDS WITH TEN 

MEN AFTER 'NO SHOW'

[PTG 1204-5800]

 

Sydney's Randwick-Petersham First Grade side fielded with only ten men during the whole of the second day of their match on Saturday after one of the members of their named team, Australian batsman David Warner, did not turn up.  Reports this morning say that Warner chose to spend the day elsewhere batting in the nets in preparation for today's one-day match against Victoria, rather than in the field.

 

Randwick-Petersham had batted on the first day of the match the previous Saturday when Warner was absent on other duties, however, a concession of a substitute fielder was denied by Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) for day two.  Reports say that Cricket NSW has "summoned" Warner for a meeting tomorrow to discuss why he did not play for his club side despite what is said to have been a Cricket NSW directive to do so.

 

Club coach Bill Anderson is quoted in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' as saying that in his opinion "David had a good reason not to play [in] that he needed some more batting under his belt".  Its President, former  Australian bowler Mike Whitney, "would've liked, on reflection, for CNSW to say [Warner] understands his game, he knows where he's at, so we'll allow Randwick Petersham a replacement - but they weren't willing to do that".  ''Sadly, for the first time in my association with [the club as a player] or as president, we took the field in First Grade with ten men".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,205
Tuesday, 8 October 2013


BOTHA 'MENTION' HIGHLIGHTS CA 'DOUBTFUL

ACTION' PROCEDURAL CHANGES

[PTG 1205-5801]

 

News yesterday that former South African and now South Australian spin bowler Johan Botha has been cited for a 'Doubtful Bowling Action' after just a "single mention" by umpires this season indicates Cricket Australia (CA) has amended the processes it uses in such situations.  CA announced last February that a review of its then system was planned and that a "tougher regime for dealing with illegal bowling actions" in its domestic competitions was proposed (PTG 1053-5120, 6 February 2013).

 

CA now requires that all three umpires working in televised matches, or two in those that are not telecast, must agree to the ‘mention’ of a Doubtful Bowling Action and sign the applicable report form.  

 

Previously, three separate mentions by umpires in the course of a season were normally required before an individual was required to be tested in a laboratory to see if their delivery action was "legal" or not.  Umpires could short-circuit that time-line and report a bowler straight away if they were convinced they were throwing, however, reports say there was a reluctance amongst umpires to do that because of the stigma attached to the issue.  

 

Under the new CA rules the next step for Botha, who is South Australia's captain, is that he must undergo testing within fourteen days of being notified of the umpires' report.  He can still play on throughout that period and will only be suspended from bowling if the official report, which will follow the forthcoming laboratory tests, proves he has an illegal action.  South Australia is scheduled to play four one-day matches over the next fourteen days.

 

Johannesburg-born Botha has had to endure episodes of rigorous biomechanical testing at the University of Western Australia several times in the past to prove his off-spin action was legal, his "doosra" being the main point of contention in the past.  He spent ten months in limbo after being cited in his debut Test against Australia in the 2006, and was again reported in April 2009 during a one-day game against Australia  (PTG 516-2657, 2 November 2009).

 

Botha has only played a single CA domestic match this season bowling nine overs, that being South Australia's opening one-day game against Victoria and his 176th at List A level, and it would therefore appear the umpires for that game lodged a report.  The on-field umpires on that occasion were Simon Fry and Mike Graham-Smith plus Geoff Joshua in the television position; that fixture being Graham-Smith's List A debut (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013). 

 

In August, Queensland bowler Cameron Gannon had his ban from bowling in interstate matches for a suspect bowling action lifted following a biomechanical analysis of his remodelled bowling action at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.  Gannon, 24, was reported for a suspect action in three separate Sheffield Shield matches last austral summer (PTG 1082-5270, 29 March 2013), and after work to modify his action he was reassessed in late July after his ninety-day suspension period expired (PTG 1170-5656, 15 August 2013).

 

NEWS OF CA 'INTEGRITY', 'CODE OF 

CONDUCT' INITIATIVES, AWAITED 

[PTG 1205-5802]

 

News is awaited of the practical steps Cricket Australia (CA) plans to take, or has taken, in the wake of the independent review of its 'Integrity Functions' and 'Code of Behaviour' arrangements that was conducted earlier this year.   CA's Board received the report from that investigation in late June, asking its management group then to "absorb, understand and assess" its "recommendations" "in time for the Australian domestic season". 

 

Last February, CA appointed Adrian Anderson, a former general manager of Australian Rules Football, to review the way it manages integrity-related issues {PTG 1063-517, 21 February 2013).  At the time it said Anderson would look at all aspects of such matters including: anti-doping policies; disciplinary processes; domestic cricket anti-corruption; and CA's involvement in the International Cricket Council's global anti-corruption program. 

 

After receiving Anderson's report in June, which CA described in a press release then as "comprehensive" and "detailed", its recommendations related to integrity issues were said to have included "the structure of CA integrity functions, establishment of external integrity links, and other initiatives for implementation", while those in the Code of Behaviour area were described as focusing on "structural" and "procedural" reforms.  

 

A press report at the time said that because of the "proliferation of sports betting and the spot-fixing incidents that have hit the game elsewhere", CA's Board had been advised by Anderson to "beef up its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).  Earlier this year the Australian Crime Commission issued a report that highlighted the threat of match-fixing and doping across the general Australian sporting scene (PTG 1056-5133, 11 February 2013).

 

VICTORIAN SKIPPER 'NOT SURE' ABOUT 

TOURNAMENT-STYLE ONE-DAY SERIES 

[PTG 1205-5803]

 

Victorian captain Cameron White yesterday joined his Tasmanian counterpart George Bailey in criticising the tournament style format of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day series.  While White's side is currently leading the Sydney-based series, a 'Sydney Morning Herald' story says that he voiced concerns yesterday about the reduction in the number of round robin matches each team plays in the competition.

 

White is quoted as saying that he's "not sure about the tournament to be totally honest, six games isn't a lot, but I understand the scheduling is a fine balance these days".  "I'm not sure about the whole Sydney thing and the whole set-up itself, but off the top of my head I haven't got any better ideas at the moment".  

 

An article in 'The Australian' newspaper on Saturday claimed that Bailey had been subjected to considerable criticism by CA for his public observations two Sunday's ago about the revamped one-day competition (PTG 1203-5794, 6 October 2013).  Veteran sports journalist Warwick Hadfield said on ABC Radio this morning that While had "joined the chorus" of those concerned about the new one-day format and that "he can expect a phone call from an angry 'marketing type' accusing him of 'spoiling the brand'".
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,206
Wednesday, 9 October 2013


RUMBLINGS REPORTED WITHIN 

AUSSIE PLAYING COMMUNITY 

[PTG 1206-5804]

 

'The Australian' newspaper is reporting this morning that "almost every [Australian] state and Test player" are to meet in Sydney next week "to discuss rising concerns with the state of Australian cricket and propose solutions to the problems".  Plans are said to call for the group to present their ides to Cricket Australia (CA) "before the end of the year" as "questions arise" about the effectiveness of the implementation of CA's 'Argus' review, the results of which were announced two years ago.  

 

Today's report says that the players are particularly worried about the overcrowded schedule, the prioritisation of CA's Twenty20 competition over Sheffield Shield first class games and other domestic cricket, plus a range of other issues they believe are behind declining performances.  There is also said to be a growing concern about the "controlling behaviour of [CA], which is attempting to micromanage all media interactions and is hypersensitive to any criticism from players" (PTG 1203-5794, 6 October 2013).

 

Tasmanian and current national T20 captain George Bailey was reprimanded last week for expressing concerns about domestic cricket scheduling, former Victorian captain Cameron White making similar comments earlier this week (PTG 1205-5803, 8 October 2013).

 

'The Australian' says that "there is even a proposal that the [players] put their money where their mouth is and fund some of the proposed changes, however, the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or player union, is said to be "attempting to keep its state of the game report confidential in the hope that it can co-operate with [CA] in improving the situation". 

 

ACA chief executive Paul Marsh told his members recently that there were worries the men's team had slipped from the best in the world to mid-ranking at best, that fast bowlers kept breaking down and that batsmen were struggling against spin and swing bowling.  He wrote in a recent ACA newsletter: "Rather than sit back and hope that things will turn themselves around, the ACA has embarked upon a project to understand what our members' views of the problems are and how they can be fixed".

 

When approached by 'The Australian' Marsh insisted he wanted to work with CA on the perceived problems and not publicise them. "We are going through a comprehensive process of consultation with our members past and current to hear their views on the draft report before presenting it to [CA] at the end of the year.  Our "report will look at what we think are the issues at the moment but also we will be very solution-focused", he said.

 

'NO SHOW' RESULTS IN SUSPENDED

SUSPENDED SENTENCE, GRADE DUTY

[PTG 1206-5805]

 

Australian batsman David Warner was disciplined by Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) yesterday for failing to show up for grade cricket last weekend.  Warner's club Randwick-Petersham had to field with only ten men on Saturday after he decided it was more important for him to spend time in the nets rather in the field (PTG 1204-5800, 7 October 2013).

 

After hearing the reasons for Warner 'no show', CNSW chief executive Andrew Jones handed him a one-match ban, suspended until April when the current season in Australia ends, and ordered him to play at least the next two Saturdays of grade cricket for Randwick-Petersham, and if his commitments to NSW, on the weekend after that. He must also undertake two visits to other grade clubs as part of Transport NSW's anti-drink driving campaign.

 

Media reports have suggested that in addition to his batting session on Saturday, Warner later attended a race meeting in Sydney.  He was quoted as saying yesterday that "in hindsight I should have played [and] I remain determined to score runs for NSW and Australia and am also looking forward to taking the field for [my club]".

 

Jones pointed to Warner's contractual obligation to turn out in club cricket when the state and international schedule allows.  "This has been an unfortunate episode", he said, and "like most cricket fans, I and all at Cricket NSW would like nothing more than to see David Warner achieve his potential on and off the field".  "We believe the suspended sentence demonstrates our good faith and gives David the opportunity to prove his commitment to NSW fans and stakeholders, including the grade clubs".

 

FIFTIETH FIRST CLASS 

MATCH FOR KIWI UMPIRE

[PTG 1206-5806]

 

New Zealand umpire Tim Parlane will be standing in his fiftieth first class game when that country's domestic season gets underway in two-and-a-half weeks.  Parlane was one of ten umpires and twenty-seven scorers named by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) yesterday to look after the fifteen first class and sixteen Twenty20 matches it has scheduled up until the new year, however, as yet it has not indicated who the three match referees NZC advertised for last month will be (PTG 1184-5708, 6 September 2013).

 

All nine members of NZC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Parlane plus Gary Baxter, 'Billy' Bowden, Barry Frost, Chris Gaffaney, Tony Gillies, Phil Jones, Wayne Knights and Derek Walker, have been named to look after games in the first half of the Plunket Shield and T20 competitions.  Gillies, is what is his debut season on the EUP (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013), will make his T20 debut, as will Ash Mehrotra, the only member of NZC's Reserve Panel to be included in the appointments.

 

For Bowden his four first class and two T20 games over the next ten weeks will be his first in a home domestic competition for almost five years; while the fact that Gaffaney's first appointment is not until mid-December suggests he has been selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for November's World Twenty20 Qualifier event in the United Arab Emirates.  He was not able to take up another ICC appointment earlier this year (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013).   

 

Scorers named for the fifteen first class games are: Bill Andersson, Bev Baker, Annette Campbell, Tony Feely, Matt Frost, Claire Hayne, Toni Hill, Malcolm Jones, Gordon McFarlane, Gail McGowan, Chris McQuaid, Duncan Mitchell, Phil Rice, Kirsty Sands, Helen Simpson, Ian Smith, Jeffrey Stuart, Cheryl Styles, Selwyn Wakefield and Euan West. 

 

Andersson, Feely, Hill, Hayne, Jones, McFarlane, McGowan, Mitchell, Rice, Smith, Stuart and West will be joined by Nicola Armstrong, Jeremy Barker, Karen Fleet, Erica Knights, Thelma Luxton, Jane Silvester and Helen Simpson for the T20s.

 

Despite indicating appointments would be posted on its web site in September, NZC is yet to provide those for its senior one-day and five other lower-level series scheduled for this austral summer.  Most of those will not be played until the new year, but just why the announcement of the first class and T20 series have been delayed is not clear.

 

The New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association said in a note posted on its web site yesterday that it was because NZC was waiting for confirmation of the umpiring arrangements for the World Cup Qualifying Tournament that is to be played in New Zealand early next year.  However, that thirty-four match event, which is likely to involve members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel from around the world, is to be played over three weeks starting in mid-January.

 

'SUBSTANTIAL' PAYOUT ACCEPTED 

FOR BAT TAMPERING SUGGESTION 

[PTG 1206-5807]

 

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has accepted "substantial undisclosed libel damages" over an advertisement which implied he might have tampered with his bat in order to prevent 'Hot Spot' technology detecting edges.  Last week the UK arm of the global retail glasses and hearing aid chain 'Specsavers' apologised to Pietersen for the advertisement and accepted he did not behave in the manner suggested (PTG 1202-5790, 4 October 2013).

 

In August the England batsman angrily denied allegations he used of tape on his bat describing such suggestions as "horrible lies" (PTG 1164-5790, 8 August 2013), and his solicitor told London's High Court yesterday that the claims were completely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.  Pietersen is reported not to have been present when the settlement for what was called the "serious and defamatory allegation" contained in the advertisement was handed down. 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,207
Thursday, 10 October 2013

AUSSIE BROADCASTER DUMPS 'HOT SPOT' 

FROM TELECAST PACKAGE 

[PTG 1207-5808]

 

Costs involved in the operation of 'Hot Spot' technology, and what is described as its "poor performance" in the recent Ashes series in England, have led to Australian broadcaster Channel Nine dropping it from the package of systems its uses in match presentations, says a story in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' ('SMH').  News of the change comes six weeks before the first Ashes Test of the new series is due to get underway in Brisbane.

 

Warren Brennan, who heads the company that provides 'Hot Spot', is said to have confirmed to the 'SMH' yesterday that the device will not feature in the forthcoming Ashes Tests.  Brennan indicated that the broadcaster's decision, which he said was brought in part about because Nine paid Cricket Australia considerable more money under its new broadcast deal and it needed to make savings (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013), "is final".  The cost of 'Hot spot' operation is per at $A250,000 for a five-Test series. 

 

Brennan conceded the controversy that surrounded 'Hot Spot' and claims of batsmen deliberately used tape on bats to trick it ''probably did'' play a part in Nine's decision.  He accepted that affair could have been handled better but said coatings on bats plays havoc with the infrared technology (PTG 1166-5639, 10 August 2013). 

 

Brennan says he is not upset by Nine's decision and that he doesn't "have a beef" with that company, which initially introduced 'Hot Spot' as an "entertainment product" before it was added to the Umpire Decision Review System.  Instead he is said to have "directed his ire" at Cricket Australia (CA) for "refusing to provide financial support".  CA, apparently unlike New Zealand Cricket, Cricket South Africa and the England and Wales Cricket Board, just said "it's got nothing to do with us", claimed Brennan.

 

"We need to continue to invest and improve the product so that everybody thinks it's getting bette [and] if bodies like [CA] won't come on board and contribute to that, there's not really any point in us continuing".  A CA spokesman is quoted by 'SMH' journalist Chris Barratt  as saying: ''We don't think it's appropriate to comment on discussions between Nine and one of its partners".

 

Barratt says that in the absence of 'Hot Spot' leaves 'Eagle Eye' ball tracking technology, audio from stump microphones, and slow-motion replays, as the key remaining tools that will be available to the third umpire in the forthcoming Tests.

 

NEW ICC PLAYING CONDITIONS VARY 

LAWS' 'BALL TAMPERING' PROVISIONS  

[PTG 1207-5809]

 

New International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions relating to ball tampering in all three formats, reviews in Test matches, and the number of balls that are used in One Day Internationals (ODI), came into force yesterday with the start of the first Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand in Chittagong.  The changes are not amendments to the actual Laws of Cricket, which were themselves modified earlier this month (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2013), but rather provisions that will at this stage only apply to international games.

 

The actual Laws of the game require that when the "deterioration in the condition of the ball is greater than is consistent with the use it has received", umpires must change the ball, award five penalty runes to the batting side, and report the captain and or player concerned.  In the unlikely event that they believe the ball needs to be changed again for that reason in the same innings, the Laws direct the umpires to suspend, for the remainder of the innings, the person bowling at the time. 

 

However, ICC Playing Conditions have been amended from that, there being two basic scenarios, one if it is not possible to identify just who the ball changing culprit is, and a second if the guilty part can clearly be identified.

 

In the former situation ICC umpires are now required to change the ball and issue the captain with a first and final warning that "will apply for the remainder of a Test match, or for the remainder of an ODI or Twenty20 International series".  If there is a further such incident in a Test or during the other two series, apart from changing the ball, a five-run penalty is then to be awarded and the captain will be held responsible and reported.

