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              NOVEMBER 2013
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 22 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 5889-6005)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,223  1,224  1,225  1,226  1,227  1,228  1,229  1,230  1,231  1,232  1,233  1,234  1,235  1,236  1,237  1,238  1,239  1,240  1,241  1,242  1,243  1,244 

 

1,223 – 1 November [5889-5890]

• ICC replies to PCB ball-tampering query but details 'confidential'  (1223-5889).

• Davis to mentor during WT20 Qualifier   (1223-5890).

1,224 - 2 November [5891-5899]

• 'Hot Spot', real-time 'Snicko' for Ashes UDRS package?   (1224-5891).

• ICC emphasising differences in ball-tampering cases, say reports   (1224-5892).

• CA signs five-year radio broadcast deal with commercial network  (1224-5893).

• Match referee fills in for injured umpire  (1224-5894).

• 'T' sign earns Aussie captain a reprimand  (1224-5895).

• Indian skipper concerned about future one one-day format  (1224-5896).

• 'Rape' shirt sees university team loose funding, affiliation  (1224-5897).

• NSWCUSA Chairman resigns  (1224-5898).

• Bird statue gets a lift  (1224-5899).

1,225 - 4 November [5900-5903]
• CA pitch push a 'knee jerk reaction', says curator   (1225-5900).

• Aussie 'system' behind batting problems, according to 'Chappelli'   (1225-5901).

• Send off sees Indian spinner fined   (1225-5902).

• England bowling coach keen on 'Hot Spot' return   (1225-5903).

1,226 - 5 November [5904-5910]

• Bowden diary open for Ashes Tests?  (1225-5904).

• 'I'm no cheat', says ball-tamperer du Plessis  (1225-5905).

• Kenyan suspended for six months after on-field assault  (1225-5906).

• 'Review system' being considered for Kerala schools tournament     (1225-5907).

• ICC appoints three neutrals for India-Windies Tests  (1226-5908).

• Former umpire, current international selector, to head UK player's union  (1226-5909).

• Players protest PCB support for bowler banned for fixing  (1226-5910).

1,227 - 7 November [5911-5919]

• Test newcomers named for WT20 Qualifier series  (1226-5911).

• Speedster warned for intimidatory bowling, say reports  (1226-5912).

• CA selects 'emerging group' members for key umpire pathway series  (1226-5913).

• First class scheduling, T20 focus, a concern, says Aussie bowler  (1226-5914).

• Watkins missing from NZ domestic line-ups  (1226-5915).

• Pakistan for hectic ten-day South African tour  (1226-5916).

• Windies 'domestic' one-day series to return to tournament format  (1226-5917).

• Match officials newsletters again go missing  (1226-5918).

• Match referee's wife will miss Tendulkar's batting talents  (1226-5919).

1,228 - 8 November [5920-5922]

• ECB agrees to floodlight use in Australian Ashes series   (1228-5920).

• Irony for India as technology suggests Tendulkar LBW 'not out'   (1228-5921).

• More work needed by CA on player communications  (1228-5922).

1,229 - 10 November [5923-5926]

• Bowden on Ashes panel, Hill for third umpire roles   (1229-5923).

• Hill appointments reflect TV umpire's importance, says ICC    (1229-5924).

• Proposal to use substitute as a wicketkeeper disallowed    (1229-5925).

• Hussey backs Broad's approach to 'walking'   (1229-5926).

1,230 - 11 November [5927-5930]

• Three months on BCB forms BPL anti-corruption tribunal  (1230-5927).

• Kenyan pair banned for dressing room incident   (1230-5928).

• Womens' ODI 'hatch snatch' ends in warning, reprimand   (1230-5929).

• CA organising fast bowling 'summit'   (1230-5930).

1,231 - 13 November [5931-5934]

• Aussie skipper concerned about UDRS principals, inconsistencies   (1231-5931).

• Communication problems allow suspended player to feature in key game   (1231-5932).

• No umpire 'rotations' in Indian first class games   (1231-5933).

• ECB signs broadcast deal for 2015, 2019 Ashes series   (1231-5934).

1,232 - 14 November [5935-5943]

• Ashes UDRS package announcement reported 'likely' within days   (1232-5935).

• ECB T20 series to feature coloured creases, sixty second batsmen changeovers (1232-5936).

• BCB to rule on 'suspension' controversy, match referee faces censure   (1232-5937).

• 'Cash flow problems' delay Zimbabwean season   (1232-5938).

• Fiftieth ODI for Oxenford?   (1232-5939). 

• Test appointments point to Aussie IUP membership   (1232-5940). 

• Details of CA 'grass roots' project funding awaited   (1232-5941).

• NZ again looking for the nation's 'favourite local cricket umpire'   (1232-5942).    

• Legalise betting if it can help reduce corruption, says former Indian skipper   (1232-5943).  

1,233 - 16 November [5944-5955]

• Former Indian skipper urges BCCI to 'wear power lightly'   (1233-5944).

• Senior ICC managers for pre-Ashes, technology-related, visit to Brisbane   (1233-5945).

• Officials face censure as re-run of 'suspended player' match ordered   (1233-5946).

• ICC Anti-Corupption Unit probing umpire's alleged IPL betting link    (1233-5947).

• Five-year ban handed former Lankan women's team manager    (1233-5948).

• UDRS use described as 'like dissent'    (1233-5949).

• Fifty up for Oxenford    (1233-5950).

• Tendulkar should have been captain in his farewell game, says Dar    (1233-5951).

• Betting agency finds flash new way to make money    (1233-5952).

• Mowing of waterlogged grounds stops play    (1233-5953).

• Change in league match schedule format draws complaints   (1232-5954).

• Former umpire, administrator, convicted of fraud   (1232-5955).  

1,234 - 17 November [5956-5959]

• Five internationals reported for 'suspect' bowling actions   (1234-5956).

• 'Send off' results in fine for Pakistan bowler   (1234-5957).

• CA-ABC Ashes broadcast deal 'imminent', says report   (1232-5958).

• Rejection of Test program advertisement brings 'censorship' claim   (1232-5959).

1,235 - 18 November [5960-5961]

• Victorian captain fined, suspended, for 'pitch tampering'   (1235-5960).

• CA emphasis on producing international players 'hard to take', for Hussey   (1235-5961).

1,236 - 19 November [5963-5966]

• Long-serving Cloete in line for Test debut?   (1236-5962).

• First top-tier 'neutral' ODI spots for Gaffaney   (1236-5963).

• Bowler 'no balled' three times for action, removed from attack   (1236-5964).

• DPL match replay fails to end controversy   (1236-5965).

• League sponsor's 'after-life' services means 'time' has clearly been called   (1236-5966).

1,237 - 20 November [5967-5672]

• Aussie Ashes scorers bring centuries of experience to forthcoming series   (1237-5967).

• Victoria appeal Wade 'pitch tampering' ban   (1237-5968).

• 'Real-time Snicko', 'Hot Spot' for Ashes UDRS package, say reports   (1237-5969).

• CA-ABC still talking about Ashes radio broadcasts   (1237-5970).

• South Africa boosts first class monies, stresses pre-eminence of competition   (1237-5971).

• Slow over-rate fine for NZ in final Lankan ODI   (1237-5972).

1,238 - 21 November [5972-5982]

• Rugby-style, real-time third umpire explanations of decisions likely  (1238-5973).

• ICC officials brief Ashes players, train umpires, on UDRS issues   (1238-5974).

• Wade 'pitch-tampering' appeal hearing to convene today   (1238-5975).

• Transparency International calls on ICC to open up its operations   (1238-5976).

• India should play under the UDRS, says former Windies skipper   (1238-5977).

• Coach criticises Shillingford 'suspect action' call   (1238-5978).

• 'Gabba' Test descriptions for ABC Radio   (1238-5979).

• 'What is Cricket Australia selling your family?', asks new advert   (1238-5980).

• Quality of teas more important than pitch standards in West Yorkshire   (1238-5981).

• Indian schoolboy savages opposition attack   (1238-5982).  

1,239 - 22 November [5983-5984]

• Victorian skipper looses 'pitch-tampering' appeal   (1239-5983).

• Kiwi for one-match Aussie exchange   (1239-5984).

1,240 - 23 November [5985-5986]

• No warning given re 'pitch-tampering', claim Victorians   (1240-5985).

• Home board tests clear Hong Kong bowler's action   (1240-5986).

1,241 - 25 November [5987-5995]

• Work on cheap, readily available 'wearables' technology reported on track   (1241-5987).

• BPL match-fixing tribunal finally begins its work   (1241-5988).

• Give umpires sole control of UDRS, says Jones   (1241-5989).

• Home board tests find Namibian's faster delivery 'illegal'   (1241-5990).

• 'Rolling Stones', football to impact on Shield final dates?   (1241-5991).

• ECB non-broadcast revenue doubles in five years     (1241-5992).

• T20I slow over rate fine for Sri Lanka   (1241-5993).

• Zimbabwe season to proceed but without sponsors   (1241-5994).

• Styne fined for using offensive language   (1241-5995).

1,242 - 26 November [5996-6002]

• Aussie captain fined for obscene on-field rant   (1242-5996).\
• Onus on captains, players to behave, says ECB umpire manager   (1242-5997).

• WA spinner fined for dissent   (1242-5998).

• Canadian, Italian reprimanded for on-field spat   (1242-5999).

• 'Some umpires', ICC targeting Samuels, Shillingford, claims Roberts   (1242-6000).

• CA-ABC finalise new five-year agreement   (1242-6001).

• Queens' fence raised to minimise resident's 'health hazard'   (1242-6002).

1,243 - 27 November [6003-6005]

• Ashes umpires need to 'take more responsibility' in on-field spats, claims Healy  (1243-6003).

• Batsman 'caught' off the umpire  (1243-6004).

• Side's non-playing 'owner' fined for showing 'dissent' to umpire  (1243-6005).

1,244 - 29 November [6006-6012]

• My 'gardening' of Hobart pitch no different than normal, claims Wade   (1244-6006).

• Fourth Pakistani in ODI 'Obstructing the Field' dismissal   (1244-6007).

• Tasmanian scorer prepares for first class debut   (1244-6008).

• Indian, Englishman to stand in main WT20Q final   (1244-6009).

• Cricket needs to tighten 'concussion' protocols, says NSW team doctor   (1244-6010).

• Fifth day-night county season opener for Abu Dhabi   (1244-6011).

• Madhya Pradesh player in 'sexual harassment' complaint   (1244-6012).

  

 PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,223
Friday, 1 November 2013

ICC REPLIES TO PCB BALL-TAMPERING 

QUERY BUT DETAILS 'CONFIDENTIAL' 

[PTG 1223-5889]

 

Reports from Lahore yesterday say that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has provided a reply to the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) concerns about what it sees as "inconsistencies" in the way the world body has dealt with ball-tampering issues in recent years.  Last Sunday, PCB chairman Najam Sethi contrasted the fine handed to South Africa’s Faf du Plessis' with the approach taken with regard to his team's players involved in such allegations in the past (PTG 1219-5862, 28 October 2013). 

 

ICC headquarters in Dubai are said to have confirmed that "a detailed reply" to the PCB's query was sent on Wednesday, however, a spokesman said that "since correspondences between the ICC and its members are confidential, we cannot comment on the content of the letter".  A PCB spokesman said the ICC's reply "was being evaluated, [and] therefore, no comments could be made at the moment".

 

Pakistani media reports say that the PCB's letter specifically questioned the ICC over the two-match ban and seventy-five per cent match fee fine handed to Shahid Afridi three years ago for ball-tampering (PTG 562-2854, 1 February 2010), and du Plessis' "light" fifty per cent match fee fine.  Match referee David Boon of Australia has suggested the South African's offence had not been "part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball" (PTG 1219-5861, 28 October 2013).

 

DAVIS TO MENTOR DURING 

WT20 QUALIFIER

[PTG 1223-5890]

 

Steve Davis, an Australian member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, has been named as one of the sixteen umpires for this month's 72-match World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) Qualifying tournament which is to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the last half of this month.  Sixteen national teams from the ICC's Associate and Affiliate will compete for six places that are available in the WT20C proper, which is to be staged in Bangladesh in March-April next year.

 

Davis said via an ICC press release that he was "delighted" to be working alongside the umpires from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel and third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of International Umpires Panel "as they bring fresh attitude and energy to umpiring".

 

Davis said "we last worked together in Malaysia in 2011 during a World Cricket League [Division 6] tournament and it will be interesting to see how some of them have progressed".  "Our aim is to keep providing these umpires with access to updated training material, maintain a strong linkage to umpiring at the elite level and continue to support their development".  

 

According to Davis “This tournament is just as important to the umpires as it is to the players and teams [and] I’m really proud to be just one member of that umpiring team".  The ICC says that it will announce the match officials and their appointments for the Qualifier series "in due course".  During the 2011 Malaysia event Davis stood twice with Viswandan Kalidas of Malaysia, and once each with Neil Harrison (Japan), Imran Mustafa (Kuwait), David Odhiambo (Kenya) and Durga Subedi (Nepal).

 

Teams for the upcoming qualifying event will come from Afghanistan, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Kenya,  The Netherlands, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Uganda, the United States of America and the UAE.

 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,224
Saturday, 2 November 2013
 
 

'HOT SPOT', REAL-TIME 'SNICKO', 

FOR ASHES UDRS PACKAGE?

[PTG 1224-5891]

 

'Hot Spot' and new real-time 'Snickometer' technology could be "surprise late" additions to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the forthcoming Ashes series, says a report in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) indicated six weeks ago that the up-graded Snickometer would be subjected to an "independent assessment" prior to its use (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013), while 'Hot Spot' was dumped by Australian broadcaster Channel Nine last month (PTG 1207-5808, 10 October 2013). 

 

'SMH' journalist Chris Barratt writes that moves to include the two technologies in the Ashes UDRS package have involved "behind-the-scenes" negotiations between the ICC, Australia and England.  In addition he says he understands Channel Nine and BBG Sports, which provides both systems "are on the brink of signing a deal" for their use, after talks between the two "unexpectedly resumed". 

 

Earlier this year Warren Brennan, the managing director of BBG Sports, indicated that the combined use of real-time 'Snicko', which provides results in 'seconds rather than minutes", and 'Hot Spot', works well in detecting edges from bats, aspects on one covering the less positive aspects of the other and vice versa (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).  "Both technologies complement each other perfectly", says Brennan.

 

Barratt says use of both systems would mean the television umpires in the Ashes series, who have not yet been named, would have more help from technology than ever before, with ball-tracking, stump microphones and slow-motion replays also at their disposal.  However, he also indicates that a "potential stumbling block" is be the need to train umpires on how they should use the improved 'Snicko' to make a decision "in the short time" available before the first Test gets underway in Brisbane.

 

After Channel Nine indicated it would no longer use 'Hot Spot' the Pakistan Cricket Board announced it would not use the system for its series against South Africa (PTG 1208-5814, 11 October 2013), and the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Officer Simon Taufel called its loss "disappointing" but that the situation was out of the ICC's hands (PTG 1208-5815, 11 October 2013).  On the other hand New Zealand Cricket said it planned to continue to use the system (PTG 1210-5824, 14 October 2013). 

 

ICC EMPHASISING DIFFERENCES IN

BALL-TAMPERING CASES, SAY REPORTS

[PTG 1224-5892]

 

Reports from Lahore yesterday say that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has indicated the key difference in match referee assessments in the ball-tampering cases involving Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi in 2010 and South Africa's Faf du Plessis last week is that Afridi had offended on multiple occasions.  The ICC wrote to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) this week after the board expressed concerns about "inconsistencies" in the way the world body has dealt with ball-tampering issues in recent years (PTG 1223-5889, 1 November 2013).  

 

The PCB's Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad told journalists that the ICC said in its letter to the PCB that both cases had been dealt with "on merit and on different grounds".  du Plessis had been involved in a ball-tampering incident for the first time, said Ahmad, while Afridi had "breached various ICC Code of Conduct" regulations "as many as five times before getting caught for a sixth time" in "openly biting" the ball in a One Day International in Perth (PTG 562-2854, 1 February 2010).

 

If yesterday's reports are correct it would appear that the ICC pointed out in its letter that former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had been exonerated by ICC match-referee Rajan Madugalle in the now infamous ball-tampering case at The Oval Test in 2006.  After conducting an investigation into the matter, Madugalle said he was "not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there is sufficiently cogent evidence that the fielding team had taken action likely to interfere with the condition of the ball".

 

Subhan said that the PCB was "still analysing" the ICC’s reply and were yet to take a final decision on it.  One media report says that the PCB "took the prompt step of writing the letter of protest to the ICC, but it seems that [the Board's] action was taken in a hurry and without doing proper home work".

 

CA SIGNS FIVE-YEAR RADIO BROADCAST 

AGREEMENT WITH COMMERCIAL NETWORK

[PTG 1224-5893]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) announced yesterday that it had signed a five-year agreement with the commercial Fairfax Radio Network (FRN) to broadcast cricket in Australia commencing this austral summer (PTG 1203-5797, 6 October 2013).  Under the agreement, Fairfax stations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth will broadcast the Melbourne and Sydney Ashes Tests, the One Day International and Twenty20 International series that follows it, and CA's Twenty20 domestic competition.

 

National broadcaster the ABC will continue to cover Test cricket, as it has done since 1924, but it no longer has exclusive rights under the terms of the new agreement.  CA's Ben Amarfio said in a press release that “The radio rights agreement between [CA] and [FRN] marks an exciting new chapter for cricket in Australia and offers followers of the game even more ways to enjoy the cricket action this summer".

 

FRN managing directer Adam Lang said in a statement: “We are excited to be broadcasting a sport that plays such an integral role in the Australian way of life. Cricket has a rich history of sporting success for our nation and we are delighted to be a part of its future".

 

A 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) report earlier this month, and again this morning, says that the ABC will cover Tests and retain rights to limited-overs international cricket, but that CA's Sheffield Shield first class games will have no direct ball-by-ball coverage on radio "because of an impasse with CA"; the ABC's output being limited to score up-dates.  Today's 'SMH' report says the ABC is understood to have received a substantial discount on its rights but is upset that it won't be allowed to stream cricket on its website.

 

Amarfio, says suggestions the ABC had been told it could not provide comprehensive coverage of Shield games were wrong.  ''We were very disappointed to hear the murmurings about us asking for extra money or us not being as interested in domestic cricket", for such talk is "garbage".  "We've tried at every level of the ABC [and CA chief executive] James Sutherland went to Sydney and sat down with [ABC managing director] Mark Scott pleading our case, but they are steadfast".

 

CA, which announced last week that it expects its revenue to top $A1 billion from now until 2017 (PTG 1221-5882, 30 October 2013),  did not give any indication in its press release of the fee Fairfax is paying for radio rights over the next five years.   

 

MATCH REFEREE FILLS IN 

FOR INJURED UMPIRE

[PTG 1224-5894]

 

New Zealand match referee Doug Cowie stood in a first class game for the first time in eight-and-a-half years in Hamilton yesterday during day two of the Northern Districts versus Auckland match.  Former Test umpire Cowie, 66, stood at square leg for the six overs up until tea after umpire Tony Gillies had to leave the ground when he was hit on the shin while standing at square leg.

 

Cowie was working in his first match as one of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) three new match referees (PTG 1220-5879, 30 October 2013), however, when he was on the ground he was limited to standing at square leg while Gillies colleague, 'Billy' Bowden, looked after both bowling ends.  Gilllies, who was promoted to NZC's Elite Umpires Panel two-and-a-months ago (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013), is standing in just his second first class game.   

 

'T' SIGN EARNS AUSSIE 

CAPTAIN A REPRIMAND

[PTG 1224-5895]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke has been reprimanded for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Sydney on Thursday.  After a Tasmanian batsman was given the benefit of the doubt when a close to the ground catch was claimed at gully, Clarke used the ‘T sign’ or player decision review signal intimating the decision should be reviewed by the third umpire.  

 

Shield matches are not televised and therefore a third umpire was not present to support umpires Ash Barrow and Sam Nogajksi.  Cricket Australia's code of behaviour regulations for its matches were amended this year such that any player who uses the 'T' sign, in gest or not, will automatically be reported as it is considered as showing dissent at the umpire's decision (PTG 1193-5750, 23 September 2013).  

 

Clarke is said to have "admitted guilt" and accepted Match Referee Daryl Harper’s proposed penalty of a reprimand, and as such a hearing was not required.  It was Clarke’s first offence in the past eighteen months.  

 

INDIAN SKIPPER CONCERNED ABOUT 

FUTURE OF ONE-DAY FORMAT

[PTG 1224-5896]

 

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says he fears for the future of one-day cricket after his side again successfully chased down a massive score to win the sixth One day International (ODI) against Australia in Nagpur on Wednesday.  No bowler from either side escaped from the respective batting onslaughts on what was a flat pitch with their figures intact, and Dhoni asked after the game whether "only seeing boundaries and sixes for seven hours" was a good for the game.  

 

The Indian skipper thinks ODI Playing Conditions are "something that we need to sit and think about if 350 is the new 280 or 290 or 300".  "With the rule changes and everything, most of the bowlers are getting smashed with the extra fielder inside, [and] even the best of the bowlers, the fast bowlers, are bowling with third man and fine leg up".  Dhoni's reference was to the Playing Condition that allows only four fielders outside the circle in non-Powerplay overs, something he has previously expressed concerns about.  He said "the four-man rule" and evening dew on the ground meant his side's chase was "slightly easy". 

 

 

'RAPE' SHIRT SEES UNIVERSITY 

TEAM LOOSE FUNDING, AFFILIATION

[PTG 1224-5897]

 

Aberystwyth University in Wales has stripped its cricket team of funding and banned it from representing the university in future tournaments after an unidentified player wore a team polo shirt with his nickname 'Casual Rape' printed on the back.   A University's disciplinary panel heard that the players thought the 'Casual Rape' shirt would be taken as a joke.   

 

A spokesman for the university cricket club said: 'We understand the severity of the situation and steps are being undertaken to ensure no further offence is caused"  "Nothing of this nature will happen again [for] any reference to rape in that manner is completely unacceptable and is not, nor will it be, condoned in the future".

 

The Aberystwyth incident came a week after students at Oxford University were disciplined for telling members of their college rugby teams they could pick a 'fresher of their choice' and spike their drink during a night out.

 

NSWCUSA CHAIRMAN RESIGNS

[PTG 1224-5898]

 

Stephen Poole, the Chair of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA) and a board Director has resigned from both positions, and as the Western Zone Umpire Representative, for personal reasons.  As required by the NSWCUSA Constitution, Poole's Board colleagues met this week and elected Geoff Garland as their new Chairman.

 

In a letter distributed to NSWCUSA members the organisation's Executive Officer Darren Goodger acknowledged Poole's work as Chairman, saying he had made a "significant contribution" in his many roles, including in the area of the Association's educational and development programs as an Accredited Umpire Trainer.  An election to fill the vacancy that now exists on the NSWCUSA Board is to be held in Sydney next Wednesday.

 

BIRD STATUE GETS A LIFT

[PTG 1224-5899]

 

A bronze statue of former English umpire 'Dickie Bird' that stands in his home city of Barnsley has been raised several metres on its plinth in order to dissuade people from placing condoms, underclothing and other items on his raised "your out" finger.  The  life-sized statue, which is said to have cost around $A110,000, was unveiled in June 2009 (PTG 445-2319, 1 July 2009), but Bird later expressed concern to his local council about the hangings and asked that the plinth be raised (PTG 716-3508, 17 January 2011). 

 

A BBC report yesterday says that Bird is often seen removing items from the statue but that he "didn't mind" how people were utilising it and the fact that no one has actually damaged it shows the "respect they have for you".  "They can take as many photographs as they like but they're climbing on to it and they might fall off", said Bird.  Sculptor Graham Ibbeson said: "We are not going to stop it, [rather] make it a little more difficult" for people who wish to place things on it. 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,225
Monday, 4 November 2013

 

CA PITCH PUSH A 'KNEE JERK 

REACTION', SAYS CURATOR 

[PTG 1225-5900]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) directive to produce more batsmen-friendly pitches was a "knee jerk reaction" to Australia's batting problems, according to Marcus Pamplin the head curator at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.  Pamplin's comments came after CA was reported to have put states, particularly Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia, "on notice", of the need to provide Test-standard pitches for domestic first class games to help improve batting performances (PTG 1222-5885, 31 October 2013).

 

Tasmania's loss against Queensland inside two-days in a first class match at Bellerive late last year was the start of CA's focus on bowler-friendly pitches and the demise in the standard of top-order batsman around the country.  Similar pitch-related issues during early 2012-13 season games in both Queensland and Western Australia contributed to CA's views of the situation, but Pamplin points to CA's early season scheduling as a key issue.

 

Pamplin is quoted by the 'Mercury' newspaper's Brett Stubbs as saying that CA "are looking at all sorts of things for what the reasons are for the low batting scores everywhere", but while "it is the pitch sometimes [the Tasmania-Queensland game] was early in the season"; and it was the first match on a square that had been resurfaced during the previous winter and had yet to settle down.  Both the Queensland and Western Australian game concerned were also "early fixtures", he said.

 

Bellerive's head curator believes that the batsman-friendly pitches required by CA "would not be good for cricket".  "We are just going to provide a good cricket wicket and the only negative about a directive from [CA] trying to make it a bit more batting friendly is that you will probably get a sameness around Australia a lot".  Kevin Mitchell Jr, Brisbane's Gabba ground's curator expressed similar reservations a week ago (PTG 1220-5871, 29 October 2013), and former Australian captain has blamed CA's development system for batting problems (PTG 1225- 5901 below).

 

Pamplin said "you can see [pitch flatness] in the first couple of games" of the current season, in both Sheffield Shield matches and the opening England tour game in Perth, the latter being described as "life-less" by several reports.  His assessment is that the Bellerive square had flattened over the 2013 winter and will provide "much more even contests" this season, including for England's second game of the tour there later this week.

