1,245 – 1 December [6013-6014]
• Four confirmed as 2013-14 Aussie IUP members (1245-6013).
• UAE bowler's action reported for second time (1245-6014).
1,246 - 3 December [6015-6018]
• Abuse, intimidation not 'sledging' but 'gang warfare', says 'Chapelli' (1246-6015).
• Six former first class players to manage NZ-Windies series (1246-6016).
• 'Suspect action' Windies bowlers undergo laboratory testing (1246-6017).
• Victorian reprimanded for 'audible obscenity' (1246-6018).
1,247 - 4 December [6019-6022]
• Twelve in running for 2013 world 'Umpire of the Year' (1247-6019).
• Jayawardena, Raza nominated for ICC 'Spirit of Cricket' award (1247-6020).
• CA reported pleased with Shield pitch standards (1247-6021).
• New Lankan TV deal includes provision of UDRS technology (1247-6022).
1,248 - 5 December [6023-6025]
• ICC investigating alleged NZ link to match fixing (1248-6023).
• Davis named for 50th Test. (1248-6024).
• Aussie players mulling pay cut to help CA address key issues (1248-6025).
1,249 - 6 December [6026-6031]
• Player acknowledges ICC NZ probe, others urged to identify themselves (1249-6026).
• Further Test appointments for Indian EUP candidate (1249-6027).
• 600th match for long-serving Tasmanian umpire (1249-6028).
• ICC chief reports 'positive' results from new ODI Playing Conditions (1249-6029).
• Two Australians on-field for South African Tests (1249-6030).
• CA names match officials for latest domestic women's fixtures (1249-6031).
1,250 - 7 December [6032-6036]
• Former England ODI players join ECB 'Full List' for 2014 (1250-6032).
• NSW scorer, umpire set for first class debuts (1250-6033).
• Match officials named for Intercontinental Cup final (1250-6034).
• Barrage of illegal deliveries results in computer 'crash' (1250-6035).
• Association plans social media 'crack down' (1250-6036).
• Cricket goes underground (1250-6037).
1,251 - 10 December [6038-6045]
• Ashes players continue to trash 'Spirit of Cricket' tenants (1251-6038).
• Players 'counselled' after escaping 'physical contact' charge (1251-6039).
• 'Real Time Snicko' added to NZ-Windies UDRS package (1251-6040).
• Former internationals query Ashes umpiring standards (1251-6041).
• 'Mankad' myths again lead to controversy (1251-6042).
• ICC yet to contact me re match-fixing probe, says Cairns (1251-6043).
• Kenyan altercation headed for court? (1251-6044).
• ICC seeks information on Bangladesh security situation (1251-6045).
1,252 - 11 December [6046-6048]
• Former England Test, ODI player eyes ECB Reserve List spot (1252-6046).
• Under-19 state coach, opposition player, reprimanded for behaviour (1252-6047).
• Shillingford, Samuels' bowling action reports due mid-Test (1252-6048).
1,253 - 14 December [6049-6052]
• Kettleborough named 2013 World 'Umpire of the Year' (1253-6049).
• 2013 ICC 'Spirit of Cricket' award to Jayawardena (1253-6050).
• Dissent results in fine for Victorian all-rounder (1253-6051).
• Bowden over miscounts even out (1253-6052).
1,254 - 16 December [6053-6054]
• Match stopped then continues after 'dangerous pitch' rolled (1254-6053).
• Third on-field umpire needed for today's speedier game, claims Jones (1254-6054).
1,255 - 17 December [6055-6062]
• Report suggests World Test Championship series in doubt (1255-6055).
• Shillingford's action, Samuels' quicker ball, again deemed 'illegal' (1255-6056).
• CA names match officials for opening domestic T20 series (1255-6057).
• Marketers, managers in T20 promotions tussle, claims report (1255-6058).
• Score books being scrutinised after match ends in tie (1255-6059).
• Match abandoned after 'locals' want their ground back (1255-6060).
• Reaction to spectator taunts results in report (1255-6061).
• 'School boy' dismissal for Test player (1255-6062).
1,256 - 19 December [6063-6065]
• Batsman 'Timed Out' after on-field dithering (1256-6063).
• Players handed one-match suspension for language exchange (1256-6064).
• Australian police in World Cup information sharing agreement (1256-6065).
1,257 - 20 December [6066-6069]
• Television advertisers to decide fate of World Test Championship? (1257-6066).
• Australian Ashes women aiming to follow men's aggressive style (1257-6067).
• CV manager suspended for season for 'bringing the game into disrepute' (1257-6068).
• Second uncommon dismissal in Sydney Shires' match (1257-6069).
1,258 - 21 December [6070-6074]
• Batsman dies after ball strikes him in the chest (1258-6070).
• CA disciplinary responsibilities handed to new integrity unit (1258-6071).
• Bowden to move to second on all-time ODI umpires list (1258-6072).
• Ban for spectator abuse being reassessed (1258-6073).
• Players take their covers off to raise funds (1258-6074).
1,259 - 24 December [6075-6081]
• 'Nothing edifying about young men swearing', says ECB chairman (1259-6075).
• Player's ban suspended after his union steps in (1259-6076).
• Opener looses half his match fee for on-field push (1259-6077).
• 'Headlock' alleged in post-match fracas (1259-6078).
• Perth players fined for T20 slow over-rate (1259-6079).
• ODI slow over-rate fine for Pakistan (1259-6080).
• Henry to bat number VIII at Lord's? (1259-6081).
1,260 - 27 December [6082-6084]
• World ODI record claimed for Sharjah-based scorer (1260-6082).
• Second trial reported for enhanced third umpire system (1260-6083).
• Presentation marks Davis' fiftieth Test (1260-6084).
1,261 - 30 December [6085-6088]
• CA chief continues to push day-night Tests, but ball compromise needed (1260-6085).
• Shastri to become first Indian to reach first class Century (1261-6086).
• Lee-Morgan MCG nets 'stunt' has 'damaged cricket', says Hadlee (1260-6087).
• Day's play involves bowler in half marathon (1260-6088).
FOUR CONFIRMED AS 2013-14
AUSSIE IUP MEMBERS
Reports indicate that Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that two members of its National Umpires Panel (NUP), Mick Martell and Paul Wilson, have been added as Australian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2013-14. That pair are believed to joined as third umpire members with former third umpire occupant John Ward moving into an on-field spot alongside Simon Fry, an overall arrangement for the year ahead that has been obvious over the last few months (PTG 1179-5690, 26 August 2013).
Melbourne-born Ward, 51, comes to the IUP on-field position after eight years on CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP), and ten years since he made his debut at first class level. In the time to date he has stood in 47 first class games, 41 of them in CA's Sheffield Shield competition and one of those the 2012-13 final, and others in the equivalent domestic series in New Zealand and South Africa during exchange visits. There have also been 49 List A games, three of them domestic finals, and 36 Twenty20s, two in the latter being in top-tier international games, and the last eight in the recent World Cup Qualifier series in the United Arab Emirates, his first ICC appointments (PTG 1244-6009, 29 November 2013).
Western Australian Martell, 47, made his first class debut in 2008 in his first year on the NUP, and comes to the IUP after five years on the national panel (PTG 306-1602, 5 September 2008), a time during which he has chalked up 33 first class games, including some in New Zealand and South Africa, 24 List A and 26 Twenty20 fixtures, the latter including the 2012-13 domestic final.
Wilson, 41, played 51 first class games for both South and Western Australia, one of them a Test for his country, in the period from 1995-2004. He came to umpiring as the third member of CA's Project Panel for fast tracking former first class players, the first and second being current ICC Elite Umpire Panel members Rod Tucker and Paul Reiffel, making his first class debut in November 2009 and joining the NUP twelve months later. After three years on the NUP his first class match tally stands at 20, List A 22 and Twenty20 matches 18.
Fry, 47, made his first class debut almost 14 years ago. Like Ward he has had eight seasons on the NUP to date, standing in 69 first class games, including the last four Australian domestic finals, as well as those in domestic first class competitions in India, New Zealand and South Africa, and for the first time last August an ICC appointment to a first class second-tier international (PTG 1159-5608, 1 August 2013). There have also been 64 List A games, seven of them One Day Internationals, and 30 Twenty20s, four of those being Twenty20 Internationals.
While those four are at the top of CA's NUP rankings, other reports over the last few days indicate that the fifth rankings spot is currently occupied by New South Wales umpire Gerard Abood, for he is to go on exchange to New Zealand later this month. Abood, 41, is to stand in the Plunket Shield first class game between Canterbury and Nothern Districts starting on Thursday week, his colleague being local Barry Frost; the Australian working in a spot that was originally allocated by New Zealand cricket to 'Billy' Bowden who has since been appointed to the Ashes series (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013).
Abood, is currently standing in his 25th first class match, his first being a tour game in November 2008 and all the others to date in CA's Sheffield Shield competition. There have also been 26 List A and 24 Twenty20 games at interstate level.
UAE BOWLER'S ACTION REPORTED
FOR SECOND TIME
United Arab Emirates' Nasir Aziz was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action for a second time in two weeks in the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Aziz, who was playing in a semi final of the tournament against Ireland, was cleared by tests carried out by his home board after the first report (PTG 1241-5990, 25 November 2013), but the second means he will now have to submit to an analysis conducted by International Cricket Council (ICC) personnel.
If the ICC assessment concludes Aziz employs an illegal bowling action he will immediately be suspended from bowling at international level for a year and undergo remedial work. Aziz was reported on Friday by on-field umpires Michael Gough and Ranmore Martinesz, third and fourth umpires Steve Davis and Derek Walker, and match referee David Jukes. Martinez was also involved in reporting him on the first occasion, the others being his on-field colleague Ian Ramage of Scotland, third umpire and Chettihody Shamsuddin, and match referee Dev Govindjee.
ABUSE, INTIMIDATION NOT 'SLEDGING',
BUT 'GANG WARFARE', SAYS 'CHAPELLI'
'Gamesmanship' and the "odd expletive in anger or frustration" have always been part of the game, says former Australian captain Ian Chappell, but in his view the "outbursts" that occurred during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane last week are a warning sign that on-field "verbal warfare is escalating". While he acknowledges player interactions on the field of play are not new, he says in a piece in the Sydney 'Daily Telegraph' late last week that "when they're premeditated and used by the fielding side as a 'strategy', then it isn't part of the game or tough", rather "it's akin to one-sided gang warfare".
The former national skipper says that comments that include the words 'broken arm' and 'pretty weak', as occurred during the Brisbane Test, are "extremely pointed, provocative and personal". In his view the more that's said on the field, the greater the likelihood of something personal being uttered, for "if something personal is blurted out at the wrong moment it could lead to a physical confrontation".
Chappell says that "some individuals use the team environment to camouflage snide comments out of the corner of the mouth or hidden by the back of a hand". But "there's nothing tough about that" in his view, rather "it's more a sign of weakness, like acting brave when roaming in a gang". "Shooting your mouth off should never be confused with playing tough cricket", says Chappell, who describes "the two toughest opposition fast bowlers" he played against, John Snow of England and Andy Roberts of the West Indies, as "never uttering a word to me on the field". "Nevertheless, I wasn't in any doubt they were highly skilful and hard-nosed competitors".
In addition to the need for "abusive or offensive comments" to receive appropriate censure from match officials, another area of concern for Chappell is what he calls the "constant inane chatter from the fielding side" which he describes as having "reached the level of Cicadas in summer". "As so often happens the administrators failed to recognise a potential problem and curtail the amount of chatter", he says, but "it's the players who then pay the price when an incident occurs". Chappell says that he's "staggered more batsmen don't stand up for their right to a bit of peace and quiet out in the middle". "I'd pull away from the crease and tell the fielding side: 'It's going to be a long day because I don't face up 'til you shut up' ".
Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar, who played 125 Tests, said on television there last week that "needless banter" on and off the field takes the focus away from the game and that officials should take stricter actions against those found guilty of verbal abuse. He said that recent incidents in the first Ashes Test do not reflect the true 'spirit' of the game, and that "only stricter rules can prevent players from intimidating each other verbally". "Fines and bans need to be enforced on players crossing the line on the field", he said, for he doesn't "buy the argument that verbal duels are a part of playing cricket".
Gavaskar, a former chairman of the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee, believes that authorities need to be tough on players to check the "needless banter". "The umpires and match referees need to be tough to control it, [but] once they are clear on what is right and wrong, things will fall into place", a comment similar to that made by former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy last week (PTG 1243-6003, 27 November 2013).
SIX FORMER FIRST CLASS PLAYERS
TO MANAGE NZ-WINDIES SERIES
Six former first class players, three of whom have represented their countries at Test level in the past, have been named as the neutral match officials for the three Tests and five One Day Internationals (ODI) that home side New Zealand are to play against the West Indies over the next five weeks. Englishmen Nigel Llong and Ian Gould, Australian Paul Reiffel and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka will look after the Tests, the first of which gets underway in Dunedin today, Gould staying on to work with Ranmore Martinesz of Sri Lanka and Chris Broad of England in the ODIs.
Llong, Gould and Reiffel will each have two Tests on-field and a third in the television suite, Mahanama being the match referee. Today's opening game in Dunedin will see a Llong-Reiffel combination on-field and Gould the third umpire, the second in Wellington Reiffel-Gould and Llong, and third in Hamilton Gould-Llong and Reiffel. Those matches will take Mahanama's Test referee tally to 48 games, Gould to 37 on-field and 12 television (37/12), Llong 22/26 and Reiffel 7/6. Speculation that South African umpire Johannes Cloete might make his Test debut in the series have proven to be wrong (PTG 1236-5962, 19 November 2013).
Martinesz and Gould will alternate between on-field and third umpire roles for the ODIs in Auckland, Napier, Queenstown, Nelson and Hamilton, with New Zealand members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, 'Billy' Bowden and Chris Gaffaney, plus possibly third umpire members Derek Walker and Gary Baxter, working in the second on-field positions. Walker is yet to serve as a third umpire in an international.
The series will take Broad's ODI match referee record to 241 matches, Gould to 88/24 and Martinesz, whose appointment further consolidates the possibility he could join the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel next year, to 21/18 (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013). Bowden, who currently sits in second place on the all-time ODI umpires list alongside now retired West Indian Steve Bucknor on 181 matches, will move into outright second place behind former South African umpire Rudi Koertzen's 209 if an expected he stands in the NZ-Windies series.