 

On the other hand if umpires can identify the player responsible the ICC procedure for the umpires is more straight-forward in that: the ball must be changed; a five-run penalty awarded; and the player responsible reported.

 

Changes to the number of reviews available in Tests have already been flagged for the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013), however, unlike previous indications the ICC said yesterday that the new arrangement, or "trial", will actually apply to all Tests in which the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is in operation up until the end of April next year.  

 

That is likely to cover perhaps up to fourteen Tests, the five Australia-England matches, and three each between New Zealand and the West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and South Africa and Australia.  Other Test series are scheduled in that time but they will not see the UDRS operational. 

 

The new arrangement will give each team a maximum of two unsuccessful player review requests in the first 80 overs of the innings, and a maximum of two unsuccessful player review requests, both batting and bowling, after 80 overs for the remainder of the innings; not for each subsequent 80 over change of ball as previously reported.  

 

That will mean that at the end of the 80th over: a team with two remaining reviews receives no additional reviews; a team with one remaining review receives one additional review, and, a team with zero remaining reviews receives two additional reviews.

 

The last main Playing Conditions change, which was agreed to at the ICC's chief executives committee meeting last month, involves ODIs that are reduced to twenty-five overs or less per side before the first innings commences.  In such situations each team will only be allowed one new ball for its innings, otherwise the current new ball from each end requirement will still apply.

 

PLAYING SURFACES NOT THE FOCUS 

OF MUSEUM'S 'GRASS' EXHIBITION

[PTG 1207-5810]

 

An exhibition about the culture of cannabis-use in cricket is due to open in Dunedin's marijuana museum in December in time for New Zealand's Test series against the West Indies, says a report in 'The Guardian' newspaper yesterday.  Curator Abe Gray says the presentation will be about cannabis use among teams, players, and "the New Zealand cricket team".  

 

A local media report says Dunedin has a "strong history of activism for the legalisation of cannabis", and that the museum will hold more than 100 books on the subject, many of which are unavailable in public libraries.  Local police, wary of this new venture, are said to have already been for a visit, seeking, and receiving, assurance that "visitors would not be supplied with anything but information". 

 

CA NAMES MATCH OFFICIALS FOR 

OPENING FUTURES, WOMENS, FIXTURES

[PTG 1207-5811]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named seven umpires from four states for the five four-day Futures League State Second XI games that are to be played in Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth over the next six weeks, the first game of that series having been played late last month (PTG 1200-5777, 2 October 2013).  At the same time twenty-nine umpires were assigned to the twelve Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) and twenty-four Womens Twenty20 (WT20) games scheduled across the nation by CA over the same period.

 

Queensland umpires Ben Farrell and Craig Hoffman were on the field for the opening Futures game in Brisbane two weeks ago.  Those named yesterday for forthcoming games are: Nathan Johnstone and Todd Rann (Western Australia); Phillip Gillespie (Victoria); South Australians Craig Thomas and Cain Kemp; and Jamie Mitchell and Brent Jones of Tasmania.  

 

Johnstone returns after having slipped from contention, at least for the time being, from CA's pathway to its National Umpires Panel; while Thomas will be in action twice, once in Melbourne and the second at home in Adelaide, but appointments for the second game scheduled for Perth have not been finalised.

 

Two of the Futures games, one in Melbourne and the second match listed for Perth, will be watched over by CA Umpire High Performance Panel members David Talalla, who will observe Gillespie and Thomas in Melbourne, and Bob Stratford the two so far unnamed umpires in the second Perth game.  Former first class umpires Terry Prue and Kim Perrin will play the same role in the first Perth game and in Adelaide respectively, and Richard Widows, Tasmania's State Director of Umpires (SDU), in Hobart. 

 

Hoffman and Jones are the only Futures League umpires to also have WNCL and WT20 appointments.  Hoffman will be joined by his state colleagues Murray Branch and Stephen Dionysius in the womens' series, and Jones by Peter Czerkiewicz and David Matthews.  In Western Australia six umpires have been named for womens' games, they being: Wayne Barron, Matthew Hall, James Hewitt, Chris McCann, Dean Trigg and Tent Steenholdt, but selections for two other WNCL and four WT20 fixtures have not yet been made.

 

Victoria's SDU Richard Patterson, a former first class umpire, plus Ange Sammartino and David Shepard, will stand in games there, John Biddiss, Kumar Chandrakumar and Lynton Donisthorpe in Adelaide, Andrew Hamilton, Mark Hughes, Keiran Knight and Simon Lighbody in New South Wales, while in the Australian Capital Territory those selected are Chris Cassin, Mark Ferris, Stuart Grocock, Mel Jones, Yoham Ramasundara, Andrew Shelley and Deanne Young.

 

Match referees for the various womens' games will be: Johnson in Brisbane, Perrin in Adelaide, Prue in Perth, Widows in Tasmania, Daryl Cox, Patterson's Victorian deputy in Melbourne, Bill Ruse and Terry Keel in Canberra, and Graham Reed in NSW. 

 

CA did not provide, as it did for its on-going male one-day series (PTG 1195-5758, 26 September 2013), scorer allocations for the forty-two matches in the three competitions that it released yesterday.

 

NSW LOOSES A LONG-SERVING

UMPIRING STALWART 

[PTG 1207-5812]

 

Umpires in Sydney have been asked to wear black arm bands this weekend as a mark of respect for long-serving umpire Doug Tyson who died on Monday.  Tyson, 63, exemplified those who serve the game at the coal face each week, supporting matches in New South Wales (NSW) over a period of thirty-six years, a period in which he stood in a total of 433 games; forty five of them in the Sydney Cricket Association's (SCA) First Grade competition, and 280 in Second Grade.

 

Tyson, who is said to have "loved cricket [and] loved umpiring", is being described as a committed member of the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), which he joined in 1977.  He was a regular attendee at association meetings, conventions, dinners and other functions, and over the years was often in the top six contenders for the NSWCUSA's highest annual trophy, the George Borwick Memorial Award.

 

During his time Tyson is reported as being "always available" to umpire in SCA competitions, and he officiated in all grades across five decades.  A hard worker for cricket in the Fairfield Liverpool district of greater Sydney, he was made a Life Member of the NSWCUSA-affiliated Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Umpires Association as well as the Fairfield Liverpool Junior Cricket Association.

 

In an unusual move, Cricket NSW acknowledged Tyson's contribution to the game by posting his picture and a summary of his career on its web site yesterday afternoon.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,208
Friday, 11 October 2013

FORMER ICC LAWYER ADDS FUEL TO 

TO BCCI-CSA TOUR DISPUTE

[PTG 1208-5813]

 

South African sports lawyer David Becker, who headed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) legal department from 2007-12 and now advises Cricket South Africa (CSA), claimed yesterday that the ICC is being "pushed into illegality" by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says a press report from Sharjah.  Becker's comments come as a result of a dispute between the BCCI and CSA over the schedule for the Indian side's visit to South Africa this austral summer, however, the ICC itself has flatly dismissed his 'illegality" claims.  

 

CSA announced the fixtures for the Indian tour in July, however, the BCCI is currently threatening to shorten or cancel the visit because it says the South Africans announcement of the program at that time was "unilateral".  After the dispute began news of a BCCI invitation to the West Indies Cricket Board for a visit by its team to the sub-continent surfaced, that Test and one-day format tour extending into the first week of what was supposed to have been India's CSA announced time in South Africa. 

 

With the West Indies tour now confirmed, CSA president Chris Nenzani is scheduled to meet BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan in India today to "try and save" the remainder of the tour to his country, a visit from which CSA is reported to have hoped to earn around 500M Rand ($A53M).  Becker's "barrage" could give Srinivasan the perfect excuse to declare the tour "dead on arrival", claims one report.

 

Becker claims, without it seems any substantiation, that the CSA July itinerary for India's South African tour had been approved unanimously by the ICC's board as part of the world body's Future Tours Program (FTP).  He is quoted as saying that the current situation, with the BCCI standing firm, shows the ICC "has become powerless in the face of India's dominance and is forced to succumb to the manipulative tactics of the BCCI just to keep their jobs".  

 

"When the ICC allows one of its directors to blatantly disregard an ICC board resolution, it becomes more than questionable governance; it becomes improper", he claimed, and in his view board members need to "take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror [and] take a stand in favour of the best interests of the game".  "It's not only hugely concerning for the game, it's contrary to the regulatory framework within which the ICC operates", he said, explaining that he left the ICC last year because he "could no longer reconcile my own values as a person and a professional with what I was witnessing at ICC board level".

 

Becker worked with CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat throughout the latter's entire five-year tenure as ICC chief executive.  When asked Lorgat, who is widely reported to have made few friends at the BCCI during his time at the ICC and to have been at logger heads with Srinivasan in particular, said Becker was one of "several" lawyers who advised CSA and denied prior knowledge of Becker's statement.

 

The ICC is reported to have condemned Becker's FTP-related comments calling them "inaccurate and unsubstantiated" because "the detail of each tour format is a matter for the respective parties to agree upon bilaterally", not the ICC board.  It asked why Becker was speaking out now some eighteen months after he left the ICC, and when he is acting as a CSA legal adviser.

 

"Having spoken with [CSA president] Nenzani we are assured that these comments do not reflect the view of CSA and are Becker's personal views", said an ICC spokesperson, who indicated it is "optimistic that [the BCCI and CSA] can reach agreement on an acceptable way forward in spite of his comments".

 

PCB OMITS 'HOT SPOT' FROM SOUTH 

AFRICAN SERIES UDRS PACKAGE

[PTG 1208-5814]

 

Hot Spot' technology will not be part part of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) package that is to be used during Pakistan's two-Test series against South Africa that is due to start in the United Arab Emirates on Monday (PTG 1208-5816 below), says a report posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site overnight.  The decision not to use the infrared technology, which was made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as the 'home' authority, came a day after it became apparent Australian broadcaster Channel Nine had decided to drop it for the forthcoming Ashes series, primarily as a cost cutting measure (PTG 1207-5808, 10 October 2013).

 

'Cricinfo' journalist Umar Farooq says that had the PCB opted to utilise 'Hot Spot' it would have meant that their profits for the series would have been cut by around $US100,000 ($A106,000).  Pakistan used 'Hot Spot' during last year's 'home' series against England, however, the technology was in the spotlight on more than one occasion then when the accuracy and reliability of the data it provided was questioned.

 

LOSS OF 'HOT SPOT' 'DISAPPOINTING', BUT 

USE OUT OF ICC HANDS, SAYS TAUFEL

[PTG 1208-5815]

 

Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, expressed his disappointment yesterday at Australian broadcaster Channel Nine's decision not to use 'Hot Spot' technology in the forthcoming Ashes Tests.  Taufel was speaking during an interview on Australia's Fox Sports Channel after news broke that Nine was dropping the infrared system from its match presentations (PTG 1207-5808, 10 October 2013), but before Pakistan announced it would not be used in its series against South Africa (PTG 1208-5814 above).

 

Taufel, who has appeared on Fox Sports a number of times recently, said the ICC was "extremely keen" for 'Hot Spot' to remain available and "we would obviously prefer [it] to be part of the majority of international cricket if possible".  According to him the ICC has been working with Australian company BBG Sports, the providers of 'Hot Spot', and that "We actually did a session in Dubai only about a month ago [that involved] briefing and updating [members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel] on how to best use [it], and to deal with some issues as to why it doesn’t work on occasion".  

 

Despite that Taufel also indicated that the ICC has virtually no say in the sort of technology that is made available to match officials in each series, as host broadcasters are responsible for providing tools such as 'Hot Spot', 'Hawk Eye' and 'Eagle Eye'.  Given that, he said, nothing can be done therefore its time to deal with the current reality and move to deal with it.  "It is what it is, and I’m sure the umpires will do a good job in the upcoming Ashes series", he said.

 

Senior  ICC officials have indicated on a number of occasions in the last two years that they planned to look for sponsors to fund the operation of technology used in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) (PTG 790-3868, 6 July 2011), but to date that initiative appears has gone no where, and Taufel's comments suggest that such a move is not on the ICC's radar.  Last year media reports claimed that attempts by a majority of ICC Full members to set up such a deal had been discouraged by India (PTG 954-4639, 30 June 2012).

 

Earlier this week Warren Brennan, the head of BBG Sports, criticised Cricket Australia (CA) for "refusing to provide financial support" for 'Hot Spot' development and use, and indicated that New Zealand Cricket, Cricket South Africa and the England and Wales Cricket Board had done just that, although to what degree was not made clear; but there was no indication that his comments included any reference in that regard to the ICC.  CA chief executive James Sutherland said yesterday that CA was effectively financing UDRS technology via the $A490 million television rights deal it struck with Nine three months ago, insisting that that fee took into account the broadcaster's production costs.

 

News of the apparent demise of 'Hot Spot', and the general shambles that currently seems to surround technology issues, comes the week before the ICC Board is due to hold one of its regular meetings in Dubai.  Taufel seemed to indicate yesterday that he hoped that meeting would agree to the establishment of a Working Group to look the use of technology in decision making, however, an ICC press release that followed the latest meeting of the ICC's chief executive committee last month indicated such a group would be set up (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013). 

 

AUSSIE OFFICIALS PROMINENT IN 

PAKISTAN-SOUTH AFRICA SERIES

[PTG 1208-5816]

 

Three Australians. David Boon, Rod Tucker and Paul Reiffel, and Englishman Ian Gould, have been appointed as the neutral match officials for the two Tests Pakistan and South Africa are to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next two weeks.  Boon will oversee the games as the match referee, while Tucker will stand in both fixtures, one each with Gould and Reiffel, who will work as the television umpire when not on the field, fourth umpires coming from Pakistani members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).

 

The two Tests will take Boon's record as a match referee in that form of the game to 20, while Gould's umpire tally will move on to 35 on-field in Tests and 11 as the television official (35/11), Tucker to 27 on-field and Reiffel, for whom its his first Test since joining the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel last June, to 5/5 (PTG 1130-5487, 26 June 2013).

 

The four match One Day International (ODI) series the two sides are to play after the Tests will see Ranjan Madugalle as the match referee, and another Australian Steve Davis plus Richard Illingworth of England the neutral umpires, so far unnamed Pakistani IUP members filling the four second on-field and fourth umpire positions.  Illingworth is expected to travel to the UAE for the ODIs from Bangladesh where he will be working in the second Test of the series between the home side and New Zealand (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013).    

 

Madugalle's world record ODI match referee will extend further to 275 matches by the time the series ends, and Davis and Illingworth's match records to 122 and 21 respectively as umpires. The two Twenty20 Internationals at the end of the tour will also be managed by Madugalle, his fifty-seventh and fifty-eighth, Pakistan IUP members filling the four umpiring positions in each game.

 

BERNARD DOUBLING AS ICC-CA 

MATCH REFEREE

[PTG 1208-5817]

 

Australian match referee Steve Bernard is still a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP) despite his recent appointment to Cricket Australia's (CA) Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP), according to a report from ICC headquarters in Dubai.  Bernard withdrew from his ICC appointment as the match referee for the recent Afghanistan and Kenya series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 1201-5784, 3 October 2013), and is to make his UHPP debut as a match referee in Sydney today in the one-day game between Queensland and Western Australia.

 

Bernard was selected by the ICC as one of five RRP match referees almost two years ago, his particular responsibility being the world body's East-Asia Pacific (EAP) 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.  In the time since he has worked as a referee in ICC matches played in Australia, Samoa and the UAE, overseeing two second-tier international first class, two List A, and two Twenty20 Internationals, six matches in the 2012 Under-19 World Cup, twenty games in a World Cricket League Division 8 tournament, and four in an EAP Under-19 event.  

 

Today's Queensland-WA match will see scorer Ian Wright make his List A debut, and he will be with Bernard again on Sunday for a second game, then in two more next week in which Bernard's UHPP colleague Bob Stratford will be the referee.  Bernard's next referee appointment appears likely to be in a Sheffield Shield first class match in November-December.

PLAYING THE GAME

 

NUMBER 1,209

Saturday, 12 October 2013

BCCI 'NO BULLY', SAYS SRINIVASAN 

[PTG 1209-5818]

 

Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says that his Board is "not a bully in the cricket world" and that "all it wants is a fair deal for Indian cricket".  Srinivasan denied rumours that the BCCI, upset with the appointment of former International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat as Cricket South Africa's new chief executive officer, has put on hold the series India is scheduled to play in South Africa later this year as a result (PTG 1208-5813, 11 October 2013).

 

Srinivasan, who said the BCCI is "not a cosy club" but rather "a well managed organisation", refused to comment on the issues of spot-fixing or the involvement of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the Indian Premier League betting scandal.  BCCI "people are responsible, cricket is managed well, new stadiums have come up, we have given pensions and one-time benefits to old cricketers, zonal academies have been set up and infrastructure has been developed, [so no one should] brush aside the [board's] achievements".