 

AUSSIE 'SYSTEM' BEHIND BATTING 

PROBLEMS, ACCORDING TO 'CHAPPELLI'

[PTG 1225-5901]

 

Former national captain Ian Chappell notes concerns and complaints about Australian pitches in articles published in an number of media outlets around the world over the weekend, but believes that while "they may have been a bit spiced up", it is Cricket Australia's (CA) "flawed system" that is behind his country's batting woes.  CA is reported to have issued a directive to states to provide batsman-friendly pitches, much to the reported consternation of senior curators around the country (PTG 1225-5900 above).  

 

Chappell sees many reasons for the "decline in batting" standards, including that he "hears pretty regularly is that the average age in Sydney grade cricket is 22-23 and they are not retaining any senior players, and it’s much the same in the Sheffield Shield".  “When I played on Saturdays in Adelaide [playing hours were such] that the older players could take their kids to the game and tell the wife they were doing something for childcare".  "Now the hours are [longer] and coaches want the players there an hour and a half before the start to do calisthenics and throw frisbees, so the older players drop out".

 

In Chappell's assessment, "the Argus Review [commissioned by CA] was a complete waste of time: there were too many layers of management and they added another layer, there are too many people around [Australian captain] Michael Clarke who are having an input already and need to be told to get stuffed".   “At last [year's] Under-19 World Cup, Australia’s fast bowling was way ahead of the batting", says Chappell.

 

"Now the young batsmen are off playing Under-19 cricket instead of grade cricket against men, and the only two twenty-year-old Test batsmen Australia has produced in the last twenty years have been Clarke and Ricky Ponting".  "Instead Australia have been picking thirty-year-old batsmen, like Marcus North or Ed Cowan, and the problem with picking guys that age is that when they have a failure at the age of 31, they get dropped and are never seen again".  "Everyone gets dropped, but if you are early twenties the better ones come back stronger and more single-minded", says the former captain.

 

'SEND OFF' SEES INDIAN 

SPINNER FINED 

[PTG 1225-5902]

 

India spinner Ravindra Jadeja has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for his part in a mocking send-off of Australian baysman Shane Watson in the series-deciding One Day International in Bangalore on Saturday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) charged Jadeja with "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match".

 

Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe said in a statement that "Jadeja's reaction after dismissing Shane Watson was clearly in breach of the [ICC] code as the players are always expected to respect their opponents, no matter what the match situation".  Apart from Jadeja's reported "stern words" after claiming Watson's wicket, India opener Shikhar Dhawan mocked the hamstring-injured all-rounder, impersonating a hobbled Watson, who struggled to run between the wickets and was clearly in pain.  

 

Pycroft said that "Jadeja apologised for his action when on-field umpire Nigel Llong spoke to him immediately after the incident and reminded him of his responsibilities".  He later admitted the offence and accepted the fine.  Dhawan was not sanctioned for his action.

 

ENGLAND BOWLING COACH 

KEEN ON 'HOT SPOT' RETURN 

[PTG 1225-5903]

 

England will welcome the revival of 'Hot Spot' technology for their Ashes series in Australia, if its use is given the go-ahead after all, says that team's bowling coach David Saker.  News that a combination of 'Hot Spot' and the new 'real time' "Snickometer" could be available for use during the series surfaced publicly on Saturday less than three weeks before the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane (PTG 1224-5891, 2 November 2013). 

 

Echoing several similar statements made by coach Andy Flower three months ago, Saker said: "I think if we can get as many correct decisions as possible, it's better for the game [and] not just for England".  Despite the confusion which often surrounded 'Hot Spot' operations during the recent five Ashes Tests in England, Saker has not lost faith in its accuracy.

 

"Obviously over the English summer, a few things went a little wrong with it", he said "but the majority of the time, they've got more decisions right than wrong - so I'm a big supporter of it".  Saker indicated that "The decision [to use the system] obviously will be made by Cricket Australia, but I'd definitely welcome it for sure"; although it is more likely the decision in that regard will in the end lie with Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine. 
 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,226
Tuesday, 5 November 2013

 

BOWDEN DIARY OPEN FOR ASHES TESTS?

[PTG 1226-5904 ]

 

New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden may have been dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) this year (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), but the relative shortage of appropriately experienced neutral umpires for the forthcoming five Test Ashes series in Australia could see him return to Test level.  Domestic appointments in New Zealand will keep Bowden busy up until mid-December, but after that what is known of his diary indicates he is free, perhaps at the ICC's behest, for selection for the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day, and the fifth in Sydney in the early days of 2014.

 

Four EUP members, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Tony Hill of New Zealand, filled the fifteen neutral umpiring positions needed to cover the five Ashes Tests played in England earlier this year, Dar also going on to work in the five 'Ashes' One Day Internationals (ODI) that followed those games.  The Test series saw umpires come under considerable criticism, as did the fact that only four experienced neutral umpires were available for decision-making roles across the five games (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013).  

 

Dharmasena, Erasmus and Hill have been rested by the ICC since the August Tests, Dar's neutral partner in the ODIs being Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013).  Ravi has since stood in his first Test and his promotion to an Ashes series would appear an extremely big leap at this time, and the only other non-EUP member apart from Bowden who may be a possibility to bolster Ashes umpire stocks if the ICC deems it necessary is Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka.  He currently has nine Tests under his belt, four on-field that all involved Zimbabwe, and five as the television official.  

 

In contrast to that pair Bowden is very experienced having to date worked in ninety-two Tests, seventy-five on-field, fifteen as the third umpire and two as the fourth.  Eight of his on-field games were Australia-England contests, five being in England the three in Australia, the latter not including a Boxing day Test.

 

Bowden's dropping from the EUP came about because of what the ICC said at the time were "performance reasons".  Most reports since suggest that his removal from the panel came not because his actual decision making was letting him down, but rather for his approach to what the ICC labels as 'Attitude and Teamwork', which is believed to be its number one umpiring philosophy.  That item is at the top of a list of required umpire attributes that reports say includes, in order of priority after that, 'Preparation and Knowledge', 'Match Management', 'Correct Decisions', 'Technique' and 'Personal Development'.

 

Since loosing his EUP position, a role reports say he is determined to regain, Bowden has received non-ICC appointments to work in twelve games in the new Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 series in the West Indies, and nine in this year's Champions League Twenty20 tournament in India, an event that is organised by the Boards of Australia, India and South Africa.  In addition New Zealand Cricket (NZC) made him a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, which he must be a member of to be considered for Tests (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013).   

 

After all that, Bowden stood in his first domestic first class game on home soil in five years in Hamilton last week (PTG 1224-5894,  2 November 2013), has a Twenty20 match in Dunedin this Saturday, a second first class fixture in Rangiora late this month, a third such game in Auckland in the first week of December, and a fourth in Christchurch that is scheduled to end on mid-December, nine days before the fourth Ashes Test is due to get underway in Melbourne; a fairly solid preparation for a Test return.  

 

Following that Bowden's name is missing from the current NZC's umpire appointments list that runs up until the New Year.

 

'I'M NO CHEAT', SAYS 

BALL-TAMPERER DU PLESSIS

[PTG 1226-5905]

 

South African batsman Faf du Plessis, who was found guilty of ball tampering during last week's second Test against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), says he prides himself as "being a morally good person" and that its been "difficult" over the past week with "people labelling me a cheat", for "that's not the kind of person I am [nor] the kind of person I want to be associated with".  Du Plessis was fined half of his match fee, and his side penalised five runs, after television footage showed him rubbing the ball on the zip of his pants' pocket (PTG 1219-5861, 28 October 2013).

 

du Plessis writes in a column posted on a South African cricket web site over the weekend that "when the on-field umpires [Rod Tucker of Australia and Ian Gould of England] inspected the ball, there wasn't a scratch mark or anything untoward on [it]".  "In fact, it was in excellent shape and wasn't reverse-swinging at all".  "Basically, the condition of the ball hadn't been changed, and that's why I think my penalty was not as harsh as the sentences given out for other similar incidents", he says, something the Pakistan Cricket Board has complained to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about (PTG 1224-5892, 2 November 2013).

 

"We all know in cricket that there is a ball to be worked on and kept shiny".  "In the UAE the added element is that it's incredibly hot and part of the challenge is keeping the ball dry from the sweat of the bowlers".  As a result a team has "designated ball 'shiners' and ball 'workers'", who are "usually the guys who don't bowl or who don't sweat as much as the others, and I'm one of them".  

 

du Plessis goes on to state "There are ways of 'working' the ball as much as possible within the rules, such as bouncing the ball on the [pitch], trying to bowl cross-seam, and basically trying to scuff the ball as much as possible, naturally, so that it's easier for the bowlers to grip".  The bouncing the ball on the pitch technique is in fact something ICC umpires are believed to watch carefully for (PTG 1136-5509, 1 July 2013).

 

The South African concludes his article by saying that in the recent Test "I was trying to keep the ball as dry as possible and] as [television footage showed, I was on the rough side of the ball, and I'll be the first to admit that I was working it far too close to my zip".  "That's obviously what third umpire [Paul Reiffel of Australia] saw on television".

 

Meanwhile, former Pakistani captain and coach Mushtaq Mohammad cannot understand the recent "hue and cry" over ball-tampering as he feels every team and bowler has indulged in it "in some form or the other", including himself.  He told the 'Pakistan Tribune', that "at the end of the day just tampering with the ball in any way does not guarantee that bowlers can get wickets and quick success [for] reverse swing is a skill which few bowlers have mastered until now".

 

Aamir Sohail, another former Pakistan skipper, told the 'Tribune' he couldn't understand "the furore" raised by [the du Plessis] incident "as [match referee David Boon of Australia] had penalised [him] under ICC [Playing Conditions] governing ball-tampering".  "Every law that is passed has to be approved by the ICC's executive board of which every country is a member including Pakistan, so if there were any concerns about the laws governing ball-tampering they should have been raised at the ICC meeting then", he said.

 

Like former England captain Michael Vaughan (PTG 1222-5886, 31 October 2013), Sohail feels that the fine imposed on du Plessis was not enough, although he apparently did not indicate to the 'Tribune' journalist what his penalty would be.  He also suggested the ICC should "allow the fielding team to take a new ball after sixty overs instead of the present eighty" as that would "discourage and reduce ball-tampering incidents".

 

KENYAN SUSPENDED FOR SIX MONTHS 

AFTER ON-FIELD ASSAULT 

[PTG 1226-5906]

 

The Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) have suspended former national spinner James Ngoche for six months over an incident in an NPCA league match late last month.  The Swamibapa side's player was charged with physical assault after he removed his batting gloves whilst batting and attacked Nairobi Gymkhana's Abdul Najmi, who reports say had "provoked him" during his time at the crease.

 

Ngoche, 25, was suspended following a meeting of the NPCA's disciplinary committee last week, the Association's chairman Tom Tikolo indicating that the spinner had been suspended from "all cricket activity" and can only appeal through Cricket Kenya (CK).  The decision to suspend him is reported to have generated "mixed reactions", with most observers apparently of the view that a suspention for the rest of the season "would have sufficed".

 

"Six months out of cricket is harsh, especially after the player apologised and also paid for some of the damages suffered by his opponent", said former national player Peter Ongondo who is now on CK's coaching staff.  "I don't support the fracas but what James did was in the heat of the moment after being provoked for three overs", said Ongondo.  The nature of the provocation is not clear at this time.

 

Former Kenyan player and coach Alfred Njuguna agreed with Ongondo, but also says the NPCA should have also "punished" Najmi. "What James did is not in question, the question is the manner in which the punishment has been meted, sad as the incident might have been, punishment should be meted to both the parties", said Njuguna, and "We should not forget discipline is of the essence and there should be no compromise".

 

'REVIEW SYSTEM' BEING CONSIDERED 

FOR KERALA SCHOOLS TOURNAMENT 

[PTG 1226-5907]

 

Officials organising next month's state cricket tournament for high school level students in the Indian state of Kerala are considering using a "third umpire system" to support matches.  Media reports from the eastern city of Palakkad yesterday, where the event will be held, say that a review system would "avoid unnecessary controversies and appeals that often dampen the true spirit of school youth festivals".

 

The Kerala Education Department's Biju Prabhakar says the suggestion for reviews came from "representatives of various [state] teacher unions and political party leaders during a meeting held in Palakkad a few weeks ago".  He indicated that his department was planning to hold a detailed discussion on whether to adopt a review system this week, a gathering at which the state's education minister and various stakeholders of the festival will be present.

 

Teachers who put forward the idea say the availability of reviews "will allow students to appeal a decision perceived to have been incorrect" and that the third umpire, "an expert in the field concerned, will review the item presented by the student, with the help of television footage".  "We have to keep moving with the times", said Veena Nair a former teacher in Kalathilakam, who believes any move to reviews "will certainly improve the standard of the school festivals and allow us to get rid of unnecessary controversies". 

 

Local Kerala politician Shafi Parambil says in classic politic-speak that the final decision on introducing the system will be taken "only after studying various aspects, including its merits and demerits".

 

ICC APPOINTS THREE NEUTRALS 

FOR INDIA-WINDIES TESTS

[PTG 1226-5908]

 

English umpires Nigel Long and Richard Kettleborough and Zimbabwean match referee Andy Pycroft have been named as the neutral match officials for the two Tests India and the West Indies are to play in Kolkata and Mumbai over the next two weeks, and with the Umpire Decision Review System not operational, so far unnamed Indian members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will work as third and fourth umpires during those games.

 

Following the Tests, the two teams are to play One Day Internationals (ODI) in Kochi, Vishakhapatnam and Kanpur, and ICC has named Australians Rod Tucker and his countryman David Boon as the neutral umpire and match referee respectively for the three games, Indian IUP members filling the second on-field and third and four umpire positions for each match.   The Test-ODI series will take Llong's Test record to twenty, Kettleborough's to sixteen and Pycroft as a match referee to twenty-four, while Tucker and Boon will coincidently each be supporting their thirty-fourth, thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth ODIs.

 

Meanwhile, two other Englishmen Chris Broad and Ian Gould, plus Australian Bruce Oxenford have been named as the neutral match officials for the three ODIs Sri Lanka and New Zealand are to play over the next fortnight.  Gould and Oxenford will serve in one-field and television umpire positions, while Broad will be the match referee, Sri Lankan IUP members filling the second on-field and fourth umpire spots for each game.

 

Oxenford, in what will be his fourth ODI-related visit to Sri Lanka, appears likely to be on field in matches one and three in Hambantota and Dambulla, and Gould in game two in Hambantota, each working as the television umpire when not out on the ground.  The series will take Broad's ODI match referee record to 235 games, second only to Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka who is currently on 273 ODIs, while for Gould his ODI tally will move on to 87 on-field and 23 as a third umpire, and Oxenford 49/30.

 

FORMER UMPIRE, CURRENT INTERNATIONAL 

SELECTOR, TO HEAD UK PLAYER'S UNION 

[PTG 1226-5909]

 

David Lloyd, the former England first class player, umpire, coach, and nowadays broadcaster and member of the International Cricket Council's umpire selection group, has been appointed as the president of the UK Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).  Lloyd takes over from current day ICC match referee Chris Broad whose two-year term has come to an end.

 

Lloyd says he "was the Lancashire PCA representative back in the 1970s and little thought I would one day be asked to take on the role of President - a role I am delighted to accept".  "The PCA has grown immeasurably since my time as a player in the range and quality of services it offers and I am delighted to be able to play a part as it continues to prosper".

 

PCA chief executive Angus Porter added: "Chris Broad has been a wonderful advocate for the PCA in his time as president, and we are grateful for the intelligence and diligence he has brought to the role, [and] in David Lloyd, we have found the perfect successor".

 

PLAYERS PROTEST PCB SUPPORT 

FOR BOWLER BANNED FOR FIXING  

[PTG 1226-5910]

 

Domestic players in Pakistan have criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for supporting banned fast-bowler Mohammad Amir despite his conviction for cricket-related corruption, says a 'Pakistan Tribune' report from Lahore yesterday.  Last month following requests from the PCB, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it would look at allowing Amir to come back a year early from his five-year ban after it introduces a "revised", "more robust and strengthened" anti-corruption code, possibly in January (PTG 1214-5842, 20 October 2013)

 

The 'Tribune' says that Amir has been seen at the PCB headquarters in Lahore in the last few days where he met "top officials of the board", but that "most of the players" it contacted believe that Amir should not be allowed to return to international cricket.  One player is reported to have said that "It's a real shame that a cheat like Amir has been supported by the PCB and that is going all out to help him return to international cricket".  Such a move is he says "a slap on the face for players with a decent track record and a clean character, especially those who are striving to make it to the national team".

 

Another unnamed player said that an average player with a clear track record is a better player for Pakistan than someone who is top-class but corrupt".  "It is better that the PCB promotes players who are average and clean if they are serious about eliminating corruption instead of backing those who sold the country for money".  "The board might argue that Amir is close to completing his punishment" but he believes "an example should be set" [in order to] discourage acts of 'fixing' as it has "spread like a cancer in cricket".

 

A "former Test player" indicated that he thinks both the ICC and PCB should stop "wasting millions on its training and education program on fixing issues", however, he did not explain his thinking behind that view.
 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,227
Thursday, 7 November 2013

TEST NEWCOMERS NAMED FOR 

WT20 QUALIFIER SERIES

[PTG 1227-5911]

 

Two umpires who made their debuts at Test level this year are amongst the 19 match officials from 16 countries selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates later this month.  ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) Steve Davis of Australia will stand in games and act as a mentor during the 16-day, 16-team, 71-match event (PTG 1223-5890, 1 November 2013), working with 12 ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) members, three from the third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP), and a trio of referees from the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP).

 

Devedas Govindjee (South Africa), David Jukes (England) and Graeme La Brooy (Sri Lanka) will oversee the series as match referees.  In addition to Davis the umpires are from the IUP: John Ward (Australia); Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat (Bangladesh); Michael Gough (England); Ravi Sundaram and Chettithody Shamshuddin (India); Chris Gaffaney and Derek Walker (New Zealand); Ahsan Raza (Pakistan); Adrian Holdstock (South Africa); Ranmore Martinesz (Sri Lanka); and Gregory Brathwaite and Joel Wilson (West Indies); and from the AAIUP: Mark Hawthorne (Ireland); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); and Ian Ramage (Scotland).  

 

Martinesz made his Test debut last March and has since gone on to stand in a total of four such games (PTG 1173-5667, 19 August 2013), while Sundaram stood in his first Test last month (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013).  As such they would appear to be potential candidates for the ICC's EUP, and if so just why they have been selected for a relatively lower-level series instead of further exposure to senior level fixtures is not clear.  

 

For Gough, 34, Shamshuddin, 43, Ward, 51, and Walker, who turns 54 mid-day through the qualifier series, its their first ICC appointment.  Over the last 12 months they have all made their debuts in senior internationals in their respective home countries as a result of appointments by their own boards, Gough and Shamshuddin in both Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and One Day Internationals, and Ward and Walker in T20Is.  Gough and Walker played first class cricket before they turned to umpiring.

 

In match appointments announced for the first 11 days of the tournament, Davis is to stand in games with Brathwaite, Gough, Raza, Ramage and Shamshuddin, and will be watching on as the reserve official when Gough, Martinesz, Raza, Shamshuddin and Walker go through their paces are on the field of play.

 

SPEEDSTER WARNED FOR INTIMIDATORY 

BOWLING, SAY REPORTS 

[PTG 1227-5912]

 

Umpires Gerard Abood and Tony Ward are reported to have warned Queensland and Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris for intimidatory bowling in a Sheffield Shield game in Brisbane yesterday, after what that city's 'Courier Mail' newspaper says this morning was "a bouncer war against Test batting aspirant George Bailey" of Tasmania.  The Laws say that is "dangerous and unfair" is the umpire at the bowler's end "considers that by their repetition and taking into account their length, height and direction they are likely to inflict physical injury on the striker irrespective of the protective equipment [the batsman] may be wearing]". 

 

Harris, who was bowling on what the 'Mail' story says was a "desperately flat pitch", twice struck the Tasmanian captain on the body, "including a fearsome blow on the left arm which "shook up the batsman and forced him away from the crease for several minutes" for treatment.  Bailey, who is said to have "been in some pain", continued to bat and was not out at stumps on what was day one of the four-day game.

 

CA SELECTS 'EMERGING GROUP' MEMBERS 

FOR KEY UMPIRE PATHWAY SERIES

[PTG 1227-5913]

 

Two current members of Cricket Australia's (CA) four-man emerging umpires group, Victorian Shawn Craig and Tony Wilds of New South Wales, are believed to have been selected in a panel of eight umpires for this season's Australian men's national Under-19 championship series for the second year running, according to reports collated by 'PTG'.  Craig and Wilds, who made their debuts as third umpire's in CA domestic List A games last month (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013), are expected to work with six others who have been selected for the first time for an event that is a key step in a pathway that runs from there to CA's emerging group, and on to its National Umpires Panel (NUP). 

 

Apart from Craig and Wilds, those chosen for the first time by CA for the U-19 tournament, all of whom stand in the top level of club competitions in their respective states, are thought to be: Murray Branch and Craig Hoffman (Queensland); Phillip Gillespie and Ange Sammartino (Victoria); Craig Thomas (South Australia); and Ben Treloar (NSW); no one from either the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Tasmania or Western Australia being in this year's mix.  

 

Gillespie, Hoffman, Sammartino and Thomas have all stood in Futures League games involving state second XIs, and they and Branch and Treloar in men's national Under-17 championship series over the last three years.  Other notable appointments include Hoffman to an Emerging Players Tournament in 2011, an event that at that time was located between the U-19 series and the emerging group on CA's umpire pathway (PTG 805-3940, 30 July 2011), and Sammartino to a List A tour game involving the touring England 'A' side last austral summer.

 

Since they stood in last season's national U-19 series, Craig and Wilds have been selected by CA for their international debuts in July's tri-nation U-19 One Day International (ODI) series in Darwin (PTG 1119-5440, 7 June 2013), and last month as third umpires for the first time in CA's domestic one-day event played in Sydney.  In addition Craig, who has a CA contract as a member of its Project Panel for fast-tracking former first class players, was reported in March to have been awarded an Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship (PTG 1070-5203, 2 March 2013).

 

Of the other two current emerging panel members, Richard Patterson of Victoria, a former first class umpire who stood in twenty-two such games in the period from 1999-2004 before dropping out of the national scene, also took part in the Darwin U-19 ODIs and was given a List A domestic third umpire spot last month.  The same appointments were given to Greg Davidson of NSW, however, he then went two steps further, first making his List A debut two weeks ago, then being named for his first class debut early next month, and he thus appears to be a serious candidate for NUP membership in 2014-15 (PTG 1221-5880, 30 October 2013).

 

Just why Patterson has not, like Craig and Wilds, been 'recycled' back to the U-19 event is unknown.  Others who have either been part of the emerging group, or on its fringes in recent years, such as Michael Kumutat and Simon Lightbody of NSW, Todd Rann and Nathan Johnston of Western Australia, and Jamie Mitchell of Tasmania, all of whom have been looked at closely by CA, appear at this stage at least to have been overtaken by Branch, Gillespie, Hoffman, Sammartino, Thomas and Treloar who will be hoping their performances in Hobart next month will be good enough for them to be moved to the next rung of the ladder to NUP membership.

 

FIRST CLASS SCHEDULING, T20 FOCUS, 

A CONCERN, SAYS AUSSIE BOWLER

[PTG 1227-5914]

 

Australian bowler Jackson Bird says that he does not expect Cricket Australia (CA) will respond to what the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' calls players' "demands" to shorten its domestic Twenty20 competition, for which free-to-air broadcaster Channel 10 has paid close $A90 million for the rights to televise over the next five years (PTG      1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  Bird yesterday voiced what 'Age' chief cricket writer Chloe Saltau this morning says is the "concerns of many players, especially fast bowlers", about the impact of the T20 event is having on the scheduling of CA's first class Sheffield Shield fixtures.

 

Bird told Fairfax Media that currently "there's six [Shield] games in about seven weeks so realistically the fast bowlers can't play every game, [and] it would be a bit frustrating for those guys trying to put their name forward to play Test cricket when they can't get a continued run when they've got to keep resting".  "I think the schedule is something that needs to be looked at because you only play professional cricket for a certain amount of years and you don't  want to miss out on games when you don't really need to".  

 

In the now Tasmania-based bowler's opinion, CA's T20 competition "could be shortened a bit but [CA] makes a lot of money off [it] so I suppose they are trying to drag that out as much as possible, [and] the way the schedule is now it's probably going to stay like that for a few more years".

 

WATKINS MISSING FROM NZ 

DOMESTIC LINE-UPS 

[PTG 1227-5915]

 

Former New Zealand Test umpire Evan Watkin, who two months ago was dropped from his country's top 'Elite' domestic umpires panel after twenty-four years on the first class scene, appears to be missing from New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) current appointments list.  Watkin, 62, whose umpiring record includes 135 first class games, three of them Tests, and 177 List A matches, 23 being One Day Internationals, was moved to NZC's second-tier Reserve Panel, the country's National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg saying at the time that Te Aroha-born Watkin was to continue to umpiring, presumably as a Reserve Panel member (PTG 1170-5653, 15 August 2013).

 

NZC formed the Reserve Panel this year by amalgamating its former second-tier 'A' and third-tier Emerging panels, Raoul Allen, Chris Brown, Mark Elliott, Johan Fourie, Peter Gasston, Mike George, Ash Mehrotra, Dave Paterson, Hiran Perera, David Reid and Peter Spall being former 'A' panel members, while John Bromley, Kathy Cross, Aaron Hardie, Richard Hooper, Shaun Ryan, Garth Stirrat, David Tidmarsh and Glenn Walklin are from the former emerging group (PTG 1187-5725, 14 September 2013).  Watkin and Phil Agent, who was only on NZC's top Elite domestic panel for just a 2012-13 season that included an exchange visit to South Africa, were also named as Reserve Panel members. 

 

In appointments announced recently, NZC named 19 Reserve Panel members, the exceptions being Watkin and Small who is also missing, plus two women umpires, Kim Cotton of Christchurch and Diana Venter of Auckland, for games across its men's Provincial A competition for first class second XIs, senior womens' one-day and Twenty20 series, the Under-21 women's series, and mens' Under-19 and Under-17 series, all of which are to be played in December-January.  Those chosen to stand in the most senior of those competitions, the Provincial A series, are former Elite panel member Agent, five from the former 'A' group, Brown, Elliott, George, Mehrotra and Paterson, and four from the former 'Emerging' group, Bromley, Hooper, Stirrat and Tidmarsh.  Last month Mehrotra was the only non-Elite panel member so far named for a senior level game in 2012-13, that being in NZC's T20 competition just after Christmas (PTG 1206-5806, 9 October 2013).