'SUSPECT ACTION' WINDIES BOWLERS
UNDERGO LABORATORY TESTING
West Indian off spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels, who were reported for suspect bowling actions in a Test played against India in Mumbai last month (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), had their actions scrutinised in a laboratory at the University of Western Australia in Perth late last week. Initial feedback from that investigation is said to be positive, however, a detailed report will not be available until mid-month, by which time the pair could have played two more Tests (PTG 1246-6016 above).
Under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations, which require those reported for bowling action issues to be tested within 21 days. both players can continue their international careers pending the report from Perth, however, West Indian coach Ottis Gibson told 'Cricinfo' yesterday that the situation has been "tough for them", and he is concerned about the impact the situation will have on their preparedness for the series in New Zealand. Both players 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.
But, "The initial feedback from the people doing the testing [in Perth] was positive", said Gibson, they have "adhered to everything they were asked to do [by the ICC], and "we hope [the result is] a positive one so the players can put the episode behind them and focus on their cricket". English umpire Nigel Llong, who was one of the officials who reported the pair in Mumbai two weeks ago, will be on-field today in Dunedin during the side's opening Test against New Zealand.
VICTORIAN REPRIMANDED FOR 'AUDIBLE OBSENITY'
Victorian bowler Clint McKay has been given an official reprimand by Cricket Australia (CA) for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during a match. McKay was reported by umpires Gerard Abood and Ash Barrow when he "let off an audible obscenity" whilst bowling on day two of the Sheffield Shield match against South Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday, and he accepted the reprimand proposed by match referee David Tallala and as such a formal hearing was not required.
McKay is the eleventh player to be either reprimanded or fined for breaching Cricket Australia's (CA) code of conduct so far this austral summer. Victorian captain Matthew Wade has been fined and suspended, New South Wales bowler Doug Bollinger suspended and Western Australian spinner Ashton Agar and Australian captain Michael Clarke fined, the latter by the International Cricket Council, while those who have received reprimands from CA are in addition to McKay are Clarke and David Dawson of NSW, South Australian trio Tom Cooper, Travis Head and Adam Zampa, and Tasmania's Ben Laughlin.
A CA spokesperson was quoted by Melbourne's 'Herald-Sun' newspaper late last week as saying: ''There has been no edict to umpires to take a harder line", rather "they are asked to call it as they see it". That is in contrast to a story in 'The Australian' six weeks ago that had a CA spokesman confirming a "crack down" that had "been communicated to all players via our state education[al] sessions conducted" prior to the current "season getting underway" (PTG 1218-5851, 23 October 2013). Just which of those versions is closest to the truth is not clear, although during the 2012-13 season as a whole there were twenty-four reports, just over half coming in CA's domestic Twenty20 series.
PLAYING THE GAME
TWELVE IN RUNNING FOR 2013
WORLD 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'
The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday nominated all twelve members of its current Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) as candidates for the 2013 world 'Umpire of the Year' award, the winner of which will be named during a television show on Saturday week (PTG 1211-5835, 15 October 2013). The award, which is now named for the late David Shepherd of England, is in its ten year, the first five having been won by now retired Australian Simon Taufel (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), the next three by Aleem Dar of Pakistan (E-News 831-4058, 13 September 2011), and last year Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012).
This year's award will again be decided on a combination of votes cast by the ten current Test captains and ICC match referees for games played in the period from 7 August 2012 to 25 August this year, plus umpires’ performance statistics gathered over that time. While it named all twelve EUP members yesterday, if the ICC follows its past practice it will announce, probably sometime early next week, a short-list of three or four EUP members for this year's award (PTG 977-4735, 14 August 2012).
In addition to past winners Dar and Dharmasena, the others nominated yesterday were: Australians Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, Englishmen Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong, South African Marais Erasmus, and Tony Hill of New Zealand. In overall terms, Dharmesena was either on the field and in the television suite for a combined total of 40 Tests, One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) during the award period, then comes Dar and Kettleborough with 32, Davis and Llong 31, Gould 30, Tucker 28, Erasmus 20, Reiffel 17, Hill 16, Oxenford 14 and Illingworth 12. Illingworth and Reiffel only joined the EUP five months ago (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).
Dar topped the Test on-field list with 10 plus another 2 in the third umpire role (10/2), then comes Hill 9/4, Dharmasena 9/2, Erasmus 7/3, Davis 6/2, Llong 6/1, Tucker 5/3, Oxenford 5/2, Gould 5/0, Kettleborough 4/1, Illingworth 4/0 and Reiffel 2/1. The ODI tallies were Llong 14/8, Gould 14/2, Kettleborough 13/5, Dharmasena 11/6, Davis 9/6, Reiffel 9/2, Tucker 7/5, Dar 6/4, Erasmus 4/4, Illingworth 3/0, Oxenford 2/3 and Hill 2/1; Dharmasena and Tucker standing in this year's Champions Trophy final. T20I statistics for the year involved were Dharmasena 8/4, Dar 8/2, one being the 2012 World Championship final, Tucker 6/2, Gould and Kettleborough both 5/4, Davis 5/3, Illingworth 5/0, Reiffel 2/1, Erasmus 2/0 and Oxenford and Llong both 1/1, while Hill did not stand in any internationals in that format.
While this year's award will be part of a television ceremony, the previous nine events have involved a gala ceremony in one of the world's cricketing nations sometime in the September-October period. Previous ceremonies have been held in London (2004 and 2011), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006), Johannesburg (2007 and 2009), Dubai (2008), Bengaluru (2010) and Colombo (2012), all occurring around the time of major ICC events. Just why the ICC has opted for a television-based event for the first time this year is not clear.
JAYAWARDENA, RAZA NOMINATED
FOR ICC 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' AWARD
This year's International Cricket Council (ICC) 'Spirit of Cricket' award will go to either Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardena or Bangladesh all-rounder Farhad Reza. Both were short-listed for a trophy that this year will again go to the individual whose “action, moment, gesture or decision on the field of play" in the international game in the period from 7 August 2012 to 25 August this year "best reflects the Spirit of Cricket”.
Jayawardena has been nominated for his actions in a Test match against New Zealand in Galle in November last year. He was on 91 and his team 7/229 when he gloved a delivery from off-spinner Jeetan Patel, was caught at the wicket by Kruger van Wyk and started 'walking' before the umpire raised his finger. The nomination to the ICC is said to have come from a member of the New Zealand squad who felt Jayawardena's action was deserving of recommendation for the award as it "happened at a very crucial stage of the match".
Farhad Reza's nomination came as a result of his actions in a World Twenty20 Championship games against Pakistan in September last year in Pallekele. In attempt to catch Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed he touched the boundary but before the on-field umpires could refer the catch to the third umpire, the Bangladeshi signalled a six, confirming that his foot had touched the boundary, something the ICC says "was done with minimum fuss".
The ICC award, which up until 2010 was team-based, was changed to an individual award in 2011, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni winning it then (PTG 831-4059, 11 September 2011), and in 2012 by New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori (PTG 991-4813, 16 September 2012). Prior to Dhoni's win, the New Zealand team won the 'Spirit' award in 2004, 2009 and again in 2010, England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and 2008.
CA REPORTED PLEASED WITH
SHIELD PITCH STANDARDS
Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's (CA) general manager of team performance, is reported to have congratulated state association curators on the quality of the pitches they have produced in response to CA's plea to create Test-standard pitches for domestic cricket in order to improve player standards, says a report in yesterday's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH). Reports in the last few months have suggested the curators were very unhappy over CA's "edict to deliver more batsman-friendly wickets" (PTG 1174-5674, 20 August 2013), one calling the national body's focus on the issue a "knee-jerk reaction" (PTG 1225-5900, 4 November 2013).
'SMH' sports writer Chris Barrett says that a "crunching of the numbers" from Sheffield Shield first clas games played so far this season reveals "something of a batting renaissance, with averages from top-six batsmen up from 28.42 in 2012-13 to 40.25 - a rise of 48.7 per cent". Other statistics Barrett presents show Shield matches are lasting longer and far more wickets are being taken by spin bowlers, facts that are also being welcomed at CA. An "alarming drop" in the number of centuries being scored at Test and first-class level by Australians is said to have been highlighted when Howard, coaches and former international batsmen held a national batting forum in Sydney in October.
Barrett quotes Howard as rejecting suggestion curators had been asked to produce ''roads'' in order to improve batting standards. ''We didn't ask for roads; what we asked for were Test quality pitches on which players can learn and practice the skills they need in international cricket - how to bat with patience, how to bowl in Test conditions and how to bowl and face spin", said Howard.
''So far we have seen some pleasing results including games that are lasting longer by going into the fourth day, which is a stark contrast to last season where the average game lasted three days". ''We're [also] seeing the quicks getting roughly the same number of overs, but spinners are now getting a far greater chance to take wickets, [while] at the same time, batsmen are getting better opportunities against pace and spin". Howard says "We think it's a better balance and helping prepare players for the rigours of the international game".
CA is reported to have looked at "extreme measures" during 2013 austral off-season discussions on how it should deal with what one report in October called the "treacherous" Sheffield Shield pitches provided during the early part of the 2012-13 Shield season. There was criticism of the pitches provided for the opening games of that summer, particularly those at Bellerive Oval in Hobart (PTG 1020-4957, 20 November 2013).
Measures considered but later rejected included forcing home teams whose pitch in a game was judged not to meet that CA's pitch standards to forfeit the toss in their next home fixture such that the visiting side would be allowed to go directly to choosing whether to bat or bowl. State associations, in particular Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland, were said to have been "placed on notice" of the need to roll out Test-standard pitches (PTG 1222-5885, 31 October 2013).
NEW LANKAN TV DEAL INCLUDES
PROVISION OF UDRS TECHNOLOGY
Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) latest television contract, which is effective until 2020, requires broadcaster Ten Sports to provide and fund the operation of Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology for all international matches played there. The island nation hosted the first ever UDRS trial in July 2008 (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008), but in the time since some of the series played there ihave not featured the system because of the costs involved.
While the new contract is a break through for SLC, its secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told reporters in Colombo on the weekend that Ten Sports will provide only "two basic" technologies, they being 'Hot Spot' thermal imaging and the 'Virtual Eye' ball-tracking system. He said that “The TV deal came into effect [last] April, although all formalities of the signing of the deal were only completed last week". Despite that UDRS technology was not provided for last month's three game One Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand "as it contained only a few matches", but "hereafter we are going to insist that the facility be provided for all inbound tours".
ICC INVESTIGATING ALLEGED
NZ LINK TO MATCH FIXING
Reports from New Zealand yesterday say that members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) have visited that country over the last four months to investigate allegations that "a small number of former New Zealand players" may have been involved in match fixing. Last March, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) dismissed suggestions in the UK newspaper the 'Sunday Times' that its players had agreed to meet with a bookmaker to fix matches.
The 'Times' released details of an investigation it had conducted into fixing and quoted an Indian bookmaker as saying he had turned down the chance to work with New Zealand players because it was not worthwhile as more lucrative match-fixing opportunities were on offer in the Indian Premier League. He allegedly named two New Zealand players he said were prepared to work with him but the newspaper did not publish details.
NZC chief executive David White said in a statement at the time that "We have complete confidence that the claims made are baseless and have no credibility", for "the sources are not credible and the accusations are unsubstantiated, making them irresponsible, damaging and untrue".
Yesterday the 'NZ Herald' quoted White as saying that NZC "is aware the ICC is investigating some former New Zealand cricketers [but] we are not in a position to comment further and all inquiries have to be directed to the ICC". "The integrity and reputation of the game is paramount and NZC have absolute confidence that our players share these ideals", he said. The ICC is refusing to comment on the situation.
Former NZ player Mark Richardson told a radio station there earlier this week he was not sure the ICC had anything solid. "[It could be] fishing in a way, because they don't have enough proof and are hoping people might come forward with information".
News of the ACSU investigation comes a week after the New Zealand government released a long-awaited report into corruption in New Zealand sport in which it asserted there was little for Kiwi sports fans to be concerned about. Sports Minister Murray McCully revealed few details of the nine-month investigation which was prompted by the scandal in Australia around doping and betting in sport (PTG 1056-5133, 11 February 2013), however, he promised his government would increase moves against corruption in sport and that a national match-fixing policy would be established next year.
DAVIS NAMED FOR 50TH TEST
Australian umpire Steve Davis will become the eleventh person to reach the 50 Test mark when he stands in the second match of the series between South Africa and India in Durban on Boxing Day. Since his debut at the game's highest level in Hobart in November 1997, Adelaide-based Davis has stood in Tests at grounds in all of the world's Test playing entities except Bangladesh, plus the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Davis started umpiring in Tests at a time when officials were able to stand in such matches involving their own national side, becoming the 85th Australian and 440th person overall to stand at Test level on debut. He was appointed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel in April 2008 (PTG 234-1296, 24 April 2008)
By the time he reaches his 50 Tests, he will have stood in 12 in England, two of those at Lord's, 11 in South Africa, 5 each in Australia, Sri Lanka and India, 4 in New Zealand, and 2 each in Pakistan, the West Indies, the UAE and Zimbabwe.
Along the way he suffered a knee injury mid-match in another Test in Hobart in November 2001 and had to be replaced after the second day by local umpire John Smeaton, but even more seriously he was one of the match officials involved in the terrorist attack in Lahore in March 2009 (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).
Just who Davis' on-field partner in the South Africa-India series will be is not known at this time as the ICC match officials appointments web site is once again incomplete and contains a number of other errors.
AUSSIE PLAYER'S MULLING PAY CUT
TO HELP CA ADDRESS KEY ISSUES
Concern amongst professional players in Australia about the state of the game there is such that they are considering offering up a portion of the money allocated to them by Cricket Australia (CA) to help tackle the issues involved, says a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) on Tuesday. Members of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or player's union, plan to submit a report to CA by the end of this month that details the problems they see and ways they believe they can be addressed.
The 'SMH' story says that players are questioning the effectiveness of the implementation of CA's 'Argus' review, the results of which were announced two years ago (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013). They are understood to be concerned about "a raft of issues" that range from "the [playing] schedule to coaching [and on] to the strength of pathway competitions". In October, ACA chief executive Paul Marsh talked about an overemphasis on Twenty20 cricket, injury management, player development, leadership and governance as issues.
CA pointed out that it has doubled its spending on the national team in the past six years, although its chairman Wally Edwards acknowledged at its 2012-13 Annual General Meeting that "we're also aware that just throwing money at the issue doesn't solve all the problems". "You might say we're at half-time [in implementing the Argus reforms] and we're looking forward to [working further on the issues involved] in the coming year".