 

In reference to the tour of South Africa Srinivasan said "we need more inbound tours so we invited the West Indies" and denied suggestions his board was giving a "farewell gift" to Sachin Tendulkar by organising a Test series in India so he could play his 200th Test there.  Asked about the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), Srinivasan said that the board's stand on the decision making system was vindicated after some dubious calls during the Ashes series.  "The technology is still not quite there and there are some fundamental issues with the UDRS, so for the time being there will be no rethink [about it on the part of the BCCI]".

 

PCB NAMES ITS UMPIRES FOR 

SOUTH AFRICA SERIES

[PTG 1209-5819]

 

Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza, who one report says is "arguably the best umpire in the country after the celebrated Aleem Dar", is to stand in three of the One Day Internationals (ODI) and both Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) Pakistan and South Africa are to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month.  He will work with his countrymen Shozab Raza, who is not related, and Zameer Haider, plus neutral umpires Steve Davis of Australia, Richard Illingworth of England, and match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, during the five ODIs (PTG 1208-5816, 11 October 2013).

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board has named Shozab Raza, 48, to serve as the fourth umpire in the two Tests Pakistan and South Africa are to play at the opening of the series, the first of which is due to get underway tomorrow in Abu Dhabi; his fourth and fifth in that role, all of which have been played in the UAE.  He will then stand in ODIs one and two with Ahsan Raza the reserve, before the latter is on-field in games three to five, matches that will see Zameer Haider the fourth umpire.

 

Both Razas will be on the field in the first of the two T20Is with Zameer Haider the television official and Ahmed Shahab the fourth, while in the second it will be Ashan Raza and Zameer Haider on-field, Ahmed Shahab the television umpire and Qaiser Waheed the fourth.  The two Razas are Pakistan's on-field members on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 1185-5713, 8 September 2013).  Ahmed Shahab, 44, has stood in a total of eighty-seven first class matches since January 2003, but the T20I will be his first as a third umpire in an international, while for Qaiser Waheed, 47, another first class umpire, it is his first in an international appointment.  

 

MORE CONCERN ABOUT CA ONE-DAY 

TOURNAMENT FORMAT 

[PTG 1209-5820]

 

Queensland coach Stuart Law became the latest team official to question Cricket Australia's (CA) tournament-style one-day domestic series ahead of his side's opening match against Western Australia today.  Tasmanian captain George Bailey and Victorian player Cameron White made news last week by querying the wisdom of the new arrangements (PTG 1205-5803, 8 October 2013).  

 

Yesterday's fixture was the first of six Queensland is to play over the next twelve days.  In response to a question from a journalist, Law said he doesn't "understand why it was changed from its original format to be honest [for] to play so many games in such a short time-frame has the potential to take its toll on players before the season really gets started".  Such issues are expected to be raised during the meeting players from around Australia are reported to be attending over the next few days (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013).  

 

Away from the one-day arena, Law said he was pleased to hear that "Hot Spot' technology had been dumped for the return Ashes, calling it "a great thing" (PTG 1207-5806, 10 October 2013).  In his view "umpires make decisions and players have to accept [their] decision and get on with it".

 

USE OF UMBRELLAS, ICE JACKETS, 

HELP PLAYERS KEEP THEIR COOL

[PTG 1209-5821]

 

South African fitness trainer Greg King hopes that large umbrellas will be able to be erected around the boundary as a player heat management measure during the nine matches his side is to play against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates over the next month.  With maximum temperatures during games possibly reaching forty degrees celsius, another heat-related issue being worked on by the team are a range of ice jackets that will allow members to take a "minute or two" to cool down during short breaks in play when they are in the field.

 

According to a 'Cricinfo' report, "officials have yet to rubber-stamp" King's request for up to four umbrellas around the ground as in his assessment they are "more effective than any of the [ice jackets] we have" developed.  South Africa is said to have been trialling a range of jackets with ice filled linings, "including neck pieces, discs and bandanas, some of which contain a freezable gel that assists in bringing body temperature down".

 

King said recently that "If you get too hot, your body will tell you to slow down, you won't be able to put in as much effort, and then you will not get guys bowling at one hundred per cent [for] they'll be [back] at eighty per cent".  "When they are on the field, [players] can't wear an ice-vest because it's cumbersome and there are regulations about what you can and can't put on so we've to experiment with when they come off the field and during drinks breaks", King said. 

 

A year ago Australia resorted to 'Slushies', microscopic thermometers, ice baths and rooms on the dark side of the hotel, as part of measures to try and manage the very hot playing conditions their national side was subjected to in an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE (PTG 987-4796, 3 September 2012).

 

TRAFFIC JAM STOPS PLAY, 

SPARKS CONTROVERSY

[PTG 1209-5822]

 

The result of Wednesday's Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match between Cricket Coaching School (CCS) and Brothers Union will go to a tribunal after CCS arrived at the ground late because of an accident-induced traffic jam, and the Brothers Union captain refused to take part in the toss and demanded his side be awarded a walkover.  Last year the Surjo Tarun team was, somewhat mysteriously, demoted from the DPL after they failed to turn up for a match after being stuck in a massive traffic jam for two hours, however, the competition's By Laws have since been modified to give teams "thirty minutes grace" at the start of a match.

 

CCS, who is said to have travelled to the ground on their team bus this week, are reported to have reached there some forty-five minutes after the scheduled start.  Match referee Samiur Rahman, who is reported to have also been on that bus, asked for a delayed start but Brothers Union refused, pointing to the thirty minutes requirement set out in the By Laws.  Jalal Yunus, the chairman of Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis, told the 'Daily Star' that the decision about the result of the match will be decided at a hearing later this week.

 

ST PETERS TO ENGAGE 'INFALLIBLE' UMPIRES 

FOR VATICAN TOURNAMENT?

[PTG 1209-5823]

 

Officials at the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Culture (PCC), which has a section dedicated to sport, are setting up the first ever Vatican cricket club and plan to run a tournament involving players from seminaries and pontifical universities around Rome, says the UK-based 'Catholic Herald' newspaper.  In the longer-term those behind the move are said to be "especially keen" to organise a match, "possibly at Lord’s", between a team from the Holy See team and one from the Church of England, but whether any trophy to be played for will be called the 'Henry VIII' Cup is not known.

 

Xavarian Father Theodore Mascarenhas, an Indian at the PCC who will chair the new Vatican Cricket Board, told the 'Herald' that he hopes that the new “St Peter’s Cricket Club” will be one of "at least six teams" who will be involved in a tournament that is expected to get underway "in the next month or two".  He believes around 400 cricket fans reside in the 'Eternal City', but stresses the underlying aim of the initiative is to start “a kind of inter-cultural dialogue” that will try to "bridge religious divides".  A future goal is to organise a tournament between the Vatican club and teams from Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu seminaries in "such countries as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar".

 

An initial match has been played between two Vatican universities, the Maria Mater Ecclesiae International Pontifical College and the Pontifical Urbaniana University, at a ground near Rome’s Ciampino airport.  “It was an interesting game", said Father Mascarenhasm for “they played a Twenty20 match and Ubaniana won by just one run".  

PLAYING THE GAME

 

NUMBER 1,210

Monday, 14 October 2013

NEW ZEALAND TO CONTINUE USING 

'HOT SPOT' TECHNOLOGY

[PTG 1210-5824]

 

Australia and Pakistan may have decided to discontinue using 'Hot Spot', but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) plans to continue to include it in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the visit there of the West Indies in December-January (PTG 1208-5814, 11 October 2013).  NZC's head of operations Lindsay Crocker told Fairfax Press on Friday that while 'Hot Spot' was "clearly not foolproof, it was still an important tool in [UDRS operations]".

 

Crocker said that "We're a little surprised to see 'Hot Spot' come off the table in Australia", and "We don't plan on doing anything different" as "the more technology you can bring to a [UDRS] discussion, the better the quality of your decision".  He doesn't expect the West Indies Cricket Board to have an issue with 'Hot Spot' being used when the Playing Conditions are finalised for the three NZ-Windies Tests scheduled in December, however, India's tour in January-February will not see the UDRS in operation given their board's "vehement opposition to it".

 

NZC's arrangement with local broadcaster 'Sky' is different to that applies across the Tasman Sea where Channel Nine provides all the technology for the UDRS as part of its contract with Cricket Australia.  Instead, NZC is said to "partially fund" the technology used by 'Sky', the cost involved being "nowhere near" the reported $A250,000 Channel Nine pays for 'Hot Spot' operations in a series (PTG 1205-5808, 10 October 2013).

 

The Fairfax story says that the UDRS is not being used for "LBW and catches" during New Zealand's current series in Bangladesh "due to the cost", a decision that most probably came from the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

 

Meanwhile, former England captain Andrew Strauss has backed the decision to drop 'Hot Spot' for the Ashes in Australia, saying on BBC Radio that "no-one trusts" the system and that it "just creates confusion".  ABC commentator Jim Maxwell also says he does not think the players have any confidence in 'Hot Spot', and expressed concerns about ball tracking technology.  He also said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should not be asking individual cricket boards or broadcasters to pay for the technology that assists umpires, a "message has been going to them for ages [but] they ignore it".

 

Warren Brennan, whose company provides the 'Hot Spot' system, told the BBC that he hoped to be able to introduce new high-definition cameras next year that will improve its accuracy, however, it appears at the moment that his firm's 'Real-time Snickometer', which is being assessed by the ICC, will not be cleared in time for use during the forthcoming Ashes series as was hoped three months ago (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).

 

ICC LAUNCHES WORLD 

TEST CHAMPIONSHIP 

[PTG 1210-5825]

 

The inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) series that is to be played in England in June-July 2017 will feature the then top four teams in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test rankings and see total prize money of $A10M at stake.  ICC chief executive David Richardson said at the WTC's launch in Abu Dhabi on Saturday that "the objective of the championship is to preserve the primacy of Tests and to preserve the future of all formats of the game".

 

Richardson said the qualifying phase for the Test championship will run from May this year and end in December 2016, however, the actual format of the WTC proper has not been finalised and is to be "discussed at ICC Cricket Committee meetings", the next of which is not due until May next year.     In July, the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee said that it planned to submit its ideas about such issues to the ICC (PTG 1150-5571, 18 July 2013).

 

Currently South Africa is ranked one in Test cricket, England two, India three, Australia four, the West Indies fifth and Pakistan and Sri Lanka are sixth and seventh respectively.  South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who was at the launch, said: “It's fantastic to have a pathway clearly identified for the [WTC] and to know that the top four teams will have a chance to battle it out to be crowned the ultimate champions".  “It adds a new meaning for all the Test teams", said Smith.  Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the WTC "will add value to Test cricket, interest in which is dying because of Twenty20".

 

While England will host the first WTC, India will be the location for its second edition in February-March 2021, but as yet the country that will support the 2025 event has not been chosen (PTG 1136-5513, 1 July 2013).

 

 

CA MULLING CHANGES TO SHEFFIELD SHIELD 

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS SYSTEM

[PTG 1210-5826]

 

Just three weeks out from the start of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic first class competition for 2013-14, it would appear the national body is mulling changes to the championship points system that will apply for the thirty-one match series. A key focus of the move is to get pitches for Sheffield Shield games that are more suitable for grooming players for the challenges of Test cricket, an issue that CA chief executive James Sutherland and others first talked about nearly twelve months ago (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2013).

 

Sutherland is said to have indicated at a press conference on Thursday that some Australian pitches in recent years have been made too fast bowler friendly as part attempts by teams to enhance the chances of obtaining outright results.  Australia's batting and spin bowling problems have been partially blamed on Shield pitches being too green or moist, making batting conditions difficult and spin bowlers of little consequence.  While curators from state associations have concerns with such views (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013), CA is said to be looking at bringing back a bonus points arrangement that could reward teams who do well without necessarily gaining an outright.  

 

Currently the Shield system awards teams two points for a first-innings lead, six for an outright result and none for a draw, a structure that was devised to encourage attacking cricket.  According to Sutherland "there is a question mark we have in our own mind as to whether the incentives are in the right place to deliver the best pitches". "If we have a points system that is heavily loaded to an outright result, then people may well roll the dice on a less prepared wicket [sic]". 

 

"We had bonus points in Shield cricket a long time ago and will have a look at that", said Sutherland.  One media report says that the English County Championship points-scoring system is a model being considered, it allocating bonus points for first-innings totals over 300 that are scored in good time.  

 

CEC CONSIDERED ALLOWING TEAMS TO 

KEEP 'UMPIRES CALL' FAILED REFERRALS

[PTG 1210-5827]

 

Allowing teams to keep referrals made under the Umpire Decision Review System that were denied on an "umpire's call" was "debated long and hard" during last month's meeting of the International Cricket Council's Chief Executives Committee (CEC) in Dubai, says Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.  The loss of referrals to tight decisions that stayed with the umpire's original verdict created significant discussion among players, spectators and administrators during this year's Ashes series in England.  

 

Sutherland said it was still possible that such reviews would be handed back to the players, but that the CEC had eventually decided to leave the issue "pending for a little while", the main concern apparently being fear that the game would be slowed down too much had the decision gone the other way.  However, such concerns did not stop the chief executives agreeing to allow a "top up" of referrals after eighty overs of an innings (PTG 1207-5809, 10 October 2013), something others have since pointed to as potentially slowing down the game.

 

The new arrangement will give each team a maximum of two unsuccessful player review requests in the first eighty overs of the innings, and a maximum of two unsuccessful player review requests, both batting and bowling, after eighty overs for the remainder of the innings.  That will mean that at the end of the eightieth over: a team with two remaining reviews receives no additional reviews; a team with one remaining review receives one additional review, and, a team with zero remaining reviews receives two additional reviews.

 

HAWTHORNE IRELAND'S 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR' 

[PTG 1210-5828]

 

Mark Hawthorne of the Northern Cricket Union was chosen as Cricket Ireland's 'Umpire of the Year' at the sport's annual awards dinner in Dublin on Friday night.  Hawthorne, 51, a member of the International Cricket Council's third-tier Associate and Affiliates International Umpires Panel, has over the last three years been named to stand in four international first class matches, twelve One Day Internationals, most of which involved second-tier nations, and four Twenty20 Internationals, games that were played in Ireland, India, Scotland, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

 

BCCI-CSA DISCUSSIONS ON 

INDIAN TOUR CONTINUING 

[PTG 1210-5829]

 

Saturday's meeting between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) did not resolve their dispute over the Indian side's tour this austral summer, however, both groups are said to consider it the first step in resolving the issues involved.  Reports say an announcement is expected this week that will see the two sides play two Twenty20 Internationals, three Tests and three One Day Internationals, the latter being four less than announced by CSA in July.  

 

There were claims last week that the BCCI was pushing the International Cricket Council into 'illegalities' in the dispute (PTG 1208-5813, 11 October 2013), but the Indian board's president said it is "not a bully in the cricket world" and that "all it wants is a fair deal for Indian cricket" (PTG 1209-5818, 12 October 2013).  

 

CSA TO INTRODUCE PLAYER 

'INCENTIVE', NOT 'QUOTA'

[PTG 1210-5830]

 

Professional franchises in South Africa will be required to include at least one black African in their team line ups, and amateur teams there two, under arrangements that Cricket South Africa (CSA) will bring into force this Wednesday.  Two weeks ago South African cricket officials were said to be set to consider a proposal that would require at least two black Africans in every top-level team, and three in second-tier semi-professional provincial sides (PTG 1202-5788, 4 October 2013).  

 

The new arrangements were agreed to at CSA's 2013 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, and will include an incentive that will give franchises who select more than one black African in seventy per cent of their matches a financial amount equivalent to the average contract cost of such players. According to CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, the new requirement is "incentive, not quota based".  "We have a very talented population", he said, and "we have all embraced the need to accelerate transformation".

 

Even though black Africans comprise almost eighty per cent of the country's population, only five black African players have represented South Africa at Test level over the twenty-two years since the country returned to the international fold.  By contrast nine mixed-race and three of Asian origin have been selected for Tests.  

 PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,211
Tuesday, 15 October 2013


ICC TO ALLOW CONVICTED SPOT-FIXER 

AN EARLY RETURN? 

[PTG 1211-5831]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is to again push the International Cricket Council's (ICC) board to allow banned bowler Mohammad Amir to resume domestic cricket during the board's meeting in London on Thursday and Friday.  Amir was banned for five years in 2011 for spot fixing during a Test at Lord's and later served a jail sentence in the United Kingdom after being found guilty by a court (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).

 

A PCB "source" told the Press Trust of India yesterday that it was hopeful it will be able to convince the ICC to allow Amir to resume training at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore under the supervision of national coaches.  "The PCB hired a law firm in London to look into Amir's case and prepare a report which has been sent to the ICC for consideration and discussion at the board meeting", said the source.  

 

PCB caretaker chairman Najam Sethi and chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad will be attending the London meeting and the Amir issue is said to be "on the top of their list of priorities".  Sethi brought up the Amir issue at the board's last meeting three months ago and that led to the world body forming a special committee headed by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Giles Clarke to look into the matter (PTG 1148-5561, 15 July 2013).  Clarke is expected to present his group's findings in London.