 

The three women umpires, Cotton, Cross and Venter, have been selected for matches in the three women's series, Cross for a total of twenty-two games, fourteen one-day and eight T20s, and Cotton and Venter both for four one-dayers and three T20s.  Cotton regularly stands in Premier League club cricket in Christchurch's men's competition and is said to be rated highly by match officials there.  Venter has stood at Premier League level in Auckland and was for several years on the board of the New Zealand Cricket Umpire and Scorers Association.  Wellington-based Cross has stood in men's List A games in New Zealand in the past, but in recent years has been confined to women's fixtures at the national level, although she has been selected by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand overseas in three women's World Cups over the last decade (PTG 1042-5065, 19 January 2013).

 

In Australia two women umpires, Melissa Jones and Deanne Young, both of whom are from the Australian Capital Territory, are the only members of their gender known to be standing at national level there this austral summer.  So far this season, Jones has been named for a Womens' National Cricket League one-day match this Saturday, and Young for two women's T20s later this month.  

 

Last May, Cricket Australia's (CA) Match Officials area was 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' (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  That proposal is 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.  However, despite the national body announcing earlier this year that its revenue was to receive a significant boost due to new TV deals (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013), lack of financial support from senior CA management appears to be behind the lack of any concrete action for female umpires to date.     

 

Meanwhile in India, Shubhda Bhosale, 22, from Gwalior in the state of Madhya Pradesh who is reported to be the country's youngest female umpire, was the only female to successfully completed the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association's (MPCA) Level 1 umpiring course this year.  She told a local media outlet this week that she wants "to be there on field as an umpire and ensure the smooth conduct of the game, [and that] many women in India are unaware about the opportunities available in the field of umpiring".

 

Shubhda was a regular member in the MPCA’s Under-16 and Under-19 women’s teams until 2009 before deciding to pursue umpiring and has featured in a number of MPCA tournaments in the time since.  She said there is "a void" on the international scene when it comes to women umpires, and that is the reason "Kathy Cross from New Zealand was the only woman cricket umpire during the women’s World Cup" last January-February.

 

PAKISTAN FOR HECTIC TEN-DAY 

SOUTH AFRICAN TOUR 

[PTG 1227-5916]

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced yesterday that Pakistan are to play their side in three One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals during a hectic ten-day tour at the end of this month.  Pakistan's visit to South Africa has been organised at short notice following the dispute between CSA and the Indian board about the latter side's tour there, a situation that appears to have resulted from India's desire to ensure long-time batsman Sachin Tendulkar retires with a Test at home (PTG 1217-5852, 25 October 2013).

 

India will now only be in South Africa for less than a month in December for two Tests and three ODIs, and CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement yesterday that "With the Indian tour having unfortunately been curtailed, we needed to give our fans the opportunity to see the Proteas in action, and I'm delighted that Pakistan accepted our offer to tour here".  "It's not been an easy period for South African cricket, but I want to thank our fans and commercial partners for their patience and support during this time".  

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi is quoted in the CSA statement announcing the series as saying "We are very happy to tour South Africa", and that "The tour will be beneficial to both our boards".  The PCB has had its own problems, and the hastily arranged South African trip was in doubt after interim chairman Sethi was suspended by a judge in Pakistan last week. He was reinstated yesterday and reports say Pakistan could make around $A1.5 million for agreeing at short notice to visit South Africa.

 

WINDIES 'DOMESTIC' ONE-DAY SERIES TO 

RETURN TO TOURNAMENT FORMAT 

[PTG 1227-5917]

 

The West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) 'domestic' six-team one-day competition is to return to a tournament-style event this season, all games being played in Trinidad and Tobago during a two-week period in January.  The event will also be played in the same truncated manner in the two seasons after that under a sponsorship deal the WICB has signed with Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Tourism who wants to "showcase" their country as a sport tourism destination.  During the 2012-13 season matches in the fifty over competition were played around the Caribbean over a two-and-a-half month period, a change from the four events prior to that which were played over eleven-day periods, three of them in Guyana and the other in Jamaica.

 

MATCH OFFICIALS NEWSLETTERS GO MISSING 

[PTG 1227-5918]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) electronic newsletter for 'grass roots' match officials, which was introduced with considerable fan fare fourteen months ago (PTG 974-4726, 8 August 2012), appears to have again gone into hibernation.  Two further editions of the newsletter have been distributed since the inaugural issue in early August 2012, the second being four months later in December, and the latest five months after that in mid-May, however, in the six months since there has been no sign of the publication.

 

The first two editions were, according to the newsletters themselves, put together by an 'Editorial Team' that consisted of then CA Umpire Educator Denis Burns, and Darren Goodger and Barry Rennie, the State Directors of Umpiring from New South Wales and Western Australia respectively.  Just who had the responsibility for the third is not clear, nor is whether Bob Parry, Burn's replacement as Umpire Educator who took up that role five months ago (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013), now has that responsibility .  All up the three editions of the newsletter have contained a total of 28 stories, a time in which 'PTG', an all-volunteer effort with an annual budget of just under $A800, circulated 254 editions containing a total of 1,198 articles.

 

The CA newsletter is not the only attempt at match officials communications to go awry of late, for the 2013 'Summer' edition England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) publication also appears to have gone missing.  The 'ACO Newsletter' is normally produced quarterly in 'Autumn', 'Winter', 'Spring' and 'Summer', and its more recent editions have run to sixteen pages or more.  Across in the Caribbean, the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association's attempt to improve communications across its vastly spread out membership via its web site, has still not recovered from the serious hiatus that set in earlier this year (PTG 1092-5317, 22 April 2013). 

 

MATCH REFEREE'S WIFE WILL MISS 

TENDULKAR'S BATTING TALENTS 

[PTG 1227-5919]

 

The wife of International Cricket Council match referee Andy Pycroft is regretful at not being able to witness at first hand Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar' last two Test matches from the stands.  Karen Pycroft told an Indian media outlet by telephone from Zimbabwe that while she has been to India on three previous occasions with her husband, "other prior commitments" mean she will not be with him on this occasion, probably because the current West Indies tour to the sub-continent was arranged by the Board of Control for Cricket in India at relatively short notice.

 

Pycroft is on his tenth visit to India as a match referee over the last four years, two of them being for Test series, four for One Day International events, one of those being the 2011 World Cup, four for Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments, and two Champions League series.  His wife says that "Sachin is a wonderful and very talented cricketer", and "I have followed [his] game in [IPL] and it was privileged to watch him".   "I am disappointed on not being there", she said, and "my husband is fortunate enough to watch his both Tests".

 

Asked somewhat bizarrely whether she was aware about the incident when Tendulkar was banned for ball-tampering in 2001, a censure that was subsequently over-turned, Mrs Pycroft said that "Sachin is such a nice guy and I am sure there will be no foul play by him in any of his last two Tests".  She will miss the Indian batsman when India tours South Africa next month but will be watching on as "my husband will be the match referee" during that series.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,228
Friday, 8 November 2013


ECB AGREES TO FLOODLIGHT USE 

IN AUSTRALIAN ASHES SERIES 

[PTG 1228-5920]

 

Floodlights will be available in bad light conditions in the forthcoming Ashes Tests in Australia after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) "finally relented from 15 years of opposition" to their use 'down under', says a story posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site.  Floodlights have been used in Tests in Australia since 1997 but the ECB has, despite allowing them to be used in Tests at home, resisted their use in 'away' Ashes series, a situation that means umpires have taken players off the field in games in Australia as soon as they judge conditions to be unfair.  

 

Journalist Daniel Brettig says the ECB have relented as a result of issues of 'light' that arose in the fifth Ashes Test at 'The Oval' in late August, a situation that both the ECB and Cricket Australia (CA) expressed their considerable displeasure with at the time.  That game, which was headed to an exciting finish, was curtailed by umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena on safety grounds, ECB chairman Giles Clarke calling the decision "totally unsatisfactory" and the result of "clearly unacceptable" regulations (PTG 1180-5696, 27 August 2013).  

 

In the time since both the ECB and CA have followed the matter of 'light' up in discussions both in, and of the fringes of, International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings.  However, it would appear that despite that there has been no change in the basic arrangements or powers umpires have under the 'light' section of the ICC's Test Playing Conditions for the forthcoming Ashes series from those that applied in England this year (PTG 1214-5842, 20 October 2013).

 

Brettig writes that the match officials appointed for this austral summer's Ashes Tests, who are yet to be named, will be "strongly encouraged" by CA and the ECB to ensure the maximum number of overs are delivered.  This includes permitting play to continue under lights and also to be stricter on the enforcement of reasonable over rates, which the 'Cricinfo story says "slowed to glacial speeds" at times in England.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said last month that "Umpires need to take into account safety issues, that's a priority, but ultimately we have to play more".  "If the ground's a little bit slippery or the clouds happen to be coming over, you've got to keep playing".  "There are millions of people watching on TV, lots of people listening on the radio and heaps of people who paid good money to come into the ground", he continued.  He called on umpires "to push the envelope" and for the players to "understand that we're playing the game, we're getting on with it", and while "today it might be unfair to you the tide will turn and the next time it happens it may well be that it's good for you".

 

IRONY FOR INDIA AS TECHNOLOGY 

SUGGESTS TENDULKAR LBW 'NOT OUT'

[PTG 1228-5921]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) refusal to accept the use of technology in games played by its international side appears to have cost batsman Shachin Tendulkar his wicket yesterday in what is his 199th and second-last Test which is being played in Kolkata.  Tendulkar, whose pending retirement is receiving wall-to-wall coverage in the sub-continent, was given out LBW for ten early on day two of the first Test against West Indies, however, ball tracking technology available to television viewers but not match officials as part of a review system, indicates the ball would have gone on the clear his stumps.

 

West Indian spinner Shane Shillingford beat Tendulkar with his 'doosra', a delivery the Indian has had problems with in the past.  Replays indicated that what was a flighted ball pitched on middle stump, Tendulkar pushing forward in an attempt to defend from his crease, but the ball straightened past the outside edge and hit the back leg quite high.  Ball tracking data showed the delivery was clearly going over the top of the stumps, but umpire Nigel Llong of England, who had to make a judgement in real time, did not think so and raised his finger.  

 

While the West Indies fieldsmen celebrated Tendulkar's dismissal, the Eden Gardens crowd is said to have been "shocked into unaccustomed silence".  Comments on 'Twitter' in India about the dismissal are said to have gone "through the roof", Llong being called a range of names, and accused of a range of motives, for his decision, however, no one appears to have brought up the BCCI's often mentioned concerns about the inaccuracies of ball tracking technology.  Even former English captain Michael Vaughn joined in the chorus, tweeting somewhat irresponsibly: "Nigel Llong might need little help getting out of India".

 

MORE WORK NEEDED BY CA 

ON PLAYER COMMUNICATIONS 

[PTG 1228-5922]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) may have a serious problem about the way it communicates with grass roots match officials around the country (PTG 1227-5918, 7 Novemner 2013), but it appears there are also issues in the way it does so with its players, according to a story in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald'.  Journalist Chloe Saltau says that Tasmanian wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine was "one of a handful" of Australia 'A' players who learnt of their selection to play against England this week via 'Twitter'.

 

Saltau says that some of the 'A' team select received a telephone call, but she writes that general communication were "haphazard".  Paine called the fact that "a few us saw [our selection] on Twitter", "interesting".  A CA spokesman is quoted by Saltau as saying ''Our priority is to communicate with players who are new to a squad or have been dropped from the previous side", but "in this instance we could have communicated better with our players, and we'll work to ensure it doesn't happen again".  A criticism of CA's previous national selection panel, which was chaired by former Australian player Andrew Hilditch, was poor communication.
 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,229
Sunday, 10 November 2013

BOWDEN ON ASHES PANEL, HILL 

FOR THIRD UMPIRE ROLES

[PTG 1229-5923]

 

New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden, who was demoted from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) four months ago (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), was yesterday named as one of five umpires for the forthcoming five Test Ashes series in Australia.  However, while Bowden, EUP members Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Marias Erasmus of South Africa have been allocated on-field positions, their EUP colleague and Bowden's countryman Tony Hill has only been selected for third umpire roles (PTG 1229-5924 below).

 

Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus will all stand in three Tests each and Bowden one, while Hill will work as the television official in three matches, and Bowden and Erasmus one each; the match referee for the first three games being Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, and the last two the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka.

 

Dar and Dharmasena will be on-field in the first Test in Brisbane next week with Erasmus the third umpire and Crowe the match referee (Dar-Dharmasena/Erasmus/Crowe), the combination for the second in Adelaide is Erasmus-Dharmasena/Hill/Crowe, the third in Perth Erasmus-Bowden/Hill/Crowe, the fourth in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day Dar-Dharmasena/Bowden/Madugalle, and the fifth in Sydney early in the New Year Dar-Erasmus/Hill/Madugalle.

 

Bowden's appointment to the Perth Test means that New Zealand Cricket will have to adjust its domestic first class appointments, for he had been selected for a Plunket Shield game in Christchurch in the same time period; previous speculation based of that being he could potentially be involved in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests (PTG 1226-5904, 5 November 2013).

 

The Melbourne Boxing Day Test must be a fixture Madugalle likes as this year's game will be his twelfth in seventeen years, three of them being Australia-England contests.  It will also mark the start of his twenty-first year as an ICC match referee, the Ashes series taking his Test tally in that role to 146 games.  

 

Dar is also very familiar with Boxing Day in Melbourne, for this year's match will be his sixth in eight years, three of them Australia-England encounters; the series as a whole taking his record in Tests to 87 games; the fifth best on record and more than anyone still standing in Tests today.

 

For Dharmasena, whose Test record will have moved to 21 games by the end of the series, it will be his first Boxing Day Test, and the first there as a third umpire for Bowden, who has stood in that signature Test once, that being ten years ago this year.  

 

Bowden's on-field Test tally will move up to 76 games and 18 as third umpire by series end, while Hill, who has 40 Tests on-field to his credit, will take his third umpire record to 24 matches.  Crowe's three Tests as the match referee means he will have looked after 65 games in that role since his first nine years ago last month.

   

HILL APPOINTMENTS REFLECT TV 

UMPIRE'S IMPORTANCE, SAYS ICC 

[PTG 1229-5924]

 

The appointment of International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Tony Hill to three television umpire positions in the approaching Ashes series is "recognition that role is becoming increasingly important" when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is operational, according to the ICC's general manager cricket operations, Geoff Allardice, yesterday.  Hill was not selected for an on-field Ashes position, while his countryman 'Billy' Bowden, who was dropped from the EUP last June, was (PTG 1229-5923 above), an arrangement that given Allardice's comment appears counter intuitive.  

 

News that Hill was "to be relegated to a television umpire role" in the forthcoming Ashes series and Bowden would be selected in the umpiring panel, first broke yesterday in articles in the Australian and UK media.  Separate reports by journalists from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) and the UK newspaper 'The Guardian' both made the claim that the choice of Hill as a third umpire is related to his performance in the Ashes series in England in August.

 

'SMH' journalist Chris Barrett says in his article that "umpiring was a dominant theme for the wrong reasons" during the Ashes series in England earlier this year with the "men overseeing proceedings [making] a succession of mistakes", and that they and the players lost "confidence in the technology" that formed part of the UDRS package that was then in operation.     

 

Barrett said he had "learnt that 62-year-old Hill is expected to be demoted when the Ashes appointments are announced next week, [and] it is likely that he will only feature in a third-umpire role and not in the middle".  UK journalist Andy Wilson of 'The Guardian' wrote similarly about Hill yesterday and said that Bowden, now a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, was to join EUP members South African Marais Erasmus, Pakistan's Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka as the neutral on-field umpires for the series.  

 

Following controversies during Ashes Tests in England three months ago when claims were made that "some umpires [had] cracked under pressure (PTG 1174-5671, 20 August 2013), Hill was said to "considering quitting" the EUP when his current contract ends in mid-2014 (PTG 1169-5650, 14 August 2013).  However, a separate report less than a week after quoted New Zealand's National Umpires Manager Rodger McHarg as saying that Hill had "been maligned unfairly" and his "confidence hadn't taken a hit" as a result of the Ashes controversies (PTG 1173-5669, 19 August 2013).

 

Yesterday's 'SMH' article claimed that Hill's case was not helped by "statistical evidence that showed his decisions accounted for 20 of the 55 [UDRS] challenges in the series in England despite only being on the field in two Tests".  In contrast Erasmus stood in the same number of Tests but was challenged "only six times", wrote Barrett.

 

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland indicated last month he would not be against relaxing the rules on neutrality and that ''When we play England, for example, I'd be really comfortable for an Australian umpire and an England umpire to be standing at opposite ends in a Test match".  However ''That said", he didn't "think it's the perfect model".

 

Wilson goes on to write that "neither England, Australia, nor even the host broadcasters, Channel Nine", are aware of what "elements of technology" will be available to the television umpire as part of the UDRS in the five Tests, as they are still "awaiting guidance from the infuriatingly evasive [ICC]".  

 

Matt Prior, England's vice-captain, wicketkeeper and someone Wilson calls his team's "UDRS guru", is quoted as saying with 'a resigned shrug', that details of UDRS availability "seems to change every day, so it's not something we've paid too much attention to until we are told exactly what's happening".

 

Wilson says that the ICC "has vacillated, at least in its public statements" about the technology that will make up the UDRS Ashes package.  The accuracy of that claim has to be questioned though as the ICC normally relies on host broadcasters to provide the elements of technology that make up UDRS packages.  Part of the current uncertainty appears to be the apparent 'on-off' nature of the discussions between broadcaster Nine and the provided of 'Hot Spot' and real time 'Snickometer' technology, BBG Sports (PTG 1224-5891, 2 November 2013).

 

PROPOSAL TO USE SUBSTITUTE AS 

A WICKETKEEPER DISALLOWED 

[PTG 1229-5925]

 

Reports say that umpires Simon Fry and Paul Wilson refused to allow England reserve wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who was not named in the tourist's side playing Australia 'A' in Hobart yesterday, to field in that position after first choice gloveman Matt Prior suffered an injury on the last afternoon of the four-day game.  

 

The Australian side are said to have "raised no objections" to the proposal, however, Fry and Wilson are reported by one media report to have overruled it because of "the rules of first-class cricket", however, it is more likely that section 2.3 of the Laws of Cricket was involved in that a "substitute shall not be allowed to bat, bowl or act as wicket-keeper". 

 

HUSSEY BACKS BROAD'S 

APPROACH TO 'WALKING' 

[PTG 1229-5926]

 

Former Australian player Michael Hussey has defended England bowler Stuart Broad over the controversy that erupted over 'walking' during the Ashes series in England earlier this year, saying that Broad did the right thing by not walking during the first Test at Trent Bridge (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).  Hussey is quoted by the metro.co.uk web site as saying  Broad did nothing wrong and that had he been in the Englishman`s place he would have done exactly the same. 

 

Hussey expressed the view that Broad was well within his rights to stand there and let the umpire make his decision, adding that he never did have a problem with that as he was never a walker himself.  English media reports state that Broad will be given a hard time by crowds in the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia, but Hussey "is sure" Broad will be able to handle anything that comes at him and may be even spurred by a possible sledging.
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,230
Monday, 11 November 2013


THREE MONTHS ON BCB FORMS 

BPL ANTI-CORRUPTION TRIBUNAL 

[PTG 1230-5927]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has finally appointed an anti-corruption tribunal panel to look into allegations of corruption laid by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in August against nine people involved in last January-February's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).  While the BCB named a former Bangladesh Supreme Court Justice as chairman of its disciplinary panel a few days after the ICC released its report (PTG 1172-5665, 18 August 2013), Bangladesh cricket authorities went no further than that and a panel was not actually formed.

 

Late last week however the BCB again announced that former Justice Mohammad Abdur Rashid Rashid will head the panel, and that he will be joined by three other retired judges, a barrister, poet Nirmalendu Goon, plus former players Shakil Kasem, Fakrul Ahsan, Mahmudul Hasan Saju and Mahboob Hussain.  The group is said to have held its first meeting in Dhaka last Saturday, however, as yet there is no indication as to what the structure or time-line for its deliberations will be.

 

KENYAN PAIR BANNED FOR 

DRESSING ROOM INCIDENT

[PTG 1230-5928]

 

Kenya captain Collins Obuya has been given a two-match ban for assaulting teammate Irfan Karim during one of the matches the team recently played in Colombo prior to this month's World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  A Cricket Kenya Disciplinary Board found Obuya guilty for slapping wicket-keeper Karim, who was given a one-match ban, whilst the pair were in the dressing room at the Colombo Cricket Club during a rain delay.

 

The trouble between the two men is said to have started over a difference of opinion whilst play was underway.  The disciplinary committee is reported to have heard that Karim "dared Obuya to do whatever he pleased" and that is when the "captain's hand made an apparent contact" with the keeper's face.  Kenya's Zimbabwean coach Robin Brown is said to have "sat the pair down and demanded they reconcile", but while Obuya apparently apologised Karim refused to do so saying he felt he had done nothing wrong.

 

The bans will apply to international matches which means Karim will miss one of the two WT20Q warm-up games later this week whereas Obuya will miss both fixtures.  Karim told a reporter soon after receiving news of his ban that it "is an affront to justice" as it was "an incident of assault and the punishment is stated in the rules of the International Cricket Council". 

 

The incident is the latest case of indiscipline involving Kenyan players. Last month Tanmay Mishra was dropped from the team hours before departure for the UAE for International Cup and World Cricket League matches against Afghanistan.  He is said to have been left out following "a disagreement" with team coaches.

 

WOMENS' ODI 'HAT SNATCH' ENDS 

IN WARNING, REPRIMAND

[PTG 1230-5929]

 

West Indies’ womens' player Shanel Daley has received a warning and been reprimanded for “showing dissent against an umpire’s decision” during the third and final One Day International against England in Port of Spain last week.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that the incident involved came at the end of the England innings, when Daley snatched her cap from on-field umpire Nigel Duguid who had turned down an appeal from the 24-year-old medium pacer earlier in the over.

 

Daley admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Jukes of England and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  Commenting on his decision in an ICC statement Jukes said: “Shanel Daley’s behaviour was clearly in breach of the Code, as the players are expected to respect the match officials and the Spirit of Cricket, no matter what the match situation".  The charge against Daley was brought by Duguid, his on-field colleague Danesh Ramdhanie, and third umpire Lyndon Rajkumar.

 

CA ORGANISING FAST 

BOWLING 'SUMMIT'

[PTG 1230-5930]

 

Australia's "leading practitioners" of fast bowling are to meet in Hobart early next month for a 'summit' to talk about a range of related issues, including clearing up the 'mixed messages' that are currently circulating around the country over the resting of players, says journalist Chris Barrett of the 'Sydney Morning Herald' this morning.  The gathering, which is to be held whilst Cricket Australia's (CA) annual Under-19 men's Championship is underway, will be aimed at sharing experiences about the training and health of all fast bowlers, says Barrett.

 

Rotation of top fast bowlers has been a contentious subject in the past year and the concept came to the fore again last week when New South Wales bowling coach Geoff Lawson criticised the resting of Test contender Josh Hazlewood from his side's Sheffield Shield match against Victoria in Melbourne.  ''As the NSW fast-bowling coach, I neither recommend or approve of Josh missing this Shield game", said Lawson at the time.

 

Troy Cooley, the former Australia and England bowling mentor who is now head coach of CA's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, is organising the meeting, and he will be joined by Australian limited-overs bowling coach Ali de Winter and state coaches Lawson, Chris Swan (Queensland), Mick Lewis (Victoria), Damien Wright (Tasmania), Rob Cassell (South Australia) and Adam Griffith (Western Australia).

 

Cooley said that ''We'll obviously be looking at topical issues around the country and making sure that we co-ordinate really well".  ''Some of these fast-bowling coaches are only part-time, so they don't get to see a lot of the decisions made right the way to the top. They sort of come in blindfolded sometimes [and] hopefully we can help them out with that sort of stuff as well. But it's a great opportunity just to talk about fast bowling".

 

Next month's meeting comes after a CA national batting forum in Sydney last month where coaches and some former Australian batsmen gathered to consider ways "to turn around the country's general decline in first-class run-scoring". 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,231
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

AUSSIE SKIPPER CONCERNED ABOUT 

UDRS PRINCIPALS, INCONSISTENCIES 

[PTG 1231-5931]

 

Australia's captain Michael Clarke would prefer the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to be completely scrapped if the consistency of its operations cannot be improved.  Writing in his new book 'The Ashes Diary', his portrait of the 2013 series in England, Clarke expresses the view that the UDRS is "distorting" to work of umpires and players, and that he does not want 'Hot Spot' to return until the system is improved "beyond the level" that was on display in England.

 

Clarke's key view, which was set down for the book prior to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to top up referrals (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013),  is that if technology shows a batsman is out he should be made to go, regardless of the on-field umpire's initial decision or that the fielding side has no referrals left.   "I believe that if it's clearly shown that the batsman hit the ball and he was caught, then the technology should be used to ensure he is out, [or] if he's hit in front of the wickets and the technology shows he is LBW, he should be out, regardless of how many referrals remain".

 

The Australian captain says the introduction of referrals had created an "unsavoury tactical and mental battle in addition to those traditionally fought between bat and ball", and he refers to England player Stuart Broad, who later admitted he had hit the ball, being given 'not out' in the opening Test Trent Bridge.  "The ultimate problem with the Broad 'dismissal' in Nottingham wasn't that he didn't walk, or that the umpire had made an error - it was that the complicated UDRS rules meant the third umpire didn't have the opportunity to overrule the on-field decision".

 

Clarke says there shouldn't be a numerical limit in the number of referrals, and "if this means passing referrals back into the hands of the three umpires, on and off the field, then so be it".  "I'd just like the technology to be used to make more correct decisions, without all the complications of how many referrals remain or don't remain", he says.  In his view the referral system "can distort the process", and he doesn't like "the tactics involved, where umpires and the teams know how many referrals are left, and change their decisions accordingly".