PLAYER ACKNOWLEDGES ICC NZ PROBE,
OTHERS URGED TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES
Former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent has told journalists he is one of three former New Zealand players being investigated by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit for possible involvement in match or spot fixing. Vincent said in a statement issued yesterday that he is "co-operating with an ongoing ICC anti-corruption investigation" that was made public on Wednesday (PTG 1248-6023, 5 December 2013).
The head of the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, Heath Mills, yesterday called on the players involved to identify themselves to prevent suspicion falling on all former players. "We're not happy that other past players are coming under suspicion", he said, and "we are working with New Zealand Cricket to see what we can do about that".
A report in the 'New Zealand Herald' said the ICC investigation was focused on "historic matches involving international stars" and that none of the New Zealand players involved was still playing professionally. It said the probe "has concentrated on cricket at a domestic or franchise level".
New Zealand Cricket's chief executive David White told reporters the fixing allegations did not concern matches involving the New Zealand team or games played in New Zealand. Other media reports hinted that the Herald's reference to cricket 'at a domestic or franchise level' refers to the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL), the 'unofficial' predecessor to the Indian Premier League, which operated in 2007 and 2008.
Vincent played a total of 19 ICL games in March-April and October-November 2008. Chris Cairns, another former player whose name has been linked to the ICC probe, played 20 ICL matches in November-December 2007 and March-April and October 2008, while a third, Daryl Tuffey, played 24 games across a similar spread of time.
Rumours of match-fixing activities in the ICL have been around for many years. In September 2009 the Urdu language daily 'Jang' quoted an unnamed ICL official as saying a former Pakistani Test "cricketer fixed [ICL] matches with the help of local bookmakers". 'The Daily Express', another Urdu newspaper, publishing a similar report around the same time (PTG 489-2539, 13 September 2009).
FURTHER TEST APPOINTMENTS FOR
INDIAN EUP CANDIDATE
Indian umpire Ravi Sundaram's appointment to two more Tests suggests he continues to be on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) short-list for possible appointment to its top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) sometime in the next six to eighteen months. Sundaram made his Test debut in Chittagong in early October, and he has now been named to stand in two more matches at the game's highest level in Pakistan's three Test series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates early next month.
Sundaram, 47, is part of a four-man neutral match officials group for the Test series, the others being his countryman Javagal Srinath who will be the match referee, and current EUP members Bruce Oxenford of Australia and Englishman Richard Kettleborough. Sundaram was on-field with Oxenford in his Chittagong debut, and they will also be together in the opening Pakistan-Lanka Test, Kettleborough being the third umpire. The two EUP members will be on-field in the second Test with Sundaram the third umpire, then for the third game the Indian and Englishman will be on-field and the Australian the third umpire.
If he has no domestic first class appointments at home in the mean time the first Test, which is to be played in Dubai, will be Sundaram's fiftieth first class game since his debut at that level twenty-one years ago this month (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013), next month's series as a whole taking his tally in Tests to three matches on-field and six in the television suite (3/6). Of the others, Javagal will move on to 31 Tests as a match referee, Kettleborough to 18/10 and Oxenford to 17/10.
Sundaram, Sri Lanka's Ranmore Martinecz plus former EUP member 'Billy' Bowden appear to be the ICC's current candidate pool for that panel, South African Johan Cloete being a fourth possibility although as yet he has not been tried on-field at Test level. That four-man line-up shows that the ICC has been working hard to address what appears to have been a lack of strategic thinking that has surrounded EUP succession planning in recent years, although with two current EUP members clearly approaching retirement the world body would have been in dereliction of its duty had it not done so (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013).
While he has yet to stand in a Test Cloete has, however, been chosen as one of the neutral umpires for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) Pakistan and Sri Lanka are to play prior to the new year and their Test series; his fifth such senior-level ICC appointment in the last thirty months (PTG ), a clear sign he is seen as a potential EUP candidate, perhaps in 2015.
Cloete is to stand in three of those ODIs, working as the third umpire in the other two, English EUP member Richard Illingworth being on-field when the South African is in the television suite, and third umpire for the other three. Srinath will be the referee for ODIs four and five, his tally as a referee in such games moving to 131, David Boon of Australia looking after that role in matches one, two and three, the last being his 39th as a referee. Cloete's ODI record by the end of the series is expected to be 31/9 and Illingworth's 27/16 (PTG 1249-6029 below), the other umpires involved being Pakistani members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel.
600TH MATCH FOR LONG-SERVING
Tasmanian umpire Brian Pollard is to stand in his 600th match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) this weekend in what is his 29th straight season in Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Premier League competitions. Pollard, 74, who stood in his first Tasmanian Cricket Association game way back in 1985, continues to be rated highly by the selectors.
His playing career involved many years with the Montague Bay Cricket Club in Hobart as a batsman, and in the 1960s he and his batting partner established a record opening partnership of 208 in a suburban competition, a feat that still stands. As the club's captain he led his side to several premierships and spent ten years on the committee there, his overall service being rewarded with Life Membership.
Pollard took up umpiring in 1982 with the suburban association and stood in its matches for three seasons before moving over to CT's turf-based leagues. Of his 600 Premier League matches, 236 have been at first grade level, his higher-level service including a "two hour stint" in a Sheffield Shield match when one of the on-field umpires fell ill. He served for many years on the TCUSA management committee, his work in that role and as an umpire being acknowledged by the award of a TCUSA Life Membership.
Richard Widows, Tasmania's State Director of Umpiring, said recently that Pollard is highly respected by the whole cricket fraternity, players, match officials and administrators alike, for he epitomises "the very best qualities required to perform the sometimes difficult task of the sports official", and who "regardless of the circumstance, always maintains the highest level of integrity".
ICC CHIEF REPORTS 'POSITIVE' RESULTS
FROM NEW ODI PLAYING CONDITIONS
Curators in Australia and New Zealand are to be given "directives" to prepare batsmen-friendly pitches for the 2015 World Cup similar to those issued in 2011 when the event was held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, says David Richardson, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive. Speaking in Mumbai on Tuesday, Richardson praised the latest Playing Conditions for One Day Internationals (ODI) that limit the number of fielders in the outfield to four and require new balls from each end, although he acknowledged that "bowlers have had a tough time adjusting" to the latter in games on the sub continent.
A 'Press Trust of India' report quotes Richardson as saying "we want pitches [for the World Cup] that provide good bounce but not too much lateral movement, in this case seam movement, [for] generally in one-day cricket we try to favour the batting team and look for [innings] totals between 230 and 260".
Richardson spoke positively about the current ODI Playing Conditions, which came into force on 1 October, saying that: "Overall if you look at the results [of ODIs played] so far using the [new] fielding restrictions, we are seeing that the total runs scored in an innings have more or less remained constant, compared to previous years before the new regulations being introduced".
That average "is about 250", he says, and the data shows that the only change is that a higher percentage of that number is scored in boundary fours and sixes, as opposed to ones and twos. "This is one of the reasons why we introduced the fielding restrictions in the first place, to try and make the game more attacking and more exciting", he said, and "there are [now] more wickets falling and more boundaries being scored and the totals on an average are remaining the same".
However, Richardson conceded that bowlers, particularly spinners, were having "a tough time coping with the new rules", which allow new balls from both ends, "on the sub continent"; something that is of concern to players and administrators there (PTG 1189-5735, 16 September 2013). "You do find wickets which are really flat, don't spin, don't seam and the bowlers really have a hard job", he said. On the other hand using two new balls as opposed to one "has allowed the quicker bowlers to take more wickets, especially in the first ten overs when the seam bowlers are at the batsmen".
TWO AUSTRALIANS ON-FIELD
FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TESTS
Australian Rod Tucker, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is to work with his EUP colleague and countryman Steve Davis, and match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, in the two Tests South Africa and India are to play Johannesburg and Durban later this month. Davis will become the eleventh person to reach the 50 Test mark when he stands in the second match of the series in Durban on Boxing Day (PTG 1248-6024, 5 December 2013).
While Davis will reach the 50 Test mark, Tucker's record will move on to 29 and Pycroft to 26 as a referee. The Zimbabwean is also working as the referee in the three match One Day International (ODI) series the two teams are currently playing, his 95th to 97th in that role, Englishman Richard Illingworth, a EUP member, being the neutral umpire, his 23rd to 25th ODIs on-field.
South African ICC International Umpires Panel (IUP) third umpire member Adrian Holdstock stood in yesterday's opening ODI in Johannesburg with Illingworth, his IUP colleagues and countrymen Johan Cloete and Shaun George being the third and fourth umpires respectively. South African on-field, third and fourth umpire appointments for games two and three have yet to be announced.
All twelve current EUP members have appointments to either Tests or ODIs in either Australis, New Zealand or the United Arab Emirates over the next two months.
CA NAMES MATCH OFFICIALS FOR
LATEST DOMESTIC WOMEN'S FIXTURES
Cricket Australia (CA) has named a total of 57 match officials to manage the nine 50-over format Womens' National Cricket League (WNCL) matches and eighteen women's Twenty20 fixtures that are scheduled for grounds in Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney over the next four weeks. Of those selected to oversee those game, 32 are umpires, 19 scorers and 6 match referees; but only one of the umpires and eight of the scorers are women.
Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney will each host two WNCL games and four T20s, three Tasmanian umpires and three scorers and match referee Richard Widows managing the games in Hobart, five umpires and two scorers plus referee Daryl Cox in Melbourne, and nine umpires and six scorers in Sydney, Graham Reed being the referee.
FORMER ENGLAND ODI PLAYERS
JOIN ECB 'FULL LIST' FOR 2014
Two former England One Day International (ODI) players, Graham Lloyd and Alex Wharf, have been promoted to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) first class umpires’ Full List for 2014 following the retirement of long-serving Trevor Jesty (PTG 1196-5759, 28 September 2013), and Richard Illingworth’s promotion to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel six months ago (PTG 1130-5486, 26 June 2013).
Yorkshire-born Wharf, 38, played with Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire over 15 years before retiring in 2009, while Lloyd, 44, was with Lancashire from 1988-2002.
During his career Wharf played as a seam bowler in a total of 121 first class, 155 List A, and 34 Twenty20 matches. Thirteen of the List A games were ODIs for England, three in the 2004 Champions Trophy series at home including the final, four on tour in Zimbabwe and another two in South Africa. He was also a member of England`s team in the Hong Kong Sixes competition in 2005 and toured the West Indies with the England `A` party in 2006.
Lloyd, the son for former first class umpire and now ICC umpire selection panel member David, played primarily as a batsman in 203 first class and 296 List A matches. Included in his List A record are six ODIs for England, all except one, which was in Bangladesh, being played on home soil.
Wharf, who made his first class umpiring debut in April 2011, has been umpiring for four seasons and currently has 12 first class games to his credit, six during the 2013 northern summer; while Lloyd debuted in April 2009 and now has six seasons behind him as an umpire, to date standing in 13 first class games, four of them in 2013.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome Alex and Graham onto the Full List for 2014" and their "promotions are richly deserved and reflect the quality of [their] performances in last season’s domestic competitions and their high levels of commitment and professionalism overall".
The Full List for 2014 is in addition to Wharf and Lloyd: Rob Bailey, Neil Bainton, Mark Benson, Martin Bodenham, Nick Cook, Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans, Steve Gale, Steve Garratt, Michael Gough, Ian Gould, Peter Hartley, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Jeremy Lloyds, Neil Mallender, David Millns, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Tim Robinson, Martin Saggers, George Sharp, Peter Willey.
Eight of those 25: Bailey; Benson; Cook; Illingworth; Mallender; Robinson; Saggers; and Willey; all played Tests for England in their playing careers; Gould plus Lloyd and Wharf in ODIsl; and Cowley, Gough, Hartley, Kettleborough, Llong, Lloyds, Millns, O'Shaughnessy and Sharp at first class level in England; while Gale played Minor Counties cricket. Only four, Bainton, Bodenham, Evans and Garratt, have not played at the higher-levels of the game.
Gould, Illingworth, Kettleborough and Llong are also ICC EUP members, but as yet it is not clear which of Gough and Robinson will join Bailey as an on-field member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and who of the other half-a-dozen others who are possibles will move into an IUP third umpire role.
Details of who will make up the ECB's second-tier Reserve List for 2014 are not expected to be announced until the end of January. With Willey due to reach the ECB's compulsory retiring age of 65 in December 2014 and Bodenmam and Sharp in March-April 2015, those on the Reserve List in 2014 will be aware of the opportunities that will be open to join the Full List for 2016 in twelve months time.
In the six years since the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials took over from the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers, ten umpires have been promoted to the ECB's Full List, seven being former first class players while one played at Minor Counties level.
NSW SCORER, UMPIRE SET
FOR FIRST CLASS DEBUTS
Two members of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), one a scorer and the other an umpire, are to make their debuts at first class level tomorrow, one at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and the other at Bellerive Oval in Hobart. SydneyCricket Club first grade scorer Ian Wright will make his debut at the SCG in the NSW-South Australia game, and Greg Davidson on-field at Bellerive when Tasmania takes on Western Australia.
Wright, who will be partnered by experienced international scorer, Robyn Sanday, is a member of the NSWCUSA Scorers Committee and has previously scored matches in Cricket Australia (CA) one-day, Twenty20, Futures League State 2nd XI, Womens' national Cricket League and Women's Twenty20 matches.
Davidson, a former first grade player and captain at the Parramatta Club has to date umpired 85 first grade matches in the Sydney Cricket Association, including the last two first grade Grand Finals, will become the 79th umpiring member of the NSWCUSA to officiate at first class level . He made his debut as a CA umpire at List A level in October (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013), having previously stood in four Under-19 One Day Internationals, four State 2nd XI matches and five matches in the Futures League.
MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
INTERCONTINENTAL CUP FINAL
Sarika Prasad of Singapore and Tim Robinson from England are to stand in next week's five-day final of the 2011-13 Intercontinental Cup first class competition between Afghanistan and Ireland in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Buddhi Pradan of Nepal being the third umpire and Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka the match referee.
Robinson is a member of the Intercontinental Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Prasad and Pradhan its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel, and La Brooy its second-rier Regional Referees panel. Teams who have played in the current series of pre-final twenty-eight Intercontinental Cup four-day games since June 2011 have, in addition to the two finalists, been Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Scotland, the Netherlands and the UAE.