 

Amir's Lord's teammates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were also given minimum five year bans by the ICC for spot fixing in the same Test. All three have admitted to their actions, apologised to the Pakistani fans and the PCB for their actions, agreed to undergo rehabilitation programs, and cooperate with the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

 

A report from Lahore says that Amir, whose ban currently formally ends in September 2015, told the 'Geo' television channel that he is "really grateful to the PCB for taking up my case with the ICC because staying away from cricket has been the most difficult time in my life".  He is hopeful the ICC will look at his case on compassionate grounds given he has served time in jail.

 

'HIGH FIVE' CELEBRATION 

INJURES WICKETKEEPER

[PTG 1211-5832]

 

Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was poked in the eye twice during bowler James Faulkner's 'high five' wicket-taking celebration in their side's opening One Day International (ODI) against India in Pune on Sunday and had to leave the field.  Faulkner had just removed opener Shikhar Dhawan when a miss-timed celebration took out Haddin who fell to the ground clutching his face much to the confusion of the commentators and the crowd.

 

Haddin recovered enough to take the next ball but left after that and spent the next twenty-two overs off the ground with a scratched eye, opening batsman Phil Hughes donned the gloves during that time.  Captain George Bailey joked to reporters after the game" "How embarrassing is that? "What about just a handshake?" or "Just take it back to 'well bowled'".   Haddin isn't expected to be in doubt for tomorrow's second ODI in Jaipur.

 

VICTORIA PENALISED FOR 

ONE-DAY SLOW OVER-RATE 

[PTG 1211-5833]

 

The Victorian side has been penalised 0.5 match points because of a slow over rate in Sunday's one-day game against Queensland in Sydney.  Match referee Peter Marshall found Victoria to be one over behind the required target at the end of the match, and under the competition's Playing Conditions teams are penalised 0.5 match points for every over they are short at the scheduled cessation time of the innings.

 

CA A 'WOWSER' ON ADVERTISING, 

CLAIMS HEALTH GROUP

[PTG 1211-5834]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has refused to run an advertisement that says ''alcohol and sport don't mix'' at grounds in Sydney where its one-day domestic series is being played because it thinks they in fact "mix perfectly well", says a story in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  'Healthway', a Western Australian government group that promotes healthy lifestyles is sponsoring the state side there, whereas both the South Australian and Queensland sides are supported by breweries.

 

'SMH' Health Editor Amy Corderoy says that 'Healthway' was offered, along with other state team sponsors, advertising at grounds only to be told its message was not appropriate as it could affect "other partners" in the game.  Professor Mike Daube from the McCusker Centre for Alcohol and Youth called that "appalling censorship by [CA]".  "Their priorities are clear", he said, for "they are keen to protect their alcohol sponsors from messages that might offend them but do nothing to stop alcohol promotion that might offend health-promoting sponsors".

 

The dean of the Victoria University college of sport and exercise science, Hans Westerbeek, said alcohol sponsorship was now as important to sport "as tobacco sponsorship was twenty or thirty years ago". In his view it would be more difficult to stop sponsorship of alcohol because it was not harmful in small doses, whereas tobacco was. 

 

A spokesman for CA said the advertising had not been rejected because of the impact on other sponsors but "because it conflicted with our continuing position on the relationship between alcohol and sport, which is one of consumption in moderation".  "We believe Australian cricket has a responsible relationship with alcohol, particularly in terms of responsible alcohol sponsorship of our game," he said. "It is better to engage with the reality that many fans enjoy a responsible drink than it is to turn them off with a prohibition message they don't believe".

 

This Thursday the 'Alcohol Think Again' Western Australian side plays the brewery-sponsored South Australian team, then today week they have another game against similarly supported Queensland.  Corderoy says that the sponsorship deal between Carlton and United Breweries and CA is thought to be worth $A65 million over five years, whereas the 'Healthway' deal is worth $A2.1 million over three years.

 

2013 WORLD CRICKET AWARDS 

TO BE TV BASED

[PTG 1211-5835]

 

This year's world 'Umpire of the Year' and 'Spirit of Cricket' awards will not be presented at a gala ceremony in one of the world's cricketing nations as has been the case over the last decade, but rather via "a television show that will air in December".  This year's awards will be the tenth since the International Cricket Council (ICC) inaugurated the event in London in 2004, and in the time since they have been held in Sydney, Mumbai, Johannesburg twice, Dubai, Bengaluru, Colombo and London for a second time, all events occurring during the September-October period.

 

Australian Simon Taufel won the first five 'Umpire of the Year' awards, Aleem Dar of Pakistan the next three, and Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena for the first time last year (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012).  The first seven 'Spirit of Cricket' awards were given to teams, however, over the last two years the ICC has changed the emphasis to on-field actions of individuals that best exemplify 'spirit' principles (PTG 991-4813, 16 September 2013). 

 PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,212
Thursday, 17 October 2013


VICTORIA TO APPEAL SLOW 

OVER-RATE PENALTY

[PTG 1212-5836]

 

Victoria is appealing against the 0.5 one-day championship points penalty handed to it for a slow over-rate in last Sunday's game against Queensland in Sydney.  Match referee Peter Marshall found Victoria to be one over behind the required target at the end of the match, and under the competition's Playing Conditions teams are penalised 0.5 points for every over they are short at the scheduled cessation time of the innings (PTG 1211-5833, 15 October 2013). 

 

The Victorians finished their fifty overs in the field just over five minutes past the deadline and Marshall decided on the one over deficit after allowing for the thirty-four boundaries Queensland scored in their innings, says an article in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' this morning.  Cricket Victoria's Shaun Graf is said to be arguing that decision was ''quite harsh'' as ''there were gale-force winds and fires … it wasn't a great day", and to have claimed that "communications [to the players about the deadline, presumably by the umpires] were pretty ordinary".  The on-field umpires for the game were Ash Barrow and Sam Nogajski while newcomer Tony Wilds was in the third umpire spot.

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic one-day Playing Conditions require teams to have started the final over by the deadline set, and Graf said his side would try to convince CA another minute or so of allowances, enough to have the penalty overturned, were warranted.  If they are successful in regaining their half-point it is likely Victoria will finish in the competition's top three and therefore at least qualify for next Thursday's semi-final.  'The Age' says that CA is yet to confirm when Victoria's appeal will be heard, however, presumably a decision on the matter will be required in the next six days.

 

AUSSIE ONE-DAY SERIES 'LIKELY'

TO REMAIN IN TOURNAMENT STYLE

[PTG 1212-5837]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is likely to conduct its 2014-15 domestic one-day competition in a one-state, tournament-style format as is the case for the first time this season, but whether it will again be played in Sydney has not yet been decided, says a story in 'The Australian' newspaper this morning.  A number of players have publicly criticised the new one-city, concentrated one-month playing arrangements in recent weeks (PTG 1205-5803, 8 October 2013), and it and other issues have led players from around the country to get together to discuss their concerns (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013).

 

CA's cricket operations manager Sean Cary is quoted by 'The Australian' as saying that "at this stage" "the scheduling challenges" of hosting the World Cup early in 2015 means the new domestic one-day format will continue in twelve months time.  According to him CA is "keen to ensure we continue that tournament-style competition exposure for our players ahead of such events [as the World Cup, but] until we are clear on the full [2014-15] international schedule and what venues are available, we cannot confirm the [domestic one-day] schedule".

 

Cary went on to say that the current tournament had rated well on broadcaster Channel Nine's secondary digital channel, last Sunday's Queensland-Victoria match for example "averaging 125,500 viewers with a reach of 795,000".  "At this point we're pleased with the telecast, while the block format has provided great experience for cricketers striving for international honours", said Cary, and in his view "players are learning to adapt to different types of wickets, which has resulted in some really close games".

 

'The Australian' says the new tournament-style event drew criticism during its first two weeks due to low-scoring matches and "a sluggish pitch" at the Bankstown Oval, however, "high-scoring contests at the batsman-friendly North Sydney Oval and two thrillers at Hurstville Oval have breathed life into the competition".  "There have been some comments about some of the wickets being a bit slow, but I wouldn't say that should be considered a negative", Cary said.

 

Cary admitted CA had received "mixed feedback" about the restructured one-state based competition, however, "the players are obviously coming to terms with the new format and when there is significant change there are bound to be mixed reactions".  'The Australian' says that some players and administrators feel the compressed format denies young players opportunities and diminishes fifty-over cricket in relation to CA's much-hyped Twenty20 competition, while spectators in states other than New South Wales have complained about buying memberships only to learn there would be no one-day games in their states.

 

On the other hand an article in Monday's 'Herald Sun' describes Queensland captain James Hopes as having "shrugged off" his early reservations about the new event style.  In an assessment similar to Cary's, he said "the young guys [in his team] especially are getting a great experience by playing in unfamiliar conditions on grounds that are foreign to them [and] that can only help them in the long run".

 

BOTHA BOWLING ACTION 

TESTED IN CANBERRA

[PTG 1212-5838]

 

South Australian and former South African spinner Johan Botha's bowling action was put under the spotlight via biomechanical testing at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra yesterday, says a story in this morning's 'Canberra Times'.  Botha was cited for a 'Doubtful Bowling Action' by the umpires who looked after his side's opening one-day domestic game of the season almost two weeks ago (PTG 1204-5801, 8 October 2013).

 

International Cricket Council regulations state a bowler cannot straighten their arm by more than fifteen degrees, and a CA spokesman is quoted as saying that Botha is "found to have an illegal action, he will be suspended from bowling for no less than ninety days, after such time he can reapply to get his action tested again".  Botha  is allowed to continue playing and bowl until the formal results of the AIS tests are available, something Cricket Australia (CA) is said to have indicated will be by next Wednesday, a time in which his side will play three more games.  

 

CA amended the processes it uses for suspect action reports prior to the current season with just a single 'mention' by all the umpires in a game now triggering the biomechanical testing requirement.

 

NEW FACES ON TTCUSA EXECUTIVE 

[PTG 1212-5839]

 

The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TTCUSA) has elected Parasram Singh as its new president.  Singh, who won the presidency ahead of South Zone’s Narace Singh, takes over from Lalman Kowlessar who left office after serving the  maximum three two-year terms open to TTCUSA members, say local media reports.  East Zone’s David Hunte was elected as the association's vice president, North Zone’s John Lewis as secretary and Shahid Allaham the treasurer.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,213

Friday, 18 October 2013

ONE-MATCH SUSPENSION 

HANDED TO NSW BOWLER 

[PTG 1213-5840]

 

New South Wales (NSW) bowler Doug Bollinger has been suspended from playing in his side's next match in Cricket Australia's (CA) one-day series on  Sunday.  Bollinger was reported for breaching CA's Code of Behaviour in the game against Queensland at the North Sydney Oval yesterday for "Throwing a ball at or near a Player or Player Support Personnel in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during a Match".  

 

CA said in a statement issued last night that Bollinger pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted match referee Bob Stratford’s proposed penalty of one suspension point.  Because of the bowler's guilty plea a Code of Behaviour hearing was not required as it was his first disciplinary offence in the past eighteen months.  No actual details of Bollinger misdemeanour, including who else was involved, were provided by CA, but a report in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' says he "made a wild throw at the stumps when fielding off his own bowling, only to hit the [on strike] Queensland batsman".

 

RANGE OF ISSUES ON 

ICC BOARD AGENDA 

[PTG 1213-5841]

 

Members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) board are to discuss a range of outcomes from last month's Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) meeting in London today and tomorrow.  An ICC statement says that such issues as the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), bad light, One Day International (ODI) Playing Conditions, anti-corruption matters, the future tours program, and a range of sub-committee reports, will be considered over the two days.

 

Amongst those issues agreed to at the CEC were the trial of a 'topping' up of reviews allowed under the UDRS (PTG 1207-5809, 10 October 2013), establishment of a Working Group to review issues related to technology, "umpires' call" policy, slow over-rates (PTG 1187-5723, 14 September 2013), offering the light (PTG 1188-5732, 15 September 2013), and allowing only one ball to be used in ODIs in which the first innings is reduced to twenty-five overs or less.  Many of the decisions made by the CEC last month came into force via new ICC Playing Conditions arrangements announced a week ago (PTG 1207-5809, 10 October 2013). 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,214
Sunday, 20 October 2013

ICC TO 'REVIEW' AAMER BAN WHEN NEW 

ANTI-CORRUPTION CODE IS INTRODUCED  

[PTG 1214-5842]

 

Pakistan bowler Mohammad Aamer's five-year match-fixing ban will be "reviewed" after the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduces a "revised", "more robust and strengthened" anti-corruption code, possibly in January next year.  That and consideration of an "update on the investigations" into Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match-fixing issues were part of discussions held during the ICC board's latest regular quarterly two-day meetings which ended in London yesterday (PTG 1213-5841, 18 October 2013).

 

Now twenty-one-year-old Aamer was banned for five years in February 2011, along with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, for deliberately bowling no-balls in return for money in a Test at Lord's in 2010, all three later serving jail terms in England for corruption (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).  A statement issued by the ICC board overnight says its next meeting in January will "discuss, and possibly adopt", the new anti-corruption code, that "during discussions the matter of Aamer's five-year ban also came up for discussion", and that it will look at his case once the new code "has been finalised and adopted".

 

Prior to the meeting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had taken up Aamer's case (PTG 1211-5831, 15 October 2013), and is reported to have "taken heart" from the opinion of a senior British lawyer that, given the player's admission of guilt and appearance in ICC anti-corruption videos, what was called the bowler's "unjust and perverse" ban should be relaxed "to at least allow him to play first-class cricket".  

 

The PCB said in a response to the ICC board's decision that they'd been encouraged by their talks with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke, who is heading up the ICC's anti-corruption laws sub-committee.  Clarke is said to have "assured PCB chairman Najam Sethi that he would work with him to find ways and means of positively reviewing [Aamer's] case".  Sethi, who the PCB says has "tirelessly argued for Mohammad Aamer at all forums of the ICC" since becoming chairman, reportedly made "a passionate pitch" to the ICC board about the bowler's case.

 

No details about what if any outcomes resulted from BPL corruption discussions were released, and information about other issues considered in London are sketchy.  Amongst the information that was provided was that the schedule for the 2014 Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February was approved, preparations for next year's World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh reviewed, and discussions held at last month's ICC chief executives committee meeting on "maintaining the current playing conditions for One Day International cricket, bad light, and the Umpire Decision Review System", were "noted".

 

AUSSIE PLAYERS PREPARING THEIR  

VIEW  OF THE 'STATE OF THE GAME' 

[PTG 1214-5843]

 

Professional cricketers from around Australia's are planning to make their concerns about the state of the game in that country to Cricket Australia (CA) "before the end of the year" (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013).  Reports say that around a hundred state players met in Sydney last week to be briefed on, and provide their comments about, a draft report prepared by the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).

 

Media reports say that the key issues mentioned in the draft report include the domestic playing schedule, including what is termed ''the over prioritisation of Twenty20 cricket'', the strength of pathway competitions from club to national level, injury management, coaching, governance and leadership.  ACA chief executive Paul Marsh, who will add the thoughts of Australian players over the coming weeks, then talk to former players, is quoted as saying ''CA has been told [the report] is coming and we expect it will be taken seriously".

 

Marsh questioned whether CA's Argus review two years ago had done its job in a piece written for the ACA's October newsletter.  ''Why have we gone from the most dominant men's team in the history of the game to a team ranked mid-table in all three formats? What has happened to our production line of batsmen? Why are so many of our fast bowlers continually getting injured? Why do we continue to struggle to combat swing and spin bowling? What difference has the Argus review made to Australian cricket?'' he wrote.

 

"Rather than sit back and hope that things will turn themselves around", continued Marsh, "the ACA has embarked on a project to understand what our members' views of the problems are and how they can be fixed".

 

MATCH ABANDONED AFTER SEVEN 

BALLS DUE TO 'UNSAFE' GROUND 

[PTG 1214-5844]

 

A match between the Mowbray and South Launceston First Grade sides in the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association was abandoned after just seven deliveries yesterday due to what the Launceston 'Examiner' is reporting this morning as "a faulty" pitch.  South Launceston elected to field and opener Chris Hay was back in the pavilion for a 'duck' just two balls into the match, however, bowler Justin Reeves slipped bowling the first ball of the second over and according to the newspaper's report "took a divot out of the pitch".

 

Umpires John Ferguson and Scott Whitters are said to have "deemed it unsafe for play and called off the match", splitting the championship points between the two sides.  The Launceston area had had thirteen millimetres of rain two days before the match, recordings in the two weeks prior to that totalling just two millimetres, according to Bureau of meteorology records available on-line.

 

STEROID USE LEADS 

TO 18-MONTH BAN

[PTG 1214-5845]

 

Delhi bowler Pradeep Sangwan has been suspended for eighteen months for failing a random dope test during this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition.  The left-arm seamer, who played a leading role in India's Under-19 World Cup win in 2008, is the second IPL player to have been found guilty of taking banned substances, Pakistani bowler Mohammad Asif being the first two years ago.