 

Whether or not 'Hot Spot' technology will be used in the forthcoming Ashes series is not yet clear (PTG 1224-5891, 2 November 2013), but Clarke says he would not appreciate its return until the system's ability to deliver consistent results is improved.  "The inventor and owner of Hot Spot [Warren Brennan] came out and admitted it doesn't pick up all nicks", Clarke continues (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013), and "Ok, that's fine: 'Hot Spot' should not be used until it is more reliable, [but] once [it] has been tested and is shown to be correct, then the ICC should rule that every team has to use it [for] we should have the same rule for everyone".

 

COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS ALLOW SUSPENDED 

PLAYER TO FEATURE IN KEY GAME 

[PTG 1231-5932]

 

An argument has erupted over the use of a suspended player in a key pre-finals Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match in Bangladesh, competition organisers saying they had notified a club of the suspension while the match referee denied any knowledge of the ban.  Despite loosing to Brothers Union, the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club claimed they should be awarded last week's match and thus the points to qualify as Brothers had fielded Sohrawardi Shuvo, who had been suspended for one match because of a misdemeanour the previous week.

 

Sheikh Jamal cricket committee chairman Mushfiqur Rahman told reporters that as per DPL "By Laws we will get two points and qualify for the Super League as Brothers fielded Shuvo".  "We have already submitted a petition to [competition organisers] and hopefully they will give the decision in our favour".  Brothers manager Amin Khan claimed his club were not aware of Sohrawardi's suspension as they had not been advised of the ban. 

 

Match referee Debabrata Paul said Sohrawardi had been allowed to play as he was not aware of the suspension.  However, the DPL's secretary Rakib Haider Pavel said that they had sent a letter to Brothers informing them about Sohrawradi’s ban and that "A Brothers official named Nader received the letter, so it’s not true that they were not informed".  The Brother's manager claimed they had no such official named Nader. 

 

Asked why the match referee for the latest game had not been informed Pavel said it is not the DPL's responsibility.  "We [advised] the umpires' committee and it is their duty to inform [the referee]", said Pavel.  Obaidul Huque, who was the match referee for the game in which Sohrawardi was reported by the umpires for misconduct, indicated that he had conducted a post-match hearing at that time and handed Sohrawardi a one-match suspension, "so he should have been aware of it" before playing.

 

NO UMPIRE 'ROTATIONS' IN

INDIAN FIRST CLASS GAMES

[PTG 1231-5933]

 

Pre-season suggestions that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) umpires could be involved in "session-wise rotation" in domestic first class matches during the current Ranji Trophy series have not come to fruition in the two dozen games complete to date.  Former Indian first class umpire Vinayak Kulkarni, who is now the BCCI’s Educator and Umpire Coach, said in late August that the matter was being considered for the 2013-14 season on the sub-continent  (PTG 1182-5704, 30 August 2013).

 

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

 

News that the issue was being considered came shortly after former Indian cricket administrator and now columnist with 'The Hindu' Makarand Waingankar. resurrected what is not a new idea, it having been tried in part in South Africa's four Test series against India in 1992-93 and over several seasons in Australia's Sheffield Shield first class competition around the same time (PTG 1175-5680, 21 August 2013).  The view of Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's Umpire Performance and Training Manager who has special responsibility for India (PTG 1133-5498, 28 June 2013), were to be sought by BCCI members during a seminar that was to be held in Nagpur in early September, but it would appear he did not encourage the concept.

 

In the twenty-four Ranji Trophy games played up until this week the BCCI has used thirty-five umpires and twenty-four match referees, fifteen of the former having played first class cricket prior to taking up umpiring, while all of the referees are former first class players.

 

ECB SIGNS BROADCAST DEAL 

FOR 2015, 2019 ASHES SERIES

[PTG 1231-5934]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that it has signed a contract with Australia's Channel Nine that will see key games in Australia’s next two Ashes tours of England to be broadcast on the Nine network in Australia.  What the ECB calls "the deal" includes exclusive rights in Australia to Ashes Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals the two sides play during the 2015 and 2019 tours.

 

ECB Chief Executive David Collier said via a press release that: “This broadcasting agreement confirms that the next broadcast contractual cycle will deliver an overall increase in revenues compared with the previous four-year period.  Nine is one of the foremost cricket broadcasters in the world with a long and distinguished history of covering the game and this deal demonstrates the appeal of Ashes cricket".

 

David Gyngell, the head of the Nine Entertainment Company, said: “Nine’s ongoing relationship with cricket is a source of great pride to me personally and to all Nine employees. The reach of the multi-channels has redefined the art of the possible for the free to air networks in Australia. We had great success with the Ashes from the UK this year and look forward to building on that with this new deal, it’s about how we creatively use these expanded opportunities at Nine.”

 

England’s other home international series are not included in the package which means the ECB can sell these rights to other Australian broadcasters.  Sri Lanka and India are scheduled to tour England next year.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,232
Thursday, 14 November 2013

ASHES UDRS PACKAGE ANNOUNCEMENT 

REPORTED 'LIKELY' WITHIN DAYS

[PTG 1233-5935]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is said to be hopeful that the new real-time 'Snickometer', a system that combines audio monitoring with match footage within seconds instead of minutes as in the past, will be available for the third umpires 'Billy' Bowden, Tony Hill and Marais Erasmus via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) during the forthcoming Ashes series, says an article in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' this morning.  A report in a sister publication two weeks ago said that 'Hot Spot' and real-time 'Snickometer' technology could be "surprise late" additions to the Ashes UDRS package (PTG 1224-5891, 2 November 2013).

 

'Age' sports writer Jesse Hogan says today that both CA and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are "strong supporters" of real-time 'Snickometer', the Australian body's chief executive James Sutherland speculating if it had been used recently in England it could have spared Australia's Usman Khawaja, whose caught-behind dismissal off England bowler Graeme Swann was upheld by the third umpire despite vision showing he clearly missed the ball. 

 

Hogan writes that real-time snickometer "is set to be used as part of the Channel Nine TV broadcast, but may be excluded from the UDRS".  According to him the "main hurdle to its introduction in time for the [opening Test at the Gabba [a week from today] is the necessity for it to be approved by the International Cricket Council [ICC] with enough time for participating umpires to be trained in its use before the match begins".

 

Both CA and the ECB argued strongly for the introduction of real-time 'Snickometer' during September's ICC chief executives committee meeting, but that gathering decided it should be tested independently to verify its accuracy before it is included in the suite of UDRS technologies (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013), however, Hogan states that the world body "is yet to receive the results".  He says it is "standard ICC procedure" to confirm the exact structure of UDRS with the host country shortly before a series begins.  The ICC is said to have "declined to comment" yesterday "about the structure of UDRS for the Gabba Test, but is believed likely to make a decision on it by the end of the week".

 

Sutherland is reported to have said yesterday that because of the expected positive benefits he would have no qualms if the ICC waited until the eve of the series, or even after it begins, to approve the addition of real-time 'Snickometer' to the UDRS.  According to him "it's only the captain [of each team] that has to think about that, really".  He called the system "a significant progression forward for, when it comes to decision-making, almost the trickiest part", and it will indicate "when the sound is coming from somewhere else" than the edge of bat.

 

CA's chief executive went on to also argued the new technology did not have to be conclusively accurate on all occasions to be beneficial.  "The thing is there's nothing perfect about UDRS.  It'll never be perfect. But it's taking us from 90 per cent accuracy to 95 per cent or 96 per cent accuracy, and that's a good thing".  "We need to accept . . . there'll always be things to gripe about, but it's taking us into a place where we're better off than we were previously".

 

"I think [real-time 'Snickometer'] will be a significant enhancement when we get there", continued Sutherland. "We just need to make sure all the protocols are right and that the umpires are trained up. That's for [ICC general manager of operations] Geoff Allardice and the ICC to work through, to get to that level of satisfaction. If they're not at that level of satisfaction then it shouldn't go ahead – but hopefully it will".  Hogan says 'Eagle Eye' ball-tracking technology will be used for DRS during the series along with the 'Hot Spot' system "that was heavily scrutinised in the past Ashes series".

 

ECB T20 SERIES TO FEATURE COLOURED 

CREASES, SIXTY SECOND BATSMAN CHANGE OVERS

[PTG 1233-5936]

 

Wider use of the 'Super Over' concept, the advent of coloured crease markings and a reduced cut off time for incoming batsmen, are to be introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in its county Twenty20 series in 2014.  The key changes, which were proposed by the ECB’s Cricket Committee, were approved by the ECB Board on Tuesday, say reports.

 

'Super Overs', whose used has previously been limited to games in the final stages of the T20 series, will now be used in tied matches in all parts of the competition for the first time.  Colours other than white may be used as crease markings from next season in order to make them "easier to see for both spectators and TV viewers", however, that will only occur after "successful trials" have been conducted; and batsmen will now have just sixty, not ninety, seconds to be ready at the crease after a wicket falls.

 

ECB county first class matches are to attract an extra two points for a draw "in order to provide greater reward for hard-fought draws and matches where bad weather has affected the outcome".  That will mean five points in total for a draw and sixteen for a win, but the bonus points system remains unchanged.  In addition heavy rollers, should they be available, may only be used once by each per team per match for a maximum of seven minutes, however, the decision on whether to make a heavy roller available or not will rest with the home team, a situation that will also apply in the one-day competitions.  A light roller must always be available.

 

In the ECB's one-day domestic series, One day International Playing Conditions will be used "wherever possible" and two new balls, one from each end, will be used.  Third umpires in televised matches will follow International Cricket Council regulations, and if the umpire at the bowler's end requests it, they will check for no balls but only for dismissals.  Waist-high full tosses will also be reviewed by the television umpire at the request of the bowler's end on-field umpire with any benefit of doubt going to the batsman.

 

Commenting on the changes, ECB Chief Executive David Collier said they "are designed to make our domestic game even more spectator and viewer-friendly as well as bring the county game into line with rule changes which have been successfully implemented at international level by the [International Cricket Council].  Collier says they are the product of "extensive consultation and discussion with all our key stakeholders in the domestic game".

 

BCB TO RULE ON 'SUSPENSION' CONTROVERSY, 

MATCH REFEREE FACES CENSURE

[PTG 1233-5937]

 

Dhaka Premier League (DPL) organisers decided yesterday to ask the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to decide which of the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi (SJD) or Brothers Union clubs should play in the DPL finals.  Despite loosing to Brothers last week, SJD say they should be awarded the match and thus the points to qualify for the finals because Brothers had included captain Sohrawardi Shuvo in their team whilst he was suspended (PTG 1231-5932, 13 November 2013). 

 

DPL competition managers are reported to have held discussions with representatives from both clubs and match officials before deciding to hand the issue to the BCB for a final decision.  SJD officials said  they came to know about Shuvo's suspension whilst the game was underway, but both he and his club say they were not aware of the ban that had been handed to him.

 

A report in Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning says that match referee Obaidul Haque, who handed Shuvo his suspension and fined him 20,000 Bangladesh Taka ($A275), is facing "punishment over the mess" that has ensued for failing to appropriately communicate his suspension order to DPL organisers.  Obaidul Haque, who acted against Shuvo because of "poor behaviour with umpires over a run out decision, is said to have been called to Tuesday's hearing "and his answers did not satisfy the officials".

 

Karim Tinku, a newly elected BCB director, told journalists that it was hoped that a decision on the matter would be made today, however, there is concern if that timetable isn't met the next stage of the DPL will be delayed.  The matter is said to be "a particular challenge" for the BCB as "two powerful directors" of its board are involved with each of the clubs.

 

'CASH FLOW PROBLEMS' 

DELAY ZIMBABWEAN SEASON

[PTG 1232-5938]

 

Zimbabwe Cricket’s (ZC) on-going "cash flow problems" have again caused a delay to the start of its 2013-14 season which had been due to get underway some three months ago, say reports from Harare yesterday.  After a number of promises the new season was expected to get into full swing this coming weekend, however, reports now say that it could be at least another month before ZC's senior first class and one-day competitions commence.

 

The domestic season in Zimbabwe normally starts in August or September and runs for up to eight months, however, the latest match schedules released last month showed that last season's first class winners Matabeleland, were to start the season this Saturday with an away match against Mashonaland.  Reports say though that ZC media and communications manager Lovemore Banda indicated in an interview last Tuesday as saying the season was no longer starting this weekend.

 

Asked what has been the major hold up to the start of the league, Banda is said to have been "frank" and summed it up in one word: “Money”.  “Right now we are running the new calendar with the chief executives [of Zimbabwe's five franchise sides] so that they can have an input, [and] once that is done, we are going to circulate the new calendar".  

 

FIFTIETH ODI FOR OXENFORD? 

[PTG 1232-5939]

 

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford will notch up his fiftieth One Day International (ODI) on Saturday if English umpire Ian Gould is again missing from the match officials panel in the third and final match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Dambullla.  Last week Gould, along with his countryman Chris Broad and Oxenford, were named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the neutral officials for the series (PTG 1226-5908, 5 November 2013), however, Gould's name was missing from the score sheets for matches one and two in Hambantota on Sunday and Tuesday. 

 

The appointments page on the ICC's web site continues to show an Oxenford-Gould-Broad neutrals combination for the three ODIs, however Oxenford has been partnered on-field in both the first two games by Ruchira Palliyaguruge, a Sri Lankan  member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Palliyaguruge's IUP colleague Raveendra Wimalasiri was the third umpire on both occasions, and Sri Lankan first class umpire Deepal Gunawardene the fourth umpire.   

 

Palliyaguruge will be available for Saturday's ODI as will Wimalasiri, but Sri Lanka's other IUP member Ranmore Martinecz who made his Test debut this year will not, for he will be in the United Arab Emirates standing in matches in the first phase of the World Twenty20 Qualifier series (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013).

 

Oxenford stood in his first ODI in February 2008, and of his forty-nine since sixteen have been played in Australia, fourteen in Sri Lanka, eight in Zimbabwe, five in India, and three each in Wales and Zimbabwe.  His five games in India were during the 2011 World Cup and three in Wales in this year's final Champions Trophy series.  In addition he has been the television umpire in twenty-nine ODIs and the reserve in eight others, the first of the latter over ten yearts ago in January 2003.  

 

If Saturday's game turns out to be Oxenford's fiftieth he will become the thirty-seventh umpire to reach a half century of ODI games, fourteen of whom have gone on to pass 100 ODIs, half of that fourteen passing the 150 mark, and just one 200, that being now retired South African Rudi Koertzen who ended his career on the current record of 209 games.

 

TEST APPOINTMENTS POINT TO 

2013-14 AUSSIE IUP MEMBERSHIP

[PTG 1233-5940]

 

Fourth umpire appointments for the forthcoming Ashes series again indicate that Australian National Umpire Panel members Simon Fry, John Ward, Mick Martell and Paul Wilson will make up that country's four-man group on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel for 2013-14.  Cricket Australia is yet to announce its nominations for the panel over the next twelve months, the ICC indicating two weeks ago that a final decision is expected in December (PTG 1221-5881, 30 October 2013). 

 

Wilson is to work in the Brisbane and Sydney Tests, his second and third in that role, Fry for the sixth time in his home town in Adelaide, Martell also at home in Perth, his third, while Melbourne-based Ward, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates on ICC duty (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013), is part of the umpire panel for the Boxing Day match, his sixth in that role since 2005.  Fry, Martell and Wilson are also featuring in the pre-Test tour games England is currently playing.

 

DETAILS OF CA 'GRASS ROOTS' 

PROJECT FUNDING AWAITED

[PTG 1233-5941]

 

While Cricket Australia (CA) has talked up its plans to boost 'grass roots' player numbers and provide extra funding for that level of the game over the last four months, to date it has been reluctant to release any details as to just how the $A7.5 million it is reported to have set aside for such activities in the 2013-14 year is actually being spent.  Six requests by 'PTG' to CA's media section over the last month requesting details of projects across the country the funds have been, or are being, distributed to, are yet to yield any significant information.  

 

When announcing CA' new record earnings television deal in early June, CA's chief executive officer James Sutherland said the revenue jump provides an "enhanced ability to invest in cricket development from the grassroots up" (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  Sutherland, who had spoken publicly about the importance of grass roots cricket prior to that (PTG 1095-5329, 27 April 2013), said that as a result of the funding boost CA "will accelerate its work encouraging more kids, females, indigenous Australians and Australians of non-English-speaking backgrounds to play and follow cricket", and that it "wants to improve the support available to grassroots cricket at a community club level". 

 

Three weeks after the announcement of CA's new record television deal, a 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) report stated that CA planned to outlay "nearly $A30 million" of its record television-rights windfall on grassroots cricket over the next four years, or around $A7.5 million a year (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).  The 'SMH' article, which was written by a journalist who appears to have good connections with CA, talked of a "CA strategic investment fund" having been established that contained funds that had been 'earmarked' for "grassroots cricket and development across the country".  

 

Late June's 'SMH' story said that "the allocation of cash" is yet to be formally announced by CA, but that the six Australian states and two Territory cricketing bodies "presented submissions on potential projects to the CA board several months ago".  Whether any initiatives that relate directly to funding umpiring and scoring needs were put forward by any of those entities was not mentioned in the newspaper's report.

 

In September CA said that it was targeting an increase of a quarter-of-a-million in the number of people who participate in the game around the country over the next eighteen months and it had a range of strategies to achieve that aim, however, with recruitment-retention rates of match officials long a concern, there was no sign of a campaign to boost their ranks so that the hoped for player surge can be appropriately supported (PTG 1188-5734, 16 September 2013).

 

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

 

NZ AGAIN LOOKING FOR THE NATION'S 

'FAVOURITE LOCAL CRICKET UMPIRE' 

[PTG 1232-5942]

 

For the third year running, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is again conducting a nationwide search to find the country's 'Favourite Local Cricket Umpire', and each of NZC's six regions are currently asking their affiliates to nominate candidates for the 2014 award.  The eventual winner will be given $A900 spending money, tickets to the One Day International series between New Zealand and india, and "a chance to work beside one of New Zealand's best umpires".

 

Rotorua-based umpire Colin Elstob was the inaugural 'Favourite' in January 2012 (PTG 892-4347, 27 January 2012), and Kerry Firth from Hawera, the second-largest town in the Taranaki region, earlier this year (PTG 1066-5182, 25 February 2013).  Firth received $A900 and was given flights, accommodation and tickets to attend a NZ-England ODI in Auckland last February where NZC arranged for him to get a behind the scenes tour of Eden Park and meet match officials Gary Baxter, Chris Gaffaney, Roshan Mahanama, Sundaram Ravi and Rod Tucker.

 

LEGALISE BETTING IF IT CAN HELP REDUCE 

CORRUPTION, SAYS FORMER INDIAN SKIPPER 

[PTG 1232-5943]

 

Former India cricket captain Rahul Dravid is in favour of legalising betting in India if such a step can help reduce corruption in sports, says a Press Trust of India report yesterday.  In August Dravid, who captained the Indian Premier League's Rajasthan franchise side embroiled in spot-fixing allegations this year, called for the fixing of matches to be made a criminal offence in order to deter potential offenders (PTG 1164-5633, 8 August 2013).

 

Dravid, who was speaking on Tuesday at a special session on 'Ethics and Integrity in Sports' organised by India's Central Bureau of Investigations, said that if making betting legal "can help in reducing corruption, I am all for it".  He pointed to "four integrity issues in Indian sport that require legal intervention", they being in his view" age fraud; doping; deliberate under-performance; and player involvement in the betting industry", and said if making betting legal "can help in reducing corruption, I am all for it". 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,233
Saturday, 16 November 2013

FORMER INDIAN SKIPPER URGES 

BCCI TO 'WEAR POWER LIGHTLY' 

[PTG 1233-5944]

 

Former Indian captain Anil Kumble has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is often criticised for an overbearing approach to a range of cricketing issues, to "demonstrate leadership with responsibility" in its use of power as the leading entity in the world-wide game, and implement a more consensual approach to its relations with other nations.  Kumble, whose comments were made as part of the Mandoor Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, an event hosted by the BCCI in Mumbai and attended by all of the organisation's key figures, also asked Indian administrators to "wear power lightly" and he used history to illustrate how 'powerful empires crumble'.

 

Kumble's speech acknowledged the criticisms made against the BCCI, saying that when India first came to realise it had power to influence, the board's approach "seemed to be all about making money and telling everybody who was boss", but "as often happens, those who were out of power tended to imitate the actions of those who were in power earlier, and that did not serve the game well".  Reports say that was a reference to the private views of Indian administrators who have pointed to the way countries such as England and Australia had wielded power in an autocratic fashion in the past, and who feel it is now India's turn to 'rule the roost'.

 

While acknowledging the balance of power has changed, Kumble expressed the view that "it is extremely important that [India wears] our power lightly and makes contributions that are worthy of emulation, because, cricket has to be above every other consideration", including "selfish interests".  "It is ironic that the rest of the cricketing world has accepted India's lead role rather more easily and with greater pragmatism than India have", he said, and "it is important that the development of cricket and its popularity among its member nations is protected and nurtured".

 

"Power can be a heady thing, but with power comes responsibility", said Kumble.  "History has shown that it is in their periods of overwhelming superiority that nations sow the seeds of their fall from grace".  "It was true of the Roman Empire, it was true of the British Empire, [and] the analogy can be extended to cricket".  Therefore "as the most significant and influential cricketing country [at the present time, India] must guard against repeating historical mistakes".

 

Kumble, the current chair of the International Cricket Council's cricket committee, also asked administrators to work to make the three formats of the game viable and attractive, and proposed that there be "three distinct seasons" on the international calendar, one each for Test, One Day International and Twenty20 cricket".  "Three different seasons for the game to accommodate the three different formats is easily conceivable" in his view, and would would "facilitate" better long-term planning and allow players to prepare for the different physical and mental demands of each format.

 

SENIOR ICC MANAGERS FOR PRE-ASHES, 

TECHNOLOGY-RELATED, VISIT TO BRISBANE

[PTG 1233-5945]

 

Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) general manager of cricket, and Simon Taufel its Umpire Performance and Training Manager, are reported to be travelling to Brisbane next week "in an attempt to ensure" that the Ashes series begins "without any of the controversies over technology", says a report in the London newspaper 'The Times' this morning.  The ICC is yet to unveil just what the package of technologies will make up the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) during the five Tests that are to be played over the next eight weeks (PTG 1232-5935, 14 November 2013).

 

Calling the move "an unusual step", the 'Times' article says that Allardice and Taufel "will be on hand to talk to the England and Australia teams and management, plus match officials Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus and Jeff Crowe, in the build-up to the first Test Ashes on Thursday.  In August, Allardice flew to Durham ahead of the fourth Ashes Test in England to meet both teams and umpires to see how to best to use the UDRS after related controversies earlier in the season (PTG 1164-5632, 8 August 2013).  Taufel has called television umpire work "an incredibly chal­lenging role" and that specific training is needed in that area (PTG 1156-5592, 26 July 2013), something reports say has been underway for some time.

 

OFFICIALS FACE CENSURE AS RE-RUN 

OF 'SUSPENDED PLAYER' MATCH ORDERED 

[PTG 1233-5946]

 

Dhaka Premier League (DPL) organisers have recommended to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) that match referee Obaidul Haque be suspended for two years, and deputy umpires manager Sharif Mahmud Palash cautioned, for the failure to appropriately communicate the decision to suspend and fine Brothers Union captain Sohrawardi Shuvo for his actions in a game against the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi (SJD) club two weeks ago.  Brothers won that match, but SJD claimed they should be awarded the game and thus the points to qualify for the DPL finals because Brothers had played Shuvo whilst he was suspended (PTG 1231-5932, 13 November 2013). 

 

Reports from Dhaka say the inquiries have found that referee Obaidul had informed umpires manager Palash, however, he failed to pass the message to the match officials of Brothers-SJD match.  After consideration of the overall situation, the BCB yesterday directed the DPL to replay the Brothers-SJD game in which Shuvo played, removed the points Brothers earned from it, and also fined that club 100,000 Taka ($A1,375) for fielding a suspended player (PTG 1232-5937, 14 November 2013).  

 

A DPL representative is quoted as saying that the fine was levied "despite the fact that there is no clear provision of punishment in the bylaws for fielding a suspended player".  The re-match is to take place later today, however, Shuvo will not be allowed to take part.  Should it end in a tie or no-result, SJD will qualify for the finals as they currently lead Brothers by just a single point. 

 

ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT PROBING

UMPIRE'S ALLEGED IPL BETTING LINK

[PTG 1233-5947]

 

Two senior officials from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) visited Mumbai Police's Crime Branch on Thursday to discuss the alleged role former Pakistani international umpire Asad Rauf had in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal, say media reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  The 'Times of India' says in a story this morning that the ICC pair had previously travelled to Pakistan to recorded Rauf's statement on the matter and that their visit to Mumbai was aimed at collaborating his comments.

 

Rauf, who stood in this year's IPL and was a member of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for seven years until five months ago (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), plus fifteen alleged book makers from his country, were named as "wanted accused" in the 11,500-page charge sheet Mumbai Police filed with a court there in September, a document that refers to "gambling, cheating and fraud".  “Rauf not only passed information about weather and pitch, but also gave information about matches he stood in, predicted results and accepted expensive gifts", said then joint police commissioner Himanshu Roy when details of the charge sheet were released (PTG 1193-5747, 23 September 2013).

 

Fifty-seven-year-old Rauf, who announced his retirement from umpiring six weeks after he was dropped from the EUP (PTG 1162-5627, 5 August 2013), has vehemently denied all accusations against him and repeatedly claimed his innocence, saying on several occasions over the last four months that he was prepared to explain his side of the story to the ACSU.  He was not prepared to travel to India to face questioning from police there though, and there is no legal means available to Indian authorities to force him to do so (PTG 1196-5760, 28 September 2013), hence the ICC pair's reported visit to the Lahore-based umpire.

 

FIVE-YEAR BAN HANDED TO FORMER 

LANKAN WOMEN'S TEAM MANAGER

[PTG 1233-5948]

 

Former Sri Lankan first class player Abdul Aroos, who was until July this year the Chairman of Sri Lankan Cricket's (SLC) Umpires Committee and manager of the national womens' side, has been suspended from involvement in "all forms of cricket management for a period of five years".  SLC does not indicate just why Aroos received the ban, but it did say when announcing an inquiry into the matter four months ago that is was "based on a complain made by Sri Lankan's women's captain" Sashikala Siriwardene.