BARRAGE OF ILLEGAL DELIVERIES
RESULTS IN COMPUTER 'CRASH'
New South Wales Under-19 bowler Tom Skelly established what may well be a world record when his first over in a one-day national championship match against the Northern Territory in Hobart consisted of a total of 18 deliveries, 11 of them wides and one a no ball. Skelly, a fast-medium bowler, who represented NSW at the 2010-11 Under-17 and 2012-13 Under-19 championships, gave Brisbane-based umpire Murray Branch a solid work out on what was the first day of the two week long championship series.
Scorer David Whitbread's running sheet shows the over as: W,W,W,W,W,0,0,W,NB,0,0,W,W,W,W,W,0,0. Such was the intensity that the Cricket Australia 'Statsmaster' computer scoring program could not cope with the number of deliveries and the software 'crashed' after the 14th delivery, by which time 9 wides, one no ball and four 'dot' balls had passed.
ASSOCIATION PLANS SOCIAL
MEDIA 'CRACK DOWN'
The Manning Cricket Association (MCA) which takes in an area on Mid North Coast of New South Wales, plans to ensure its social media policy is strictly adhered to, says its new president David Burley. The 'Manning River Times' said yesterday that Burley claims his predecessor Shane Nash, who resigned this week, was the target of abuse on 'Facebook' after a player was charged with dissent, and that there has been "a spike" in that form of abuse of late.
Burley told the 'Times' that the MCA's ten clubs passed a code of behaviour policy that includes a social media section, a document that follows the rules laid down by Cricket NSW. "All clubs agreed to [the policy], said' Burley and "we're going to enforce it". The 'Times' says the Manning Junior Cricket Association has already banned its representative players from using social media to comment on matches.
Despite the problems the new MCA president said that the general on-field behaviour in its senior cricket has improved this year, all the matches his side has been involved having been played in good spirit. "It comes down to players showing respect for umpires and also officials who volunteer their time to ensure a sport can be played", he said, for "if you don't have people giving their time, then you don't have sport".
CRICKET GOES UNDEGROUND
World’s first underground match took place in the Lake District at Cumbria on Thursday when teams from Threkald and Caldbeck took on each other at Honister Slate Mine in England. The two teams competed 600 m below ground in what is a 16 km network of underground tunnels inside Fleetwith Pike.
According to the London 'Daily Mail', the six over match was organised as a fundraiser after Threkland lost their home ground pitch due to flooding. Bowlers were only allowed to deliver one over each, there were no boundaries and batsmen had to run after each shot. Caldbeck chased down the target of 28 runs with one over and four balls to spare.
ASHES PLAYERS CONTINUE TO
TRASH 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' TENANTS
England wasn't the only looser in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide yesterday as players from both sides again showed complete disregarded for the 'Spirit of Cricket' in a series of spiteful on-field incidents. Before the game match referee Jeff Crowe reminded both captains of their responsibilities with regards to sledging after ugly scenes at the end of the first Test in Brisbane two weeks ago, but there was no discernable change in the way members of their teams behaved in Adelaide.
Players from both sides are said to have become "roaring beasts" late on the fourth day on Sunday as the so-called "sledging war" escalated into what one media report called "rare and ugly heights". The reporting of Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and England all-rounder Ben Stokes that evening for "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" is said by one report as having had "a sobering impact on both teams" on the last day yesterday (PTG 1251-6039 below).
While Stokes and Johnson were cleared, three players have now been charged in the opening two Tests, Australian captain Michael Clarke being fined a fifth of his match fee, about $A3000, after telling England's Jimmy Anderson while he was at the crease to "get ready for a broken f**king arm" as the final day of the first Test in Brisbane descended into acrimony (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2013).
There were also a string of other on-field nasty verbal confrontations that were well highlighted in the television coverage and that would have led to reports being made in most competitions around the world. One newspaper report claimed that the overall standard of behaviour on Sunday afternoon was deemed ''marginal'' by Crowe "but not worthy of reports", and another that the "obvious animosity between the sides appears to be growing by the day".
Australian coach Darren Lehmann indicated his side would not retreat from its aggressive posture and is happy to leave it to the International Cricket Council (ICC) "to set the boundaries". ''[At the] end of the day, if something happens, the ICC [will] deal with it,", he said yesterdsay. ''What I do want to do is just keep playing the way we're playing. The game of cricket is a tough game and Test match cricket is tough, so that's the way it is at the moment".
While the marketers of the game may see the publicity generated as good for their bottom line, the profits they make for the game as a whole, the antics of the players at its highest level have already had a flow down effect to its lowest levels. Reports from club-level games in several states talk of young fielders telling incoming batsmen to "prepare for a f**** broken arm", batsmen being given Johnson-like "stares" by the bowler's who have dismissed them as they left the field, and umpires having to remind both players and coaches of just what the 'Spirit of Cricket' Preamble to the Laws of the game is actually about.
PLAYERS 'COUNSELLED' AFTER
ESCAPING 'PHYSICAL CONTACT' CHARGE
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and England all-rounder Ben Stokes have been found not guilty of engaging in “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" during Sunday’s play in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide. The pair, who bumped shoulders as Stokes was taking a run off Johnson, each pleaded not guilty, and International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Jeff Crowe cleared them after separate hearings held last night, although he emphasised that they had been "counselled" about the matter.
Crowe said in an ICC press release that he was “satisfied in respect of both players that their physical contact was not deliberate". “We do not condone physical contact, but recognise that on occasions such contact could be accidental", he continued, stressing that "both players could have done more to avoid each other and they have been so counselled".
Charges in regard to the incident, which occurred in the 84th over of England’s second innings, were laid against the pair by on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Marais Erasmus of South Africa, third umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand and fourth umpire Simon Fry of Australia. Had Crowe found the Level 2 charges proven, he had the choice of giving each player penalties that ranged from a minimum of a fine of half their match fee, up to and including a one-Test ban.
Six weeks ago Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal and South Africa batsman Robin Peterson lost half of their match fees for shoving each other during a Test match in Abu Dhabi (PTG 1214-5846, 20 October 2013).
The ICC said in a statement at the time that: "The incident happened when Adnan, while trying to pick up the bail, used his shoulder and body to push Peterson, who reacted by pushing the Pakistan wicketkeeper". The match referee for that game, David Boon of Australia, said in an ICC statement at the time that "Deliberate physical contact is an action that does not belong in our game and will in no way be condoned in any situation".
'REAL-TIME SNICKO' ADDED TO
NZ-WINDIES UDRS PACKAGE
Real-Time Snickometer (RTS) technology has been included as part of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the second and third Tests New Zealand and the West Indies are to play over the next two weeks, the first of which is due to get underway in Wellington tomorrow. Reports from New Zealand this morning say that RTS has been included as part of the UDRS "after an initial approach from the teams and their subsequent agreement after briefings in Wellington [yesterday]".
In September, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executives committee looked at suggestions RTS be used in the current Ashes Tests but decided that an "independent assessment of this technology will be conducted before a decision was made" (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013). The ICC subsequently agreed for it to be used as part of a trial in that series after representations from Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and the system made its debut in the opening Test in Brisbane late last month (PTG 1238-5973, 21 November 2013).
FORMER INTERNATIONALS QUERY
ASHES UMPIRING STANDARDS
Former Australian international umpires Ross Emerson and Lou Rowan have criticised the standard of officiating in the Ashes series, both claiming that only time umpires are checking for no-balls is after a batsman is dismissed, and that their on-field techniques are a concern, says a story in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday. The pair's comments centred on the work of South African Marais Erasmus and Sri Lanka's Kumar Dhamasena, the current world 'Umpire of the Year', in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide which concluded yesterday.
Emerson, whose umpiring career never recovered after he no-balled Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for his bowling action in a One Day International (ODI) against England in Adelaide in 1999, is said to have been "scathing in his criticism", claiming the "only useful function the on-field officials were serving was to count the number of balls bowled each over". He said that it "can cost the bowler dearly when he is not alerted that he has overstepped or is close to doing so, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a wicket is disallowed".
"The current standard of umpiring is fairly ordinary", said Emerson, for "if umpires are not looking for no-balls, what are they looking at?" "I think it's disgraceful that they're having to call for a replay every time a wicket falls". "If an umpire can't get a no-ball right, how can you have confidence in them making the right call on an inside edge or faint nick?"
Rowan told 'The Australian' that it was "an absurdity" that no-balls were "only seriously monitored" after a wicket had fallen. "It should not be allowed", said Rowan, for "if a man bowls a no-ball, it should be called" straight away. He is of the view that "modern-day umpires stand too far back from the stumps to properly monitor the popping crease", although he sympathises with today's umpires having to make calls on express bowlers.
"It's a physical impossibility to watch the front foot and lift your eyes to give yourself a chance to see what's going on at the other end", claimed Rowan, who called for a return to the back-foot rule, which applied until 50 years ago. Previously "The bowler's back foot had to be behind the line that runs through the stumps and it didn't matter where the front foot landed", he said, for "that way, you could make the no-ball call before the bowler had even let the ball go".
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell expressed the view a year ago that a return to the back foot rule "would reduce the number of illegal deliveries bowled, improve over rates, and give umpires more time to spend on the important decisions" (PTG 1033-5016, 27 December 2013).
Emerson went on to claim that the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) has "become a crutch for umpires", and he queried why, if the front foot was being checked after a wicket fell, front-on replays weren't also being studied to ensure the back foot hadn't touched the return crease. "Or . . . why don't they call for a wide shot to make certain there weren't three fieldsmen behind square leg?"
The former umpire also questioned whether UDRS technology is up to the task of getting the right outcomes. He was "gobsmacked" when 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology projected Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson's final delivery of the day on Friday in Adelaide as going on to hit the leg stump after it struck England batsman Chris Carberry's pad, "when the naked eye clearly had the ball missing leg stump". Luckily for Carberry on that occasion Australia did not ask for a review.
Emerson, 59, is said to have acknowledged that "the ICC's new umpiring boss, Simon Taufel, was attempting to improve the situation", but claimed that at present Test umpires "were receiving insufficient training". The field techniques of Erasmus and Dharmasena "are all wrong," he said, pointing to Erasmus's failure to get into position quickly enough to adjudicate on a run-out when Australian fieldsman David Warner hit the stumps with a throw. Replays showed Kevin Pietersen easily made his ground but "all the old umpires think the present umpiring standard is appalling", said Emerson.
Rowan, now 88, stood in 74 first class matches, 25 of them Tests in the period from 1958-72, and just a single ODI although it was the first such game ever played. Emerson's first class record from 1983-99 involved 50 games, and there were also 37 List A fixtures, 10 of them ODIs.
'MANKAD' MYTHS AGAIN
LEAD TO CONTROVERSY
Former Indian spinner and now Railways captain Murali Kartik was involved in a 'Mankad' controversy in a Ranji Trophy match against Bengal in Delhi on Sunday, running out batsman Sandipan Das after having warned him during his previous over. While Kartik was entitled under the Laws to run the batsman out without giving a warning, members of the Bengal team are said to have reacted with "fury", claiming that 'Spirit of Cricket' issues were involved.
The run out came in the 80th over of Bengal's innings when Sandipan was on 19. Umpire Milind Pathak referred the matter to his unnamed television official after Kartik whipped off the bails and appealed, and after a delay Sandipan was given out. Bengali players reacted immediately, and at lunch shortly after some were heard to call Kartik a "cheat" as he left the field, their coach Ashok Malhotra reportedly being particularly vigorous in his condemnation.
Malhotra was heard shouting: "You are an India player and this is how you play cricket, this is an example you set for juniors", only for Kartik to join in the verbals as he entered the dressing room. Once lunch was over, a "senior Bengal" player is said to have "showered the choicest abuses on Kartik" as he and his team huddled before going on to the field, an action that led to match referee Balasubramoniam Kalyanasundaram telling the player to keep quiet.
Asked after the day's play whether he and the "senior Bengal player" may have earned a sanction from the match referee, Malhotra said that he hadn't as yet "but I will and I know that". “I can understand you are playing one-day cricket where a batsman tries to steal a single", he continued", but "this is a first class game and [Das was only] just an inch out [for] I am not talking about rules but [rather] about the ‘Spirit of the Game’ ".
Reports from New Delhi overnight say that following the incident umpires Pathak and Puttarangaiah Jayapal were "hardly able to control the proceedings" during the last two days of the match, players making their ire clear on-field. When the game ended yesterday Bengali players refused to shake hands with their opponents, one report saying that as Kartik "walked up to each and every player, they simply told [him] to leave them alone".
Fifteen months ago whilst playing for Surrey, Kartik ran Somerset batsman Alex Barrow out in the same fashion which led to uproar amongst the spectators and Somerset officials at Taunton (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2013). Surrey director of cricket Chris Adams said the Law involved was "one that you generally don’t uphold", and that "if we’ve breached, and clearly we have breached the 'Spirit of Cricket', then we thoroughly apologise for that". Indian media reports claim Kartik subsequently lost his county contract because of his actions that day.
Following Kartik's Taunton run out the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) attempted to clarify, for the second time that year, what the Laws of the game say about a bowler running out the non-striker; however, main stream media outlets in the UK and elsewhere do not appear to have taken much, if any, notice about what the guardians of the Laws thought about the issue.
Six months before that, after a similar incident in a One Day International between India and Sri Lanka in Brisbane, the MCC said that although a warning has "become an unwritten convention in cricket over a number of years", "there is nothing, and has never been anything, in [section 42.15 of] the Laws of Cricket which says a warning is required before running out the non-striker" (PTG 906-4404, 24 February 2012).
ICC YET TO CONTACT ME RE
MATCH-FIXING PROBE, SAYS CAIRNS
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns said yesterday that even though investigators had still not contacted him, he had engaged lawyers after being linked to a match-fixing probe being conducted by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Last week, Cairns was reported to be one of three former New Zealand representatives under investigation, the others being Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey who have confirmed they are co-operating with the inquiry (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2013).
Cairns, who last year won £90,000 ($162,000) in a libel action against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi in London over a 'tweet' that alleged he was involved in match-fixing, emphasised yesterday that he had not been contacted by the ICC, nor received any official confirmation he was part of the probe. He told a radio station that: "at the moment I'm still 100 per cent in the dark, I know as much as you guys, that's probably the most frustrating element".
'The New Zealand Herald' reported last week that members of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit spent months in New Zealand investigating match- and spot-fixing which was said to have taken place in more than one country, however, matches in New Zealand itself were not involved. No charges have yet been laid as a result of that work.