 

Sangwan, 22, who plays for the IPL's Kolkata franchise, will not be able to play competitive cricket till November next year, says a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) press release issued yesterday, his suspension being effective from early May this year.  The ban was recommended by the BCCI's Anti-Doping Tribunal which provided its written decision to the board on Friday, it saying that the bowler's samples showed the presence of the prohibited substance 'Stanozolol', an anabolic steroid.

 

AN Sharma, Sangwan's first coach, said three months ago that the problem could have resulted from treatment Sangwan was receiving for a shoulder problem.  "Since he had no time to consult or visit the BCCI doctor, he saw a local doctor, who gave him an injection", said Sharma.  "There was instant relief from the pain thereafter and he managed to play [two matches] in the IPL", but he added that players should be careful about such treatments.

 

As in many tournaments around the world random drug tests are conducted during the IPL.  The BCCI doesn't operate under the World Anti-Doping Agency code but rather follows its own anti-doping procedures.

 

TEST PUSHING, SHOVING 

SEES TWO FINED

[PTG 1214-5846]

 

Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal and South Africa batsman Robin Peterson have been fined half of their match fees by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a shoving match on the last day of the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.  While trying to pick up the bail Adnan used his shoulder and body to push Peterson, who pushed back at the Pakistani wicketkeeper.

 

The ICC says that both players pleaded guilty to breaking the ICC's code of conduct and the pair were found to have engaged in "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play during an international match".  Match referee David Boon of Australia said in an ICC statement that "Deliberate physical contact is an action that does not belong in our game and will in no way be condoned in any situation".

 

The charges against the two players were laid by on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker of Australia, third umpire Ian Gould from England, and fourth umpire Shozab Raza of Pakistan.  Under the ICC's Code of Conduct all Level 2 breaches carry a minimum penalty of a minimum fine of fifty per cent of the applicable match fee and/or up to two Suspension Points.

 

REPRIMAND FOR NSW 

SECOND XI BATSMAN

[PTG 1214-5847]

 

New South Wales Second XI batsman David Dawson has been reprimanded for breaching the Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour on the third day of the four-day match against Western Australia in Perth on Wednesday.  CA said yesterday that Dawson was reported by umpires Nathan Johnstone and Todd Rann for "Showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision [and] Using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting", the two breaches apparently coming in the same incident.

 

Dawson admitted his guilt in what was his first offence in the past eighteen months and as such accepted match referee Terry Prue’s proposed sanctions of a warning for the dissent, and a reprimand for his other misdemeanour.  CA has not provided any background to the incident, however, Dawson was given out LBW during Wednesday's play, his second such dismissal for the match.
 

PLAYING THE GAME

 

NUMBER 1,215

Monday, 21 October 2013

TAUFEL REPORTED 'HIGHLY IMPRESSED' 

BY INTERNATIONAL UMPIRE STANDARDS

[PTG 1215-5848]

 

Former Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who retired from standing in the international game a year ago, says he is "highly impressed" by the general standard of umpiring at that level and that it is improving in "leaps and bounds", according a story in Saturday's edition of Pakistan's English language newspaper 'Dawn'.  Taufel  also emphasised the need to focus on third umpire training and talked of his work with Indian umpires when he spoke to 'Dawn' by telephone from Colombo where he conducted umpire training programs last week (PTG 1201-5783, 3 October 2013).

 

Taufel, who is now the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), said that “What impresses me overall about current international umpires is the strong desire to perform well, contribute to team success and strive for excellence".  "I was never satisfied with my own standard of performance and so our continued focus is to encourage, support and work with the current umpires to raise the bar", he said.  In his assessment "the standard of umpires joining the ICC Elite Panel continues to be higher every year", the appointment of "Paul Reiffel and Richard Illingworth" this year "supporting that view" (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).

 

Despite that Taufel said that the game continues to change and present new challenges to umpires.  “For example, in today’s game you need to be an excellent third umpire to be on the [ICC's] International or Elite Panel and not just have the on-field skills".  "There are other types of pressures to deal with in modern day umpiring such as increased media scrutiny and having to stand in a match following international travel [sometimes after having crossed several time zones]".

 

Taufel described third umpire training as "one of our top priorities" as "broadcasting technology is changing so rapidly and so are the tools that [third umpires] use".  "Being an effective third umpire is a unique skill and it is something that has to be practiced and practiced properly, with the necessary self-assessment and feedback", he said.  

 

"It is a component of every umpire workshop that we do now and we continue to seek access to training facilities and opportunities" and have to date "partnered with a few broadcasters and developed some simulated-based training modules".  "We are also broadening the training when we can to fourth umpires and the top domestic umpires [around the world] so that they are better prepared for when they have to step up into the [third umpire] role" in internationals.

 

Asked about his now role with the ICC, Taufel said “we saw a growing need and gap in umpire training and support".  "I like going places where no one has been before, breaking new ground", he said.  The UPTM "role offered that, and I wanted to make a positive difference, [but] there is much to be done".  "I enjoy asking the hard questions", he continued, and “I wanted to further my legacy goals of improving conditions for the current generation of umpires and make it easier for future generations".  "The ICC deserves a lot of credit, especially Vince van der Bijl and David Richardson, for their work in creating the role and for giving umpiring a greater profile in the sport".

 

Taufel said that "we need more umpires in cricket, we need to offer them more support as the role is challenging and we need to continue to show leadership of best practice umpiring. Together with our full-time umpire coaches in Peter Manuel, David Levens and Denis Burns, we want to work with the Full Member countries and the umpires to deliver a better service to the game. It has to be a team effort".

 

Asked about his assignment to India as part of his ICC role, Taufel said the he's "been personally involved with [Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)] umpires since 2007 through a program they initiated with Cricket Australia".  "I’m only part of the program in India, [for] the BCCI have invested in umpiring in many other ways and I’m confident that the investment is delivering higher standards to their first-class system".

 

Taufel disagreed with a suggestion from 'Dawn' that he retired prematurely when he was at the peak of his career.  He said, not for the first time, that he chose to retire because he wanted to spend more time with his family, although he wanted to continue contribute to the sport.  "I had been umpiring for twenty-two years [and] reached a stage where I was more passionate and saw an opportunity to contribute to umpiring and cricket in a different way, [and] I also wanted more control over my time and schedule".  

 

“I’m not going to pretend it was always easy" as an umpire, he said, but "it’s not supposed to be, [for] if it was, then everyone would be doing it".

 

PLAYERS SHOULD ACCEPTED DECISIONS 

'MORE GRACIOUSLY', SAYS 'BUMBLE' 

[PTG 1215-5849]

 

It would be "in the interest of the game" if players accepted decisions more graciously, says David Lloyd a former English player, umpire, coach and now broadcaster.  Lloyd, who is also one of four members of the International Cricket Council's umpire selection group, says in a piece written for the 'Sky' web site that he expects "the next Ashes Tour to be much tighter in terms of discipline, player behaviour, delays and over rates" with "the rules much more rigorously applied by the match referee".

 

Lloyd, whose nickname is 'Bumble', says that the players "will have their responsibilities spelled out to them from the top and I'd like to see zero tolerance".  "For any blatant over-rate delays they should just suspend the captain for the next match", he says, and "when it comes to poor behaviour, I'm still an advocate of football-style yellow and red cards".  "I'm sure none of this will happen, but that's my view", he said, "however, I fully expect the match referee to be far more rigorous concerning player behaviour. [and] if the players want some advice from me, they should wise up".

 

Lloyd described as "disappointing" that 'Hot Spot' won't be used [in the forthcoming Ashes series] for financial reasons and the Umpire Decision Review System will be limited to [ball-tracking technology] and the usual audio and visual replays".  "People were talking about 'Hot Spot' being fallible during the Ashes series [in England this year], but it's important to remember that within the criteria that were laid down, the umpires did things perfectly".

 

"The umpires [standing Australia-England Tests over the next two months] may feel that within those criteria they may be better off without "Hot Spot", says Lloyd, as "it's always been the case that the umpire can go off sound and 'Hot Spot' should [only] be an aid".  "The technology should not be the be-all-and-end-all and anybody reading this will know that 'Hot Spot' is a complication for the umpires", concluded Lloyd.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REPRIMANDED 

FOR 'OFFENSIVE' ACTIONS

[PTG 1215-5850]

 

South Australia's Adam Zampa has been reprimanded for breaching Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour during his side's one-day domestic match against Queensland on Saturday.  Zampa, 21, was reported by umpires Gerard Abood, Mike Graham-Smith and John Ward for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during a match".  

 

Zampa, who made his first class and List A debuts with New South Wales just under a year ago, pleaded guilty to the offence which reports say occurred whilst he celebrated a wicket, and accepted match referee Peter Marshall’s proposed sanction of an official reprimand.  CA says it "was his first offence in the past eighteen months". 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,216
Wednesday, 23 October 2013

CA DISCIPLINARY 'CRACK DOWN' BEING 

'WATCHED' BY PLAYER'S UNION

[PTG 1216-5851]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has "cracked down hard on minor violations of [its] player code of behaviour" over the last few weeks, according to a story published in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday.  The article says that since CA's current season began late last month five players, Doug Bollinger and David Dawson of New South Wales, Adam Zampa and Tom Cooper of South Australia, and Ben Laughlin of Tasmania, have been either fined or reprimanded for their match-related actions under CA's Code of Conduct (CoC) regulations. 

 

Journalist Peter Lalor says that CA reviewed its CoC arrangements in the off-season following "a series of embarrassing and poorly handled [on-field] incidents last austral summer".  Lalor points in particular to the way CA chief executive James Sutherland "was widely criticised when he was seen to accept Shane Warne's ugly spat with Marlon Samuels [in the 2012-13 domestic Twenty20 series] as a reflection of how competitive that tournament was", rather than focus on the disciplinary principles involved (PTG 1038-5040, 10 January 2013).  

 

A CA spokesman confirmed the "crack down", acknowledged a review had taken place, and indicated it has been decided as a result that the Australian system should be "better aligned" with International Cricket Council's (ICC) disciplinary arrangements.  The spokesman went on to emphasise that the disciplinary changes, which are yet to be spelt out publicly, "have been communicated to all players via our state education[al] sessions conducted" prior to the current "season getting underway".  The review work was probably undertaken as part of the independent evaluation of CA's integrity-related matters announced eight months ago (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013).  

 

Despite CA's 'educational sessions' 'The Australian' quotes Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA) chief executive Paul Marsh as indicating he is concerned players were becoming confused as to what is acceptable.  According to him "we are watching carefully what is transpiring in the early stages of [this] season".  The ACA chief is said to have gone on to claim the current player "confusion" with regards to discipline started with the Harbhajan Singh "scandal" during the Sydney Test in India's tour of Australia' five years ago.  At that time the Indian spinner was charged with a Level 3 racially-based offence, the so-called 'monkey-gate' incident.  

 

The Board of Control for Cricket India threatened to withdrawal from the tour over that and other issues, umpire Steve Bucknor was dumped from the next Test by the ICC, and Harbhajan later escaped with just the loss of half his match fee after what was described as an "accidental" procedural bungle by the ICC (PTG 188-1016, 1 February 2008).  Marsh apparently believes, with what justification is not clear, that outcome has "led to Australian players second guessing themselves" about disciplinary matters in the time since.

 

While CA has distributed information via press release of the disciplinary actions taken against Bollinger, Dawson and Zampa, it does not appear to have done so in the case of either Cooper or Laughlin.  Bollinger threw a ball at a batsman (PTG 1213-5840, 18 October 20130, Dawson showed dissent to the umpires (PTG 1214-5847, 20 October 2013), and Zampa's offence was language-related (PTG 1215-5850, 21 October 2013).  'The Australia' story says "Cooper was fined [twenty per cent of his match fee] for swearing in the dressing room [during a match], the [unnamed] umpires claiming he could be heard in the middle", however, just what Laughlin's offence was does not appear to have been publicised.   

 

ACA members from around Australia are planning to make their concerns about the state of the game in that country known to CA "before the end of the year" (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013), around a hundred state players meeting in Sydney last week to be briefed on, and provide their comments about, a draft of the submission concerned (PTG 1214-5843, 20 October 2013).  Players in Australia appear to carry a great deal of weight when they make their views known, an example being CA's rapid back down a year ago after what some media reports at the time said was their "revolt" over CA's umpire review initiatives (PTG 1024-4974, 30 November 2012).  Many key members of CA's staff structure, including Sutherland, are former first class players.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,217
Friday, 25 October 2013


INDIA'S SOUTH AFRICAN TOUR SHORTENED, 

OFF-FIELD MANOEUVRING ATTRACTS CRITICISM

[PTG 1217-5852]

 

South Africa's Cricketers' Association (SACA) has criticised the decision to shorten India's tour of that country after a dispute between the two governing bodies, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Under an agreement reached earlier this week, their teams are to play two Tests and three One Day Internationals (ODI), one Test, two ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationls less than were first announced by CSA in July, a change that has financial implications for the South African board said to be in the order of $A20m.

 

The revised itinerary was announced in a joint CSA-BCCI statement that was issued following weeks of talks between the two boards.  CSA-BCCI negotiations were made more delicate after David Becker, a former ICC legal advisor, accused the BCCI of breaching rules regarding the ICC's Future Tours Program, a claim the ICC described as "inaccurate and unsubstantiated" (PTG 1208-5813, 11 October 2013).

 

The BCCI is said to have only agreed to tour after receiving assurances that CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat would have no role in South Africa's relations with the BCCI.  The Indian board fell out with Lorgat during his five-year tenure as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive which ended in 2011, however, it has claimed it is not upset with his appointment as CSA chief executive, that it is "not a bully in the cricket world", and that "all it wants is a fair deal for Indian cricket" (PTG 1209-5818, 12 October 2013).

 

Despite that media reports say that under the BCCI-CSA agreement Lorgat, who is to remain as the CSA's chief executive, will not have any role in his organisation's dealings on either ICC or BCCI matters, a requirement that leads him with only domestic issues to deal with.  In addition the ICC is to form "an independent panel" to investigate whether Lorgat had any role in Becker's statement and its results will reportedly be "binding" on the CSA.  The world body is also said to be "considering its legal options" about the claims Becker made.

 

SACA chief executive Tony Irish described the changes to the playing scheduled as "a huge blow not only to the players, but also to the cricket-loving public of South Africa", and that "Cricket is the loser, plain and simple".  "It's a very sad day when international cricket becomes more about what happens off the field than what happens on it", added the SACA chief.  The dates and venues for the revised tour have yet to be announced.

 

ASSOCIATION LIFE MEMBERSHIP 

FOR FIFTY-YEAR NZ SCORER

[PTG 1217-5853]

 

Long-time New Zealand scorer and statistician Ian Smith was awarded Life Membership of Cricket Wellington (CW) at the association's recent Annual General Meeting.  Smith, who started scoring for the Kilbirnie Cricket Club in 1962, is the first scorer in the history of the game to officiate in fifty seasons at first-class level (PTG 1075-5228, 13 March 2013).  

 

England-born Smith, 70, began his involvement as an official scorer with Wellington Cricket in the 1963-64 season and recorded the details of his first Test in 1967-68.  He is the first New Zealand scorer to officiate in 200 first-class and 200 limited over games, the former including forty-five of the fifty-four Test matches played at the Basin Reserve since 1967, and the latter forty-four One Day Internationals played in Wellington.  He has also worked as the scorer in seven Twenty20 Internationals.  

 

For the past eleven seasons Smith has been CW's Club Cricket Administrator, and prior to that also performed the draws and scheduling role for the Hutt Valley Cricket Association. Since 1983 has also been the co-editor of the New Zealand Cricket Almanac, and in 2009 was one of fifty Kiwis to receive an International Cricket Council Centenary Medal in recognition of his service to the game.  

 

His service as a scorer is continuing for he was recently named by New Zealand Cricket to score in three of its domestic first class, and four Twenty20 domestic games, that are to be played between now and the end of the year (PTG 1206-5806, 9 October 2013).

 

NSW UMPIRE SET TO STAND 

IN HIS 700TH SCA MATCH

[PTG 1217-5854]

 

Sydney-based umpire Arthur Watson will be officiating in his 700th Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) match when he takes the field in the SCA Fifth Grade match between Fairfield-Liverpool and the University of New South Wales tomorrow.  Watson's latest milestone as an umpire is the all-time record for the SCA and comes in his forty-fourth season with the association.

 

During his umpiring career Inverell-born Watson, now 73, has stood in games at both national and international level.  He was on the field in three One Day International (ODI) matches in the 1979-80 season, plus ten first class matches in the period from 1979-81, and in 1992-93 a single women’s ODI.  In addition he has also stood two senior Australian domestic one-day matches, including the final of the 1981-82 series, plus an Under-19 Test match between Australia and Pakistan.