 

Reports from Colombo this week say that Aroos was found to have received 56,000 Rupees ($A460) from Siriwardene who was one of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'brand ambassadors' for last year's Twenty20 World Championship in Sri Lanka.  According to Aroos, the ICC proposed paying Siriwardene a sum equivalent to $A2,700 for that role, an amount he thought was "insufficient for a global event", and he says that because of his representations the world body later agreed to pay her twice that amount.

 

Siriwardene was in Aroos' words "thrilled" at that outcome and "wanted to give me a gift which I always turned down until one day she showed up with her husband and presented [me] with some money".  "I was not in a position to decline that because I [had] just [had] surgery and thought that she was trying to help me in that [regard]".  "It was a set up", he says, and that "innocent girl was used to nail me as [the SLC has done] to others who raised their voice on behalf of the game and the deserved", the latter a reference to his "speaking out" in favour of a "pay hike" for SLC emplyees.  

 

A report in last weekend's Colombo 'Sunday Times' says that SLC had conducted "a series of inquiries" into the Arros-Siriwardene matter that involved "hiring four eminently qualified attorneys to conduct the inquiry instead of directing the issue to [its] disciplinary committee".  When contacted by the 'Times' acting SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva confirmed lawyers were involved but refrained from providing any other details of the case.

 

Earlier this year Aroos was a witness when three SLC umpires were tried on offences of match fixing.  He told the 'Times' that those "umpires were handed a three-year ban for an offence that was serious and I was slapped with a five-year ban without a properly conducted inquiry".  In fact one of those umpires was banned for ten years and a second three, while a third was downgraded from the country's top umpiring panel for a year and given a severe warning (PTG 1144-5543, 10 July 2013).

 

UDRS USE DESCRIBED 

AS 'LIKE DISSENT'

[PTG 1233-5949]

 

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson wants the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) scrapped, and he is not just saying that because he is one of the worst at using it, says a story in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).  Watson, who struggled with the use of video referrals at critical times during the last Ashes series in England, told Andrew Webster, the SMH's Chief Sports Writer, that he regards the UDRS "like dissent" for "you are saying "That's a bad decision".

 

Watson said UDRS operations were introduced for cases where, for example, "a player hacks onto his leg and it's given out LBW, or it's definitely pitched outside leg stump".  ''I don't agree with [the system's use] because, one, I am horrendous at it, but two, because umpires are there to make decisions and their decisions are final".  "That's what you learn growing up, whether you are happy with it or not", he said, and would "prefer to just go out and not worry about [challenging decisions]".

 

During the Ashes in England earlier this year Watson was criticised as being selfish when he referred what many observers though were clearly correct LBW decisions given against him.  He told Webster ''It wasn't ideal how I used it and got it wrong", but "I wouldn't have gone for it if I thought it was blatantly out".  He described referrals as "a punt, even if you definitely think you're not out, there's still a chance".  "Even some caught behind decisions; some guys thought they definitely didn't hit it, and they were given out", he said.

 

Watson also said he backed the decision of England fast bowler Stuart Broad to not 'walk' after clearly edging a delivery in the first Test at Trent Bridge in July.  'It's difficult for him, because the umpires are there to make a decision", says Watson, and ''I wouldn't walk because I enjoy batting. I don't want to go".  "If I'm given not out, and I'm a chance of batting longer, I'm not going anywhere".

 

Michael Clarke, the all-rounder's national captain, indicated in his latest book that he would prefer the UDRS to be completely scrapped if the consistency of its operations cannot be improved (PTG 1231-5931, 13 November 2013).

 

FIFTY UP FOR OXENFORD

[PTG 1233-5950]

 

Reports from Dambulla this morning indicate that Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford will notch up his fiftieth One Day International (ODI) in the third and final match of the series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand later today.  Oxenford is named in the match officials list as an on-field umpire for the game alongside local Ruchira Palliyaguruge, a Sri Lankan  member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), the latter's IUP colleague Raveendra Wimalasiri being the third umpire and Chris Broad of England the match referee, the same combination that looked after the first two ODIs of the series (PTG 1232-5939, 14 November 2013).

 

Today's game makes Oxenford the thirty-seventh umpire to reach a half century of ODI games, and if the current rate such fixtures is maintained and his form holds, he is in line to reach the 100 mark sometime in 2018.  The Australian's ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) colleague Ian Gould of England, whose name is still shown as one of the officials for the series on the ICC's web site this morning, has in fact been absent for all three games, although the reason for that has not been made public.  

 

Gould needs fourteen more ODIs to reach the 100 mark, but the next person likely to reach three figures in that format of the game is New Zealand EUP member Tony Hill whose tally currently stands at 96.  If he makes it he will be the fifteenth person to achieve that feat.

 

TENDULKAR SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAPTAIN 

IN HIS FAREWELL GAME, SAYS DAR 

[PTG 1233-5951]

 

Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar feels the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should have made retiring Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar captain for his 200th and final Test match that is currently being played in his hometown of Mumbai.  Dar told the Press Trust of India on Thursday that "the BCCI has done a lot to make Tendulkar's retirement memorable but the icing on the cake and ultimate tribute would have been to make him captain in his farewell Test".

 

Dar is reported to have said that Tendulkar was "the greatest cricketer in the world, and his humility was amazing".  "In life every great cricketer has to go sometime and I think he has done the right thing for this is the right time for him to retire [just] when India has discovered exciting young players".  "I don't think anyone will be able to break his records [and] there will never be another Tendulkar in the game", said Dar.

 

BETTING AGENCY FINDS FLASH 

NEW WAY TO MAKE MONEY 

[PTG 1233-5952]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) used 'Zing' wickets for the first time in the domestic Twenty20 match between Northern Districts and Otago in Hamilton last night, their operation being funded by a betting agency.  Developed in Adelaide the wickets, that light up red and flash when they are broken, were first used in Australia's domestic T20 series twelve months ago (PTG 1027-4992, 10 December 2013), and subject to satisfactory testing are in line for use in One Day and Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 1136-5510, 1 July 2013).

 

Simon Thomas, the head of the betting agency, described the wickets as "the latest advance in the evolution of cricket technology and we’re very proud to bring it to New Zealand for the first time”.  Speaking ahead of last night's game he said his company "is introducing new betting options based around which [batsman] will be the first dismissal by 'Zing', when the ball hits the wickets in each innings, dismissals [involved being] bowled, run-out, stumped and hit wicket".

 

According to Thomas: "There’s a fair bit of chance as to which wicket will be the first to fall by 'Zing' [and] by our reckoning roughly one in every three will be out that way, so there are plenty of opportunities for punters to cash-in on cricketers lighting-up the stumps".  In fact in last night's game three out of the fifteen wickets that fell, or one in five, produced flashing stumps, all of them because the batsman was bowled.  The match was umpire Tony Gillies' debut in a senior T20 game (PTG 1206-5806, 9 October 2013), while for his on-field partner Phil Jones it was his thirty-seventh.

 

'Zing' wickets are to be used in all of the NZC's remaining televised T20 games, including this season's final in mid-January.

 

MOWING OF WATERLOGGED 

GROUNDS STOPS PLAY

[PTG 1233-5953]

 

Officials at the Narre Warren Cricket Club, whose teams play in the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) south-east of Melbourne, are reported to be "fuming" after their local council's mowing contractor turned two of the grounds they use "into mud baths" this week, says a story in yesterday's 'Berwick Leader'.  The ovals were "rendered unplayable" after the contractors mowed the grounds despite "days of heavy rain", with the result that the DDCA cancelled games scheduled at both locations this weekend.

 

Stephen Watson, the club's vice-president, told the 'Leader' that the grounds were mowed on Thursday morning and players and officials were "stunned" to arrive at training that night to see the damage.  "Surely to God [the contractors] would have realised [the grounds] were way too wet to cut", and given their "excellent condition" prior to that "you can understand why we're disappointed".  "It's a ludicrous situation and it's not the first time it's happened", he claimed.

 

In an e-mail sent to Narre Warren officials, which the 'Leader' journalist has seen, the council's parks services manager Danny Edmunds acknowledged the mowers had caused a "silty/muddy appearance" but stated the playing surface was "not actually damaged".  "Council officers had discussed the issue with [its] mowing contractor", said Edmunds, "and advised [them] to "be more considerate in the future".  He finished by stating that "Council does our best to provide 100 sports ovals for community use each weekend, sometimes unfortunately the weather is against us".  "I trust you are aware of this fact and the issue you have brought to our attention is quite possible to live with".

 

Watson is said to have been "left bemused by the [latter] response", claiming that "to say that the grounds have not been damaged is a gross understatement".  "There are tyre tracks and ... the playing surface has been damaged", for "there's no grass left in some areas on both grounds".

 

CHANGE IN LEAGUE MATCH SCHEDULE 

FORMAT DRAWS COMPLAINTS

[PTG 1233-5954]

 

The presidents of two clubs who play in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria claim that the "landmark changes" made to the structure of the association's fixtures schedule this austral summer have hurt their clubs financially and limited number of players involved.  Merrivale president Simon Fleming and his Russells Creek counterpart Glenn Kelson told the 'Warrnambool Standard' this week that the move to start the summer with a Twenty20 tournament last month is a key concern.

 

The new format, which arose out of a WDCA 'Futures Forum' held last February which presumably involved all association clubs, meant only "top cricketers" in the region took to the field in October when previously matches in all three WDCA grades would be underway.  The fact that rain washed out the first round of the regular one and two-day matches last weekend has compounded the problem with lower-grade players having to wait until this weekend, six weeks later than usual, to get out on the field.

 

Fleming told the 'Standard' he understood the difficulties clubs have to field three sides in October, however, having just one side in action via T20s meant "too few players were getting a game of cricket".  "We want our players playing cricket", continued Fleming, and "the association runs the real risk of players finding other things to do", and "costs [for clubs] don’t go down because the season doesn’t start until the middle of November". “The association, by virtue of their fixturing, have limited that", he said.

 

Kelson said his club had also "taken a financial hit".  "We’re in a situation where we’re paying two lots of ground rental and we’re not using the facilities", "it’s very difficult", and "the season will be over before we start and we’re shovelling out money left, right and centre".  In his view "Twenty20 cricket should go ahead in December", for he'd "like to see [the WDCA] kick-off with the 45-over stuff".  "I’m more into that to start the season [so that] everyone kicks off together".  “Twenty20 has a place but it’s Christmas time when you’ve got the tourists around, or midweek, [and] the only reason people are playing it is the money that’s attached to it at the end", he says.

 

However, a third president contacted by the 'Standard', the Wesley-CBC club's Jeff Gillies, said starting the season with the Twenty20 tournament had been “very successful”.   “Our club has been very happy with the format [and] it’s just a shame the weather spoilt the major start to the season [this weekend], because we had a number of blokes who were looking forward to playing who didn’t make our first team for the Twenty20".  Gillies said his club had not suffered financially because of having just one team in action throughout October.

 

The 'Standard' says that the WDCA executive has committed to reviewing the changes it has made to its format at the end of the 2013-14 season.

 

FORMER UMPIRE, ADMINISTRATOR, 

CONVICTED OF FRAUD

[PTG 1232-5955]

 

Former long-serving Liverpool Premier League (LPL) umpire, Malcolm Barber, has been convicted of participating in a fraudulent business and is to be sentenced next month.  Barber, 70, who in addition to standing in 76 LPL matches in the ten seasons up until the end of last year, ran two companies that a media report says "rinsed old aged pensioners of their retirement funds in a savings scam".  

 

Despite the conviction Barber, who was also a former treasurer of the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition and a vice-president of the Lancashire Cricket Board, denied the charges laid against him, claiming he did not play a management role at the companies concerned in the fraud during the time in question.  His former business partner had already pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading, and investors are said to have lost significant amounts of money, one women reportedly waving goodbye to £500,000 ($A860,000).  

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,234
Sunday, 17 November 2013

FIVE INTERNATIONALS REPORTED 

FOR 'SUSPECT' BOWLING ACTIONS 

[PTG 1234-5956]

 

Five international bowlers have been reported for "suspect illegal bowling actions" in the last 48 hours, two West Indians in the Test against India in Mumbai yesterday, and one each from Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the home side on the opening day of the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday.  The two West Indians, off spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels, have previously been reported and suspended from bowling in international cricket after their bowling actions were found to be illegal, but both were allowed to resume after undergoing remedial work and being cleared by further testing.

 

Samuels and Shillingford's actions were reported by on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong from England and television umpire Vineet Kulkarni of India.  Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe is reported to have handed copies of the umpire's report to the West Indies team manager after the conclusion of the Test.  Those reports are said to have made particular references to Samuels' "quicker deliveries" and Shillingford's "doosras".  

 

As required by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) doubtful bowling action process their actions will now be scrutinised further.  They will have to undergo an "independent analysis" within twenty-one days, and the reports from those examinations must be submitted to the ICC fourteen days after that, however, they can continue to bowl in internationals during that time.  If that independent analysis finds they have bowled with an illegal action they will be suspended from bowling in internationals until their actions are appropriately modified and they pass further detailed tests. 

 

Samuels was first reported in February 2008 and resumed bowling in international cricket in September 2011 after "significant remedial work" (PTG 840-4105, 30 September 2011), while Shillingford was reported in November 2010 (PTG 698-3421, 23 November 2010), and resumed bowling in June 2011 (PTG 770-3774, 5 June 2011).

 

The three reported in the WT20Q tournament in Abu Dhabi were Moner Ahmed of Hong Kong in the match against Italy, Namibia’s Louis van der Westhuizen whilst playing Ireland, and the UAE’s Nasir Aziz in the game against Uganda.  Their respective team managers have been provided a copy of the match officials’ reports about their players, and all three are now required to submit to an analysis of their actions by their home boards who must provide the ICC with a written report of the outcome of that scrutiny within seven days.  

 

In the mean time the three will be able to continue bowling in internationals.  If during that period further reports are lodged about their actions, they will have "no consequence" for the bowlers.

 

The ICC indicated in August last year that while it was "encouraged by progress made so far", its 'Wearables' technology project, which involves the development of a "light, cost effective and wearable" device that is capable of "assessing the legality of bowling actions in match and training conditions", will not be completed before the end of 2014 at the earliest (PTG 985-4780, 28 August 2012).  

 

That work, which is being conducted by Brisbane-based Praxis Sport Science Pty Ltd., was first commissioned by the ICC and the Marylebone Cricket Club nearly five years ago (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009).  Details of the expected total cost of what by the end of 2014 will have been a six-year project have not been made public.

 

'SEND OFF' RESULTS IN FINE 

FOR PAKISTAN BOWLER 

[PTG 1234-5957]

 

Pakistan bowler Sohail Tanvir has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for giving South African batsman AB de Villiers a 'send off' in the second and final Twenty20 International between the two sides in Dubai on Friday.  Tanvir pointed de Villiers towards the dressing room with both hands and was reported by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Zameer Haider, third umpire Shozab Raza and fourth umpire Ahmed Shahab, who are all from Pakistan.

 

Sohail admitted to the charge and accepted the sanction imposed by match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and as such there was no need to convene a disciplinary hearing.  Under the International Cricket Council's player Code of Conduct all Level 1 breaches for this offence carry a penalty that ranges from a warning or reprimand up to the imposition of a fine of up to half of a player's applicable match fee. 

 

CA-ABC ASHES BROADCAST DEAL

 'IMMINENT', SAYS REPORT 

[PTG 1234-5958]

 

Five days out from the first Ashes Test the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Cricket Australia (CA) have yet to sign a contract that will enable the national broadcaster to provide live radio commentary of the forthcoming Ashes in Australia, but a deal is "imminent", says a story in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday.  Journalist Peter Lalor says that "talks have dragged on for months as [CA] plays hardball with its traditional broadcaster over digital streaming".

 

'The Australian' says it "understands" the ABC has conceded it will have to allow CA's website to host the link to its on-air coverage, that issue being "the major sticking point in [discussions] that have at times been acrimonious".  The ABC, which has broadcast cricket Australia-wide since the 1920s, lost its exclusive rights to Tests when CA signed a five-year deal with the commercial Fairfax Radio group that will allow them to provide coverage of the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, as well as the One Day International and Twenty20 International series (PTG 1224-5893, 2 November 2013).

 

Lalor indicates that CA told him on Thursday it was confident a deal would be signed with the ABC and while there was "some hesitation" at the ABC there was a general resignation that the broadcaster would concede ground and agree to CA's terms in the next few days.  Whether the deal will enable the ABC to return to broadcasting domestic first class matches was not mentioned.

 

REJECTION OF TEST PROGRAM ADVERTISEMENT

BRINGS 'CENSORSHIP' CLAIMS 

[PTG 1234-5959]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has been accused of "unsporting behaviour" after it rejected an alcohol warning that was submitted for inclusion in the match-day program for next month's Ashes Test in Perth, says the 'West Australian' newspaper.  Last month, CA was reported to have refused to run an advertisement that said ''alcohol and sport don't mix'' at grounds in Sydney where its one-day domestic series was being played because it was of the view the two entities in fact "mix perfectly well" (PTG 1211-5834, 15 October 2013).

 

Cathy O'Leary, the newspaper's Medical Editor, says that a Western Australia Cricket Association-endorsed advertisement with the same "Alcohol and sport don't mix" tag line was submitted by a WA health consortium, which includes a research Institute for child health research, its key message being that sport should not be used to "bombard children with alcohol promotion".  However, it is said to have been rejected on the grounds that it did not fit with CA's position on responsible drinking, writes O'Leary.

 

Citrus Media, which publishes CA match-day programs is said to have told the health group in an e-mail that their proposed advertisement would have to go.  "As you know, Australian cricket has a responsible relationship with alcohol, particularly in terms of responsible alcohol sponsorship of our game", it said.  As "your . . . submission differs with those values you will need to resupply material" for the program.  Professor Mike Daube of WA's Centre for Action on Alcohol said rejection of the advertisement "smacked of censorship" by an "organisation that had faced serious player behaviour issues linked to alcohol".

 

WA's senior side are sponsored by the health consortium to the tune of $A2.1 million in return for divesting itself of "unhealthy promotions".  CA's top 'Platinum Partners include a brewery, and its second-tier 'commercial partners a beer manufacturer, wine producer, betting agency, fast food company, and a sugary fizzy drink firm.  Their combined contribution to CA's coffers is likely to exceed many times the amount provided to Western Australian cricket by the health promotion program. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,235
Monday, 18 November 2013

VICTORIAN CAPTAIN FINED, SUSPENDED, 

FOR 'PITCH TAMPERING'

[PTG 1235-5960]

 

Current Victorian captain and former Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has been fined half of his match fee and suspended for one Sheffield Shield game after being found guilty of tampering with the pitch whilst batting in his state's first innings in the match against Tasmania at Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Thursday-Friday.  Cricket Australia (CA) says that "a long valley" had been "created" within the 'protected area', apparently during Wade's time at the crease, and that umpires Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski made the judgement that it had been formed as a result of "means other than natural wear and tear". 

 

Wade, 25, who scored 118 from 208 balls during day two and early day three of the game, was charged by the umpires with “conduct that was considered unfair play under Law 42 of the Laws of Cricket or against the spirit in which the game of cricket should be played”.   However, the Victorian skipper denied the charge and as was his right he asked for the matter to be heard before a full disciplinary hearing led by the match referee, former international umpire Daryl Harper.  That was held, probably after the match ended on Saturday afternoon, but Harper upheld the guilty verdict.

 

Wade and Victoria can appeal that decision provided he does so by late today, but all Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide would say yesterday was that: ‘‘We are currently reviewing the events in their entirety before deciding whether to lodge an appeal and will not comment further until that decision has been made".

 

Just where in the protected area the "long valley" was located, or just how long and deep it was, is not spelt out in the press release CA distributed late yesterday morning about the matter.  The term "long valley" could be used to describe the groove made when a batsman repeatedly takes guard and marks his crease, but if that is so in this case just how it got to be in the protected area at Bellerive would be of interest to the practitioners of umpiring.  

 

If Lock and Nogajski saw damage being inflicted to the pitch, Law 42.14 requires them to warn both batsman in the first instance, and for second and subsequent occurrences to disallow all runs scored off the ball concerned, return the batsmen to their original ends, award five runs to Tasmania as the fielding side, and lodge a report with CA as the authority running the match.  There is no indication in press reports from the game that any warnings were given, although of course they could have been, while score sheets for the match available on line do not point to Tasmania being awarded five runs for a Victorian misdemeanour during play.  

 

Lock was standing in his 83rd first class match since his March 2001 debut at that level and Nogajski his 8th, his first coming exactly two years ago this week (PTG 850-4153, 26 October 2011).   

 

CA EMPHASIS ON PRODUCING INTERNATIONAL 

PLAYERS 'HARD TO TAKE' FOR HUSSEY

[PTG 1235-5961]

 

Former Australian one-day batsman David Hussey finds the 'lack of emphasis' on winning the Sheffield Shield, which Cricket Australia (CA) apparently believes should exist primarily to nurture future international players, ''hard to take'', says an article in the Sunday edition of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age'.  CA chief executive James Sutherland said last week winning the Shield, Australia's domestic first class competition, was ''incidental'' to preparing players for international cricket, an approach that many observers say underscores the Australian governing body's crackdown on ''result'' wickets in first-class cricket (PTG 1225-5900, 4 November 2013)..

 

Hussey, 36, is says 'Age' journalist Chloe Saltau, disturbed that flat pitches, designed to encourage long innings and bring spinners into the game, could produce less adaptable cricketers.  He's "concerned the [pitches] all around Australia are going to be so flat, it doesn't look as if there's going to be too many results".  ''Back [in his early years in the game] you'd go to the Sydney Cricket Ground and it would look like a fourth day wicket, Adelaide Oval you knew it was going to be hard to chase anything down on the last day, Perth was fast, bouncy, swung all day, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was good for reverse swing", and as such "they were different styles of cricket".

 

The Perth-born Victorian batsmen said he "grew up wanting to win every game of cricket I played in, so it's hard to then say, 'Oh well, we're going to have a net session today and score as many runs as possible'.  "I don't think it's the right way to play", he says, and ''I have always been a believer that you play domestic cricket to win the Sheffield Shield".  For him "It's hard for me to take", "but if that's the direction [CA] want, I'm sure James [Sutherland] and Pat Howard [the former Australian rugby union player who is now the Australian team's performance manager] have the best interests of cricket in this country at heart". 

 

Saltau's article came a day after noted Australian journalist Gideon Haigh also questioned Sutherland's "incidental" comment in a penetrating piece written for 'The Australian' on Saturday.  Haigh wrote in part that CA's diagnosis that "Australian cricket's weaknesses" come from "people trying too hard" to win the Sheffield Shield suggests a management style similar to that exhibited by the 'Department of Administrative Services' in BBC television's 'Yes Minister' series in the 1980s.    

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,236
Tuesday, 19 November 2013

LONG-SERVING CLOETE IN 

LINE FOR TEST DEBUT?

[PTG 1236-5962]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) appointments announced yesterday suggest that South African member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel Johan Cloete could be making his Test debut in New Zealand next month.  If that does turn out to be the case Cloete will have reached the game's pinnacle early in what will be his 21st year as a first class umpire, for he stood in his first game at that level in October 1993 when he was just 22 years of age.  

 

Cloete, now 42, is to stand in the two Twenty20 Internationals South Africa and Pakistan are to play in Johannesburg and Cape Town tomorrow and on Friday, his ninth and tenth, then in the first One Day International (ODI) the two sides are to play in the latter city on Sunday, his 28th (PTG 1236-5963 below), but somewhat unusually there is no mention of him working in ODIs two and three tomorrow week and on Friday week.  

 

His appointment to those games is unlikely to have been overridden by his being called to a domestic fixture in South Africa, and his absence could therefore point to an ICC appointment elsewhere.  That could well be as one of the three umpires the world body will have selected for the three Tests between New Zealand and the West Indies, the first of which starts two weeks today in Dunedin, and the second and third in Wellington and Hamilton in the lead up to Christmas.  Other recent ICC appointments for the November-December period suggest that three English members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Pane (EUP)l, Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth, and Australia Paul Reiffel, are potential appointees for that series.

 

If Cloete is to make his Test debut in a few weeks it will be a significant milestone for him in another way for over the last 20 years he has stood in a total of 99 first class games, and therefore he could well bring up his century in a Test.  Over the last two decades most of his first class umpiring has been at home in South Africa, but in 2010 and 2011 he travelled to both India and Australia on exchange, was selected by the ICC for second-tier first class internationals in Namibia, the Netherlands, and Ireland twice, the latest this September; and four times he has been given 'neutral' spots in senior ODIs.  A run of overseas neutral umpire appointments from the ICC like Cloete has had is usually a precursor to a Test appointment.

 

During the past year the ICC has taken two umpires, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Ravi Sundarum of india, through the ODI neutral development path before giving them Test matches, the former now having four under his belt and the latter one.  Both are currently standing in the UAE World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates which got underway last Friday (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013). 

 

Should Cloete join the Test umpiring 'club' as world number 479, and South African number 58 since 1880, it means he together with Martinecz and Sundarum are likely to be on the ICC's watch list for potential membership of the EUP in a year or two, another contender of course being former EUP member 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013).  With two places on the EUP potentially available in six  months time (PTG 1169-5650, 14 August 2013), how the ICC appoints those four over the next four months should provide a guide as to how they see their potential.

 

FIRST TOP-TIER ODI 'NEUTRAL' 

SPOTS FOR GAFFANEY 

[PTG 1236-5963]

 

Former New Zealand first class player Chris Gaffaney, who made his debut as an umpire at that level in March 2008, has been named as a 'neutral' umpire in a top-tier One Day International (ODI) series for the first time.  Gaffaney is to work with a second umpiring neutral, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford, match referee Chris Broad of England, and South African umpires Johan Cloete and Shaun George across the three ODI series the latter's countrymen will play against Pakistan in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg next week.