Vincent confirmed last week that he was co-operating with the inquiry while Tuffey's lawyers released a statement over the weekend saying he was also assisting the probe. "Mr Tuffey does not believe he is the focus of this investigation. He intends to fully co-operate with the ICC and provide them with any relevant information in his possession", said the statement.
HEADED FOR COURT?
Kenyan player Irfan Karim, who was allegedly assaulted by his captain Collins Obuya during a practice match in Sri Lanka last month, has described the two-match ban handed to his skipper as "too lenient". The pair's confrontation appears to be heading to the courts, for Karim has reported the matter to the police, received a medical report and enlisted the services of a lawyer to argue his case.
A Cricket Kenya (CK) Disciplinary Board found Obuya guilty for slapping wicket-keeper Karim whilst the pair were in the dressing room at the Colombo Cricket Club during a rain delay in a practice match ahead of last month's World Twenty20 Qualifer series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 1230-5928, 11 November 2013).
Karim, who was given a one-match ban as a result of the incident, told reporters in Nairobi on Sunday that "CK wanted the captain back to the crease as soon as possible to boost Kenya's quest to qualify for next year's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup". He is claiming that under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct for players, Obuya should have received a one year suspension "for assaulting a teammate".
Two other players in the Kenyan side in Sri Lanka are reported to have recorded statements against Obuya's conduct during the tour, say news reports, the claims being made talking of "general dissatisfaction and disappointment [about] Obuya's behaviour". Kenya failed to qualify for the WT20 event in the recent series in the UAE.
ICC SEEKS INFORMATION ON
BANGLADESH SECURITY SITUATION
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to submit a report on the current security situation in that country, BCB officials told journalists yesterday. The request from Dubai came after the West Indies' Under-19 team withdrew from their seven match series in Bangladesh after a bomb exploded near the teams hotel in Chittagong on the weekend.
The ICC is closely monitoring the situation ahead of the World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh in March, and has also had concerns about general preparations for that event. There has been widespread violence across Bangladesh ahead of next week's national elections there.
FORMER ENGLAND TEST, ODI PLAYER
EYES ECB RESERVE LIST SPOT
Former England Test and One Day International (ODI) player Ian Blackwell is still keen to move into "professional umpiring", and with at least two known vacancies open on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Reserve or second-tier list at the moment he may well go part of the way to that aim in 2014. Derbyshire-born Blackwell, now 35, played one Test and 34 ODIs for his country, including some in the 2003 World Cup, and overall 210 first class, 254 List A and 77 Twenty20s games in a high-level career that ran from 1997 to 2012.
Blackwell, who played for four county sides and New Zealand's Central Districts, featured in his one an only Test in Nagpur in 2006, a match that also saw the debuts of current day England captain Alastair Cook and his team mate Monty Panesar. He told a journalist recently that he's "expressed an interest in umpiring professionally and did two qualifications while I was stil playing, [which] enables me to umpire up to [county] second XI cricket".
After a few matches in the North of England Premier League in 2012 he moved south, over the 2013 northern summer standing in first and lower grade matches in the West of England Premier League. Blackwell also debuted in county second XI fixtures in 2013, four of them three-day, one one-day and two Twenty20s, a sign he is potentially on the way to a Reserve List spot next year. "Fingers crossed I can get on the first-class stuff in the future", he says, but "it's a waiting game to find out what's happening with that now".
Last week the ECB promoted two former England ODI players, Graham Lloyd and Alex Wharf, from the Reserve List to its first class umpires’ Full List for 2014, leaving open at least two Reserve List vacancies for Blackwell and others to challenge for. An announcement on the 2014 Reserve List is current expected late next month.
UNDER-19 STATE COACH, OPPOSITION
PLAYER, REPRIMANDED FOR BEHAVIOUR
South Australian Under-19 player Spencer Johnson and Tasmanian Under-19 coach Lachlan Stevens have each received official reprimands for breaching Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour statutes during Sunday's play in CA's male 2013-14 Under-19 National Championship series in Hobart. Stevens, 34, a former first class player who represented Australia in the 1998 U-19 World Cup in South Africa, is now Cricket Tasmania's Youth Pathway High Performance Manager.
According to information released by CA yesterday afternoon, Johnson was reported by umpires Murray Branch of Queensland and Craig Thomas of South Australia for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting". Branch and Thomas also reported Stevens for an "off-field" "public act of misconduct when he initiated a verbal altercation with a South Australian player who was fielding on the boundary". Whether the two actions were linked, and if so in what way, is not clear.
Johnson, who plays for West Torrens in Adelaide, is said to have accepted the reprimand proposed by match referee David Talalla, and Stevens his reprimand as "proposed by CA", and as such no Code of Behaviour hearings were required. CA says they were Johnson and Stevens’ first disciplinary offences in the past eighteen months.
SHILLINGFORD, SAMUELS BOWLING
ACTION REPORTS DUE MID-TEST
Reports from Wellington today say that the West Indies have appealed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to rule on the legality of the bowling actions of spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels during the second Test against New Zealand which starts today. The report on the pair, whose actions were called into question in India last month and have since been tested by an ICC accredited laboratory (PTG 1246-6017, 3 December 2013), is due to be announced on Friday, the third day of the Test, but West Indies coach Ottis Gibson says that would not be fair.
Gibson said yesterday that "we have not heard anything from the ICC" and have to leave it up to them for "they are the ones that have to digest the reports and give us the results". "If nothing is said before the Test starts on Wednesday, I don't believe we will know until after the game [and we] would prefer it to take place before the game starts on Wednesday or after", he said.
KETTLEBOROUGH NAMED 2013
WORLD 'UMPIRE OF THE YEAR'
English umpire Richard Kettleborough was yesterday named as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2013 'Umpire of the Year' ahead of tonight's television broadcast of the ICC's annual awards. Kettleborough becomes the first Englishman to win a trophy that is now named after his countryman the late David Shepherd, doing so after only two years on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).
At 40, Yorkshire-born Kettleborough is the youngest umpire currently on the EUP. Prior to taking up umpiring he played 33 first-class matches for Middlesex and Yorkshire in the period from 1994-99. After retirement as a player he made his first class debut as an umpire in 2002, joined the England and Wales Cricket Board's Full List in 2006, stood in his first senior Twenty20 (T20I) and One Day Internationals (ODI) in 2009, and made his debut at Test level in 2010 (E-News 697-3418, 15 November 2010).
Currently he has 16 Tests, 40 ODIs and 9 T20Is to his credit. During the period that this year's award covered, from 7 August 2012 to 25 August this year, Kettleborough worked in a total of 32 internationals, five Tests, four on-field and one in the television suite (4/1), eighteen ODIs (13/5), and nine T20Is (5/4). The award was decided on a combination of votes cast by the ten current Test captains and ICC match referees for games played in that August-August period, plus ICC umpires’ performance statistics gathered over that time. No details of the latter data have been released by the ICC.
This is the tenth year the ICC has named an 'Umpire of the Year'. The first five awards were won by now retired Australian Simon Taufel (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), the next three by Aleem Dar of Pakistan (E-News 831-4058, 13 September 2011), and last year's by Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012).
2013 ICC 'SPIRIT OF CRICKET'
AWARD TO JAYAWARDENA
Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardena has won this year's International Cricket Council (ICC) 'Spirit of Cricket' award for his actions in a Test match against New Zealand in Galle in November last year. He was on 91 and his team 7/229 when he gloved a delivery from off-spinner Jeetan Patel, was caught at the wicket by Kruger van Wyk and started 'walking' before the umpire raised his finger.
The ICC award, which up until 2010 was team-based, was changed to an individual award in 2011, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni winning it then (PTG 831-4059, 11 September 2011), and New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori in 2012 (PTG 991-4813, 16 September 2012). Prior to Dhoni's win, the New Zealand team won the 'Spirit' award in 2004, 2009 and again in 2010, England in 2005 and 2006, and Sri Lanka in 2007 and 2008.
DISSENT RESULTS IN FINE
FOR VICTORIAN ALL-ROUNDER
Victorian all-rounder Daniel Christian was fined an amount equal to thirty-five per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during his side's Sheffield Shield match against Queensland at the Gabba on Tuesday. Christian was reported by umpires Geoff Joshua and Mike Graham-Smith, apparently as a result of his reaction when caught behind whilst batting in Victoria’s first innings, his reported acceptance of the penalty proposed by match referee Daryl Harper meaning that a Code of Behaviour hearing was not required.
Cricket Australia (CA) says that it was Christian’s first offence "under this Article of [its] Code of Behaviour in the past eighteen months months". Whilst playing for South Australian last austral summer Christian was given an official reprimand for an obscene on-field outburst during a one-day match against New South Wales in Adelaide (PTG 1061-5160, 19 February 2013), and earlier in the same season the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) suspended him for one Sheffield Shield game when he damaged dressing rooms on three separate occasions (PTG 10231-4960, 22 November 2012).
When that ban was announced SACA cricket director Jamie Cox described Christian as "an emotional guy" and offered him anger management counselling. Christian was said to have apologised for his actions and paid for the repairs but his actions then did not attract a sanction from CA.
BOWDEN OVER MISCOUNTS EVEN OUT
New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden, who yesterday return to the Test arena for the first time since he was dropped from the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel in June (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), miscounted two overs in the middle session of the third Ashes Test in Perth, but overall the number of legal balls delivered by England and faced by Australia evened out.
MATCH STOPPED THEN CONTINUES
AFTER 'DANGEROUS PITCH' ROLLED
Play was stopped on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Vidarbha on Saturday after a batsman from the latter side was injured by a ball that reared from an "under-prepared" and "dangerous" pitch that was "as green as the outfield". However, instead of abandoning play in the first class game, match officials ordered a "temporary halt" to Vidarbha's first innings so that the pitch could be rolled with a heavy and then light roller, after which they allowed the innings to continue on the same playing surface.
Delhi won the toss at the Roshanara Club Ground and opted to bowl, medium pacer Ashish Nehra wreaking havoc by taking six wickets in his first six overs. Nehra swung the ball both ways and generated "steep bounce", however, it was a delivery in the 19th over from Parvinder Awana, another medium pacer, that took off from the good length and hit batsman Amol Jungade on the shoulder that brought matters to a head; Vidarbha being 7/40 at the time.
With Jungade in considerable pain and his team mates complaining from the sidelines, match referee Sanjay Patil went on to the ground to talk with umpires Syed Khalid and CK Nandan, the two captains Shalabh Srivastava and Gautam Gambhir also eventually joining in the discussion. Reports say that the three match officials decided to stop the match and have the pitch rolled, play being halted for 28 minutes half-way through the game's opening session to allow that to occur.
Somewhat unusually, Srivastava told reporters at the end of the first day's play that he "didn't know until the time of the toss which [pitch] we would be playing on". Asked if his side wanted the game to be called off, he said that "if the pitch is unplayable then the match should have been called off, but had we protested and not played, we would have had to forfeit the match". He admitted that it was "a bad toss to loose" and "obviously we would have fielded if we had had the choice".
Vidarbha's manager Upadhyay said that they had advised match referee Patil of their concerns, but that he had in turn cited Ranji Trophy Playing Conditions that Upadhyay indicated allow the use of a heavy roller in such situations before any decision is taken to restart play on an adjacent pitch should one be available. Delhi coach Sanjeev Sharma is said to have defended his home pitch, saying that "in a competitive first-class match, you can get hurt [but] does that make the pitch dangerous??"
The rolling does not appear to have done much at first with the ball occasionally rearing as Vidarbha continued their innings and they were eventually all out for 88 in the 32nd over on Saturday. Delhi were 2/96 after 48.3 overs had been bowled in their first innings at the end of play that day, and by the close of day two yesterday afternoon they were a healthy 9/448, a score that suggests the pitch was playing better.
The Laws of the game, as opposed to what are said to be Ranji Trophy Playing Conditions, state that pitches "shall not be rolled" during a match except "for a period of not more than seven minutes" "before the start of each innings, other than the first innings of the match, and before the start of each subsequent day’s play".
THIRD ON-FIELD UMPIRE NEEDED FOR
TODAY'S SPEEDIER GAME, CLAIMS JONES
Former Australian player Dean Jones believes that the International Cricket Council should have three umpires out on the ground during matches for in his view "the game today has become so quick two cannot keep up". Jones' main beef is the delay involved in checking for no balls when a batsman is dismissed in Umpire Decision Review System supported fixtures, something he says "is becoming farcical" and that "something needs to be done about".
Writing in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the weekend, Jones says that the no ball checks, which others have complained about (PTG 1251-6041, 10 December 2013), "ruin the spontaneity and the atmosphere of the match" for "the moment is lost when players have their celebrations interrupted waiting on the third umpire call it". "Today, umpires will not take the risk without going upstairs to confirm if everything is OK", he continues', and "it makes me think how many other times [they] have missed no balls".
The solution is in his view the provision of a third on-ground umpire specifically to look for foot fault no balls. He acknowledges the "difficulties umpires face" in that they must watch for the bowler's back foot and front foot to see if they land in the right areas before looking up to see where the delivery is pitched and so forth", especially when some bowlers are delivering balls "at more than 150 km/h"". So, "lets make it [easier for them] and get another umpire out there to help the [bowler's end] umpire to make better decisions".
In his assessment the third umpire "can stand wide enough on the off side to a right-hand bowler bowling over the wicket to judge if he has overstepped, or conversely, stand on the leg side for a left-arm bowler". "Having another set of eyes on the ground would help make better and consistent decisions, which would help speed up the game", he says, a solution he suggests is a "simple" one to implement.
Jones also says he "hates it when umpires confer over whether a catch has carried [and] why do umpires confer at mid-wicket before throwing it to the third umpire?" "Not once, have I seen them confer and give someone out and it seems to take minutes before both umpires say, ''Let's just have a look upstairs''. "Why not just do it straight away? Speed up the game boys. It's not hard".
The former batsman goes on to query "why we have so many players in whites wearing bibs acting as 12th men?" "If I was coach" he says, "I would want my reserve players to be in the nets or doing work elsewhere to be ready for their next match", He calls "sitting on their backsides and racing drinks out degrading and demeaning", and his outlook is that "the reserve player's job is to be fit and in form waiting on selection" and "a few water boys [should take] out the drinks".
Jones also asks "why there are so many stoppages in play today" and "why do cricketers have so many drinks? Players get three drinks breaks a day plus intervals, he continues, and there are, on average, eight to ten wickets a day and that is another opportunity, when it comes, for players to have a drink. In his view "no player should be allowed to have a drink until there is an official stoppage in play, like a wicket falling".