 

His tally of matches with the SCA is more than impressive and includes to date: 365 first grade games; 50 second grade; 78 third grade; 120 fourth grade; 68 fifth grade; and 19 municipal and shires matches.  

 

Off the field Watson was Treasurer of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) for twenty-three years, a role in which he made a significant contribution, and was made made a NSWCUSA Life Member in 1987.  In addition he is also a Life Member of both the SCA and Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Umpires Association.  

 

NSW State Director of umpires Darren Goodger describes Watson as "a popular and respected umpire" and has congratulated him on "a distinguished umpiring career".  SCA Chairman Andrew Falk will be making a special presentation to Watson at the ground tomorrow to mark his remarkable achievement and in acknowledgement of his long-time contribution to the game of cricket. 

 

BOTHA'S ACTION CLEARED 

FOR A THIRD TIME

[PTG 1217-5855]

 

South Australian and former South African spinner Johan Botha has been cleared to bowl again following testing of his action.  Botha was cited for a 'Doubtful Bowling Action' by the umpires in his side's opening one-day domestic match against Victoria two weeks ago, and underwent biomechanical testing at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra last week (PTG 1212-5838, 17 October 2013).

 

Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement yesterday that AIS testing found Botha's "action for all deliveries is under, or equal to, the allowable elbow extension of fifteen degrees, with an average of nine degrees".  During the testing, in front of a twenty camera system that records at 250 frames a second, Botha bowl his off-break, quicker and 'flicker' balls six times each.  

 

CA's cricket operations manager Sean Cary says that "the process for dealing with these matters [at the AIS] is an international standard testing procedure", "we accept the results", and as such "Johan is free to continue playing for South Australia and [CA's Adelaide-based Twenty20 side]".

 

Botha was reported by the on-field umpires Simon Fry and Mike Graham-Smith, plus third umpire Geoff Joshua.  It is the third time he has been reported for a suspected illegal action, but he has been eventualy allowed to return to bowling on each occasion; although his 'doosra' was ruled 'illegal' because tests conducted in April 2009 found his average elbow extention for that delivery was a massive 27.7 degrees (PTG 422-2228, 13 May 2009).

 

'COMPLETE REVIEW' OF AUSSIE 

DOMESTIC SCHEDULE PROMISED

[PTG 1217-5856]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards has promised a complete review of CA's domestic playing schedule prior to the 2014-15 season, according to an article in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' on Wednesday, but then went on to suggest changes might not be possible.  Edwards comments, which were made ahead of CA's annual general meeting yesterday, came after the Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA), or player's union, made clear the concerns of their members about the state of the game in Australia at the present time, including new domestic one-day series arrangements (PTG 1214-5843, 20 October 2013).

 

Journalist Chloe Saltau writes that Edwards welcomed player's feedback through the ACA, quoting the CA chairman as saying that his "perception of what we have done this year has been pretty good, but it will all be reviewed".  A week ago CA's cricket operations manager Sean Cary was quoted by 'The Australian' newspaper as indicating that "at this stage" "the scheduling challenges" of hosting the World Cup early in 2015 means the new domestic one-day format is likely to continue in twelve months time (PTG 1212-5837, 17 October 2013).

 

Edwards, who played three Tests for Australia in the 1970s, said "there is no question the [domestic] schedule is tight [as its] only ever had things added to it".  "When I played there were eight [Sheffield] Shield games a year and no final and we still produced a lot of good Test cricketers".  "I don't know what the answers are, there might be no change, but we will have a good look at it and we want everyone to input so we can have all the feelings on the table, and the facts, and see if there is a better way to run our summer".

 

"The objective is to make [the senior level domestic cricket a] very viable, high-profile competition that will get a lot of [spectators] coming through the door", continued Edwards.  He then focussed on CA's domestic Twenty20 competition, putting the point that it brings in "as many people [to watch matches as all other CA events] during the summer".  ACA members have expressed concerns about the priority given to the T20 game in CA's domestic schedule (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013), but Edwards told 'The Age' that "Its just not what the cricketer's want, its the public as well and the future of the game".

 

CA PROVIDING POTENTIAL CAPTAINS

WITH LEADERSHIP SKILLS TRAINING  

[PTG 1217-5857]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is putting players from around the country who state associations and national selectors think may have the potential to be future national captains through a leadership program, according to Fairfax Media journalist Andrew Wu.  The program, which is aimed at improving and developing leadership skills in Australia's male and female programs, also extends to players fresh out of CA's junior programs, says Wu.

 

Wu writes that the program being undertaken is not focused on the tactical side of leadership but involves profiling and testing in areas such as emotional intelligence.  ''It's about the people side, it's about how you get your message across to different people and getting the best out of people in the dressing room", says CA performance manager Pat Howard.  According to him ''There's a whole heaps of different ways to do that [and] it's about getting them to figure out the best way to lead [for] there's not [just] one way to do it".

 

Leadership has been a key concern for CA this year following what Wu describes as "[Australia's] disastrous tour of India that led to the demise of former coach Mickey Arthur".  Wu says he understands the initiative for leadership training came from the Argus review into Australian cricket that was released two years ago, part of which was critical of CA's lack of succession planning, and that the move on the training has been well received by players.  

 

Howard emphasised that the program 'is "not going to reap benefits in the next six weeks or for the Ashes", rather "it is about the long-term nature of cricket and long-term leadership goals we put in place".  He went on to indicate that the program is not just about finding future captains but helping to improve the depth of leadership stocks.  ''We do hope an Australian captain is in the group but it doesn't preclude someone from coming in from somewhere else either", he said.  

 

Around twenty players are said to have been nominated for the program to date.  While Howard did not reveal the names of those participating "sources" have indicated to Wu that recent Test players Steve Smith, Matthew Wade and Phillip Hughes head the list, and that other participants with international experience include Tim Paine, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Forrest, Moises Henriques and Mitchell Marsh.  This year's intake is also said to include youngsters Pat Cummins and Ashton Agar, as well as some that have yet to make their first-class debuts such as Victorian Pat McKenna and West Australian pair Cameron Bancroft and William Bosisto, who are both 20.

PLAYING THE GAME 

NUMBER 1,218

Saturday, 26 October 2013

BALL-TAMPERING SEES PAKISTAN 

AWARDED FIVE PENALTY RUNS 

[PTG 1218-5858]

 

South Africa were docked five penalty runs for ball-tampering on the third day of the second test against Pakistan in Dubai yesterday.  Television replays showed South African fielder Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball on his trousers which had a zip on them, in an apparent attempt to tamper with the ball.

 

Umpires Rod Tucker of Australia and England's Ian Gould talked to South African captain Graeme Smith, changed the ball and added five runs to Pakistan's score.  Pakistan were struggling at 3/62 Dale Steyn about to start the 31st over when the umpires took notice of the ball and took the decision.

 

Under current International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions if an umpire spots a change in the condition of the ball but doesn't know who is the culprit, he will issue a first and final warning to the captain and the ball will be changed.  If the ball is then tampered with again, the bowling team will face a five-run penalty and umpires will not only change the ball again but the captain will be held responsible and reported (PTG 1205-5809, 10 October 2013).

 

However, in yesterday's case the umpires saw Du Plessis rubbing the ball in an apparent move to tamper with the ball and therefore proceeded straight to awarding the five penalty runs.  What will happen to Du Plessis from here has not been announced, however, under ICC regulations a Level 2 offence such as changing the condition of the ball carries a fine fifty to one hundred percent of a player's match fee, or a ban of one Test, two One-Day or two Twenty20 Internationals, whichever comes first for South Africa.

 

Pakistan is the only other team to have been penalised with five penalty runs in a Test, that occurring during the infamous match against England at The Oval in 2006.  Former Pakistan pacemen Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, allrounder Azhar Mahmood and legspinner Shahid Afridi have been banned for tampering in the past; while India's Sachin Tendulkar and England's Mike Atherton were also suspended and fined for tampering.

 

 

'INAPPROPRIATE' PHYSICAL CONTACT  

RESULTS IN FINE FOR BANGLADESHI 

[PTG 1218-5859]

 

Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal has been fined half of his match fee for “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" with another player during the second days play of the second Test against New Zealand on Tuesday.  A statement issued by the International Cricket Council overnight that the incident concerned happened in New Zealand’s first innings when Tamim, while moving to his new fielding position at mid-on, gave a shoulder nudge to batsman Brendan McCullum.

 

The charge against Tamim, which he Tamim accepted without protest and admitted this guilt, was laid by the on-field umpires Richard Illingworth of England and Bruce Oxenford of Australia.  Under ICC regulations all Level 2 breaches carry a minimum penalty of a minimum fine of half of a player's applicable Match Fee and/or up to two Suspension Points (PTG 1218-58    above).

 

Last week Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal and South Africa batsman Robin Peterson were fined half of their match fees by the ICC for a shoving match on the last day of the first Test between the two sides in Abu Dhabi (PTG 1214-5846, 20 October 2013).

 

FAMILIAR FACES FOR 

AUSSIE ONE-DAY FINAL 

[PTG 1218-5860]

 

Australia's senior domestic umpires, Simon Fry, John Ward and Mick Martell have been named for the final of Cricket Australia's (CA) one-day competition tomorrow between New South Wales and Queensland, CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Peter Marshall being the match referee.  NSW first class scorer panel members Christine Bennison and Kay Wilcoxon have also been named by CA as part of the match officials group.

 

Fry and Ward will be on-field during the game and Martell the television umpire.  Tomorrow's match will be Fry's 49th in an Australian domestic one-day game, and third final in the last four years; while for Ward its his 40th Australian domestic one-dayer and third final in a row.  Martell will be in the third umpire's chair in the final for the second year in a row.  
 
PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,219

Monday, 28 October 2013

SOUTH AFRICAN FINED AFTER PLEADING 

GUILTY TO BALL TAMPERING

[PTG 1219-5861]

 

South African all-rounder Faf du Plessis has been fined half of his match fee for "changing the condition of the ball" during the third day's play in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday.  Pakistan was awarded five penalty as a result of the incident, television replays showing du Plessis rubbing the ball in the vicinity of a zipper on his trousers (PTG 1218-5858, 26 October 2013).

 

Match referee David Boon of Australia said in a statement issued before the start of fourth day's play on Saturday afternoon Australian time that du Plessis had pleaded guilty to the charge laid the previous evening by on-field umpires Ian Gould of England and Rod Tucker of Australia, third umpire Paul Reiffel of Australia, and fourth umpire Shozab Raza from Pakistan.  

 

Boon said he was "satisfied that the player's actions warranted the umpires applying the clause in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test Match Playing Conditions that deals with changing the condition of the ball".  Boon went on to emphasise though that he was "also satisfied that this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball".  One media report says that "given the vigour with which du Plessis rubbed the ball on his trouser zip, Boon's use of the wording “not deliberate” was "unusual".

 

Reiffel is reported to have advised Gould and Tucker during play of what he saw of du Plessis' actions in television images, and after talking to South African captain Graeme Smith they decided to change the ball and apply a five-run penalty.  

 

During the after play press conference that day, South African vice captain AB de Villiers vehemently defended his side, saying they "are not a team that scratches the ball".  "We play in a fair manner, we don't cheat, it's as simple as that", he said, and "[du Plessis is] the last man to try anything like that".  "It is part of his responsibility to shine the ball and I thought he did it very well", continued de Villiers, who was "very surprised" about the whole episode.

 

South African manager Mohammed Moosajee had a different take, saying the team accepted Boon's decision.  "As a team we decided not to contest it... because as per the ICC regulations a full hearing could lead to more severe punitive measures which could include a heftier fine or even a match ban".

 

Altering the condition of the ball is a Level 2 offence under the ICC's Code of Conduct and carries a penalty of between fifty and one hundred per cent of their match fee and/or suspension from one Test or two one-day internationals for a first offence.  Because he didn't think du Plessis' actions were deliberate Boon elected a fine at the lower end of the financial scale, however, the Pakistan Cricket Board is querying the ICC about the equity of that approach given incidents involving its own players in recent years (PTG 1219-5862 below).

 

Earlier this month the ICC amended the section of its Playing conditions that deal with changing the condition of the ball, they now being different from the actual Laws of the game (PTG 1205-5809, 10 October 2013).

 

PAKISTAN CALLS ICC BALL TAMPERING APPROACH 

'INCONSISTENT', SEEKS 'EXPLANATION'  

[PTG 1219-5862]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is seeking an explanation from the International Cricket Council (ICC) about what it sees as the world body's "inconsistent" approach to dealing with ball tampering issues, PCB chairman Najam Sethi contrasting the fine the ICC handed to South Africa’s Faf du Plessis' on Saturday with the approach taken to its players involved in such allegations in the past. 

 

Pakistan were on the receiving end following the only previous occasion in Test history when the umpires have changed a tampered ball and imposed a five-run penalty, that being in the now infamous match against England at The Oval in 2006.  When they refused to take the field the match was awarded to England, and Pakistan were widely accused of cheating.  

 

The PCB chairman indicated via a 'tweet' on Saturday after du Plessis' fine was announced: “PCB is writing a letter to the ICC, seeking explanation of inconsistency by match referee in application of tampering rule [with regard] to Afridi [versus du Plessis]".  Former England captain Michael Vaughan used that social media platform around the same time to say: “Anyone caught ball tampering should be banned for at least ten matches".

 

Sethi's comment was in reference to Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi's who received a two-match ban and lost seventy-five per cent of his match fee for a ball tampering offence during a One Day International in Australia in 2010, his misdemeanour being that he bit the ball (PTG 562-2854, 1 February 2010).  Afridi is said to have "been surprised" at the fine handed to du Plessis.

 

Speaking to the media on Saturday, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif called the South African's  punishment "very lenient", that he "should have been banned for six months, [and his] captain held responsible and punished".  "I am sure had it been a Pakistani or a sub-continent player he would have been banned", he said.  Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who was not only fined but suspended for ball tampering in 2003, made similar comments to Geo Television in Pakistan.

 

But another former Pakistan captain, Aamir Sohail, apparently believes the South African's punishment was fair, saying it "is within the rules and since Du Plessis did not contest the charges you have to show some leniency".  Current Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said the matter was between the ICC and South Africa.  It's a matter totally between match officials and their team [and] it's none of our business", he said.

 

Australian David Boon, who adjudicated on the du Plessis' case, limited the censure given to him to half of his match fee but no ban, because he concluded the ball tampering act was “not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball" (PTG 1219-5861 above).  One report described du Plessis' ball shining actions "vigourous", and another said his team mate Vernon Philander "was also caught on camera in the act of apparently scratching the ball with his left finger".

 

BOWLER'S 'INSULTING' BEHAVIOUR 

EARNS HIM A REPRIMAND 

[PTG 1219-5863]

 

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal pleaded guilty to "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match", during the third the third day's play in the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday, the same day South Africa were penalised for ball tampering (PTG 1219- 5861 above). 

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that the Level 1 incident happened when Saeed turned to umpire Ian Gould of England after dismissing South Africa batsman Morne Morkel and repeatedly appealed even though the batsman had clearly been caught at first slip.  

 

The reprimand was given as Saeed's appeal for a caught-behind off the previous delivery had been turned down, so the bowler's actions after taking the wicket the next ball were considered to be "insulting towards the umpire".  One report says that Gould was clearly "not too impressed" by the bowler's conduct after Morkel was dismissed.  

 

Under ICC regulations Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of fifty per cent of a player's match fee.

 

Last Friday was a particularly busy one for Gould and his on field colleague Rod Tucker of Australia for in addition to ball tampering and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal's offence, they banned Pakistan opening bowler Mohammad Irfan from bowling for the rest of the South African innings after repeated warnings about running in the Protected Area.  Ifran was taken off three balls into his thirty-fifth over in the innings.

 

Off the field that same day, security personnel ejected two Pakistani expatriates from the stadium for allegedly abusing their own country's players.  Play was stopped for nearly five minutes before lunch as Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq complained to Tucker and Gould about the misbehavior of the spectators.  A stadium spokesman said the "two individuals were shouting comments in contravention of the ICC anti-racism code which prohibits the use of language that is offensive, insulting, humiliating, intimidating or vilifying".

 

2014 ICC ANNUAL CONFERENCE 

WEEK RO BE HELD IN MELBOURNE 

[PTG 1219-5864]

 

The International Cricket Council's 2014 Annual Conference will be held in Australia for the first time next June after Melbourne was awarded the right to host the event.  The conference, which will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, will consist of a week of meetings of various ICC groups and activities that will be attended by senior decision-makers from over fifty cricket-playing countries.

 

During the week meetings are expected to include those of the ICC's Associate and Affiliate Members, its Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee, Human Resources and Remuneration Committee, Chief Executives’ Committee, and end with ICC Development International Conference meetings, and that of the ICC Board itself.

 

ICC President Alan Isaac said in a statement that "We are delighted to be taking our annual meetings to Australia for the first time".  "As we build towards the 2015 World Cup, this will give our Members a wonderful opportunity to gain a better appreciation of the city that will host several prominent matches and check in on the preparations for our flagship event".