 

Gaffaney is currently standing in the Group stage of the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which got underway last Friday (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013).  His last match in that series, between Papua New Guinea and Nepal, is to be played later today in Sharjah, and he is expected to fly to Cape Town tomorrow to prepare for the first of the ODIs next Sunday.

 

Otago-based Gaffaney is to stand in the Cape Town and Johannesburg matches and work as the third official in Port Elizabeth.  His on-field partners will be fellow ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) members Cloete in the opening match and George in the third game, Oxenford being the third umpire for both those fixtures.  Match two in Port Elizabeth will see Oxenford and George on-field.  Cloete's absence from games two and three suggests he may have been allocated a Test series for the first time early next month (PTG 1236-5962 above).

 

The Kiwi has received four overseas ODI 'neutral' umpire appointments from the ICC in the past, but they were for fixtures involving second-tier nations, two being in Canada and one each in the UAE and the Netherlands.  Eight of his fifteen ODIs to date have involved such national teams, the other seven being New Zealand Cricket appointments to games involving his own national side and other top-tier visitors played in his home country.

 

Pakistan's quick ten-day visit to South Africa was arranged hurriedly two weeks ago to fill a gap left by India's unavailability to tour in November (PTG 1226-5916, 7 November 2013), and whether the three neutrals and two South Africans had been assigned to the ODIs India was thought by some to be playing around the same time is not known.  The ICC appears to have had to scramble in other ways of late, England EUP member Richard Kettleborough pulling out of a 'Sheffield Cricket Lovers Society' annual dinner in the UK at short notice after being called up for the recent hastily arranged 'Sachin Tendulkar farewell' two Test series in India (PTG 1226-5908, 5 November 2013)..  

 

The South Africa-Pakistan ODI series will take Broad's match referees record in that form of the game to 236 matches, Oxenford's to 51 on-field and 31 in the television suite (51/31), Cloete 28/6, Gaffaney 17/5 and George to 9/2.  All except Cloete played first class cricket before taking up umpiring.

 

Prior to the ODIs, South Africa and Pakistan are to play two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), the first in Johannesburg tomorrow and second in Cape Town on Friday.  Cloete will stand in both those matches, his countryman and fellow first class umpires Karl Hurter being his on-field colleague and Murray Brown the third official, Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft working as the match referee.  Hurter's international career appeared to have ended six years ago after a handful of ODIs, and this week's T20Is will be only his second and third.  Brown has previously worked as the fourth umpire in Tests and ODIs but the last was over four years ago. 

 

BOWLER 'NO BALLED' THREE TIMES FOR 

ACTION, REMOVED FROM ATTACK

[PTG 1236-5964]

 

Maharashtra first change bowler Sachin Chaudhari was 'no balled' three times for an illegal action and stood down from the attack during the Ranji Trophy first class match against Hyderabad that ended in Uppal on Sunday.  Post match reports say that under Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regulations Chaudhari, 27, will be unable to play at first class level again until his action is cleared by a three-member BCCI committee.

 

Umpires Nitin Pandit and Virender Sharma, who were standing in their seventh and sixteenth first class matches respectively, called Chaudhari twice during Hyderabad's first innings on the second-last day of the match on Saturday, then for a third time in the post-lunch session on the final day on Sunday.  The latter call was made on the first ball of Chaudhari's seventeenth over, off-break bowler Kedar Jadhav delivering the last five balls. 

 

Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's general manager cricket operations, told journalists that video footage from the match will be sent to a committee made up of former Test umpires Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan and Arani Jayaprakash, and former Indian fast bowler and current international match referee Javagal Srinath.  They will "recommend the corrections [Chaudhari needs to make to] his action and then inspect him again after he undergoes corrective measures" at the BCCI's National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

 

Chaudhari made his first class debut with Maharashtra last December and the match in which he was called was just his third at that level.  Over those games he delivered a total of 573 balls and took 14 wickets at an average of 21.07,  11 of his victims coming in his second game which was against Tripura in Guhanje late last month.  News of Chaudhari being called surfaced the day after five players in international cricket were reported for suspect actions, two from the West Indies, and one each from Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013).

 

DPL MATCH REPLAY FAILS 

TO END CONTROVERSY

[PTG 1236-5965]

 

Last Saturday's forced replay of the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) 50-over match between the Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi (SJD) and Brothers Union clubs has again ended in controversy. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) ordered the replay after Brothers played a suspended player in the original fixture two weeks ago which they won (PTG 1233-5946, 16 November 2013), but SJD won the replay and now its Brothers who are the ones complaining to DPL organisers.

 

Brothers are reported to be protesting SJD's inclusion of Abdur Razzak in their side, saying that the BCB asked DPL clubs not to consider him and four other national players, Sakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam for team selection as they were all carrying injuries.  

 

Razzak is said to have been asked not to play cricket till tomorrow as he was still dealing with a "back stiffness" injury he sustained during the recent One Day International series against New Zealand, but instead he helped SJD turn the original result around with a 'man-of-the-match/' performance.  He played what was described as a 'cameo innings' at number nine and yook 3/32 with the ball.

 

Brothers manager Amin Khan told the media that they had demanded full points from the replayed match as SJD had defied the BCB’s request.  "We have demanded full points as they did not bother to give any importance to the BCB request that we complied with fully" in terms of their Bangladesh player Tamim Iqbal, said Amin.

 

Amin Khan said his club had lodged a written complaint with match referee Roqibul Hasan, however, Roqibul is reported to have judged that the issue had any no bearing on the match result as he believes the matter is entirely between Razzak and the BCB for "he is contracted player and needs to go by their decision".  Roqibul says he had passed Brothers' complaint to the BCB's Umpires Committee so they can pass it on to their operations department. 

 

BCB chief medical officer Debashish Chowdhury said that given the kind of injury Abdur Razzak is suffering from he is the best person to judge his own fitness.  "It is right that he was asked to take rest till 20 November but he can always recover early and take part in competitive cricket", said Debashish.

 

LEAGUE SPONSOR'S 'AFTER-LIFE' SERVICE 

MEANS 'TIME' HAS CLEARLY BEEN CALLED 

[PTG 1236-5966]

 

Recent decades have seen cash-strapped cricket leagues around the world take on the name of their sponsor as part of key funding deals that help them provide the services they need to run their competitions.  Such sponsorships have come from companies whose aim ranges from selling insurance, to beverages, bakery products, banking and financial services, restaurants, pubs, hardware stores, garages and the like, but the competition in the English county of Dorset is somewhat unusual in that its supporter deals with the 'after-life'.

 

The 'Dorset Funeral Plan League', which consists of a ten-team Premier League clubs plus seven other competition divisions that involve a total of seventy teams, derives its name from a group who provides 'pre-paid funeral plans'.  Under the scheme people can, in the words of the company's web site, choose "what kind of funeral they'd like instead of [their] family and friends having to guess", and "you pay today’s price, regardless of when the funeral may be needed".  Whether players mull their finite future as a result of the sponsorship is not known.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,237
Wednesday, 20 November 2013

 

AUSSIE ASHES SCORERS BRING CENTURIES OF 

EXPERIENCE TO FORTHCOMING SERIES

[PTG 1237-5967]

 

Ten Australians, who between them have already recorded the details of close to 150 Tests, have been appointed by their respective state associations as the official scorers for the five-match Ashes series in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney over the next eight weeks.  Those involved will join neutral match officials from New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka appointed by the International Cricket Council in overseeing play (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013), as well as four Australians who will work as fourth umpires (PTG 1,232-5940, 14 November 2013).

 

The ten who will carry out the key task of officially recording details of play during their respective games are: Brian FitzGerald and Judy Harris for the opening Test in Brisbane this week; Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts the second in Adelaide; Sandy Wheeler and Anne Ridley in match three in Perth; Kevin O'Neill and Craig Reece in the Boxing Day fixture in Melbourne; and Christine Bennison and Adam Morehouse in Sydney in the final contest very early in the new year.  

 

Reece is the longest-serving Test scorer of the ten having worked in that role for the first time in 1980 in England for the West Indies touring side at the age of 23 in Tests played at Trent Bridge, Lord's, The Oval and Headingley, O'Neill debuted in 1981, Harris in 1986, Artis 1989, Wheeler 1995, Fitzgerald 2002, Bennison 2003, Ridley 2010, Morehouse 2011, and Ricketts last austral summer. 

 

For Brisbane-based Harris this week's game will be her thirtieth Test and eighth that involves England, O'Neill his 27th and 6th in an Ashes series (27/6), Artis 24/4, Wheeler 19/5, Reece 19/4, FitzGerald 15/4, Bennison 10/4, Morehouse and Ridley both 2/2, and Ricketts 2/1.  With the exception of two Tests Harris scored in Darwin in 2003 and 2004, and Reece his four in England in 1980, all their others and those of their eight colleagues were played at their respective state's home ground, either the Adelaide Oval, the 'Gabba' in Brisbane, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the WACA in Perth or the Sydney Cricket Ground; although Morehouse actually lives in Canberra and travels to Sydney for senior-level representative games played there.

 

All of the ten official scorers named to support the Tests in Australia this austral summer work as scorers well before being appointed to their first Test, starting at club level before moving on to general representative, first class and one-day internationals prior to reaching the pinnacle of the game.  O'Neil for one has over fifty years of such service behind him and information for he and the others indicates that between them the ten have given in excess of 250 years of service to collecting, collating and providing information that is vital to any match, and that provides the multitude of statistics those interested in the game spend so many hours thinking, talking and sometimes arguing, about.

 

Indications are that all of the official scorers will be recording details of their Tests using the traditional pen and ink on score sheets and books.   Other scorers will of course be working in support of radio and television broadcasters, newspaper journalists, and to provide details direct to a world-wide audience via the internet, but they will look to the official scribes when they need clarification of any matter.  It is also to the official scorers that the four on-field umpires assigned to the series will be signalling to and looking for their lights which are expected to flash in excess of a collective 1,200 times across the five grounds between tomorrow and the new year. 

 

VICTORIA APPEAL WADE 

'PITCH TAMPERING' BAN

[PTG 1237-5968]

 

Cricket Victoria yesterday launched an appeal against the fine and ban handed to captain Matthew Wade last weekend for 'pitch tampering' during his side's Sheffield Shield first class match in Hobart.  Match referee Daryl Harper found Wade guilty of the offence, fined him half of his match fee and banned him for one Shield match, after umpires Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski charged the wicketkeeper-batsman with “conduct that was considered unfair play under Law 42 of the Laws of Cricket or against the spirit in which the game of cricket should be played” (PTG 1235-5960, 18 November 2013). 

 

Wade denied at a post-match hearing on Saturday that he was responsible for "the creation of a long valley within the protected area" that Cricket Australia (CA) says was the focus of the umpire's concerns, a scar they concluded was created by "means other than natural wear and tear".  Media reports yesterday say that details of the appeal hearing are yet to be confirmed but that it is likely to be held either today or tomorrow in order that Victoria know whether or not Wade will be available for his team's next Shield game against Western Australia which starts in Perth on Friday.

 

Reports from knowledgable spectators who were at Bellerive Oval say that the part of the 'protected area' damaged that Lock and Nogajski were referring to in their report was at the northern end of the pitch.  Whether its creation was related to Wade marking his crease in the 'protected area', and if so why it was only at one end, is far from clear, however, any batsman taking guard there could be expected to see either or both umpires reacting immediately by giving him a formal warning for damaging the pitch.  Just how else a batsman could inflict such damage, particularly in a surreptitious manner such that he did not receive an on-field warning, is very difficult to imagine, but perhaps something else of an unprecedented, and presumably bizarre nature, was involved.  

 

Wade went to the crease in Victoria's first innings of the game after an hour of play on day two on Thursday and was dismissed around the same time the following day for 119, a period in which a total of 67 overs were delivered.  Several of the spectator reports received by 'PTG' suggest that Harper went on to the ground to inspect the pitch during lunch on Thursday, after Wade had been at the crease for an hour, and again at Tea three hours into his innings; however, those watching on from outside the boundary  are unlikely to have picked up all the subtleties that were involved.     

 

However, if those general observations are correct then clearly Harper was made aware of, and saw at first hand, the damage to the pitch on which Victoria had to finish its first and second innings, and Tasmania bat twice which it did only to loose outright.  Details of just what the three match officials saw and how they reacted have not been made public, but perhaps such information will be released after the appeal is heard and the result announced.  It is possible that a key piece of evidence provided by CA to the appeal hearing could be relevant parts of the video recording of the match made from both ends of the ground that CA undertakes on a routine basis as partoif player and umpire development programs.

 

The 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) is reporting today that Wade is "likely to fly" to Perth with his teammates and give evidence to the appeal hearing by telephone, his availability for the match there depending on the outcome.  Whether, given the seriousness in cricketing terms of the matter at hand, the report of his travel plans is correct remains to be seen, but the 'SMH'' article also says that: "If Wade's appeal fails the implications, beyond missing [the Perth match] are unclear [and] it would be solely at the discretion of the independent commissioner [conducting the appeal] whether to impose a heavier penalty on Wade for fighting the verdict".

 

Other media reports this morning state that CA is "not aware of any precedent of a player being suspended for pitch tampering in its state-based [Sheffield Shield] competition". 

 

'REAL-TIME SNICKO', 'HOT SPOT' FOR 

ASHES UDRS PACKAGE, SAY REPORTS 

[PTG 1237-5969]

 

Reports from Sydney yesterday say that Australia broadcaster Channel Nine have agreed to a new in-principle deal with BBG Sports, the company behind both 'Hot Spot' and the new 'Real-time Snicko' (RTS) systems, for their use in the forthcoming Ashes Tests, the first of which gets underway in Brisbane tomorrow.  That agreement means that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will allow both systems to be part of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the series, a move Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and his England and Wales Cricket Board counterpart David Collier have been pushing for sometime (PTG 1232-5935, 14 November 2013).

 

Nine is said to have only reached agreement with Melbourne-based BBG Sports on Monday, and reports say the broadcaster has been told by the ICC that their umpires will be using RTS, 'Hot Spot', 'Eagle Eye' ball-tracking, slow motion footage, and stump microphones when a request for a review of an on-field decision is called for during the series.  While the umpires will utilise RTS data in their decision making, the Ashes series will be its operational trial after which the world body will decide whether or not to push for its use in all Tests in which the two national boards involve agree to UDRS operations.

 

Nine's executive producer of cricket Brad McNamara told journalists that: "We had a difficult negotiation [with BBG Sports] but thankfully we've come together [and] we're thrilled to have 'Hot Spot' continue as part of the coverage".  RTS "will add to the viewers' experience and also hopefully help in the decision-making process for umpires",  said former first class player McNamara, whose assessment is that "It will change the UDRS [for] hopefully you won't get the mistakes".

 

Umpiring and UDRS issues marred the Ashes series in England this year, with both players and officials losing confidence in the technology, Australian captain Michael Clarke writing if the technology "isn't perfect, it shouldn't be used at all (PTG 1231-5931, 13 November 2013), BBG Sports Warren Brennan admitting 'Hot Spot' "doesn't pick up all nicks" (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013), and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson likening the UDRS to 'dissent' (PTG 1233-5949, 16 November 2013).

 

A report from London late last week said that Geoff Allardice, the IC'sC general manager of cricket, and Simon Taufel the world body's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, would be travelling to Brisbane ahead of the first Test "in an attempt to ensure" that the Ashes series begins "without any of the controversies over technology" (PTG 1233-5945, 16 November 2013).  

 

CA, ABC STILL TALKING ABOUT 

ASHES RADIO BROADCASTS

[PTG 1237-5970]

 

Thirty-six hours before the first ball of the Ashes series is due to be bowled, the standoff between Cricket Australia (CA)and national broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) over radio rights continues, threatening the radio broadcast of the first Ashes Test, say reports late yesterday (PTG 1232-5958, 17 November 2013).  The main sticking point is said to be CA's "demanded" it alone host the link to the internet streaming of the ABC Radio team's commentary through the CA website.  "We are still talking",' said ABC Grandstand manager Craig Norenberg yesterday afternoon, and "We would love to do it as we have been for the last 83 years and we would hate to see that effort go to waste".

 

SOUTH AFRICA BOOSTS FIRST CLASS MONIES, 

STRESSES PRE-EMINENCE OF COMPETITION

[PTG 1237-5971]

 

South Africa's first class domestic competition has been given a boost in terms of its status by the amount of money Cricket South Africa's (CSA) six franchises and their players will play for this austral summer, say reports from that country earlier this week. Prize money for the series is to total two million Rand ($A210,300), the winner receiving half of that, and there will also be incentives for players who perform well, the money involved being more than that won for the winner of last year’s CSA domestic Twenty20 competition.

 

Reports quote players as referring to the financial boost as “prestige returning to the four-day game”, and that "while there is a long way to go, it’s a small step which should be celebrated".   They claim there is little wrong with the current first-class structure, that the competition is well set up and, "although pitches are often curated to favour bowlers", it remains a competitive environment in which future Test players can hone their craft.  They also say that until not there has "always been very little incentive for a franchise to win the competition". 

 

Over the last few years the first class game's prize money had dwindled to the region of 600,000-675,000 Rand ($A63,00-71,000), but CSA believe the new higher financial incentives as well as the individual awards for players will go a long way in motivating players to consistently perform at their peak.

 

CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said this week that the move is "another affirmation that the longest format of the game is the most important, and it shows [his] organisation’s commitment to the game at [what he called] grassroots level".  “We must be enthused about our first-class cricket and this is a wonderful boost for the four-day game", he continued, and “It confirms our view that first-class cricket is the premier format and the place where players must excel if they want to succeed at international level.

 

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR 

NZ IN FINAL LANKAN ODI

[PTG 1237-5972]

 

New Zealand has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate against Sri Lanka in the third and final One Day International in Dambulla on Saturday.  Match referee Chris Broad of England imposed the censure after New Zealand was ruled to be one over short of its bowling target after time allowances were taken into consideration.  International Cricket Council 'Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel' require players by fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time and their captain double that amount.  As such NZ captain Kyle Mills lost twenty per cent of his fee and his team-mates ten per cent.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,238
Thursday, 21 November 2013

RUGBY-STYLE, REAL-TIME THIRD UMPIRE 

EXPLANATIONS OF DECISIONS LIKELY 

[PTG 1238-5973]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking at having its third umpires publicly explain their decisions directly to spectators and television viewers in order to minimise confusion and therefore controversy, says a story in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH).  Such a process, which would be similar to that used in Rugby Union and Gridiron football codes, will not be in place during the currently Ashes series in Australia, but rather is a "medium-term" goal, said ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice yesterday, five years after such a concept was first mooted by the world body.

 

Allardice said that "Getting the message across [to the general public] has been one of the things that hasn't worked [in the referral process] so far", and one of the goals "is to try and get the guys [that is third umpires] communicating in a more disciplined language".  "That's one of the things that's impressive about the rugby guys", continued Allardice, for "they run up and down the field and can still communicate very clearly to each other and actually enhance the understanding of what's going on".  He thinks that "in time we'll be doing that", adding that when that occurs the ICC will start with what he called "the better third umpires".

 

David Richardson, the ICC's now chief executive officer, said in 2008 when trials of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) first began that "we will be recording the conversation between the [umpires so that we can] check whether they are communicating properly".  "For now, it won't be live, as sometimes a good decision can also be spoilt due to poor communication", he said at the time, but if the "Test-based trial works satisfactorily such discussions would go to air in 'real time' as is the case in rugby today" (PTG 285-1513, 25 July 2008).

 

Talking about the ICC's decision to include 'Real-time Snicko' (RTS) in the UDRS package for the Ashes series that starts today (PTG 1237-5969, 20 November 2013), Allardice said its automated split-screen display will complement the existing technology for the detection of edges, 'Hot Spot'.  'SMH' journalist Chris Barrett says that the RTS television graphic is formed from images from three super slow-motion cameras, which are synchronised and go into a recording device together with the feed from the stump microphones at either end of the pitch.  

 

Barrett says that the front-on, side-on and view from behind the stumps are overlaid, creating a visual that can determine more precisely at what point a noise originated from, and when the ball passed the bat, and Allardice said the three-dimensional aspect would assist in avoiding 'howlers' like the one made by Sri Lankan third umpire Kumar Dharmasena at Old Trafford in August when he confirmed the dismissal of Australian Usman Khawaja despite the batsman clearly missing the ball (PTG 1163-5628,  7 August 2013).   

 

RTS will be referred to by the television umpires if 'Hot Spot shows no mark when they are considering whether a batsman has nicked or missed a ball.  "The big message for the umpires has been it isn't to decide whether you're in or out, [rather] it is to decide whether you've got enough evidence to say if the original [on-field] decision was wrong", said Allardice.  "The burden of proof is quite high", he continued, for "you need conclusive evidence [for] we don't want good on-field decisions being overturned on dubious evidence".

 

Allardice defended the ICC's decision to experiment with new RTS technology in what Barrett calls "such a huge Test series".  "It's not a strong tool for picking up the two noises in close proximity and when there is a lot of sound around the stump microphones", acknowledged the ICC general manager, and "we wouldn't have done it without the support of both boards" .  "It is part of the evaluation of getting [RTS] on the approved list of technologies and we needed to look at it in a match situation somewhere".

 

ICC OFFICIALS BRIEF PLAYERS, 

TRAIN UMPIRES, ON UDRS ISSUES

[PTG 1238-5974]

 

Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) general manager of cricket, and Simon Taufel its Umpire Performance and Training Manager, were reported yesterday to have briefed Australian and England players on the package of technologies that will make up the Umpire Decision Review System )UDRS) for the Ashes series, the first match of which gets underway in Brisbane today.  A report last week said that the pair were to travel to Brisbane "in an attempt to ensure" that the Ashes series begins "without any of the controversies over technology" (PTG 1233-5945, 16 November 2013).

 

Allardice and Taufel are said to have given both teams a presentation on the attributes of the new 'Real-time Snicko' (RTS) system and the attributes it will bring to the UDRS (PTG 1238-5973 above).  It was added to the list of technologies available to third umpires in the forthcoming Tests only three days ago after broadcaster Channel Nine finally, after "tough negotiations", finally reached  a new in-principle deal with BBG Sports, the Melbourne-based company that provides both 'Hot Spot' and 'RTS' systems that are said to compliment each other in a very positive fashion (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013). 

 

A 'Sydney Morning Herald' report yesterday said that "questions have been raised about the wisdom of trialling", which the ICC says is the right terminology to describe the move, RTS "in such a huge series", something Allardice defended (PTG 1238-5973 above). That newspaper also indicated that it is "understood that the umpires involved in the series were training on how to make decisions [using RTC derived data] at the ['Gabba'] ground [in Brisbane] on Tuesday".  Whether that training involved only third umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa, who will be in the third umpire's chair for today's opening Test, and also the two Kiwis who will work in that role in later matches, 'Billy' Bowden and Tony Hill, is not clear.  Taufel is likely to have been heavily involved in the training sessions that were conducted.

 

WADE 'PITCH-TAMPERING'  APPEAL

HEARING TO CONVENE TODAY

[PTG 1238-5975]

 

Victorian cricket captain Matthew Wade's appeal against a one-match Sheffield Shield ban for pitch-tampering is to be heard via teleconference today and involve participants located in states across southern Australia.  Cricket Victoria launched the appeal on Tuesday after Wade was found guilty of the offence on Saturday evening following his state's Shield game against Tasmanian in Hobart, being fined half of his match fee and banned for one Sheffield Shield match by match referee Daryl Harper (PTG 1235-5960, 18 November 2013).

 

Wade, whose side is due to start its next Shield match in Perth tomorrow, flew with his team mates to that city from Melbourne yesterday and will take part in the hearing via the reported video link.  Cricket Australia (CA) Code of Behaviour Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC is to chair the hearing which is due to start just before noon Eastern Summer Time.  Media reports are quoting a CA spokesman as saying that Sullivan has the option to increase the suspension if he sees fit.

 

The Victorian skipper has denied the umpires' charge that he created "a long valley" within the 'protected area' whilst batting in the match last Thursday-Friday (PTG 1237-5968, 20 November 2013).  Precise details of just what the three match officials saw, how they reacted to the situation, and what they actually did during the course of the game, have not yet become public.

 

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL CALLS ON 

ICC TO OPEN UP ITS DELIBERATIONS

[PTG 1238-5976]

 

Transparency International (TI), an organisation whose aim is to stamp out corruption in government, business and civil society around the globe, believes that the International Cricket Council (ICC) must tackle corruption that challenges the integrity of the game both on and off the pitch by strengthening its own governance and using its influence to promote high standards in national Boards.  TI made the call in a report issued on Tuesday titled 'Fair Play: Strengthening Integrity and Transparency in Cricket'.

 

In TI's view much of the focus of combating corruption in cricket has been in the area of match-fixing, and it considers it vital that everyone in the game, including cricket administrators, operate to the highest standards of cricket and integrity if the message of zero tolerance for corruption on the pitch is to be taken seriously.  "A sport can shape social values, particularly with young people, which is why it is important that those governing it do all they can to protect its integrity", says its report.

 

"The ICC has commissioned two recent governance reviews in the past two years but there has been no update on whether the suggested reforms have been implemented", continues the report, and "we believe that the ICC should take steps as soon as possible to achieve greater transparency and accountability". 

 

The report calls for the ICC to "Publish Information about its anti-corruption programs and procedures and increase the independence of the Board and Committees by: introducing independent non-executive directors; publishing a progress report on the implementation of the Woolf and De Speville reports; and publishing minutes and decisions of Board and Committee meetings".   

 

Pankaj Agarwal, Indian TI Vice-Chairman, said in releasing the report that "to keep its reputation the ICC must start implementing reforms that will strengthen transparency in cricket and address the many corruption risks that threaten the game".  Agarwal says that "The recent IPL [Indian Premier League] controversy could have been [prevented] and proper preventive measures may restrict such activities in the future".

 

INDIA SHOULD PLAY UNDER THE UDRS, 

SAYS FORMER WINDIES SKIPPER

[PTG 1238-5977]

 

Former West Indian captain and international match referee Clive Lloyd believes Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology should be used throughout the world, and that the Board of Control for Cricket in india (BCCI) should play under it "even if they don’t like it".  Speaking in Pune on Monday, Lloyd said that the absence of UDRS systems in a series involving the Indian team ":catches an umpire off guard" and the BCCI "needs to look seriously" at adopting such systems.