REPORT SUGGESTS WORLD TEST
CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES IN DOUBT
There was "talk" about "aborting" the once-postoned, now 2017-scheduled, World Test Championship (WTC) series during a meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) "powerful" Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC) in Perth over the last few days, claims a report in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday. The WTC concept, whose first outing involves the four top Test nations competing for a $A10 million prize in England in three-and-a-half-years time, has as its aim the preservation of the "primacy" of Test cricket.
Journalist Peter Lalor writes that 2017 will see the four teams involved "tied up for six games that could take seven weeks to complete", and that to some containing that in an already crowded international fixtures schedule is "an unappealing prospect" and as a result the WTC "may never occur". The concept came from a need to "give context" to Tests "in a world where [the] Twenty20 [format] threatened to consume all before it", says Lalor.
ICC chief executive David Richardson "launched" the WTC just two months ago with the announcement that England will host the inaugural series and India the second edition in February-March 2021, but the country that was to support the 2025 event has not yet been chosen (PTG 1210-5825, 14 October 2013).
The Marylebone Cricket Club and its World Cricket Committee have been pushing the WTC concept for some years because of their concerns Test cricket was loosing its status as the top of the game (PTG 799-3906, 18 July 2011). Then ICC chief executive Harron Lorgat suggesting two years ago that its final could be played as in a "timeless Test" format (PTG 800-3910, 19 July 2011).
Lalor also says that the FCAC continued its discussions on the redistribution of ICC finances "that will see India take the lion's share, although England and Australia will not be found wanting". He reports that under the ICC's current profit-sharing model, 75 per cent of earnings from ICC events, broadcast deals and the like are divided equally among the ten full ICC member nations.
However, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narayanaswami Srinivasan is said to be arguing that since Indian broadcast deals generate "at least seventy per cent of the money in the game", the BCCI deserves to receive much more than parity with the other nine groups.
Anther matter Lalor indicates was on the FCAC agenda was whether, given the current unrest in Bangladesh, it should host the World Twenty20 Championship series in March-April next year (PTG 1251-6045, 10 December 2013).
Giles Clarke of England chairs the FCAC, its members being ICC president Alan Isaac, Richardson, Srinivasan, Neil Speight of Bermuda, Wally Edwards from Australia and the West Indies' David Cameron. Whether the ICC plans to release any details of its deliberations over the last few days is not known at this time.
SHILLINGFORD'S ACTION, SAMUEL'S
QUICKER BALL, AGAIN DEEMED 'ILLEGAL'
West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford has been suspended from bowling in international cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC), while his team-mate Marlon Samuels has been banned from bowling his quicker deliveries. Both players were reported for suspected illegal actions during last month's Test series in India and their actions were scrutinised in detail in a movements laboratory in Perth three weeks ago (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013). .
That testing found that Shillingford's arm extended more then the permitted fifteen degrees for his off breaks and doosras. Samuels exceeded the fifteen-degree limit only when delivering his quicker balls and is therefore allowed to continue bowling his standard off breaks. Both players have previously been suspended from bowling in international cricket for illegal actions but were allowed to resume bowling after undergoing remedial work and further testing.
Samuels, who is from Jamaica, was banned from bowling in February 2008 because his arm extended more than the permitted 15 degrees for off-breaks and quicker deliveries. He continued to play as a batsman but did not resume bowling in international cricket until September 2011 after "significant remedial work" (PTG 840-4105, 30 September 2011), having served an unrelated two-year suspension from cricket between May 2008 and May 2010 for passing information to a bookmaker.
Shillingford, from Dominica, was reported after his international debut in November 2010 and banned a month later when his average elbow extension was found to be seventeen degrees. He was cleared to return in June 2011 (PTG 770-3774, 5 June 2011).
The two players have fourteen days to lodge a written appeal to the ICC about their latest bans. Both featured in the first two Tests of the current series in New Zealand, however, Samuels did not bowl. The third and final Test starts in Hamilton on Thursday, with one-day and Twenty20 internationals to follow after that.
CA NAMES MATCH OFFICIALS
FOR DOMESTIC T20 SERIES
Nearly fifty match officials will be involved in supporting the first sixteen matches of Cricket Australia's much-hyped domestic Twenty20 series, the first game of which is due to get underway in Sydney on Friday evening. All twelve members of the National Umpires Panel (NUP), twelve state-based fourth umpires, five match referees and eighteen scorers were named yesterday to look after the first half of the season's thirty-two 'home-and-away" games over the next three weeks.
Simon Fry leads the NUP member appointments with six, four on-field and two television (4/2), then comes Gerard Abood with 4/1, Sam Nogajski 3/2, Ash Barrow, Mike Graham-Smith and Geoff Joshua all 3/1 Damien Mealey 2/3, Tony Ward 2/2, Ian Lock, John Ward and Paul Wilson all 2/1, and Mick Martell 2/0. Bob Stratford of CA's Umpire High Performance Panel will be the busiest match referee with five games, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall and David Talalla have three each, and Steve Bernard two.
CA's four current 'emerging umpires', Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson, Richard Patterson and Tony Wilds are amongst the fourth umpires appointed to games being played in their home states, while four others, who took part in last month's national Under-19 tournament in Hobart, Phillip Gillespie, Craig Hoffman, Craig Thomas and Ben Treloar, are also listed in fourth umpire roles (PTG 1227-5913, 7 November). The others named as fourth umpires are: Stephen Dionysius, Ben Farrell, Simon Lightbody, Jamie Mitchell and Nathan Johnstone, the latter being a former emerging group member.
Five scorers will record the details of the three Sydney games (Christine Bennison, Toni Lorraine, Robyn Sanday, Kay Wilcoxon and Ian Wright), four the three games in Melbourne (Craig Davenport, Glenn Davey, Jim Hamilton and James Higgs), two (Brian Fitzgerald and Judy Harris) the three fixtures in Brisbane, and two each for the two matches in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth; Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts in Adelaide; Robert Godfrey and Graeme Hamley in Hobart; and Sandra Wheeler and Lance Catchpole in Perth.
MARKETERS, MANAGERS IN T20 PROMOTION
TUSSLE, CLAIMS REPORT
Cricket Australia (CA) staffers are currently in a tussle over the use of their "Test stars" in the promotion of CA's forthcoming Twenty20 domestic series, according to journalist Ben Dorries of the Brisbane's 'Courier Mail'. Dorries says that the marketing arm of CA is keen to use "the Aussie big names" in some straightforward TV interviews and media appearances to help put more bums on seats", "but some other high and mighty cricket brains within CA insist the Test players will be focusing on the Ashes only".
"There have been some truly bizarre squabbles", claims Dorries. "Some CA types insist [that] if the Test players do promotions for the [T20 series] they must wear Aussie team branded polos rather than [T20 branded] gear and the preferred TV channel should be [Channel] Nine" which televises Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International fixtures. According to him though "other CA officials want players who are doing [T20] promotions to wear colourful franchise playing gear and appear on Channel 10", who have the rights to put domestic T20 matches to air.
Dorries, who is known for his somewhat cynical style of reporting, finishes by saying that "sometimes we wonder whether the governance review into CA a few years back has achieved anything at all".
SCORE BOOKS BEING SCRUTINISED
AFTER MATCH ENDS IN TIE
Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association officials and representatives of the Northsiders and Eastern Taipans clubs were to meet last night to scrutinise the score books after their first division teams tied a one-day match on Saturday. Both captains, their teams and the umpires had shaken hands but "there was a bit of controversy over the scorebooks and the adding up", said the 'Sunshine Coast Daily' yesterday
Sent into bat Northsiders at one stage were 5/46 but were eventually all out for 193 off 49.2 overs, however, when the Taipans last wicket fell in the 48th over of their innings they were on the same score. Taipans captain Nathan Fisher called it "a bit of an unfortunate one" and confirmed "they're going through the books because the bowling figures we added up actually gave us the win". Northsiders skipper Robert Hillier said while the result was yet to be made official there were "no hard feelings after the game".
MATCH ABANDONED BECAUSE 'LOCALS'
WANT THEIR GROUND BACK
A Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) ‘G’ division match between the United and Sportsfield clubs at a university college ground had to be abandoned on Sunday after local residents demanded they be allowed to play "tennis ball cricket" there. Sportsfield were 8/110 at tea when the locals arrived forcing the game to end.
Nadeem Memon, the MCA's ground secretary told a local newspaper that 'G' division matches used to end at 4.30 p.m., the locals playing afterwards, but those fixtures now end at 5.20 p.m., and the locals are "angry as they feel we’re intruding into their playing time". Sunset comes in Mumbai at this time of the year at around 6.05 p.m.
Memon said that "with sun set near the locals don’t get more than an hour to play, and being a public ground it is difficult for us". "The locals' only [non-work day] is on Sundays and we cannot forget to take them into consideration, therefore we shall propose a change in timings at our next meeting [as] we want the best for everybody".
Shekhar Shetty United's coach believes the MCA "should be more firm and should ensure no further repetition of such instances". “We need better umpires who are well equipped to take control of the situation [and] the MCA should switch the venue if they are aware of such problems at the ground", he said.
REACTION TO SPECTATOR
TAUNTS RESULTS IN REPORT
Former Canterbury and New Zealand Twenty20 International player Ronnie Hira "could face suspension" after reacting to taunts from spectators during the final of Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket's (CMC) one-day competition on Sunday, say reports. Hira has been cited for allegedly retaliating verbally to comments from off the ground as he left the field after having been dismissed for a duck.
Christchurch Metro Cricket general manager Mike Harvey has confirmed Hira had been cited, but said he could not comment further before the hearing. Under local rules members of the public, match officials and staff of Canterbury Cricket or CMC can lay formal complaints, however, it is believed umpires Roger Wyeth and David Brandon did not lay the one made against Hira. A hearing into the matter is expected to be held sometime this week.
'SCHOOL BOY' DISMISSAL
FOR TEST PLAYER
Australian player Shane Watson says he is embarrassed about the way he was dismissed on the fourth day of the third Ashes Test in Perth yesterday shortly after bringing up his century. Watson top-edged bowler Tim Bresnan straight into the air but chose to contemplate his seemingly certain fate mid-pitch as Ian Bell stood under the catch, however, Bell dropped the ball but Bresnan picked it up and threw down the stumps.
BATSMAN 'TIMED OUT' AFTER
A batsman was 'Timed Out' in a Sydney Shires Cricket Competition, 50-over, second grade match between Macquarie University and Strathfield last Saturday. The incident occurred in the second innings of the match when the university side was chasing Strathfield's total of 270.
Batting at number three for Macquarie University, Raj Magesh walked onto the oval at the fall of the first wicket, but halfway towards the square he stopped as he had apparently hurt a muscle in his leg. After some two minutes of stretching the umpires asked him to leave the field so as to allow number four batsman Hari Sankar to go to the wicket, and reports indicate that Magesh then proceeded to do so.
However, as he approached the boundary his captain Peter Saliba stopped him and commenced a discussion that took "at least another two minutes", a time during which no other batsman entered the ground. That chat is said to have led to Magesh "slowly walking back towards the centre square", by which time five to six minutes had elapsed since the fall of the wicket. When he was halfway to his crease the Strathfield captain appealed, umpires Stephen Clements and Spencer Harrison consulted, and the appeal was upheld.
PLAYERS HANDED ONE-MATCH SUSPENSION
FOR LANGUAGE EXCHANGE
Two South African players have each been suspended for one first class match after being found guilty of "using language that is seriously obscene, offensive or insulting towards another participant" in a domestic four-day game between the Lions and Titans franchises late last month. Cricket South Africa disciplinary commissioner Rian Cloete said he had taken into account the fact that both players admitted the offence, and that the language used was "in the heat of the moment", but he also questioned the accuracy of the evidence they gave..
The players involved, the Titan's Farhaan Behardien, 30, and Hardus Viljoen, 24, of the Lions, were charged with a Level 2 offence by umpires Earl Hendrikse and Dennis Smith. Cloete is said to have noted that both players regretted their behaviour and that they had clean disciplinary records, but said that "after having taken all factors into account, it is important that an effective penalty be imposed'. “Both players are seasoned professional cricketers and Behardien has represented the national team", said the commissioner.
According to Cloete though "their joint submission [in regard to the charges brought against them] that they did not regard the language used as offensive, seems to be an attempt by both players to evade any possible penalty and one must question the sincerity thereof". “In the circumstances I am satisfied that the appropriate penalty in respect of this offence is a suspension for one four-day match but without the need, in addition, to impose a fine".
The pair will miss their team's respective first class matches which get underway today, Behardien when the Titans play the Warriors in Port Elizabeth, and Viljoen for the Lions' fixture with the Dolphins in Potchefstroom.
AUSTRALIAN POLICE IN WORLD CUP
INFORMATION SHARING AGREEMENT
Australia's Federal Police (AFP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Cricket Council (ICC) in August to share corruption-related information in the lead up to and during the 2015 World Cup, says the 'New Zealand Herald'. An AFP spokesman told the 'Herald' that his organisation believes the MOU "will further strengthen our ability to collaborate" and that similar agreements had been signed "with many non-government and industry partners ... particularly with respect to information exchange".
University of Auckland associate law professor Ken Palmer said an MOU was basically a formalised "good faith" arrangement between agencies. Without knowing specifics, he said "it's probably some sort of neutral understanding where the parties can feed information both ways". New Zealand police are said to have held talks with the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit and World Cup organisers and they may follow a similar course to the AFP, says the 'Herald' report.
TELEVISION ADVERTISERS TO DECIDE
FATE OF WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP?
London's 'Daily Telegraph' reported overnight that initial talks with broadcasters have revealed "little appetite" for the planned World Test Championship (WTC) series in England in 2017 and that a 50-overs-a-side format event like the now scrapped Champions Trophy (CT) remains popular with television advertisers. Journalist Nick Hoult says that the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee met in Perth last week and that it is in the process of conducting a financial study into the WTC's viability (PTG 1255-6055, 17 December 2013).
The 'Telegraph' says that a full board meeting of the ICC will be held in late January and if it is decided that proceeding with the WTC "might reduce the value of those television rights", it could be decided to remove the Test-based series from the formal packages offered to broadcasters. The ICC is said to be hoping to raise around $A2 billion from its next television deal, a sum that will finance cricket around the world, however, broadcasters have indicated two key problems with the Test championship.