 

Staging of conference in Melbourne is supported by the Victorian Government and Cricket Australia (CA).  Wally Edwards, CA's Chairman and an ICC Director, said "Melbourne is a tremendous sporting capital and a fitting host city for next year's [gathering]".  Cities that have hosted the conference in the past are: Dubai (2008); London in 2009 and 2013; Singapore 2010; Hong Kong 2011; and Kuala Lumpur 2012.

 

POLITICS DELAYS PLAY 

IN DHARAMSALA 

[PTG 1219-5865]

 

The start of the first day of the Ranji Trophy first class match between Himachal Pradesh and Goa in Dharamsala yesterday was delayed for four hours after the Congress Party state government there took charge of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association's (HPCA) ground.  The HPCA is headed by Anurag Thakur a local Member of Parliament for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, and a former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.

 

The HPCA's Sanjay Sharma told local reporters that government personnel had taken over the stadium in "a late night operation", which he described as "a midnight coup", after the Himachal Pradesh cabinet decided to take back and cancel the HPCA's lease of the ground.  Authorities are said to have told the HPCA that no activity could be undertaken in the stadium without permission.

 

What happened next is not entirely clear, however, it appears issues related to ground access have been resolved, at least in the short to medium term.  On-line score sheets available for the game say that it eventually started at 3.15 p.m. local time, and that match referee Vinod Mathur and umpires Anil Dandekar and Rohan Pandit "have decided to extend play by an hour every day to make up for time lost".

 

RYDER RETURNS AFTER 

SIX-MONTH DRUGS BAN 

[PTG 1219-5866]

 

Former New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder made his comeback to first class cricket yesterday after serving a six-month suspension for testing positive for two banned stimulants in March.  Ryder returned to the crease on the first day of the opening Plunket Shield match when his new side Otago took on his former team Wellington in the national capital.  Ryder is hoping for a return to his national side which he last played for in February 2012.

 

OWNERS OF HOUSES NEAR GROUND

TOLD TO 'BUY STRONGER GLASS'

[PTG 1219-5867]

 

A Conservative member of Parliament in the UK has told people who bought houses near a village cricket club to stop complaining about their broken windows and buy stronger glass.  Charlie Elphicke, who holds to Dover and Deal seat, said it was not fair for new residents in the Kent village of Saint Margaret’s to demand the club there spent £35,000 ($A60,000) on netting to protect their homes from balls hit out of the ground

 

People living near the ground argue they should not have to keep paying for repairs and have complained to the Saint Margaret’s Parish Council about the impact of cricket balls breaking windows and smashing roof tiles.  The council owns the King George V playing field, where the club has two Saturday sides and plays friendlies on Sundays.

 

Parish Council chairman Dave Hart told the 'Daily Mail' that both his organisation and the club were jointly liable for the damage caused.  While nets were expensive, he thought they might be the only option, but "at the end of the day [those who] bought these houses knew there was a cricket club" close by, a view that is shared by Elphicke who warned the bill could force the closure of the club, which is just metres from his own home.  

 

However, a local resident calling himself David, is quoted by the 'Mail' as saying that Elphicke had to "get a grip" for "we can’t just all go out and spend £5,000 [$A8,400] on new windows".  

 

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: "Whenever there is a cricket match on everyone around here knows to park their cars somewhere else and batten down the hatches".  "The balls come whizzing out of the ground like a bat out of hell and countless cars as well as windows and tiles of neighbouring homes have been damaged".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,220

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

BATSMAN DIES AFTER BALL 

STRIKES HIS HELMETED HEAD

[PTG 1220-5868]

 

Former South African first-class wicketkeeper-batsman Darryn Randall, who played four games for Border in 2009, died on Sunday after being hit on the side of the head by the ball whilst attempting to pull a short delivery in a Border Cricket league match in the Eastern Cape.  Reports say Randall, 32, who was wearing a helmet as required by local Playing Conditions, collapsed immediately and was rushed to hospital but he could not be revived by doctors.

 

No details are available about the type or make of helmet Randall was wearing, or whether the ball hit him directly or came off his bat, but such matters will be investigated as part of a coroner's enquiry that is expected to be held sometime in the next few months.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat expressed his organisation's condolences and said it would be offering counseling to those involved in the match.  Calling it "a very sad day, indeed", Lorgat conveyed CSA's "deepest condolences on behalf of the South African cricketing family not just to his family and friends but also to all the players, umpires, clubs and everybody else who was present at this match".

 

In 1998 former Indian Test player Raman Lamba died aged 38 after being struck on the head while fielding at forward short leg during a domestic match in Bangladesh. In 2009 72-year-old Welsh umpire Alcwyn Jenkins died after being struck on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder, a death that a coroner later formally called "an unfortunate accident" (PTG 601-3017, 5 May 2010).

 

In November last year UK-firm Jon Hardy and Company, the manufacturer of the 'Masuri' helmet brand, announced that it had raised funds for research into, and development of, a "safer" cricket helmet design (PTG 1023-4973, 27 November 2012).  That move was said to have resulted from questions about the suitability of the current safety standards set for batting helmets that were sent to all helmet manufacturers earlier in 2012 by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA). 

 

A Hardy press release said at the time that the work planned was to be undertaken as a result of the ICC-FICA initiative and followed "an increased number of recorded facial injuries, mainly caused by the ball contacting the head through the gap between a helmet's peak and grill".  No details of the statistics involved were mentioned.  The company said that the 2013 edition of its helmet was to have "more protection afforded to the ear, chin and face whilst maintaining visibility".

 

FIVE GIVEN SIX MONTH BANS FOR

'FALSE' SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

[PTG 1220-5869]

 

Pakistan cricket authorities have banned five women players for six months after an investigation found that they had made "false" claims of sexual harassment against a number of administrators from the central Multan region.  The five lodged complaints with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in June alleging they received requests for "inappropriate" favours in return for selection in a women's regional team "regardless of their [playing] performances" (PTG 1122-5456, 11 June 2013). 

 

Charges laid by the five were initially made in a television show but those named, Sultan Alam who is chairman of the Multan Cricket Club (MCC) and selector Mohammad Javed, denied the allegations.  The PCB announced in a press release that its "inquiry committee recommended that the five [women] should be banned from playing any form of cricket for six months with effect [from last Wednesday]".

 

The press release goes on to say that "when questioned by [inquiry members] three of the five women categorically denied having been sexually harassed or having seen such harassment taking place, while the other two women declined to present their case at the inquiry".  It also recommended that the "Multan District Cricket Association, which overseas cricket in the region, he asked "to keep a close watch on [the MCC] and ensure that all clubs registered with them follow the regulations and disciplinary procedures of PCB".

 

Ayesha Ashaar, the convenor of the inquiry committee and manager of Pakistan women's cricket, said that even after they have served the ban, "all five girls will be kept under probation for a period of one year after which the evaluation of their conduct will be made".  Pakistani women cricketers have done well on the international level during previous few years, however, young girls are said to still "suffer hardships" in order to be allowed to play the game.

 

DUMPING OF 'KOOKABURRA' BALLS FROM 

PCB DOMESTIC SERIES CRITICISED

[PTG 1220-5870]

 

The decision not to continue the use of 'Kookaburra' balls in domestic matches in Pakistan's new season has been criticised by both former and current players after just a few days of play, says a story in that country's 'Express Tribune' newspaper yesterday.  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) opted to use balls manufactured locally by 'Grays' this season after complaints the 'Kookaburra' brand was not compatible with local conditions, and also because they cost nearly 10,000 Rupees ($A98) each.

 

The PCB made the decision to use the 'Kookuburra' variety for its domestic first class and limited over competitions just prior to their 2012-13 season because of problems experienced with 'Gray' balls over the two years prior to that (PTG 1007-4896, 24 October 2012).  Reports at the time said that he PCB's Executive Coordination Committee made the change as part of moves to improve the quality of the game in that country.

 

Reports from Islamabad say there are concerns that Grays balls "will not provide an even contest between ball and bat".  What one media report called "a former Test player" is quoted as saying that "The 'Kookaburra' is costly but it could have improved the quality of cricket in Pakistan".  

 

In his view 'Kookaburra' balls are "a real test for the pacers because they had to bend their backs in order to generate more pace and see it through to the wicket-keeper", and they "had to work harder to get wickets".  “The behaviour of the 'Kookaburra' was more natural because of its small seam, but the Gray’s have a hard and thick seam which is why it assists bowlers a lot", he continued.  'Kookaburra' balls are said to have "drawn complaints from teams about [their] quality", however, despite that it is "still considered better than the Gray’s".

 

Another former player explained that 'Kookaburra' balls allowed "batsmen to play their strokes as they knew the ball would not move around abnormally".  “You only produce good batsmen when the behaviour of the wicket and the ball is true because it allows them to play their shots and grow in confidence", he said.  He claimed the PCB "should have stuck with the 'Kookaburra' for another three years", for "it was a way to minimise the huge gap between the standard of our domestic and international cricket".

 

When the PCB introduced 'Kookaburra' balls a year ago Grays' chief executive Khawar Anwar Khawaja is said to have been "extremely unhappy" and critical of the decision to "dent [the local] industry by giving preference to imported balls".  'Gray' balls, which the company has been supplying to the PCB since 1973, are reported to be made of "hard leather" which a report last year said has "caused player injuries while fielding", and there have also been occasions when the balls have split less than twenty overs into a first class innings.  Khawaja is said to have acknowledged the 'hardness' of his own product at the time.

 

AUSTRALIAN CURATORS REPORTED 

UNHAPPY WITH CA PITCH DIRECTIVE 

[PTG 1220-5871]

 

A story in the Brisbane 'Courier Mail' this morning says that Cricket Australia (CA) is on a "collision course" with leading curators around the country as a result of "a controversial directive to produce Test-standard domestic [pitches] in a bid to improve the country's batting stocks".  Journalist Peter Badel claims that "the nation's top pitch-makers are privately fuming over a CA edict to deliver more [batsman]-friendly wickets", concerns that first surfaced publicly two months ago (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013). 

 

Badel says that Australia's lack of batting talent "is so acute" that the "sport's sharpest minds attended a National Batting Forum three weeks ago to dissect Australia's flagging standards with the willow".  Several factors behind that situation are said to have been identified, one of them being that curators were producing "juiced-up domestic pitches that are potentially hampering the development of Test batsmen".

 

Kevin Mitchell Jr, the veteran curator at Brisbane's Gabba ground, is said to have "taken aim" at CA's directive, saying the push for flatter decks "could be a recipe for disaster".  “We have basically been given a directive to produce Test-standard wickets [so] we're now going to be preparing five-day wickets for a four-day contest".  “If that's what [CA] wants, then as curators we have to do our best to help out", he said.

 

Mitchell expressed the view though that “If you are looking for reasons for our batting decline, we would be 0.5 per cent of the issue".  "The upsetting part is all of the curators around Australia go the extra yard", he said, and "some guys would be embarrassed about the hours that they put in to produce the quality pitches that we do".  “That's the disappointing part. We try our guts out and this edict feels like they [CA] are kicking us in the guts".

 

Badel says in his story that curators from the six states "have exchanged a series of angry emails and voiced their concerns to CA chief executive James Sutherland".  He also quotes Queensland coach Stuart Law as saying that the CA directive will mean that "Everywhere we go in Australia now the wickets will be the same". "Even the [pitches] that used to turn square like the Sydney Cricket Ground are not turning at all".  "We are getting five overs an innings from spinners at those venues and to me that is ridiculous", said Law, who is of the view that CA should “Just let the curators prepare the [pitches]".

 

According to Badel, Victoria coach Greg Shipperd believes “The balance between bat and ball is way too skewed [and] everyone is on notice around the country to get your wickets right", he said.

 

Earlier this month CA was reported to be mulling changes to the championship points system for its Sheffield Shield first class competition, a key focus of that move being to get pitches that are more suitable for grooming players for the challenges of Test cricket (PTG 1210-5826, 14 October 2013).  That issue was one Sutherland and others first talked about nearly twelve months ago when there was criticism of the pitches provided for the opening games of the 2012-13 season (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2013).

 

Also earlier this month, Tasmanian coach Dan Marsh blamed what he called sub-standard "club" pitches provided for CA's 'tournament' style one-day domestic seres for reducing the chances of players from his team pushing for higher honours (PTG 1201-5786, 3 October 2013). 

 

LORGAT NOT INVOLVED IN MY 

STATEMENT, SAYS BECKER 

[PTG 1220-5872]

 

David Becker, the former head of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) legal department, says his recent statement that criticised the Board of Control for Cricket in India was not linked in any way to Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat (PTG 1208-5813, 11 October 2013).  The ICC is currently conducting an inquiry to examine whether Lorgat had any role in Becker's comments (PTG 1217-5852, 25 October 2013).

 

Becker told the 'Times of India' (TOI) that "I wish to state in the most unequivocal terms that the comments made were my own and Haroon Lorgat had absolutely no role in my making them".  "Haroon Lorgat wasn't involved and nor was he aware about the contents of my letter [and] it is extremely unfair to draw Haroon Lorgat into the whole thing for it is a figment of peoples' imagination to suggest that he orchestrated the whole thing".

 

Becker also said that he was willing to state under oath that Lorgat had no role to play in the statements and would state the same thing to the ICC-appointed investigation commission.  Lorgat had previously told 'TOI' that he tried to withhold publication of Becker's statement on the grounds that "it might have an adverse impact on CSA".

 

NZC YET TO NAME DOMESTIC 

MATCH REFEREE TRIO

[PTG 1220-5873]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) advertised for three Match Referees to manage all of its senior first class, domestic one-day and Twenty20 matches in early September, but as yet there is no indication of just who has been selected for those positions (PTG 1184-5708, 6 September 2013).  NZC's domestic first class competition got underway on Sunday without any announcement being made.

 

NZC indicated two months ago that it was looking for individuals who "ideally have played or umpired at first class level", and that those chosen will contribute to the monitoring and assessment of the performance of New Zealand umpires.  The new referees, who will report to NZC's National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg, were to be employed for the six months from mid-October and be payed a "moderate retainer".

 

The 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.  

 

LET THE TWELFTH MEN BOWL, 

SAYS VICTORIAN COACH 

[PTG 1220-5874]

 

Victorian coach Greg Shipperd has revived his campaign to get Cricket Australia (CA) to allow teams to use their twelfth man as a bowler, even if means games in CA's Sheffield Shield competition would be stripped of its first-class status, says an article in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  Victoria currently has two Test spin-bowling prospects: leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed and left-arm finger-spinner Jon Holland, however, Shipperd is said to be reluctant to select both in the same team because Australian pitches are not conducive to spin, particularly early in the season when it rains regularly.

 

Rather than just benefitting his side, Shipperd insists the national team would benefit if emerging spinners such as South Australia's Adam Zampa, Western Australia's Ashton Turner and Tasmania's Clive Rose did not have to dislodge their state's first-choice spinners to play.  He ridiculed the argument such a move should be resisted because allowing a Twelfth man to bowl would be against criteria for first-class matches.  ''We don't use medicine from fifty years ago, and we shouldn't rely on statistics from fifty years ago", was Shipperd's retort.

 

VICTORIAN REGIONAL ASSOCIATION LOOKING 

TO RECRUIT FEMALE UMPIRES

[PTG 1220-5875]

 

The Mornington Peninsula Cricket Umpires Association (MPCUA), which supplies umpires to local games in the region to the south-east of Melbourne, has launched a recruiting drive to attract female match officials, says a story in yesterday's 'Mornington Peninsula Leader' newspaper.

 

MPCUA president Gary Wragg told the 'Leader' that with his association's umpiring numbers low, "it was time" they moved to attract some females into umpiring.  "Given that the sport is male-dominated - and at times a little hairy-chested - we felt that women officiating in local games would be to the benefit of gender participation, the sport and to umpiring in particular", said Wragg.

 

Wragg said he couldn't recall if the local competition has ever had a female umpire, but that some of his colleagues think "one or two" may have in the past.  The female umpire idea was floated at a recent MPCUA meeting and is said to have received full support, although Wragg admitted that he didn't know whether any candidates are available in the Mornington Peninsula area.

 

Last May, Cricket Australia's (CA) Match Officials area were reported to be looking to bring more females into umpiring around the country and there were indications it had mapped-out an initiative that involved "contracting" what one source called a 'Project Umpire' prior to the start of the 2013-14 austral summer (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  

 

That proposal is also believed to have included plans for each Australian state and territory to not only promote umpiring to females, but also to set up training programs and structures to provide them with a clear pathway and opportunities to progress.  

 

Despite CA announcing earlier this year that its revenue was to receive a significant boost due to new TV deals, lack of financial support from CA management appears to be behind the lack of any concrete action to date.   