 

Lloyd, who is also a former chairman of the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee, also stressed the need to enhance the role of third umpires. “I had a chat with [former Indian captain Anil] Kumble the other day and we felt that the third umpire could be much more involved in the game".  “If he sees someone who has hit the ball and hasn’t walked, he should intervene [as] nobody walks anymore [and] we could have a better game and the better team would always win".

 

COACH CRITICISES SHILLINGFORD 

'SUSPECT ACTION'  CALL

[PTG 1238-5978]

 

West Indian Shane Shillingford's home country bowling coach says the spinner did everything to rectify his bowling action when he was reported and returned to the game two years ago and that "every spinner has a suspect bowling action".  Shillingford was one of five internationals reported for "suspect illegal bowling actions" last week (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013) , having returned to the game in June 2011 following a similar report the year before that which resulted in him undergoing remedial work before being allowed to bowl again in international games (PTG 770-3774, 5 June 2011).

 

Mervin Thomas, the coach and  Cricket Administrator at the Shillingord's home Dominica Cricket Board, told reporters that the latest "talk about [Shillingford's] action is uncalled for", and that "what we have to do is applaud the young man for fighting adversity and proving to the world he is a class act’".  "He was scrutinised by the experts" said Thomas, "recommendations were made, he did the remedial work with coaches in Dominica and at the ‘High Performance Centre in Barbados and then was given the all clear to continue playing".  Thomas claimed that the issue has been raised now because "he is doing well", and that "he comes from the wrong part of the world".

 

'GABBA' TEST DESCRIPTIONS 

FOR ABC RADIO

[PTG 1238-5979]

 

ABC Radio is expected to provide live commentary the first Ashes Test today despite not having signed a new broadcasting agreement with Cricket Australia (CA) after lengthy discussions, according to reports circulating late yesterday (PTG 1237-5970, 20 November 2013).  A Fairfax Media report this morning says that the two parties have been split on the finer details of the deal, in particular differences over the public broadcaster's editorial policy, but that "it is anticipated that [the ABC] will call the 'Gabba' Test even if the paperwork is not signed", something veteran commentator Jim Maxwell called "a relief".

 

 

Earlier this week CA announced that it has signed a five-year agreement with consultancy giant 'Accenture' to provide a live internet subscription streaming service of its matches.  The new service, the expected financial return for CA which was not disclosed, is set to go live later this month via ‘Cricket Australia Live: The Official App' that will enable those interested to watch Australian matches on PCs, smart phones and tablets.  CA's executive general manager of media, communications and marketing Ben Amarfio, said in announcing the new arrangement that “While nothing quite compares to being at a match live, users of [CA's Official App] and the subscription streaming service will still be able to catch all of the cricket action wherever they may be".

 

In another move two weeks ago CA signed a contract with betting-related data supplier 'Sportradar' to monitor for signs of corruption and fraudulent activity in its domestic game.  The Swiss company becomes what CA calls an "integrity partner", their role being to track betting-related activity using its Fraud Detection System, the same technology tused recently during an investigation of a Melbourne second-tier football team's match-fixing activities. 

 

Carsten Koerl, the chief executive of 'Sportradar' said when the new partnership with CA was announced that “It’s critical in today’s world that sports governing bodies confront the threat of betting related match-fixing and have robust preventative, detection and investigation methods in-place".  CA chief executive James Sutherland added that" “[CA] takes the threat of betting related match-fixing very seriously and this partnership with 'Sportradar' is the latest step taken to help uphold the integrity of cricket in Australia".  The cost and duration of the CA-Sportradar new contract has not been made public. 

 

'WHAT IS CRICKET AUSTRALIA SELLING 

YOUR FAMILY?', ASKS NEW ADVERT

[PTG 1238-5980]

 

A "peaceful protest" is to be held outside the Melbourne headquarters of Cricket Australia (CA) around the time the first Ashes Test gets underway in Brisbane this morning as part of efforts by a Hobart man to rid the sport of "alcohol and junk food advertising".  Tired of beer and fried chicken advertisements "heavily promoted" to his children during televised matches, Aaron Schultz plans to stage the protest on the same day he hopes what will be the first of "many billboards" is unveiled at Hobart Airport that asks: "What is Cricket Australia selling your family?"

 

The manager of a recruitment business, Shultz says that his billboard will feature a young boy dressed in cricket whites in his backyard holding a beer and a hamburger and urges people to "demand healthy advertising in cricket" and get behind Mr Schultz's "game changer" campaign, says a story in a number of Fairfax Press media outlets yesterday.  He says that "Australian parents deserve to sit down and watch a game of cricket with their children without their young and impressionable kids being exposed to a barrage of alcohol and fast food advertisements".

 

Shultz told Fairfax Health Editor Julia Medew that he is distressed by how quickly junk food, alcohol and gambling advertising had replaced tobacco when advertising of the latter was banned in Australia several decades ago, particularly given "obesity, binge drinking and gambling are such major health problems in Australia" at the current time.  He said his "cricket loving boys", aged twelve and nine, had already been influenced by the food sponsors in the game, causing him to worry about what would happen during their teenage years.  He concedes though that "[CA] is not the only guilty party" and that other high-profile sports adopt the same approach, but that "we'll be [going] after them too".

 

The Tasmanian, who has been running a related 'Game Changer' billboard at Hobart Airport and an internet-based campaign over the last year, said that he hoped his views would reinforce those expressed by a Perth-based organisation whose anti-alchol advertisement submitted for the third Ashes Test match day program there was rejected by a CA contractor on the grounds that it "differs" with CA values  (PTG 1234-55959, 17 November 2013).  

 

A CA spokesman said when a similar problem occurred during its one-day series in Sydney that anri-alchol advertisements "conflicted with its position on sport and alcohol" which is "one of consumption in moderation".  "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", said the spokesman at the time (PTG 1211-5834, 15 October 2013).

 

QUALITY OF TEAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN 

PITCH STANDARDS  IN WEST YORKSHIRE

[PTG 1238-5981]

 

Umpires in the Dales Council League (DCL), whose competition covers the area around Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire, have been given the power to increase the length of the tea interval in their 2014 games if refreshments are "not reasonably adjacent" to the ground on which their games are being played.  Clubs at the league's recent annual meeting agreed to the move 13-2 and that umpires will provide post-match marks on the quality of the teas, however, in an indication of how important teas are in the English game, they resolved that the same umpires will not have to give assessment marks on the condition of pitches clubs provide for matches.

 

The DCL also decided against introducing a photo registration system for players, its results and fixtures secretary Ken Firth telling the 'Bradford Telegraph and Argus' that while “it's not over-expensive to run", the fact that around 900 players are involved "a lot of work is in setting it up".   A Sunday league competition in the same region decided earlier this year to introduce identity cards that are limited to a photo of a player and his name (PTG 1071-5214, 6 March 2013).

 

INDIAN SCHOOLBOY SAVAGES 

OPPOSITION ATTACK

[PTG 1238-5982]

 

A fourteen-year-old Indian batsman scored an astonishing 546 off 330 balls in a school match in Mumbai yesterday in a tournament that two decades ago brought recently retired Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar to the fore.  Prithvi Shaw, playing for Rizvi Springfield school, hit eighty-five fours and five sixes, surpassing the previous best score in the competition of 498 by Armaan Jaffar, nephew of former Indian opener Wasim Jaffar, two years ago.  

 

Shaw's innings was spread over two days after he was unbeaten on 257 on Tuesday evening.  Indian statistician Mohandas Menon tweeted that Shaw's effort was the third-highest recorded score behind the unbeaten 628 by Englishman Arthur Collins in 1899 and 566 by Charles Eady of Australia in 1901.  Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli compiled a 664-run partnership for their school in 1988, both batsmen scoring unbeaten triple-centuries.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,239
Friday, 22 November 2013

VICTORIAN SKIPPER LOOSES 

'PITCH-TAMPERING' APPEAL

[PTG 1239-5983]

 

Victorian captain Matthew Wade has lost his appeal against the fine and one match Sheffield Shield ban handed to him last weekend for pitch-tampering during his state's first class match against Tasmanian in Hobart (PTG 1235-5960, 18 November 2013).  Cricket Victoria (CV) launched the appeal against those censures on Tuesday but yesterday's three-hour teleconference hearing, which was chaired by Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC, chose not to alter the original decision by the match referee in the Hobart game, former international umpire Daryl Harper.

 

Wade denied at a post-match hearing on Saturday that he was responsible for "the creation of a long valley within the protected area" that Cricket Australia (CA) said was the focus of the umpire's concerns, a feature they concluded was created by "means other than natural wear and tear".  There is no indication as yet about how that scar in the pitch was created and when, nor what the umpires reaction to it was and how they managed the issue as the match progressed.

 

CV's chief executive officer Tony Dodemaide said after the appeal decision was announced that "We're extremely disappointed by the outcome today, but appreciate the thoroughness of the process and accept that the matter is now concluded".  As a result of the appeal hearing's decision Wade will be missing from the Victorian line-up when it takes on Western Australia in a Shield match that starts in Perth today.

 

KIWI FOR ONE-MATCH 

AUSSIE EXCHANGE

[PTG 1239-5984]

 

New Zealand umpire Wayne Knights is to stand in the Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and Victoria which starts in Perth today as part of the on-going exchange agreement between his board and Cricket Australia (CA).  Knights, 43, who debuted at first class level five years ago this month, will be standing inn his twenty-fifth game at that level during what appears to be a single-match visit to Australia, a so far unnamed CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) going in the opposite direction later this austral summer.

 

Included in Knights' first class record are previous exchange visits to South Africa and Sri Lanka in February last year and March this year respectivelY.  He has also stood in twenty-four List A fixtures, all except three, which involved touring international 'A' sides, being in New Zealand Cricket's domestic one-day series, and twenty-one Twenty20 matches, plus womens' and Under-19 One Day Internationals and womens' T20 Internationals,

 

Knights is to stand with NUP member Simon Fry in today's Perth game, however, it appears he will not be staying to fill the spot CA had reserved for an 'international exchange umpire' in the Shield game between Tasmania and New South Wales which begins a week from today in Hobart.  NUP member Paul Wilson's on-field appointment to that match has been confirmed but his colleague on the ground will now be his countryman Ian Lock instead of the exchangee.  Just why that adjustment was necessary is not known at this time.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,240
Saturday, 23 November 2013


NO WARNING GIVEN RE 'PITCH-TAMPERING', 

CLAIM VICTORIANS

[PTG 1240-5985]

 

Victoria is said to be "seething" captain Matthew Wade must serve a one-match ban for pitch-tampering, arguing the allegations were "barely raised until after the match", says an article in the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' yesterday (PTG 1235-5960, 18 November 2013).  That viewpoint was apparently expressed on Thursday after Wade lost his appeal against the fine and one match Sheffield Shield ban handed to him for inappropriately interfering with the pitch during his state's first class match against Tasmanian in Hobart (PTG 1239-5983, 22 November 2013). 

 

Journalist Jesse Hogan's article says that "Victoria's ire is partly based on its belief umpires Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski provided nothing more than a mild rebuke to Wade for his method of 'gardening' in between deliveries".  Umpires are required by the game's Laws to manage and protect the pitch, bowlers damaging it on their follow-through being the main cause of match officials issuing an initial formal warning, while when batsmen transgresses its normally because they intrude on to the pitch whilst running between wickets.  

 

Wade denied having created what the umpires described as ''a long valley'' within the protected area of the pitch.  Hogan's use of the word 'gardening' suggests the Victorian captain's interference with the pitch was systematic but subtle and was perhaps a harder issue than normal for the umpires to manage.  There were clearly concerned about the situation from the outset though, match referee Daryl Harper, a former international umpire, going out on the ground, it would appear at Lock and Nogajski's request, to inspect the way the pitch had been modified.  Given that just why no 'first and final' warning was given to Wade and his team mates remains of interest.

 

Despite the controversy it appears that the wider community of match officials around Australia and the world will not be able to learn much from the incident.  'PTG' requested Cricket Australia's (CA) views of Victorian claims that the matter was "barely raised until after the match".  The national body's Match Officials Manager Sea Easey responded quickly to the request for information but limited CA's reply to a standard: "The hearing/appeal process for this matter has concluded and CA will be making no further comment at this time".  

 

Hogan's source or sources, who would appear to be Victorian team members, made their comments despite Cricket Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide acknowledging, after the result of the appeal was announced on Thursday, the "thoroughness of the process" and accepting "that the matter is now concluded".   However, as one former first class umpire based in Melbourne told 'PTG' yesterday, the Victorian side are known for their particularly "hard nosed" approach to the game, their tendency to "push their advantage to the limit if they can get away with it", and their "sometimes unwillingness to concede an error".

 

Whatever the situation 'The Age' article concludes with: "Wade is now saddled with the slur of being the first player found guilty of pitch tampering in Australian domestic cricket".

 

HOME BOARD TESTS CLEAR HONG 

KONG BOWLER'S ACTION

[PTG 1240-5986]

 

Tests conducted by the Hong Kong Cricket Association have cleared spinner Moner Ahmed's bowling action and a report has been forwarded to the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Ahmed was one of three players reported for a suspected illegal bowling action last week whilst playing in the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013).

 

Ahmed was reported by umpires Chettihody Shamsuddin of India, Michael Gough of England and Ian Ramage of Scotland, plus match referee Dev Govindjee of South Afrtica, following his side’s match against Italy.  The spinner can continue bowling in international cricket but should he be reported again in the next two years he will be required to submit to an ICC Analysis.  Namibia’s Louis van der Westhuizen and the UAE’s Nasir Aziz were also reported for suspect actions on the first day of the WT20Q event eight days ago and reports on tests conducted on them are due today.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,241
Monday, 25 November 2013

WORK ON CHEAP, READILY AVAILABLE

'WEARABLES' TECHNOLOGY, REPORTED ON TRACK

[PTG 1241-5988]

 

Functioning, cheap and readily available 'wearable' technology that will enable the legitimacy of a bowler's action to be determined in near 'real-time', could be available "within two years", according to Griffith University's Marc Portus.  The work, which started five years ago, is being funded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009), was inspected by ICC cricket operations manager Geoff Allardice when he visited Brisbane prior to the opening Ashes Test last week (PTG 1238-5974, 21 November 2013), says a report in 'The Australian' newspaper this morning.

 

Journalist Andrew Faulkner says that transmitters "smaller than a matchbox" that can be attached to a bowler's arm have already been developed to measure degrees of elbow flex and send the data to computers in the stands.  Anyone with a questionable action, or perhaps, in time, all bowlers, could be fitted with sensors during matches instead of being cited by umpires and sent off for testing.

 

Lead researcher Portus told 'The Australian' that "We've made some nice progress [and] we're very happy [with where we are at]".  Portus and his team are close to finishing the second of three phases of the project, phase one developing a relatively rudimentary device, the second this year honing it to measure fast as well as slow bowlers, while the third next year will hopefully deliver the finished product.

 

"Phase three is getting it as small as it can be, getting it wireless and getting it real time", says Portus, who would like the finished product to "be disposable, lightweight and relatively cheap", for example being "available in your local sports store for $A19.95, if you like".  That way "if it's damaged on the field it can be quickly replaced".

 

Portus says "It would be fitted in the elbow or the sleeve or a couple of sweat bands -- we're not quite sure yet".  The current uncertainty of how the system will end up is said to be because of "the rapid pace of technological change".  "The kind of things we're working with are capacity issues, size issues, power issues, [and the fact] every [technology available] doubles in capacity" each year tends to add complications.

 

Allardice told 'The Australian' yesterday he was encouraged by what he saw and would report to the ICC board before the researchers submit an official update in the next month or so.  "The third phase would be about the practical application", Allardice said, for "it can't be an inconvenience, it needs to be comfortable, it needs to be robust so when he falls over it doesn't break".

 

News of the status of the work comes a week after five bowlers were reported for suspect actions in the space of two days (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), although two of the five have so far been cleared by preliminary testing carried out by their home boards (PTG 1241-5990 below).

 

BPL MATCH-FIXING TRIBUNAL 

FINALLY BEGINS IT WORK

[PTG 1241-5988]

 

A preliminary hearing into allegations of match fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) second season last January-February commenced in Dhaka yesterday, eight of the nine accused being represented by their lawyers.  All nine were involved with the Dhaka Gladiators franchise, seven being directly charged with fixing-related activities and the other two with failing to report corrupt approaches despite being obliged to do so (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

 

Of the nine, former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful has already pleaded guilty tomatch-fixing activities and Sri Lankan Kaushai Lokuarachchi to the 'failing to report' charge (PTG 1191-5742, 19 September 2013).  Englishman Darren Stevens, who has been charged with the same offence as Lokuarachchi has pleaded not guilty (PTG 1170-5655, 15 August 2013), while left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain and pace bowler Mahbubul Alam have done the same to the 'fixing' charge.  

 

The lawyers for Dhaka Gladiators owners Salim Chowdhury and Shihab Chowdhury and their Indian chief executive officer Gourav Rawat have vowed to defy the tribunal until their case with the Dhaka Judge’s court is resolved.  They say that the tribunal cannot conduct any hearing because the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) failed to establish the tribunal within the forty days required by BCB regulations (PTG 1194-5756, 25 September 2013).

 

The three-member tribunal is made up of retired Supreme Court judge Khademul Islam Chowdhury, senior lawyer Ajmalul Hossain and former player Shakil Kasem.  The ICC’s head of legal affairs Ian Higgins and officials Shelly Clarke and Jonathan Taylor were present in what was otherwise a closed-door trial. There is no indication at this time as to when that group expects to finalise its work.

 

GIVE UMPIRES SOLE CONTROL 

OF UDRS, SAYS JONES

[PTG 1241-5989]

 

Former Australian player Dean Jones believes that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) should only be be used at the discretion of the umpires, for he hates to see players challenge the umpire`s decision.  Jones also says he has "no problems" when a match has neutral umpires, however, he prefers to have the best match officials available for Test series such as the Ashes, even if the umpires come from England.  To support that view he cited the example of the English umpires on the 1989 Ashes tour, hailing them as "terrific", saying that "they gave seventeen leg-before wickets to [now] former Australian cricketer Terry Alderman".

 

HOME BOARD TESTS FIND NAMIBIAN'S 

FASTER DELIVERY 'ILLEGAL'

[PTG 1241-5990]

 

Namibian bowler Van der Westhuizen, who was reported for a suspect bowling action ten days ago on the opening day of the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will have to undergo remedial work on his faster delivery following tests carried out by his home board (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013).   A action of a second bowler reported that day, UAE off-spinner Nasir Aziz, has been cleared by similar testing, as was Hong Kong spinner Moner Ahmed's a few days earlier (PTG 1240-5986, 23 November 2013).

 

Tests carried out by Cricket Namibi a have identified a problem with van der Westhuizen’s faster delivery and he will now undergo work to rectify the problem.  While he can continue to bowl in internationals he will not permitted to continue to use his faster ball, while Aziz, who has taken six wickets in the last two matches WT20Q against Hong Kong and Canada, can continue to bowl in international cricket.  Should either be reported again in the next two years for their bowling actions, they will be required to submit to a full International Cricket Council analysis.

 

'ROLLING STONES', FOOTBALL TO 

IMPACT ON SHIELD FINAL DATES? 

[PTG 1240-5991]

 

A 'Rolling Stones' concert scheduled for the upgraded Adelaide Oval could see the date of Cricket Australia's (CA) 2014 Sheffield Shield final late next March changed to early April should the South Australia side top the home-and-away series table and thereby win the right to host that season-ending match.  The South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) is currently in negotiations with CA, its state government and Australian Rules Football (AFL) authorities, in case a change becomes necessary.

 

The South Austrailan Government, through whom taxpayers have contributed $A535m to redevelop Adelaide Oval, have signed a $A450,000 agreement for the ageing English rock group to perform at the Adelaide Oval on 22 March, the Shield final currently being scheduled for the five days from 21-25 March.  Under the deal SACA members signed up to several years ago as part of moves to obtain funding for the upgrade of their ground, the AFL controls its use from mid-March each year, which means SACA can never stage a Shield final without the AFL's permission.  The planned 'Stones' concert complicates matters further in 2014.

 

Keith Bradshaw, SACA's chief executive, says his organisation "has held positive discussions with [CA} and the [the state government] in the event that the [the South Australian side] finish first and host the [final]".  "Those discussions have centred around the possibility of moving to a later date which enables the drop-in pitches to be re-installed between AFL matches and allow the final to be played at Adelaide Oval".  AFL matches are scheduled there on 29 March and 5 April, and the six day slot in between is being suggested as the alternate period for the five-day Shield final.

 

ECB NON-BROADCAST REVENUE 

DOUBLES IN FIVE YEARS

[PTG 1240-5992]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) twenty-three sponsors has enabled the organisation's non-broadcast commercial revenue to grow by fifty percent over the past five years, according to 'Bloomberg News'.  England’s performances are said to have played a major part in attracting sponsors, the increase in commercial activity coinciding with an on-field turnaround that has seen the national side win four of the last five series against Australia after loosing the previous eight.

 

“We’re now reaping the benefits of the vision sixteen years ago when the ECB was formed", says David Collier it chief executive officer, for “all aspects of the game, from playground to the Test arena, come under one national governing body".  As a result "when a company comes to us, whether it’s a corporate social responsibility project or an image-related project, we can deliver all of that range".

 

Bloomberg says that the ECB’s sponsorship line-up is now so broad as to resemble that of a major soccer club.  “It used to be just a main sponsor and the clothing sponsor and a couple of others", says Nigel Currie of the sports and entertainment marketing agency brand 'Rapport', but now “there’s a whole range of sponsors and brands associated with the England team and the whole ECB setup; items from bottled water to cars to formal clothing to shirts and all sorts of things".

 

Tim Crow, the marketing manager of the ECB's predecessor the Test and County Cricket Board in the late 1980s, told Bloomberg he’s impressed by the ECB’s recent commercial achievements, especially its ability to win the ten-year commitment from its major sponsor a financial products company, calling it a "very good deal".  The company sponsors the Test format, a state-owned bank the one-day side and another bank the national Twenty20 side.

 

T20I SLOW OVER RATE 

FINE FOR SRI LANKA

[PTG 1240-5993]

 

Sri Lanka has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its Twenty20 International (T20I) against New Zealand in Pallekele on Thursday.  The team was found, after time allowances were taken into consideration, to be one over short of its target and in accordance with the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, captain Dinesh Chandimal was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while his team-mates ten per cent.  The penalty was accepted by Sri Lanka without contest so there was no need for a hearing.

 

ZIMBABWE SEAON TO PROCEED 

BUT WITHOUT SPONSORS

[PTG 1240-5994]

 

Zimbabwe's 2013-14 domestic season will get underway in two weeks' time despite no sponsorship being found for its first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions, says Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).  Originally scheduled to start a month ago, the three competitions were delayed while ZC tried to secure funding, something they have still been unable to do, and the season will now proceed without funding (PTG 1232-5938, 14 November 2013).

 

Lovemore Banda, ZC's media and communications manager, told the 'Herald' newspaper that "the companies that we usually partner with have also been struggling to make ends meet".  Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Pakistan A all visited Zimbabwe between April and September this year, but a planned visit by Sri Lanka last month was postponed at ZC's request because of a lack of funds.  When the latter series was put on the backburner there were concerns Zimbabwe's domestic season would not take place at all, putting their status as Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at risk.

 

Reports say that the ICC sent a delegation to Zimbabwe to assess the state of the game there, however, no details of it or any outcomes that resulted have been made public.  Many Zimbabwean players, including the captain Brendan Taylor, opening batsmen Hamilton Masakadza and all-rounder Sean Williams, have spent time recently playing in Bangladesh.

 

STYNE FINED FOR USE OF 

OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE

[PTG 1239-5995]

 

South African bowler Dale Steyn has been fined ten per cent of his match fee for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match".  Steyn was censured under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct following the second Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Cape Town on Friday.

 

The two T20Is saw South African umpires Johann Cloete and Shaun George on the field in both games, their countrymen Karl Hurter and Murray Brown the third and fourth umpires respectively and Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft the match referee.  That arrangement is different to that shown on the ICC's web site last week which showed, and is still showing this morning, Hurter working on-field and Brown as the third umpire (PTG 1238-5963, 19 November 2013).


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,242
Tuesday, 26 November 2013


AUSSIE CAPTAIN FINED FOR 

OBSCENE ON-FIELD RANT

[PTG 1242-5996]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee for an expletive-laced warning to England's James Anderson to expect a broken arm whilst he was batting in the closing hour  of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on Sunday.  Anderson was preparing to face fast bowler Mitchell Johnson with England needing over 300 runs to win with one wicket in hand when Clarke's comments were picked up by a stump microphone, his words and accompanying combative demeanour as he spoke to the Englishman clearly being evident in the live television broadcast of the game.

 

Clarke, who is reported to be paid in the order of $A2m a year by Cricket Australia (CA0 and earn up to $A6m overall when his match fees and endorsements are added, defended his sledging after the game, dismissing it simply as "banter".  He said: "Through my career, there has always been banter on the cricket field and I cop as much as I give, that's for sure".  "All the England players know we certainly respect them. I've heard a lot worse said on a cricket field than what the Australia players or the England players said throughout this Test match".

 

Despite Clarke's attempt to play down the matter, the International Cricket Council (ICC) took a dim view of his comments, which were formally reported by on-field umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and third umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa.  The ICC said in a statement yesterday that Clarke had been found guilty of having breached a part of its Code of Conduct which relates to "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match", and that as a result he would be fined; however, the estimated $A3,000 involved is unlikely to have an impact on his financies. 

 

Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine last night apologised to Clarke, its head of sport, Steve Crawley saying the fact that viewers heard his comments was "obviously a very rare and isolated error on our part, and we'll do our best to ensure it never happens again".  Nine apologised after Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh sought an explanation as Clarke "would almost certainly never been sanctioned" had his comment to Anderson not been broadcast around the world.  

 

Anderson's remarks in the verbal confrontation were not heard by viewers but former Australian player Shane Warne is claiming the Englishman had threatened to punch close-in fielder George Bailey.  Clarke was standing almost directly over the stumps when he made his views known to Anderson.   Marsh said that "we're really disappointed on this occasion that what should have happened on the field was broadcast to millions of living rooms and one of our key players and captain ends up getting sanctioned and in some respects attention that I don't think was warranted".