First, there is no guarantee England and India will qualify for the tournament, which will be contested by the top four ranked nations. The qualifying phase for the competition began in May this year and ends in December 2016, and "while it is unlikely" both England and India would miss out "broadcasters do not like uncertainty". If England lose 4-0 to Australia in the current Ashes series they will drop to fourth in the ICC table and hold only a slender lead over Pakistan. Broadcasters do not want to risk financing a competition that could lack the two biggest nations in terms of generating advertising revenue, says Hoult.
The 'Telegraph' says that one of the attractions of Test cricket can be the ebb and flow of a match which ends in a draw, however, that "is not ideal for a knockout tournament". The problem of deciding a winner if the final ends in a draw has not been resolved, although one idea being mooted is for a six-day Test (PTG 800-3910, 19 July 2011), although the uncertainty involved in that "would create chaos in television schedules". A round-robin style format is another idea, with teams playing each other concurrently which would guarantee most will go for a win, but this would lengthen the time it takes to play the competition.
This contrasts with the CT which in its early years was "derided as a poor cousin of the 50-over World Cup", however, its last two competitions have been a success. The inaugural Test championship was supposed to be held in England this year but the "last" CT was staged instead after broadcasters indicated they would demand a refund of around $A80 million from their rights fee. Most CT matches were sold out and global audience figures for broadcasters are said to have been around 1.5 billion across the tournament.
ICC chief executive David Richardson "launched" the WTC just two months ago with the announcement that England will host the inaugural series and India the second edition in February-March 2021 (PTG 1210-5825, 14 October 2013). The Marylebone Cricket Club and its World Cricket Committee have been pushing the WTC concept for some years because of their concerns Test cricket was loosing its status as the top of the game (PTG 799-3906, 18 July 2011), its aim being to preserve the "primacy" of Test cricket.
AUSTRALIAN ASHES WOMEN AIMING TO
FOLLOW MEN'S AGGRESSIVE STYLE
Newly appointed Australian women's vice-captain Meg Lanning indicated yesterday that her side would be aiming to mirror the aggressive style of their male counterparts in the women's Ashes series which begins in Perth in early January. Players from both teams in the on-going men's Ashes series have frequently ignored the requirements of the 'Spirit of Cricket' Preamble to the Laws of the game to respect their opponents and the game itself in the three Tests played to date (PTG 1251-6038, 10 December 2013).
Lanning said her side, which lost the Ashes series in England earlier this year, could take heart from the Australian men reclaiming the Ashes as "it shows how quickly it can turn around". "Obviously they didn't have the result they would have liked, similar to us, over in England, but they've come out and played really aggressive cricket and really got on the front foot [and] that's certainly something we'll be looking to do".
The coming women's series is to be conducted in a similar format to the series in England earlier this year in that the Test in Perth will be worth six points, while the three one-dayers and three Twenty20 games played at grounds after are each valued at two points each.
CV MANAGER SUSPENDED FOR SEASON
FOR 'BRINGING GAME INTO DISREPUTE'
A player in Victoria's Emu Valley Cricket Association (EVCA) has been suspended for the remaining four months of the current austral summer after a tribunal found him guilty of "abusing players, spectators and an umpire" during an EVCA division one match. Former Spring Gully coach Damien Dunlop, who is employed by Cricket Victoria (CV) as the Northern Rivers regional cricket manager, fought the charge, but after a three-hour hearing EVCA the tribunal sided with evidence provided by four witnesses and in two written statements.
Dunlop was found to have brought the game into disrepute for his actions in his side's game against Mandurang. An EVCA spokesman told the 'Bendigo Advertiser' that "Mandurang had done their homework and had witnesses, the umpire was witness to a few things as well, so it really was stacked up against him", however, according to the newspaper's report he received no support at the tribunal from his own club.
The EVCA spokesman went on to say he hoped Dunlop's suspension would "put all cricketers on notice that abuse during matches would not be tolerated". "I think it just sends a clear message that no one will tolerate this sort of behaviour at any level", he said. The 'Advertiser' story says that given Dunlop is a CV employee he could appeal his suspension to the Victorian Country Cricket League.
SECOND UNCOMMON DISMISSAL
IN SYDNEY SHIRES' MATCH
It was an eventful weekend for uncommon dismissals in the Sydney Shires Competition last weekend, a player in a second grade game being dismissed 'Timed Out' (PTG 1256-6063, 19 December 2013), and now comes a report of another the same day in first grade, this time for 'Obstructing the Field'. The batsman concerned in the latter dismissal was former Pakistani international Arshad Khan, 42, who played nine Tests and 58 One Day Internationals (ODI) for his country from 1997-2006.
Reports indicate that Mount Pritchard-Southern Districts batsman Arshad was at the non striker's end when his batting colleague "bunted" the ball to mid off. Players from the Epping side are said to have appealed after the throw to the striker's end in a run out attempt hit Arshad for they felt he had "varied his running path" to get in between the stumps and the throw. Umpires Paul Coleman and Patrick Smellie consulted and the latter, as the umpire at the bowler's end, then upheld the appeal.
CA DISCIPLINARY RESPONSIBILITIES
HANDED TO NEW INTEGRITY UNIT
Cricket Australia (CA) has established its own specialised integrity unit whose responsibilities include looking into game-related corruption, security issues, codes of behaviour, disciplinary processes, anti-corruption education, screening overseas players seeking to take part in CA competitions, illicit substance use and other activities that could undermine the image and reputation of the sport. The allocation of disciplinary matters to the new unit is designed to overcome perceived conflict-of-interest links with the marketing of the game as occurred earlier this year in CA's domestic Twenty20 series (PTG 1065-5176, 23 February 2013).
The new arrangements flow directly from CA's Anderson review of its integrity and code-of-behaviour structures (PTG 1063-5170, 21 February 2013), whose report warned that the threat posed to international cricket by match-fixing was such that CA needed to get 'on the front foot' to protect the game in Australia. Previously Mike McKenna, whose responsibilities included heading up CA's much-hyped domestic T20 series and its commercial arm, had line responsibility for disciplinary issues, a linkage that some have seen as partly responsible for early player excesses in last season's T20 competition (PTG 1037-5034, 8 January 2013).
The new integrity group is headed by Iain Roy, CA's senior legal counsel, who has had previous experience dealing with such matters there but now has been given the title of 'senior manager integrity', a job that reports directly to chief CA chief executive James Sutherland. Beneath Roy will be CA's anti-corruption and security manager, an anti-doping medical officer and an education manager.
Sutherland said yesterday that the new unit would help CA improve the wellbeing of the game and its players and "while there are no suggestions that any Australian players, officials or administrators are involved in corrupt or illegal activity, the threat of that behaviour impacting the integrity of our game in some way is very real and we have to be vigilant in our approach to managing it". "We think [the new unit] is a responsible approach to protecting the game under our jurisdiction [for] we need to ensure the Australian public has full faith in the integrity of the game and the way it is administered".
BOWDEN TO MOVE TO SECOND
ON ALL-TIME ODI UMPIRES LIST
New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden will move to second place on the all-time One Day International (ODI) list when he stands in the fourth such match in the NZ-West Indies series in Nelson early in the new year. Bowden, who will be busy as the third umpire in the fourth Ashes Test which starts on Boxing Day, has been given just one ODI by New Zealand Cricket (NZC), Chris Gaffaney, his on-field colleague on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) being on-field for three, and third umpire member Gary Baxter also one.
The Nelson fixture will be Bowden's 182nd ODI since his first almost nineteen years ago, the match taking him one ahead of now-retired Steve Bucknor of the West Indies, but still twenty-seven behind current all-time record holder Rudi Koertzen who retired with 209 ODIs to his name. Bowden, 50, will have to return to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel if he is to have a chance to pass Koertzen's record before he himself retires.
Gaffaney's three matches will take him to an even twenty ODIs, while Baxter's single game will be his thirty-seventh since his debut eight years ago this month. Missing from the NZC's appointment list is Derek Walker its other third umpire on the IUP, an absence that suggests he has an ICC appointment to the Under-19 World Cup series in the United Arab Emirates for the two weeks starting in mid-January.
The three Kiwis will work with neutral match officials Chris Broad and Ian Gould of England and Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka during the five NZ-Windies ODIs (PTG 1246-6016, 3 December 2013).
BAN FOR SPECTATOR ABUSE
Former New Zealand and current Canterbury contracted player Ronnie Hira has been banned from all cricket until the end of this year after being found guilty of abusing a spectator when he reacted to on-going taunts during a club match last weekend (PTG 1255-6061, 17 December 2013). If Hira's ban holds it will prevent him from playing in a club game today and a New Zealand Cricket domestic Twenty20 match for Canterbury against Wellington next Friday.
Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket (CMC) head Mike Harvey told Fairfax New Zealand yesterday that a hearing held into Hira's actions took into account mitigating factors such as the taunts he received from the sidelines and the fact he had a clean record. Hira was reported to have used "crude, obscene or offensive language and unnecessarily or unreasonably abused a spectator at the ground following his dismissal" for a duck last Sunday.
Hira told a journalist he was sorry for reacting as he had and called the incident a "big mistake" on his part. He said he was happy to be punished but considers the censure he received was "disproportionately unfair". "I did the crime so you do the time and it was a big mistake, but I don't think the punishment is fair", said the player. The New Zealand Cricket Players' Association is reported to currently be talking with CMC about the punishment.
Hira's complaint is he has been punished two-fold in that he misses cricket and is effectively fined as well by missing a Canterbury match for which he would have received a payment. He is also hoping to make the New Zealand T20 side for games against the West Indies next month and next Friday's match would have been another chance for him to push his case. Somewhat surprisingly Hira is also said to be "confused how something that happened in an amateur club match could affect his professional occupation".
The CMC told Fairfax that Hira has no right of appeal but Harvey is said to have "confirmed the original ban until New Year's Eve was being reassessed".
PLAYERS TAKE THEIR COVERS
OFF TO RAISE FUNDS
The Liverpool and District competition's Burscough club have produced a 2014 calendar that features nine of their players in a range of what are described as 'discreet' nude poses, the aim of the exercise being to raise money for equipment for their junior teams. The "cricket-themed" calendar involving "lads that range in age from 20 to 45", includes images taken in a variety of locations such as the clubhouse, the nets and the scorebox, and so far 300 have been sold and raised some £2,000 ($A3,700).
The concept came from the club's Brendan Domigan who comes from New Zealand. “We’ve never done anything like this before but we thought it would be a laugh and be popular with the Burscough community", said former skipper Alan Murray. “I was in the post office [recently] and there was an old lady in there who was horrified, but when I told her what it was for she ended up buying one".
'NOTHING EDIFYING ABOUT YOUNG
MEN SWEARING', SAYS ECB CHAIRMAN
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke said yesterday that "banter" during an Ashes series "will never go away [for] it is what makes it, but it is important to play these games in an excellent spirit off the pitch as well as on". A report in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' this morning says that Giles indicated he had discussed the Ashes "sledging war" "at length" with his Australian counterpart Wally Edwards, and that they both are of the opinion that there is "nothing edifying about young men swearing" for "it is a deeply unattractive activity and nothing to be proud of".
Numerous ugly spats between Australia and England players have occurred from the three Tests to date, one of the most notable being Australian captain Michael Clarke's "get ready for a broken f---ing arm" comment to England bowler James Anderson in Brisbane, which came on the back of Anderson allegedly threatening to punch Australian debutant George Bailey (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2013). Another Australian publicly labelled an opponent "weak and scared", there have been heated on-field exchanges, and physical contact between two players during the second Test in Adelaide (PTG 1251-6039, 10 December 2013).
PLAYER BAN SUSPENDED AFTER
HIS UNION STEPS IN
Former New Zealand and current Canterbury contracted player Ronnie Hira is available to play for Canterbury in their domestic Twenty20 match this Friday despite initially being banned until the end of this year for using "crude, obscene or offensive language" to abuse spectators during a club-level one-day final ten days ago (PTG 1258-6073, 21 December 2013). Fairfax NZ is reporting this morning that the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, or player's union, "have stepped in and questioned the authority of Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket (CMC), a sub-association of Canterbury Cricket, and their ability to ban players from playing professional cricket".
Hira indicated late last week that he was "confused how something that happened in an amateur club match could affect his professional occupation", and his ban had been lifted until mid-January when another hearing will be held to discuss the penalties. That will allow him to not only play in Friday's T20 but another two fixtures for Canterbury in that tournament early in the new year.
Meanwhile, another of Hira's team mates in the club final has been suspended for his actions in that game. Captain Brent Findlay, who has played for Canterbury, was suspended for two playing days for "the use of language that was deemed to be offensive" after an umpire turned down an appeal", according to the CMC. Findlay is said to have thought that he had his opposition captain caught behind, but the appeal was declined and the bowler was said to have "reacted". CMC said the ban was more severe than it could have been because it was Findlay's second offence in the past twelve months.
OPENER LOOSES HALF HIS MATCH
FEE FOR ON-FIELD PUSH
Pakistani opener Ahmed Shehzad has been fined half of his match fee for pushing Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan during their side's third One Day International of the series in Dubai on Sunday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement that Shehzad was found to have engaged in "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play during an international match".
The incident took place at the end of the 19th over when Shehzad got involved in a debate with Dilshan, which ended with the former pushing the Sri Lanka opener’s shoulder. The charge against the opener was laid by the on-field umpires Johan Cloete of South Africa and Shozab Raza of Pakistan, as well as third umpire Richard Illingworth from England and fourth umpire Ahsan Raza of Pakistan. Shehzad pleaded guilty to the offence.
'HEADLOCK' ALLEGED IN
The Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association is said to be waiting for umpires Don Nichols and Colin Newport to file their report from a game last Saturday after claims were aired that a player put an opponent in a headlock while the two sides were shaking hands as the match ended. Preston fast bowler Hussain Hanif, was reported by the 'Herald Sun' yesterday as alleging former Australian Twenty20 International Mick Lewis "grabbed my collar [and] pulled me down in a headlock".
A Victoria Police spokesman told the 'Herald Sun' that police were investigating "an incident that occurred between two males after a cricket match in Coburg". Lewis, who is a bowling coach with one of the Melbourne franchise sides in Cricket Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition, said via a spokeswoman for that team that he had no knowledge of Hanif's claims, denied any alleged assault, and that he had not been contacted by police.
Hanif, from New Zealand, said a "hot-headed" Lewis had been sledging him earlier in the match and was acting like a "loose cannon". "He was calling me all sorts of names, there was heaps of banter on the field". Lewis, who opened the bowling for Coburg, was hit for quick runs as Preston chased down a target of 138 for an outright win.