 

PLAYERS RETURN FROM YEAR-LONG 

'UNSUBSTANTIATED BRAGGING' SUSPENSION 

[PTG 1220-5876]

 

Two players in India who were suspended for a year for "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging" in a television sting operation linked to alleged corruption in the 2012 Indian Premier League (IPL) series, returned to first class cricket on Sunday.  Madhya Pradesh batsman Mohnish Mishra took the field for his side in its opening Ranji Trophy match of the season in Indore, while Abhinav Bali did the same for Himachal Pradesh in Dharmasala.

 

Following investigations into the video footage taken clandestinely by the 'India TV' channel during last year's IPL, Mishra, Bali and Amit Yadav were all given one-year bans by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  They claimed during the television 'sting' operation they had the ability to manipulate match sequences, hence the BCCI's 'bragging' description that it said "brought the game into disrepute".

 

In addition to that trio Shalabh Srivastava, who was then with the IPL's Punjab franchise, was given a five-year ban by the BCCI, while Taduri Sudhindra, a then member of the IPL's Hyderabad franchise, was banned for life (PTG 956-4645, 3 July 2012).

 

Bali's first match back started late due to a dispute between the Himachal Pradesh government of opposition entities (PTG 1219-5865, 28 October 2013).  While match officials had planned to get the first day's play in that match underway in mid-afternoon, because of the political problems it was unable to do so until after tea, just twenty-seven overs being possible on day one.

 

A report from the sub-continent yesterday says that after the Himachal Pradesh state government took over the ground in a "mid-night coup" the game had been cancelled altogether, but was later able to start after BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan intervened to sort out the "political tug of war".  Srinivasan is said to have spoken to Himachal Pradesh government ministers by telephone to assure them of his full cooperation in regards to matches at the Dharmasala venue. 

 

QUEENSLAND COACH KEEN TO PLAY 

CA 2014 ONE-DAY SERIES AT HOME 

[PTG 1220-5877]

 

Queensland, who won this season's Cricket Australia one-day domestic series on Sunday, says it wants to host the event next year, says an article in this morning's Brisbane 'Courier Mail'.  The fifty-over format competition was held tournament-style in Sydney over a one month period for the first time this season.

 

Queensland coach Stuart Law told the 'Mail': "There is no reason why we couldn’t stage the whole thing here [as] we don’t really have an off season [for] the weather and the pitches wickets are generally great around September and October".  

 

Earlier this month a senior CA official indicated the event is "likely" to be held over a one-month period in 2014 (PTG 1212-5837, 17 October 2013), however, since then another more senior official has said a complete review of overall 2014-15 scheduling would occur (PTG 1217-5856, 25 October 2013).

 

LATE ARRIVAL FOR GAME 

SEES TEAM RELEGATED 

[PTG 1220-5878]

 

Cricket Coaching School (CCS) have been scratched from this season’s Dhaka Premier League (DPL) in Bangladesh for arriving late for their match against Brothers Union three weeks ago because of accident-caused traffic congestion (PTG 1209-5822, 12 October 2013).  DPL rules require teams to arrive at grounds forty-five minutes before the schedule start time, but CCS were not able to get there until 8.50 a.m., ten minutes before the scheduled start of play. 

 

A member of the league's organising committee said that "CCS is relegated as they failed to arrive in time", as will one other unnamed side who also failed to turn up by the required time in an unrelated match.  The string of relegations started last year when the Surjo Tarun team were demoted for arriving late for a game, their bus having been delayed by a traffic jam caused by major road accident. 

PLAYING THE GAME

 

 

 

NUMBER 1,221

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

NZ SELECTS FORMER TEST UMPIRES

FOR DOMESTIC MATCH REFEREE POSITIONS

[PTG 1221-5879]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has appointed three former Test umpires, Doug Cowie, George Morris and David Quested, to fill the newly created domestic match referee positions it advertised two months ago (PTG 1184-5708, 6 September 2013).  Between them the trio are expected to be appointed to oversee NZC's 90 senior-level matches scheduled for the 2013-14 austral summer, 30 of them first class, 28 one-day and 32 Twenty20 games.

 

Morris was just 27 years and 142 days old when he became the 373rd person and 40th Kiwi to stand in a Test in 1985, an age some two-and-a-half years younger than Australian Simon Taufel whose 29 years 340 days on Test debut is perhaps more well-known.  Both Cowie and Quested were both in their 49th year when they debuted in a Test, Cowie being world and New Zealand Test umpire 431/45, and Quested 432/46.

 

Cowie, 66, who is currently listed as Auckland's umpire regional training manager, spent the two-decades from 1986-2005 umpiring at first class level, a period in which he stood in 112 such games, 22 of them Tests played across nine of the ten Test playing countries, the exception being India.  His List A record of 174 games includes 71 One Day Internationals (ODI), which includes matches in the Champions Trophy and World Cup events of 1999. 

 

When he announced his retirement in 2005 he indicated that "the satisfaction gained from the challenges of umpiring no longer outweigh the sacrifices necessary to perform on the field".  His stature was such though that soon after that he was appointed as the International Cricket Council's Umpires and Referees Manager, a job he held for four years (PTG 539-2759, 24 December 2009).

 

Morris, 56, who is currently the chairman of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, stood in four Tests and 24 other first class games over the 11 years from 1977-88, plus 26 List A matches, eight of those being ODIs.  He started umpiring in senior club cricket in Dunedin at just 16, and was only 20 years and 97 days old at the time of his first class debut in December 1977.

 

Just why he retired from higher-level umpiring in his early thirties is not clear, however, he has by any measure been very active in umpire administration and training, as well as team management and as a scorer, in the Otago region in the years since.  For that and other services to cricket he was made a Life Member of the Otago Cricket Association in 2010.

 

Quested, like Cowie, also stood at first class level over two decades, his period being from 1990-2010.  Five of his 116 first class games were Tests between 1995 and 2001, and there were also 130 List A fixtures, 31 being ODIs.   He has for many years been involved in umpire training and assessment activities in the Canterbury region.

 

NZC has indicated that the trio's role 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.  

 

TWO AUSTRALIANS NAMED 

FOR FIRST CLASS DEBUTS

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Two Australians, Mike Graham-Smith of Tasmania and Greg Davidson from New South Wales, are to make their umpiring debuts at first class level over the next six weeks.  Graeme-Smith, the newest member of Cricket Australia's twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP), is to stand in his first game starting next Wednesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Davidson, a member of CA's emerging umpires group, in Hobart in early December.

 

CA has named a total of fourteen umpires for the eighteen Sheffield Shield matches, the first of which starts today in Sydney, that are to be played up until mid-December, three in each of the state capitals.  Graeme-Smith and his eleven NUP colleagues will each look after either two or three Shield games in that period, Davidson one, and an international exchange umpire, most likely from India, for two.

 

Both Graeme-Smith and Davidson made their debuts in CA's domestic one-day competition over the last month, the former eventually standing in three matches and the latter one (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013).  As a member of CA's four-man emerging group Davidson's selection for one-day and first class games indicates he is seen as potentially being the next in line for a berth on the NUP next year.  

 

That puts pressure on those currently on the panel to perform so that they retain their positions in twelve months time, which is a significant contrast to CA's approach to such matters in the 2012-13 season when emerging panel members were for all intents and purposes were ignore for high-level appointments (PTG 1088-5297, 12 April 2013).

 

Reports from Mumbai say that provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) do not have any appointments for him in November, ICC Elite Umpire Panel Candidate Ravi Sundaram, who stood in his fist Test earlier this month, is likely to be India's exchange umpire this austral summer (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013), Vineet Kulkarni being the inaugural exchangee last year (PTG 1023-4971, 28 November 2012).    

 

Of the five members of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford have been allocated four Shield games each to oversee as match referees, and Steve Bernard, and David Talalla three each.

 

A total of twenty scorers, two each from Adelaide and Perth, three from Brisbane, four each from Hobart and Sydney, and five from Melbourne will record the details of the eighteen matches, CA again naming them as members of its match management group on its web site.

 

TOUR APPOINTMENTS REINFORCE 

CA IUP MEMBERSHIP REPORTS 

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Umpire appointments for the four tour games England is to play in the lead up to the first Ashes Test in Brisbane  provide further evidence of Australia's membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires (IUP) panel for 2013-14.  England is to play a three-day game in Perth, four-day games in both Hobart and Sydney, and a two-day match in Alice Springs during November.

 

Those who will be on-field during those fixtures are Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) members Simon Fry, Mike Martell and Paul Wilson, who together with their colleague John Ward are thought to make up Australia's IUP group for the year ahead (PTG 1193-5748, 23 September 2013).  The ICC told 'PTG' yesterday that Australia’s annual IUP nominations’ process "is likely to be finalised in the next month".

 

Current IUP on-field member Fry is to stand in the Hobart, Sydney and Alice Spring games, Martell who together with Wilson is thought to be an IUP third umpire member in Perth, Sydney and Alice Springs, and Wilson himself in the Hobart game.  Geoff Joshua, another NUP member, will work as the third umpire in the latter match.  Ward is missing from the Australian appointments scene for a month starting next Sunday which suggests he will be on exchange to India during that time.

 

CA Match Officials manager Sean Easy will work as the match referee in Perth and Alice Springs, and CA Umpire High Performance Panel members Bob Stratford and Peter Marshall in Hobart and Sydney respectively.

 

The scorers for the Alice Springs game have not yet been named, but those in Perth will be Sandy Wheeler and Lance Catchpole, in Hobart Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey, and in Sydney Robyn Sanday and Kay Wilcoxon.

 

CA REVENUE EXPECTED TO EXCEED 

$A1 BILLION OVER NEXT FOUR YEARS 

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Cricket Australia's (CA) 2012-13 Annual Report says that the organisation's revenue rose sixty-three percent to $A684 million in the period from 2009-2012 and currently anticipates that figure will reach $A1.08 billion over the four years to 2017.  CA says it records revenue over a four-year period because of the annual fluctuations that occur in its income depending on which national teams tour Australia.

 

CA also indicated that it is on track to achieve its goal of having cash reserves of $A70 million by 2016-17, its chairman Wally Edwards saying that “Financially, we’ve never been in better shape", that "a lot of good things are happening and we just need to win the Ashes now and I’m sure everyone will be laughing".

 

In June, CA sold domestic broadcasting rights to Nine Entertainment Co. and Ten Network Holdings Ltd. for $A590 million over the next five years. CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said at the time those new agreements represented a year-on-year average increase of 118 percent on the governing body’s previous broadcasting arrangements.

 

FURTHER CHANGES NEEDED TO CA 'DOUBTFUL 

BOWLING ACTION' PROCESS, SAYS BOTHA

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South Australian captain Johan Botha has called for changes to Cricket Australia's (CA) policy on suspect bowling actions.  Botha was cited by umpires for a suspect action during his side's domestic one-day game a month ago, but his action was later cleared after biomechanical testing in Canberra (PTG 1217-5855, 25 October 2013).

 

Botha, who had been cited for the same issue on three previous occasions, says there is nothing to stop his action again coming under scrutiny and he wants a period of grace for bowlers who have been tested and cleared.  "They've got to find some sort of a way to help the bowler out or help the player out at least", he said, and a player "can't just go back and forth and be tested three or four times in a summer."

 

CA changed its doubtful bowling action process this year and now requires that all three umpires working in televised matches, or two in those that are not telecast, only need to report a bowler once before biomechanical testing comes into play (PTG 1204-5801, 8 October 2013).  Prior to that three separate mentions by umpires in the course of a season were normally required before an individual was required to be tested in a laboratory to see if their delivery action was "legal" or not.  

 

NON-FLYING PIGS STOP PLAY

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A match in the Clarence River Cricket Association between the South Services and Coutts Crossing clubs at Ulmarra in north-eastern country New South Wales last Saturday had to be stopped after pigs ran on to the field.  South Services were batting on the game's second day when what Grafton's 'Daily Examiner' says "one of the most bizarre scenes in any level of cricket" unfurled.

 

Two pigs who had been munching on long grass around the ground ran across the field and "looked like setting up shop there", forcing the umpires to temporarily stop play.  However, Souths captain Tom Kroehnert went to his car and reappeared a few moments later brandishing a whip which he used to herd the two visitors from the field.  "That's definitely a first for me", said Kroehnert, who indicated "they belong to one of the guys around here who lets them roam around, but they haven't come in during a game before".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,222
Thursday, 31 October 2013

'TOSS FORFEITING' MEASURE CONSIDERED

DURING SHIELD PITCH DISCUSSIONS

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Cricket Australia (CA) looked at "extreme measures" during off-season discussions on how it should deal with "treacherous" Sheffield Shield pitches, says an article by journalist Chloe Saltau in this morning's edition of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age'.  Reports surfaced recently that senior curators around Australia are upset at CA's "controversial directive to produce Test-standard domestic pitches in a bid to improve the country's batting stocks" (PTG 1220-5871, 29 October 2013).

 

CA is said to have "demanded" states produce pitches more conducive to batting and less tailored for outright results during a pre-season meeting of state chief executives.  According to Saltau the "extreme" idea involved home teams whose pitch in a game was judged not to meet that aim, forfeiting the toss in their next home fixture such that the visiting side would be allowed to go directly to choosing whether to bat or bowl.

 

Saltau writes that in the end though CA resolved to monitor improvement in pitches this season without adopting any draconian measures, however, state associations, in particular Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland, "were placed" on notice of the need to "roll out Test-standard wickets".  There was criticism of the pitches provided for the opening games of the 2012-13 season, particularly those at Bellerive Oval in Hobart (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2013).

 

Cricket Tasmania (CT) is said to be confident there will be "no repeat" of what Saltau calls "last year's early season minefield" at Bellerive when England and Australia A play a tour game in Hobart next week, the first match at the ground this season.  CT chief executive David Johnston says last season's problems were because the whole square had been re-laid late in the football season, which together with bad weather limited the time the curator had to prepare pitches.

 

CA boss James Sutherland and his team performance chief Pat Howard have made no secret of their desire for states to prepare pitches more akin to Test strips, and Sutherland is open to introducing bonus points for big team totals to encourage a more even balance between bat and ball (PTG 1210-5826, 14 October 2013).

 

Saltau says that "not all curators have appreciated the directives from head office" (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013).  She states that ground staff at one venue, which was not named, refused to fill out a questionnaire that set out the desired characteristics of first-class pitches and asked them to state how their wickets measured up, as well as the factors that influenced their preparation.

 

CALL FOR CHANGE TO 

BALL-TAMPERING LAWS 

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan says he is "not surprised" Pakistan is complaining about the way last week's ball-tampering incident in Dubai was handled, and believes the fact that South Africa's Faf du Plessis was not suspended for his actions "is a clear case of double standards".  Pakistan is seeking advice from the International Cricket Council about what it sees as the world body's "inconsistent" approach to dealing with ball tampering issues (PTG 1219-5862, 28 October 2013).

 

Writing in the London 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday, Vaughan says that "Pakistan have every right to feel victimised [for] they have been accused of so many things over the years, and when Shahid Afridi was caught ball-tampering in 2010, he was banned for two matches (PTG 562-2854, 1 February 2010).

 

Vaughan says that "the irony" is that South Africa’s win bonus for the Test was probably greater than the half-his-match-fee fine levied against du Plessis by match referee David Boon, and asks "what kind of deterrent is that?"  He also questions the five-run penalty involved, saying "it might have some minor significance in a One Day International, but it is totally irrelevant to the result of a Test".

 

The former England captain suggests two changes to the Laws and Playing Conditions to deal with such situations, one being to make sure that players are warned off tampering through much harsher penalties and that a ten-match suspension should be involved.  The second is that the ball "should not be sacrosanct" and "players should be allowed to do what they want to it, as long as they only use their fingernails and not any external objects".

 

The Laws as they stand are too strict, says Vaughan, for "they make everyone into cheats, because we all use sugary sweets to help bring the leather to a shine, and we all throw in on the bounce to roughen up the surface". If you are going to be a stickler, these common practices count as “altering the condition of the ball”.

 

UDRS SHOULD BE SCRAPPED, 

SAYS FLINTOFF

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Former England captain Andrew Flintoff believes the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) should be scrapped and wants decisions to rest solely with on-field umpires.  Flintoff told the BBC that cricket is "one of the few games left where the umpire's decision is final", and "like it or lump it, he'll stick his finger up, or not, and you've got to get on with the next ball".

 

Asked about the practice of 'walking', Flintoff said that he'd "got a hundred against New Zealand at Gloucester [after being] caught behind for about fifteen, but I stayed out there".  "On the flip side you get some shocking decisions and you've got to walk off, but things [tend to] even themselves out" in the long run.

 

NATIONAL HONOUR FOR 

WEST INDIAN UMPIRE

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West Indian umpire Norman Malcolm, a long-serving Principal of a primary school, was awarded Jamaica's 'Badge of Honour' for "long and faithful service to education" in that country at a national ceremony in Kingston earlier this week.  Malcolm, 58, has stood in a total of fifty-three first class matches over the last twenty years, and twenty-seven One Day Internationals since 2008, the latter involving games played in Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands as well as the West Indies.


End of October 2013 News file