 

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that after such "an outstanding performance as captain and a player, we agree that the incident is regrettable".  ''While on-field banter and defence of a teammate is as old as the game itself, there can be a fine line between gamesmanship and a Code of Conduct breach".  Australian coach Darren Lehmann says his side will stay aggressive as he likes them to be so "as long as they don't cross the line".  "It's always going to be hard-fought between Australia and England, it certainly was in England; that's not changing here".

 

The Laws of the game state clearly in a number of places that the responsibility for a team's conduct during a match rests "firmly on the captain" (PTG 1242-5997 below), while the 'Spirit of Cricket' Preamble talks of having respect for: "Your opponents; Your own captain and team; The role of the umpires; and The game and its traditional values".  It goes on to say in part that it is against the Spirit of the Game "To direct abusive language towards an opponent or an umpire".

 

ONUS ON CAPTAINS, PLAYERS TO 

BEHAVE, SAYS ECB UMPIRE MANAGER 

[PTG 1242-5997]

 

Chris Kelly, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) umpires manager, says the onus is on both the Australian and England players to ensure they don't overstep the mark when sledging their opponents.  Kelly was speaking on 'Sky Sports' yesterday after the on-field fracas that erupted in the final moments of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane that saw Australian captain Michael Clarke fined one-fifth of his match fee (PTG 1242-5996 above).

 

Former players such as England's Geoffrey Boycott have called for umpires to do more to prevent sledging, however, Kelly believes the spotlight should be on the players.  He doesn't "think the umpires did anything wrong in the first Test [for] basically, they reacted to the context of something that happened".

 

The ECB's umpires manager told 'Sky' that it is important for umpires to communicate with the team captain when they feel his players are overstepping the mark.  "You have to draw the distinction between banter and what you deem to be unfair", he said. "If umpires hear something they feel is obscene or it is insensitive comments they can take action straight away".  

 

"What we look for in our ECB umpires is consistency of approach and that they make sure they have an open dialogue with the captain", for the skipper "must be continually reminded where the line is and that it must not be crossed by him or any of his team".  "As soon as they do step across that line and the umpire hears something that fits into what they regard as unacceptable language or an offensive comment, then they will take action as per the [ECB's] Code of Conduct".

 

The responsibility of captains is set down in the Laws of the game, section 1.4 saying their task is to ensure "at all times play is conducted within the spirit and traditions of the game as well as within the Laws", that outlook being repeated in section 42.1 which deals with 'fair and unfair play'.  The 'Spirit of Cricket' preamble to the Laws point to 1.4 and 42.1 saying that they "place the responsibility for the team's conduct firmly on the captain".  

 

WA SPINNER FINED FOR DISSENT

[PTG 1242-5998]

 

Cricket Australia yesterday fined spinner Ashton Agar twenty-five per cent of his match fee for "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision" while bowling during his Western Australian side's Sheffield Shield match against Victoria in Perth.  Agar was reported by umpires Simon Fry and Wayne Knights after an incident that occurred during Victoria's second innings.  After the match he accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Bob Stratford and as such a Code of Behaviour hearing was not required. 

 

CANADIAN, ITALIAN REPRIMANDED 

FOR ON-FIELD SPAT 

[PTG 1242-5999]

 

Ashish Bagai of Canada and Carl Sandri of Italy have been reprimanded for “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” and “bringing the game into disrepute” during their sides’ match on day ten of the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.  The charge relates to an incident in Italy's innings when after Sandri was given out he "aggressively approached the bowler", following which Bagai "approached and exchanged words with Sandri".

 

After play both players admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Devdas Govindjee of South Africa and as a result there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was brought by on-field umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Chettihody Shamsuddin of India plus reserve umpire Derek Walker of New Zealand.  All Level 1 breaches in internationals carry a penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to half of the applicable match fee.

 

'SOME UMPIRES', ICC 'TARGETING' SAMUELS, 

SHILLINGFORD, CLAIMS ROBERTS 

[PTG 1242-6000]

 

Former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts has accused "some umpires" and the International Cricket Council of targeting Jamaica's Marlon Samuels and Dominica's Shane Shillingford of Dominica.  Both players were reported for suspected bowling actions by English umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong during the second Test between West Indies and India Mumbai earlier this month (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), and soon after Shillingford's coach described the move "uncalled for" (PTG 1238-5978, 21 November 2013). 

 

Roberts says there are many other bowlers who should be called for suspected action but claimed that those in authority "lack the conviction to point them out".  He believes umpires "are picking on Shillingford and Samuels" to some extent and that the ICC should consider placing a ban on the 'doosra delivery' if they are not going to penalise offenders across the board. 

 

CA-ABC FINALISE NEW 

FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT 

[PTG 1242-6001]

 

Australia's ABC Radio has signed a new five year broadcast agreement with Cricket Australia (CA) which will see the network broadcast all Test matches, One Day Internationals, Twenty20 Internationals and "women's cricket" across its analogue and digital radio network that reaches all parts of Australia, say media reports yesterday.  The deal excludes online streaming rights which have been retained by CA, however, the reports do not indicate commentary of its domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield will be broadcast.

 

Kate Dundas, the ABC's Director of Radio is quoted as saying:  “ABC Grandstand’s cricket commentary is the sound of summer. No other broadcaster can boast the history, tradition or the close ties to Australian cricket developed over 83 years. Switching on ABC Radio during summer is intrinsically linked to the psyche of cricket lovers in Australia" 

 

Ben Amarfio, CA's media spokesman, said: “We appreciate that there’s been a lot of public interest throughout the negotiation process, which goes to show just how passionate Australians are about cricket and the overall coverage of the game. We are very pleased to be extending Australian cricket’s long association with ABC Radio which for so many people across the country is the ultimate sound of summer".  “ABC Radio’s high-quality ball-by-ball coverage will continue taking the game to millions, playing an important role in our ongoing efforts to make cricket Australia’s favourite team sport".

 

No details have been released about just what access to cricket will cost the national broadcaster between now and early 2018.

 

QUEENS' FENCE RAISED TO MINIMISE 

LOCAL RESIDENT'S 'HEALTH HAZARD'

[PTG 1242-6002]

 

Complaints from residents living near a cricket ground in the borough of Queens in New York that hard-hit balls had become a "health hazard" has seen an extra three metres added to the already five metre high wire mesh fence around the ground.  The problems began late last year after the city's parks department completed the renovation of the multiple use recreation fields in the area to improve drainage, and as part of the reconstruction the cricket pitch was shifted slightly to eliminate an overlap with a softball field.

 

That work, in the words of the local newspaper, was "to give the area's increasing number of mostly South Asian and West Indian cricketers a bit more elbow room", but the change led to a "veritable stream of hard, leather-covered cricket balls" to sail over the park's original five metre fence, and "within days", complaints began landing on desks of the local community council.  Last week the extra three metres of netting were added to the fence, and area residents are said to be "heaving a sigh of relief". "This shouldn't be a problem anymore", says Frank Dardani, the chairman of the local council's park committee.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,243
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

ASHES UMPIRES NEED TO 'TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY' 

IN ON-FIELD SPATS, CLAIMS HEALY 

[PTG 1243-6003]

 

Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy has called on umpires to "take more responsibility" and "stiffen their act" in the Ashes series when tensions escalate on the field.  Healy, now a television commentator who centred his remarks on the confrontation between Australian captain Michael Clarke and England's James Anderson in the first Test in Brisbane on Sunday, claims the umpires have become too hesitant to step in and nip potentially ugly incidents in the bud. 

 

While there are allegations Anderson instigated the incident by threatening to punch Australian short-leg fielder George Bailey, Clarke was the only player fined after his expletive-laced reply was inadvertently broadcast via a stump microphone which is normally turned off between deliveries (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2013).  Umpires did step in during Anderson and Clarke's ugly spat, however, indications are that both sides engaged in 'sledging' throughout the match, some of it reportedly being "over the top".

 

Healy believes umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka "could have done more" in Brisbane to "set some verbal boundaries and ensure the sledging didn't get out of hand".  "I like an aggressive spirit but if it gets too personal and too violent in its intentions it needs to be looked at", continued Healey.  Former England player, coach, umpire and now television commentator David Lloyd, said on Monday some of the sledging in the first Test that he heard over a stump microphone feed which didn't go to air, "went too far", however, he did not provide any details.

 

The former Australian wicketkeeper expressed that view that "umpires are fairly insipid and don't take on their responsibilities anywhere near enough these days", and "maybe it's time they stiffen up their act".  "Hopefully the umpire's report [in the Clarke case] was accurate and consistent with everything else that went on in the game". he said.  "The umpires heard it all, if it was happening both ways from both sides then I hope that [the incident Clarke was fined for] was over the top compared to everything else that happened in the game".

 

England coach Andy Flower indicated to journalists yesterday that he would consider meeting with his Australian counterpart Darren Lehmann in a bid to "set some sledging ground rules" ahead of the second Test in Adelaide, however, Lehmann has rejected the idea.  Flower said the "right balance" needs to be found with on-field banter that "does not overstep the line".  

 

Australia Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh says trying to curb players' aggression is the wrong strategy.  "That's how [Australia] plays our best cricket and I thought [the approach in Brisbane] was terrific".  He believes "the majority of the Australian public were very buoyed by the way they played, the aggression they showed on the field, so I hope there's no attempt to rein them in".  "We all know there is a line, and not for one minute am I saying the players should cross that line", he continued, but "I think there's nothing wrong with aggressive cricket, not just what you say but how you go about it".

 

While there have been a multitude of references to "the line" by various commentators and former players over the last few days, Healy is to only one who has defined what "the line" is according to the tenants of the game.  "The line in the sand [is set out] in the Preamble for the Laws", for it defines "how you play cricket", he says  "It's all written and it's all there and if umpires are of the opinion that it's not really being adhered to then they've got to step in".  Chris Kelly, the England and Wales Cricket Board's umpires manager, expressed the view earlier this week that the onus is on both the Australian and England players to ensure they don't overstep the mark when sledging their opponents (PTG 1242-5997, 26 November 2013).

 

BATSMAN 'CAUGHT' OFF THE UMPIRE

[PTG 1243-6004]

 

Altona batsman Aaron Maynard was dismissed in an uncommon way on the second day of his side's match against Croydon in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket competition last Saturday.  Maynard had reached 29 when he pulled the ball hard to square leg where fielder Nick Lowe deflected it onto the umpire there, only for it to rebound back to him so that he could complete the catch.

 

Umpires Leigh Francis and Don Nichols convened and ruled Maynard out but Altona's coach Mike Davenport called it "a controversial decision", says a story in his local newspaper yesterday.  “Probably in the 'Spirit of Cricket' their captain could’ve called him back" continued the coach incorrectly, for Law 32.3 (e) states: “A catch shall be considered to have been fairly made if a fielder catches the ball after it has touched an umpire, another fielder or the other batsman".

 

SIDE'S NON-PLAYING 'OWNER' FINED 

FOR SHOWING 'DISSENT' TO UMPIRE

[PTG 1243-6005]

 

Lutfur Rahman Badal, the non-playing owner of the Gazi Tank Cricketers’ club in Bangladesh, was fined 5,000 Taka ($A70) by match referee Akhtar Ahmad for "showing dissent" against an on-field umpire during Monday's’s Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match against Mohammedan Sporting Club.  Badal, whose side lost the 50-over match by 54 runs, is said to have been "irked" after two of his side’s foreign players, former England batsman Eoin Morgan and Dutchman Ryan Ten Doeschate, were both given run-out at different points of the game.  

 

Badal told the 'Daily Star' after the game that he "was frustrated that those decisions went against us", that he has "videos and photographs which show that those decisions were not right [and] it was not fair".  The umpires for the game were Anisur Rahman and Enamul Haque, both of whom played first class cricket, the latter in Tests, who have 34 and 48 first class games as umpires to their credit at this time.  They are also current members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Enamul Haque standing in a single Test in January last year (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012).

 

Last January Badal, who was then involved with another team, was suspended for one match by the match referee for his part in an incident involving two players in a DPL fixture.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,244
Friday, 29 November 2013

MY 'GARDENING' OF HOBART PITCH NO 

DIFFERENT THAN NORMAL, CLAIMS WADE

[PTG 1244-6006]

 

Victorian captain Matthew Wade, who was fined and suspended for pitch tampering while batting in a Sheffield Shield game in Hobart two weeks ago (PTG 1235-5960, 18 November 2013), again protested his innocence yesterday, saying he has conducted 'gardening' on the pitch in the same way in "every" one of the fifty Shield matches he had played up until that time.  Wade also said he was not formally warned about his actions during the game, a comment similar to that made by an unnamed Victorian last week (PTG 1240-5985, 23 November 2013).

 

Umpires Ian Lock and Sam Nogajski reported Wade for creating ''a long valley'' within the protected area of the pitch, a feature they concluded was created by "means other than natural wear and tear". That activity is believed to have occurred when Wade was batting on days one and two of the game, but according to a number of media reports yesterday, Wade said he only "found out" about the umpire's concerns prior to "the fourth day", and that there was "no real word [from them] during the game".

 

Wade described the pitch as probably "a little bit more underdone [than] I'm used to playing on", other reports suggesting it was "soft early on".   While he is said to have been unwilling to describe the actions that got him in trouble, he apparently believes he did "nothing wrong and nothing different to usual".  "The people who need to hear what has happened have heard what my side of the story is", he continued, and "what I said in the appeal is the truth and exactly as I saw it".  

 

Exactly what he did to the pitch, and why the umpires thought it inappropriate, has not been made public by Cricket Australia.  "It's alleged that I was tampering with the pitch, that's all I can say ... My initial reaction was it wasn't a big deal. To find out that I'd got suspended wasn't ideal and I was disappointed with everything that went on, and disappointed with myself for putting myself in that situation. But it is what it is, I've got to move on and own that now".

 

After missing his side's last game because of the suspension, Wade will resume playing for his state today in their Shield match against South Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).  He said the most difficult thing for him was to travel with the Victorian squad to Perth before his appeal, and then to have to watch them tumble to an innings defeat at the hands of Western Australia without being able to help them on field.

 

The match referee at the MCG today will be former international umpire Daryl Harper, the same official who handed Wade the suspension and fine in Hobart, the on-field umpires being Gerard Abood and Ash Barrow, and the scorers Jan Howard and Jim Hamilton.  Given Wade's claim that he was 'gardening' in his normal manner in Hobart, Abood and Barrow are likely to have been briefed about what the issues were there, and they will therefore probably take a particular interest in how the Victorian captain approaches that task this time around. 

 

FOURTH PAKISTANI IN ODI 'OBSTRUCTING 

THE FIELD' DISMISSAL

[PTG 1244-6007]

 

Pakistan's lower-order batsman Anwar Ali was given out ‘Obstructing the Field’ in the One Day International (ODI) his side played against South in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.  Ali becomes just the fifth player to be dismissed in that manner in an ODI, three of the four others also being Pakistanis, Mohammad Hafeez, Rameez Raja, and Inzamam-ul-Haq, with India's Mohinder Amarnath the fifth.

 

In the latest such dismissal Ali, who was running on a bye, at first headed up the pitch along the edge of the protected area then moved into the centre in the way of a throw from South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock which hit him on the shoulder.  South African bowler Dale Steyn was heard on the stump microphone complaining about the batsman running "straight down the pitch", but he was given out because umpires Bruce Oxenford of Australia and Shaun George of South Africa, supported by third umpire Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, deemed he had changed his direction while running.

 

In June 2011 the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a directive that said a batsman can be given 'out' obstructing the field by umpires in its games "if they change their direction when running in order to block a 'run-out' chance" (PTG 784-3836, 29 June 2011).  The Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardians of the Laws of Cricket, later pointed out that the issues covered by the ICC's directive have long been a part of the tenants under which the game is played.  It said in a statement issued two years ago that a batsman "does not have a duty to avoid a throw" at a wicket in a run out attempt but he must not wilfully obstruct a ball and if he does he will be liable to be given out" obstructing the field (PTG 843-4120, 8 October 2011).  

 

Of the previous four batsmen to be dismissed under that Law in an ODI, Raja was given out for hitting the ball away with his bat to avoid being run out as he was going for his century off the last ball of his side's innings in a match against England in 1987, Amarnath for kicking the ball away to avoid being run out in a fixture against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad in 1989, Inzamam in Peshawar in 2006 when he stopped the return throw from a fielder with his bat after he had first driven the ball to mid off, and Hafeez eight months ago in a similar way to Ali as he got in the way of a throw by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers as he ran to make his ground at the non-striker's end (PTG 1070-5245, 22 March 2013). 

 

Records available indicate that England batsman Len Hutton is the only person to have been dismissed 'Obstructing the Field' in a Test Match, that game being against South Africa at The Oval in 1951.  In that case the ball is said to have hit his bat handle and popped up and as the ball came down toward his stumps he instincivley hit it away, but in doing so he obstructed wicketkeeper Russell Endean from taking the catch, and after conferring umpires Frank Chester and Dai Davies gave him out.

 

TASMANIAN SCORER PREPARES 

FOR FIRST DEBUT

[PTG 1244-6008]

 

Fifteen years after he started his scoring career, Tasmanian Nathan Bester will make his first class debut in Hobart later today when his state takes on New South Wales at Bellerive Oval.  Bester, 28, who lives in Launceston in the north of the state, has for the last three seasons scored for the South Hobart Sandy Bay (SHSB) on Saturdays and Sundays in Cricket Tasmania's Premier League (CTPL) competition in Hobart, his dedication to that task being illustrated by the fact that he makes the 360 km round-trip by bus from his home each week to record the details of his club's first and lower grade matches.

 

Former Test scorer, the late hazel Bradshaw, was his scoring mentor when he started as a thirteen-year-old in 1998, a time when all scoring was done using only pens and paper, however, in more recent years he has become a keen devotee of computer scoring programs.  He says he "learnt quite a few things from Hazel", sometimes as a teenager being in the first class scorer's box with her and her colleague watching and absorbing the work and techniques involved.

 

After an initial two seasons in the CTPL around Hobart, Bester's family move to Westbury in the north of the state and he scored there for eleven summers in the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association competition before joining SHSB.  In that time he scored a match at Wynyard when the whole game was played in sea fog which made player identification "nearly impossible", and in other matches when sleet and snow were involved.  As such his "weekly travels south aren't really a challenge if you manage yourself properly", he says.  

 

In his career to date Bester, who is known as 'Ducky' for his intricate knowledge of the Duckworth-Lewis system, has recorded the details of five Cricket Australia (CA) men's national Under-17 championship series, an Institute Challenge carnival in Launceston for South Australia, an Imparja Cup series in Alice Springs, a CA Futures League state second XI match, two CA one-day domestic fixtures, one CA interstate Twenty20 fixture, and close to thirty Tasmanian intrastate representative games.  His colleague in the scorer's room at Bellerive for today's game he will be first class scorer David Gainsford.

 

INDIAN, ENGLISHMAN TO STAND 

IN MAIN WT20Q FINAL

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India's Ravi Sundarum and England's Michael Gough were yesterday named as the on-field umpires for tomorrow's main final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) series in Abu Dhabi, Steve Davis of Australia being the third umpire, Ian Ramage of Scotland the reserve and Dev Govindjee of South Africa the match referee.  The game to decide the third and fourth rankings will be looked after on-field by Ranmore Martinesz of Sri Lanka and Joel Wilson of the West Indies, Adrian Holdstock of South Africa being the third umpire, Gregory Brathwaite of the West Indies the reserve and Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka the match referee.

 

Over the last week the game to decide fifth place for the series was umpired by Holdstock and Ramage, seventh spot Brathwaite and John Ward of Australia, ninth Brathwaite and Chettithody Shamsuddin of India, eleventh Sarika Prasad of Singapore and Derek Walker of New Zealand, thirteenth Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat of Bangladesh and Shozab Raza from Pakistan, and fifteenth Walker and Mark Hawthorne of Ireland.  Hawthorne, Prasad and Ramage are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel, and the rest except Davis who is from the world's top panel and was working as a mentor during the 72-match tournament, are from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.

 

Gough's selection for the final is particularly interesting for he was selected ahead of Martinecz, who made his Test debut this year while Sundarum, his colleague in tomorrow's final standing in a Test for the first time last month (PTG 1226-5911, 7 November 2013). 

 

CRICKET NEEDS TO TIGHTEN 'CONCUSSION' 

PROTOCOLS, SAYS NSW TEAM DOCTOR

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The headaches, blurred vision and unsteadiness suffered by South African captain Graeme Smith after he was hit in the head by a vicious bouncer delivered by Pakistan opening bowler Mohammad Irfan in a Test in Dubai late last month shows that cricket must adopt tighter rules regarding concussion, says Australian sports doctor John Orchard.  Despite the head strike, Smith compiled a Test double century in a ten-hour innings then played two One Day Internationals, before being ruled out of the last three games of that tour with post-concussion syndrome.

 

Orchard, the New South Wales team doctor, says Smith's situation shows that cricket should tightened its rules to prevent batsmen playing on after being concussed.  The way the South African skipper "pushed through with a concussion" is "something you don't like to see", he says, for research has shown that head strikes have "got potential long-term implications when the footballers do it".  "But in cricket if you feel like you can play, a batsman is going to keep batting because he feels like he's going to let his team down if they're playing one short".

 

Australia's major football codes, as well as America's National Football League, have introduced strict guidelines relating to concussed players and when they are able to resume playing, but by contrast, cricket adheres to the 'Zurich Consensus', says Orchard.  The latter policy was drawn up at the Fourth 'International Conference on Concussion in Sport' which was held in Zurich in November last year, it stating that "a player with diagnosed concussion should not be allowed to [return to play] on the day of injury", however, Orchard points out that unlike the football codes cricket does not have its own specific post match-day concussion protocols.  Smith's case is a "technical breach of [the Zurich Consensus] however it's not a breach of the rules of cricket, [but] if all sports are having to tighten up how they manage concussion, cricket should be the same", he says.

 

The concussion issue is also being used by Orchard to try and revive a debate over allowing substitute players to replace injured players during Sheffield Shield matches.  He has previously campaigned for cricket to relax its substitution laws, arguing that teams should be permitted to have one replacement, who can bat and bowl, to be used in the event a player is injured during a game.  Twelve months ago this week Cricket Australia was reported to have "aborted a move" to trial a formal substitutes system in its Shield competition in 2012-13 after being told the competition would lose its first-class status if such a rule was introduced (PTG 1022-4963, 27 November 2012).  

 

Orchard talked last year of a "twelfth men" being able to "substitute for any player, injured or not, at the halfway point of a game for the rest of the match". He said than that ''Cricket has got to debate that question because it used to be a low-injury sport where the schedule was a lot more benign".  ''But now that they're playing a lot more cricket, and with Twenty20 and Test cricket close in the schedule, [the game has] got to go through the same debate that every other sport went through".  He also asked at the time: "Are we doing the right thing by telling players to either play through an injury and worsen it, or leave the team a player short?''

 

The NSW team doctor says he watched on last weekend as Queensland, for the fourth time this year, "struggled with a pace attack missing opening bowler Matthew Gale, who injured his knee six overs into the match", a situation that put "his side at a serious disadvantage".  The 2013 Boxing Day Test was marred by similar poor fortune, he adds, when Sri Lanka finished the match with just eight batsmen fit to take the crease and it went on to loose the game by an innings and 201 runs.

 

FIFTH DAY-NIGHT COUNTY SEASON 

OPENER FOR ABU DHABI

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The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plans to play its 'traditional' opener to the 2014 English county first class season against this year's champions Durham in Abu Dhabi for the fifth successive time next March.  The club says the game, which will be played in a day-night format using a pink ball, is part of its on-going goal of having a Test played in a similar manner.  

 

The MCC first trialled the first class day-night concept in 2010 following a recommendation by its World Cricket Committee (WCC), and first class and similar level matches have been played ain the Caribbean England, Pakistan and South Africa in the time since, and Australia has scheduled such games early next year (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013), while New Zealand Cricket has expressed its interest in a day-night Test (PTG 1183-5707, 2 September 2013).

 

The International Cricket Council paved the way for day-night Tests in 2012 when it amended its Playing Conditions to state that "if the competing countries in a bi-lateral series agree that they wish to trial day-night Test cricket then this request should be accommodated" (PTG 953-4629, 26 June 2012).

 

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has called the introduction of such Tests "inevitable", reports this year saying that his organisation was looking to play one in Adelaide in 2014-15 (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013), and another that they would occur "within three years" (PTG 1145-5545, 12 July 2013).  Such forecasts have been made from time-to-time over the last five years, however to date nothing has actually eventuated, the issue  of finding a suitable ball being a key factor. 

 

MADHYA PRADESH PLAYER IN 'SEXUAL 

HARASSMENT' COMPLAINT 

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A 19-year-old female player has alleged that she was sexually harassed by the joint secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) Alpesh Shah in September, says a story in yesterday's 'Hindustan Times'.  Following a formal complaint lodged lodged by her father the MPCA recently formed a four-member committee to investigate the matter, their report being due early next month.  

 

The 'Times' quotes a "senior" MPCA official as saying that there might be “some misunderstanding” between the complainant and Alpesh Shah, as he indicated that he had called the young women "to give her blessings”.  An MPCA source said that it was "a normal practice" that whenever their team performed well for members to "encourage players by patting them and bless them to do well in the future". “Shah did the same without any ill intention”, said the MPCA office-bearer, preferring anonymity.

 

“The matter was settled at that time after Shah tendered an unconditional apology to the player for his act", continued the official, "but recently she and her father sent a letter to the MPCA president and "asked for probe into the matter".  On being asked why it has taken so long to take action the MPCA official said that members appointed to the panel were "busy with BCCI assignments and were out of city". “Now they are back, the probe will begin", he said.

 

The matter comes amidst the nation-wide debate in India over a range of alleged, high-profile, sexual assault issues.  Last month in Pakistan cricket authorities banned five women players for six months after an investigation found that they had made what were called "false" claims of sexual harassment against a number of administrators from the central Multan region (PTG 1220-5869, 29 October 2013).

End of November 2013 News file