A spectator is quoted as saying that it was "increasingly obvious there was tension" as Preston overhauled Coburg's total and "Mick was starting to get upset" and "Then all hell breaks loose, it could have ended up in a really nasty brawl in the race". Coburg president Bill Slattery said he was trying to piece together what happened but "clearly there was a bit of angst on the field".
PERTH PLAYERS FINED
FOR SLOW T20 OVER-RATE
The Perth franchise side in Cricket Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition have been penalised for maintaining a slow over-rate in their match against Brisbane on Sunday. After time allowances were taken into consideration, Perth were assessed to be one over behind the required rate at the end of the match.
Under the competition's Playing Conditions, each member of the Perth playing XI was fined $A500 and their captain Simon Katich given one penalty point. If the team incur another slow-over rate penalty this season while Katich is playing he will automatically be suspended for one match.
ODI SLOW OVER-RATE
FINE FOR PAKISTAN
Pakistan has been fined for their slow over-rate during last Friday's second One Day International of the series against Sri Lanka in Dubai. After time allowances were taken into consideration, Misbah-ul-Haq’s team were found to be one over short of the over-rate requirement at the end of Sri Lanka's fifty over innings.
International Cricket Council Code of Conduct regulations require that for minor over-rate offences players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, and the captain fined double that amount. As a result match referee David Boon of Australia imposed the fines, the captain loosing twenty per cent of his match fee and his team-mates ten per cent. The penalty was accepted by Pakistan without contest so there was no need for a hearing.
HENRY TO BAT NUMBER
VIII AT LORD'S?
Last Friday, some 480 years after the two Churches split, the Church of England formally took up the Vatican's challenge to play a game of cricket, the match being scheduled for Lord's, the 'Home of Cricket', next September. Suggests that such a match be played surfaced two months ago after the Vatican formed a cricket league composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome (PTG 1209-5823, 12 October 2013).
Reports say that the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 80 million strong world-wide Anglican communion, accepted Rome's challenge through his representative to the Vatican, Archbishop David Moxon. Moxon said delaying the match until late next English summer would enable the Anglican side to put together a similar team of amateurs from Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and nearby theological schools.
Asked if a combination of sports diplomacy and inter-religious dialogue could help improve relations between the two Churches, which split in 1534 when King Henry VIII broke with Rome, Moxon said: "It will introduce a conversation piece all over the world whenever Catholics and Anglicans get together". In his view the move "can only do good and increase the bonds of affection we have for each other".
Father Eamonn O'Higgins, a priest who is organising the Vatican side, said that his team will be made up of seminarians and priests from countries who have a cricket tradition, including Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand and Pakistan. Their side will wear yellow and white, the official colours of the tiny city-state, and their jackets will feature two crossed keys, the seal of the papacy, .
WORLD ODI RECORD CLAIMED FOR
Sharjah-based Hakim Jariwala will be working as the official scorer in his 228th One Day International (ODI) when Pakistan and Sri Lanka play the fifth and last match of their current one-day series in Abu Dhabi later today, a figure that the 'Gulf News' says is a "world record". Up until today Jariwala has scored all 215 ODIs played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium (SCS) since the first in 1984, that ground itself holding the record of having hosted the highest number of ODIs, plus a further twelve played at the nearby Dubai International Stadium.
Speaking to 'Gulf News', Jariwala, who began scoring at the age of eighteen at the SCS, said that he and Mohammad Ali Jafri who passed away in 2011, scored together in the stadium's first 200 ODIs. Jariwala's wife Nafisa has taken over his late colleague's role and now works alongside her husband in recording the details of games.
"Whenever I walk into the Sharjah stadium the memories of all the matches I scored come flooding back to me", he says, and he "is so happy [to] have been able to record some of the greatest performances in world cricket in my score book". “All my score sheets have signatures of the captains from the first match I scored in Sharjah in 1981, days when electronic scoreboards did not exist and every player used to come and have a look at my score sheet".
Jariwala, a businessman who "makes time" for all international matches he is invited to score in the United Arab Emirates, began in the game as a player for the Sharjah Club and later became their scorer. The fifty-year-old, whose scores via a book using pencils of multiple colours, now has as his aim reaching the 300 ODI mark.
SECOND TRIAL REPORTED FOR
ENHANCED THIRD UMPIRE SYSTEM
What the International Cricket Council (ICC) is reportedly calling the Officiating Replay System (ORS) is to be trialled for a second time in today's Pakistan-Sri Lanka One Day International (ODI) in Abu Dhabi as well as the first Test between those two sides at the same venue next week. The ORS, which was first trialled during an Ashes Test in England earlier this year, is designed to allow television umpires to control his viewing of all aspects of the replays collected by the broadcaster televising the match, rather than obtaining them on request via the telecast's director.
The ICC hopes the new system will eventually be mature enough to allow third umpires to make their judgements on referrals more quickly than at present, and without the danger that some replays not being available because the host broadcaster has a "different focus" at the time; 'going to advertising' sometimes getting in the way of the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) process (PTG 1146-5550, 13 July 2013).
During the first ORS trial in the third Ashes at Old Trafford last August, ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Nigel Llong sat in a separate broadcast truck and effectively mirrored the role the then official third umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013); however, while he had more control over replays he was not part of the official on-field, third umpire 'loop'. Llong was later reported as being "positive" about how the trial went (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013).
In Abu Dhabi over the next week, EUP members Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth are expected, like Llong, to sit in a separate room with a single "giant monitor" on which will be displayed numerous camera angles and UDRS inputs that they decide they want to see. Kettleborough will have no impact on the decisions in the ODI when Illingworth is the official third umpire in the ODI, nor will Illingworth in the Test when Kettleborough in the official television suite (PTG 1249-6027, 6 December 2013).
Reports from Abu Dhabi emphasise that the ICC hoping to add Kettleborough and Illingworth's views and experience to those of Llong as it tries to strengthen the case for universal implementation of the UDRS. They are also said to believe giving the umpire greater control over replays eases concerns of national boards, in particular that of India, that the UDRS could be "prone to broadcaster biases". No details of the cost of the trial or who is paying for it have to date been made public.
PRESENTATION MARKS DAVIS' FIFTIETH TEST
Australian umpire Steve Davis was presented with crystal plaque at a Christmas Day lunch in Durban on Wednesday to mark his fiftieth Test, the Boxing Day match between South Africa and India. Since his debut at the game's highest level in Hobart in November 1997, Adelaide-based Davis has stood in Tests at grounds in all of the world's Test playing entities except Bangladesh, plus the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1248-6024, 5 December 2013).
Davis, who is the eleventh person to reach fifty Tests, was presented with the International Cricket Council plaque by match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, and said that he is "proud to have joined the company of some of the top names to have umpired in fifty Tests". "Every Test I have been involved in has been a memorable one for me, not only because I had the privilege to feature in matches played by some of the modern day greats, but also because I got an opportunity to work closely with my colleagues and learn something new and different from them each time".
In addition to his fifty Tests, Davis has also umpired in 122 One Day Internationals and 20 Twenty20 Internationals, has also stood in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, 2009 and 2013 Champions Trophy series, and the World Twenty20 events of 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. He joined the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel in 2008 and became the fourteenth person to reach the 100 ODI mark during the 2011 World Cup (PTG 724-3563, 7 February 2011).
CA CHIEF CONTINUES TO PUSH DAY-NIGHT
TESTS, BUT BALL COMPROMISE NEEDED
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has again indicated that a day-night Test is a "realistic possibility" in the next two years, and repeated the view that "some sort of compromise" will be needed with regards to the ball that will be used in such a game. Speaking on the Fairfax Radio Network during the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne, Sutherland flagged a day-night against New Zealand as a possibility in late 2015, a concept New Zealand Cricket said four months ago they were "very interested" in (PTG 1183-5707, 2 September 2013).
Last June, Sutherland called the introduction of day-night Tests "inevitable", one report at that time saying that his organisation was looking to play such a game in Adelaide in 2014-15 (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013), while another soon after suggested it would happen "within three years" (PTG 1145-5545, 12 July 2013). Such forecasts have been made on a fairly regular basis by a variety of senior administrators over the last five years, however to date nothing has actually eventuated, the issue of finding a suitable ball continuing to be a key factor.
The durability and visibility of the ball, and the amount of dew on the ground at night, appear the main obstacles to day-night Tests, but Sutherland said six months ago that he was determined to find out if those hurdles could be cleared. According to him administrators must be open-minded about tinkering with playing conditions, a point that his organisation has made on a number of occasions primarily in relation to finding a suitable ball (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013). "I am confident that it can work, but I'm not naive, I understand there may need to be some compromises, perhaps around the ball", he said at that time. "It might be that we have a ball from each end . . . For the sake of the game and for the sake of growing audiences, we need to see through some of the reasons why not".
During his Fairfax Radio interview Sutherland again emphasised that "the ball is definitely a work in progress", but did not indicate just what was being done to address the issue, of just what he thinks the compromises he says will be needed in that regard are. After supporting work to find a suitable ball over several years, CA handed the ball development issue to the International Cricket Council (ICC) nearly four years ago (PTG 568-2878, 10 February 2010), but last February the world body was reported to have sent the issue back to its member countries (PTG 1067-5186, 26 February 2013).
CA has scheduled a round of Sheffield Shield first class matches under lights in early March as part of its day-night Test push (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013). Those three Shield games will not be the first at first class level though for the Marylebone Cricket Club has played the last four openers to the English county first class season against the previous year's champions in Abu Dhabi under such conditions. Similar matches have been played in the Caribbean, England, Pakistan and South Africa in that time.
Sutherland was quoted last August as saying that if the forthcoming Shield trial is successful more games will be held under lights in 2014-15 but "perhaps at a different time of year". That may well mean in the November-December period, a time during which any day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand is likely to be played in 2015.
The ICC gave in principle approval to 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).
SHASTRI TO BECOME FIRST INDIAN
TO REACH FIRST CLASS CENTURY
Suresh Shastri will become the first Indian umpire to officiate in 100 first-class games when Hyderabad host Kerala in a Ranji Trophy match in Hyderabad today. Shastri, 58, made his debut as a first-class umpire in a Ranji match between the same two sides Secunderabad in November 1990.
Jodhpur-born Shastri was a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel from 2006 to 2009 and in October 2008 officiated in two first-class matches in South Africa’s domestic tournament as a part of the Umpire Exchange Program between the Board for Control of Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa.
During a career that has now spanned twenty-three seasons, Shastri has stood in two Tests, nineteen One-Day Internationals (ODI), one Twenty20 International and three women’s ODIs, and he has also been the third umpire in seven Tests and thirteen ODIs.
Before taking up umpiring, Shastri, a left-arm spinner, represented Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy and played in fifty-three first-class matches across fourteen seasons from 1972-87. He was also part of the Central Zone team that played against the visiting West Indians in December 1974 and finished his playing career having taken 155 wickets and scored 968 runs.
LEE-MORGAN MCG NETS 'STUNT' HAS
'DAMAGED CRICKET', SAYS HADLEE
Former New Zealand fast bowler Richard Hadlee believes that "the International Cricket Council" (ICC) must consider punishing Brett Lee for his "bodyline-style bowling" at English television host Piers Morgan in the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) nets on day two of the Ashes Boxing Day Test on Friday. Morgan, who was facing Lee following exchanges on 'Twitter', ended up bruised and sore after he was peppered with six short balls in the 'over', an event involving the two "personalities" that was televised 'live'.
Hadlee, New Zealand's greatest cricketer, said the exhibition should not have been shown on live television as Lee could have killed the hapless Morgan. "I only hope that Brett takes a few minutes to reflect on his stupidity - this was a brain explosion of the highest order - it was a deliberate attempt to hit, injure, hurt and maim his opponent that I viewed as a form of grievous bodily harm or a human assault that could have proved fatal", wrote Hadlee for Fairfax NZ News.
What some reports have described as a "stunt" evolved after Morgan questioned the courage of England's batsmen against Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson during the Ashes series and Lee "challenged" Morgan to pad up. But in Hadlee's view Lee's actions have "damaged cricket", for "there will be many mums and dads around the world who saw that exhibition and may decide to stop their kids from playing the game, such was the brutality and the risk to someone's life".
Hadlee said that "I only hope that officialdom will review the incident and if necessary take some action against Lee's behaviour - perhaps a censure, fine or even a suspension for his act of stupidity and misjudgment". "Lee will have to accept there are no words than can be used to justify his decision-making and how he executed that six-ball over - it was beyond comprehension". "The ICC has an edict of fair play and upholding the spirit of the game, but that exhibition compromised those values", concluded Hadlee. However, it would appear that the ICC has no jurisdiction in regard to the 'over' bowled to Morgan.
Responding to Hadlee's claims, Morgan said he had no issue with the way Lee bowled to him. He said via 'Twitter' that "In all seriousness, I challenged [Lee and] urged him to bowl as fast as he liked, [therefore] I've no problem with what he did, though my ribs do".
DAY'S PLAY INVOLVES BOWLER
A global Positioning System (GPS) unit worn by Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson on day one of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) indicates that he walked and ran a total distance equivalent to a half-marathon over the six hours of play. The GPS device measures speed, distances travelled and the heart rates of players and the "number of sprint efforts" made, Johnson’s total of 23 km travelled during play including 144 sprints.
Broadcaster Channel Nine's cricket high performance analyst Jock Campbell, who collated the data on Johnson, said yesterday that “The MCG is probably the biggest ground they play on in Australia so there’s a lot more distance [for players to] cover during the day". "People say that’s it’s stop-start and he walks part of it and that’s great, but go and walk for 23 km and tell me how tired you are at the end of it and try to bowl fast in the middle of it", said Campbell.
“It’s further than a half-marathon and he’s got to back up the next day and bowl fast again and try to get wickets", continued the analyst, and “It just shows the endurance and athleticism of these fast bowlers". “What it demonstrates is that cricketers in the field chase over long distances, 50, 60, even 80 metres, so they’ve got to be conditioned to do that".
It was while chasing a ball through the outfield that Johnson reached his top speed of 33.1 kph, the fastest pace Campbell has recorded this season. “In previous years Mike Hussey’s done 35 kph, Peter Siddle’s got up to 35.9 kph and Brett Lee’s been the fastest one we’ve recorded so far, just over 36 kph, and that’s faster than most rugby league wingers, fast guys in [Australian Rules Football], or fast wingers in rugby union that get recorded", says Campbell.